Church asks members to support specific marriage amendment

May 27, 2006 | 489 comments
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Letter from First Presidency of the Church to Church Leaders in the United States

We are informed that the United States Senate will on June 6, 2006, vote on an amendment to the Federal constitution designed to protect the traditional institution of marriage.

We, as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, have repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship.

In 1995 we issued a Proclamation to the World on this matter, and have repeatedly reaffirmed that position.

In that proclamation we said: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate.

Church Press Release

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489 Responses to Church asks members to support specific marriage amendment

  1. Clair on May 27, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    The title isn’t quite accurate. The First Presidency asks members to express themselves on the amendment, but doesn’t specifically ask them to support it.

    I have emailed Senators Bennett and Hatch asking them to seek divine guidance and to consider the amendment’s possible effects long into the future.

    So, why does the letter so carefully avoid asking members to support the amendment?

  2. D-Train on May 27, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    Clair, I’d love to join the legalizing with you. Really, I would. But the meaning is quite clear.

  3. obi-wan on May 27, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    I’d love to join the legalizing with you. Really, I would. But the meaning is quite clear.

    Indeed. Consequently, I have dutifully drafted and sent to my elected representatives letters expressing my views on what a dumb idea it is to pander to this kind of election-year farce, and what an even dumber idea it is to start messing around with the Constitution as part of this kind of election-year farce.

    I wish the First Presidency would get a political clue. This has little or nothing to do with the principle they think they’re endorsing.

  4. Ben H on May 27, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Why is it a farce? Even if it is not likely to pass, if people vote on it, and voters want to take the way their representatives vote into account in the upcoming election, then it seems like it might have a lot of value. If voters care about this issue, then it seems reasonable that they should know where people stand on it.

    Anyone see a decent forecast on how the voting will go?

  5. jAN rODNEY on May 27, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Claire,
    I believe they are asking us toknow for ourselves. We are not sheep. The Lord has given us the ability to think and reason together. He has also given us wise counsel. Remember Moroni 10:5. It is our duty to let our government know what we feel is best for our country.
    Jan

  6. ed on May 27, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    “We, as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, have repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship.”

    Can this position be “justified” as to polygamy in saying that BY was concurrently married 50+ times, each of which was “a man and a woman”? A temple sealing is “a man and a woman”, and we know that if the man’s wife dies he can do another “a man and a woman” sealing.

    I’m also concerned about the anti-liberty / anti-freedom implications that this statement makes.

    8-(

  7. Clair on May 27, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    D-train, I didn’t mean to legalize. I can assume the intent, but why isn’t the request itself more clear? Would an outright request for support jeopardize the Church’s tax status? Only by patching together the first sentence and the fourth is the request for support revealed. It’s fun to solve a puzzle, but why the puzzle?

  8. DKL on May 27, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    I think that an amendment to the US constitution defining some kind of marriage would be a terrible way to use Federal power. I think a more sensible approach would be an amendment to the effect (roughly) that nothing in the US Constitution or state constitutions should be interpreted as granting a fundamental right for anyone to marry anyone else. Of course, this is only a temporary solution–it won’t take long for some black-robed thug (to barrow a phrase from John Ashcroft) to find a way to interpret this to mean that there is a “fundamental” right for something other than a mixed-sex marriages.

    The real problem is that this has to be addressed at all. Early in the 20th century, it required a constitutional amendment to secure women’s suffrage or to outlaw alcohol sales. And nobody would have ever dreamed that the Federal government could control things like drinking ages or speed limits or education policy. Nowadays, the courts would just create out of whole cloth the right for women to vote, and they’d use the judicial precedents concerning the commerce clause (or some other judicial monstrosity) to justify outlawing alcohol without an amendment or even direct legislative action–a regulatory agency could probably get away with it. And the Federal government is free to attach (pretty much) whatever conditions it chooses to the the money that it “grants” to states–money that comes directly out of the pockets of that state’s citizenry–in order to obtain de facto control over some issue entirely outside the realm of Federal constitutional purview. The same sorts of things occur on a state level–hence the Massachusetts decision on same-sex marriages. Such criminally bad decisions are considered innovations in judicial philosophy and defended as commonsensical. That’s the real farce.

  9. D-Train on May 27, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    Clair, I hope I wasn’t too bitter or anything. I think the reason for the puzzle is (im)plausible deniability. The tax status could be something as well. We could also read the slight ambiguity as evidence of a desire to not make any divisive statements that might cause dissent in the membership. In my view, the refusal to just come out and say it, should the Church ever claim to be neutral on this again, represents an insult to the intelligence of all of us.

  10. D-Train on May 27, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Matt,

    Agreed. I think the only issue here was why the text of this letter didn’t specifically support it.

  11. Jeff Day on May 27, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    This sort of thing makes me want to cry. How could we be so blinded and so far from the scriptural ideas of true Good and Evil that our Church is blessed to have in its canon. I don’t understand. What type of moral outcome is this fight supposed to transpire besides wasting the financial contributions of many right-wing Mormons? Love and emotions are far too strong to be bound by legislation, and for people who don’t recognize the laws of the Restored Gospel anyway its not like they are preventing anyone from sinning. I just don’t get it at all. Its a terrible, disgraceful thing, and embarasses me. I hope none of my tithing money has been put towards this wicked cause.

  12. obi-wan on May 27, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    Why is it a farce?

    The bill has little or no chance of getting past cloture, and even less chance of getting the votes to pass. It is purely political posturing, so that Republicans coming up for reelection can tell the Evangelical right that Congress “did something” for them, hopefully distracting them from remembering how massive the deficit has gotten, how big the bureaucracy has gotten, and how the Bush administration has generally betrayed every other tenet of conservative policy.

    Even if it is not likely to pass, if people vote on it, and voters want to take the way their representatives vote into account in the upcoming election, then it seems like it might have a lot of value. If voters care about this issue, then it seems reasonable that they should know where people stand on it.

    As if politicians haven’t already gone on about their positions on this ad nauseum? And, even if we grant your argument, why is “knowing where people stand on it” a matter for the First Presidency to weigh in on?

    The Church has a fair amount of political capital on the Hill right now. Even if one thinks federalizing marriage is a good and inspired policy, this is a dumb way to spend that capital.

  13. D-Train on May 27, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Also, I think there is a question of political neutrality. Saying stuff like this makes the Church’s claim to be politically neutral nothing more than a fabrication. I don’t even think the Church should be politically neutral, but we need to be honest if we’re going to be off supporting crap like this.

  14. Jeff Day on May 27, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    Also, why does the Church seem to recognize Federally legal Civil Marriage as having ANY binding power at all?! It seems insane. I can understand this type of response if the Government was trying to redefine Celestial Marriage, but Civil Marriage really shouldn’t mean anything to the Church. They should simply make a policy that they will never again seal men to other men, and let the People and the Government define its own type of “Marriage” how it wants. The Church should drop the term marriage entirely and use the word sealing instead. Sealing is something of God. Civil marriage is done by authority of the state.

  15. BrianJ on May 28, 2006 at 12:05 am

    A previous statement by the First Presidency said, “We support a constitutional ammendment”–emphasis added, in order to highlight that they weren’t supporting any particular ammendment. Is that what is being done here? Is the FP saying, “You don’t have to vote ‘yea’ on this one but you had better be suppporting something like it.”?

  16. queuno on May 28, 2006 at 12:12 am

    The previous Church statement says that the Church supports the amendment but not any specific legislation. So members can support the generic idea of the amendment and still oppose this one.

