News Flash: LDS Church WILL Be Actively Opposing Gay Marriage in California This November

June 21, 2008
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News Flash: The LDS Church WILL be actively opposing gay marriage in California this November, and is encouraging members to actively oppose gay marriage in California.

They are asking all members of the church to, “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.”

Here’s the memo to the church, which will be read to all members in California next Sunday.

Ouch.

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  • John Nilsson

    Does anyone know if this proposed amendment has any chance of passing, based on polls, etc.?

    And if so, does the U.S. Supreme Court have the authority to overturn it at some point?

  • Nick Literski

    I find it rather interesting that the letter is specifically to be read on June 29th, which is recognized in the GLBT community as “Pride Day,” the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. It COULD have been read tomorrow, June 22nd, but they’ve chosen a specific date, in a way which seems deliberately provocative.

    Two things stand out in the letter, making me wonder just a bit about its authenticity:
    (1) The language about “revers[ing] the vote of the people” seems unusually political (for lack of a better term) for a FP letter. On the other hand, it is taken almost verbatim from the recent evangelical ex-gay propaganda, which LDS leaders have closely parrotted for the past several years.
    (2) The whole “Local church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved” passage seems to conflict with other post-2000 communications, which have tended more to explicitly deny “official” participation while encouraging individuals to jump on the bandwagon.

    If this letter is genuine, it PUTS THE LIE to the recent LDS Public Relations spin, wherein they claimed that the twice-read 2006 letter to “make your opinion known” was not a direction to LDS members to “support” a constitutional amendment.

    How many more Stuart Matis incidents do LDS leaders need, before they rethink these political crusades?

  • Nick Literski

    I should also point out, however, that this letter seems consistent with what Mitt Romney claimed, regarding private backroom deals between Gordon Hinckley and Jerry Falwell.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/september/34.74.html

    Romney Quote: “[But] several months ago, not long before he died, I had the occasion of having the Rev. Jerry Falwell at our home. He said that when he was getting ready to oppose same-sex marriage in California, he met with the president of my church in Salt Lake City, and they agreed to work together in a campaign in California. He said, ‘Far be it from me to suggest that we don’t have the same values and the same objectives.’”

    Romney gave this interview prior to the death of Gordon Hinckley, lest anyone be confused.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Let’s slow down until this can be verified. Once there is an official statement – or this actually is read in multiple meetings – etc., we have plenty of time to discuss it.

    I generally would never suggest postponing a thread someone else has posted, but this is jumping the gun a bit, imho.

  • Paula

    John, the most recent poll I have seen shows about 51% support for the amendment. That’s down significantly from support for Prop 22 which passed by about 65% if I recall correctly. If Barack Obama’s candidacy continues to bring out young voters in the November election, it seems to me that those young voters will be against the amendment in much higher margins.

    I had really thought that the church would stay out of this one, and I agree with Nick’s analysis above. The letter contradicts many things we have been told here before.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Nick, I don’t want to continue this, as I already said in #4 – but do you REALLY have to characterize a simple meeting as “private backroom deals”? You know the message of those words; there are much less loaded ways you could have phrased it. These were two leaders meeting to discuss common ground. I know the content of the discussion bothers you more than any other content could, but “private backroom deals”?

  • heather

    this makes me sad.

  • http://www.ldscooperative.com/ Stephen Wellington

    Yes Nick…for the church to say, “we do not want to get political” and then get into stuff like this is hypocritical to me. Perhaps what they mean to say is…”we want our members to decide for themselves if they are republican or democrat..but we still set the “moral” agenda.” You & i know very well they play the PR game & neglect so many other moral issues.

    I personally don’t know what to make of the churches crypto-politicizing, but for me atleast, i think there are more important things I can do then donate my means and time to this. I am personally not opposed to civil unions but yet will teach my family the value of eternal marriage as is taught by the church without belittling same sex unions. I applaud monogamy and commitment. Instead, I will continue spending my time helping sick people at the hospital and speaking truth to power…sorry first presidency.

    And ironically…on the afernoon of the 29th I will be helping my local freeconomy group put up a fence at my friends house who is in a same sex union and then will have a bbq after church with all of them.

  • Nick Literski

    Current polls seem to be vacillating between pass or fail, with either side by small margins.

    My understanding is that Prop 22 passed with 61% of the vote in 2000. Public opinion polls have shown an average annual increase of 2% for approval of marriage equality. That includes increases across all age categories. If that gives any useful predictor in the case of the current initiative, we could expect the initiative to be defeated.

    The Obama factor actually cuts two ways. Yes, Obama has proven to be a powerful force in getting younger voters out to the polls, and younger voters are much more likely to vote against the amendment. On the other hand, however, Obama has very strong support in the African American community, which is noted as having a very strong anti-gay current. Therefore, Obama could cause a large anti-marriage-equality voting presence.

  • Matt Thurston

    Surprised to see the authenticity of the memo questioned. For what its worth, the memo was sent to me by a high-ranking LDS Director of Public Affairs in Southern California.

  • Phouchg

    Bring it on…I work for a TV station and part of my compensation is a small percentage of revenue generated by advertising. Let’s hope both sides spend thousands of dollars on this.

  • Paula

    Matt, I’m glad to hear some independent confirmation of the authenticity.

    If anyone’s interested, here is a chronology of how things went in California during Prop 22:
    http://www.lds-mormon.com/doma.shtml

  • http://www.ldscooperative.com/ Stephen Wellington

    “Bring it on…I work for a TV station and part of my compensation is a small percentage of revenue generated by advertising. Let’s hope both sides spend thousands of dollars on this.”

    The “ever-caring” & christlike attitude of a disaster capitalist.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #10 – That’s all I was asking for Matt. I have seen enough doctored announcements in my decades in the Church simply to want to make sure it is authentic.

  • Phouchg

    Stephen, I had my tongue firmly in cheek here. The church doing this may just be what is need to push me over the edge into resigning my membership. Let’s see how this is handled in my wife’s ward. They may just read the letter and that is that, or they may start heavily leaning on people to contribute. I live in a rather upscale ward/stake, so I suspect the begging for money will take place.

  • Stephen Marsh

    “And if so, does the U.S. Supreme Court have the authority to overturn it at some point?”

    That’s a loaded question … the answer is yes. Just a matter of reinterpreting the constitution of the United States and overturning precident, which it does more often than you would think.

    The best example is Brown v. Board of Education.

    Looking back, everyone sees that as a good thing, though the transition was rough. Had a friend who became property as a result of integration, and was subjected to all the effects of property. She actually said it was a good thing, because it put her off limits to those outside the gang who decided that they owned her.

  • alice

    Here we go again. Just like the ERA.

    This is so backward and destructive and, Mitt Romney’s candidacy having brought so much attention to the church, this will not stay under the wire. I have to go throw up a little.

  • Nick Literski

    You know the message of those words; there are much less loaded ways you could have phrased it. These were two leaders meeting to discuss common ground. I know the content of the discussion bothers you more than any other content could, but “private backroom deals”?

    Ray, I understand how those words might grate on you. Honestly though, I would have found the meeting disturbing when I was an extremist-believing Mormon. The idea that an LDS “prophet” stoops to the likes of Jerry Falwell (an enemy of the LDS church, for goodness sake!) for planning and counsel really goes against the independent nature of Mormonism as urged more than once in the D&C. Further, if you think about it, the meeting of Hinckley and Falwell could have been publicly touted as a very positive “reaching out” move, but no—it was kept quiet. Neither man evidently wanted his flock to know who he was spending his time with. So yes, I consider it a “private backroom deal,” not because it’s provocative to say that, but because it was under wraps until it became conveniently useful to Romney’s political goals.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    “The idea that an LDS “prophet” stoops to the likes of Jerry Falwell (an enemy of the LDS church, for goodness sake!) for planning and counsel really goes against the independent nature of Mormonism as urged more than once in the D&C.”

    That’s where our views differ. That’s fine.

  • Paula

    The analysis I read of the amendment a few months ago in our local paper said that it would be just as subject to overturn by the California Supreme Court as the law established by Prop 22. But I’m not a legal expert and wasn’t preparing for a quiz, so can’t sum up the reasons for it. Incidentally, 3 of the 4 judges who voted to overturn Prop 22 were appointed by Republican governors. Arnold has said that he will not support the amendment on the ballot.

  • Ann

    I’m surprised that anybody is surprised by this.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Hmmm. I know it sounds insensitive, but in a way I feel as though I don’t have a dog in this fight. But as I think of it, I do have a small dog (maybe a chihuahua) in this fight. I have a visible career, and my religion is known. When the membership is seen as a body politic, there are problems for all of us. Obviously, it limited Romney, and that was when the church remained neutral. I would prefer not to follow our evangelical brethren down this slippery “cannon fodder in God’s army” slope. I am just not a social conservative. Perhaps that means I lack vision or that I am just looking out for number one. I’m sure both are true.

    Being optimistic, though:
    1 – I hope the official release is less politicized than it sounds.
    2 – It still seems pretty clear that although they are applying pressure to participate, it’s not mandatory or “enforced” in any way (e.g. not “worthy” if don’t join in).
    3 – I live in AZ, not CA, so it looks like it won’t be read in my state since it’s not in legislation.
    4 – The law of chastity is certainly clear in the church (e.g. you can’t be in good standing and have any extramarital, premarital, or homosexual sex). I highly doubt that if homosexuals are legally married, the church would say, “Oh, I guess that’s not a violation of the Law of Chastity now, so welcome back! My bad!” I suppose that if same sex marriage becomes legal, the church will have to make an even stronger statement about the Law of Chastity, maybe (?). My objection is on the grounds that I don’t like to legislate morality.

    Vote the way you would if the Savior stood beside you, and you won’t go wrong. Given that instruction, I believe it’s quite possible we could vote various ways in good conscience. As for cracking open the checkbook, this still seems a matter of conscience to me. Do what you believe to be right.

  • Paula

    Ann, I’m somewhat surprised because I live in California, and have seen the consequences of the last campaign. I really thought that perhaps church leaders would regret the number of people who went inactive, or were very hurt by the past campaign, or at least not want to stir up more bad press. But then I’m a hopelessly naive optimist, I suppose.

  • alice

    I just don’t know how the church can say the Constitution is inspired and then go ballistic when the provision for extending the rights to the pursuit of happiness and equal protection to everyone comes up.

    I’m still not over being angry that they didn’t think I should have equal protection of my rights.

  • Nick Literski

    It’s not just the issue of an inspired Constitution. It’s also the very basic Mormon teaching of a Council in Heaven, wherein the bad guy came up with a plan to enforce commandments upon all of humanity in order to bring them all back to the presence of deity.

    It never ceases to amaze me that leaders of a faith which holds this teaching insist upon engaging in the same tactic by attempting to legislatively enforce the tenets of their faith on a diverse citizenry.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #25 – Come on, Nick, that is WAY over-the-top. This statement does NOT try to “enforce the tenets of their faith” in the same way that was fought against in the Council in Heaven. The “tenets of their faith” teach that homosexual activity should be avoided; this does NOT attempt to legislate that activity out of existence. There is a HUGE difference between the compulsion of outlawing a practice and an attempt to keep that practice from being called the same thing that heterosexual unions have been called for thousands of years.

    You know I support civil unions with FULL civil rights, and, when push comes to shove, can’t support this amendment if it still allows common-law “marriages”. However, to equate support of this amendment with Satan’s plan simply is hyperbolic absurdity.

    There is room to disagree with this request without turning it into a support of Satan.

  • Nick Literski

    Ray, I’m sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. However you wish to characterize the issue, the crusade itself is clearly an attempt to impose the tenets of a religious faith upon the wider citizenry—including a portion of that citizenry who follow their own religions by supporting, and even solemnizing, civilly recognized marriages between persons of the same sex.

    I’m not just picking on the LDS church here, Ray. I have equally vehement feelings with regard to the religious and governmental persecution faced by early Mormons, with regard to their choices in forming families. Efforts by other faiths, along with the government, to prohibit plural marriage were blatant applications of the same behavior that Mormonism teaches was exhibited by Lucifer in the “Council in Heaven.” Those other churches had the excuse of not holding that doctrine, but their behavior was still reprehensible.

  • http://www.ldscooperative.com/ Stephen Wellington

    Pouchg said: Stephen, I had my tongue firmly in cheek here. The church doing this may just be what is need to push me over the edge into resigning my membership. Let’s see how this is handled in my wife’s ward. They may just read the letter and that is that, or they may start heavily leaning on people to contribute. I live in a rather upscale ward/stake, so I suspect the begging for money will take place.

    Right…my apologies. It is so hard to see where people are coming from in their comments. Sorry for being sardonic. It has made me feel hesitant about paying tithing to the church over the next month or so just in case it is used for this cause. Knowing what the church did in Hawaii made me feel this way too.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    And I again disagree, Nick.

    I agree that the way that we were treated with regard to polygamy is central to the way I perceive homosexual unions – whatever they are called. I also agree that polygamy in our day and age is MORE IMMORAL than homosexual activity – since “moral” is a socially determined word and homosexual activity is accepted more than polygamy. So, I believe that my ancestors were acting more immorally in their time than you are now.

    Having said all of that, the actions of the earlier churches was an attempt to eliminate the practice of polygamy by jailing it practitioners and confiscating their property. It was the literal outlawing of the activity itself – by force and literal compulsion. In that regard, it was forcing morality as law. **It was attempting to force people into not sinning** – the very definition of Satan’s plan.

    This is not that type of action. Nothing in this amendment would jail you or your partners; nothing in it would confiscate property from you; **nothing in it would force you to stop being an actively gay man**. The only harm this would do, especially if accompanied by full rights within civil unions, is to remove a specific title from your union. I KNOW THAT IS PAINFUL, but it is not enforcing Satan’s plan. It is not doing to you what was done to us years ago.

    It is legal discrimination I personally can’t accept, but it is not coercion of action – which is the heart of Satan’s plan. Satan’s plan says, “I won’t let you sin.” This says, “I won’t let you change the term used for what you do to make it appear to not be sin.” Again, **I know you don’t accept that definition of sin**, and I don’t fully support it either, but it’s nowhere close to Satan’s plan.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    I just don’t know how the church can say the Constitution is inspired and then go ballistic when the provision for extending the rights to the pursuit of happiness and equal protection to everyone comes up

    Err, because they are (a) talking about the State of California’s Constitution here, not the United States Constitution, (b) inspired doesn’t mean every word is gospel and never to be amended, (c) we are talking interpretations of a document that alter its original meaning.

    On the other hand, see: http://ethesis.blogspot.com/2008/06/eleventh-article-of-faith.html

  • Matt Thurston

    Ann, I was a little surprised too. Now I feel dumb. I don’t expect the church to come around on gay issues for a long time, but based on some positive signs over the past 6-7 years, I kind of figured they’d sit this one out.

    I also thought Monson was less likely to bring the church into controversial or political arenas, for some reason. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during the FP and Q12 meetings to see which members were pushing hard for a statement/action, and which members kind of held back.

  • Conservative member

    ‘Ouch.’ ‘Administrator????? (or John Dehlin?????)

    Actually that ouch should be directed towards the mormon blogganacle which insists in being sympathetic to the homosexual agenda!

    Never has the church given any indication that they will one day change the law of chastity. And gay sex is simply against the law of chastity. So you can’t keep comparing it to blacks/priesthood issue (that comparison only fits for divorced men).

    At least the evangelicals and most catholics understand that permitting more gay ‘penetration’ in society will lead to its downfall spiritually and in simply religiosity; and, if God keeps his word, eventually in societies own destruction with more family breakdowns and children raised in dysfunctional families…..and on and on it goes. All consequences of breaking the Law of Chastity!

    You ALL ought to support this political intervention no matter what the social consequences, or to any other Romney family member future campaign! (Although Nick here #2 has a point in that it doesn’t seem to be typical FP language so the letter itself is probably fake).

  • Joe Geisner

    #2 John, My understanding is that this issue is a state issue, nothing to do with the US Supreme Court. Their has been a move to rule that the proposed amendment itself is unconstitutional according to the California constitution. If the California courts find in favor of this petition then the proposition would be removed from the ballot. I pretty sure if the proposition wins it could be tied up in the California courts and could be found unconstitutional. As someone pointed out this is not a Republican or Democratic issue in California. This is extremists wanting to take away peoples rights. That is how it is looked by 49 or 50 % of Californians. My hope is that number grows.

    Since prop 22 my wife and I attend church very little. I have never had anyone from the church explain how two homosexuals getting married affects our marriage or our children’s sexuality. We have dozens of homosexual friends who are mostly couples, but a few single, and they have never had any influence when it comes to sex, let alone sexual orientation on our family. The church leadership should be ashamed of themselves for siding with such hateful people as those who want to take the rights away of committed couples.

  • Conservative member

    #22 hawkgrrrl

    ‘My objection is on the grounds that I don’t like to legislate morality’

    D’oh! Almost every law is based on morality: don’t kill, don’t rape, don’t abuse children, don’t abuse wives, don’t steal…and we should still have don’t cheat on your spouse and don’t have gay sex or you’ll go to jail.

    Almost all of them. Maybe taxation law can be considered not morally based since the money goes to politicians.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Someone please list the rights, in CA, that “marriage” would provide that “civil union” does not.

    That is a serious question. I don’t know enough about that specific question in CA.

  • Nick Literski

    #29:
    Nothing in this amendment would jail you or your partners; nothing in it would confiscate property from you; **nothing in it would force you to stop being an actively gay man**.

    While you are technically correct, Ray, I’m sure you can also see that such actions are incremental. There are substantial voices in the religious anti-gay movement who not only oppose marriage equality, but outline a much broader campaign, including recriminalization of homosexual activity (notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision on this issue) with strict, strong enforcement. One zealot, Paul Cameron, has gone so far as to repeatedly urge a “final solution” (yes, that’s his exact phrase, and I’m sure you recognize where else it was used!) to eliminate homosexuality from the populace. Paul Cameron happens to be in Moscow, Russia, this week, advising Russian religious leaders that they need to implement such things “before its too late,” and pointing to the United States as “evidence” of the perils of ignoring his advice.

    Satan’s plan says, “I won’t let you sin.” This says, “I won’t let you change the term used for what you do to make it appear to not be sin.”

    Ray, have you any serious doubt that religious leaders, including LDS religios leaders, oppose legal recognition of committed same-sex relationships, primarily because they theorize that marriage equality would result in more homosexual activity, which they define as sinful?

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Wow, this issue is really going to continue separating out people over the next few years, both within the Mormon church and in the broader society (including probably helping undo much of the mainstreaming the Mormons have accomplished; I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see the Mormons as the only ones left standing in the anti-gay rights arena, most everyone else having caved into the pressure of political correctness).

    I bet within a decade you’ll see things like a Mormon-owned wedding reception center getting burned down because they declined gay business and other persecution.

    Personally, I feel the gay rights movement should be actively resisted and am on board with the church on this. People are trying to put homosexuality on the same spectrum of political correctness as civil rights (100% justified) and the feminist movement (mixed results), but I argue it’s a different matter, a very strong temptation that is a moral issue.

    Things are changing fast, and I’m personally very alarmed. And from what I’ve seen, the Mormon bloggernacle seems to be much more an agent of promoting worldly political correctness on the gay issue than otherwise.

  • alice

    “Err, because they are (a) talking about the State of California’s Constitution here, not the United States Constitution,”

    California’s equal protection guarantees are modeled after the ones in the US Constitution. The principle is exactly the same and I think it’s nothing other than sad for the church to lose their perspective on that.

    You can see homosexuality as a sin. I don’t because I’ve known a lot of thoroughly decent and downright exceptional gay people and realize that what they do in their private lives has no bearing on mine. But that aside you can see homosexuality as a sin and still have a sense of perspective that recognizes that there is a world of sin out there in people’s personal and public lives. Fixating on one questionable one that separates the church from an awful lot of people in the country, brings great turmoil to LDS families that have gay members and causes significant numbers of saints to lose their testamonies is a painful and dysfunctional mistake that puts the church on the other side of the inspired Constitution.

  • Nick Literski

    #35:
    Someone please list the rights, in CA, that “marriage” would provide that “civil union” does not.

    Ray, the Supreme Court of California recognized that California’s civil union law provided “virtually all” (their words) of the legal rights of marraige to same-sex couples. However, there is also a right to equal treatment before the law, and our national jurisprudence has been rather emphatic against claims of “separate but equal.”

    I’d really invite you to read the California Supreme Court decision. Whether one agrees with the court or not, their reasoning is sound. As they eloquently point out, if the government labels a same-sex legal union differently than they do an opposite-sex legal union, same-sex couples are effectively relegated to second class status. That’s the point, after all! Those who don’t want same-sex unions to be called “marriage,” are arguing that same-sex unions are something less than marriage.

  • Nick Literski

    I bet within a decade you’ll see things like a Mormon-owned wedding reception center getting burned down because they declined gay business and other persecution.

    Yeah, those damn homosexuals are a violent lot, prone to arson–right, Chris? It’s so good to know that religious people never persecute homosexuals, especially by beatings, vandalism of property, or murder!!

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    I thought Conservative Member was a troll with the first comment. Now I’m sure.

  • http://www.mikeandjohn.com/pics/blog.asp John Hamer

    I bet within a decade you’ll see things like a Mormon-owned wedding reception center getting burned down because they declined gay business and other persecution.

    Wow, the irony. Here you are the persecutor, whose active bigotry currently abets real violence against a minority population, and yet you’ve tried to twist things round so that you appear to be persecuted — in your own mind you are a hypothetical target of persecution.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Nick, remember, I have said openly that, in our current situation, I support gay marriage.

    Let me say it this way:

    As much as I support gay marriage right now, demonizing the Church’s current position as **comparable to Satan’s plan** is:

    1) Incorrect – and obviously so, imho;
    2) Hyperbolic;
    3) Counter-productive (since it might alienate even those like me who support you otherwise);
    4) etc.

    We can discuss the appropriateness of this decision in our own minds and whether ornot we will support it actively, but Satan’s plan? Come on!

  • http://greenmormonarchitect.blogspot.com green mormon architect

    #36 – I agree that law is based on morality. The problem is that by the Church claiming to only be involved in moral issues, not political ones, they are really saying they have a right to be involved in EVERY political issue that exists, since they are all based on the morals of society.

    I just wish all the money that is going to be thrown away on this issue were put to good use, like lessening the economic inequality of the world so there are no poor among us…

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Oh, and Nick, I did read the decision. I just haven’t seen the specific **rights** that will be gained by marriage vs. civil union. I really would like a list of them.

    “Effectively relegate” HOW? If they simply mean “in the minds of the citizenry” but without actual, practical, systematic discrimination, I can’t accept that. I really am serious about wanting to know precisely what rights currently are being denied that are not held within civil unions – and remember, again, I am on your side minus the silly Satan’s plan verbiage.

  • Nick Literski

    Ray, I don’t demonize the theological position of the LDS church. They are entitled to believe in spaceships from Uranus if they wish, and I would defend their right to those beliefs. It is their attempt to legislatively impose the effects of their position on a diverse populace, that I condemn.

  • http://greenmormonarchitect.blogspot.com green mormon architect

    Oops – I meant to reference #34 on my last posting.

  • Latter-day Guy

    Conservative member, you are sick sick sick. I find it impressive that you are twisted enough to decry buttsex, but actively support genocide. Kudos to you. Pervert.

  • Nick Literski

    Ray, I’ve already indicated for you that the right to equal treatment before the law is at issue.

    “Effectively relegate” HOW? If they simply mean “in the minds of the citizenry” but without actual, practical, systematic discrimination, I can’t accept that.

    Suppose a law was passed which allowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in the U.S. “virtually all” of the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, but would not call them citizens. Suppose the law designated such persons as “recognized inhabitants.” Are we to conclude that there is no difference, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would thus receive equal treatment under the law, as is their right? Or would fair-minded persons conclude that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were being treated differently by the law, and that the difference in terminology actually implied a lesser status?

  • hawkgrrrl

    Nick – I would support any legislation to ensure equal rights and treatment for all. The sticking point is the concept of “right to equal treatment before the law.” Is “marriage” a term defined by the state or by religion? I would posit that the terms “civil union” and “marriage” should have equal rights before the law, but use different terminology. I would certainly defend your rights to equal treatment, but if the name of one’s union is the only distinction in so-called rights, then I think your analogy is actually okay with me. To be called “recognized inhabitants” with the exact same right to vote, same taxes, same laws applied, equal rights and obligations to military service, etc. What is the difference then? I realize this sticking point is important to you personally, but I don’t agree that the term “marriage” makes a jot of difference in how people should be treated or how their rights should be respected. The law is there to protect. The church’s position is that the term “marriage” is theological, not created for or by the state. I’m not trying to knock the hornet’s nest, but maybe the issue is that the legislation isn’t written right if the only way to afford equality to all is through the term “marriage.” What about all those people who don’t believe in marriage but are living as if they were married. Should they not have access to the same rights in some cases? Does common law marriage cover them adequately? Why not apply common law logic to same sex couples then?

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Nick, good heavens, Mormons right this instant are not treated equally in this country, but do you support our “right” to lobby our several governments to **force** the Christian majority to change what they call us and recognize us legally as “Christians” – to give us that designation by judicial decree because the lack of it relegates us to “second class status”? For a specific example, should the FLDS be designated “Christian” so that they will be “treated equally before the law”? You know as well as I do that the belief that they are not Christian and are destined for Hell played a direct role in the way they were treated.

    Based on your argument, the only way that everyone can be treated equally in the law is to legislate that there be NO differentiators in common terminology. I love that idea, but it’s completely unworkable in the political arena.

    Simple, serious question:

    Can you think of ANY situation where you would deny “marriage” to two adults?

  • Nick Literski

    Hawkgrrrl, I understand where you’re coming from, but if “marriage” is to be religiously defined, then the government must remove the title of “marriage” from all legal recognition of spousal relationships. Furthermore, several religious denominations are quite willing to include same-sex spousal relationships in their definition of “marriage,” so who’s religion gets to set this definition for society?

    Even if “marriage” is a word and concept which was originated by religious groups (a claim which is entirely unsupported, btw, other than by an intensely literalistic reading of Genesis), it has moved into the sphere of civil law, where the question is not one of what does any particular religion teach.

    The LDS church can hold its own theological definition of “marriage” all it likes, even to the extreme of disciplining its members for using the term “marriage” in reference to a legally-recognized marriage of same-sex partners (saying they could, not that they would). The LDS church does not, however, have any authority whatsoever to establish the definition of “marriage” under civil law.

  • alice

    Thanks to an amendment the UT constitution now says that marriage is limited to one man and one woman and no other arrangement can constitute a marriage. Do you think we’ll see a letter from the First Presidency encouraging members to petition the governor and law enforcement in UT to execute their sworn responsibility to enforce it?

  • Randy B.

    Damn it.

  • Latter-day Guy

    Both eloquent and economic, Randy.

  • Nick Literski

    #51:
    Mormons right this instant are not treated equally in this country, but do you support our “right” to lobby our several governments to **force** the Christian majority to change what they call us and recognize us legally as “Christians” – to give us that designation by judicial decree because the lack of it relegates us to “second class status”?

    You’ve just illustrated the important distintion here, Ray. I would not support an effort to “force the christian majority” to call members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “christians.” I would, however, support an effort to force the government to include members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the category of “christians,” where that category had any reflection in civil law.

    As I just said to Hawkgrrrl, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who live in California can call same-sex marriages “Martian Spaceships,” for all I care. The matter at hand isn’t what a religious group accepts as “marriage.” It’s about what civil law recognizes as “marriage,” in order to carry out its mandate to guarantee equal protection under the law.

    Can you think of ANY situation where you would deny “marriage” to two adults?

    Absolutely, Ray. For example, where one of those adults is mentally handicapped, and unable to give willing, informed consent to the marriage.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    “The LDS church does not, however, have any authority whatsoever to establish the definition of “marriage” under civil law.”

    You are right, Nick, it doesn’t have the right to **establish** that definition. It does, however, have the right to have its voice heard – every bit as much as any other organization in this country.

    I get your vehement opposition to the Church’s stance; I really do. Again, in general, I am on your side in this particular case. I just wish the action was reversed – to define “in the law” all recognized unions as “civil unions” and let religious organizations define “marriage” any way they choose. Frankly, within the Church and others who chose to uphold the orthodox definition, THAT would do more to strengthen and sanctify “marriage” than anything else possibly could.

  • Nick Literski

    I just wish the action was reversed – to define “in the law” all recognized unions as “civil unions” and let religious organizations define “marriage” any way they choose.

    I would have no difficulty at all with such a structure, Ray. What you suggest would ensure equal treatment under the law, which is the point here.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #53 – Enforce what?

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #56 – I agree, Nick. Would you grant that person the right to enter into a civil union?

  • Nick Literski

    #60:
    No, I wouldn’t, and for the same reason—lack of willing, informed consent.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Would you allow that person to engage in sexual conduct?

  • alice

    Enforce the law which prohibits polygamy within UT before meddling in CA’s laws.

  • Nick Literski

    #62:
    More to the point, I would hold the other person accountable for rape under criminal statutes.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    I agree with every one of your answers, Nick – but you just “condemned” someone to a life of celibacy with no chance for release (except self-administered) in this lifetime. I know there is the critical “consenting” aspect, but the definition of “ability to consent” is determined by someone else – **someone NOT of the community being restricted from sexual conduct and marriage**. Finally, many who might be restricted as unable to consent surely will object and claim they are able to give full consent. The fact that a line must be drawn automatically means that most lines are arbitrary to some degree.

    Iow, it is a disagreement over the particular application of the “legislative restriction” that is in question here – not the fact that some organization would try to influence a restriction and deny what otherwise might consider a “right”.

  • Nick Literski

    To the contrary, Ray, I did not condemn anyone to a life of celibacy, unless you refer to rapists who only have sexual relations with adults who are incapable of willing, informed consent. I really wasn’t interested in falling for the trap set up in #62. Since I didn’t play the game of saying that “persons incapable of willing, informed consent shouldn’t be allowed to have sex,” like you apparently hoped I would, your arguments in #65 really aren’t applicable.

  • http://ldsaliveinchrist.com Jared

    Marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Those who desire to live with members of their own sex in an intimate relationship need to come up with a term other than marriage to define what their doing.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    OK, Nick, so rephrase your #64. If you wouldn’t allow that person to engage in sexual conduct (at least, if you classified any sexual conduct with that person as rape), how are they not left to a life of celibacy? Phrased differently, what sexual conduct would you allow someone who is not capable of informed consent?

  • Nick Literski

    Those who desire to live with members of their own sex in an intimate relationship need to come up with a term other than marriage to define what their doing.

    Why is that, Jared? You’re making a declaration as if your statement speaks for itself, but surely there’s something to support your opinion? Surely you have something more to reason with, besides “because I think my deity said so”?

  • Nick Literski

    #68:
    Ray, I’m not in the business of “allowing” or “not allowing” sexual conduct for adults who are incapable of willing, informed consent. You’re trying to force me into that, for your own rhetorical purposes, but I’m just not willing to play that game. Besides, as you note, the consent issues raised by your hypothetical make it entirely inapplicable to the discussion at hand.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Nick, it’s not a rhetorical game, and it’s not inapplicable in the VERY narrow way I applied it – that ALL determinations of restrictions are arbitrary to some degree. That’s the only point I was making.

    Again, my wish is that the situation will play out such that the government re-classifies everything IT allows as civil union, leaving other organizations to define marriage as they will. I am willing to share more with you about my hopes as to the Church, but that will have to be in a separate, private e-mail. You have my address, so let’s let this drop out of courtesy to each other.

  • Nick Literski

    Just know, Ray, that even when we disagree, I have incredible respect for you!

  • hawkgrrrl

    What Ray (#58) & Nick (#52) are saying is what I would most prefer to the present legislation: limit state-sanctioned unions to the term “civil union” affording all equal rights and protections; allow religions to afford the term marriage to those whom they will. Of course, that will bring up more problem as only religions recognized by the state have the authority to perform marriages (of course, we could all jump over a broom). Basically, the middle ground is not as grounded as it would seem.

    This is the problem with trying to make the church membership an active body politic. Politics are never on our own terms (whatever those terms may be). They are always a compromise. The church isn’t writing the legislation, nor am I, nor is Ray, nor is Nick. That’s both the beauty and the farce of politics. Someone with an agenda writes a piece of legislation and tries to persuade everyone to agree to it. It’s never perfect. If the church has made its stand, individual members can support it or not. It’s no secret the PoF opposes same sex marriage. I don’t see this as the straw breaking the camel’s back. I would like to hope (and there’s reason to believe) that the church would support legislation that ensures equal treatment and rights for all regardless of sexual orientation or practices. The issue isn’t treatment, just making a stand on the term marriage.

