Monday, November 10, 2008

Some more Thoughts on SSM

I've been thinking about some things on the SSM topic again. I think because of my upbringing, church beliefs, fear of the unknown, lack of knowledge, etc. that I am inclined to vote for a ban. If I were to measure myself on a scale it would be one notch towards that.

However, I can't help but feel I am covertly discriminating people because of this inclination I have. Many of the gay people I know are really nice, fun, dynamic people, not to mention educated and religious.

Many of you know that I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (in the past nicknamed the Mormon church) when I was in high school. This choice has been a defining point in my life: one that has blessed me tremendously. Because of inspiration, opportunity, and perseverance, I've been able to accomplish much during these years since my conversion.

However, I've been feeling a push to step it up. My convert status can only take me so far. I need to be more proactive about my future and line myself up more with the teachings of my church/gospel. And I feel a greater need for personal improvement.

And so I ask myself, does feeling some sympathy/empathy for the gay community make me a bad LDS person? I've sat in conversations with very conservative people only to shrink in their presense because of my previous stance on SSM (basically not having a right to deny anyone of that choice). I didn't like how I felt, like I was a lesser person for not lining myself up with their opinion. Somehow I'd manage to say I feel differently and other times more boldly so.

The fact is that a ban on marriage is not going to change the gay lifestyle or prevent it from existing. About 1/4 of gay couples are raising children. Life is going on for them as we speak. Voting for a ban is definitely taking a stance on a belief. But I think more is required of me/us. And that would be to love our neighbor.

I don't think that gay people necessarily want us to say......hey I agree with your choice of lifestyle. And I will say that I don't agree with it. But, life as we speak is going on and I accept the fact that people are different than me/us.

And so I say that I'd much rather be confident with myself and teach my children love and respect with that confidence, and not fear and hate. I'm still inclined to be on that notch I mentioned above, but I think we all need to be prepared to step it up which may include to do things that we are asked to do but are hard to do such as love your neighbor.

15 comments:

the narrator said...

You can have empathy for gays and lesbians and not be a bad mormon.

in fact to be a good mormon is to have empathy and compassion for them... especially after what the church just helped do.

Natalie Jensen said...

You have read my thoughts on the topic at hand. You are not a bad LDS person at all. I don't agree with the lifestyle or condone it, but I love the people in my life that have chosen that path. I feel that they do deserve happiness and love. I have no problem with them having medical benefits, hospital visitation and all the benefits of a family member. I have a problem with the definition of Marriage being messed with. Changing that definition would change MUCH more than just their social status, for all of us.

Marisa said...

It seems that having sympathy for the gay community will definitely separate you from some LDS, but I don't think it alienates you from the true gospel of Jesus Christ who commanded us to love our neighbors, and not just the ones who make all the right choices. I think being attracted to the same sex is one of the most difficult challenges people face in this mortal life and I'm SO grateful that's not one of my challenges. I don't know if I could stay single, stay clean, and stay in the church if I had that problem. Seriously, how hard would that be!!! So I don't hate them and it's hard for me to deny them the same privileges that I enjoy. But I would have voted yes on Prop 8 because I am certain that America must uphold and encourage the ideal traditional family and cling to our Christian foundation. It's easier to just give in and say anything goes, or to be homophobic and hate the sinner. We have to find within ourselves the difficult middle ground of love without rationalization.

the narrator said...

"Changing that definition would change MUCH more than just their social status, for all of us."

Actually it wouldn't... But we can all pretend right?

la espaƱola said...

Lucy, I'm with you. I would rather be on the Lord's side. He even said, "love your enemies". Love those who are different from you, love those who don't like you for who you are. He prieched this by example. Look at his life. When the time comes and we are facing him, he will ask us how much we loved and how we showed that love to our fellowmen.
I think been diferent runs both ways. Homosexuals are as different from me as I am from them. Lets just learn to live with respect for each other.

Amy-Alisa said...

T and I have been discussing this topic a lot. A lady in his office has a gay son and is very anti-Mormon. I struggled with this at first also. I had a hard time "fighting" the legalization of SSM when I see it as an inevitable occurrence. However, scripture and the Proclamation clearly and unmovingly state that marriage and procreation (our main purpose on earth) is between a man and a woman. Gender is an essential part of this life, our premortal life and our eternal life.

Having said that, we have been counseled to study out issues and to carefully and prayerfully support those that you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas. I would have voted for Prop 8, not because I hate gay people, but because it protects the moral fabric of our society. I strongly believe that families are fundamental to our religion, our progression and our nation. The break down of the family is one of Satan's greatest tools.

Prop 8 was not an attack on gay couples and does not take away the rights that same-sex couples already have under CA's domestic partner law.

I do believe that homosexual couples are not a part of the Plan of Happiness. That does not mean that I don't love them. I have great sympathy for them and their struggles in this life. I can't imagine how hard it must be for them. However, I do not condone their choices. Just as I do not hate smokers, but the choice to smoke. Sorry this is so long.

lucy said...

I'm amazed at how many LDS people have differing opinions on this topic. It's great to hear some of them although it's risky to share our thoughts. Who wants to be criticized and judged? Not I but I realize I lay myself out on the line for writing my thoughts. And I do like to hear different points of views.