  17. It's Not Me on May 28, 2006 at 12:14 am

    ed #5 “Can this position be “justifiedâ€? as to polygamy in saying that BY was concurrently married 50+ times, each of which was “a man and a womanâ€??

    BY died a long time ago. I guess you probably knew that, though.

  18. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 28, 2006 at 12:15 am

    Civil marriage is done by authority of the state.
    And it has an effect on all of society. An article referenced here a week or so back helps explain that there is potentially a lot at stake. The Church’s tax-exempt status is one of those things. The Lord’s work requires money. If we lose our tax-exempt status, we will have to slow down a lot of things, including temple building. Also, with the dire predictions of not heeding moral laws and supporting traditional marriage, if something like this doesn’t pass, I really hate to think of where our society will be heading. It is a tough issue, because it does have a personal effect on some people, but we have to consider the bigger picture, and that is what our prophets’ job is. And, because they are prophets, I believe they can see and understand more than we about the dangers of supporting gay marriage. This is an issue where trust in our prophets is paramount, because I’m not sure any of us alone would restrict mariage for the reasons Jeff Day mentioned. But they are our watchmen. If there was a time to trust in that, the time is now.

  19. WillF on May 28, 2006 at 12:20 am

    D-Train said: “I think the only issue here was why the text of this letter didn’t specifically support it.”

    I don’t think they specifically asked us to do this because they want us to make up our own minds on the issue of whether we support this specific legislation. Sure, they are also telling us that they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, but they are not going to “bless” the legislation itself. Why don’t you believe that they really want us to think about how to express ourselves on the issue?

  20. It's Not Me on May 28, 2006 at 12:22 am

    And just so I can feel like I’m part of something, I want to rant: Why, oh why, is the Church continuing to support traditional marriage? I just don’t get it. I mean, really, what’s so great about traditional marriage?! It’s not like God endorses it. Sheesh. And while we’re at it, I sure wish the Church would quit spending my tithing money on white bread. They ought to get with the program and recognize that whole wheat is the way to go.

  21. Matt on May 27, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    Clair (and D-Train), just last month the church again officially supported a “call for constitutional amendment,” but the church’s official and public support for a marriage amendment began in 2004. I don’t think there are any puzzles in need of solving.

  22. ed on May 28, 2006 at 12:29 am

    #17 It’s not me.

    My point is that the church can clamor for “a man and a woman” NOW, and later (in the near future?) clamor for polygamy with the reasoning that Bob and Ann is a marriage and Bob and Cindy is a marriage.

  23. APJ on May 28, 2006 at 12:39 am

    Jeff (#11): you could make sure none of your tithing goes toward supporting this cause…don’t pay it. haha…but i do seriously wonder about the impact of people selectively paying their tithing based on whether they thought the church was ‘fulfilling its mission’ most effectively.

    i personally support this amendment, but don’t think it goes far enough; along with disallowing gay marriage and polygamy, it should also prohibit infertile people and women past menopause from marrying at all, and while we’re here, let’s force married people who become infertile or go through menopause to divorce. i mean, the state has an ‘interest’ in marriage as a way to keep the species going (as opposed to the state merely recognizing marriage as fulfilling a deep HUMAN need), right?

  24. APJ on May 28, 2006 at 12:59 am

    Matt, i don’t think it’s condescending to assume that people who are ‘right-wingers’ are much more likely to support the church’s position anymore than it is to assume that vegetarians are much more likely to eat meat in the winter and in times of famine. speaking in generalities is not equal to being condescending.

  25. APJ on May 28, 2006 at 1:01 am

    haha, 25 should read: ‘vegetarians WILL NOT eat meat, EVEN in the winter and in times of famine.’ i accidentally put the exact opposite

  26. Matt Evans on May 28, 2006 at 12:23 am

    D-Train,

    The church has said for a very long time that they have not only the right, but the duty and obligation to speak out on public moral issues, and marriage is one of those public moral issues.

    Jeff Day,

    It is condescending to those of other political persuasions to argue that only right-wing Mormons will heed the church’s request, no?

  27. obi-wan on May 28, 2006 at 1:28 am

    if something like this doesn’t pass, I really hate to think of where our society will be heading.

    This one is not passing. It’s not intended to. It’s just for show. Leading a charge on this one is at best a waste of effort, and at worst likely to antagonize a lot of people for no good reason.

  28. Matt on May 28, 2006 at 12:39 am

    Ed, I agree that it’s not inconsistent to support marriage between one man and still support polygamy, as polygamy is not one marriage of multiple partners but one person in multiple marriages, each marriage comprised of one man and one woman. When a Brigham Young died, for example, all of his wives were widowed because each of their marriages were with Brigham Young, and legally ended upon his death.

  29. MikeInWeHo on May 28, 2006 at 2:02 am

    This is very sad. Political statements like this won’t change a thing in society, but may lead to further declines in Church activity/conversions/retention. Why? Because investigators get the impression that joining the Church = joining the right-wing Republicans cause. Talk about bad PR. I have a feeling that at least some of the leadership has become quite enamored of the Focus On The Family / Christian Coalition crowd. Wow.

  30. sue on May 28, 2006 at 2:04 am

    I will skip church tomorrow. I’m one of those horrible quasi-mormons who believes that in 50 years the church will look back and relegate anti-homosexuality doctrine to the same pages as BY’s teachings on people with dark skin.

    There are so many awful things going on in the world right now, and I often agonize over why the church doesn’t ask us to get more involved in helping to alleviate suffering. There are no letters over the pulpit urging us to give more fast offerings for aid to Darfur, or to keep the 90 million children who starve to death each year world wide alive. No big drives to mobilize us to contribute more to help our brothers and sisters in third world nations or to help immunize the 5 million third world children who die each year of malaria. But there is plenty of time for us to worry about gay marriage and this ridiculous constitutional amendement. Clearly, gay marriage is the true evil, and not indifference, selfishness, apathy, failing to care for others and suffering.

    Funny, Jesus didn’t have a word to say about homosexuality, but he had plenty to say about loving our neighbors and caring for the suffering.

    A few years ago, there was an effort to pass a gay marriage amendment in Nevada. The church was incredibly involved in getting us involved in the effort to get the amendment passed. They read letters over the pulpit every week, organized petition drives, gave people callings to be in charge of the effort, strongly encouraged us to put yard signs up “Yes on Question Two” – it was constant and non-stop. I was sickened by it all – ashamed of the zeal people put into the amendment, which if passed would have accomplished NOTHING. Gay marriage was already illegal in Nevada, the constitutional amendment was just an election year ploy. It was just sound and fury. And it passed. And it changed – nothing.

    The church claimed they got involved because this is/was a moral issue. And yet that same year in Las Vegas, they passed a law lowering the age when teens could “dance” completely nude in the strip clubs, there was a push by the mayor to legalize prostitution in Las Vegas proper, there were 4,000 homeless children, 44,000 children who were classified as living in hunger, our educational system was (and is) in shambles, and we had the highest teen suicide rate in the nation. I didn’t hear a peep from our leaders then. These were apparently not moral issues. Church advocacy and organizing was reserved for the gay marriage amendment that accomplished and changed absolutely nothing.

    I just can’t understand a morality where this makes sense. What happened to compassion? Why is everything we do as a church reactive and not proactive? Why is everything we do based on fear of what might happen (slippery slope), instead of dealing with things that are actually happening?