    My chihuahua (#22) is shrinking. Or at least getting sleepy.

  • Latter-day Guy

    RE 73, Well the Gov’t could just require a brief civil ceremony of some sort (on par with getting something notarized: no muss, no fuss) as happens with LDS couples in some European countries. Then the happy, legal couple could do whatever they like at various churches.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    If the gay issue does progress enough to involve persecution for those against gay marriage, I don’t think it will be only or even mostly gays doing the persecution. I think many irreligious people without a spiritual cause that satisfies their soul will get behind gay rights as their substitute cause, whether they themselves are gay or not.

    I recently looked up California church membership statistics and found that it went down about 10,000 members between 2005 and 2007. Is it common for church membership to rise and fall there, or is that a new pattern?

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Check out how many moved to Utah. :)

  • Kaimi

    “I just don’t know how the church can say the Constitution is inspired and then go ballistic when the provision for extending the rights to the pursuit of happiness and equal protection to everyone comes up.”

    The pursuit of happiness is not, and never has been, a part of the Constitution. It’s a line from the Declaration of Independence, which does not establish any particular right or set of rights.

  • Kaimi

    “The analysis I read of the amendment a few months ago in our local paper said that it would be just as subject to overturn by the California Supreme Court as the law established by Prop 22. But I’m not a legal expert and wasn’t preparing for a quiz, so can’t sum up the reasons for it.”

    I believe this is incorrect as a legal matter.

    The Cal decision was based on the state constitution. If that is amended through constitutional amendment process, then the Cal decision will effectively have been reversed. The court will not be able to rule otherwise.

    In general, a court cannot find that part of the constitution is itself unconstitutional.

    I believe this is pretty uncontroversial, as a matter of law. I’d be very curious to see a legal argument the other way.

  • http://greenmormonarchitect.blogspot.com green mormon architect

    #75 With the cost of homes so high in Calif MANY members sold their home and moved to another state, being able to pay cash for a larger and nicer home in other states. One of the wards I lived in had been decimated from people leaving the state. I myself left the Bay Area in ’06 because it was not worth the cost of a home there.

  • Paula

    Kaimi, what I read was in the San Diego Union Tribune, so it must be true.:) Actually, I was fairly surprised to read that, since I thought that an amendment would be untouchable by the court, but that’s what that particular analysis claimed. But I don’t remember who it was that wrote the article.

    In our particular neck of the woods, high home prices haven’t deterred anyone from moving here– our more expensive wards have been growing quite a bit, but my guess would be that anyone who wasn’t in a very high income field would have moved elsewhere in the last few years.

  • http://mormonskeptic.blogspot.com Brother Zelph

    I live in SoCA so this issue is a hot button issue here. I do not believe that the amendment will pass. Most polls that I have seen or heard about suggest that many people have changed their position on gay marriage BECAUSE of the CA supreme court decision.

  • Cicero

    “It’s not just the issue of an inspired Constitution. It’s also the very basic Mormon teaching of a Council in Heaven, wherein the bad guy came up with a plan to enforce commandments upon all of humanity in order to bring them all back to the presence of deity.

    It never ceases to amaze me that leaders of a faith which holds this teaching insist upon engaging in the same tactic by attempting to legislatively enforce the tenets of their faith on a diverse citizenry.”

    There you go parroting Satan’s propaganda again Nick. Satan is always trying to claim that God’s commandments are evil restrictions on freedom. That any social order based on those commandments are violations of our agency, and that any laws that dare to promote a virtuous society or behavior is hypocritical.

    How is upholding the God given definition of marriage a restriction on anybody’s freedom?

    1: The government did not create marriage, God did- so I think it highly arrogant for government to claim it can decide what marriage is.

    2: Gays are free to form committed monogamous relationships if they want to regardless of what the government says about marriage. This is not about freedom, it’s about sodomy being socially unacceptable behavior You don’t like that so you want to use the societal approval of sexual relationships within marriage as a way to gain societal approval for your sexual aberrations and perversions.

    You gays can go do what you want, but please stop demanding that we redefine and rewrite the laws concerning marriage to include you. Leave us alone and we leave you alone. That’s what I call tolerance. Not this demand that we upend the entire social order.

    Might I point out that marriage has always been between man and woman- even in societies where sodomy and homosexual relations were acceptable- even approved of.

    Did the people of Thebes define marriage to include homosexual relations, or between those of the same gender? They did not. But surely you don’t accuse Thebes, the home of the Sacred Band (an elite military unit that required it’s members be pairs of gay lovers), surely you don’t accuse them of denying gay marriage because they’re homophobic or bigoted.

    There is this stunning arrogance among “progressives” to assume that tradition has no value and that modern morality is always oh so superior to older morality. There’s this assumption that somehow we are the first to ever debate these issues- and yet it is truer to say that there is nothing new under the sun. There is a reason that successful societies have restrictions on sexual behavior- and particularly in limiting marriage to male and female pairings.

  • Nick Literski

    There you go parroting Satan’s propaganda again Nick. Satan is always trying to claim that God’s commandments are evil restrictions on freedom. That any social order based on those commandments are violations of our agency, and that any laws that dare to promote a virtuous society or behavior is hypocritical.

    Nice try there, Cicero, with the old game of setting up a straw man to demonize those who disagree with you. Where did I ever say that “god’s commandments are evil restrictions on freedom?” Rather, I said that it is wrong for any one religion to impose its opinion of “god’s commandments” on a diverse, pluralistic society. Congratulations on believing that your particular religion has the right opinion on what your deity requires. You’ll have difficulty, of course, showing me what religion doesn’t have its members thinking the same thing. You’re all excited about imposing LDS-ism onto civil law, but what if some other faith gets to impose their ecclesiastical opinions onto civil law, when those opinions disagree with yours?

    How is upholding the God given definition of marriage a restriction on anybody’s freedom?

    Demonstrate to me that your deity ever gave a definition of marriage, and maybe there will be something to talk about on that question, Cicero.

    1: The government did not create marriage, God did- so I think it highly arrogant for government to claim it can decide what marriage is.

    What you really mean, of course, is that your particular religious tradition chooses to interpret the Genesis story of Adam and Eve as an indication that your deity invented marriage. Good luck with proving that as a historical truism. Why should your particular reading of Genesis govern all of society, including those who do not subscribe to your particular religious faith?

    2: Gays are free to form committed monogamous relationships if they want to regardless of what the government says about marriage. This is not about freedom, it’s about sodomy being socially unacceptable behavior You don’t like that so you want to use the societal approval of sexual relationships within marriage as a way to gain societal approval for your sexual aberrations and perversions.

    Really, Cicero? Did you go to your faith’s “prophet” to have him magically read my mind, or did you just come up with this on your own, through standard anti-gay propaganda?

    You gays can go do what you want, but please stop demanding that we redefine and rewrite the laws concerning marriage to include you. Leave us alone and we leave you alone. That’s what I call tolerance. Not this demand that we upend the entire social order.

    Cicero, do you ever actually think for yourself, or is all your thinking dictated by Focus on the Family, Exodus, and the LDS leaders who have been parrotting these groups verbatim for several years now? Funny that your “prophets” have to get their words from “uninspired” “apostate” christian millionaire clergy, rather than from the deity you claim to communicate with.

    Might I point out that marriage has always been between man and woman- even in societies where sodomy and homosexual relations were acceptable- even approved of.

    You certainly might point that out, Cicero, if you were able to point to anything other than religious dogma to make your point. Kindly point to legitimate historical and/or anthropological data that backs up your claim.

    So far, Cicero, all you seem able to do is to make religious proclamations. That’s all very nice for teaching Sunday school or giving sacrament meeting talks, but it’s simply not enough to demonstrate that a pluralistic society needs to match its civil laws with your very small minority faith.

  • alice

    “The government did not create marriage, God did- so I think it highly arrogant for government to claim it can decide what marriage is.”

    And yet God has modified the practice of marriage at various times. Meanwhile, the First Presidency is calling upon CA LDS to actively influence how government claims to decide what marriage is. hmmmmm Would that be arrogance?

  • alice

    “You gays can go do what you want, but please stop demanding that we redefine and rewrite the laws concerning marriage to include you.”

    Thought it was worth mentioning that I’m not gay. Never have been. Never will be. Nor is anyone in my immediate family. But that doesn’t stop me from opposing wrongheaded violations of the principles of civil liberties. Or seeing when the church is doing itself a disservice.

    Personally, I doubt most of the people who support gays’ rights are gay. In the case of CA, a recent Field poll says that 51% of Californians support their Supreme Court decision while only 42% oppose it. I’m sure 51% of Californians aren’t gay.

  • Conservative member

    Latter-day Guy #48,

    “Conservative member, you are sick sick sick. I find it impressive that you are twisted enough to decry buttsex, but actively support genocide. Kudos to you. Pervert”

    Ummmm, is it kudos to me, or am I a pervert?

    I wouldn’t say I decry ‘buttsex’ as you put it, just homosexuality. (Lets be polite here, OK?)

    And I am a bit ‘sick sick sick’. Sick of the mormon blogganacle’s constant defense of gay marriage and gay union when all the church does is condemn it as immorality; as breaking the law of chastity and nothing else.

    Genocide? well, just get rid of homosexual activities and we will all be better off! [Rant about being ok with killing people deleted.]

  • http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com Steven B

    “Genocide? well, just get rid of homosexual activities and we will all be better off! If it takes a final solution, well, we will have to all sacrifice and bare it.”

    Conservative member, perhaps you would kindly cast the first stone?

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    I bet within a decade you’ll see things like a Mormon-owned wedding reception center getting burned down because they declined gay business and other persecution.

    In Canada you see them fined and actively punished by the Government there (some interesting cases fining people and rendering punitive treatment against them for turning down business). No one needs to burn them down.

    The arson against Church buildings and Mormons mostly takes place in other areas, for other reasons.

    I just haven’t seen the specific **rights** that will be gained by marriage vs. civil union. I really would like a list of them. — that is actually one of the reasons that the law was struck down, what Volokh notes is a clear result of slippery slope application. The lack of a difference in rights justifies striking down laws that give things different names.

    I just wish the action was reversed – to define “in the law” all recognized unions as “civil unions” and let religious organizations define “marriage” any way they choose. the point of the alternate reading of the Eleventh Article of Faith that I posted …

    As to #66 — Nick, you do know that this is a hot topic in the disabled community? As it is as the foundation of the right for children who can not consent to sex to have abortions without parental knowledge or consent? Some interesting twists there, not so much a trap as another huge can of worms.

    Kaimi I believe this is pretty uncontroversial, as a matter of law. I’d be very curious to see a legal argument the other way. you are right as a general principle, the two approaches I’ve seen are to turn to readings of the federal constitution and to find that the constitution conflicts with itself and reject the alien portion (even if it is newer and the proper rule of construction would be to read the constitution to harmonize the new/alien portion as dominant).

    Fun stuff courts get into.

    Nick, that wasn’t fair to tell Cicero to look for historical examples and ignore Thebes. You should have, perhaps, referred to the Sioux Indians, or other anthropological sources. He has you on Greece, where family, love and child bearing were not seen as necessarily related topics. But regardless of what most people think, Greece was not the whole world (just the best, my Grandfather would say).

    That approach tends to just irritate the people you are talking with, persuading them that Orson Scott Card was right.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    One last comment. There is an excellent publication, The Conciliation Quarterly, ( http://conciliation4pub.mennonite.net/ ) and one of the more interesting articles I read was about a year long effort to do congregational conciliation projects on the issue of homosexual unions. The people involved, some of the most skilled and experienced in the world, failed to make any headway and wrote about how they had seriously come to doubt that anyone else could either.

    Those churches that have embraced pan-human marriage are the ones that are most likely to trend post-Christian and to have serious membership shrinkage, as well as serious problems outside of first world countries (much of the problem in the world wide Anglican communion is between those in the United States/England/Canada and the largest mass of their congregants in Africa where they see little of the benefits of pan-human marriages and are persecuted because of the actions of their brethren, whom they also think are in the wrong).

    The issue seems to be harder than it looks to either side. Both sides are somewhat emotionally invested, with what they feel to be good cause. Both feel their opponents ought to focus on something else, both feel oppressed by their opponents.

    And no, I don’t think that Greece was necessarily the best, and that there has been no progress since.

  • ECS

    Two points/questions. (1) I live in Massachusetts and the Church was conspicuously absent in organized efforts to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. Why is the Church now piping up in California?

    (2) Of all the pressing social issues of our day, the Church has designated same-sex marriage as worthy of a press-release and political activism? Not poverty? Environmental degredation? Universal health care? Again, why is the Church silent on all these issues, but chooses to do battle over same-sex marriage?

  • bbell

    I am proud of the LDS church for taking a stand on an important LOC issue. Shame on the bloggernaccle for overwhelmingly being out of harmony with the Bretheren on this issue.

  • http://bycommonconsent.com Brad Kramer

    Conservative Member,
    You should read about Nazi Germany’s courageous persecution and attempts to exterminate homosexuals. Sure they took things overboard a bit with the Jews, but at least they had the moral clarity to bare the sacrifices entailed by ridding their society of sin.

    Seriously, advocating a “final solution” for homosexuals is infinitely more immoral than any sin they might be guilty of. Gordon B. Hinckley is rolling at his grave at the notion that a self-styled Mormon is publicly calling for such anti-Christian violence. If you really think that exterminating homosexuals is a lesser sin than LoC violations, I’m ashamed you’re a member of Christ’s Church. And, I’m pretty sure Christ isn’t exactly bragging about it either.

  • http://bycommonconsent.com Brad Kramer

    Actually, I’m starting to suspect at this point that “Conservative Member” is just an Anti-Mormon troll trying to make conservative Mormons look like bigoted troglodytes. Born and raised in Utah, and I’ve never, never met someone like that.

  • http://shenpawarrior.blogspot.com AdamF

    Conservative Member = Friend (the troll from the post a few days ago).

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #94 Adam, “Conservative Member” is not “Friend”

    I was “Friend” and I am ashamed of myself. I started it almost as an intellectual exercise, but with a leaning toward mean-spiritedness, and then I went completely overboard. I was wrong to do it, and I admit that. If that damages any credibility I might have here in the future, then I deserve that.

    I am having some very significant doubts now myself about my faith, and have for a few years. I’ve been reading stuff here for a while and decided to play “devil’s advocate” and went way overboard. I was a troll in every sense of the word. I am not proud of it, in fact as I already said, I am ashamed. Nonetheless, I am coming clean now. I have posted honestly under my own full name for a couple of days now, and I am honestly, actively seeking truth and light. I do, however, have serious doubts that the Church can provide them to me any longer. As I said on Ray’s thread, however, I still have some nagging feelings that I am trying to resolve.

    I am not, however, Conservative Member, and Conservative Member is not or was not “Friend”.

    Regarding Brad’s comment in #93, I have never met anyone who seriously advocated the postion of Conservative Member (“final solution”), but I have met (outside of Utah) members who were as emphatic about white shirts as “Friend” was. Those members, even in my strong and active days, bugged me no end with their endless nitpicking and “trivia as truth” philosophy.

    However, I did know some very old southern women who were very long in the church that I am pretty sure would have been “ok” with Conservative Member’s “final solution.” I had the “pleasure” of home teaching them. They are now dead, and I both hope and suspect that if the sentiment expressed by Conservative Member exists anywhere in our Church that it is a dying sentiment.

    Again, I apologize for my bad behavior, and promise to do better. I expect people to treat me honestly, openly, and fairly, and I should do the same to them. I was completely wrong for “trolling” as Friend. I won’t do it again.

  • SteveS

    Although I’m a native Californian, I’m glad I don’t live in California right now. My faith and devotion to following the Brethren of the Church are too tenuous right now to be forced into a political battle such as this promises to be. What do you do when “morality” as defined by the Church does not match your own? Isn’t morality one of the great territories of religion?

    Andrew Callahan (a.k.a. Friend): Thanks for coming clean. I knew you were joking when you mentioned that the boy needed to read “The Miracle of Forgiveness” in 2-3 days. I guess playing devil’s advocate works best when all parties involved know what’s going on. Cheers.

  • Nick Literski

    #88:
    Nick, that wasn’t fair to tell Cicero to look for historical examples and ignore Thebes. You should have, perhaps, referred to the Sioux Indians, or other anthropological sources. He has you on Greece, where family, love and child bearing were not seen as necessarily related topics. But regardless of what most people think, Greece was not the whole world (just the best, my Grandfather would say).

    I wasn’t ignoring Cicero’s example of Thebes, Stephen. Rather, his example didn’t establish his blanket claim that marriage has “always been” between one man and one woman (okay, he said “a” man and “a” woman). One society, from one particular point in time, does not establish what has “always been.”

    Those churches that have embraced pan-human marriage are the ones that are most likely to trend post-Christian and to have serious membership shrinkage, as well as serious problems outside of first world countries

    First, who’s talking about “pan-human” marriage, Stephen? Such a term implies marriage between any number of humans without any restrictions whatsoever.

    Second, we’re not talking about churches embracing marriage equality. No matter what is done legally, there will be religious bodies who refuse to accept it, just as there are a handful of religious bodies who shun marriage altogether (talk about serious shrinkage problems!).

    More importantly, however, are you describing a truly causal relationship, or a mere correlation? You seem to suggest that if a church accepts marriage equality, it will become “post-christian,” have “serious shrinkage,” and have trouble in primitive backwater nations where social disapproval is expressed via molotav cocktails and genocide. You may be right, but you give no examples (please, don’t point to ancient Thebes–grin!). Even if you did, of course, it would be difficult to prove the causation you imply. It may also simply be the case that churches which are already “less traditionally christian” are more open to accepting marriage equality.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #96 What do you do when “morality” as defined by the Church does not match your own? Isn’t morality one of the great territories of religion?

    I think this is a tough issue. I wasn’t a member of the church prior to 1978, but I can certainly see at least some parallels (even if not a perfect parallel) between this issue and the treatment of blacks generally in the church. The church leaders seemed for a long time to only be comfortable with blacks as somehow something other than what they themselves were. Perhaps that is the parallel that I see the most, that somehow black people weren’t equivalent to white people in the church, just as somehow homosexual marriage isn’t equivalent to heterosexual marriage.

    I cannot understand how allowing a black man to pass the sacrament lessens or in any way damages a white man’s priesthood. Similarly, I can’t see how a gay couple’s marriage lessens or in any way effects my own marriage.

    I know many members who were very uncomfortable with the blacks and the priesthood issue, and this looks like history repeating itself to me. The majority appealing to “tradition” to limit the minority’s desire to be treated equally.

  • Nick Literski

    (1) I live in Massachusetts and the Church was conspicuously absent in organized efforts to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. Why is the Church now piping up in California?

    We could go further with the question, noting that the LDS church was “conspicuously absent” with regard to the legal recognition of marriage equality in several nations where there are LDS members, including Canada, which isn’t particularly distant.

    While it’s impossible to know the answer to your question for certain, I have some theories. Remember who the governor of Massachussetts was at the time that marriage equality was recognized. Amazingly, Mr. Romney (a non-lawyer) just happened to run across an eighty year old law on the books, that could be used to prevent residents of other states from being married in Massachussetts, if their home state wouldn’t legally recognize the marriage. Who helped him come up with that then-obscure maneuver is unknown, but the end result is that marriage equality was thus contained. There is also a very slim chance that LDS leaders already knew of Romney’s presidential ambitions, and chose not to take actions that might hamper the chance of an LDS POTUS. An LDS member who used to be under Romney as stake president alleges that Romney told her he only supported Roe v. Wade during his senate campaign, because “the Brethren” told him he had to in order to win in that state.

    California is largely considered a bellweather state, and it does not share the Massachussetts restriction. Thus the political ramifications may be greater, including for Utah. While Utah isn’t the theocracy some seem to think it is, there’s little doubt that LDS leaders have a keen interest in influencing Utah’s public policy, be it gambling, alcohol, attempts to hold protests on private property, etc.

    Of course, it may also go back to Hinckley’s “deal” with the late Jerry Falwell, whereby the LDS church hopped into bed with the “apostate” evangelicals to target California on this issue.

    (2) Of all the pressing social issues of our day, the Church has designated same-sex marriage as worthy of a press-release and political activism? Not poverty? Environmental degredation? Universal health care? Again, why is the Church silent on all these issues, but chooses to do battle over same-sex marriage?

    The LDS church isn’t just “silent” on these issues. On the issue of abortion, for example, the LDS church has an official public statement, to the effect that it takes no position on legislation related to the subject. I agree that with so many other important issues facing society, it’s odd that the LDS church chooses to spend millions of dollars, along with pressuring its members to donate cash and free labor, in order to fight marriage equality in California. My own impression is that they’ve simply chosen an issue where they believe they can make themselves more acceptable to evangelical christians, thus possibly enhancing missionary efforts. My impression is influenced by the fact that I’m quite familiar with the evangelical anti-gay movement, and I’ve seen that the LDS church is following that movemement very closely, even to the point of using verbatim language from that movement. It seems to be working somewhat, since LDS members have actually begun to take prominent leadership roles in these groups. The current president and executive director of NARTH, for example, are both LDS members. NARTH has provided the basis for much of Evergreen, the LDS “pray away the gay” group.

  • http://shenpawarrior.blogspot.com AdamF

    Andrew C. (#95) – That’s okay brother! Thanks for “coming out” (no pun intended, but it fit on this post, lol). I am glad you are here… I think this is a good place to express doubts and explore one’s beliefs. Hopefully you feel welcome.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Nick #99 – “My own impression is that they’ve simply chosen an issue where they believe they can make themselves more acceptable to evangelical christians, thus possibly enhancing missionary efforts.” This is my impression also, and it’s what I dislike about it: cannon fodder for Jesus. I could see Jerry Fallwell goading us into action vs. us determining the right course. Done with somewhat good intentions, but politics makes for strange bedfellows as the saying goes. The enemy (evangelicals) of my enemy (anything that redefines the institute of marriage or implies moral equivalence to those breaking the law of chastity) is my friend (??). You can’t sacrifice one mission of the church (perfect the saints) for another (proclaim the gospel).

    Having said that, though, I’m sorry Nick, but I do not feel that same sex marriage should be recognized as marriage by the church or considered equal to marriage between man and woman. I see it as being equal to common law marriage between man and woman, and I would certainly allow all those unions equal treatment and protection under the law. Just my two cents worth. I completely understand if that rubs the wrong way.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org John Dehlin

    ECS — Others may have already said this, but here’s my take on why:

    1) I’ve read that 1/8th of all marriages that occur in the U.S. take place in California.
    2) California allows non-residents to marry there.

    This is why they say, “As goes California, so goes the nation.” My guess is that the church sees California as its “last stand” on this issue politically in the U.S.

    Also since Mitt Romney is from MA, I wonder if part of the church’s decision to not pursue MA had a bit to do w/ politics, and the run-up to the election? Also, MA requires state residency to marry there. So it has less of a spillover effect.

  • adcama

    I’m trying to come to grips with what this means for a non-gay, non-California member of the church who completely disagrees with the church on this. If this really is history repeating itself (i.e. blacks & the priesthood), seems to me that there may be a moral obligation to speak up in opposition to the church’s opposition…..especially since this is both a political and moral issue. But how to go about that and what is appropriate is tricky…..

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    just as there are a handful of religious bodies who shun marriage altogether (talk about serious shrinkage problems!).

    That’s why genuine Shaker furniture is now a collectible.

    More importantly, however, are you describing a truly causal relationship, or a mere correlation?

    I don’t know the answer to that. Which is why I’m not speaking with forcefulness of any kind on the subject.

    You seem to suggest that if a church accepts marriage equality, it will become “post-christian,” have “serious shrinkage,” and have trouble in primitive backwater nations where social disapproval is expressed via molotav cocktails and genocide.

    The Anglican communion is having those problems. Spong+ and the rest are definitely a post-christian movement. Overall it has serious shrinkage. In Africa it has serious trouble as a result of what goes on in the United States. But, would they have the shrinkage anyway? How much of the trouble in Africa is from female clergy vs. gay clergy vs. gay marriage? I don’t know. Though I will note that the local federal judge I admire the most attends a gay friendly church in Dallas.

    If I had answers, I’d be sharing them. What I have are questions.

    Today’s lesson in our High Priests group featured this talk:

    A Matter of a Few Degrees

    with this section that came to mind:

    When he had the Lord’s help, Saul was a magnificent king. He united Israel and defeated the Ammonites, who had invaded their land.9 Soon a much greater problem faced him—the Philistines, who had a terrible army with chariots and horsemen “and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude.”10 The Israelites were so terrified of the Philistines that they hid “themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks.”11

    The young king needed help. The prophet Samuel sent word for him to wait and that he, the prophet, would come and offer sacrifice and seek counsel from the Lord. Saul waited seven days, and still the prophet Samuel had not arrived. Finally, Saul felt he could wait no longer. He gathered the people together and did something he had no priesthood authority to do—he offered the sacrifice himself.

    When Samuel arrived, he was brokenhearted. “Thou hast done foolishly,” he said. If only the new king had endured a little longer and not deviated from the course of the Lord, if only he had followed the revealed order of the priesthood, the Lord would have established his kingdom forever. “But now,” Samuel said, “thy kingdom shall not continue.”12

    I admit I’d be a lot happier if either (a) homosexuals could be easily cured (regardless of how that is defined) or if (b) no homosexuals had switched orientation later in life and if (c) there were not the people with sexual orientation that was not oriented towards living humans (which is what the pan-human reference was about).

    I don’t have answers, only questions and concerns.

    Within the Church, no matter what it does, there will be people who are really upset. Neutrality offended a number of people. Taking positions will as well, regardless of what position we take. Blacks and the priesthood resulted in almost universal joy. At present, gay marriage within the Church probably would not (that is purely my guess, I could well be wrong).

    Though are gay unions something that we should oppose completely? Given what President Hinkley said, how we would have to have civil unions, I don’t think so, but that could have been just a passing thought, without meaning.

    I wish I knew.

  • academic lesbian

    I’m an outsider (mostly lurking, just documenting these & similar such conversations for posterity & progeny), but in answer to ECS, whatever reason your church decided not to pour millions into MA when it came up, I don’t believe it can be quite right that it has to do with the in-state vs. out-of-state restriction. The LDS also poured gobs of money into fighting similar such possibilities for equality in Hawaii and Alaska, and as I remember– though I confess my memory could be be wrong about this last point–at least Hawaii has a similar in-state restriction as does MA. Might it not simply have to do with having LDS strongholds in certain states and not others? (i.e. the money amongst members on which to draw to pour into the fight against equality?)
    Two other points (small for this discussion, but not for those of us whose lives this business actually affects). Ray and several others have wondered what practical difference having title to the word “marriage” under the law makes, as opposed to having title under the law only to the phrase “civil union” or “domestic partnership”. Without disputing any of the things Nick has said about words themselves making a difference in standing –about which he is quite right– there is one possible an enormous practical difference this could make. When, someday, Congress finally decides to rid itself and this country of the plague of DOMA, the more than 1100 rights and responsibilities that attach at a Federal level to all and only those who have access to the legal title of “marriage” will become accessible to those who are recognized as married by the laws of their state. If California goes in the direction of equality, then gay and lesbian residents of California will have at least the possibility, eventually, of achieving equality under Federal law as well. If the LDS and its allies succeed, that possibility will remain closed off to gay and lesbian residents of California.
    Finally, there has been talk in this thread, as sometimes happens when this topic comes up, of “churches” losing membership to the point even of dissolution if they recognize gay and lesbian members as married. My synagogue does now and long has recognized my spouse and I as married rather than as attempting some second-best simulacrum thereof (as well as other gay and lesbian couples) and I’m quite sure we haven’t yet lost a single member as a result. I believe this is generally true in Jewish communities: it’s not like people are fleeing on mass to Hasidic communities in the face of women rabbis and married same-sex couples. But then, we’re not a prosyltizing bunch.

  • alice

    #98 Andrew — I can’t quote it in it’s entirety but I couldn’t agree with you more! Meanwhile, I get a very sick feeling in my stomach when it think of the church allowing the kind of ill informed antipathy that they do (they do!) now and then asking people to do a 180˚ reverse in another generation.

    And expanding on #102, I have read that between MA & CA the US will now have more opportunity for same sex marriages than all the countries in the world that presently permit it. The provision for out of state same sex marriages also has much more direct implication for UT and other mountain states. Even though the marriages won’t be recognized, they do present a platform for someone to sue for recognition. And someone will because the Constitutional question is burning.

    PS to Andrew — I like you much better as Andrew and I admire your defense of Conservative member’s reputation. Extremely decent of you!

  • Paula

    #22, the problem with just voting the way that you think Jesus would have you vote is that it’s really not just voting. Last time members who were perceived as having the money to spend were approached, multiple times, for donations. We had lessons in RS about how to do phone banking. We were handed yard signs as we left Sacrament Meeting. And one day, they even dismissed us all after SM to go out and walk precincts, and handed out precinct lists to people as they left. So, much of church was hijacked by this issue, and you either had to keep quiet or be told that Christ wanted you to be for Prop 22. (This was from my Stake President, in RS, when someone questioned it.) For several years after that, the bishoprics and RS presidencies in our stake were also people who had been very prominent in their support of Prop 22. It’s not just a private thing. While there were no church actions against folks, that I know of, it was very clear that if you weren’t a supporter of Prop 22, you were persona non grata around our SP.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    # 105 academic lesbian — thank you for commenting.

    In Texas, synagogues really are shrinking. Wichita Falls went from three synagogues and a Jewish mayor to one synagogue that is only open part time in the summers. When I moved to Plano, a big part of our choice of location was to be near Jewish friends of ours who had moved down.

    In attending the bar and bat mitzvahs of their son and daughter (and hosting the grandmother at our house for the second one that was held — you can keep a lot of kosher with disposables) I was struck by how their congregation here had only 4-5 families who attended regularly, the rest being people in attendance for bar and bat mitzvahs. Huge day care operation, almost as if the religious meetings were an incidental use of the building.

    Nationwide Reform synagogues are in decline, which is sad to see. I’m glad that isn’t true where you are. The same is true of the Anglican Communion in the United States.

    I’ve a post pending on theological justifications for gay marriage from within an LDS framework. If it did not have an emotional impact on gays, I wouldn’t care about the issue. It obviously does, which is why there is concern.

    I can think of gay couples I’d like to have as members of my ward, which is currently unlikely.

    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed people’s comments.

  • ECS

    Thanks, John – and others – for addressing my questions. The way I see it, same-sex marriage is either the abomination the Church claims it is and thus must be fought on every front (cue Winston Churchill’s fight on the beaches speech here), or it’s not.

    Is the Church really so transparently pragmatic to pick and choose its battles against this apolcalyptic threat to hetero marriage based on political expediency?

    Losing battle, it may be, but trotting out the Mormon battalion whenever it’s most convenient is, at best, a disappointing publicity stunt and it belies the Church’s self-described stalwart, steadfast and immovable position against same-sex marriage.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Just to clarify, I should have typed “anti-gay marriage,” not “anti-gay rights,” which is too broad a term. I even personally actually lean somewhat in favor of civil-union-type rights for gay couples, though I’m not 100% sure (you know, that old slippery slope concern).

    At the same time, I’m really concerned about anything that seems to publicly legitimize, encourage, and even celebrate the gay movement, including pop culture. And yet at the same time I’ve very much enjoyed several books by the gay memoirists David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs. (I’ll include that in the “Double Talk” ward newsletter.)

    There’s a gay Mormon fiction writer named Johnny Townsend whose work I’ve found compelling, including his gay-themed stuff. One unpublished story he wrote, which is probably too graphic and perverse to ever get published anywhere and is titled “The Ass Man Cometh,” amazes me with how a gay writer can bring to light such frank doubts about the gay lifestyle and second thoughts about not sticking to the Mormon template. If I ever personally know a person who is struggling with same-gender issues, I will share this story with them (I won’t bother sharing it with people who aren’t struggling anymore because they’ve chosen to embrace the gay movement, of which I know a few…).

    Wow, that “Friend” thing was well done, really a lot of fun. If I were still doing The Sugar Beet, I would definitely invite you as a regular columnist.

  • alice

    Here’s a question that’s interesting to me.

    If the CA Supreme Court has ordered same sex marriages as lawful under the CA constitution and they have already been performed and have legal standing, what happens, then, if an amendment is passed to the CA constitution and takes effect some time after Nov? If marriages were legal between June and the time the prospective new amendment goes into effect can they be rendered illegal or non-effective under a subsequent act?

    I understand that there were same sex marriages performed back in 2000 (or whenever) but they were rendered moot by a ruling that disallowed the premise under which they were conducted. A new amendment can modify the legal rationale but can it do it retroactively? And what happens to the marriages lawfully established in the interim period?

