i in no way expect to expansively cover every facet of this topic, or even come close to remotely touching on every last conceivable concern or objection to my assertions. i am actually only endeavoring to touch on one main point.
many of you will disagree with me on this entire post, some of you will agree wholly or to some degree, most of you will at least give my words some thought, and some of you will still reject my statements after thinking it over. and that's okay with me. the point of this opening statement is that i realize i'm bringing up an emotionally charged issue, full of deeply rooted feelings and opinions. the last thing i expect this post to do is change anyone's mind. but i hope to open the pathways of new consideration, new ideas, and thoughts you may have never thought before. i have radically changed my opinion on this topic, and it took many prayer, study, and pondering sessions, handfuls of open, honest, and sometimes angry discussions, and an english teacher who did a terrific job of forcing open my mind to something i was sure would never change.
to some degree or another this describes your life: you grew up reading the scriptures as a family on sunday evenings, family home evening on monday nights, mutual on wednesdays, and mom and dad went out for date night on friday nights. you've never even been offered a cigarette in a social setting, a sip of coffee might as well be whiskey, and if someone says, "scripture mastery" your only reply is "which one?". you are the typical latter-day saint.
all your life you've been taught that homosexuality is a sin, and you agree. the family proclamation is your credo, and you're comfortable with that. so when it comes to same-sex marriage being legalized, the answer is obvious: no way.
does this make you a bigot? are you hateful? no way, not at all! you love all people, and you truly strive you empathize with others and accept all people for who they are, and most importantly, you foster a deep love for God's children in your heart. so how could you be off track?
you believe that marriage is sacred and ordained of God. you believe that gender is essential to individual identity and that marriage should be between a man and a woman. family is the purpose of life and is critical to your individual happiness, as well as the foundation of society. without solid families built upon a sturdy foundation of husbands and wives, society will lose it's stability and crumble, as foretold by ancient and modern prophets, as described so explicitly in the family proclamation. you recognize that same-sex marriage will likely eventually be legalized across the U.S., but you only hope it won't happen in your lifetime, or your children's, or your grandchildren's...
you are a latter-day saint, and a dang good one! you love the people around you despite lifestyle differences, weaknesses, shortcomings, and opposing political views (or at least strive really freaking hard to!). you are patient with your friends and loved ones, you offer the benefit of the doubt, you reserve judgment for the heavens.
you believe that the true church of Christ was restored in this last dispensation, and that a current prophet lives on earth. modern apostles and prophets have actively protested the legalization of same-sex marriage, i mean we all witnessed prop 8, right? so why should any faithful latter-day saint, including you, give a second thought to the marital rights of homosexuals, if the living prophet of God and other church authorities are against those rights? i mean, last i checked, the church hasn't repealed their stance since prop 8.
but let me tell you something, you can be both on track and off track at the same time. you can know that homosexuality is a sin and even wish that no same-sex couple would desire to marry, and this is okay. but where our divine understanding about marriage and the Lord's doctrine on homosexuality is not accepted by every other american, we are off track in our expectation of our fellow americans and in our expectation of a law created by man.
here's my idea: this is a civil rights issue. this is america we are talking about, not the kingdom of God. these are civil rights of american citizens on the table, not gospel doctrines. and this question i'm about to ask right here is the real kicker, the question upon which any potential same-sex marriage paradigm shift is contingent:
on any other topic besides same-sex marriage, have you ever expected U.S. law to match your inner belief system?
a few more questions alma-five-style for you to ponder over, pray about, to use in conjunction with your personal scripture study, and mainly to reflect on how they relate to the civil rights of homosexuals in america. here goes:
- when is the last time you (or the church) revolted against current laws legalizing the use of tobacco, alcohol, and strip clubs (to name a few behaviors we LDS people see as sins, that are currently legal for U.S. citizens)?
- when is the last time you expected society at large to match your personal values and standards (separate from this concern)?
- when is the last time the church expected society and current U.S. laws to match our personal values and standards (separate from this concern)?
- as a U.S. citizen who deeply values your own freedoms that are too great to number, can you honestly say that withholding the freedom to marry from a group of people whose inner belief system varies from yours is constitutional?
i am not suggesting that the church is ever going to, or should ever make a change to official doctrinal views on homosexuality and marriage. i am suggesting that individual members need to recognize that the question of same-sex marriage becoming valid in the legal system in the united states is a civil rights issue, entirely separate from true doctrine. there has never been a time in U.S. history when laws were dictated by the mouth of God. think about it!? after the second coming, when earth is politically and ecclesiastically ruled by Jesus Christ, my discussion will be much different. but for now, that is not the case.
so here is my big invitation: will you try, or consider trying to view this as a civil rights issue? would you separate your cherished and wonderful values from your expectations from U.S. law regarding this issue? because you've already done so on many other occasions. will you take time to ponder, search your scriptures, and pray about the questions i posed?