    More and more, I can see that I just don’t belong here.

  31. DavidH on May 28, 2006 at 2:17 am

    I do not support this version of the federal marriage amendment, because I do not believe the law of marriage should be federalized; it should be a matter for the states. If a definition became part of the federal Constitution, I fear, among other things, that federal courts might arrogate to themselves control over marriage law.

    My position is somewhat similar to the position the Church took on the Equal Rights Amendment–it favored equal rights for women, but did not favor amending the federal Constitution, among other reasons, for fear of how the federal courts might interpret it.

    I do not read the most recent statement of the Church to rescind its prior statement that the Brethren were “not . . . endors[ing] any specific amendment,” including this one, but were (and are) “stat[ing a] principle in anticipation of the expected debate over same-gender marriage.” I do not see a principle in this or other formal statements that the marriage definition should be federal.

    I realize that some may find an implicit endorsement of the version of the amendment federalizing the definition of marriage, notwithstanding the absence of an explicit endorsement in the Church’s statement. I choose to read the language of this and previous statements literally, and do not choose to believe that they are statements “in code” to support one version over another.

    I also choose to read the last sentence of the statement to mean exactly what it says, that we should express our views to our legislators, whether or not they are the same as expressed by the First Presidency. (I am a close friend of a bishop whose very private political views are the same that Sue just expressed. I believe the only way he can read the statement to his ward in good conscience is to believe that that part of the statement means what it says. I believe the statement was worded that way, in part, to assure that members and leaders who are otherwise faithful in every way do not feel like they must express political views to their representatives that they do not believe and so that they do not feel unwelcome or driven out of the Church.)

  32. Kathy J on May 28, 2006 at 2:22 am

    m&m perhaps you could provide a link to that article in this thread as well. I think I know the one you refer to and it does a great job of explaining why societies have consistently supported the institution of marriage in some form not just to meet some amorphous “human need” or as a way of bearing children, as APJ suggests with the sarcastic quips about infertility and menopause (my apologies if that is seriously your position APJ–but if it is I think you have an uphill battle to fight), but as an important institution in many other perhaps less obvious ways that those seeking to destroy it do not want people to think or talk about. It also points out that much more is at stake here than the rights of individuals to gain a public endorsement of their warm fuzzy feelings for one another, or even of their personal commitment one to another. I don’t remember where the article is, nor do I know enough about how this whole blogging thing works to put in a link myself, but it always frustrates me when the argument over protecting traditional marriage degenerates to a debate on these sorts of issues, because I think if we never consider the real things at stake for us and our society, we can easily be deceived and guilted into sacrificing more important things for less important things ironically in the name of fairness and tolerance. Living in No. California, I see these sacrifices made in homage to the gods of fairness and tolerance on a fairly regular basis, and it is very frustrating.

    I think the Church is acting very consistently in expressing it’s support for a principle.

  33. Crystal on May 28, 2006 at 2:23 am

    I don’t think this is a moral issue. I think it’s an equal rights issue. I think gay marriage should be legal, and I can think of no reason homosexual couples should not have equal protection under the law.

  34. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 28, 2006 at 2:43 am

    32
    I think I mean to do that. The article can be found here. It’s long but I found it incredibly informative.

  35. APJ on May 28, 2006 at 2:46 am

    besides the ‘compassion’ concern that sue addresses above, i’ll point out that there is a separate good reason for Mormons to not support a constitutional ban: free agency. if homosexuality is a sin, shouldn’t gays be able to use their mortal probation to learn this through experience? and since gay marriage makes that more possible, shouldn’t that be supported? in fact, a constitutional ban on gay marriage sounds ‘eerily’ like that Satan’s plan (well, maybe not eerily, but similar nonetheless).

  36. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 28, 2006 at 2:57 am

    BTW, Kathy J. Thanks for adding your persepective.

    Sue, I’m sorry for your dismay. Certainly there is more than this issue in our world that is important. If you read Bishop Burton’s talk from the last Conference (you can find it here), you will see the Church does care about the things you mentioned, and is putting a lot of financial muscle behind that care and concern. We are also encouraged to make our voices heard whenever there is a concerning issue (the one you mentioned in LV is a good example, I would say!) Maybe that could give some comfort? Your concern for other issues outside of this marriage issue is very valid, and I just hope you can take comfort in the fact that gay marriage certainly isn’t the only thing the Church cares about. Hugs to you….

  37. Larys on May 28, 2006 at 3:33 am

    I’m really brokenhearted over this. What am I going to tell my very good friend, who is gay, and who is awaiting with his longtime partner the opportunity to care for a foster child and perhaps adopt? I’m not just throwing out a rhetorical question here. Seriously, what am I going to tell him? I have no grounds on which to doubt the immutability of his personal identity, and no grounds on which to doubt the sincere devotion he shares with his partner, and can’t think a of a way in which they are a threat to society, save that they threaten to prove wrong the notion that homosexuals cannot be good parents.

    I guess what I’m saying is that, at every other point in my life when I’ve had an opportunity to follow the Brethren, I’ve always felt a resonance with their message that motivates me to heed their counsel. This time I’m having a very difficult time overriding my many hours of thought, study, personal experience, and personal interaction with persons potentially affected by this Church effort. I cannot seem to put myself in a mindset in which I could feel the spiritual confidence to call my senator in support of the amendment. I don’t feel the truth of it yet, and it seems spiritually wrong for me to express an opinion that in my heart o hearts I just don’t hold. I’m not trying to be stiffnecked, I’m trying to be honest.

    Would the brethren want me to call my senator in support of the amendment if I had not received a personal witness of the truthfulness of their counsel?

    And what would the brethren have me tell my gay friend and his partner — and, since it may be a real circumstance in the coming weeks — their adopted child?

    I’m not trying to be belligerent. I’m just trying to figure this out.

  38. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 4:00 am

    MikeWeInHo (#29),

    Support for traditional marriage hardly translates only to right-wing evangelicalism, unless the Bible is right wing by definition. I do not know of any Christian church that takes the scriptures seriously that does not regard traditional heterosexual marriage as the fundamental institution of society, one amply deserving of state protection. That includes the Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, virtually all Protestants, the LDS, plus (though non Christian) we might add Judaism, Islam, Confucianism, and no doubt several others.

    Now while no doubt there are many religious people who support state recognition of same sex relationships, it is very hard to make the case on religious grounds that such relationships deserve the same degree of protection or have the same degree of significance. The core of the support for extending the marriage franchise to people of the same sex is largely relativist and secular – those who see the traditional family as essentially incidental to society at large, that all relationships are created equal, and so on. That is an interesting position, but it is an unusually radical one – something that makes Marxism for example look like a walk in the park.

  39. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 4:14 am

    So I might add, civil unions seem like something worth supporting, but considering them to be marriages is a much more serious and consequential proposition.

  40. sue on May 28, 2006 at 4:55 am

    M&M, while I was happy to read the article and I thank you for sharing it with me, I think you missed my point. Let me see if I can figure out a better way to say it. My point is not that the church is not doing humanitarian work – I know that they make tremendous contributions. I know how much service is provided. My point is that in terms of current events/world issues, the church only seems to care about mobilizing members to take action on this issue, gay marriage. The other issues seem like far greater evils, and yet the church does not seem to place a proportionately appropriate emphasis on having each member get involved in combatting the problems. The attention paid to this issue by the church seems to be way out of proportion, in my opinion.