    Will someone who has their personal life tampered with by the LDS have grounds to sue the church itself for interfering now that this letter is in evidence?

    I certainly don’t know. I don’t know the law. But I think this could be significant murky ground that will require a whole spate of lawsuits and challenges to clear up.

  • academic lesbian

    Stephen M,
    Do you have statistics (provided by non-right-wing sources) that show that Nationwide Reform synagogues are in decline? It’s certainly possible, but I haven’t seen any stats showing thus, whereas the ones about the Anglican church are widely publicized, for obvious political reasons. Also, the way this ‘argument’ (such as it is) usually goes, the contention typically proferred is that whereas liberal Christian denominations are in decline in membership numbers, right-wing Christian churches are growing by leaps and bounds (the latter is certainly a rather strong exaggeration, as I’m sure you know. For heaven’s sake, even I have seen the hand-wringing about the lack of enormous growth in LDS and there’s practically mandatory prosyltizing in that case). The implication–sometimes explicitly drawn, sometimes not– is supposed to be that former members of liberal congregations are leaving for the right-wing ones. Whether or not that is true in Christian communities (I have no idea) it is certainly not true in Jewish communities; that was the point behind my glib remark about people not leaving Reform synagogues to go become Hasids in droves.
    As for the decline in Reform synagogues in Texas: well, do you know from whence the decline? Are they, perhaps, just moving elsewhere? (diminishing Jewish population overall, fleeing from Texas generally or parts thereof) Or just ceasing regular attendance? If a small enough is community to begin with, one or two annoying families (or people) can easily make one stop attending on a regular basis. Do you have any reason at all to suppose that those who have left the Reform communities (or just stopped attending) have moved on to more right-wing religious venues?

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    academic lesbian
    Jun 22nd, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Stephen M,
    Do you have statistics (provided by non-right-wing sources) that show that Nationwide Reform synagogues are in decline?

    Most of what I have are Jewish friends agonizing over the fact. But then, Jewish identity nationwide seems to be in the decline. It may well be that those who are hand wringing are wrong (I had a good friend comment that in her synagogue, they had to have separate classes for the atheists who wanted to mitzvah, and how that seemed a part of the decline, what do I know). I shouldn’t treat them differently from any other source, rather than just assume they are credible because they are educated and Jewish.

    I don’t have a lot of specific data, which is why previously in discussion this with Nick I said:

    More importantly, however, are you describing a truly causal relationship, or a mere correlation?

    I don’t know the answer to that. Which is why I’m not speaking with forcefulness of any kind on the subject.

    The causation vs. correlation issue is very important and I don’t have the data to answer that question.

    As for the question, specific to Jewish communities Do you have any reason at all to suppose that those who have left the Reform communities (or just stopped attending) have moved on to more right-wing religious venues? all I know is the handwringing and the comments about decline. You are right, other than hearing about Hasidic communities in New York, and friends who have had relatives join them, I don’t have any reason to believe that the lost members are running off to join the Hasidim. Or even the Orthodox.

    Lots of stuff I don’t know. An awful lot of things I don’t know.

  • Jeff Spector

    The decline of the WW Jewish population is a fairly well known fact. ( http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/jewpopdrops.htm ). It occurs for two simple reasons: 1) declining birth rate and 2) intermarriage. Except for the most religiously observant Jews, who tend to have families in numbers like LDS and catholics, the more liberalized sects tend to have less kids. intermarriage, where children are not raised Jewish (I have 5, myself in that situation) also is a major contributor.

    Also, 80 of the Jewish population resides in the US and Israel. ( http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/jewpop.html )

    Does that work for you AL?

  • Jeff Spector

    Acrimonious discussion as usual. What I don’t understand is why anyone would be surprised that the church would take such a position and fight for passage of such an amendment. In light of it’s doctrine, it has no choice. Unfortunately, this moral issue is being played out as a political process. So, those that lament the Church’s involvement in it can’t understand the rock and a hard place the church is in.

    In reality, there should be, as some have suggested a complete divorce between the civil union contract (for all people) and a marriage sacrament, sanctioned and recognized by a Church. in fact, in some countries, a civil marriage must be performed before a Temple marriage.

    If the US government would leave churches to decide which marriages it will or won’t recognize, there would be no problem. however, while there is a supposed separation of Church and State, the state wants Churches to leave it alone, but won’t do likewise.

    Also, for Nick, way up in number 2. the reason to read it next week, the 29th, is purely logistical. if the letter was written and mailed on Friday, it would take a week to make sure it arrived at every Bishop/Branch President’s home to read it the same Sunday. I doubt whether anyone at Church HQ knew that the 29th was anything other than a Sunday. I didn’t and I doubt that most people do.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #103 adcama wrote: “If this really is history repeating itself (i.e. blacks & the priesthood), seems to me that there may be a moral obligation to speak up in opposition to the church’s opposition…..especially since this is both a political and moral issue. But how to go about that and what is appropriate is tricky…..”

    Who among us would write a letter to the First Presidency and suggest to them that they are wrong in doing this? Would doing such be foolhardy or faithful, or something else?

    Who among us would write an Open Letter to the First Presidency and suggest to them that they are wrong in doing this and publish that Open Letter for all to read?

    Going the other direction, I have been told by members that they had family memnber leave the church in 1978 when the Priesthood was extended to blacks. I think Jeff #115 is correct when he says the church is between a rock and a hard place.

    I think there may be some who will leave the church because of this. I think there could be some who would leave the church if they didn’t do this.

    This issue is divisive, no doubt. And, I don’t have a broad understanding of the feelings of the membership, but again, what frightens me about this situation is the seeming parallel between this and the issue with blacks and the temple/priesthood.

  • Shawn Larsen

    I, too, cannot believe anyone is surprised by this memo. Regardless of my feelings about the issue of SSM, I just dread the possibility of being assigned neighborhoods to canvas again or phone numbers to cold call. The problem with the Prop. 22 uproar was that it overtook many aspects of Sunday worship — announcements were given, talks focused on the subject and lessons were dedicated to it. Quite frankly, I was tired of hearing about the issue. Church is generally my refuge from political back-and-forth, but that certainly was not the case then, and it looks to reverting back to that state of affairs soon.

  • Latter-day Guy

    Re 86, CM,

    I don’t know if you’ve been banned yet, but just in case you’re still reading, I’ll respond.

    1) Okay, the “kudos” part was sarcasm. It was an ironic echo of your comments regarding Paul Cameron.

    2) I understand that you might prefer to use a different terminology regarding sodomy. I respect that. However, your request for politeness rings a little hollow in the face of your evident support of a “final solution” for homosexuals.

    3) Yes, I agree with the Church’s position regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. That does not mean that any LDS person is absolved of the responsibility to be kind, loving and charitable. Your comments characterizing murder as a “sacrifice” we will just have to “bare” [sic]when it comes to homosexuals are in clear opposition to the standards of the Church and basic humanity.

    4) How far would you like to apply your “final solution”? Are you advocating death for anyone that breaks the law of chastity? All those who don’t hold temple recommends? I mean, it would simplify church discipline proceedings: break a commandment and get shot.

    5) I think that insofar as your attitudes (as observed here) are out of sync with Mormon teachings, you might consider another faith community with whom you align more closely. I would suggest that the Westboro Baptist Church might fill that need for you. Clearly, your agreement in praxis is far more substantial than any disagreements you might have regarding doctrine.

  • alice

    Why is the church between a rock and a hard place? When inspiration comes, they are free to make sea changes and HAVE.

    As for the church’s stand on homosexuality, it’s roots in doctrine are no more absolute than Brigham Young’s doctrines on race. Jesus’ ministry was one of teaching. There is only one example I can think of that involved direct confrontation and that was not throwing homosexuals but money changers out of the temple. So if the church adopts opposition to homosexuality or, conversely, pins its whole moral outlook on straight marriages, that’s a *choice* that can be redefined and changed.

    Gay women can and do bring spirit children into this world. Gay men can and do bring spirit children into this world and also give homes and stability to children who are in need of them.

    There is NO WAY that I can see in which this situation is more intractable than race was prior to ’78. And Bruce McConkie who authored the theory by which the contemporary church excluded Blacks had this to say in 1978:

    “It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.[4]”

    I fully expect this to happen in my lifetime and I see no point in making the transition to come any more difficult by shoring up embarrassments now.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #119, “As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them”

    Perhaps I’m just being flippant now (I’m getting tired), but it seems to me that this could be what is happening right now. we are forgetting about the particles of darkness of our past, and are therefore possibly plunging headlong into a similar abyss.

  • alice

    Precisely. I was around to see this all play out before.

  • academic lesbian

    Stephen M- I understand. Anecdata is always just that (mine too).
    Spector: my goodness. First, the article to which you first link suggests two possible explanations of such decline as there is/might be in overall Jewish U.S. population: (1) people moving to Israel and (obliquely) & (2) birthrate (I gather that’s what the author means by ‘natural attrition’). Second, according to that first link (whose reliability I cannot judge without more time than I have now) there is an increase in the Jewish population of Israel. Third, you might note that even if everything you say is true, and the best explanation of declining overall Jewish populations are birthrate and intermarriage there is no reason, none, not one, to suppose in any of that that it has anything remotely to do with some Jewish communities recognizing the marriages of their gay and lesbian members, or women rabbis, or any of the typically proferred marks of a ‘liberal’ religious community.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    any of the typically proffered marks of a ‘liberal’ religious community. other than reduced birthrates and reduced inter-generational retention that tend to mark most of the Christian ones.

    Which is why some people are concerned. I would dearly like to see a liberal religious community that was showing significant growth. I’m not happy with the cultural baggage that has caused the conservative churches to be swallowed up in the Republican party (and I’m not a big fan of trading “tax and spend” for “tax-cut and spend more”).

    I’m glad to see how my particular community is involved in this such as children’s medical centers for the uninsured and poor, general community outreach programs and similar things. But I would like to see the Church as a place where Nick and his partner would feel welcome and nourished, a home he could return to.

  • http://greenmormonarchitect.blogspot.com green mormon architect

    I’m surprised no one has yet brought up parallels between this issue and the ERA. To me they are, in essence, the same – providing equal rights for individuals. The campaign against SSM is a closer fit with the campaign against the ERA than with blacks and the priesthood. I am too young to remember the events, but from what I have read, outspoken opponents against the Church stance on the ERA were disciplined.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #124 Point well taken. Perhaps the Blacks and the Priesthood gets more notice here in this instance because it went on for longer, and we just had a somewhat public 30-year remembrance of the 1978 change.

    But, I think parallels to the ERA are also obvious.

  • Conservative member

    Steven B #87

    “Conservative member, perhaps you would kindly cast the first stone?”

    Sure, no problems with that since I’ve never engaged in sins of homosexuality. (And those who were going to stone the adulteress were obviously all adulterers, as was the entire generation there during Jesus’s time on earth) [Ridiculous scriptural conclusion left intact.]

  • Conservative Member

    #93 Brad Kramer

    No, not a troll. Just sick of the mormon bloggs defending homosexuals and opening going against the brethren on this issue. Sure I’m rude about it, or my comments are a bit out of line. If you think so, them check out #91

  • Jeff Spector

    AL,

    You correctly observe that Jews continue to move to Israel but mostly come from places outside the US. And as you know, liberals in general tend to have less children than religiously conservative folks. That just doesn’t apply to Jews.

    I never compared it to the gay issue.

  • academic lesbian

    Spector: look up thread. The whole business about the size of varying Jewish communities on this thread got started because someone invoked the usual conservative trope about the liberalization of religious communities frightening away people, where liberalization here stood in for “recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples as such”. That’s how the “gay issue” as you put it, entered here.
    And I think you must mean “politically conservative religious folks”, rather than “religiously conservative folks”. The stats I’ve seen on child-rearing rates have to do with political alliances (in the first instance). Political liberals may be religiously conservative– there are any number of conservative synagagues (e.g. Cambridge, MA) that would fit that description.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    I am coming late to the last half of this thread. It is not my post, but I personally will delete any more statements even alluding to an embrace of killing others. Our individual views on this topic may vary, but that is a line that I will not allow to be crossed – troll (which I still believe) or not.

  • Conservative Member

    #94 AdamF

    “Conservative Member = Friend ” Nop, way off. Never have being nor never will be ‘Friend’ !!!!

    “with Conservative Member’s “final solution.” ” Actually, #48 Latter-Day Guy brought up genocide. My comment of #32 wasn’t along those lines. [Rant about being ok with killing people deleted.]

    #118 Latter-Day Guy: [Stupid analogy of killing people and Mormon theology deleted.] Sure, today we only excommunicate people (adulterers and homosexuals etc) but according the McConkie, when the church become the all powerful world government in the millenium they won’t just be excommunicating but [Stupid analogy of killing people and Mormon theology deleted.] (something that the good old USofA is quite good at and does regularly, heck even Romney wanted to bring it back to MA!)

    And John Dehlin is back, wow. But was this letter authentic? was it read out in church as its written here because the language used makes one wonder if its legit?

  • http://bycommonconsent.com Brad Kramer

    Conservative Member,
    Your comments are not out of line for the fact that they express a conviction that homosexuality is sinful. You’ll notice that no one here has accused bbell of being manifestly un-Christian or a wannabe Nazi. And while bbell and I disagree on many things, I think we stand together in opposing the genocide of homosexuals. Your comments are out of line because they evince murderous intent. It might be heretical to go against the brethren on this or that social/political issue. It is positively blasphemous — evil of truly Satanic proportions — to advocate a “final solution” do deal with the this or any sin.

  • hawkgrrrl

    CM – “defending homosexuals and opening going against the brethren on this issue” Remember: hate the sin, but love the sinner. No one who calls him/herself a Christian is justified in treating others with anything but charity, compassion, and a true desire to help people come to Christ. Right?

  • academic lesbian

    leave conservative members comments. (and those in response, and those who think s/he a troll). let the truth be preserved. Here too let it not be forgotten.

  • http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com Steven B

    Sure, no problems with that since I’ve never engaged in sins of homosexuality.

    Great!, then you can be judge and send all the wicked LDS homos to the gas chambers.

    Seriously, if you are sick of discussions dealing with same-sex marriage, why are you here?

  • Conservative Member

    Brad, again #48 brought up genocide, I just played along. But my original comment #32 wasn’t along those lines.

    But continuing with this doesn’t Ray live in Utah and support the death penalty as almost all Utahn’s LDS do? [Incorrect and stereotypical assumption not deleted but left in to illustrate stupidity of argument.] Well if its so, (and I don’t know if it is) it would be a wee bit hypocrital since only the USA has a death penalty in the western world (I think your pals with Saudi Arabia/China only in death penalty states!) And if homosexuality is a bad and serious sin, just as bad as adultery, why not [Stupid legal analogy allowing killing people deleted]? the jews (victims of that final solution) would mostly agree based on the old testament, so would the evangelical, and southern baptists, and probably most conversative LDS…….

    But seriously, Sunday has now passed, so was it or is this letter legit? was it read out as the newflash claims? I still have doubts as the legitimacy of the letter.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #136 – This comment (and the one way back in #34) completely belies the facade you have been projecting.

    #134 – academic lesbian, I will respect that by only emptying the trash.

  • Conservative Member

    Steven B,

    No, not the gas chamber, [Stupid Mormon theology statement deleted.]………

    OK, sorry, no more dealth about gayness! promise.

    Hawkgrrrl: agreed. But the bloggernacle, the mormon one, doesn’t necessarily do that. They mostly openly defend gay unions and even, mistakenly, compare gay marriage and homosexual issues to the blacks/priesthood issue of the past. They think that one day the church will change its law of chastity doctrine to permite homosexual marriage as they changed its POLICY on blacks/priesthood. And they are dead wrong, the blacks/priesthood issue only has parralells with divorced men/priesthood callings issue, if one studies both cases closesly.

  • JimD

    Just jumping in here after being away from the internet for a couple of days. This move on the Churchc’s part strikes me as unfortunate, and I suppose I’ll have to do a lot of praying and pondering to see if this is what the Lord really wants the Saints in California to do.

    In the meantime, in re #40:

    Yeah, those damn homosexuals are a violent lot, prone to arson–right, Chris? It’s so good to know that religious people never persecute homosexuals, especially by beatings, vandalism of property, or murder!!

    With all due respect, Nick, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t post dire warnings about the “final solution” that gay marriage opponents have in mind for homosexuals, and then point at someone who makes the same claims about your ideological compatriots and act like he’s off his rocker. With folks like Elton John saying we should “ban all religion”–can you really tell me that, once gay marriage is the law throughout the USA, the gay-rights lobby will just say “Oh, OK, guess we’re done here–back to your lives, citizens”? I doubt it.

    I will grant that there are Christian nutjobs who want to restore the anti-sodomy laws, and I disavow their agenda. In return, I wonder whether you will concede that as long as the Mormon church condemns gay sex as sin and refuses to administer temple ordinances to gay couples, there will be people trying to use the government and the Equal Protection Clause to silence, if not utterly destroy, the church.

  • hawkgrrrl

    CM – “But seriously, Sunday has now passed, so was it or is this letter legit? was it read out as the newflash claims? I still have doubts as the legitimacy of the letter.” The original link showed the letter was going to be read in CA only on the 29th, not the 22nd (today). So, we’ll see (or at least if you live in CA, you’ll see).

  • Nick Literski

    #115:
    Acrimonious discussion as usual. What I don’t understand is why anyone would be surprised that the church would take such a position and fight for passage of such an amendment. In light of it’s doctrine, it has no choice.

    I don’t think anyone is surprised at the position the LDS church takes on the California proposed amendment, Jeff. The only surprise is that the LDS church seems intent on repeating the same tactics it used back in 2000, which alienated many members and was confirmed to have led to at least one suicide. While there may be “no choice” as to what position to take, there is certainly a wide range of choices as to what actions to take (or not take).

    If the US government would leave churches to decide which marriages it will or won’t recognize, there would be no problem.

    So, in other words, there is no problem. The government does not require any religious body to give ecclesiastical recognition of any marriage, let alone marriages which go against that religious body’s teachings. The only problem here is that certain churches want to decide which marriages the government will or won’t recognize.

    Also, for Nick, way up in number 2. the reason to read it next week, the 29th, is purely logistical.

    I hope you’re correct, Jeff, but in order for you to be correct about this, you’ll have to consider “the Brethren” much less informed and savvy than I’ve ever seen you consider them.

  • Nick Literski

    #116:
    Who among us would write a letter to the First Presidency and suggest to them that they are wrong in doing this?

    Unfortunately, this wouldn’t work for anyone who is a member of the LDS church. LDS church policy directs that any letters sent by members to the First Presidency are redirected to that member’s stake president.

    #131:
    And John Dehlin is back, wow. But was this letter authentic? was it read out in church as its written here because the language used makes one wonder if its legit?

    The letter was specifically directed to be read in California LDS wards on June 29th. If any wards read it today, they were ahead of schedule. The letter has been verified by local priesthood leaders who received it. The jarringly different language from what you are used to seeing may simply be a reflection of Monson’s ascendancy, compared to Hinckley, who was after all a public relations person.

    #139:
    With all due respect, Nick, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t post dire warnings about the “final solution” that gay marriage opponents have in mind for homosexuals, and then point at someone who makes the same claims about your ideological compatriots and act like he’s off his rocker.

    Actually, JimD, that would be your conclusion that Chris was “off his rocker.” I merely pointed out that his comment was an ill-considered attempt to make himself a “potential victim,” while ignoring the fact that violent crimes against homosexuals continue to be rampant in this country, and are typically either ignored or very lightly punished.

    With folks like Elton John saying we should “ban all religion”–can you really tell me that, once gay marriage is the law throughout the USA, the gay-rights lobby will just say “Oh, OK, guess we’re done here–back to your lives, citizens”? I doubt it.

    Ummm…I’ll tell you what, JimD. As soon as you embrace Paris Hilton as the official spokesperson for American heterosexuals, I’ll pretend I have some reason to explain the random comments of Elton John, as if they represent any significant portion of homosexuals.

    I wonder whether you will concede that as long as the Mormon church condemns gay sex as sin and refuses to administer temple ordinances to gay couples, there will be people trying to use the government and the Equal Protection Clause to silence, if not utterly destroy, the church.

    JimD, there will always be misguided people, both gay and straight, who will attempt to silence other groups or individuals. Nobody is trying to force the LDS church to change its doctrine or to solemnize any marriages in their temples for persons who do not subscribe to the religious requirements of the LDS church. Anyone who leaps to such conclusions is simply the victim of silly anti-gay propaganda.

  • Jeff

    When the church came out in support of prop 22 in 2000 it upset me greatly. I have always planned to keep my name on the records of the Church. Not anymore – I have had enough. Tomorrow my letter of resignation will go out. I can’t even express how sad I am about this.

  • http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com Steven B

    Well, the amendment may not be voted on in the upcoming election. On Friday, gay rights advocacy groups, led by Equality California, petitioned the California Supreme Court to declare the initiative unconstitutional and strike it from the ballot.

    . . . advocacy groups argued that the measure would change the state’s Constitution so profoundly that it would amount to a revision. Under the law, the Constitution cannot be revised by initiative alone – a two-thirds legislative approval is also needed before the measure goes to the voters.

    The lawsuit also contends that the initiative petitions circulated to voters before the court ruling were misleading because they declared that the measure would make no change in the marriage laws and would have no fiscal impact.

    A PDF of the entire Petition for Relief is here.

  • Conservative member

    For Ray only,

    “[Stupid Mormon theology statement deleted.]”

    (What’s so stupid about telling the truth of who will end up in the telestial kingdom? Or do you expect unrepented adulterers and homosexuals to just pop up in the celestial? Aren’t you just been a wuss here hiding behind censorship. #134 ‘academic lesbian’ is actually right, Ray.)

  • Conservative member

    #142 #140

    Yes, it does has the 29th.

    I now see why this post is done by ‘administrator’. Seems some Californian bishopric or stake presidency member can’t keep 1st Presidency letters confidential, and that includes clerks. This is another issue which should be addressed some day.

  • Conservative member

    oops, should be ‘have’

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #144 – I said all references to killing people would be deleted. The “Stupid Mormon theology statement” dealt with an analogy to killing people, therefore it was deleted. If you notice, everything else was left untouched.

    Don’t misconstrue what was deleted to twist my theology. I have only deleted statements condoning killing people or linking Mormon theology to killing people – and I will continue to do so, Carlos. (You can’t hide your writing style with so many comments.)

  • Benjamin O

    As a formerly conservative (I know firmly consider myself politically libertarian or perhaps anarchist) LDS male in good standing with the church, I just want to iterate my views on this topic, which I’ve held for some time now.

    I do not support the right of the government to define marriage in any way. The need for the government to recognize legal relationships [because of things like parental rights, medical & legal access, tax relationships and a whole host of other messiness] is obvious, and boils down to this: a civil union describes more accurately the relationship that the government is wanting to define. Marriage should be left to the individuals. If they want to engage in a marriage ceremony that is religious in nature, then it is up to them and the church that they attend to define the constraints of this relationship. The state should not be engaged in this.

    From an LDS perspective, I would guess that this would mean that couples would need to finalize the civil union as well as the Temple Wedding, with the Temple Wedding being the mark of fulfilling the requirements of the Law of Chastity for endowed members but a civil union to a person of the opposite sex being enough for non-endowed members. Given the moral stance that the church is taking on homosexuality I can’t see a legal position that I favor working out any other way.

    Honestly I strongly favor this, and I can’t see why anyone would object to this plan. It equalizes relationships in the legal arena for homosexuals and heterosexuals, and personally I think that should be the goal. As much as I feel that the behavior is proscribed by commandment from God [I'm truly sorry, Nick--I hate making that statement when I know that you will be reading it, but it is how I feel, and I have to state it in this context], I also feel that the disposition is not always a choice in the sense that most people use the word ‘choice’.

    I think for a certain portion of the population it is strictly in-born. Their body is born with a genetic [perhaps their spirit--how can I know?] twist that attracts them to those of the same physical gender. How or why I cannot say.

    For another portion of the population, circumstance and fate conspire to change their inborn attractions. I know too much psychology [sorry, it's my field of study] to ignore the fact that sexual fetishes are very easily developed over a period of time, and to imagine that this could lead to a person becoming attracted to someone of the same gender is not difficult. A willingness to sexually experiment could lead a certain number to conclude they are homosexual or bisexual. Again, this is NOT all those who are homosexual, and it is certainly not to be construed as saying that those who have arrived at homosexuality through this path feel the attraction in any lesser degree than those for whom it seems to be genetic. I have no basis for comparison on this.

    Finally I think that for a certain very small segment of the homosexual population, their sexual orientation is unfortunately derived from a result of sexual and other abuse. For some people who are sexually abused, they become rapists as adults, turning the their sexual frustrations into anger and aggression. Others manage to get help and heal into heterosexual adults. Others get help and heal into homosexual adults. Others do not get help, and become homosexual because of the abuse. In this case their homosexuality may actually become the cause of some distress in their life, but that is best left for a competent clinician to handle, not for you or I to judge (I am not a competent clinical psychologist, despite my background in psychology). Again these are merely my opinions, and I think that this final group of unfortunates for whom homosexuality is the result of abuse is quite small–a mere sliver of a minority.

    Finally, I think some people really do make a choice at some point. I really do think it is possible for some people to decide if they prefer men or women in terms of sexual partners. I knew a girl at one point who experimented a bit with both, but ultimately decided that she was heterosexual. Not that she was bisexual, but that she was strictly heterosexual. She married a man happily, and is raising a little boy for whom she would do anything. I think for her, though, it was a real choice. She very much could have gone through life bisexual or even as a lesbian, but it was a choice.

    From a gospel perspective, however, the only choice that matters is the behavior, not the attraction. In some ways, I think the reward for going through life celibate, for those who are attracted to those of the same sex, is probably quite substantial. I do not think, however, that God is anything but merciful in the end. What will this all mean when we are done? I have no idea.

    If anything I have written above is in any way offensive, I deeply, humbly and sincerely apologize. It is not my intent. I am simply offering some thoughts on the subject at hand. My intent is to hopefully gain some additional insight into the subject matter. I do not wish to offend anyone.

    As Joseph Smith said, “Let us be wise as serpents, but as harmless as doves.” [I'm paraphrasing just a bit, since I don't have the exact quote.] That is my intent. I wish to learn wisdom, while offering no harm nor offense.

  • JimD

    Actually, JimD, that would be your conclusion that Chris was “off his rocker.”

    Nick, if you thought Chris’ warnings legitimate and credible, then I must say you expressed those sentiments in a rather curious fashion.

    Ummm…I’ll tell you what, JimD. As soon as you embrace Paris Hilton as the official spokesperson for American heterosexuals, I’ll pretend I have some reason to explain the random comments of Elton John, as if they represent any significant portion of homosexuals.

    I know that Elton John doesn’t speak for you. My primary purpose was to point out the (forgive me) rather blatant hipocracy in your refusing to even acknowledge his relevance (as you have in other discussions) while labeling nutjobs like Paul Cameron as “significant voices” in the gay marriage opposition and (apparently) using his rantings to justify the application of a prima facie assumption that the bulk of gay marriage opponents want to take us to a “final solution”. (Shouldn’t that have invoked Godwin’s law, by the way? ;-) )

    JimD, there will always be misguided people, both gay and straight, who will attempt to silence other groups or individuals.

    Agreed.

  • Nick Literski

    #146:
    Seems some Californian bishopric or stake presidency member can’t keep 1st Presidency letters confidential, and that includes clerks. This is another issue which should be addressed some day.

    Boo-hoo! The letter does not give any instruction to keep it secret until the 29th. It only says it is to be read in sacrament meetings on the 29th (for maximum “slap” at “the enemy,” after all). In any case, it’s certainly not “confidential” now. Through the weekend, I shared the letter with approximately 90 media outlets, both in California and elsewhere.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #149 – Benjamin: Thank you for your carefully considered comment.

    It is easy to disagree about specific elements of sexual attraction and activity, but if everyone at least understood that it’s not a simple, black-and-white issue that can be generalized and stereotyped and treated with a very broad brush (by BOTH “sides”), much of the rancor would disappear and real dialog and understanding could ensue. For example, if everyone involved would slow down and focus strictly on the narrow words of the announcement, without the “extra” assumptions that cloud the reading of it, much of the reaction would be muted, imho.

  • Nick Literski

    #149:
    As much as I feel that the behavior is proscribed by commandment from God [I’m truly sorry, Nick–I hate making that statement when I know that you will be reading it, but it is how I feel, and I have to state it in this context]…

    There’s no need to apologize for your beliefs, Benjamin. I have no quarrel with you believing whatever you will, with regard to what constitutes “sin.” In fact, I will defend your right to believe such a thing. It’s when a religious group attempts to enforce its beliefs on a pluralistic society that does not share those beliefs, that I become irritated. You seem to be advocating quite the opposite.

    From a gospel perspective, however, the only choice that matters is the behavior, not the attraction. In some ways, I think the reward for going through life celibate, for those who are attracted to those of the same sex, is probably quite substantial. I do not think, however, that God is anything but merciful in the end. What will this all mean when we are done? I have no idea.

    From an LDS perspective, deity will not only judge actions, but the intent of the heart. As you’ve noted, the “intent of the heart” in this case can vary widely. I would point out, however, that being gay isn’t just about who you have sex with. It’s about who you for loving, romantic bonds with. To my understanding, the LDS deity would not just look at what I do in bed with my partner, but at whether I was loving to my partner. As such, the LDS deity may look more kindly on my relationship than he will on a few LDS temple marriages, where badly misguided priesthood holders engage in mental, or even physical, abuse of their spouses.

    I’ll say one thing, however. If when I die, I end up facing the kind of deity that “Conservative Member” and some LDS seem to envision, I’ll gladly denounce that deity to his face, and my testimony will stand against him. This supposed deity has been cruel beyond measure, ignoring the tears, fasting, prayers, pleas, and yes, even suicides, of those among his children who desperately wanted to be heterosexual in obedience to his will. Such a deity has no legitimate claim to worship. He may have the power to thrust one from his presence, but he wouldn’t be the sort of company that any “christlike” person would want to keep for eternity.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    I’m in this church for the religion. I will stand firm for the faith that I believe in. I will proclaim peace and the salvation of Jesus Christ. This gospel is true. But alas, I will not participate in this church’s politics.

  • Nick Literski

    #150:
    …while labeling nutjobs like Paul Cameron as “significant voices” in the gay marriage opposition and (apparently) using his rantings to justify the application of a prima facie assumption that the bulk of gay marriage opponents want to take us to a “final solution”…

    JimD, my intent was to show Paul Cameron as an extremist, not as someone representative of all anti-gay activists. If that was unclear to you, then I apologize for any confusion.

  • JimD

    Got it, Nick. Thanks for clarifying.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Benjamin #149–Thanks so much for this review of the nuances of homosexuality. One of the things that most drives me nuts in conversations on this issue is that so many people do speak in black-and-white terms, as if everyone’s simply either gay or they’re not. But of course it’s a wide-ranging spectrum, and only God can judge how much accountability each individual has.

    One main reason why I’m concerned about homosexuality becoming more socially acceptable is that more people will try it out. I saw this happen as a teen back in the early eighties when I was a denizen in Salt Lake City’s underground punk/new wave scene. Being gay was very much a trend among certain factions of this group, and many people experimented with it, including acquaintances of mine who later died of AIDS or went to prison on molestation charges. It’s like heroin or alcohol or porn: most people who experiment with the vice can ultimately decide whether to keep it in their life or walk away from it, but for about 15% of those who try it, it will become an addiction that is, for all practical purposes, beyond their control, with salvation only remotely possible through major, almost medical-level intervention.

    I don’t want my kids growing up in a society where homosexuality is so accepted and legitimized that they may be more likely to experiment with it and, even if they don’t necessarily become “addicted,” be more likely to choose to embrace it as a lifestyle. I think our society is approaching the point where gay people, especially those who marry, will not only be fully accepted but actually held up as heroes, wonderful models of being true to yourself, brave enough to stand up for your ideas, etc. Of course, it’s all a big deception by Satan that will help bring down our civilization.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    What’s with the “[Stupid analogy of killing people and Mormon theology deleted.]” in some people’s posts? (I guess just Conservative Member’s.) It’s bad enough to censor, but then to editorialize by saying “stupid” makes it worse.

    I can see deleting commercial spam, but why not let CM have his say? I certainly don’t personally agree with him, but after all the Old Testament people stoned adulterers, so CM’s outlook is not totally off the planet.

  • SteveS

    Chris (#157): You mention gays being held up as heroes. Just for conversation’s sake, why do you suppose they might be held in such a regard if theirs can be passed of as an addiction like heroin, alcohol, porn, etc.? I don’t think you can; we don’t make heroes of our alcoholics or porn addicts.