Marisa, I'm glad to hear you're still standing strong on this issue. I'm actually really glad to see people unwavering on this topic. I wish I were more sure myself.

Amy, well said and very informative. I'm happy to know that there are people with strong morals out there. And thanks for your input on this and not shying away from commenting. Long posts are great.

Cody said...

Nancy, I personally love the recent press releases from the Church regarding this issue. They covered three things that I feel strongly about. 1-they reiterate that as a church they are completely within their constitutional rights to speek up on political issues. They have not, and will not endorse parties or candidates, but they can and should speak out on issues that they deem to be moral issues. 2-They express disappointment in the general public backlashing against the mormon church and singling out the mormon church when many, many organizations were involved. Not only is it disrespectful of so many of these critics, but it is also quite hypocritical for them to condemn the church for speaking out on this matter while they themselves cry for freedom of speech and to be heard. Freedom of speech goes both ways. 3- (this one I have agreed with long before they released this official statement) They declared that their motives for standing up on this issue is to define marriage to protect the sanctity of marriage. Although they are opposed to allowing same sex partners to "marry" they are in favor of same sex unions so that those couples may have the same civil rights and opportunities afforded other couples. They can still be in love, live their lives how they want and do what they want, but the title marriage is reserved for the union between man and woman. This is something that the opponents of prop 8 so blindly ignore. The church is not dictating how they live their lives. I view homosexuality as a sin. Much like other sins, I will still interact and be friends with those that live lifestyles differently than I do, i.e. drinking and smoking, infedelity within marriage, etc, etc. They say the church is being discriminitory and hateful. This couldn't be further from the truth. I will not delve into the details here about this, as there are much better threads and explanations out there of this. I will just say that I am so disappointed in the lack of respect and knowledge of so many of the critics of the LDS church over this issue.

On a personal note, I don't see how legally we can prohibit same sex marriage under the current constitution(or plural marriage, or any other marriage), but that doesn't mean I am opposed to prop 8. Much like has been stated by many prophets and apostles, we need to follow the counsel of the prophets even if it is hard and contradicts our political, social or professional views. Three simple words will bring so much peace and hapiness into our lives, those words are "follow the prophet".

lucy said...

Cody, thanks for all that. I'm glad that their was a press release in the Church's behalf. It's good to see the leaders explain the stance our Church takes. Very informative.

Being a member of my Church hasn't hurt me a bit and I see the blessings in other members who keep the commandments/teaching of the Gospel/Church. It's a lifestyle I'm thankful for and hope to continue pursuing for my benefit and my family's benefit.

I feel more at peace in general when I make good choices.

An interesting point to think about--If SSM is legalized, perhaps plural marriage should be legalized as well. Thanks for bringing that up.

Supergabesmomma said...

Nice. Because there are really only two commandments that matter: Love God, love your neighbor. If you can't manage these two things, the rest is moot.

Liz and Jake said...

Nancy-

Hey Nancy I love the change to your blog!

I am hoping you check your comments and that you will get this message.

Renee is very busy right now helping with her Grandma and I didn't know how to get a hold of you.

It looks like everyone is busy and that only a couple of the book group will be able to get together tomorrow for book club.

I am not sure if you were planning on coming but it sounds like more can't than can.

Instead of meeting at Chelsea's house tomorrow night we are going to meet at my house the first Thursday in December. We will have a BOOK CLUB BASH...whatever work with me, we will then discuss Courtney's book "Left To Tell" and Chelseas book choice "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult.

I will have Renee post more information on the blog when I get a hold of her.

I hope you are doing well. It looks like you have been very busy reading. I may just have to try some of Shannon Hale's books. I loved Goose Girl and if you haven't read her book Austen Land you really must!

Take Care...Look forward to hearing from you.
Liz

April said...

Great Post and I like the comments. I too am on a path of trying to do what is right. In times like this when it is confusing and lines seem to be blurred, I remind myself of two things.
1- We have a living prophet on the earth today. I know this to be true though the power of the Holy Ghost. The prophet receives divine inspiration for our times.
2- I can receive answers to my own prayers.
When the leaders of our church take a stand on issues such as Prop. 8, I believe it is because they know more than I do. If I don't understand something that comes from them I ask questions but starting from the understanding that I already know they are prophets, so what are they seeing that I don't see? They certainly get their direction from a source that IS perfect. And at that point any questions I still might have should be directed to the perfect source that gave the direction.

the narrator said...

“Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a Bishop, an Apostle or a President; if you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone; but if we lean on God, He never will fail us... Read More. When men and women depend on God alone and trust in Him alone, their faith will not... Read More be shaken if the highest in the Church should step aside ... Perhaps it is His own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that His Saints may learn to trust in Him and not in any man or woman.” - George Q. Cannon

the narrator said...

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... Read More the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the 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, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually. (Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 150)

How easy it would be for your leaders to lead you to destruction, unless you actually know the mind and will of the spirit yourselves. (Journal of Discourses, v. 3, p. 45)

jkziel said...

Nancy, we need to meet up and have a discussion sometime about this. I have been thinking a lot about this too.