    Mark said: “The core of the support for extending the marriage franchise to people of the same sex is largely relativist and secular – those who see the traditional family as essentially incidental to society at large, that all relationships are created equal, and so on. That is an interesting position, but it is an unusually radical one.”

    Gosh, I don’t think of myself as radical. I’ve just had quite a bit of up close experience seeing alternative families and how well they can still work, even if they are different.

    My husband worked with foster children for many years in Las Vegas. He met many gay men who fostered and then adopted children – children who had for the most part been languishing in permanent foster care, their biological parents rights terminated, but with no hope of adoption. He served as the case worker for several years in most cases – during the fostering process and then during a post-adoptive period, since most of these children had severe behavioral and/or physical problems. I saw nothing but positives in the great love these men had for their children. In every case we saw, the children flourished in their care. I’ve been to four high school graduation ceremonies for kids who were on probation and flunking out just a few years prior. We attended a wedding for one of my husband’s former foster kids – a kid who had attempted suicide twice prior. He now seemed to be healthy, happy, and having a successful life, and he credited his “parents” with the change in his life. I just can’t see the evil in allowing these people to call each other a family.

    And in any event, I just think this is all a false issue. Gay marriage is unlikely to be legalized in most states.

  41. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 4:59 am

    I think that the idea that polygamy will be coming back anytime soon, short of events of a truly eschatological character, is completely unfounded. The instinct of both the Church leadership, the general membership, and society at large is quite the opposite. It would be a matter of kicking and dragging of feet even if legal and social conditions permitted it.

  42. JKS on May 28, 2006 at 4:59 am

    M&M, thank you for your comment #19. I agree that we probably don’t know all the reasons why the FP has come out with this statement. I think God and his prophet know more than I do, so I’ll go with what the prophet says.
    Does this mean I have to figure out how to become active in politics? Writing a letter to a politician sounds like a lot of trouble-envelopes, stamps and finding their name and address. I’m always happy to express my wishes to elected officials but they so rarely come and ask me what I think they should do.

  43. D-Train on May 28, 2006 at 5:15 am

    Matt,

    I agree that the Church has claimed it has a duty to speak out on moral issues. This, however, conflicts with our stated position on political neutrality:

    “While affirming its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues, the Church reaffirms its long-standing policy of neutrality regarding political parties, political platforms, and candidates for political office. Church facilities, directories, and mailing lists are not to be used for political purposes.” (from lds.org newsroom)

    I cannot see a legitimate argument that supporting a constitutional amendment on marriage is consistent with this statement. It certainly isn’t neutral in the matter of political platforms and it has the effect of being partial on parties and candidates as well. Let’s just tell the truth: we’re for neutrality in principle, provided that it doesn’t conflict with socially conservative policies. I’m not even saying that’s necessarily bad (although I think it is). We shouldn’t claim neutrality, however, if we don’t have any interest in practicing it.

  44. Kathy J on May 28, 2006 at 5:20 am

    #37 Larry, please read the link by m&m to understand that the threat posed to society is not a personal threat by your friend and his partner if they get married, it is the threat posed by re-defining marriage itself, arguably society’s most important institution for the reasons mentioned in the article and more. It is the threat of making marriage meaningless by only treating it as a public recognition of two people’s feelings for one another, when it is really much more than that.

    If you don’t support the ammendment, of course you should not call your senator, but if you do believe the brethren are inspired and you have felt confirmation of this every other time, perhaps you would want to think about why the brethren would come out with this statement, and what principles are behind it. I don’t think intolerance or lack of compassion would be the driving force here, because that would be so inconsistent with everything they brethren stand for and teach. Why then would they come out in support of this? What else is going on here? Is there more to this than your friend and his partner and their desires to adopt a child? Sometimes when you are really close to an issue, or really emotionally involved, it is easy to overlook the big picture stuff. We all do that. That’s one good thing about having a Prophet.

    I guess that would be a good thing to pray to understand. I could tell you what I believe is behind it, and I think the brethren are pretty clear in their statement about why they support it, but it would mean much more to you if you got your own answers.

    Good luck

  45. NFlanders on May 28, 2006 at 4:37 am

    “I agree that it’s not inconsistent to support marriage between one man [and one woman] and still support polygamy, as polygamy is not one marriage of multiple partners but one person in multiple marriages, each marriage comprised of one man and one woman.” –Matt

    No offense, Matt, but this just might be the greatest thing ever published on this blog. Just promise me that you’ll back me up when I try to explain this to Maude.

  46. Eric Russell on May 28, 2006 at 6:22 am

    D-Train,

    This issue is not a platform, a party or a candidate. It is an issue. Obviously, all political issues affect platforms, parties and candidates, but they are not the same thing. As it claims in the statement, the church does indeed take stances on political issues. The church does not now, nor ever did, claim to be neutral on all political issues.

  47. danithew on May 28, 2006 at 7:02 am

    That’s a good point Eric and I think it bears some repeating. “The Church does not now, nor ever did, claim to be neutral on all political issues.”

    I’m concerned when I read statements like that expressed by obi-wan in #3, where he writes: “I wish the First Presidency would get a clue.” My view is that no one in the world has better insight into what is really going on, than the First Presidency. We should be very careful about criticizing the First Presidency in such a cavalier way. We are talking about prophets here.

  48. Jeff Day on May 28, 2006 at 7:22 am

    danithew (#47),

    I hear where obi-wan was coming from, but I agree with you, his remark was not very respectful. The problem as I see it, is that the First Presidency has revelation, they have pronounced that marriage between man and woman is the way it should be, they are suggesting we support this traditional family, however, they have hopped on the back of a beast as their method of supporting it. Now i’m going to get political, where I didn’t earlier: The republican crowd that they are using to push this federal marriage agenda is very likely the same crowd of folks who constitute most Anti-Mormons, it sets up a slippery slope where things like Temple marriage could be banned in the future because they are restrictive or different in some way from the “norm”. The Republican party’s very first platform in the late 1850’s was to abolish the twin relics of barbarism – Polygamy and Slavery. Guess who was the only group visibly practicing polygamy in the U.S. at that time? It is this same agenda which saught to limit, restrict and stomp out the work of God at that time in history, and yet now we see the Saints joining forces with it. An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit. If the platform was to destroy Polygamy originally, that meant Anti-Mormon, and in fact, I have read in one or two places where people were referred to as members of the “Anti-Mormon Republican Party” in that time period. Guess what, they’ve nearly won. They infiltrated the rank and file of the Church, and now the Church throws money toward their agenda. This seems to be a terrible association. I realize I’m probably stepping on a lot of toes by saying this stuff, but read history. Go look it up and see what i’m talking about. Look at the date, look at the agenda. That’s the only explanation. There was a time period when people had to be extended Church callings (possibly dreaded) in order to be asked to become a Republican, because Utah was considered essentially 100% Democrat for quite a while, and they needed the political diversity. I think it is about time that we need diversity again.