    Rather, we call Martin Luther King a hero for peacefully standing up against a sea of bigoted opposition to racial equality at the expense of his own safety and ultimately his life. We call Susan B. Anthony and Gloria Steinem heroines for their work for equal rights and opportunities for women. These heroes fought for equality because the injustice heaped upon minorities and women came through no fault or action of their own. They were simply born black, or born a woman. Gays will have heroes because for many of them, their sexual preference is inborn. Whether or not this gets more people to “experiment” with homosexuality and become “addicted” to it is a by-product of providing equal treatment under the law for those who did not choose what they are.

    One might argue that alcoholism is genetic as well. Does this mean they are entitled to heroes and equal protection? The problem with this line of thinking, as I see it are at least twofold: 1) Alcoholics are not denied basic human rights by their choice of drink, except when their actions cause pain or disaster to people around them, and they lose their freedoms by going to jail; and 2) one can go one’s whole life without partaking alcohol and really be none the worse for it, whereas humans have a basic need to love, be loved, and express that love and affection to another in committed relationships. To deny people this need, this right, by asking them to abstain their entire life from the very things we consider dearest to our own life is a fundamentally different prohibition than asking alcoholics to abstain from drinking for the rest of their lives.

  • adcama

    Chris, #157:

    You state that one of your concerns is that homosexuality will become more accepted, therefore, more people will experiment with it…especially among certain social groups.

    I think one of the most ironic arguments conservative/family/responsibility oriented organizations (like the church) make is that gay men and women who choose to become totally committed to one another and who wish to make that committment formal by taking some type of marriage vow, will somehow add to the problem of sexual promiscuity in the world. By definition, don’t gay couples who marry wish to have only one committed partner? Doesn’t promiscuity “refer to sexual behaviour of a man or woman who either casually or regularly copulates with several partners?”

    Gay marriage does not equate to the image some refuse to relinquish of the mini-skirt wearing transvestite selling himherself to a married man who has been pretending to his wife he is straight for the last 40 years. Gay marriage will not cause the world to turn into such…..quite the contrary. There are loving committed couples who wish to live a life of monogamy and fidelity….but are not allowed out of the promiscuous box because the very organizations who claim to want to clean up society and encourage everyone to live in a monogamous and faithful relationship are implying they would rather have gays fit the stereotype that has apparently been established by god. I find it dripping with irony…..gays want to become socially responsible, committed to one person and live a life of happiness with their ONLY partner, and we say….nah, you guys are going to make the world come to a premature end.

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  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #157 – Chris Bigelow wrote: “I think our society is approaching the point where gay people, especially those who marry, will not only be fully accepted but actually held up as heroes, wonderful models of being true to yourself, brave enough to stand up for your ideas, etc. Of course, it’s all a big deception by Satan that will help bring down our civilization.”

    I am disheartened by statements like this, Chris. It seems like your argument works this way. God made Fred a homosexual. Fred did good works his entire life to bring equality to others. If we acknowledge Fred’s good works we are being deceived by Satan, and are working toward the destruction or our civilization.

    This to me is as unnaceptable as saying women, blacks, Estonians, Floridians, amputees, etc. can’t be recognized as heroes because that would be part of Satan’s plan.

    I have a fundamental problem with the demonization of the “other” or of dividing into “good guys” and “bad guys” or “us” and “them”, and using pejorative and damning rhetoric to describe the “other” while we, ourselves, are “white and delightsome.”

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    The prophet of the Church needs to explain himself as to why this is something we need to do. He needs to get down to the nitty gritty details, because general “repent or be destroyed” threats just don’t work these days. Or maybe he needs to advocate that we stop learning about the world around us and be uneducated, mindless simpletons who do as they are told. Because, for my part, I cannot reconcile the two. There is strong evidence that gays are born with those desires, a fault in the genes, or the chemistry. As such those desires and feelings that they have for others of the same sex are not of their own choosing. Why should they be punished for a decision they did not make? Why make them live miserable lives just to “protect” something that is not even at threat by gays? My marriage to my wife is not in the least bit threatened by the two little old ladies who, after 50 years together, finally tied the knot. I’m not going to run off and find me the local gay guy and run away from my wife. My wife won’t do the same either. I will teach my daughter correct principles and let her choose for herself as God has intended for her to do. Where is the threat to marriage? Spell it out, please, President Monson. We deserve to know what you know. No hiding behind innuendo and vague threats. No “confidential” letters to local church leaders. Say it out in the open. Let us hear the rationale. Please pray about it. Please fast. What is the Lord’s will in this matter? Our generation is far more educated than any other in the history of the world. We make informed decisions these days as never before. But we cannot do that if we do not know enough.

    I will not follow blindly anymore.

  • Rich

    I don’t see why Religious organizations should not have the opportunity/responsibility to petition the government to seek laws that conform to their beliefs or their politics. Environmental groups, labor unions, businesses, etc all have that opportunity and use it frequently. They regularly pay the legislatures for the privilege to our detriment. In fact, the Calif legislature continually attempts to impose a quasi religion on all of us in the form of global warming laws that have no evidence of effectiveness. I find the use of the term impose misleading in the sense that the church cannot impose any law or behavior on the public at large. They can’t even impose it on there own members without there acceptance. State laws must be passed by a whole lot more people that a few mormons in California. Let the debate begin and if the public deems Gay marriage as something to embrace then so be it and we will go on to the next issue. If the public goes decides to reject gay marriage, then let it rest. But the church should never be criticized for using a right afforded to all other institutions.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Chris – “I saw this happen as a teen back in the early eighties when I was a denizen in Salt Lake City’s underground punk/new wave scene. Being gay was very much a trend among certain factions of this group, and many people experimented with it” OK, I would have totally LMAO on this comment had I not personally known about this happening in SLC in the 80s. I can confirm that Chris’s example (heard from what I assume is a completely different source) actually occured as he said.

    SteveS – “we don’t make heroes of our alcoholics or porn addicts.” That’s not totally true. We buy their books, we make movies about addicts, we revere their courage for speaking out and trying to right past wrongs. Frankly, half of Hollywood or more fits this mold, and they are revered for getting sober, staying clean, being honest about their addictions, etc. Coming clean about these things takes a lot of courage, and we recognize and reward that courage, perhaps disproportionately in some cases. Plus, if the person is smokin’ hot like Robert Downey, Jr, we are looking for a reason to like them despite (and maybe even for) their flaws. Makes em more human and more accessible. Just sayin’.

    So, having said that, I do believe most same sex attraction is innate. But since I don’t experience it, I leave it to God to judge. People have to live their own lives. That’s not, IMO, what this amendment is about specifically, as I’ve stated.

  • new guy

    re: #25 “the bad guy came up with a plan to enforce commandments”

    I know this was from early on in the conversation, but I wanted to make a comment on this statement and the several replies to it. It was pointed out to me several years ago that nowhere in the scriptures does it say that Satan’s plan was to force us to keep the commandments. That is a common Mormon misunderstanding. The idea that Satan wanted to remove all the consequences of sin is more accurate.

    I don’t expect people to agree with me on this, but it is my opinion that although Satan lost back then, he’s still pushing this plan full-force to all who will listen. “Sin all you want – don’t worry about the consequences.”

  • new guy

    Oops – missed a closing italics tag in my last post. Sorry. Here it is without italics if that is easier to read:

    re: #25 “the bad guy came up with a plan to enforce commandments”

    I know this was from early on in the conversation, but I wanted to make a comment on this statement and the several replies to it. It was pointed out to me several years ago that nowhere in the scriptures does it say that Satan’s plan was to force us to keep the commandments. That is a common Mormon misunderstanding. The idea that Satan wanted to remove all the consequences of sin is more accurate.

    I don’t expect people to agree with me on this, but it is my opinion that although Satan lost back then, he’s still pushing this plan full-force to all who will listen. “Sin all you want – don’t worry about the consequences.”

  • SteveS

    Hawkgrrrl: I thought of those “recovery” narratives as I wrote my comment, but perhaps I should have mentioned how I think of these stories as different from those of MLK’s or SBA’s. I think those people who are brave enough to admit to previous error and addiction should be commended, but their actions are against personal demons, not societal injustices, and they recognize their addictive actions as sinful, wrong, or at least unhealthy. With homosexuality, its not that simple. I think we agree that for most gays, addiction isn’t what is feeding their sexual attraction. When I said there are no heroic alcoholics or porn addicts, I meant to say that we do not honor and revere the alcoholic for standing up for his or her inherent right to drink him- or herself into oblivion against those who would limit his or her ability to do so through legislation.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    He may have the power to thrust one from his presence, but he wouldn’t be the sort of company that any “christlike” person would want to keep for eternity. That is the Calvinist God who so perturbed many people. You sound like some of the old vikings who rejected him when they were told that their unbaptized dead were all damned.

    Interesting comparison to Alcohol. Twelve step programs work with alcoholics. They don’t seem to work with homosexuals, something I found interesting.

    No “confidential” letters — you will be glad to realize that there weren’t any.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    new guy,

    This is something of a threadjack, so I’ll keep it brief. You should cite some sources when trying to discredit a very basic part of the Mormon narrative.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    SteveS (#159) wrote, “You mention gays being held up as heroes. Just for conversation’s sake, why do you suppose they might be held in such a regard if theirs can be passed of as an addiction like heroin, alcohol, porn, etc.? I don’t think you can; we don’t make heroes of our alcoholics or porn addicts.”

    You missed a key part of my point, which is that the world is in fact now defining homosexuality as NOT an addiction or a vice or a perversion but as an acceptable alternative and unavoidable identity. Humans need heroes and righteous causes, but as the world becomes more irreligious and immoral, the quality of the heroes is fast progressing downward, judging by our celebrity worship, etc. Yet with gays, it’s easy for people to become sympathetic with their cause, which does on the surface seem to have some validity that reminds us of our victories in other civil rights areas. There’s some honest compassion and charity there, but it’s being misguided and mischanneled by the deceptive Satanic forces who are aiding and abetting the whole gay movement (speaking of both spirits and mortals). Even if irreligious, worldly people are not gay, the gays are becoming their big cause, something that seems to assuage their consciences about being good people, etc. It’s similar to how they’ve embraced the environment (yeah, it’s good not to pollute and to conserve, but for many irreligious people the environment becomes their substitute cause that replaces true religion; same thing is happening with gays).

    I can totally see how Satan is turning things around to make gays into the world’s noble heroes and turn anti-gay religionists into the bigoted enemy. It’s classic “Calling good evil and evil good,” and the depth and scale that it will eventually reach (within a decade, I bet) will really accelerate the unraveling of society/civilization as we have known it, at least on the coasts and in big cities. I believe we’re going to see the nation split into two big tribes, pro-gay and anti-gay, and they will even live in different areas. It’s going to remind us of the slavery/civil war situation, only this time it will be the Northeast and the West Coast that are defending the wrong side and the Mormon corridor and Bible Belt South that are on the right side this time. (Wow, this would make a great speculative novel to write…)

    Speaking in general terms about our society, irreligious, immoral people who are deep down looking for a reason to despise religious people and thus self-justify and feel better about their own sinful, godless paths have their perfect opportunity in the gay issue, because it’s so easy to self-delude themselves into feeling righteous indignation about the perceived prejudice of the religious who don’t accept the gay movement. “They’re anti-gay bigots, which obviously proves that their whole outlook is wrong. But I’m a kind, progressive person who can accept and love people who are different. Gays can’t help it, but religious people can, so let’s hate the religious people, not the gays.”

    Not that religious people can’t accept and love same-gender-challenged people who acknowledge that it’s a sinful lifestyle/movement and are trying to repent, but I really don’t think we should love and accept those who are willfully disobeying God’s commandments. I think we need to tell our children that those people are sinning, breaking God’s laws, not a good model to follow, will ultimately be desperately unhappy, etc. If the church can possibly help rally the voice of the people to put off the gay encroachment as long as possible, that would be great, but I’m sure the brethren in Salt Lake know that the irreligious/immoral will eventually overpower the religious/moral as the majority voice. I bet that being anti-gay will become no more a legally protected religious stand than practicing polygamy is now. I bet within 10 or 20 years the California government will shut down our temples for refusing to perform gay marriages.

    The bottom line for me is that if you are a Mormon who is pro-gay movement and pro-gay marriage and anti-Mormon-church-resisting-the-gay-movement-and-gay-marriage, then your spiritual radar is off kilter. Even if you’re not gay yourself, the world and/or some kind of intellectual pride have gotten deep inside your heart and mind, and you are in spiritual trouble. That’s in essence what the church is saying, and I’m on the church’s side. How could you not be, with what clearly lies ahead for our civilization? You really think the church is ever going to come around and say that anal sex between males is acceptable? Talk about a vice; you’ve got to be pretty willful in your sin to cultivate a taste for that, overlook fecal mishaps, etc.

    You think things are going to start getting better if we get behind the gays and enable their lifestyle and their movement? Gays need to repent. There is no other way and never will be.

  • Shawn Larsen

    With all due respect to the participants, this thread reflects exactly why I dread having this SSM fight all over again. God help us all.

  • Truly Confused

    Chris, and at one point the church talked about negroes making the wrong choice in the pre-existence and being inferior-as did much of the world (I can provide quotes if you really needme to). The church was wrong then and I certainly hope that they will accept be wrong on this one too. I am confident that people in the church who spoke out and supported civil rights were accused of being spirtually “off-kilter”. Personally, I think anyone who fights someone having equal rights is spiritually off kilter. What you are saying is the same thing. “It is ok to love the Negroe, but marriage between races is wrong”.

    Also, if you recall, the church said oral sex was wrong at one time. In fact it was a temple reccomend interview question-and then they realized they were wrong, it was not appropriate to ask that question. So yeah, I think they will accept anal sex as acceptable-and I notice you don’t mention sex between women. So is that ok?

    The church is slowly but surely softening it’s stance on homosexuality. It used to be that having the thoughts was caused by selfishness, and if you just marry a member of the opposite sex it will go away. Now, they don’t say that. In fact the official stance is don’t get married.

    Part of loving someone is wanting them to be happy, and not demanding that they satisfy you. Gay marriage does not hurt anyone. Even if you think they are going to burn in hell for it, it doesn’t hurt anyone else accept them.

  • Jeff Spector

    Totally agree with Shawn on this one! but, I might also point out that most of those who are critical of the church for supporting the California constitutional amendment are either outside of the church (former members and never members) or those who fancy themselves on their way out.

    Not totally the rule, but close.

  • Truly Confused

    Oh, and Chris, you need to repent of judging others. Unless you are a bishop (Judge in Israel)and they are in your flock, you don’t get to have an opinion on whether ot not they need to repent. In fact, you have no way of knowing what their leaders thinks of their particular circumstance.

  • tk

    No one should be surprised by the Church’s involvement. The Church was involved in CA Prop 22 and in other state laws on Gambling, ERA, abortion etc. If someone is surprised that the Church has taken a moral stand on homosexual marriage, I question their understanding of scriptures and doctrine.

    Under our Federal Constitution not only our Church but all Churches have the right to be involved in what ever issue they so deem is important. (Tax consequences are different) Each Church has a right to voice its opinion as much as an environmental group, a civil rights group, a union or any other association, organization or group.

    My choice is as an individual. Do I agree with the Church’s stand and will I support it; or I don’t agree and won’t support it.

    I believe the Church has the Priesthood; the authority and power of Christ on the earth. If I still believe that is the case; why would I jump off the good ship Zion because of a political issue? I don’t believe it is the Church that is separating itself from members who don’t support the same political issue, I believe it is the individual that is separating him or her self from the Church.

    Here is an expert from a talk given by Dallin Oaks:

    “…Some reject the infusion of religious-based values in public policy by urging that much of the violence and social divisiveness of the modern world is attributable to religious controversies. But all should remember that the most horrible moral atrocities of the twentieth century in terms of death and human misery have been committed by regimes that are unambiguously secular, not religious.
    Even though we cannot reject religious values in law-making on the basis of their bad record by comparison with other values, there are examples of hostility to religious values in the public sector. For example, less than a decade ago, the United States Department of Justice challenged a federal judge’s right to sit on a case involving the Equal Rights Amendment on the ground that his religious views would prejudice him. The judge was Marion Callister. The religious views were LDS. In that same decade, the American Civil Liberties Union took the position that any pro-life abortion law was illegitimate because it must necessarily be founded on religious belief. 4
    A few years ago some Protestant and Jewish clergymen challenged a federally financed program to promote abstinence from sexual activity among teenage youngsters. The grant recipients included BYU and some Catholic charities in Virginia and Michigan. The ACLU attorney who filed this challenge declared that “the ‘chastity law’ is unconstitutional because it violates the requirement for separation of church and state” because taxpayer dollars “are going to religious institutions, which use the funds to teach religious doctrines opposing teen-age sex and abortion.” 5 In the meantime, the “value” judgments that permit public schools to distribute birth control devices to teenagers supposedly violate no constitutional prohibition because the doctrine that opposes chastity is secular.
    During this same period, Professor Henry Steele Commager criticized the Moral Majority and the Roman Catholic Church for “inject[ing] religion into politics more wantonly than at any time since the Know-Nothing crusade of the 1850’s.” Writing in a New York Times column, this distinguished scholar asserted that “what the Framers [of the U. S. Constitution] had in mind was more than separating church and state: it was separating religion from politics.” While conceding that no one could question the right to preach “morality and religion,” Commager argued that churchmen of all denominations crossed an impermissible line “when they connect morality with a particular brand of religious faith and this, in turn, with political policies.” 6
    Apparently, churchmen can preach morality and religion as long as they do not suggest that their particular brand of religion has any connection with morality or that the resulting morality has any connection with political policies. Stated otherwise, religious preaching is okay so long as it has no practical impact on the listeners’ day-to-day behavior, especially any behavior that has anything to do with political activity or public policy.
    As we know, the idea that there is an absolute right and wrong comes from religion, and the absolute values that have influenced law and public policy are most commonly rooted in religion. In contrast, the values that generally prevail in today’s academic community are relative values.
    I have read serious academic arguments to the effect that religious people can participate in public debate only if they conceal the religious origin of their values by translating them into secular dialect. In a nation committed to pluralism, this kind of hostility to religion should be legally illegitimate and morally unacceptable. It is also irrational and unworkable, for reasons explained by BYU law professor Frederick Mark Gedicks:
    “Secularism has not solved the problem posed by religion in public life so much as it has buried it. By placing religion on the far side of the boundary marking the limit of the real world, secularism prevents public life from taking religion seriously. Secularism does not teach us to live with those who are religious; rather, it demands that we ignore them and their views. Such a ‘solution’ can remain stable only so long as those who are ignored acquiesce in their social situation.” 7
    Fortunately, the Supreme Court has never held that citizens could not join together to translate their moral beliefs into laws or public policies even when those beliefs are derived from religious doctrine. Indeed, there are many sophisticated and articulate spokesmen for the proposition that the separation of church and state never intended to exclude religiously grounded values from the public square. For example, I offer the words of Richard John Neuhaus:
    “In a democracy that is free and robust, an opinion is no more disqualified for being ‘religious’ than for being atheistic, or psychoanalytic, or Marxist, or just plain dumb. There is no legal or constitutional question about the admission of religion to the public square; there is only a question about the free and equal participation of citizens in our public business. Religion is not a reified ‘thing’ that threatens to intrude upon our common life. Religion in public is but the public opinion of those citizens who are religious.
    “As with individual citizens, so also with the associations that citizens form to advance their opinions. Religious institutions may understand themselves to be brought into being by God, but for the purposes of this democratic polity they are free associations of citizens. As such, they are guaranteed the same access to the public square as are the citizens who comprise them.” 8
    No person with values based on religious beliefs should apologize for taking those values into the public square. Religious persons need to be skillful in how they do so, but they need not yield to an adversary’s assumption that the whole effort is illegitimate. We should remind others of the important instances in which the efforts of churches and clergy in the political arena have influenced American public policies in great historical controversies whose outcome is virtually unquestioned today. The slavery controversy was seen as a great moral issue and became the major political issue of the nineteenth century because of the preaching of clergy and the political action of churches. A century later, churches played an indispensable role in the civil rights movement, and, a decade later, clergymen and churches of various denominations were an influential part of the antiwar movement that contributed to the end of the war in Vietnam.
    Many sincere religious people believe there should be no limitations on religious arguments on political issues so long as the speaker genuinely believes those issues can be resolved as a matter of right or wrong.
    I believe that questions of right and wrong, whether based on religious principles or any other source of values, are legitimate in any debate over laws or public policy. Is there anything more important to debate than what is right or wrong? And those arguments should be open across the entire political spectrum. There is no logical way to contend that religious arguments or lobbying are legitimate on the question of abstinence from nuclear war by nations but not on the question of abstinence from sexual relations by teenagers. “

    The entire talk : http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4bd89209df38b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

  • The Green Man

    I am not at all clear on the Same Sex Marriage = destruction of civilization as we know it equation. That is something I don’t get at all.

    I am not clear that this is such a complicated issue. The text of the statement seems to appeal to the will of the people, but ignores the danger of mob rule. Mob rule was the driving force that disenfranchised the Church in the last half of the 19th Century. Recognizing the rights of others to contract seems pretty straightforward.

    Even if there is some causation equation between SSM and the Destruction of Civilization, I have a very hard time imagining the threat being greater than spousal / child abuse; exploitation of immigrant workers; exploitation of the environment; systemic infidelity by spouses and partners; or, if the voice of the people is that important – working to promote the voice and power of the poor and disenfranchised.

    I am very disappointed with what the church is doing here because it does nothing to improve anybodies life as far as I can see.

  • The Green Man

    It is interesting to note that after a cursory glance at Oakes’ talk that the church was invariably on the wrong side of every single political issue he raises.

    I was raised in ‘Little Rome’ where the Catholic Church reigned supreme in all aspects of the community – they owned the paper, the cinema, the political parties and the schools. I have cringed as the only non-Catholic in my Elementary school and swore I would work against religious interference in society.

    Experience has sobered my views a bit, but I welcome the day when churches will be taxed on all their revenue, when their income statements are required to be disclosed and then I will keep silent when religion enters the political fray.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    Brain Study Shows Differences Between Gays, Straights:

    Gay men tended to have brains that were more like those of straight women than of straight men — the right and left sides were about the same size, the researchers found. Gay women’s brains tended to be more like those of straight men than of straight women — the right side tended to be slightly larger than the left.

    If this were the cause of the destruction of our civilization, then blame God. He designed the human brain.

  • Rich

    Hey Green Man,

    How about the Sierra Club, the NRA, Moveon.org, and any other number of non profits that interfere in society. I havn’t seen a lot of people advocating taxation of those organizations as a price for political involvement.

  • adcama

    Jeff Spector….not me in either case.

  • Norm Al Mormon

    Chris Bigelow,

    It is so good to see you writing pieces for the Sugar Beet again! These parodies you have written here have me slapping my knee and ROFLMAO. Keep up the good work!

  • adcama

    tk, I am not saying that the church doesn’t have the “right” to organize on this issue….of course they have the “right” to stand up – just as they have the “right” to discipline members who publicly disagree with them. I’m just saying that I personally wish they wouldn’t do either.

  • http://mormonsoprano.com/2008/04/26/my-song-in-the-night/ Mormon Soprano

    I think it is important to note that the First Presidency letter is not “anti-gay”. It is PRO-Family. Latter-day Saints believe the family unit is the most important fundamental unit not only of the church but of the world. Marriage was ordained of God from the beginning – starting with Adam and Eve. It’s that simple. Marriage between a man and a woman is so sacred, and so important to everything we believe that it should obviously be defended diligently. We believe that when the family fails, our Nation fails with it. Therefore, if the prophet and his counselors had NOT spoken out on this issue that would have been considered much more controversial! Instead, these righteous leaders have signed a letter asking that a mortal law be upheld to protect God’s sacred law. What could be more appropriate? To me, this is another witness that God is concerned with what His children are doing just as much as He was anciently, and He is speaking today through a prophet. It is also appropriate to remember that any time a prophet has spoken their words have never been considered popular, convenient, “appropriate”, nor “politically correct”. Their statements are also generally met with contention, anger, bitterness, pride and even violence. Nevertheless, the prophet speaks anyway. His words stand as God’s warning that we are headed down the wrong path! This latest declaration is just as serious as the warnings from Noah, Joseph and Moses of old to their people. God always gives His children a chance to change direction before the consequences automatically kick in. “Who’s on the Lord’s side, who?” Yes, we each get to choose. But in the end, if the majority chooses to vote against the Lord, all pay the consequences. This is exactly why those who understand this eternal truth are investing everything in their power to save the world from itself. What a beautiful thing!

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    Mormon Soprano,

    The problem is that I don’t think the First Presidency or the Prophet have succeeded in showing exactly how traditional marriage would be harmed or even defeated by allowing gays to marry.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    Just an observation:

    Why does the letterhead on the letter look so out-of-date? OK, I haven’t gotten any letters from the First Presidency, but I just assumed that they would be using the same letterhead that the Church uses in all other official publications. When I saw it, it felt like deja vu. Look at the letterhead from the Stapley letter to George Romney in 1964 here: http://www.boston.com/news/daily/24/delbert_stapley.pdf

    I don’t know, just seems odd to me that it hasn’t changed in over 40 years. Can’t help but be skeptical, but I know I’m probably wrong.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #184 Mormon Soprano – and when the First Presidency sent out signed letters stating that it was God’s will that blacks be denied the priesthood and temple ordinances, were they right then, too? When church presidents and apostles railed against interracial marriage, and they claimed to be supporting all of society according to God’s plan for society.

    They claimed to be speaking to preserve society even then, and that they were trying to “save the world from itself.” Do we now see that as a beautiful thing?

    If they would explain themselves in clear, rational terms, I think things might be different. However, I suspect they can’t, because their thinking on this one is based on irrational fears and stereotypes, just like the irrational fears and stereotypes of previous leaders denied equality in the church to blacks well past the time most other churches had granted it. In a thread not too long ago here there was quite a defense mounted for the prophets who were seen as doing their best, but only acting on “folklore” not “doctrine” even though they themselves proclaimed it doctrine. Are our current leaders now doing the same thing? Is this really “doctrine” or is it more “folklore”?

  • SteveS

    This just hit the press on Deseret News.com:

    http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700237300,00.html

    Does that make it official enough?

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    Here’s another angle on the story. The Pew study on religion shows that 24% of Mormons responding indicated that “Homosexuality should be accepted by society”. That’s more than I expected.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    Something that I’ve wondered about, as a non-American member. The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints is supposedly a “worldwide” church, not an “American” church (arguable). So why doesn’t it go through the trouble of campaigning, to the extent that it does in the US, in other countries? Gay marriage is legal in Canada and several European countries. Why not all the fuss elsewhere?

  • alice

    Looks like we won’t have to wait until Sunday and word from our California brothers and sisters to know if this letter is authentic: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700237300,00.html

    …or even if they’re way overdue on a makeover for the letterhead. ;>

  • hawkgrrrl

    “their thinking on this one is based on irrational fears and stereotypes” I think that’s a stretch. IMO, it’s just based on extremely conservative (meaning change-averse) thinking (e.g. byproduct of gerontocracy). Maybe God wants the church to tread lightly into change and to slow things down a bit rather than immediately caving to social pressure on every hot issue. The respectful rhetoric is at least there, even if homosexuality is considered a sin. Equating this with historic racism is an overreach based on the rhetoric of the last 10 years, again just IMO.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    Something that kind of bothers me is that the Church tried to cover its tracks in the Danzig case by saying that Danzig falsely accused the Church of going against his conscience, that the Church never said that he should write his senator to oppose gay marriage, but rather members were encouraged to write their senators to express their “feelings,” without explicitly saying that they should be anti-gay marriage (not that I was in doubt of the Church’s stance, but still). But this is explicit, so the Church loses its integrity in this case, in my eyes.

  • alice

    FaithfulDissident- I had forgotten the Danzigs! How odd given that their case is so recent, so sad & unnecessary and so appropriate to this very discussion.

    It’s like watching a car crash that’s going to happen in excrutiating slow motion, isn’t it? And every time they do such wrong-headed things it increases the pressure that they’ve got to to it again in defense of the first time.

    Meanwhile, I think I need to get a T-shirt or something to make clear that what the church does doesn’t represent what the Spirit says to *my* heart is the correct position on loving my fellow man as I love God.

  • Rich

    I don’t see the correlation between tolerance or acceptance of the gay lifestyle and the definition of marriage. And it surely has no correlation concerning race issues. No men, including gay men where ever stopped from marrying any women or vice versa. Everybody has had an equal right to that choice regardless of sexual orientation. It just does not correlate to race issues where people were denied access to any number of privileges. Marriage has many restrictions on it both before and since the Calif supreme court decision. The question at hand is what are reasonable restrictions in organizing societies norms. I would imagine everybody would agree that there should be some restrictions on peoples behavior even if that behavior is innate rather then learned. Then the question becomes what is reasonable and acceptable and a benefit to society. This is a public debate whose time has come and belongs in the political discourse rather then the majority opinion of a few judges.

  • alice

    “No men, including gay men where ever stopped from marrying any women or vice versa. Everybody has had an equal right to that choice regardless of sexual orientation.”

    Excuse me. Isn’t that exactly what this letter is about?

    You’ll have to explain what you’re saying here to me. From where I sit it’s clear that there has been a long tradition of prohibiting same sex marriage and a certain religious element is working very hard and stirring up a lot of divisive and even hateful feelings in the general population to enshrine this discrimination into law and the LDS has chosen to step publicly into the center of the reactionary forces.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    This is a public debate whose time has come and belongs in the political discourse rather then the majority opinion of a few judges.

    I’d hate to put my rights into the hands of the majority. It’s a bad idea that the U.S. Constitution was designed to avoid. It protects the rights of the minority from the bullying of the majority. We Americans don’t live in a pure democracy. We live in a constitutional republic and I like it that way. :)

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #191 – I’ll give you that the Church’s PR advisers are giving them better advice now than they did back in the days of the racism (if they had PR advisers back then), but the core meaning of this is still the same, “homosexual acts are sins” which is why the church refers to this as a “moral issue”. Interracial marriage was a “moral issue” as well. I don’t think this is a stretch at all. It seems virtually identical, except in this case the church is even in the MORE extreme position, because I haven’t ever heard that the church attempted to effect legislation in the interracial marriage issue, rather just preached it as a moral issue. Here, they are doing both, which seems more extreme to me.

  • Rich

    There is a long standing tradition prohibiting same sex marriage. But my position is that the prohibition effects everybody equally regardless of race or sex. That Is why I don’t believe it is a civil rights issue but an issue of legislating societies norms and what the proper venue is for that process. And for the record, hate speech, no matter from what side it comes from, is not acceptable discourse.

  • alice

    ” But my position is that the prohibition effects everybody equally regardless of race or sex.”

    That’s absurd! The prohibition effects the 10% or so of Americans whose only logical choice for marriage is in a same sex relationship. It does not effect the other 90% or so of us in any way. Since the burden falls unequally on one group by virtue of the way they were born, it is VERY MUCH an issue of civil rights.

    You may argue it’s also a matter of morality but there are clearly and by long-standing tradition areas in which our civil laws permit people’s rights to indulge in “immoral” practices at their discretion with minimal limits. Alcohol consumption, gambling (which the government even benefits in as a purveyor of gambling opportunities) and even sex (in NV) are examples. And, though this is merely anecdotal, many churches also are organizers and beneficiaries of gambling. I think some Catholic church monasteries still operate wineries and yet the LDS is willing to partner with them in the effort to infringe on the civil rights (as defined by the CA Supreme Court) of gay Americans — some of whom are Mormons.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Let’s go for 200 comments! Here’s a grab bag of responses from moi, for the three people who may still be following this:

    Shawn Larsen #171: “With all due respect to the participants, this thread reflects exactly why I dread having this SSM fight all over again. God help us all.”

    Question #1: If you’re sick of it, why did you bother to scroll down 170 comments? Question #2: Do you really think we won’t be debating SSM until the Second Coming? Personally, I sometimes get so bored and disconnected from the LDS Church (mostly on the cultural level) that I’m really grateful to have an issue that gets me stirred up on the church’s side again. I actually looked around the room in Sunday School yesterday and thought, “Ah, these are the people who, by and large, get it about homosexuality being a sin and the need to resist the gay movement.” On the other hand, I admit I get more of a kick out of going against the grain of the Bloggernacle than with it.

    Truly Confused #172: “At one point the church talked about negroes making the wrong choice in the pre-existence and being inferior-as did much of the world (I can provide quotes if you really needme to). The church was wrong then and I certainly hope that they will accept be wrong on this one too. I am confident that people in the church who spoke out and supported civil rights were accused of being spirtually “off-kilter”. Personally, I think anyone who fights someone having equal rights is spiritually off kilter. What you are saying is the same thing. “It is ok to love the Negroe, but marriage between races is wrong”.”

