In the comments to the previous post (On Blogger, not Facebook) The author of the original note responded with her feelings.
Read that comment before pressing on: (I've also attached it to the bottom of this entry.)
I apologize for not knowing you are from Los Angeles. I figured you were in UT, and I should have checked.
I think you mis-understand what I meant by the church asking gays the same thing in regards to celibacy and marriage. What I mean by that is that the church will never recognize, nor be forced to recognize or solemnize gay marriages, and therefore there is no chance for companionship in this life for a gay mormon. I was not insinuating that if gay marriage were legal that the church would have to shine it’s blessing upon gay sex.
You also seem to get very hung up on the sexual aspect of homosexuality. I realize this is the “icky” part that everyone immediately thinks of, but living openly as a gay man doesn’t not mean having sex. It means not fighting yourself all the time, and not having to hide. You take for granted that you are straight. You agree with the church that homosexuals do not choose their feelings—so imagine you have to spend your whole life fighting them. Imagine if the prophet commanded you that your feelings towards your fiancé/husband or boyfriend were never to be acted upon, and in fact, you had to play out your life acting like a lesbian, could you do it? Wouldn’t it be incredibly hard and painful? Well reverse that, and that’s exactly how it feels to be gay and in the church. It hurts, and it’s not easy—especially when everyone around you is professing that how you feel inside, is an abomination to God.
“Gay people who tell the ward about their homosexual relationships are disciplined”. I never said gays who are in the church should be giving talks about their relationships—I’m talking about the members who are gay and DON’T act on their feelings. They TOO can be disciplined, even though they’ve broken no commandments, because Mormons are not yet ready to handle the idea that homosexuals can be and are worthy members of the church.
“I am interested in knowing what doctrines, council and scripture precede the doctrine we currently have on the issue.”
There is no doctrine that counter-acts the Mormon Church’s stance on Homosexuality—that is clear, and has never been in question. The scriptures that I’m referring to are
D & C 134:4 and 7
4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish bguilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.
7 We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.
And as stated previously, the 11th Article of Faith
11 We claim the aprivilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the bdictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them dworship how, where, or what they may.
As well as these words, spoken from Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley:
“I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1995, 71).
That's why Utah is being called on its bluff--the church's official statement is that they are not against equal benefits and privileges to same-sex couples. So they've proposed 5 laws in Utah to help achieve the level of equality enjoyed in states like California. We'll see the true feelings of the church when these laws fail to be passed by the Utah legislature. Or maybe they'll surprise me--I can always hope.
No, no one was forced—but some were coerced, I know that when I said I would not assist in calling on a phone bank, that my faith was called into question. Even if I am mistaken, is it the Church’s policy to insult people’s faith when they are weak? Aren’t we supposed to uplift those who are weak and unsure? Set a positive example?
“You don’t know my gay friends” No, but I know my gay friends, and they are all ANGRY with the Mormon Church. If they are level-headed people, they may respect your unwavering belief, but they are angry and hurt, and they don’t feel the same way about you as they did before. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to go to your gay friends, if they really exist, and ask them “How do you feel about my involvement in dismantling gay marriage in California?” I am 98% positive that the answer will equate to sadness at the least, and anger and betrayal at most.
“Couldn't I respect their desires while still upholding my beliefs?” Yes, you can respect their desires—but voting to take them away is not respect, its backhanded. You cannot look a homosexual in the eye and tell them you respect their desire to marry whom they love, and then turn around and vote to take away what they want. It doesn’t make sense.
“Our leaders have given us the church's point of view on this issue and I for one will heed the council of the Lord.” – I’d point out that the council of the prophets in the past has been that African Americans did not have the right to marry whites.—You’d have sustained that as well, I assume. Because I know I wouldn’t. I’m aware this is a part of its history the church wants to hide, but it can’t. The only semi-logical argument I’ve ever heard for this is that the Mormon membership was not ready to allow interracial marriage and African American’s to hold the priesthood—not God. If this is your best argument, then I’d like to state that the God I’ve come to know doesn’t withhold his blessings to his children because it makes others uncomfortable.
I’m going to assume that since there was no rebuttal on the points about tax exempt status and this country’s role as a protectorate of the minority from the tyranny of the majority, that you’ve agreed with me or at the very least have no non-secular argument. I realize that in the end, you think this is the right thing to do, based on your interpretation of the words of the Prophets and God. But remember, the church asks us to seek our truths and have them confirmed—if they really wanted you to just fall in line with everything that’s ever said, what is the point of having that doctrine? Why do we need to pray about the prophets council if we know he’ll always be right—what’s wrong with blind obedience then?
I appreciate the dialogue you’re giving me the opportunity to voice, and your civility in the matter.
The response from Joy, the author of the original post.
First of all all I said was that we no longer practice polygamy. I never said that have disowned our history of it. As a member of the church I know that if President Monson were to stand up at General Conference in April and tell us that the Lord had commanded we begin the practice of polygamy again, I would submit.
Second (this is kind of a side note) I am from the LA area of California so when I mention contention in our state I am referring to California. I stated the church didn't contribute money to the actual yes on prop 8 campaign which is true. They did pay some travel expenses. Now, we as members of the church, as I have previously stated, believe that there are people with homosexual feelings who do not choose to have them but the sin lies in acting upon them. Thus, when you say "just as we ask hetero men and women to remain celibate until marriage, we ask gays the same thing" you are mistaken. Because we believe that homosexual actions are sinful we do not believe that they should be married unless it is to someone of the opposite sex. We don't condone homosexual relationships at all, it is not a question of whether they are married. As a member of the church I would expect that you understand that there are varying degrees of sin; this accounts for the time difference in deferring missions. You're right, the church doesn't allow you to live openly as a gay person. Gay people who tell the ward about their homosexual relationships are disciplined. I believe that if someone was actively involved in fornication (heterosexual) and was shouting it on the roof tops that they would be punished similarly to those gay people who divulge their personal sins. If, however, a homosexual kept his or her sins private and simply spoke to the bishop about it, I believe similar punishments would be issued to them as are issued to those who fornicate and simply tell their bishops. And YES, if someone is a member and says that they are having homosexual relations they should have their temple recommends taken away because we don't believe they are worthy. It's not just sins of homosexual actions that cause the remand of temple recommends.
I am interested in knowing what doctrines, council and scripture precede the doctrine we currently have on the issue.
I would also like to know if you are aware that unless something comes from the mouth of THE PROPHET it cannot always be counted as entirely true. Apostles and general authorities are sometimes mistaken in their discourses. (Just in case your preceding evidence comes from people other than the prophets.)
I don't think that anyone was forced to give money to the campaign or felt threatened if they wouldn't. That's simply ridiculous. You said that members were asked to donate of their TIME and money. That means not just money...
And finally, Ezra, you don't know my gay friends and therefore cannot know what their level of respect for me is. Could it be that my gay friends respect the fact that I stand up for my religious beliefs and am unwavering? Couldn't I respect their desires while still upholding my beliefs?
Our leaders have given us the church's point of view on this issue and I for one will heed the council of the Lord.