  49. Daniel B on May 28, 2006 at 7:34 am

    In my view, much of the ‘protection of the institution of marriage’ debate is quibbling over words. The legal union of two gay people is both a public declaration of commitment, and a mechanism whereby they can have the same financial and emotional rights as heterosexuals. Whether it’s called ‘marriage’ or a ‘civil union’ or anything else doesn’t make much difference in substance. Belief in the sanctity of marriage should not extend to claiming a patent on the use of language, which is a public domain. Legislators have to define specific usage of words for law to have meaning and coherence, but this usage has to be fair. ‘Marriage’ is a word. One of its different meanings is ‘a close and intimate union'; “the marriage of music and dance”; “a marriage of ideas” etc. Here in London I work occasionally with a group of lovely homeless people struggling bravely to overcome violent, abusive and traumatic upbringings. They sometimes say – and you can see a heartwarming sense of real peace and fulfillment in their careworn faces when they say it – that they are ‘just like a family’. In this case the emotional rightness and healing properties of using the word ‘family’ in a way that would not match the theological use of it by the LDS is clear. Likewise, it is possible to treasure and sanctify the union of man and woman without hijacking a word, robbing it of its richness of meaning and association, to bind it to a particular and limited case.

    But I do not feel that this is the real issue here from the LDS point of view. The real issue still seems to be an agenda which insists that its own doctrines on love and desire are the only ‘correct’ ones. The whole point of law is to protect the multi-faceted fabric of society – thankfully and healthily a wide spectrum of the different kinds of beautiful people created by God – from being held to ransom by any one sub-population. This is why people concerned for the genuine, as opposed to the merely token, justice in, and decency of, society, argue for the right of all to participate – if they do so responsibly and genuinely -in all the richness of life and opportunity provided by a democratic society, including the richness and opportunity to make an officially recognised commitment of love to another human being with financial guarantees supporting it.

    I continue to experience bewilderment at the fact that the LDS church is happy to issue official statements on moral issues that – however you look at it – are ultimately about social control, the control of certain discourses, and the desire to enforce its own world view outside the parameters of religious practice, yet it keeps silent on the real moral issue facing the world just now: that the profligate lifestyles of the West – including the generally affluent lifestyles of LDS members – are costing people in developing countries their futures as climate change ruins livelihoods in such places as the African Sahel. Gay people are supposed to feel what they do but not practice it. They are supposed to sacrifice love and the pursuit of happiness, sacrifice emotional and physical pleasure, sacrifice the ability to feel securely and fully citizens, according to LDS belief. But the LDS church is not willing to look at sacrificing its wanton disregard for the global commons by cutting back on its carbon emissions by ceasing to fly 60,000 missionaries around the world, nor to examine its huge contribution to global warming by being more reasonable in its building program, nor to advise its members to honestly address – perhaps pray about – their own high consumption lives.

    Mormons are in some ways exemplary and decent people. But on political, social and environmental issues there is really a disturbing hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness on many levels.

  50. Jeff Day on May 28, 2006 at 7:13 am

    #22,

    You said “it is condescending to those of other political persuasions to argue that only right-wing Mormons will heed the church’s counsel”, I do not recall anywhere saying that only right-wing Mormons would heed the Church’s counsel. Nor did I put forward a political stance at all, I was fighting for the principle of Free Agency and against “Satan’s Plan” (Kudos to APJ #35 for pointing that out).

    In response to Mark Butler’s #38 statement that “support for traditional marriage hardly translates only to right-wing evangelicalism”, let me clarify my position. I support the traditional family. But, the way I support it is by teaching correct principles and through missionary work. People should decide to strive for a loving, traditional family if at all possible. I think gay relations are a sinful practice. Legally forcing people who would be in a gay relation to remain unmarried, or even the extreme of remaining celibate (as if the law could do that), would not make those people any more righteous or any less wicked, all it does is take away their agency and thus their ability to progress in any direction. What’s the point?

    Sue #30 said “I will skip church tomorrow”, well, since this letter just came out, I’m going to make it a point to be AT church tomorrow, so that if they read it to us over the pulpit I can get up and walk out and people can see that.

  51. JR from Dallas on May 28, 2006 at 8:27 am

    If we only follow the prophet when we agree with him already, then what’s the point of having a prophet at all?

    I think some people are two quick to dismiss the prophet’s counsel. He is not only a prophet, seer, and revelator, but he is brilliant, wise, and very experienced. Of course he knows the issue is being raised now because it is an election year. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important or correct.

  52. Not Ophelia on May 28, 2006 at 8:38 am

    Danithew

    You misquoted Obiwan. He didn’t say said “I wish the First Presidency would get a clue.â€? He said “I wish the First Presidency would get a political clue.”

    Big difference, I think.

    N.O.

  53. Seth R. on May 28, 2006 at 9:45 am

    I support the institution of marriage as a sacred and divinely instituted commitment between a man and a woman.

    I call upon my elected representatives to uphold and strengthen the institution of marriage –

    By minding their own business, voting no on the Amendment, and telling the US government to keep its nose out of my religious beliefs!

  54. Seth R. on May 28, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Re: It’s Not Me #21,

    FYI, tithing money doesn’t buy the sacrament bread. It’s provided by ward members. Usually one of the teachers who prepares the sacrament before the meeting.

    I support a Constitutional Amendment taking government (federal, state and local) out of the marriage business entirely. It’s possible to keep the legal protections and tax incentives on purely secular grounds and justifications.

  55. obi-wan on May 28, 2006 at 10:19 am

    I’m concerned when I read statements like that expressed by obi-wan in #3, where he writes: “I wish the First Presidency would get a clue.� My view is that no one in the world has better insight into what is really going on, than the First Presidency. We should be very careful about criticizing the First Presidency in such a cavalier way. We are talking about prophets here.

    I’m concerned when I’m misquoted, as Not Ophelia pointed out that you’ve done.

    I’m even more concerned when members of the Church assume that being called as a Special Witness of Jesus Christ makes Church leaders infallible on political matters. We don’t even teach that they are infallible on matters of doctrine that are squarely within their brief as apostles; experience bears out that they are even more prone to blunder if they start trying to make political calls. I hold up Joseph Smith as Exhibit #1.

    Probably the best reason to maintain the political neutrality that D-Train points out is that the Church is so incredibly bad at politics when it doesn’t. We typically screw it up and it always comes back to bite us. And here we go again.

  56. quandmeme on May 28, 2006 at 11:30 am

    (1) I incorporate by reference the M* posting about a Chinese village where 98% of the couples divorced in order to qualify for government programs. They intended to remarry, but it’s not happening in most cases. In editing law journal articles last semester on the jurisprudence of same sax marriage I had reached the conclusion that it was hopelessly conflicted and that in an ideal world the government should just get out of the marriage business. This article helped me see that the social label matters, and it was not very useful to ask whether it should matter.

    (2) SSM is victimless. Can I use my vote to control someone else’s choices when I am not harmed. To compare I look at recreational drug use or prostitution or pornography. I have the power to shape my community. Laws can control behavior and I feel I must vote based on how I think the community should be even if I am not harmed by individual acts, these behaviors create a culture that is harmful to me. I still wrestle with where to draw the line on how to limit another’s freedom.

    (3) Do commandments ever make sense? If every commandment made sense, would we need a prophet? In every lesson about the Word of Wisdom we talk about how it only made sense in hindsight. I think about the comments printed after the Manifesto in the D&C. The Lord shows the prophets the consequences. I do not have the wisdom to know the reasons why the Church is saying this. But based on (1) & (2) I think I can have the faith to trust. Remember Joseph Smith destroying the enemy printing press. He claims that he had a vision of the consequence of not acting. It strikes me an unchristian and un-American thing to do, but it doesn’t make me want to walk out of Church. Likewise the extermination of the Canaanites is hard to swallow, but my reaction is to reconcile myself to it rather than find fault with Joshua.