    I don’t accept the comparison between the blacks and the gays. Being born black is clearly not a choice, at least not in this world (who knows what happened in premortality; probably a big variety of things). Living the gay lifestyle is a choice to put aside the church’s teachings and give into temptations that could be avoided.

    “Also, if you recall, the church said oral sex was wrong at one time. In fact it was a temple reccomend interview question-and then they realized they were wrong, it was not appropriate to ask that question. So yeah, I think they will accept anal sex as acceptable-and I notice you don’t mention sex between women. So is that ok?”

    I don’t think the church necessarily “realized they were wrong” about oral sex but decided to leave that to individual couples and their own conscience. I bet if you surveyed the general authorities, nearly all would still hold the opinion that oral sex is better avoided. And no, just because I don’t directly address lesbianism doesn’t mean I think sex between women is OK. But thanks for asking.

    “The church is slowly but surely softening it’s stance on homosexuality. It used to be that having the thoughts was caused by selfishness, and if you just marry a member of the opposite sex it will go away. Now, they don’t say that. In fact the official stance is don’t get married.”

    Just because the church has softened its stance to be more kind and understanding toward those with same-gender attractions and gays who wish to repent doesn’t mean it will go all the way and accept the homosexual lifestyle. And I’m glad they’re warning against marriage as a solution.

    “Part of loving someone is wanting them to be happy, and not demanding that they satisfy you. Gay marriage does not hurt anyone. Even if you think they are going to burn in hell for it, it doesn’t hurt anyone else accept them.”

    Gay marriages set a horrible example, for one thing. It legitimizes sin and will confuse our children growing up.

    “Oh, and Chris, you need to repent of judging others. Unless you are a bishop (Judge in Israel)and they are in your flock, you don’t get to have an opinion on whether ot not they need to repent. In fact, you have no way of knowing what their leaders thinks of their particular circumstance.”

    I can accept that I risk coming across as perhaps too quick to judge. But I did say earlier that I acknowledge that only God knows an individual’s accountability on the same-gender issue. It could be that there are some gays who really biologically have no choice. But the minute you say that, the minute you get lots of people self-justifying and self-deceiving. And there’s absolutely never ever an excuse to say, “OK, I’m going to ahead and live the gay sexual lifestyle.” Any bishop who gives a green light to that and gets caught should be immediately released and maybe worse. It may be that those who face a real biological same-gender issue (not just something brought on by society’s acceptance or their own unwise experimentation) face one of this life’s hardest tests and will be rewarded accordingly. Saying that there’s no tolerance for gay sex in any form—especially in pseudo-”marriage”—is a righteous judgment, just repeating the Church’s teachings.

    The Green Man #176: “I am not at all clear on the Same Sex Marriage = destruction of civilization as we know it equation. That is something I don’t get at all.”

    I don’t think SSM will single-handedly cause the destruction of civilization, just that our embrace of the gay movement in any form is ungodly and contributes to the unraveling of our society. It will certainly polarize people even more.

    “I am not clear that this is such a complicated issue. The text of the statement seems to appeal to the will of the people, but ignores the danger of mob rule. Mob rule was the driving force that disenfranchised the Church in the last half of the 19th Century. Recognizing the rights of others to contract seems pretty straightforward.”

    Yeah, everybody has the right to sin if they want to, especially if it doesn’t cause immediate physical harm to anyone else, but to legitimize their sin by giving them equal marriage rights is an abomination for a country founded on the tenets of Christianity. People have also gotten really serious about their pets in recent decades, to a neurotic degree in many cases. I bet you some people would “marry” their dog too, if they could. If the majority of society gets to the point where it wants to allow these ungodly rights, then that’s the tipping point at which it will soon become time for Mormons to start withdrawing more from the world because the society has become immoral in its majority. Like someone said, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” (I hope 2008 doesn’t go down in history as both an economic and moral tipping point toward a new dark age, but it well may…)

    “Even if there is some causation equation between SSM and the Destruction of Civilization, I have a very hard time imagining the threat being greater than spousal / child abuse; exploitation of immigrant workers; exploitation of the environment; systemic infidelity by spouses and partners; or, if the voice of the people is that important – working to promote the voice and power of the poor and disenfranchised.”

    That doesn’t make logical sense. No one is saying we should legalize and celebrate those other things.

    “I am very disappointed with what the church is doing here because it does nothing to improve anybodies life as far as I can see.”

    It improves some people’s lives by making it clear that they shouldn’t go down the gay road if they still want to be a good Mormon, and there are many willing to make that sacrifice. As a sin, homosexuality leads to unhappiness, if not right now then in the near future, and if someone gay manages to die in a good mood, then they’ll face their unhappiness in the spirit world. It also improves the lives of our children by not confusing them with a society that accepts gay marriage, perhaps leading some of them to go down that path.

    Dan #178: “‘Brain Study Shows Differences Between Gays, Straights.’ . . . If this were the cause of the destruction of our civilization, then blame God. He designed the human brain.”

    This is another thing that bugs me in these conversations: the assumption that human science can give the conclusive final word on much of anything. It’s a somewhat interesting blip but doesn’t prove anything. For one thing, they looked at adults and not babies, so how do they know that homosexual behavior doesn’t reshape the brain, like it can the hypothalamus? And even if someone is born with such a brain condition, is that an excuse for them to give up and become gay, any more than someone with a gene that makes them prone to alcoholism should give up and drown himself in alcohol?

    Norm Al Mormon #181: “It is so good to see you writing pieces for the Sugar Beet again! These parodies you have written here have me slapping my knee and ROFLMAO. Keep up the good work!”

    That’s a clever, funny ad hominim attack! It would be fun to do a parody like Friend did, but I’m quite serious. Anyway, half the stuff I wrote for the Sugar Beet has a kernel of truth to it.

    Mormon Soprano #183: “I think it is important to note that the First Presidency letter is not ‘anti-gay’. It is PRO-Family.”

    Yes, they are walking that line quite well. The Church has got SOME politically correct PR savvy. After all, with the 1978 breakthrough they nearly always managed to avoid mentioning blacks, focusing more on the “all worthy males” angle.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Andrew C. – “the core meaning of this is still the same, “homosexual acts are sins” which is why the church refers to this as a “moral issue”. Interracial marriage was a “moral issue” as well.” Yes, the church sees homosexual acts as sinful, but the rhetoric is based on violation of the law of chastity. Interracial marriage was “discouraged” but never classed as a sin or a violation of the law of chastity. Maybe I’m just too young to remember any of this (first time I’ve been able to say that one in a while). I’m no expert, but I did watch an episode or two of The Jeffersons. If you want to class this request with racial rhetoric, that’s where I think you are overreaching; the rhetoric of the last 10 years regarding homosexuals strives for compassion while discouraging what the church teaches is “sin.”

    The Danzig case is interesting because that was part of the response I heard (not sure if it was officially from the church). But in reality, the issue with the Danzigs is that you don’t pick public fights with the church and stay in the church. That’s been the case since JS, and LDS isn’t the only church with that policy either. Hence the protestant reformation.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #198 “There is a long standing tradition prohibiting same sex marriage.”

    There was a long standing tradition prohibiting blacks to drink from the same water fountains as whites (didn’t deny them water, you understand, their’s was just different and in the back, not near ours – that’s tradition, it’s not hate). This was enshrined in law. Our church actively spoke out against Civil Rights as a “moral” issue, because it would lead to the sin of interracial marriage, and the polluting of the white race.

    There was a long standing tradtion of allowing men to discipline their wives with corporal punishment. This was enshrined in law in many places.

    There was a long standing tradition forbidding married women from owning ANYTHING, which meant that if a woman of property married, everything she owned went to her husband. If he then divorced her, he kept the property.

    Lots of long standing traditions need to be done away with because they are bad ideas.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    Hawkgrrrl: “But in reality, the issue with the Danzigs is that you don’t pick public fights with the church and stay in the church.”

    I’m still trying to figure out the difference between Danzig and most of us on the Bloggernacle, except the fact that most of us are smart enough to remain anonymous. The Bloggernacle is just as public as The Tribune.

  • alice

    hawkgrrrl- I think it’s unfair to characterize this as a violation of the law of chastity when there is no possible outlet for a primal human need *within* a chaste state. That is the very possibility they are fighting.

    If you author and advance a law that says no blue eyed people are allowed to purchase groceries how can you castigate them for stealing them?

    As for the Danzigs, I know there are competing stories but I don’t know that the Danzigs made it public prior to the church disciplining them and publicly humiliating them.

  • http://mormonskeptic.blogspot.com Brother Zelph

    There was also a long standing tradition banning plural marriage, but that didn’t stop Joseph Smith.

  • alice

    I doubt we’ll resolve this in any way but it seems clear that in at least some corners of the bloggernacle there’s a serious rift between what the church says and asks for and what some saints feel good in their hearts about.

    I remember this feeling from the civil rights era and I remember it from the ERA era.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    And in regards to civil rights, who would now argue with George Romney’s 1964 stance, despite the fact that the GA’s were vehemently opposed to it then? It’s just too early to know what the future holds. We may be all surprised one way or the other.

  • hawkgrrrl

    #203 – you’ve hit that one on the head. Although I personally found what the Danzigs did to be distasteful.

    #204 – “I think it’s unfair to characterize this as a violation of the law of chastity when there is no possible outlet for a primal human need *within* a chaste state. That is the very possibility they are fighting.” That’s the church’s stance, fair or unfair. This resolution would not change that one way or the other. The church will only welcome celibate homosexuals, regardless of marital status under CA law.

    Personally, I don’t object to gay civil unions, as I’ve said repeatedly here, but that doesn’t change what the church will recognize. My personal view is I would prefer to keep moral and legal issues as separate as possible, especially where individuals are pursuing their own happiness without infringing upon the rights of others.

  • SteveS

    Alice (#206): maybe there needs to be a post about LDS attitudes and beliefs post-civil rights and post-ERA. I was born in 1979, so blacks have always had the priesthood in my lifetime. To those that voted for the ERA, or who worked for civil rights, etc., do you notice changed attitudes in the church? For those who voted against the ERA, etc., have your own attitudes changed? Why?

  • Rigel Hawthorne

    Re: “The question at hand is what are reasonable restrictions in organizing societies norms.”

    This is a good question, but it is not the question that seems to be relevant to the supreme court. That is one of civil rights. If you look at GLBT is one of many alternative lifestyles, then the question of reasonable restrictions looks like the question at hand. An alternative lifestyle is simply defined as “a lifestyle generally perceived to be outside the cultural norm.” From Wikipedia, the non-typical sexual lifestyles named as examples of alternative lifestyle include “LGBT, BDSM, swinging, or polyamory, etc.”

    If I dedicated my life to one of those lifestyles, then it would make sense that I would want to push to move it into mainstream culture, regardless if it offended others. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. That movement is a relentless one. If state constitutions are amended to define marriage as one man and one woman, then push is on to legalize civil unions until the amendments can be overturned. One would be naive to think that once same-sex marriage is legalized, the push to move it into mainstream culture has ended.

    Marriage certificates/birth certificates would be changed to Party A/Party B or Parent A/Parent B. (Actually this has already happened in Massachusetts, no?) A woman would be criticized for insensitivity if she lectured a womens group at a college and stated that a woman can have it all…a career, a great man, and a great family. (oops, this already happened too). Don’t believe it is safe to say that absence of ever increasing change to society in countries and states that have made same sex marriage legal. The strategists for the movement will not want to jeopardize states on the fringe of legalization from moving forward by pushing their agenda too quickly.

    The irony about the issue of one alternative lifestyle pushing to become mainstream on the basis of civil rights is that courts grant unequal attention to the civil rights of the other groups who are not the currently loudest squeaker. Even the abbreviation GLBT combines groups that will not be able to express their lifestyle with equal recognition with a court decision that concedes a right to marry for members of the “G-L” categories.

  • alice

    ” The church will only welcome celibate homosexuals, regardless of marital status under CA law.”

    True. And I don’t even waste my time railing against church policies regarding the church. What they’re doing here is stepping outside their ecclesiastical domain and trying to directly interfere with the exercise of the CA constitution and the civil rights of gay Americans.

    Meanwhile, I have seen no evidence of any meddling in laws providing civil consequences for the adultery that many Americans, including Mormon Americans, indulge in in their heterosexual lives.

    “To those that voted for the ERA, or who worked for civil rights, etc., do you notice changed attitudes in the church?”

    This is a *big* question. I think it deserves its own entry rather than a hijack of this important one or short answers that don’t do it justice.

  • Lorin

    Wow, and did I say “Wow”?

    I know that a large percentage of the folks in the Bloggernacle lean left politically and that only people with really strong feelings are posting. But I’m disheartened by the number of active members on the Bloggernacle taking a cynical view of this First Presidency letter.

    Could it possibly be that the FP is encouraging the preservation of traditional marriage because they’re concerned that legally recognized homosexual marriages will, you know, be a detriment to traditional marriage, end of story?

    Can anyone be confident that there will be no unintended consequences as a result of changing our laws, and therefore our social reinforcements? Yes, I do suspect that the privileged “traditional marriage between a man and a woman” that I enjoy will be negatively affected by granting gay marriage the same status. I don’t intend to stand by while the sacred and eternal principle of marriage is downgraded to the status of “one of several valid and completely equal approaches.”

    I think a bit of humility is in order for those who think they know exactly what the long-term consequences would be if traditional marriage lost its privileged status. I’m not saying I know either, but when the proposal is to completely revamp an institution that is at the core of our eternal progression, I’ll opt for caution. I can’t imagine the effects of such a change in the world we’ll be living in 10, 20, 50 years from now, and I dare nobody else in this forum does, either.

    Sorry, but with the exception of their being slow on spotting the good behind the civil rights movement, I’m glad the brethren’s default mode is resistance to sweeping social change. They’ve been in the right and ahead of the curve on most things. (And yes, I’m including the ERA in that. The stated goals were noble, but many of those pushing the agenda were anything but. Women are probably much better off now because we didn’t bite at the chance to possibly institutionalize a brand of ’60s and ’70s feminism that many modern-day feminists now correctly reject as anti-man, anti-motherhood and anti-family.)

    Anyway, I see the gay rights agenda the same way. Proponents of gay marriage cannot predict or control the consequences of such a social change 10 or 50 years down the road once the horse is out of the barn. I, for one, admire the brethren’s track record of fighting the Trojan Horses, even if the majority often succeed in letting them in the gate.

    I wish more active members in the Bloggernacle showed evidence that they were giving the brethren the benefit of the doubt on this issue, or at least considering why they might be right rather than formulating arguments as to why they might be wrong.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Lorin – I think you’re asking b’nacclers to be apologists, to go through a mental exercise from a standpoint assuming truth. But being an apologist isn’t cool enough for us. B’nacclers are intellectually prideful, have a dislike for authority and don’t like to be told what to do. Alone in our principles, only we speak the truth. Others all blindly follow authority rather than the dictates of their own conscience. We’re loners, Dottie, rebels. :)

  • amen to lorin

    Lorin has put into words what I have felt as I have read this comments. Thank you, Lorin.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    Lorin, you are thinking of this essay: http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #212 – If the First Presidency knows what detriment to “traditional marriage” will be caused by this, they should tell us, warn us.

    Your temple marriage is currently legally equivalent to a bikini clad man and a woman dressed like Charlie Chaplin getting married in a drive-thru in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator. Why is that an acceptable “traditional marriage” but two well-dressed middle-aged women being married in their protestant church by their own minister not an acceptable “traditional marriage”?

    You wish more bloggernacle people would give the FP the benefit of the doubt, and I think the FP might get more of the benefit of the doubt if they would state clearly and plainly WHY marriage between gays is unacceptable to God. They stated clearly and plainly in the past that interracial marriage was unacceptable to God, and they told their reasons for it. They ended up looking like racists and fools. Perhaps they aren’t sharing their reasons now because in 10 or 20 or 50 years they don’t want to be judged to have been homophobes and fools.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    I don’t intend to stand by while the sacred and eternal principle of marriage is downgraded to the status of “one of several valid and completely equal approaches.”

    Tell that to our polygamist Mormon forbears who thought the eternal of marriage was one man and many women. :)

  • Lorin

    Andrew (216),

    It’s because they learned their lesson about why no one should put words into the Lord’s mouth. Quoting Dallin H. Oaks, circa 1986:

    “… It’s not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we’re on our own. Some people put reasons to [the priesthood ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that. … “The lesson I’ve drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it. … I’m referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon [those reasons] by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking. … Let’s [not] make the mistake that’s been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that’s where safety lies.”

  • Janadele LDS Australia

    The politically active homosexual movement has always had the agenda of adoption rights as one of the main reasons for wanting legal “marriage”. Already in England adoption agencies are unable by law to discriminate against same sex couples wishing to adopt children. The Catholic Church, one of the most active adoption agencies in England, refuses to comply, and is at present embroiled in legal argument which it seems will see them withdraw from this great service of providing suitable homes for available children, which they have done so well in the past… leaving the way now open for exclusive Non Christian control of adoption agencies.

    Those who choose the Homosexual lifestyle have abandoned their right of parenthood, despite being able to become parents by having relations outside their “partnership” or by insemination.

    In no way do they have any right to adopt a child, and to ensure this, the legal definition of marriage is required to be, and should be, as between a man and a woman.

  • Alexander

    #173 “I might also point out that most of those who are critical of the church for supporting the California constitutional amendment are either outside of the church (former members and never members) or those who fancy themselves on their way out.”

    #213 “I wish more active members in the Bloggernacle showed evidence that they were giving the brethren the benefit of the doubt on this issue, or at least considering why they might be right rather than formulating arguments as to why they might be wrong.”

    I’m very committed to the LDS church, with no plans to leave any time soon. So of course I’m not going to be publicly critical of the church about their stance, but that doesn’t mean I agree. I’d really like to support our leaders on this, but I really do not feel good about it and it’s not because I haven’t tried to consider why they might be right. I really empathize with those in CA who have expressed how hard it was for them to have to face this directly – I can’t help but wonder what the spiritual and social ramifications really would be for me and my family if we lived in California and I had to explain over and over why I don’t want to put a sign on my lawn, I’m not going to be making phone calls, or I’m not giving any money to this.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    Lorin,

    #212,

    Could it possibly be that the FP is encouraging the preservation of traditional marriage because they’re concerned that legally recognized homosexual marriages will, you know, be a detriment to traditional marriage, end of story

    But they don’t show the evidence that that is indeed the case. They need to spell it out. Exactly how is it a detriment to traditional marriage?

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    Chris,

    #200,

    This is another thing that bugs me in these conversations: the assumption that human science can give the conclusive final word on much of anything. It’s a somewhat interesting blip but doesn’t prove anything. For one thing, they looked at adults and not babies, so how do they know that homosexual behavior doesn’t reshape the brain, like it can the hypothalamus?

    I don’t take the evidence from science as undeniable truth. Not in the least. But I am a firm believer that religion and science are not mutually exclusive. Religion doesn’t work in a vacuum. It works in the world in which we live, and must abide by the laws of that world. The scientific evidence to this point leans fairly strongly in the direction that gays did not choose to be gay. This must be reconciled within the realm of religion. If gays did not choose to be gay, are they sinful? Can you be forced to sin?

  • Lorin

    Dan (221),

    See 218. Maybe they’ll someday spell it out, maybe they won’t. My money says they won’t any time soon.

    Another well-known quote, this one by Brigham Young.

    “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”

    The first question is, “Are the brethren inspired on this?” If you can’t get a firm spiritual confirmation to that right now, you’ll have to figure out on your own how to act in the meantime. But I can almost guarantee that you’ll get a sense for WHETHER they’re right long before you’ll get a sense of WHY they’re right. Don’t hold your breath for the reverse.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Dan #222:

    When you say “gays did not choose to be gay,” you’ve grossly oversimplified it. For starters, please carefully reread comment #149. There are many, many different factors that go into “gayness” and most every natural man on this earth has some mix of homo and hetero potential, which can change and evolve over time (look up “Kinsey scale” on Wikipedia).

    It’s all about which impulses you choose to follow and which disciplines you apply to yourself. Just because you feel same-gender attractions, even very strong ones, does not mean you have to choose the gay lifestyle.

  • Cicero

    “The problem is that I don’t think the First Presidency or the Prophet have succeeded in showing exactly how traditional marriage would be harmed or even defeated by allowing gays to marry.”

    They don’t have to.

    “God says so” is plenty good enough for me.

  • alice

    Here’s another question. The church’s statistics say that 1.79% of the CA population is LDS (and LDS families being what they are, there’s a good chance an inordinate number of them are not of voting age). Reading “comments” in the DesNews, it appears that at least some vocal CA Mormons will be voting against the amendment. I think it’s Pew Research that puts at 51%-42% the number of CA voters opposing it. So the FP’s impact on this amendment is not likely to be favorable or effective in the long run.

    What is the point then? Everyone already *knows* the church’s position on this. It seems like they could only lose — both politically and with many younger members. And they raise the attention of the non-LDS population to their interference. What was the point?

  • Paula

    FWIW the story has also hit the news outside of Utah:
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6600ap_ut_mormons_gay_marriage.html

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    Lorin, I suspect you are correct. They won’t explain themselves. Ours is not to reason why, just be obedient and trust them, just like with polygamy, blacks in the priesthood, Civil Rights, the bank in Kirtland, Mountain Meadows, Kinderhook Plates, Mark Hoffman, the Adam-God doctrine, the United Order, the Greek Psalter, the nine different versions of the First Vision, horses, pigs, steel, etc. in the Book of Mormon, 3000 plagairisms of the KJV of the Bible in the BoM, the incorrect translation of the Book of Abraham, the statements that no seer stone was used, Joseph Smith didn’t get arrested as a con man, Joseph Smith didn’t lie about his polygamy, DNA doesn’t show Mongolian ancestry for the “Lamanites” but Middle Eastern, linguistic evidence among the “Lamanites” shows they do have a linguistic tie to Middle Eastern languages, descriptions of Captain Moroni are not very similar to descriptions of George Washington, the View of the Hebrews isn’t at all related to the BoM, etc.

    Since our prophets and apostles have done so well on these “minor” things in our religion, it makes perfect sense that they would get a “major” thing like gay marriage right so we should place our complete obedience, faith and confidence in them.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #226 – “What was the point?” Does there need to be one other than a belief that it is wrong?

    I have made my opinion on this known, I believe, but let me be clear about a few things:

    1) The Church should not be held to a “what’s politically expedient” standard. It’s not primarily a political organization; it’s a religious one and SHOULD be able to take even a socially risky stance.

    2) I support civil unions completely. IN PRINCIPLE, I do NOT support gay marriage. I understand the arguments, particularly the one articulated by the CA Supreme Court and summarized by Nick, but I just don’t see the actual, practical discrimination such a distinction between civil union and marriage causes.

    3) I believe allowing heterosexual common law marriage but not gay marriage is the legal equivalent of allowing consenting fornication for heterosexuals to be called marriage while denying that legal term to consenting homosexuals. That is legal discrimination, imho. Therefore, unless the courts are willing to rescind common law marriage for heterosexuals, I can’t support a decision to deny gay couples from marrying.

    4) I do believe this is an issue that can be decided by the voice of the people, since I believe it is a MORAL question rather than a political question. The voice of the people outlawed polygamy that my ancestors practiced. I don’t like that decision, but I would have supported the enforcement IF the unions with the extra wives had been viewed politically as affairs and those practicing polygamy had not been jailed and prosecuted. In that case, “non-Mormon monogamous adulterers” (an oxymoron, if I’ve ever heard one) were not jailed and prosecuted for their adultery, so neither should have been the polygamists.

    5) I believe in strengthening the traditional family EVERY bit as much as any other member in the Church, but I also believe the way to do so is to focus on the rampant immorality and licentiousness among the vastly larger heterosexual community than the much smaller homosexual community. We live in a house divided, and trying to stop the advance of an exterior disease (for analogy’s sake) while hemorrhaging internally won’t work. We need to cleanse the inner vessel, since it’s too late to stop the gay movement.

    6) Having said all that, I have NO problem with the Church’s statement. It accurately reflects the Church’s stated moral position and is addressed ONLY to its own members. If I lived in CA and viewed the issue in total isolation, I would vote for the amendment as an expression of my own personal moral belief, but I don’t have time or money to donate to this cause – especially in light of my overall view of sexual politics I have mentioned already.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #228 – Andrew C., be careful making a laundry list like that. Some of those things need serious consideration; others simply are silly, tired arguments that hold no water whatsoever. This isn’t the thread for a more detailed discussion, so I won’t attempt it. Suffice it to say that some of them really have no substance.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Janadele LDS Australia brings up what makes me most uncomfortable about creating an equality between same sex and man/woman marriages. PoF is clear in stating that the ideal is for children to have both a father and a mother. Is being raised by gay parents preferable to no adoption at all? Perhaps.

  • http://www.femflex.com Tre Scott

    I adamantly oppose bigotry in all forms…even against religion.

    What an unbelievably irresponsible, immoral, and un-Christ-like directive.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    “What an unbelievably irresponsible, immoral, and un-Christ-like directive.”

    Jesus to the woman taken in adultery: “Neither do I condemn thee; go AND SIN NO MORE.”

    Again, before charging the Church with being “immoral, irresponsible and (especially) un-Christ-like” it is always good to think about the logic of that claim in light of what the Church’s statement actually says. Over-the-top hyperbole simply doesn’t help any discussion like this – and there’s been enough of that and to spare here.

  • http://shenpawarrior.blogspot.com AdamF

    hawkgrrrl #231 – “PoF is clear in stating that the ideal is for children to have both a father and a mother. Is being raised by gay parents preferable to no adoption at all? Perhaps.”

    It is, at least according to research. I wrote this on an LDS/political/Utah blog in response to someone who claimed that “evidence” says a mother and father are better:
    “The info I have (Fatherneed, by Kyle Pruett, M.D. – in which he refers to some studies suggests that: 1-children of gay parents are not more likely to be gay themselves, 2-they may have a more difficult time being judged by their peers, 3-tend to develop a less prejudicial view of the world, 4-gay father place greater emphasis on verbal communication, 5-show more consistency in enforcing limits, 6-respond more reliably to the perceived needs of their children. (Many of these points are from: Bigner, J., & Jacobsen, R.B. (1989). “The Value of Children to Gay and Heterosexual Fathers.” The point was also made in the book that we have a lot more to study. For any study does not confirm truth, but rather points us in certain directions.”

    I asked for his “evidence” but have yet to hear from him, despite asking sincerely twice.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #230 Ray, thank you. I know better. I posted more in the Evidences thread, but thank you.

    Lorin (and others) I apologize if I have gone overboard. I am, to paraphrase Ray, “driving myself crazy”.

    I don’t live in California. I can’t support the First Presidency on this one (and honesly I’m not sure if there is ANYTHING I can support them on any longer) and I am not comfortable not being able to support them. President Monson has always held a special place in my heart. President Eyring has always been a family favorite as well, because when my daughter was just a toddler she said Elder Eyring was her favorite apostle. Incidentally, she told me just the other day how she came to be so enthralled with him. He wore glasses and his name was Eye Ring, and his glasses were Rings around his Eyes.

    This is uncomfortable for me. I don’t WANT to think that the First Presidency is completely wrong on this. I’m trying to find a way to resolve the dissonance, but for me in order to do that I have to ACCEPT that they just completely blew this one, and are leading people astray, with false traditions of their fathers. And, that’s hard for me.

  • Nick Literski

    #163:
    Let the debate begin and if the public deems Gay marriage as something to embrace then so be it and we will go on to the next issue. If the public goes decides to reject gay marriage, then let it rest.

    So equal treatment under the law is now something that should be voted on, and decided by the same majority that our courts are designed to protect minorities from? Perhaps we should collect petition signatures to place an initiative on the ballot barring members of the LDS church from voting. There are enough religious bigots to make it happen, I’m sure. After all, civil rights are to be decided by majority vote, right?? (Yeah, I know…it doesn’t work that way when it’s your rights in question.)

  • Lorin

    Andrew (228),

    Ray gave most of my answer. Thank you for outing yourself as “Friend” in the thread where we exchanged a few words. I had been trying to decide whether I had been rude to question the sincerity of “Friend” in that thread. While you confirmed that my “Spidey Sense” was correct in that case, I’m still going to work on being more kind online to people who seem “off.” I’ll presume your contrition in #95 is genuine, with a caveat.

    Your answer in #228 speaks of an advocacy for a point of view that, in my experience, is nearly always held by people who have completely closed the door to the possibility that the Church’s truth claims hold any validity. Really, you could sail an aircraft carrier through the holes in nearly any of the laundry list in 228, and intellectually honest critics will sometimes acknowledge that.

    I know the politically correct thing would be to say all is forgiven and the slate is clean. But it’s been mere days since you wasted everyone’s time with a trollish, offensive caricature of a bleating Mormon “sheep.” I believe your contrition for deceiving everyone is sincere, but I don’t think two days is enough time to fully remove the clothing of “insincere mocker” to claim the title of “humble seeker of truth.”

    I feel for you and your doubts, and I’m confident the believers among us will have no problem with you expressing your sincere doubts. But you seem to be a lot less neutral than you’re letting on. You’ve proven your ability to lead people along with a subversive agenda — I welcome the opportunity for you to show with the passage of time that this inclination really is a thing of the past.

  • Nick Literski

    #171:
    You really think the church is ever going to come around and say that anal sex between males is acceptable? Talk about a vice; you’ve got to be pretty willful in your sin to cultivate a taste for that, overlook fecal mishaps, etc.

    The nice thing here, Chris, is that you followed up your Chicken Little imitation (“the sky is falling! the sky is falling!”) with a statement that makes it abundantly clear that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Thanks for taking care of that for us!

  • NM Tony

    Wow, what an active thread and debate. This issue is extremely polarizing and I have often wondered why. I understand that people are terrified of homosexuals and even disgusted by their existence, but why? Why is the idea of two individuals marrying or going into a civil union so horrifying as to cause this level of debate? Can we only be humane if deity say we should? If people were to disassociate themselves from the bigotry taught by religion what harm is there in two men or two women lovingly sharing their lives together and enjoying the privileges that come with matrimony? In reality, what are the true moral implications of this act? Most gay couples have been together for years, so how is a legal document make it any more reprehensible? Homosexuality has been around since the dawn of humanity and yet civilization continues to thrive and progress. So far no cosmic ruination heading our way because of the “debaucherous” lifestyles of the gay community. Then again, maybe dinosaurs legalized it and that is what happened. Those scary gay people/stegosauruses. :0)

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #237 – Lorin wrote: “I welcome the opportunity for you to show with the passage of time that this inclination really is a thing of the past.”

    Thank you for the invitation. Right now I doubt I will take you up on it. I think that as painful as it may have been for me, I may have discovered truths about myself that I didn’t want to discover. I really don’t want to “not believe” I just can’t find a way “to believe” any longer. And, although this may be hard for you to accept, I think you are right, I wasn’t as neutral as I was letting on, but I hadn’t actually told myself that yet. I hadn’t let myself realize fully that it just doesn’t work for me any longer. I was trying to find a way to make it work, and couldn’t, and that led to frustration, and sometimes outbursts.

    If I in fact have already made up my mind (and it now appears even to me that I have) then I don’t know what would be to gained by continuing to visit here and offering what to many would seem like tired, old, insincere arguments or listening to what would seem to me like “mental gymnastics”.

    Again, Lorin, I apologize for my actions, and even my own stupidity, at not being able to see what I actually already believe. I think I was blinded by what I WANTED to believe. I WANTED to have what many of you have, but I can’t let that blind me to what I DO have.

    I don’t enjoy arguing (I know that seems hard to believe also, but I really don’t), and unfortunately I think much of what would happen if I stuck around would be little other than arguing (and I don’t mean that in the scholarly sense), so I think I’ll just try to slip away. (But this place is kind of addictive.)

    Again, best wishes, and thank you. You seem sincere and I appreciate your role in helping me to discover what should have been obvious to me—namely, my own beliefs.

  • Nick Literski

    #183:
    I think it is important to note that the First Presidency letter is not “anti-gay”. It is PRO-Family.

    You mean it’s pro-SOME-families. The First Presidency letter is dramatically ANTI-my-Family.

    #200:
    Living the gay lifestyle is a choice to put aside the church’s teachings and give into temptations that could be avoided.

    Just what is this “gay lifestyle” you speak of with such authority, Chris? My “gay lifestyle” involves working 40 or more hours a week in a government program that provides benefits to persons who have contracted cancer and other diseases due to their work to protect our country over the past six decades. My “gay lifestyle” includes comforting a friend who’s mother died this morning, and another friend who’s pet is about to be put down after more than 14 years as part of the family. My “gay lifestyle” includes many things, Chris, that your religion teaches. Perhaps you should be more careful then, and warn your fellow church members against working for a living or serving their neighbors. After all, those things are part of “the GAY LIFESTYLE!”