    (4) lost causes; Mormon’s causes. Okay why make a post at the bottom of such a long thread. Do I really believe that anyone is going to read this whole thing? I approached this as I do voting–because surely, MY vote doesn’t matter. I live in Utah in a county/precinct made up of political lemmings. But as a moral actor, I must vote, I must speak. So I can also have faith that it is okay to act even though it is a losing cause. I am inspired by Mormon. He fought and preached in love. His faith in the Lord’s laws made him CERTAIN that he would fail, the people were too wicked and the consequences were clear. But still he acted. I think the world today needs Mormons. I will be a Mormon.

  57. utrel on May 28, 2006 at 11:40 am

    What a beautiful statement, and fully consistent with D&C 134:9.
    “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

    Ah, my faith is promoted and edified.

  58. Daniel B on May 28, 2006 at 11:58 am

    #55 Very much appreciate the thoughtfulness of all you say.

    But re (2): is the comparison off SSM with pornography, drugs, or prostitution not to skew the argument? The harmfulness of drugs – or at least prolonged habitual drug use – to both the individual and society is proven. Habitual immersion in pornography and prostitution also have demonstrably harmful effects, at least to individuals, though it would be wrong to take away people’s right to access them if they wish to. (Though asking that they be kept private instead of displayed everywhere is also a fair demand). The main difference between pornography and prostitution on the one hand and SSM on the other, is that the former do not aspire to love and commitment, while SSM does.

    re (4) the world does very much need Mormons and will probably need them more so in the coming decades. But it needs them to look at the world around them from a larger perspective. Campaigning against the normalisation of a form of relationship that at least aspires to love and commitment is a trivial use of the church’s spiritual energies when there are real forms of wickedness and injustice threatening impoverished and vulnerable people around the world, injustices that few LDS seem genuinely concerned about since ‘the end of the world’ is coming any way and their own personal salvation is of more apparent concern to them.

  59. Kimball L. Hunt on May 28, 2006 at 11:59 am

    VEGAS HAS LOWERED the age for strippers|*| to 18? (/”Go-go dancers” /”show girls” /”exotic dancers” (a la Mata Hari)?**)

    For the lawfully (sic) savvy: How can states outlaw drinking for adults under 21 per the Equal Protection clause? ‘Caus drink’s a privilege not a right, despite the Admendment disallowing Prohibition?
    _____
    |[*(My very good friend (now a newspaper editor but — used to teach middle school!) secretly used to “dance” during college.)

    |[ **(The reason Mata Hari’s such a famous stripper is quite the story.
    – – –
    |[(A dutch girl who’d spent time in Indonesia, after performing first as an (exotically dressed, of course!) circus horse-rider, Mata later became famous as a dancer by claiming to be Indonesian and performing authentically “exotic” partially nude (by our standards) or even fully nude dancing.
    As a Dutch citizen, since Netherlands was neutral, she travelled to both Germany and France during the First World War. When she was questioned about this in England, Mata spun yet another exotic tale, which made its way to the papers, claiming she was a spy for the French during liaisons with German officers.
    Later — however, this was AFTER the Germans learned their secret transmissions code had been broken! — the Germans sent a coded message to indicate that poor Mata was their double agent (with there being speculation they did so so to neutralize Mata if these reports had been true that she HAD indeed been a spy for the French while in consort with German officers).
    Nonetheless, she was shot by a French firing squad in 1917. And since no family came to claim her body, her cadavar (Sorry, I don’t make up the plotline) was sent to the Museum of Anatomy.
    – – –
    |[(But, more importantly, according to the Indiana Jones pulps — Something’s pulp even if it’s TRYING to be, right? — Mata had been Indiana’s first lover/ youthful indescetion.)]|

  60. Daniel B on May 28, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    #30 Sue, just read your entry..don’t know how I missed it the first time…thank you for putting one of my essential concerns (above #50) much more passionately and eloquently than I have been able to (also in ‘Earth Day and the Church #59). I agree with you ENTIRELY. If the LDS church membership could awaken itself in the way you have, it’s potential to do good in the world would be fantastoc. It’s humanitarian program is marvellous, intelligent and admirable. But the program and its activities hardly ever gets discussed within a culture more concerned with righteous indignation over the idea that some people may want to love each other in a way it doesn’t understand.

  61. Jim Cobabe on May 28, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    A lot of the comments here seem to miss the real point. The underlying issue is a semantic question: What does “marriage” mean?

    The Proclamation on the Family answers this, succinctly and unequivocally. I believe the official church interest in this matter is driven by prophetic inspiration, which forsees a developing crises involving of much greater scope than concerns about “alternative” fringe interests.

    The final clause of the Proclamation is clearly politically directed, recognizing that legally defining marriage is rightfully a political issue, notwithstanding the sophistry of those who wish to simply disappear the problem by asserting that it is not.

  62. Jeff Day on May 28, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    I think missionary work, converting the “sinners” to cause them to desire to do righteousness is a far more effective means than trying to bully them around. Bullying someone around with laws will just make them resentful of your notions. With this type of stuff going on, how could I even think about teaching a gay person about the Gospel? It is hard enough to begin with, but this alienates them so badly and goes againt the first principles in such a way that I am afraid it would lead them to heightened inner conflict and depression rather than any type of peace.

  63. Daniel B on May 28, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    #61 Jim I raised the semantic issue in #50.

    ‘Crises of much greater scope’ (global poverty, environmental threats, corporate irresponsibility and malpractice in third world countries, the lack of money to spend on health care and education in Africa countries which have clearly been impoverished to sustain high-tech living in the West) are indeed being ignored as the comparatively ‘fringe’ interests of Christian groups with narrow social agendas refuse to consider larger issues of justice and suffering in the world. SSM rights may seem the ‘alternative’ concerns of a minority, but there is a very crucial principle of fairness and equality at stake here that is not itself in the least ‘fringe’.

    There is surely as much sophistry in making a huge issue out of something that isn’t really while wishing that desparately important issues of poverty and misery in a rapidly globalising world would ‘simply disappear’.

  64. Blake on May 28, 2006 at 1:16 pm

    I go simply mad at how the real issues get overlooked in this discussion. Marriage is a state-sanctioned relationship that the State (or Government) believes it has an interest in fostering and protecting. The real issue that ought to be addresed is this: does the State have in interest in fostering and protecting gay relationships? No one has even asked the question. By aligning themselves with the civil rights movments, the gay promoters have simply bypased the real discussion that ought to take place altogether. They have subverted the questions that ought to be pursued such as: does the State have an interest in fostering and protecting relationships between same-sex couples, even possibly mere room-mates?

    My relationship to my room-mates was not something that State had an interest in. Yet many such relationships are now government fostered relationships because room-mates are entitled to insurance benefits if the other room-mate has insurance (that is how it is in Salt Lake City under Rocky Anderson’s absurd health benefits program). The question must be asked wether the gay relationship can be distnguished from relationships among room-mates. I would argue that they cannot be legally distinguished unless gays are allowed to adopt. However, we then must ask whether gays should be allowed to adopt – and the stakes in that discussion are high indeed.

    If gays are allowed to adopt, then the children must be protected. But the prior issue is whether the State should allow gays to adopt. It seems to me fairly obvious that children flourish and do best in a two-parent, mother-father home. The State has a clear interest in promoting and protecting that relationship. Is it the same for gays? How could we get the evidence without using human guinea pigs?

    So I suggest that gay relationships are not a fundamental right, are not relationships that the State has in interest in fostering, and do not have any more claim to protection than room-mate relationships. If just any relationship where two people or more live together in a common dwelling is protected, then the status of protected and fostered relationship loses all meaning. So civil marriage loses all means — and in fact in our society civil marriage means virtually nothing. Civil marriage means absolutely nothing because common-law arrangments (living in sin) provide everything a marriage does, the divorce rate is so high it demonstrates that marriage has no symbolic or legal meaning.

    The prophets warned us of the consequences of the break-down of the family. We are reaping the bitter pain and our children are the real victims of a society gone absolutely mad.

    That said, because civil marriage means absolutely nothing, and because civil marriage is not a sealing or marriage by authority of God, the best position is to recognize that civil ceremonies are meaningless and to assert that the Church will not sanction gay marriages because, while it is no sin to have gay proclivities, it is a sin to foster a relationship of gay sexual activity.

    In all of this, in every statement, the Church is obligated to reiterate that gay people are children of God, that the fact that they have same-sex attractions does not mean that they are not loved by God and that the Church values them and invites them with open arms. It must go out of its way to express a message of love to them because it is so easy to forget that we do not and cannot stand in judgment of them. However, it must also emphasize two other messages: (1) the standards of conduct are the same for heterosexuals and for homosexuals — intimate sexual relationship outside the bonds of matrimony are harmful to society and a sin before God; and (2) God does not sanction marriage for homosexuals. Thus, gays have the same cross to bear as un-married heterosexuals in the LDS faith — chastity and sexual abstinence. If it is then complained that the Church discriminates against gays, it can be pointed out that the obvious fact is that the Church treats all unmarried people in the same way and follows the revelations of God for many millenia about marriage and the sanctity of sex. If they don’t like that message, it is not their or our prerogative to redefine sin or God’s message.

  65. Jim Cobabe on May 28, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    #35 APJ’s comments reflect a common misunderstanding about “Satan’s Plan”. Or perhaps just a mental shortcut which misrepresents the basic principles.

    As I understand it, the proposal by Lucifer was that we would not have the _option_ to exercise our own volition. He would dictate our actions. This arrangement would have had little in common with human government and laws which attempt to direct the choices we make under human agency. Under “Satan’s Plan”, there would _be_ no choices.

    We are instructed that all beings are endowed with fundamental insight into what constitutes the basis for morality. As moral beings it is our obligation to acknowledge that insight, and to attempt to codify it into a government structure and a legal system that reflect a positive disposition toward things which are “good” and a negative posture toward things which are “bad”. That our laws are an imperfect reflection of the ideal is axiomatic and acceptable, as long as our collective voice agrees that we are pointed in the right direction.

    This is the real basis for the “definition of marriage” controversy. Now we experience discord in discussion of these issues because minority interests object to general rules which frame an advantage for others, but fail to address their specific minority concerns. Of course the ideal would be to implement laws which give no unfair preference to any single group, but there appears to be no way to serve that ideal perfectly. The acceptable compromise has long been that general rules with best serve the greatest number should prevail.

    To propose to discard rules to which any minority finds marginal objection falls down the slippery slope toward anarchy.

  66. APJ on May 28, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    re 56 (2): as to influencing the community to be more like what you think it should, how is this not Satan’s plan? to me, people will not spiritually progress unless they can actually make decisions for the right reasons. are we here to learn to obey state laws based on whatever the majority thinks is right, or to learn and progress (taste the bitter and the sweet) and thereby work out our salvation? To me, criminalizing victimless crimes deprives someone of truly ‘learning’ not to do something. as to ‘victimless crimes,’ churches should be free to preach what they want and people should be free to accept or reject what is preached, without worrying about becoming criminals. to those who disagree, how do you reconcile ‘legislating morality’ with ‘the purpose of earth life.’ (i.e. free agency).

  67. APJ on May 28, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Jim, haha, i didn’t see your #65 before i started typing #66…funny. anyways, yours is a pretty good answer, i think.

    i just happen to think it’s mental shortcut to assume that: ‘As moral beings it is our obligation to acknowledge that insight, and to attempt to codify it into a government structure and a legal system that reflect a positive disposition toward things which are “goodâ€? and a negative posture toward things which are “badâ€?.’ even if not a mental shortcut, i think discussion of what ‘it’ is that moral beings have an obligation to codify would be important.

    as for legislating morality being ‘Satan’s plan,’ I agree that the two aren’t synonymous. But I think it’s worth considering. i would add, the same slippery slope that would lead me to anarchy would lead you to authoritarianism, i think. so, it’s a question of degree to some extent; but i still think it’s good to allow as many ‘options’ as possible, when it doesn’t intrude on others except to expose them to an alternate way of living, and i base this partially on Christ’s plan being preferable to Satan’s.

  68. Daniel B on May 28, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    #64 I applaud and acknowledge your sensitivity and sympathy to the fact that homosexual people are children of God. That it should even need saying …!

    But:

    (1) “intimate sexual relationship outside the bonds of matrimony are harmful to society and a sin before God;”

    How? A ‘sin before God’ is a theological position I am not quarrelling about. But how are sexual relationships between unmarried people ‘harmful to society’? That’s an incredibly sweeping statement. They might be. They might not be. Depends on the circumstances. And come to think of it, in what way are the ‘bonds of matrimony’ an automatic guarantee that no harm is done. I’m sure we’re all aware of instances where the ‘bonds of matrimony’ have in fact proven destructive to children when they prevent two partners in a ill-judged and strife-ridden marriage from accepting that they shouldn’t continue together, especially for the sake of the children who suffer the consequences.

    (2) “Thus, gays have the same cross to bear as un-married heterosexuals in the LDS faith — chastity and sexual abstinence”

    It is not the same at all because un-married heterosexuals at least have the option of marriage.

  69. Last Lemming on May 28, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    From the March 1980 Ensign:

    Recognized constitutional authorities state that the Equal Rights Amendment would represent a serious eroding of the powers of states and would result in a massive transfer of legislative power dealing with domestic relations from the states to the federal level. This transfer would greatly disrupt the division of powers central to our constitutional system. Domestic relations laws are now passed, interpreted, and enforced primarily at local and state levels. This permits local flexibility for differing cultures, ideals, and customs.

    I reluctantly went along with the opposition to the ERA largely on the basis of arguments like this. It seems now that the argument was disengenuous and was merely put forth to manipulate people like me into being good soldiers. But having made the decision to support federalist principles then, I am not now willing to reconsider just because they are being applied in an inconvenient manner. In fact, I’m tempted to e-mail the above quote to my senators.

  70. Jim Cobabe on May 28, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    Blake, thanks for your thoughtful comments. Your ideas about the sanctity of room-mate relationships made me laugh. I have actually been campaigning to gain legal sanction for my loving relationship with my 1995 Toyota 4-Runner. For some reason, most refuse to take me seriously. ;-)

    I agree that any focus on “gay” interests in considering this issue is off base, even to the point of being ridiculous. The attendent arguments are subterfuge to sidestep the most substantive question regarding the protection of the cultural definition of marriage, which affects vastly greater numbers than any “gay” actions ever will.

    Perhaps it would be an acceptable (and infinitely more entertaining) solution, to designate a new government office regulating “gay” interests. Let us create an entire Federal bureaucracy exclusively for serving self-designated “gays”. It would prove once and for all that there aren’t really enough of them to warrant such a fuss.

  71. Loyd on May 28, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    #65 As I understand it, the proposal by Lucifer was that we would not have the _option_ to exercise our own volition. He would dictate our actions.