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Nick #238: I find your comment a little . . . incomplete. How could you possibly know what I know? Are you telling me that no gay man has ever experienced pain, fecal mishaps, permanently blown-out sphincter, etc. due to anal sex? Because if you are, you’re quite wrong! I’ve read and heard enough directly from gays (or from someone who worked in the hairdressing station next to a gay man with a blown sphincter) to know otherwise.

    And then there’s the gay Mormon fiction writer I mentioned earlier, who has this description in his unpublished story I read [WARNING: graphic alert]: “[Deleted for obvious reasons to anyone who read it before it was deleted.]”

    But if you can somehow back up your ass-ertion, I’m all ears… You people who are sweetly romanticizing male gay marriage, have you really thought through the logistics? And a big part of this gay Mormon’s story is how gays talk the talk about husbanding each other in long-term commitments, but in reality it’s quite rare that it lasts. As far as I can tell, we’re talking about an ugly perversion here, something that definitely makes the baby Jesus cry.

  • Phouchg

    I am (nominally) a member of the LDS church, but I oppose this on so many levels. I work for a TV station, and I have provided our news director with information regarding this letter, as well as a history of the LDS church’s involvement in 1999-2000. He thanked me and I promised him I would provide more information as needed. He couldn’t promise that the news would do a story on this, but he found the information “interesting”.

  • Latter-day Guy

    RE 242,

    W. T. F. !!!???

    Chris, thanks buddy. I am scarred for life. Do you want to post a link to 2 girls 1 cup while you’re at it? There are no words… my soul is dead.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #242 – Chris, you’ve skirted the edge multiple times with your word plays, but that comment is beyond the pale.

    I really HATE having to police comments, but, please, no more more “baby Jesus” references, either. A full understanding of “taking the Lord’s name in vain” renders many things in a different light, and it’s probably good at this time for everyone to step back and consider that.

    Lamaze also can be good at times for those who aren’t pregnant.

  • Latter-day Guy

    Oh, Admin… You were too late… too too late… [sobs, curls into fetal position]

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    A woman having many children also leads to many, uh, disturbing medical and physical problems including prolapsed uterus, incontinence, greater chance of depression, the occasional death…..

    There’s also a measurable increase in violence in families with many children.

    However, I somehow feel that you don’t see these as reasons to limit family size.

    So, please, just stop with the uninformed medical diagnoses. Just stop.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    #228 – Andrew C., be careful making a laundry list like that. Some of those things need serious consideration; others simply are silly, tired arguments that hold no water whatsoever. This isn’t the thread for a more detailed discussion, so I won’t attempt it. Suffice it to say that some of them really have no substance.

    It is that sort of laundry list, especially with the inclusion of things that have so little substance, that often discredits people when they seek to be taken seriously. Just FYI. It makes it look like you are actively looking for reasons not to believe and have fastened on ones that are obviously false in your rush to judgment.

    I realize that you have concluded that that is where your heart is, but … anyway …

    a civil union so horrifying isn’t at all horrifying. You seem to have read into things a bit much.

    My “gay lifestyle” involves working 40 or more hours a week — ahh, now we know what it really is that we are opposing.

    Editor — whoever it was who saved me from whatever it was — thanks!

  • Cicero

    “I don’t WANT to think that the First Presidency is completely wrong on this. I’m trying to find a way to resolve the dissonance, but for me in order to do that I have to ACCEPT that they just completely blew this one, and are leading people astray, with false traditions of their fathers. And, that’s hard for me.”

    Or maybe you’re the one who is wrong? Considering that scripture is unanimous on the sinfulness of homosexual relation, I find it hard to understand why people think the Church is wrong.

    I’m afraid “Repent or be Destroyed” is starting to become the only option, as people ignore anything else.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    Considering that scripture is unanimous on the sinfulness of homosexual relation, I find it hard to understand why people think the Church is wrong

    That is a serious question, and a real issue in the Anglican communion, for example, which threatens to tear them apart.

  • Stephanie

    Re 247, my mother had to have an operation a few years ago to have her insides rearranged. This was needed because apparently they were messed up from having six children. (Gotta love my very scientific explanation.)

    I’m just kind of dumbfounded that anyone would even resort to the argument that it’s bad to be gay because it can cause physical issues. And that argument doesn’t work for lesbians. So there.

  • Conservative member

    #200 quoting #17 Truly Confused:

    “Also, if you recall, the church said oral sex was wrong at one time. In fact it was a temple reccomend interview question-and then they realized they were wrong, it was not appropriate to ask that question. So yeah, I think they will accept anal sex as acceptable”

    As a side point, the church was actually inspired in trying to have members avoid oral sex as some studies are now proving linking human papillomavirus to a mini epidemic in throat cancers:

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/06/10/1212863620224.html

    Notice that scientist believe that throat cancers due to HPV may overtake the number of cervical cancers in a decade or so.

    Sure they then considered the question inappropriate for Temple interviews, but they knew the truth before science did, just like they did with tobacco or alcohol.

    Lord only knows what could happen decades later to those engaged in anal sex, men or women. Why take the risk?

  • Latter-day Guy

    Of course, CM, HPV would (ostensibly) be no problem if, prior to and during their marriage, the couple had lived by the law of chastity, diverse sexual activity within marriage notwithstanding. So, I’m not sure that your speculation accounts for the rule or its removal, though it is interesting.

  • Doug G.

    Andrew Callahan, #240

    Welcome to a brave new world… I haven’t commented on this thread as I still need to overcome my own prejudices concerning homosexuality. Nick’s analogies have made me think and helped me on the path and therefore I’m grateful to him for posting.

    I would ask you sincerely to consider staying here on Mormon Matters for the same reasons. Your posts are thoughtful and well spoken. Many benefit from your perspective even if they’re just reading and not commenting. If intelligent people decide it not worth their time to provide the “other side of the coin”, so to speak, then Mormon Matters will turn into just another pro LDS blog in the blogernacle. That was not its original intention as far as I can tell.

    This is supposed to be a place where difficult issues are fully explored by all without fear of church action. All opinions should be valued providing they’re sincere.

    P.S. Your laundry list of issues is not near as easy to drive the aircraft carrier through as Ray would like everyone to believe. Some are fully aware of all those issues and more, but still take time to be part of this blog to let others (with like feelings) know they’re not alone. I’m hoping you’ll be one of those… Thanks

  • Lorin

    Andrew (240),

    Wow, well I hope nothing I said was taken as a brush-off — it was an invitation to do yourself the favor or doubting your own doubts. People who leave the church often transfer the once-unquestioning nature of the church discipleship they once had (an attitude often near the root of the later loss of faith) and transfer that unquestioned surety to their criticism of the Church. But at any rate, your self-honesty is a great thing, and if you feel you are being honest with yourself, that’s a good place to be.

    Can I make an observation that has been true for people I’ve known? Recognizing that you “can’t believe” right now is very similar to people who have realized they “can’t love” their spouses. Many people view such an experience as a crossroads, and many decide to just continue in the direction they have been heading and break off the relationship because at least then there is some kind of finality. The urge toward resolution, even if isn’t the wisest resolution, can be powerful.

    You’re going to do what you want to, but the realization of the state of your doubts doesn’t mean the side that is nearest is the side that’s truest. For many people, the state you are in is the pivotal moment when they decide to see where they drifted from the now-estranged “spouse” and see if they can recover what was lost. In both faith and marriage, many return to a much stronger foundation and become much happier and faithful for the experience.

    Your list of objections, at least to me, indicates that you have been pretty casual with the charges against the church and have placed a great deal of unwarranted faith in your doubts. Perhaps for the sake of resolution you’ll continue in the direction you’re heading. That’s your choice, and if you feel the need to back off and calm down, that might be needed. But please consider the possibility that this “marriage” can be saved, and that what you fell in love with once before may be even more beautiful than you can currently fathom. I know people who have gladly taken the more difficult path to recover faith, and they have been rewarded with renewed testimony and understanding that far exceeds their prior church experience.

    God bless you in your search for God and his answers.

  • Nick Literski

    #242:
    Are you telling me that no gay man has ever experienced pain, fecal mishaps, permanently blown-out sphincter, etc. due to anal sex?

    I’m telling you that your horror stories are the exception, rather than the rule. As a gay man who is sexually active, I think I might just be a tiny bit more informed on the subject than you are, Chris. Well, unless you’re hiding something from us, that is.

    In the meantime, are you telling me that no straight person has ever experienced pain, fecal (or urinal) mishaps, or injury, due to sex–anal or otherwise? Many straight people do engage in anal sex, Chris, contrary to whatever “missionary position only, man on top” religious perversion may have been fed to you. Further, straight people have been injured (hell, even died) as a result of vaginal sex, too!

    You people who are sweetly romanticizing male gay marriage, have you really thought through the logistics?

    Chris, now you’re just being silly. Surely you’re not the only person in the bloggernacle who is not aware that I’m in a committed gay partnership? I haven’t just “thought through” the logistics, Chris. I live them, every day.

    And a big part of this gay Mormon’s story is how gays talk the talk about husbanding each other in long-term commitments, but in reality it’s quite rare that it lasts.

    You mean, sort of like how in reality it’s quite rare that heterosexual marriages last?

    As far as I can tell, we’re talking about an ugly perversion here, something that definitely makes the baby Jesus cry.

    I’d have to agree with you on that note, Chris. Your perversion really does make baby Jesus cry. You should repent, so he can feel better.

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    Deep sigh. HPV can be picked up by non-sexual contact. Stop blaming stuff on it. It’s estimated that about 1/8th of the cases are from, say, touching the wrong doorknob. Get your daughters (and sons, if you can swing it) the shots. It’s not a chastity issue. It’s a health issue.

  • Latter-day Guy

    Thanks for clarifying that Djinn. Well, that rather negates my last post! I stand (or sit, rather) corrected.

  • Nick Literski

    Apologies to Ray, for using a phrase he found offensive. I hadn’t read your message on that when I posted, Ray.

  • Shawn Larsen

    #200/Chris — I’m finally getting around to answering your questions:

    “Question #1: If you’re sick of it, why did you bother to scroll down 170 comments?”

    That’s easy (and obvious) — because I’m interested in the issue. Nowhere have I ever said that I am “sick of it.” Those are your words, not mine. That sort of “love it or leave attitude” is unhelpful and, quite frankly, unbecoming. Anyone who knows me or who has read my postings knows that I am a big advocate of free and open discussion. Heck, that’s whay I blog here. What always frustrates me about the SSM issue is it inevitably brings out the worst in people. There is very little “discussion”; rather, folks seem much more interested in foisting their agendas and prejudices (both pro and anti-SSM) onto others so as to justify themselves. Regardless of how you feel about SSM, there is no room in the Church for hateful, judgmental or slanderous comments about homosexuals, period. Suppoting the Church’s official position by way of prejudical notions about gays and lesbians totally misses the point, IMHO. That’s what I was trying to express in my short comment.

    “Question #2: Do you really think we won’t be debating SSM until the Second Coming?”

    I have no idea, but I certainly hope not. I’m much more interested in a discussion of how we can better learn to love our neighbors. Call me old fashioned, but that’s Christianity is about to me. SSM is, at its core, a political issue. Yes, it has moral underpinings that will continue on unchanged regardless of how courts/voters/government rule. But the politial fight will die down eventually (e.g. ERA). I would rather that we, as a Church, spend more time talking about more important topics. If you’re really itchin’ for a “political” tinge to your religion, let’s talk abvout bringing peace to war-torn Africa, or feeding the poor here in the States.

    “I actually looked around the room in Sunday School yesterday and thought, “Ah, these are the people who, by and large, get it about homosexuality being a sin and the need to resist the gay movement.””

    This, to me, is a dangerous thought for a couple of reasons. First, the idea that everyone in a ward feels the same about all manner of issues, either political or spiritual, is dicey. A ward, just like any other grouping of people is bound to have differences. Assumptions of belief based on membership may be a nice shorthand, but if left unexamined, can also lead prejudice. Second, just because a member “get[s] it about homosexuality” does not mean that they “feel the need to resist the gay movement,” whatever that means. Again, assumptions like these can cause wedges between ward members.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    It’s interesting what happens with almost any discussion of this general topic. Ultimately, it always ends up being a pissing contest. That’s sad.

    Apology accepted, Nick. It’s not that I find it offensive, as I’ve plowed through much in this thread that offends me – frankly, from each perspective. It’s the unneeded nature of that particular blasphemy that twists my knickers.

    It’s kind of like Paris Hilton: Who really needs it when all is said and done? In the immortal words of a rancher in a corny movie:

    You know the white stuff on chicken shit? It might look nice compared to the rest of the chicken shit, but when you look at it more closely, it’s still just chicken shit.

    Honestly, that’s how I look at much of what’s been written here. The words might sound intellectual and flowery, but when you look a little more closely, it’s still just chicken shit.

    (and, please, nobody get their own knickers in a twist over the choice of words. I used it in the strictest dictionary sense there is, just like all of my temple-recommend holding family and ancestors and fellow country boys have for centuries.)

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    Thank you, Latter Day Guy; I used to post links, but they’d get caught up and disappear into moderation. It’s easy enough to use the magical powers of Google to confirm; this information should be much more widely known. Interestly enough, HPV was (in the 60′s) seen as a disease very easily passed around by babies/young children. Still true, I’m sure; diapers and the changing thereof, you know. Carry on.

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    And what’s this stuff about making the baby Jesus cry? The fully grown up Paul, perhaps. Jesus was silent on the issue.

  • NM Tony

    #256:

    “You mean, sort of like how in reality it’s quite rare that heterosexual marriages last?”

    Thumbs up, Nick.

    #257: “It’s not a chastity issue. It’s a health issue.”

    Well put, djinn.

    #248: “a civil union so horrifying isn’t at all horrifying. You seem to have read into things a bit much.”

    YYYeah, Stephen, that was kind of the point. It’s not horrifying at all, nonetheless people are adamantly opposed to it because they seem to fear some dire consequence if our nation decides to live up to the ideal of equality for all.

  • http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com Steven B

    What has not been mentioned in this discussion, as far as I know, is that things are different this time around, in several ways.

    It is not clear from the contents of the letter to what degree the church will become involved. So we don’t know if there will be the same logistics, yard signs, assessments, etc. Something in the letter seems to indicate that this is not simply an encouragement to vote one’s conscience. Clearly there is more to come, but to what degree, it is not clear.

    But what is certainly different is that in 2000 the FP was opposed to SSM becoming legal in California, but this time, it is already legal. In fact, gay couples already had nearly all the legal rights and obligations that were previously conferred by the state only to heterosexual couples. So what the FP is concerned with here is whether the “definition” of the word marriage might be changed. That’s it, and it’s indicated right in the letter. Indeed, this is a huge fight over the use of a single word.

    So here in 2008 the FP is encouraging members not simply to keep SSM from becoming legal in California. Rather, this time, they are asking members to withdraw the existing right to marry that gay and lesbian couples now possess. (Note that the FP letter came out after the same-sex marriages began taking place.) Now church members are encouraged to actually fight against existing civil rights and even to make void thousands of existing marriages and remove the legal protections for those families.

    One thing is certain, and Justice George has reiterated several times since the Supreme Court decision, gays and lesbians are to be given equal treatment under the law to. To quote from an interview with Spiegel Online:

    If this amendment to the constitution passes, it would prevent gay people from being married, but it would not remove this protection that we put in our analysis. … We’re saying that if you look at a classification of gay people, you must treat it just as if you are classifying on the basis of the color of their skin or their religion. And that is probably the most important thing in the whole ruling, even though the population’s attention understandably has mostly been on the “M word” of marriage.

    If the amendment passes, it actually may force the government to deny marriage to everyone, and instead only provide civil unions of some sort. If that happens, would the First Presidency then have succeeded in protecting marriage?

  • http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com Steven B

    Whoops, the last paragraph in the preceding comment should not have been included in the blockquote.

  • Latter-day Guy

    Ray, having seen and shoveled enough chicken [excrement] to last a lifetime, I must strenuously object to your suggestion that the white stuff on top looks nice, even in comparison with the rest of the [excrement]. Chickens are rats with wings. They—and their [excrement]—are part of Satan’s plan, and I would like to state my firm belief that chickens and the pernicious liquid evil that falls from their backsides have done more to damage heterosexual marriages than all the gay marriages ever performed since the beginning of time.

    Seriously, folks, they’re yucky, and they have an agenda aimed at destroying the traditional family unit. These chickens don’t just want to be treated like other animals, they want widespread approval for their evil chicken lifestyles. “Sure,” you might say, “But they were born as chickens. They can’t control it. It’s just part of who they are.” Well, I have to tell you that we are here to overcome whatever weaknesses happen to be in our genetic makeup, and chickens are no exception. We are free to choose between good and evil, people, and chickens, their chicken behavior, and their wicked chicken propaganda fall squarely on the side of evil.

    If we give in now, there’s no telling how far things will go; say yes to chickens, and pretty soon, you’ll have to say yes to ducks too. Who knows, if we lose this fight today, perhaps tomorrow we will expected not to object to something as plainly satanic as geese.

    Will no one draw a line in the sand?!

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    Whether homosexuality is a sin or not, whether the Church is right in fighting same-sex marriage or not, whether the status of marriage is really in trouble or not, all this is sort of irrelevant to me. We can all draw our own conclusions and have our opinions. However, what bothers me by some of the comments here, particularly Chris’ comments, is that it’s so easy to trivilialize being homosexual. Sure, even if someone is born 100% gay, they don’t “have” to live the gay lifestyle. OK, but have you all really, I mean REALLY thought about what that entails? We heterosexual members are so quick to dismiss it as “sin” or simply a matter of “choice” or even just plain willpower. Even if it’s both, just think of what the life of a celibate homosexual entails. It’s not quite fair to compare it to heterosexual singles, who also are to remain chaste, because they can at least date, kiss, hold hands, have a non-sexual relationship. What can homosexuals do? Would it be acceptable for a gay couple having a non-sexual relationship to hold hands on BYU campus? Of course not. I mean think about it. They can’t do all the non-sexual acts of affection and of course they can’t masturbate because that’s wrong too, so what do they do? Basically they live the life of a priest or a nun, complete celibacy, which is certainly by no means impossible, but the Church is always quick to point out that we don’t believe in that celibate lifestyle anyways. We are a Church about love and marriage. So I’m not saying that the Church should just come out and allow gay marriage. I honestly don’t know what my opinion is on this anymore. But like Alice pointed out, each of us can only listen to our own consciences and what the Spirit is telling each of us. And this is where I have my personal dilemma. I don’t particularly like the idea of marriage being redefined, but some of the Church’s actions just feel wrong, politics aside. I really and truly feel for those who are gay, especially gay and Mormon, and find themselves in the middle of this war. It must be disheartening to see members trivilialize their struggles and throw the blame back at them constantly.

    I think back to the days I was single and lonely. It sucked. I mean REALLY sucked! And yet I still had the hope for marriage, or at the very least a companion to do all the things I mentioned above (minus the masturbation :) ). I would encourage all of you, particularly Chris, to really think back to those times in your life when you were looking for love and companionship and what it would have been like to be told that you were going to be celibate — completely 100% celibate — for the rest of your life. Maybe only then can you have a glimpse — just a glimpse — at what it must be like.

    So before you’re ready to cast a stone at the homosexual lifestyle, you better be able to back that up by commitment to the celibate lifestyle of a priest or nun. Personally, I know I’m no Mother Teresa.

  • Conservative Member

    Ray,

    You let vulgar language of #244 stay (from a pro-gay commentator)

    Then Nick writes a lot of detailed sexual talk.

    You then write in #261 “blasphemy that twists my knickers” really? u use knickers?
    and: “stuff on chicken sh..?” “rest of the chicken s…” “it’s still just chicken s….” when all reasonable people would see that ‘s’ word as swearing. No one has ever used as many swear words as you have in that comment.

    You really are hypocritical here by deleting comments from those strongly opposed to homosexuality, like Chris or myself, but leaving a supporter of homosexuality’s lewd language comment stand. I see what your agenda is: pro-gay marriage.

    Your moderating here is going to ruin MM. And you aren’t even a founding member.

  • Conservative Member

    #257: “It’s not a chastity issue. It’s a health issue.”

    Complete rubbish! You didn’t understand. I wasn’t saying that its ONLY sexuality transmitted but that sex takes the virus to vulnerable tissue such as the cervix or, now, the throat. And MD’s are preaching this as the article clearly states.

    HPV can live harmlessly on the skin, become a wart and be inconsequential until it inflects vulnerable tissue.

    In the ’50 they saw that convent nuns never had cervical cancer and so realized that sex took the virus to the cervix, maybe from a man touching the wrong doorknob (as you say) to becoming a harmless wart on the hand, to the man’s manhood in normal bathroom practice and then to the wife -never is any promiscuity involved.

    Now it can travel the same rout but due to oral sex end up infecting the throat -even if promiscuity is not an issue. It is a chastity matter so one never risks throat cancer caused by hpv.

  • Latter-day Guy

    RE 269, ummm, vulgar language? Really? Maybe a vulgar initial, or a reference to a gross viral video, but any vulgarity there was only by implication, not explicitly written out as in the comment that prompted my response (which was almost involuntary… like my gag reflex).

    Oh, and I’m not particularly pro-gay, or even pro-gay marriage. I just don’t think that lining homosexuals up against a wall and shooting them should be considered a valid option. I’m pro-people in general; not a popular stand to take, but hey, that’s just how I roll.

  • http://theuttermeaninglessnessofeverything.blogspot.com/ dpc

    As for the whole debate –Meh–

    Churches have gotten involved in politico-moral issues since time immemorial. Why should the Mormon church be an exception?

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    I see your complete rubbish and call you. Nuns do get HPV. So do children whithout “sexual” contact. NOt to mention that there are HPV virus warts found on hands. There’s this odd prejudice in society at large that when some disease is seen as being tied to personal worthiness, all otherwise rational thinking flies out the window. For example….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/jun/20/cancercare.research

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    Money quote:

    Condoms do not prevent the spread of HPV, because condoms only stop semen, and HPV 16 and 18 [those that cause cervical cancer] are not typical STDs. HPV 16 is passed by skin to skin contact, not through semen, so kissing, sharing spoons, breastfeeding, playing sports will all pass it on. [So, since it isn't passed on by sexual contact, prevention during sexual contact doesn't help.]

    Are you really going to let someone you love take the risk of dying of cancer because, uh, your uninformed belief that it’s deserved because the woman was a sinner?

  • Jeff Spector

    dpc said:

    “Churches have gotten involved in politico-moral issues since time immemorial. Why should the Mormon church be an exception?’

    Because the position does not align with certain people’s POV.

  • Benjamin O

    If I can step back in here (I was in this debate only once before at #149), let me say this: this has gotten heated.

    I am unabashedly and happily married to my wife. I’ll never even consider homosexuality as an option, but I’ve taken the time to understand it. I’ve had enough friends that experimented with it, are homosexual, or are bisexual to understand that it is an extremely complex issue. One that we cannot solve by putting our fingers in our ears and screaming “go away!”.

    Yes, I’ll agree that for me personally it’s not an attractive option. Big deal. I also happen to think that I have a reasonably good understanding of why it does not fit into Heavenly Father’s plan, but that’s a very personal understanding, and I don’t really think that I need to share it on this forum. Anyone who wishes to speak with me about it can try to figure out how to contact me in real life. Good luck. :) My last name is an English word meaning “group of fruit trees” and my email address is a shortened version of my first name, a period, my last name, and I use a popular email service that is constantly increasing its mailbox size and also runs a very popular search engine. If you can’t figure it out, then you don’t really deserve to talk to me. :)

    Now do you think that God has really failed to account for this? Really? In his grand plan, has he failed to account for a strange genetic twist that allows for some of his children to become attracted to the members of the same sex? I seriously doubt it. What He plans to do about this, I cannot say, but the commandment seems to be plain.

    Nick, you responded to me, saying that God will judge the desires of your heart, and then talk about the desires of your heart being love and attraction for another man. I look deeper, and believe the Lord does too. What if the real desire of your heart is too serve the Lord? A person may want to serve the Lord, and loves the Lord God, but has this other conflicting desire that makes it difficult. The Lord knows this, and will judge your behavior accordingly. I’ve always felt that’s what it means. He knows the desires of our hearts, and what our impulses are, and how well we control them.

    If I acted out my desires, then I would not be a good person. I desire all sorts of base and ugly things, but I do not act on those things. Why? Because it is contrary to the commandments of God, and even more than my desire for those things is my love for God and my desire (also in my heart) to serve him and to show my love for him. So when I am judged, what will show up as the desire of my heart? All of it, I hope. So that the weakness that I have will be apparent, so that my behavior, as weak as it is, will be shown to be more courageous than anyone realizes because of how base and degraded my impulses really are. That is what I think it means to be judged by the desires of your heart. But what do I know? I am just a man.

    So when it comes down to it all, I love the fact that the church has room in it for those who are very strong in their desire to support an amendment like this, as well as those who are more concerned about whether or not such an amendment shows a Christ-like love for their fellow man because it may cause them to suffer. As a more libertarian person, I think the government should be staying out of marriage altogether, and that marriage is defined according to religious beliefs, but that seems to be an unpopular view despite the number of problems it solves.

  • Norm Al Mormon

    Chris Bigelow,

    I assure you that I did not mean my previous comment as an ad hominem attack. I was trying to describe my reaction to the things you have said here. Your Sugar Beet contributions are characterized by language that sounds normal, but that language expresses thoughts that are so chock-full-o-nuttiness that they produce belly laughs in those that read them. I simply refuse to believe that an intelligent person such as yourself seriously hold those opinions. It is more likely that Conservative Mormon is entertaining himself by posting under your name. As it stands, it is hard to see much difference between his position and yours. Think about that.

  • Conservative Member

    djinn,

    You’re twisting the argument beyond the ridiculous. And you need to read #270 again, but properly and see if it finally gets through that think head of yours.

    We all agree that hpv can spread in normal life, like [again from 270] when a man urinates it can go from his hand to his member and then he passes it on to his wife -never any promiscuity involved, (and because of this my wife has pap tests every 2 years.)

    The point is how it finally reaches vulnerable tissue like cervix or throat. No matter how you try you’re not going to touch a cervix without some form of sex, otherwise you need a gynecologists specula. And that author obviously naively thinks that her nun is a virgin. Nor will someone put their fingers down their throat for fun, most people don’t do that. Yet oral sex will take hpv to the throat (ie the vulnerable tissue) just through skin to skin contact, and the result is this mini epidemic we are now talking about. We didn’t see these numbers back in the ’80s, did we? No, its a result…well the article explains this anyway, if you care to read it properly!

    “Are you really going to let someone you love take the risk of dying of cancer because, uh, your uninformed belief that it’s deserved because the woman was a sinner?”

    You are so wrong here, so wrong!!! I never claimed it was ‘deserved’, how you reached that is a mystery. Well actually it may be all because of how you twist things to make something that is morally wrong (oral sex) somehow appear right and natural. Just like Lucifer likes to do!!

    Next you’ll be telling me that there is nothing wrong with anal sex? off course you will!

  • hawkgrrrl

    Uhm, what the heck were we talking about again?

  • http://www.xanga.com/n8ma N8Ma

    This is obviously a very controversial issue. More comments here than in 5 other articles combined. There’s a lot of passion out there.

    I’d just like to remind people that this is going to continue, and it isn’t going to go away. While it will be easy for those who don’t know me personally to take what I’m about to say out of context, to push it to the extreme, and to accuse me of being a fundamentalist, manichean, doom and gloom, whatever, but there you have it.

    There is, sooner or later, going to be an end to this world as we know it. The proud and all they who do wickedly will literally burn as stubble. There is no getting around this fact: in the end you will either be on the right hand or the left. There is no Third Way, no lukewarm solution to issues of agency, morality, and sin. In the past 20 years or so the Church has gone out of its way to help affluent North American Mormons “fit in.” But the Church isn’t here to simply lead a quiet life. The Church is led by Jesus Christ through revelation. And, as time goes by, the paths of our comfortable culture and the teachings of the Savior will increasingly resemble strait and narrow paths or wide ways.

    I’m a lifelong Democrat. And I teach at an elite liberal arts college. I stumped for Obama in New Hampshire. I say all of these things because I live and work amongst people with very strong feelings on gay marriage. And on this issue I find myself feeling like Paul Scofield’s portrayal of Sir Thomas More–come on, it’s best for the country, everybody wants you to do it, just back down, just equivocate, just this once, give your approval to what we’re doing.

    So I have to ask myself, do we as Mormons ever have a bottom line? I mean, what do you expect the Church to do in this situation? The Church has never said it would recuse itself from all political questions–it has only said it would not interfere in partisan politics, but in matters of morality and family, it will not back down and it will not be silent. What else are we to expect if we believe the Church is what it says it is?

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    Conservative Member, I somehow missed your, uh, graphical ideas of how viruses travel. Its a virus. It can get down a throat on a spoon. It can get to a cervix in any number of ways that do not require “sinning.” Tampons, speculums (unless you consider routine gynecological medical practices sinning) I hate to think that you believe and are teaching those around you that those who may be perfectly innocent MUST HAVE SINNED! NO NO NO. This is really bad. I feel for your family.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Not that it means anything at all, but . . . never mind. I can’t find a way to express how sad I am that this has deteriorated this far.

  • http://shenpawarrior.blogspot.com AdamF

    Well Ray, that’s what tends to happen. The last time a post went over 250 comments we had started with the church and ended up talking about mayonnaise. Arguably a deterioration. :)

  • Jeff Spector

    AdamF

    Didn’t anyone ever tell you that not only is mayonnaise bad for you, it was invented by the French!!!!????

    just trying to get to 300!

  • http://shenpawarrior.blogspot.com AdamF

    Lol, my post has already been surpassed–it was 252 – yes, like Bushman who watched his Amazon rank for RSR, I felt some false pride as my comments went up–even though half of them were from me, lol–I felt special holding the record here, nonetheless.

    Just don’t let anyone pronounce it “MAN-aze”. Drives me crazy. :)

  • Alexander

    I’m not really sure how it is relevant to the SSM discussion, but it appears that a very short virology lesson is needed.
    There are over 100 types of human papillomaviruses, and they have slightly different genes that dictate which body sites they infect, as well as their tendency to cause cancer. The HPV types associated with cervical cancer are not the same types that cause warts on your hands. These types are transmitted almost entirely by sexual contact. If you’ve had oral sex with more than 6 partners, your risk for throat cancer due to HPV-16 is increased, but any sexual contact can result in transmission. If a couple has not had sex before they are married and are monogamous, they will not be able to infect each other with any HPV type associated with cervical cancer (or throat cancer). There is no chance of getting it from a tampon, and if your gynecologist does not disinfect the speculum between patients, change doctors immediately!
    That being said, it would be wonderful if the vaccine were available for everyone (men and women, gay/straight) regardless of sexual history or plans for sexual activity.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    TheFaithfulDissident #268: “I think back to the days I was single and lonely. It sucked. I mean REALLY sucked! And yet I still had the hope for marriage, or at the very least a companion to do all the things I mentioned above (minus the masturbation :) ). I would encourage all of you, particularly Chris, to really think back to those times in your life when you were looking for love and companionship and what it would have been like to be told that you were going to be celibate — completely 100% celibate — for the rest of your life. Maybe only then can you have a glimpse — just a glimpse — at what it must be like.”

    Agreed, I absolutely hated being single too, and on paper I even thought it sounded nice to spend a few more years that way (more time to read, write, etc.). I would have liked to take 4-5 years off between my two marriages but made it less than one year before remarrying.

    I’m sure being unable to ever tap into any heterosexual love would be a terrible, terrible thing. I’m sure I can’t imagine it. I’m also skeptical how many people really, truly are unable to do that from the get-go. I don’t know; only God knows.

    Here are two more things I’ll say:

    1) Even with such a terrible emotional burden to carry, that still doesn’t mean that entering into a gay sexual relationship is going to assuage the pain. It may temporarily, but in the end it will make things worse. If someone doesn’t believe the church’s teachings on this, I don’t understand why they even bother staying in the church. I certainly wouldn’t because I don’t even particularly like or enjoy the church, but my own experience and observation have confirmed the church’s stance on homosexuality and other sins, so I know it’s right to adhere.

    2) The church needs to do more to help people with same-gender attraction, including practicing gays who decide to repent and come back. Culturally we need to embrace them better, and maybe there’s even some kind of program that could help. I don’t know; with all the pain out there, I hope God sends a revelation on how to better help. I mean, the prophet instituted the Perpetual Education Fund to meet a real need. Maybe there’s something else, something better that could be done to embrace and assist those with same-gender issues, as long as they take that crucial step of admitting that homosexual behavior is a sin and repenting of any involvement they may have had.

    Accepting and legitimizing the sin by legalizing same-sex marriage or otherwise aiding and abetting the gay movement is simply not the answer, and the church is right to take a stand in California.

  • Nate S.

    I realize that the popular comparisons for SSM are with the ERA and the priesthood ban, but does anybody see a more accurate comparison with Prohibition?

    Prohibition seems to be much more appropriate comparison: The notion of “legislating morals,” a constitutional amendment that adhered fairly closely with the doctrine of the Church (notwithstanding the acceptance of the WoW as doctrine at that time in our history), etc. I’m no historian, but it seems to me to be one of the clearest examples of legislating morals (along the lines of inter-racial marriages) that I can think of.

    And it didn’t seem to work out too well for the country.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    Chris said: “Even with such a terrible emotional burden to carry, that still doesn’t mean that entering into a gay sexual relationship is going to assuage the pain. It may temporarily, but in the end it will make things worse.”

    I have to disagree with you at least partially. I believe that those in a homosexual relationship, whether it be marriage or not, has as much chance as being happy to their dying day as a heterosexual couple. As far as the Afterlife is concerned, I honestly don’t know. Maybe things will indeed be “worse” for homosexuals, but who am I to say it will? As I pointed out, homosexuals have to struggle with something that the vast majority of people would find insurmountable. So for the many who aren’t strong enough to live a completely celibate, and often lonely, mortal life, I hope in my heart that the Lord will cut them some slack. I don’t know that He will, I just hope that he will and I feel that he will only require as much penitence from them as they really and truly deserve. I have a hard time believing He will make things hard on all of them based on the struggle that He saw fit to give them in this life. I’m sure that many Mormons will disagree with me on this and I have nothing to back it up but my personal feelings about God and how he feels about His children.

    I agree with you that the Church needs to do more to reach out to these people. And quite frankly, I think that not granting a group such as Affirmation even just one short meeting in all these years shows a lack of will to reach out to them. I’m not naive enough to suggest that they should have granted the things that they wished for, but I think it was wrong to shut the door in their faces for so many years. And now I fear that the upcoming meeting that was planned with Affirmation will result in no positive changes in light of recent political events. I no longer have much hope for a better relationship between the two sides, which is so unfortunate for members like myself who feel strongly pulled in both directions to some degree.

    You say that if I don’t agree with the Church’s teachings on this subject, then I may as well leave. If I do, I might find myself regretting it years down the road when changes occur, as they always seem to do. I can’t say I know that they will happen, but I see a pattern when it comes to the Church and moral/political controversies. Just to name a few:

    Birth control: Went from being regarded as something downright evil by the Church, to something generally accepted and left up to the individual. In previous times, couples who limited the number of children they had were sinning by denying spirit children entrance into mortality. Now it’s a personal choice.

    Women: It used to be that women were pretty much told to stay at home and made to feel selfish for working outside the home. Now almost all LDS women that I know work outside the home and Church leaders have greatly softened their stance. It’s now accepted that most are dependent on a double income.

    Blacks and the Priesthood: I know that many like to say it’s not the same thing as the homosexuality issue because you have no choice in being born black, but if we go by what certain Church leaders said in earlier times, blacks did indeed choose being born into the “cursed” race because of something they did (or didn’t do) in the pre-existence. On top of that, someone like George Romney in 1964 could have left the Church feeling guilty, since the apostles who opposed the Civil Rights movement were supposedly speaking on behalf of the Lord and backing up their stance with teachings from previous prophets. Today, people who took Romney’s stance appear to have been right. So either the Church leadership later saw that they were wrong, or maybe Romney really was wrong and God actually does regard blacks as second-class citizens.

    So why would I leave the Church over this issue? I’m not saying that I’m right because I could be totally wrong. The feeling in my heart may be failing me in this one, but it’s hard not to see a pattern when we look at Church history.

    Does anyone else see a pattern?

  • Shawn Larsen

    While there appears to be some confusion among our ranks about how HPV is spread, I’m hoping we can all agree on the acceptable methods by which one may spread mayonaise: (i) with a knife (plastic will do), (ii) with your finger (for campouts only). I, for one, am strongly anti-mayonaise, prefering instead the more normal, rational choice of mustard. Furthemore, I think it is well-understood that Mircale Whip is an an abomination, and should not be consumed by any right-thinking individual.

  • alice

    “Does anyone else see a pattern?”

    I would say the answer to that one is only those who make a deliberate choice NOT to. And I think that you are very much embodying the sense of accepting that the humans in the church can be fallible even though the church isn’t.

    I didn’t read the “love it or leave it” remark (glad I didn’t) but I’ve never thought that line of reasoning (being charitable to attribute some thought process to it) was useful. Some people have written honestly, courageously and inspiringly in the last week about dealing with cognitive dissonance. Shame it was missed by or wasted on someone… It takes a lot more intellect, faith and honor to deal with what bubbles up in all sincerity from the soul.

  • http://www.anytype.com Andrew Callahan

    #283 Adam said: “Well Ray, that’s what tends to happen. The last time a post went over 250 comments we had started with the church and ended up talking about mayonnaise. Arguably a deterioration.”

    I agree. I prefer Miracle Whip.

    I wonder if that is because I believe in “miracles” or just prefer the taste?

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Responding to Nate S. #288: The prohibition example would work if the church were pushing to outlaw gay sex and prosecute those who participate in it, but that’s far from the case.

    The example doesn’t hold up, for me, when talking about whether to take the extraordinary step of changing the definition of marriage to accommodate gay couples. To apply it to your example of prohibition, the parallel would be saying something along the lines of, “OK, we are now going to elevate the status of alcoholic beverages, formerly considered a vice, to that of wholesome fruits and vegetables and make alcohol a valid food group in the accepted FDA chart for good nutrition.”

    I think the church is wise to resist this kind of redefinition.

  • alice

    Faithful Dissident- I thought I’d share this: http://religions.pewforum.org/portraits

    Although some of us don’t represent the preponderance of LDS attitude we are NOT alone either. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t comparable historic reference. I suspect we’d see some pretty interesting trends that respond to social and political tides. Not saying I know what they’d be; just saying I’d be very interested in them.

  • alice

    I see that that link goes back to a home page. Select “Social and Political Views” and then choose “Mormon”. You’ll see that 24% don’t want to discriminate. I don’t see the church booting 24% of the membership.

    Thought that clarification was in order.

  • DavidH

    “Even with such a terrible emotional burden to carry, that still doesn’t mean that entering into a gay sexual relationship is going to assuage the pain. It may temporarily, but in the end it will make things worse.”

    Chris, this may be right, it may be wrong. I do not know, and if this is a Church teaching, implicit or explicit, I am not sure that it is correct or if it is in the category of justifications given over many years for withholding of priesthood and temple blessings based on race/lineage.

    There are some same-sex couples who have lived together for many years and seem to be happy. My uncle was in such an arrangement until his partner died. Although my uncle distanced himself from the Church by choosing this relationship (or perhaps, better said, the Church distanced itself from him because of his relationship choice), he continued to believe in the Church, and his funeral was held in his ward house and conducted by his bishop.

    Interestingly, his brothers and sisters, who were almost uniformly “iron rod”, conservative, republican, devout Church members, accepted, loved and embraced my uncle and his partner.

  • Rigel Hawthorne

    Since there is a push to reach 300 and few people will probably read this anyway, I’ll throw out one more question. Should heterosexual parenting have a protected status in society? Studies show that children who have the stability of a home provided by gay/lesbian parents are doing well. There are also studies that show that the behavior of teenagers raised by lesbian parents differs from the typical teenager of heterosexual parents. Boys are less aggressive and slower to enter sexual activity. Girls are more assertive, more sexually adventurous and less chaste. There are those who will say that more diversity in role modeling is a good thing, but is it clear if the long term ability to bond with a partner or child changes?

    Carl Jung believed that although we each have a sex gender we are not purely male or female. He believed each of us has aspects of the opposite sex both in biological and psychological terms. Learning to integrate the opposite sex aspects leads to a more stable personality style.

    For instance, if a man has not developed any of his symbolically feminine qualities (e.g. emotion, need for relatedness), his personality is apt to be taken over or “possessed” by these qualities at times, so that his emotional behavior and relationships may be acted out in childish and immature ways that are apparent to others but not to him. If a woman has not developed her symbolically masculine qualities (e.g. need for independence), her personality is apt to be taken over or “possessed” by these qualities at times, so that she appears domineering to others, though she will not think of herself that way.

    A theoretical conclusion is that we can avoid uncontrolled possession s by integrating the contrasexual archetype into consciousness, realizing we are cutting off our human potential by recognizing and developing only those symbolic qualities that match the sex of our bodies.

    My opinion from reading this is that it would be an advantage to have a parent of each gender in the home so that a role model for each of these aspects of our biologic and psychologic being are nurtured directly. As I am not a psychologist, I would like to hear any other opinion on this.

    I also have a hard time imagining any male who had the kind of wonderful mother that I had choosing to bring a child into the world substituting a second male in place of a female mother, but I know I am personally biased there by my own experience.

    Legal same-sex marriage or not, individuals will continue to have the freedom to use the reproductive elements of their biology as they choose. The ability in the future to claim that heterosexual parenting should be protected is in jeopardy, so it is something to think about.

  • alice

    Rigel- What I’ve observed is that gay people — both men and women — have a close-knit and highly social community. In that way, they are more like an extended family with access to lots of mothers and lots of fathers.

    As you point out, there is information about the relative “success” of families with same sex parents. The typical women-only family is different and has different typical parenting results than the typical men-only family. Likewise, families with heterosexual parents have other results. Some are more successful on some criteria; some more successful on others. And all of us have things to work on.

    It’s still worth considering how many children have been given homes they would likely not have had otherwise (gay families often adopt older harder to place children and children of mixed racial backgrounds or different racial identity than their own) if not for gay families.

  • SteveS

    299….

  • SteveS

    300! That’s a lot of comments! But seriously, the comments on this site have been sooooo much more courteous and understanding than those on desnews.com in regards to this letter. You guys and gals all rock!

  • SteveS

    So can we boil down the arguments made on both sides of the issue to just a few? Here’s my attempt:

    Pro-amendment:
    1) Prophets are inspired. Follow the prophet. Do what the letter says.
    2) Marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman. Any other definition attacks family values and could have negative repercussions for the church.
    3) Homosexuality is simply wrong (often because it is believed to be a learned, not innate, inclination), and should be outlawed. If not outlawed, then no provision should be made by the government to protect or encourage homosexual behavior.
    4) Marriage is a moral issue, and the church can and should attempt to intervene and influence legislation that supports its moral stances.

    Against-amendment:
    1) The Church may have a right to express moral preferences in legislative initiatives, but it should not attempt to encourage (i.e. “force”) the membership of the church to take a particular side, give money or time to a particular cause, etc.
    2) Some may believe that homosexual activity is a sin, but that gays should be allowed to enter into civil unions and enjoy the same protections and civil rights that heterosexual married couples enjoy.
    3) Some believe that homosexual feelings are innate, and thus worthy of protection as basic human and civil right to express those feelings in a committed relationship that may be defined as marriage. Many believe that “marriage” should be reserved for religious unions only, and that the government should cease “marrying” people and instead officiate in “civil unions”, much akin to many European governments that do not recognize marriage in LDS temples or other venues as legally valid.
    4) Some may or may not agree with homosexuality, but believe that the government shouldn’t be legislating on this moral issue, and should stay out of trying to define “marriage”.

    There must be more. Anyone care to refine or add to my list?

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    DavidH #296 said: “Interestingly, his brothers and sisters, who were almost uniformly “iron rod”, conservative, republican, devout Church members, accepted, loved and embraced my uncle and his partner.”

    This seems like the right thing to do under the circumstances, actually, if the uncle is respectful of the family in return and doesn’t rub his sin in their faces. I know that when my wife’s gay cousin doesn’t bring a boyfriend to the family reunion, it’s almost a little disappointing. It’s fun to watch when he’s in a relationship, and you can’t help but feel bad for him when he’s alone. I admire his guts in going after what he thinks he wants. I don’t think it’s the right choice and I’m sure it will lead to eventual disappointment and heartache for him, if it hasn’t already, but on an interpersonal level, I enjoy talking with him and hearing his opinions and observing his energy. I’m a little envious that he gets to follow his bliss in life while I often feel hedged up on every side by Mormonism.

    You might think I’m a total homophobe based on my online persona, and I do admit to being a total homophobe about homosexuality itself and the gay movement. However, I’m not homophobic about gay people in person. I used to live on Boston’s Newbury Street, where my then-wife was a hairdresser (her regular clients included Mitt Romney, back when he was still just a stake prez and venture capitalist; she found him so charismatic that her knees would quiver a little as she worked on his hair). Anyway, as you can imagine if you know Boston, she had lots of gay coworkers and clients, and we became friends with one of her clients in particular, a very successful, professional, charismatic guy who really had his shee-ite together, much more so in most areas than I ever have or will.

    We became close enough that we would exchange dinner invitations, and it was fascinating to spend time with him and his partner in his lovely South End apartment, where they seemed to be successfully playing house. When the partner abandoned him, we were able to offer commiseration and support (he had been playing sugar daddy to a younger guy). I enjoyed enough good rapport with this fellow that, when he was getting ready to treat himself to a post-breakup bacchanalia on Block or Fire Island (which is the big gay one again?), I was able to look him in the eye and half-teasingly say, “Now, you packed plenty of protection, right?” And I think he actually appreciated the concern.

    That’s only one of many stories I could tell of my interactions and attitudes regarding gay people in person, because on the human level they’re not hard people to love and in fact can make life quite a bit more interesting. I did have one gay roommate who I didn’t like, but that wasn’t directly related to his gayness, although he was a bit obnoxiously flamboyant at times. What bothered me was that he was kind of a snob and a poseur and dishonest (he would steal from the restaurants where he worked and throw lavish parties with caviar and stuff). When he contracted AIDS, he just said “F— it” and went down in flames, doing needle drugs and anything else he damn well wanted.

    However, devoid of human contact at my keyboard, I am able to say what I really think about homosexuality in general, and I stand by it. In fact, maybe my conscience is so clear about my interpersonal dealings with gays that I feel some leeway to say what I think in a forum like this. I think this duality would be called “loving the sinner while hating the sin.” I respect the choice of gay people to do whatever they want amongst themselves, but the line needs to remain clear that it’s a sin, and they need to know that God wants them to come back and repent, and we mustn’t allow sinners to make their sin an accepted part of our Christian-based society. Let’s keep the baby Jesus smiling, folks.

  • alice

    Free agency is an important keystone of the church and might as well be as much a matter of practice as it is dogma.

    So is being faithful to laws and government and the constitution of CA says that people are entitled to equal protection under the law.

  • Norm Al Mormon

    I respect the choice of gay people to do whatever they want amongst themselves, but the line needs to remain clear that it’s a sin, and they need to know that God wants them to come back and repent, and we mustn’t allow sinners to make their sin an accepted part of our Christian-based society.

    Chris, doesn’t it depend on how serious we think the sin is? Substitute *gossipers* for gay people, and you sentence would make just as much sense, and nobody is proposing an amendment to the constitution to ban gossiping.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    #304: Sexual sins are the sin category next to murder, dude. And nobody’s proposing an amendment to the constitution to ban gay sex, either.

  • Norm Al Mormon

    Hey doooooood, there are levels of seriousness even in sexual sin, don’t you agree? Otherwise, we would have to excommunicate 98% of the YM for masturbation. Whatever it is that gay people do with one another, I don’t think it is a bad as fornication, because there is no chance that children will be brought into the world. Nobody is trying to pass a law forbidding the Elvis wedding chapel in Las Vegas from “marrying” the hundreds of pairs of drunks who stumble through the door every week. In my opinion, that is a more serious sin and greater threat to the institution of the family than anything gays or lesbians might do.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    I’d like to see the church press its members to push for laws in Nevada to change how marriage is defined in that state to disallow the quickie in Vegas. I see that as a far greater threat to the institution of marriage, by those who hold it in such disregard. They undermine the idea and status of marriage far greater than homosexual couples.

    I would like to see the church press for more laws that define marriage in such a way that makes divorce much harder to attain. Talk about the strongest thing that undermines marriage! Divorce! It is the bane of marriage! I’d like to see the church make more of an effort at making divorce legally tougher to attain. Will they do that?

  • Phouchg

    But Dan, if the quickie marriage law is changes in Nevada, what would BYU students do for their quickie marriage/consummation/quickie annulment?

  • hawkgrrrl

    Jeff Spector 284 – I thought we settled it that the Spaniards invented mayonnaise (“mahonesa” from the city Mahon en Espana).

    Andrew C 292 – Miracle Whip? Really?

    Chris B. 303 – Fire Island

    I like the list SteveS put together in 301. It sums it up for me. According to this list, I’m against, although not militantly so. I would like to see better outreach and some kind of liveable solution for people.

  • The Green Man

    Dan @ 309

    I was married to my dream girl at the Little White Chapel of Love in Vegas more than ten years, three kids and two university degrees ago. I enjoy the happiest and most enjoyable marriage that I can imagine – I am not kidding or overstating (for once). We eloped when her family and my wife and I’s old mission president was convinced they had revelation that we were not to be married.

    In a way though, I agree that the greatest threat to marriage as a contract / institution is the way the occasion is considered on par with the prom – a nice occasion to dress up and have sex, but not much more than that. That is a role where I see the church having an important role to play, notwithstanding my absolute opposition to its political involvement.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    But Dan, if the quickie marriage law is changes in Nevada, what would BYU students do for their quickie marriage/consummation/quickie annulment?

    Err, you can’t get an annulment if you’ve consummated the marriage.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Also, on the quickie annulment/divorce scenario – not so quickie unless you are a Clark County resident. Most BYU students are not. I believe it’s a 60 day wait, if I’m not mistaken. Talk about a lost weekend.

  • Jeff Spector

    “I thought we settled it that the Spaniards invented mayonnaise (”mahonesa” from the city Mahon en Espana).’

    Well, Hawk, if that is the case, as much as I love Spain, I still hate Mayonnaise. :)

    Miracle Whip???? it’s a miracle you like it!

  • Conservative Member

    Mayonaisse…tampons…..Miracle wip…..virus lessons…..hpv…..(plus djinn brainless skull that doesn’t read!)

    Now quickie and ‘consumated or not’. Love the variety here at Mormon Matters, we talk about everything!

    Anyway, to those who keep thinking about black/priesthood issue, you need to remember that the church has NEVER denied nor overtuned all the past teachings about sitting on the sidelines in the pre-existance or some form of inferiority that the past apostles taught. They never condemned past prophets’ preaching, just put it aside for now since its out of date. White-washed it one could say.

    But really, everything they taught in the past about blacks still stands. Only the one matter of blacks being actually ordained to the priesthood changed, and did so via a revelation well known. So they have ‘invited’ blacks to the priesthood not changed their thinking of why they are black. Nor why lamanites are dark skined either. Proof? how many general authorities are black? only a few area authorities within african areas.

    So yes, blacks can feel as second class citizens if they want to (which i’d say they shouldn’t do), as can almost everyone who isn’t blonde/blue eyed in this whitemans church! (whiteman would include Uchtdorf)

  • Conservative Member

    By the way,

    Has the brainless traitor who leaked this memo come forward yet?

    It is addressed to GA and then only Californian Stakes and Wards. If you had not leaked this it would have being read out in sacrament and put away without all the controversies here or over in desnews.com, nor would the church have had to make a public comment about it as they struggled to do at first over at abc4.com news when the journallilst first asked the church.

    Nor would afirmation have used this for their own anti-mormon agenda.

  • Jeff Spector

    Conservative member wrote:

    “But really, everything they taught in the past about blacks still stands.’

    Actually, Elder McConkie, who was one who defended the ban pre-1978 said this:

    “There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things…. All I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness, and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more. It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year [1978].

    It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the gentiles. ” Bruce R. McConkie, “All Are Alike unto God,” an address to a Book of Mormon Symposium for Seminary and Institute teachers, Brigham Young University, 18 August 1978.

    So no, everything taught in the past is eliminated, except by those who need to use it for their own purpose.

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    Hey, I’m a spirit, brains are optional. It’s a complex issue, mayonaisse, what with the catsup, ketchup corruption floating in from the far east; plus my point — something to do with reading?

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/g774367161743784/

  • jon

    I am a 21 year old pissed off mormon. I am going to sacrement on sunday to officially hear the message from the presidency, ask the bishop to expunge my records from the church, and devote any spare time in life to promoting anti crhistian evangelical tyrrany. I am going to tell kids premarital sex is ok, smoking pot is cool, and not to wait till 21 to drink. Oh yea, porn is cool too. The church needs to lose its tax exempt status for this. It is ridiculous.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    Conservative Member,

    #315,

    Surely we must do all we can to revoke this dastardly brother’s temple recommend, and put him on probation and even maybe disfellowship him for his sacrilegious, dastardly deed! How dare he put the church in a position to explain itself!

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    #318 – There simply is no adequate response to that.

  • Nick Literski

    #276:
    Nick, you responded to me, saying that God will judge the desires of your heart, and then talk about the desires of your heart being love and attraction for another man. I look deeper, and believe the Lord does too. What if the real desire of your heart is too serve the Lord?

    I think you misunderstood, Benjamin. My whole point was that there are many, many gay LDS who desperately want to do exactly what they’re told deity wants them to do. They fast, pray, beg, plead, weep, and go to therapy, all in an effort to obey. When all that doesn’t work, some sadly choose to end their mortal lives, lest they “fall to temptation.” Others come to the realization that deity didn’t “fix” them, because they weren’t “broken” in the first place. The most fortunate simply learn to accept themselves, and live as the person they were created to be.

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    Alan Turing was not only the saint of computer science, creating the mathematical framework for the field, and hence, the modern world; but he was also the single human most responsible for winning WWII for the Allies. You see, he deciphered the “Enigma Machine,” not to mention diverse other German codes, with the result that for the last five (5) years of WWII we could read the Germans’ most secretest transmissions. With this knowledge, we won. For this astonishing feat, the British awarded him with, uh, well, they discovered in 1952 that he was homosexual, and so not only chemically castrated him, but also fired him. He killed himself a year later.

    Today he would have turned 92.

    How should we treat such souls as him?

  • Latter-day Guy

    RE 322,

    djinn, that is creepy! I am reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, in which Alan Turing plays a major role. I was just reading up about his life yesterday, and had some of the same thoughts. Scary small world sometimes.

  • http://adizzylife@blogspot.com djinn

    As I stated, Alan Turing is the patron saint of computer scientists, like me. We all know this story; it may be one of the reasons that gay friendly places are also technology/cs/successful places. My younger Mormon contacts find this particular strain of their religion, like Jon above, particularly disturbing. As, I feel, is proper. What should have happened to St. Turing? Knighthood? Castration? Death? Cake?

  • http://openskyvisions.blogspot.com Steven B

    For those still interested, I thought I’d post a link to what I think is the best case for society embracing gay marriage. The OP/ED peice, by Jonathan Rauch, appeared in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121400362307993399.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

    Just one short excerpt:

    Imagine coming of age into a whole community, a whole culture, without marriage and the bonds of mutuality and kinship that go with it.

    What is this weird world like? It has more sex and less commitment than a world with marriage. It is a world of fragile families living on the shadowy outskirts of the law; a world marked by heightened fear of loneliness or abandonment in crisis or old age; a world in some respects not even civilized, because marriage is the foundation of civilization.

    This was the world I grew up in. The AIDS quilt is its monument.

  • http://www.thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com TheFaithfulDissident

    This discussion was good enough that I had to write my own sexual creed on the matter in my blog.

  • Phouchg

    #312 – there is no residency requirement to be married in the state of Nevada. See NRS 122.040

    The story about BYU students quickie weddings/divorces may be apocryphal…I was just having a funny.

  • Phouchg

    Oh BTW – I would urge those of us on this side of the issue who live in California do what I am planning on doing Sunday at sacrament meeting. When the letter is being read, simply walk out of the chapel and return a little later on in Sacrament meeting.

    Simple, quiet, effective.

  • Paula

    I have also heard that some members are planning to wear rainbow ribbons to church. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Tribune which is at:
    http://www.sltrib.com/Opinion/ci_9686052

  • alice

    Steven B- I have friends who would have done anything to be straight and live their lives the same simple direct way everyone else does. Some of them were guilted into depression and despair. One was strong and saved himself by turning his back on the church. Two others were not. One hung himself at the age of 20. I was out of the country and didn’t find out until several months later. I was not even able to go to his funeral or mourn him with friends. The other developed multiple addictions and didn’t die until he had taken several other lives into wreckage with his.

    I saw all this firsthand. I *know* they were good people and didn’t *choose* anything. They did the best they could. They deserved support and help instead of pity, guilt and derision.

    All that was back in the 60s and 70s. Before the nonsense of “reparative therapy”. Today I’m glad that most of the country has been open to what science tells us so that much healthier possibilities await people who are gay. In contrast with the aforementioned friends, more contemporary gay friends have been able to establish a family, give a home to a daughter with a schizophrenic natural mother and pursue careers in business and technology. They have given their (straight) daughter a brighter future and provided to our economy and social fabric — some of us may be using computer technology one of them has contributed to right now. Everything about this change in culture is superior and I can’t help but think that my poor tortured college friends would have their burdens eased by knowing it’s different now.

    I hope it helps to hear that I understand exactly what you’re saying. And I’m here to say that knowing means you can’t turn back or accept anything else as the truth.

  • Jeff Spector

    Paula,

    “I have also heard that some members are planning to wear rainbow ribbons to church. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Tribune which is at:
    http://www.sltrib.com/Opinion/ci_9686052

    I believe your editorial in the Trib was flawed in two major ways:

    While the Federal constitution and the structure of our US government may have been divinely inspired, the people who run those three branches of government clearly are NOT! This was the California Supreme court and I don’t think that the California constitution and the California form of government has been claimed to be divinely inspired.

    Also, you say “legal experts warned…..” legal experts were on both sides of this issue back in 2000 claiming one thing or another. Just because it was overturned at this point, does not mean it was wrongly legally only that a slim majority of the California Supreme Court thought so.

  • alice

    The equal protection clause that the CA Supreme Court based its ruling on is modeled after the one written by the Founding Fathers that God inspired to write the US Constitution. The provision for branches of government that oversee and counterbalance one another is also one of the inspired portions of the US Constitution and mirrored by CA.

    Meanwhile, the CA Supreme Court Justices were doing what they were sworn to do — uphold the constitution. There was no “judicial activism”. Their legal argument is clear, direct and supported by the equal protection provisions. That may not feel good. It may not support what you believe to be moral. It may run counter to what the GAs are trying to accomplish. But it’s simple and true.

    We are in a great paradox. The church will have to have a revelation that aligns doctrine with the US Constitution (the one written by the Founding Fathers that was inspired, not the one tinkered with to fit a preconceived agenda) and science (which is another way by which we discover HF’s work) or one that says the earlier one that conferred inspired status on the Constitution was wrong all these years.

  • Paula

    Jeff, I tried to reply earlier, but maybe it got caught in the spam filter or something. Obviously I disagree with you, and am not planning to get into a back and forth over this. The California constitution is obviously modeled after that US Constitution, so I think my argument there was quite appropriate. While there are many things about the letter that’s to be read on Sunday, I decided to focus on just one part of it– the way that some people try to tear down our system of government whenever they find they disagree with a decision made through the laws in place. It really bothers me to see that happen in official church documents or talks.

  • Seagullite

    Same sex marriage is a difficult topic for me. On a legal level, I personally believe it should be allowed, despite the fact that I do not agree with it morally. You must also take into account this is coming from an active member of the Church who has, in the past, struggled with same sex attraction. I personally do not understand why things are the way they are. Will I ever marry? I do not know. Will I have children? I do not know. The issue for me is that I do indeed feel attraction for women, yet I still battle with my feelings. I do know, however, that we have a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior Jesus Christ, who understands my pain and my anguish as I struggle to discover who I truly am. I will be obedient to my God and your God as I strive to keep the commandments that he has given me. My testimony of Jesus Christ and His infinite atonement will see me through anything, for I know that it is real. I will never deny the suffering of my Lord, even my God, as they drove nails in His hands and he hung and suffered upon a cross. And after death, on the third day he broke the bands of death and forsook the tomb. As Elder Wirthlin said, I imagine the Friday when Christ was crucified and died was dark. However, how joyous the day was when our Savior rose from the grave on that Sunday. We will all have Fridays in our lives, but just as Elder Wirthlin promised, I know that our Sunday will come, whether in this life or the next. As we languish, Christ will support us and love us. Through the Prince of Peace, we obtain peace.

    Whether or not gay marriage is permitted or whether the Church decides to support this current political action does not matter to me in the grand scheme of things. To be honest, I could care less if homosexuals are allowed to marry. I think in the end, the most important thing we can learn to do is love one another. I don’t care if you are are black, white, gay, straight, poor, rich, male or female, let’s just learn to love one another. Let’s not fight over something that we may have differing views about. Please, I implore all of us to just learn that, in the end, people may not remember everything we said, but they will remember that something was said. Let us reach out to others with love and concern, living the way our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would have us live.

    May God bless you all.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    I think in the end, the most important thing we can learn to do is love one another.

    “This commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you”

    Perhaps we should close the comments on this post now.

  • Conservative Member

    Jeff,
    (just to clarify)

    Actually they never claimed that for the ‘excuses’ previously given for being born black only for the change of giving them the priesthood. ie from your quotes:

    ““There are statements in our literature by the early brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things….”

    “Forget everything that I have said……days past that is contrary to the present revelation”

    So they changed ONE thing as I mentioned too, in #314, by revelation in that blacks should receive the priesthood and that was the subject of McConkie’s talk here, but the reasons given in the past of WHY one is born black have not been disowned or rejected since the revelation didn’t address that. That matter has only been put aside. Nor has anyone said that the past reasons given for being born black where wrong, only the belief that they wouldn’t receive the priesthood in mortality has to be forgotten due to the Lord’s revelation.

  • Conservative Member

    Dan #319,

    Lets not get carried away here. He should only be released for making public what should have been a confidential memo. I suspect that church offices saw that it was online so they were kind off forced to comment about it.

    (but he’s still brainless though!!)

  • Conservative Member

    djinn #322,

    Wow, girl, you actually used 3 neurons here! You’re right about Turing, he was brilliant.

    One could add Oscar Wild, MichaelAngelo and a ton of other homosexuals to this list, all talented and brilliant who, well, sinned in their personal life. One could also add talented and brilliant people like Pavarotti, Bill Clinton and Einstein who also sinned but with adultery.

    What do we do with them? Excommunicate them so they see what the telestial kingdom is like and let them decide what to do with their lives. But then the description given in D&C of the telestial isn’t very frightening so I guess most will be, and are, OK with telestial law.

    As to Turing, the social pressure must have been excruciating and that’s probably why he killed himself. But that was the law back then, draconian (as is the death penalty in the US which affects mostly minorities, not the white double murderer Hoffmann!) So I wouldn’t castrate sinners but I also wouldn’t give sinners all the benefits that non-sinners have, like marriage or church callings imho off course :)

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    “I also wouldn’t give sinners all the benefits that non-sinners have”

    Non-sinners have no benefits – since they don’t exist. Just sayin’.

  • Conservative Member

    Callings aren’t a ‘benefit’ for you Ray? Or is only work paid health insurance a ‘benefit’ to you? Dictionary says that benefit is “something that is advantageous or good” ??

    And #324 goes along the lines of death and gays, just as my comment did which you deleted so why not delete #324?
    Oh, she’s pro gay-marriage; right?

    or is it just about hypocrisy? because you’ve only deleted comments from those anti gay-marriage here.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    Carlos, I meant non-sinners don’t exist. Sorry, that wasn’t clear at all.

    #324 was speaking rhetorically (about a specific case) **against** capital punishment for homosexuality. It wasn’t advocating killing homosexuals – not even close. (Re-read #322.) If it had, I would have deleted it just as I did yours. Politics has absolutely nothing to do with that. Nothing.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    and, btw, I have only edited comments from YOU repeatedly here. I edited one other part of one other comment for very obvious reasons. Anyone who read it would have understood – not agreed unanimously, but understood. No other anti-gay-marriage comments have been edited in any way. None. None of them have advocated killing homosexuals and compared Mormon theology to doing so, so none of them have been edited.

    Also, I have not edited any comment on any other thread. Just this one, and just very narrowly – and just after open and direct warning.

    I won’t address this again, so take whatever shot you will – understanding I will edit only as I have thus far.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Wow – that comment about non-sinners pretty much sums it up for me. The lack of humility is astounding. I’m still not pro-SSM, but nor do I think homosexuals should be outcasts or considered as worse than the rest of us sinners. I’m pretty sure referring to non-sinners is the ultimate irony.

  • Latter-day Guy

    RE 342:

    not agreed unanimously

    And THAT, Ray, boggles my little brain! :)

  • Nick Literski

    #337:
    Lets not get carried away here. He should only be released for making public what should have been a confidential memo. I suspect that church offices saw that it was online so they were kind off forced to comment about it.

    First, there was nothing whatsoever to indicate that the letter was “confidential.” Second, the LDS public relations department only commented after the letter came to the attention of a reporter. The reporter had great difficulty getting them to even admit that the letter was genuine, but they finally confessed to it.

    The LDS church simply lost their coveted chance to control the message this time. LDS leaders aren’t stupid. They planned to spring this letter specifically on the annual commemoration of “Pride Day,” knowing full well that this would add to its “slap in the face” effect toward the gay community. Their unkind intent backfired on them, and the letter is getting plenty of advance media coverage, nearly all of which is negative (even in conservative newspapers). The LDS leaders are reaping exactly what they sowed.

  • Conservative Member

    hawkgrrrl: I wrote: “So I wouldn’t castrate sinners but ….” in response to djinn. Obviously it refers to homosexual sin or the sinner in homosexuality, not all of us sinners who never have gay sex! Shouldn’t be necessary to write out all the details.

    Ray, your bias is amazing. My first comment #32 never mentioned death, others brought that up and I responded to them if you ever care to read back. But of course you only censored the anti-gays here, not your own repetition of ‘shit’ or that other persons ‘W.T.F!!’ (And stop calling me some other name, it certainly isn’t my legal name!)

    Plus you’re just either naive or ignorant of the fact that we did enforce the death penalty to gays in Mormon Utah 1800′s. But sure, enough of this pro-gay agenda pushing post!!!

    (Oh, and you still haven’t owned up leaking this letter and all the controversy it has caused, but then you really are pro-gay, aren’t you?)

  • Conservative Member

    Nick,

    “First, there was nothing whatsoever to indicate that the letter was “confidential.” Second, the LDS public relations department only commented after the letter came to the attention of a reporter. The reporter had great difficulty getting them to even admit that the letter was genuine, but they finally confessed to it.”

    Nick, no letter from the first presidency is public unless it’s addressed to the public and released as such! This one was address, clearly, to General authorities and ONLY California Stake presidents and Bishops. Not for me here in Auckland NZ!!
    And if a Bishop decides not to read the letter he actually has the right to do so. He may replace reading for personal interview and showing, but now that its so public, he’ll be criticized by his own members for not reading it in sacrament.

    “the LDS public relations department only commented after the letter came to the attention of a reporter”…..

    Exactly, my point here that it wasn’t public, otherwise the reported would have known about it and had no need to ask whether its legit or not!!

    But anyway, no offense, but you’re wrong in getting married to a man. In Pt Monson’s word:

    ‘some depart from the road markers which point toward life eternal, only to discover the detour chosen ultimately leads to a dead end………sin all take their costly toll in human lives’ Now that same Monson says that gay marriage is simply wrong, that the church’s position is unequivocal on this moral issue. Why continue to go against the new prophet in this black and white issue…….well, maybe only Ray knows!!!!!

  • Nick Literski

    #346:
    (Oh, and you still haven’t owned up leaking this letter and all the controversy it has caused, but then you really are pro-gay, aren’t you?)

    “Conservative Member,” you are now coming dangerously close to bearing false witness against another person, notwithstanding your pretense of piety. I can absolutely confirm that Ray was not the source of this letter being disseminated. You owe Ray an apology for your lying accusation. I could tell you who it was, but frankly, your demeanor here makes me fear that you’d try to commit violence against that person, or at least vandalism to his or her property.

    #347:
    Nick, no letter from the first presidency is public unless it’s addressed to the public and released as such!

    Prove it. Show us an official statement of policy from the LDS church, establishing that no First Presidency letter can be shared with the public, absent being “addressed to the public and released as such.”

    This one was address, clearly, to General authorities and ONLY California Stake presidents and Bishops. Not for me here in Auckland NZ!!

    Then why on earth are you even commenting? If the letter isn’t for you, your own reasoning suggests that you should be completely ignoring it, lest you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong! Right now, you’re certainly acting as if the letter was addressed to you!

    And if a Bishop decides not to read the letter he actually has the right to do so.

    Nonsense. The letter specifically says “To be read in sacrament meeting on June 29, 2008.” That isn’t a request, or an option. It’s a direct order from the First Presidency to LDS bishops in California. Any LDS bishop in California who chose not to read the letter next Sunday in sacrament meeting, would be subject to chastisement from his stake president, at the very least.

  • http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/06/mormons-enter-calif-marriage-f.php TPMCafé Trackback
  • hawkgrrrl

    327 Phouchg – I should have been clearer in 312. Annulment (not marriage) for non-residents of Clark County is what has a waiting period.

    People walking out of church? Really? Is that due to being pro-SSM or just being SSM neutral and not liking politics at church?

  • Conservative Member

    Nick,

    1- Fine; if you say it isn’t him I’ll take your word for it. I don’t know either way. But I did ask Ray before and he ignored the question, plus because he was censoring here one could reasonably suspect that it was probably him who wrote this post so I don’t think an apology is due. And it seems that the first leak came from MM (apparently?)

    2- “Violence against that person”?? Chill… It ain’t that serious. I get along with gays at work, never any problems, but accepting gays in the workplace doesn’t mean I have to accept gay marriage or say that it isn’t a sin.

    3- Proof, yea sure, in the church handbook its clear that all correspondence & records are sacred and confidential. But then I’m breaking confidentiality by mentioning where the proof is, aren’t I? I’m boxed in either way!

    4- Why am I commenting? Because MM made that letter public anyway, and it’s a passionate issue that goes on and on.

    Look, in summary, how many revelations or doctrinal matters have actually been published since 1950? Apart from the normal day to day stuff in the Ensign or callings and the like, one can really only count the revelation on the priesthood from 1978 (with the sections they moved around to D&C) and then only the Proclamation on the family. Now is there a more anti-gay agenda based document than ‘The family: A Proclamation to the World’??? It does say that gender is the same before during and after mortality and that sex is ONLY BETWEEN a legally MARRIED MAN & WOMAN. Then every living apostle signed it! After reading that document, and I repeat, the only scripture level document (u know what I mean!) published by the church since the revelation on the priesthood, how on earth can any Mormon claim to be pro-gay marriage or ok with homosexuality? Obviously those members haven’t taken in the full implication of that Proclamation on the family signed by, (again) all the apostles. And they did this with plenty of time and obviously with foreknowledge of what was to happen with this gay-marriage conflict.

  • Nick Literski

    #351:
    And it seems that the first leak came from MM (apparently?)

    WRONG. It was first made available from a link at “By Common Consent.” The fact that you don’t feel an apology is needed after your false accusations says a great deal about your character.

    Proof, yea sure, in the church handbook its clear that all correspondence & records are sacred and confidential.

    That’s not proof. That’s an unsupported claim as to what you think the LDS General Handbook of Instructions might say. As I said, show us an actual quotation. Show us that it applies to letters such as this one, rather than correspondence about specific individuals, for example.

    After reading that document…(snip ranting about the “scriptural” nature of a document which has never been sustained in a general conference as revelatory)…how on earth can any Mormon claim to be pro-gay marriage or ok with homosexuality?

    Real Mormons can disapprove of homosexual relations, and even disapprove of marriage equality, while recognizing that attempts to legislatively eliminate the rights of homosexuals is an abusive act of religious persecution. You see, real Mormons know what it’s like to have others engage in political persecution against them, based on religious differences. Real Mormons know there’s nothing godly about such behavior, no matter how much the actors shout about deity. As such, real Mormons have immense respect for the rights of their fellow beings. Real Mormons would never attempt to restrict the legal rights of others, simply because those others do not obey LDS doctrine. Real Mormons have the integrity and common sense to understand that the moment they step forward to limit the rights of others, they endanger their own rights.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Shawn Larsen

    “You see, real Mormons know what it’s like to have others engage in political persecution against them, based on religious differences. Real Mormons know there’s nothing godly about such behavior, no matter how much the actors shout about deity. As such, real Mormons have immense respect for the rights of their fellow beings. Real Mormons would never attempt to restrict the legal rights of others, simply because those others do not obey LDS doctrine. Real Mormons have the integrity and common sense to understand that the moment they step forward to limit the rights of others, they endanger their own rights.”

    Nick — I don’t always agree with you (heck, I don’t think I agree with you on SSM), but I absolutely 100% agree with this statement. No matter our political bent on a given issue, at the end of the day, Mormonism must equal unconditional love for our fellow men, period. Well said.

  • http://adizzylife.blogspot.com djinn

    An unpopular minority — Mormons (see Romney campaign)– trying to limit the rights of another unpopular minority –Gays — about an issue (Marriage) which Mormonism has a somewhat vexed — and very very famous — history, reminds all and sundry about said vexed history, is on the wrong side of history (again–see any number of issues, but perhaps blacks and the priesthood is the closest), hurts the reputation of the church in society at large, does nothing to lessen the distrust of the church felt by the Evangelicals who are the main supporters of the amendment, and in my admittedly brainless conclusion, is the exact opposite of what the church should be doing. The church did change their mind on oral sex, solely because of the outrage of the members; it could happen again.

    Nick (351) yes yes yes.

  • Conservative Member

    Nick,

    I’m not going to scan and post here from the handbook (its would breach copyright too). If you have a book 1, blue one, which you probably shouldn’t, then you can find it yourself without me breaking more confidentiality.Plus who its addressed to also implies confidentiality. I don’t understand why you can’t see this.

    And I did say ‘apparently’, if its CC fine I’ll take your word for it.

    You definitely have an argument there with the ‘real mormons’ and I see what you’re on about, but isn’t following the brethren what ‘real mormons’ should do first? After all its the apostles who are promoting ‘legislatively eliminate the rights of homosexuals [in] an abusive act of religious persecution’ as you put it. I think they call it protecting the family and standing up for God’s revealed morality, after all when has God ever changed his views on homosexuality -which we would find out about through the prophet. But Monson doesn’t seem to be going in your direction but, as his letter shows, he’s going in the opposite direction to you. And you’re really calling Monson a ‘not real mormon’ since he authored the letter.

    But anyway you definitely have a right to lobby for your political ideals, only I hope you consider what happens in MA and in England today where even the catholics can’t offer adoption services anymore because they don’t believe in gay marriage so they are banned by courts. I hope that as you lobby for your political agenda you respectfully allow church members to lobby for their agenda, the one the prophet is asking them to do.

    On the proclamation, c’mon man, you know what I meant there. Sure it isn’t sustained in conference (because there is nothing new in it) but it’s the closest we have to addition to scripture since that revelation on the priesthood. Nothing else has all the signatures of ALL living apostles. I ain’t small fry. And it is completely anti-gay with its reaffirmation of sex within marriage between a man & woman and so on. You can’t dismiss it that easily because it wasn’t sustained as new scripture, surely??? Don’t all those signitures from those sustained as prophets, seers and revelators mean something major? Surely they do.

  • Conservative Member

    djinn,

    “The church did change their mind on oral sex, solely because of the outrage of the members”

    Another brainless conclusion dear, or love :) (see I’m now spreading the love to the enemies of the church!)

    We stopped asking about it in temple recommends only because most couples didn’t do it and some singles asked why you asking me. But the church didn’t change its view on oral sex, it still teaches that sex should be ‘natural’ and safe, so oral/anal But it is inappropriate to ASK about it in temple recommend interviews. They replaced everything with the keeping the law of chastity question. They also don’t ask missionaries about masturbation in temple recommend interviews but the church still condemns it.

    But then no one polices this, so you can continue doing it….it’s your private business. I doubt it will send you to hell or anything like that.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Shawn Larsen

    “But the church didn’t change its view on oral sex, it still teaches that sex should be ‘natural’ and safe, so oral/anal.’

    Sorry, this is simply wrong. The Church does not police the bedroom activities of married members. You may have beliefs about what constitutes “natural” and “unnatural” sex, but they are purely of your own making.

  • Nick Literski

    #355:
    And you’re really calling Monson a ‘not real mormon’ since he authored the letter.

    Aside from the fact that Monson likely only approved the letter, and didn’t actually write the letter, you’re absolutely right. If you want my model of a “real Mormon,” you can look to Joseph Smith. Monson is no Joseph Smith. In fact, based on many years of studying Joseph Smith’s life, I’m quite confident that he never would have engaged in the sort of stunt currently being directed by Monson.

    I hope you consider what happens in MA and in England today where even the catholics can’t offer adoption services anymore because they don’t believe in gay marriage so they are banned by courts.

    Nobody banned Catholics from providing adoption services. Rather, the Catholic adoption agencies in question wanted to use government funds in a way which violated the local government’s anti-discrimination laws. The Catholics could simply have discontinued drawing on government funds, which require equal treatment, rather than religiously-motivated differences in treatment. By doing so, they could have happily continued to provide their services as they wished.

    Nothing else has all the signatures of ALL living apostles.

    FALSE. The members of the quorum of the twelve all signed a testimony of Jesus, commemorating the turning of the millenium.

    Don’t all those signitures from those sustained as prophets, seers and revelators mean something major?

    Honestly, “all those signatures” mean exactly one thing. They mean that the president of the church (Hinckley at the time) made a decision to issue the Proclamation Against Certain Families, and true to their custom, all of the twelve obeyed, regardless of what personal feelings they may have had on the matter.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    Conservative Member,

    But anyway you definitely have a right to lobby for your political ideals, only I hope you consider what happens in MA and in England today where even the catholics can’t offer adoption services anymore because they don’t believe in gay marriage so they are banned by courts.

    I’m with Hick on this one. I can’t help but say, “So?” If the church doesn’t use government funds, it can set whatever policy it wants and the government cannot do a thing about it. But as Nick says, the Catholic church wanted to use government funds. If that’s the case, then the Catholic church must abide by the laws and regulations of that said government. This is nothing particularly newsworthy. If a church cannot abide by those rules and regulations, they should stop asking for government money.

  • http://thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com Dan

    sorry, Nick, not Hick. It’s early on a Friday.

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Chris Bigelow

    Shawn Larsen #353 said: “At the end of the day, Mormonism must equal unconditional love for our fellow men, period.”

    “Unconditional love” is a false doctrine and idea. When I worked at the Ensign magazine, the correlation department told us never to use the term.

    God’s love is very much conditional. Think of Lehi’s dream. The fruit of the tree is God’s love. To get there and partake, you have to follow the iron rod. If you don’t, you don’t get to partake of God’s love and you fall into other paths.

    Yeah, God loves us all enough to give us the opportunity to choose what’s right, but if we don’t, then he won’t even visit us in our telestial or terrestrial eternal glory, both of which are conditional rewards for partial success in the test of life.

    Mormonism is survival of the fittest on an eternal scale. Just as natural selection determines which animals survive so they can reproduce, the Mormon plan of salvation determines which humans can survive spiritually so they can reproduce in the celestial kingdom. Everyone else “dies,” or is spiritually removed from God’s presence and does not get to reproduce in the eternities.

    Of course, God wants us all to succeed and in many ways bends over backwards, including allowing his own son to go through the Atonement, but there are still many conditions that must be fulfilled by us.

    Likewise, our love in this life toward “sinners” is conditional. If someone is going to steal from us or molest our children or otherwise damage our household or our society in some way, we withdraw our love and fellowship from them as needed, just as God does. To the degree that they are willing to be helped along the path of righteously, we of course bend over backwards to help, but if they are set in their sinful ways, we withdraw our love.

    Personally, I would prefer to never hear the B.S. term “unconditional love” again.

  • SteveS

    I think equating the plan of salvation and the ultimate reward of exaltation to a divine game of survival of the fittest is dangerous to the extreme in that it denies the operative power that actually qualifies one for such blessings: God’s grace. Grace counters natural selection by erasing consequences of our actions, desires, or lack of faith, and giving rewards where we have not merited them. You may try to argue that those who reach the celestial kingdom are those who were “fittest” for accessing that grace, but grace just doesn’t work that way. There’s nothing we can DO to merit it, and to demand it from God is presumptuousness in the extreme. I guess what I’m trying to say is that equating the plan of salvation to a game of survival essentially claims that one can, through one’s intellect and actions, succeed where others not so endowed with intelligence or so calculated in their actions, did not. We have to understand that if grace is the gatekeeper, God’s plan is certainly NOT Darwinism. We keep commandments and strive throughout our lives because we have HOPE that God will extend grace to us and allow us to receive the blessings spoken of by prophets; in no way are we in the process of meriting those blessings by our actions.

    Also, I don’t know about you, but Love is the only unfailing, unconditional attribute about God that I can positively support. If the Ensign editorial staff didn’t like using “unconditional love”, that’s really too bad. I bet a lot of people in this Church could do well to remember God’s love more often.

  • http://weightermatters.blogspot.com AHLDuke

    #361 & 362

    - Lets just make sure we don’t equate “the Correlation committee told me not to use it” with “its false doctrine.”

  • http://sunstoneblog.com Matt Thurston

    Chris Bigelow (#361) said, “Personally, I would prefer to never hear the B.S. term “unconditional love” again.”

    Too bad, here it is again: http://mormonalliance.org/newsletter/jul_2003.htm

  • http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/6/27/11291/1484 Daily Kos Trackback

    An invitation to show up or walk out on June 29th

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/6/27/11291/1484

  • Shawn Larsen

    #360 — Chris, you and I obviously have very different views as to what the Gospel means and requires of us. To begin, with all due respect, I give as much credence to something you heard from Church middle-management eons ago as I do to all of those anecdotes I hear about what happened in somebody’s sister’s neighbor’s ward in AZ.

    First, I don’t equate the possibility of receiving a lesser eternal reward as a result of my own actions as a sign that God loves me any less. Indeed, the fact that God gives us the opportunity to use free agency can be seen as the ultimate expression of love. The fact that I screw it up and, hence, don’t live up to my potential does not mean God loves me any less because of my acts. Think of how we parents relate to our children. I give them instructions and rules, adherence to which may result in a reward — for example, “if you clean up your room, we can go get ice cream tonight” If they do it, great, we’re off to get a scoop. If not, tough luck. But no matter how they choose to respond, my love for them is unchanged. I’m disappointed, but I still love them despite their faults. The fact that God puts conditions on exaltation does not, in my mind, equate to his placing conditions on his love for us.

    Second, regardless of how we feel about our relationship to God, I think our mandate to love others unconditionally is pretty clear. Citations in the scriptures and Confernce talks to this point are legion. In your child molester example (always the extremes here on the ‘Net!), you’re right that the sinner may not be entitled to my trust or community (file under: fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice . . .), but he is entitled to my forgiveness and love, despite his sins. Isn’t that what “turning the other cheek” is all about? Pres. Hinckley addressed this very subject just a couple of years back (read the talk here), saying,

    “I know this is a delicate and sensitive thing of which I am speaking. There are hardened criminals who may have to be locked up. There are unspeakable crimes, such as deliberate murder and rape, that justify harsh penalties. But there are some who could be saved from long, stultifying years in prison because of an unthoughtful, foolish act. Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.”

    In other words, we are required to forgive all men, and forgiveness is the ultimate act of love. Sound familiar?

    So, I personally hope to never hear again “the B.S. notion” that I am entitled to withhold my love from those I deem to be “sinners.”

  • http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com Christopher Bigelow

    Hmmm, this little “unconditional love” diversion is interesting enough that I’d like to try a blog post on it, if nothing else than just to start a fresh debate on the topic, rather than bat it around a little with the few who are still holding on at nearly the 400-comment mark of a post originally about the California marriage situation.

    I’ll take the comments here so far into account in developing my opening salvo. I will probably begin the post with a definition of what I understand “love” to be, so we can see if we have common ground there as a prelude to debating whether or not love can be “unconditional.”

    I imagine we’ll come up with a few different definitions of what love, and especially God’s love, really is.

    I would also like to do a separate post on whether or not–or to what degree–Mormonism is like spiritual Darwinism.

  • Conservative Member

    Dan #359

    “If the church doesn’t use government funds, it can set whatever policy it wants and the government cannot do a thing about it”

    I believe this is wrong and its the key to this entire debate. The point is that it isn’t allowed to set its own policies at all in this area of adoption simply because it rejects same sex marriage. Its not about using public money or not but in not being allowed to legally provide adoption services, or even provide legal marriage services, since it rejects gay-marriage and this is then seen as discriminatory by the courts. Once gay-marriage is legal, a church will have to marry gays or no one at all, and provide adoption services to both gays and straights or no one at all. Maybe #219 articulates this better. The only way around this is to specifically permit discrimination against same-sex couples in the anti-discrimination act, therefore it would permit a church group to discriminate against some couples just as, say, the military discriminates against persons of certain age in choosing officer candidates (for example). But the discriminating against gay couples would have to be listed as specific exemptions to anti-discrimination law.

    Nick,

    I doubt I will ever convince you of the wrongfulness of gay marriage or of homosexuality for that matter. But then, as I’ve said before, you are free to lobby your case but so is the church and so is Pt Monson. Oh, you’re right about the testimony on Jesus in 2000, I’d forgotten about that, my bad. So now its the revelation on the priesthood in ’78, then the proclamation in ’95 and finally the Jesus statement? in ’00. :)

  • The Green Man

    # 368

    That is not the way it works here in Ontario. I am not aware of any prelate performing a marriage against their will. Churches set their policies and their members participate in the manner those members see fit. The laws of the country determine what is acceptable to the public at large AND with respect to the rights of minority groups. Minority Groups include people like Mormons and Homosexuals, because both groups suffer (or have suffered) discrimination, the law seeks to ensure that all people are apart of society. Criminal sanctions are set against activities that are demonstrated to be harmful. Judges are set as adjudicators. Lawyers are employed to argue reason and morality. Politicians are employed as delegates of the majority. The majority sets the rules, if these rules do not apply to harmful activities and have the effect of excluding a minority group from fundamental rights, the courts will either strike down a law or read down a law so that the law is eliminated or interpreted in a way that permits all people to be equal actors in society.

    Limits on the ability of the majority / government are entirely necessary for a free society, because when the majority excludes a minority group that does no demonstrative harm, then freedom of the individual is meaningless. This is the key to the entire debate. The ‘wrongfulness’ of a particular practice is not in question, the harm to society has not been proven to any impartial adjudicator, period. I would suggest that much evidence exists to the contrary, and feel the courts have rightly decided. There is no grounds to merit a constitutional amendment that, in light of the present decision result in the amendment being read down as much as possible.

    In short the church is encouraging members to waste time and effort to attempt to exclude members of society that are not a threat to society. The only thing to be gained in the exercise is the alienation of those progressives who remain in the church. In fact, I believe this letter is an effort to clean the church of those who would think for themselves, think of the consequences for their fellow man, and who would require proof before walking on the rights of others based on their sexual preferences. It is certainly a sharp edge.

  • alice

    Beautifully said, Green Man.

  • http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com Ray

    “In fact, I believe this letter is an effort to clean the church of those who would think for themselves.”

    Somehow I can’t envision the FP and the Q12 sitting in a meeting saying, “How do we get rid of members who think for themselves? Hmmmm, how about we oppose gay marriage? Yeah, that will drive out those who think for themselves.”

  • Nick Literski

    I honestly think the LDS leaders’ decision to launch this religious crusade of political persecution has one major purpose: convincing evangelical christians that LDS are “part of the family” among so-called “mainstream” christian churches. By jumping on the evangelical bandwagon (even to the point of using evangelical anti-gay rhetoric, verbatim), the LDS church enhances it’s public perception among so-called “mainstream christians,” thus aiding missionary work.

  • working mother

    372. I disagree. I think the alignment of the church with the evangelical bandwagon is a side effect, not the major purpose. I think the brethren are actually convinced they have to launch this religious crusade in support of traditional marriage for doctrinal purposes. I myself think they are quite wrong, and I also think that aligning themselves with evangelical bandwagon has no chance of aiding missionary work. Just my take.

  • working mother

    I found this letter posted by an active member of the church in California, to be very interesting.

    You can find it here. http://www.affirmation.org/media/2008_06_24.shtml

    I’ll paste it below

    Open Letter to California Mormons
    “We should never allow our constitutions, whether state or federal, to become weapons in a crusade to impose a particular religious value system upon a pluralistic democracy”

    by Jeffrey S. Nielsen
    24 June 2008

    I am a member of the Mormon Church, a married heterosexual, and a supporter of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. I am asking you to pause and give sincere thought to the letter from our religious leaders you have heard read, or will soon hear read, over our church pulpits asking you to get involved and oppose marriage equality in California. Please think deeply about this, not only as a member of a particular church, but also as a citizen of a democracy.

    To press for an amendment to a civil constitution that would legalize discrimination against an entire class of people is no small matter, but of the greatest significance. When the argument, no matter how well intentioned, is based solely upon a religious proclamation; then, I believe, it is a serious contradiction of the wisdom of our founding fathers. It also does tremendous damage to the great progress in civil rights we’ve made in our country respecting the equal dignity of each person and towards a more certain legal equality for all citizens.

    You should also know, not all faithful Mormons agree with our religious leaders’ encroachment into political matters. In fact, a growing number of active Mormons, who have gay friends and family members, are coming to the conclusion that our current leaders are as mistaken in promoting discrimination against gays and lesbians as was the Mormon hierarchy in the 60′s when they opposed equal rights for people of color, and our Mormon leaders in the 70′s when they opposed legal equality for women.

    Of course, religious authorities of any denomination possess the right, and may claim the legitimacy, to set the theology and policy for their religious community. When they; however, attempt to interject religious doctrine into the public spaces of a diverse democracy without reasonable justification, then members, especially faithful members, of that religious organization have the civic responsibility to express public disapproval of such dangerous and undemocratic behavior.

    No one is asking that you condone a behavior that might violate your religious faith, but we need to allow everyone the freedom to live their life as they see fit, so long as it does not physically harm another person. After all, religious values must be something an individual freely chooses, not something forced upon him or her by the state. We should never allow our constitutions, whether state or federal, to become weapons in a crusade to impose a particular religious value system upon a pluralistic democracy. Today it might be a particular religious value that we affirm, but tomorrow it might be a religious system, which would seek to legislate against our own sincere beliefs. So now is the time to take a stand and keep separate civil and religious authority.

    I do not believe that people choose their sexual orientation any more than they choose their skin color or gender. So to discriminate and deny them equal protection and equal opportunity under civil law because of these natural traits; especially in this case, sexual orientation, is grossly unfair and should be rejected outright in a compassionate and just democracy. If anyone could give me a single reasonable argument against marriage equality in our civil society, which doesn’t make fallacious appeals to tradition, misplaced appeals to religious authority, or make some ridiculous claim about nonhuman animals, then I would like to hear it. So far, no one has been able to present me with even a single justifiable reason.

    You should know that like you, family and marriage are very important to me. As I have become acquainted with gay and lesbian couples, I have been touched by their goodness, sincerity, and commitment. I am persuaded that allowing marriage equality would, in fact, strengthen the institutions of family and marriage in our country. Perhaps it might even make all of us a little more considerate and responsible as both marriage partners and parents. I can only hope that the citizens of California, and my fellow Mormons, will possess the wisdom and moral decency to reject the unreasonable and unjust call to discriminate against our gay and lesbian coworkers, friends, neighbors, church members, and family.

  • Pingback: A letter from my sister… at Mormon Matters

  • The Green Man

    Ray @ 371

    I understand why you would be hesitant to buy into the ‘clean up the church’ idea – it seems to smack of both a conspiracy theory by the church and a victims complex among those that disagree. Notwithstanding this, I can’t help but think of the publicity nightmare for the church when the September Six and the Danzigs (sic) were kicked out. This is a convenient way to have the socially liberal element remove themselves from the Church and to align themselves with mainstream evangelicals.

    I might be wrong on this point, but it seems pretty convenient.

  • wayfarer

    Did Joseph Smith not say something along the lines that though he may disagree with another man’s expression of his beliefs he would defend to the death his right to hold such beliefs?This seems to me a useful principle in the circumstances,and leaves me further confused as to the church’s position.

  • Pingback: Open Thread: Your experiences in church today w/ the gay marriage statement at Mormon Matters

  • Kennyboon

    It was disturbing to hear that the church is taking a political stand on gay marriage, however, think about it. This is the church, the church would not change the stand against gay marriage. The church has right towards saying or supporting any issues the First Presidency decides best for members. I do know the church wants to keep the marriage between a man and a woman. If the church is support gay marriage, then the next demand by the society is Temple gay marriage. The church does not want any thing comes close to temple marriage. That is the reason the church has not taken the stand against civil union not domestic partnership.

  • Conservative Member

    Kennyboon,

    Its also about overturning the will of the people, not only the gay marriage issue.

    After all the first presidency start that letter by addressing the court’s overturning the the people choice clearly expressed in March 2008. I don’t think that this was the case in the MA. MA voters would probably be overwhelmingly pro gay marriage.

  • Nick Literski

    #377:
    I do know the church wants to keep the marriage between a man and a woman. If the church is support gay marriage, then the next demand by the society is Temple gay marriage. The church does not want any thing comes close to temple marriage.

    Kennyboon, the decision of the California Supreme Court does not require any church to “support” marriage equality. Churches are free to teach and believe whatever doctrine they wish. Likewise, the court’s decision has nothing at all to do with requiring that the LDS church marry same-sex couples in its temples. Temple marriage is completely different from civil marriage. Anyone who tells you that the court’s decision will make the LDS church have to marry same-sex couples in its temples is lying to you, in order to scare you into giving them money.

  • Conservative Member

    Nick,

    I really think you are missing the main point of this entire battle although your argument is logical and appears correct.

    While you’re right that there is no requirement to “support” marriage equality a church still can’t discriminated against same sex couples in a ceremony which the state needs to recognize as legally binding. Anti-discrimination laws stop them from doing so for legally binding practices such as marriage or adoption or mediation (which Bishops can do in some areas of the world). Priesthood ordination aren’t recognized by the state therefore not a discrimination issue. But marriage, in many ways, can be seen as a service performed by the church on behalf of the government since the government regulates who can and who can’t marry (underage, siblings etc).

    The consequences of all of this is that Temple marriages won’t be recognized by the state anymore as already happens in many countries. And the ability to marry would be taken away from Bishops since they’d “discriminate” against same sex couples. Remember that Bishops can marry because the state grants them the legal authority to do so, not from priesthood authority.

    But then again people in many countries need to marry before the state in one ceremony and then travel to a Temple for the church marriage so in many ways this is already happening in some countries and isn’t a concern for the church.

    And off course all this could be avoided if they grant specific permission to churches to discriminate against same sex couples as they allow them to discriminate when hiring professors in BYU or seminaries, but I doubt they will.

  • http://mormonmatters.org Nick Literski

    You have an interesting line of thought, CM, but I think your worries are misplaced. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage decades ago. Up until at least 1978, it’s safe to say the LDS church refused to marry a white person to an African American person in LDS temples, since the latter were denied that ordinance altogether. Do we know of any actions during that time period, or during the height of the civil rights movement, when the U.S. Government, or any individual state, threatened to refuse to recognize temple marriages? Were LDS bishops in the U.S. denied authority to perform civil marriages? No

  • The Green Man

    CM & Nick,

    Legislation can not over rule the constitutionally guaranteed Freedom of Religion. That guarantee is one of the supreme laws of the land and will nullify the requirements of any religious practice to conform to a practice. Furthermore, that constitutional guarantee allows the Church an almost unfettered ability to set its own policy. The only restriction that could effect faithful LDS is that a Mormon who works as a Justice of the Peace or in any other similar civil capacity would be required, as a function of their office, to perform their civil duties for all, this will undoubtedly create moral quandary and ethical dilemma for those few who object on religious grounds to performing their duties. It would be wise for the legislature to craft legislation that would protect the employment of those who so object. I believe the church would be prudent to actively protect their members by intervening in the political process for that purpose only.

  • Mary

    I’m not Mormon but a stand by there side, Marriage is for Man and Woman!! They want there rights but have a problem when people speck out about our rights to vote NO!!

    I wish all Church’s would stand up!!!!

  • kennyboon

    conservative, the real right belongs to everyone. Everyone should allow to marry. The court was protecting the minority. If majority rules, then this world would be unfair. The minority will never be equal to majority. so lets face this, gay marriage will never concern you, your wife and your children. There is nothing wrong to teach children about gay couple. It is their rights to learn. Children will never be gay if they learn about gay marriage. If the children are gay they will be gay. If they are straight, they will always be straight. The LDS church has the right to oppose gay marriage but it is the right of minority to exist and practice marriages too.