    Your understanding, though common, is not the only one. It, however, is rather a rather senseless notion though. If our spirits are necessarily rational and free existences, then the idea of these embodied spirits as lacking rational and free volition is a contradictory and meaningless idea.

  72. Seth R. on May 28, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Blake, I haven’t been ignoring it. I say that the state doesn’t have any interest in marriage over any other human relationship.

    Does the state have a legitimate case that tax breaks ought to be given to couples who have children because we need more children and need them well cared for?

    Yes.

    Does the state have an interest in providing legal protections for people who enter into long-term committed relationships (making themselves incredibly vulnerable to the other)?

    Yes.

    Does the state have a legitimate interest in favoring “marriage” over any other relationship that has these same vulnerabilities or concerns?

    No.

    Does the state have a legitimate interest in providing its permission for people to have committed relationships?

    No.

    Since the homosexual couple is such a charged example, let me give you another.

    Two single sisters in about their 80s or 70s living together in the same house and looking after each other, share and share alike.

    Under our current legal regime of state-sponsored matrimony, these sisters do not receive the same legal rights and protections that they would if they were man and woman, and married. If there’s no “living will,” they may not even have a say over the other’s medical care. In fact, the deadbeat son of one of them who hasn’t visited in years may have more say than the devoted sister who has been living with her sibling for twenty years!

    What is needed is a legal framework that takes care of people who commit to each other. Marriage is a religious concept. It worked fairly well when everyone accepted the Christian framework and practices. This is no longer true. Government needs to back off, and restrict itself to practical and legal matters EXCLUSIVELY. It has no business promoting or discouraging religion or religious practices.

  73. Seth R. on May 28, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    What is more, I think my proposal of getting government out of the marriage business altogether will do more to “protect” marriage, in the long run, than a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as “one man, one woman” would.

    Government is no longer a useful protector of the religious concept of marriage. It’s ability to help is compromised, and all it can do is draw unfavorable attention.

    Time for religion to stand on its own two feet without govt. help.

  74. danithew on May 28, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    Obi-wan, the misquote was an error on my part, not a deliberate attempt to change your tone or message. I still think there’s a problem with what’s being said. I’d be surprised if any intelligent person could stand face to face with a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelves and say to him: “you need to get a political clue.” I’m not saying they are infallible … yes they can make mistakes. But most of us aren’t as educated, experienced or insightful as these men.

    Just my take on it.

  75. Daniel B on May 28, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    #72 and #73

    Well said. Sensible. Agree.

  76. Robert on May 28, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    This letter from the First Presidency is an example of the Church leadership involving themselves in politics while maintaining deniability. As the letter alludes, the Presidency’s position on marriage is clear. For the Presidency just to raise the issue among many other possible issues is a signal to Latter-day Saints on how the Presidency would wish them to act. The leadership, of course, can officially deny providing such direction.

    This approach is disingenous and creates ill-will toward the Church. Those outside the Church are not so ignorant as to not see the Presidency is asking for support for an amendment without explicitly saying so. It reinforces the suspicion by many non-Mormons that the Church is dishonest and controls things behind the scenes.

    I would rather see the whole issue of marriage dropped. It doesn’t serve anyone but politicians and preachers. I’d rather see civil unions available to everyone and “marriage” removed from the sphere of the government. Let the various churches then define marriage whatever way they wish, perform ceremonies under whatever guidelines they wish, and get on with solving problems that we all need help with like health care and energy.

  77. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    “A lot of the comments here seem to miss the real point. The underlying issue is a semantic question: What does “marriageâ€? mean?”

    This way of talking always drive me a little batty. The question is not “what does marriage mean?”, but rather “what should marriage mean?”, and why.

  78. aletheia on May 28, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    76 – Makes me suspicious and distrustful.

  79. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 28, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    Guess it is time to trot out Jane Galt at http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

  80. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 6:14 pm

    In particular, societies interest in protecting the institution of marriage is a fundamental one – self preservation. That generally cannot be said of same sex relationships no matter how imbued with sanctity and spirituality.

    There are no doubt some sort of reasonable protections that should be given to committed partnerships, even those of a purely Platonic nature. But to say they should be should be considered as having the same moral and societal consequence as the institution of marriage is unusually short sighted.

    The very idea that they are moral equivalents has long lasting and severe consequences to society no matter how benign it may seem to be in individual cases. The experience of certain European countries further down this path than we are is particularly informative.

    See for example:

    The End of Marriage in Scandinavia
    Stanley Kurtz, Weekly Standard, 2/2/2004
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/660zypwj.asp

  81. DavidH on May 28, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    Last Lemming,

    Thanks for posting the quote from the 1980 Ensign regarding the ERA. It nicely summarizes the reasons why I oppose the amendment federalizing the definition of marriage.

  82. Kevin Barney on May 28, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    I agree with #31. I think the ERA is a pretty good analog, and just as I found Rex Lee’s arguments on that subject compelling in his A Lawyer Looks at the ERA, I think the very same arguments suggest that it would be a serious mistake to amend the constitution on this subject.

    (Unless one wants to take the cynical position that Lee’s arguments weren’t truly principled. Maybe if Lee’s arguments no longer have any force and we think it’s such a good idea to pass this amendment, we should revisit the ERA, too. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too; what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and all that.)

    That’s irony no. 1. Irony no. 2 is that as recently as Heber J. Grant we had a polygamist as president of the church, so I would be embarrassed to publicly make the one man/one woman statement with a straight face.

  83. John T. on May 28, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    Maybe Mark Hoffman hacked in to the Church website from the Draper correctional facility and posted this message.
    The Church surely wouldn’t use its exalted position to engage in such cynical election-year political maneuverings, now would it?

  84. obi-wan on May 28, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    I’d be surprised if any intelligent person could stand face to face with a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelves and say to him: “you need to get a political clue.�

    I have done so on one occasion, and would cheerfully do so again (I think my exact words were something like “naive and counterproductive.”) Perhaps I fail your initial criterion?

    But for the most part, I don’t think they’re really all that interested in getting good input on political or legal strategy. Church central leadership tends to operate on what might charitably be called “personal networks” and less charitably might be called “cronyism” — they have certain advisors who they go to, mostly based on familial or social relationships, and they rely almost exclusively on those inputs. (This is one of the reasons that the Church has over the past few years lost several very expensive lawsuits — putting their reliance on friends or friends of friends, or friends of relatives, rather than interviewing and selecting good outside counsel the way a serious organization with millions of dollars at stake would.)

    An acquaintance of mine once compared the Church Office building to a gigantic filter — both ways — Church leadership gets only highly sanitized and rarified information about what is going on outside, and the rank and file membership gets equally filtered information about what the General Authorities are really doing. I suspect that the assessment is pretty accurate.

  85. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    The article I referenced makes the relatively obvious point that even in polygamy, a marriage is still a relationship between one man and one woman, not some sort of group contract. The difference is that the man (or in some cases the woman) is allowed to enter into more than one marriage simultaneously. Separate relationships, legal permissions, weddings, divorces, and often houses as well.

  86. Mark Butler on May 28, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    So no special facial effort required…

  87. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 28, 2006 at 8:27 pm

    But for the most part, I don’t think they’re really all that interested in getting good input on political or legal strategy. Church central leadership tends to operate on what might charitably be called “personal networks� and less charitably might be called “cronyism� — they have certain advisors who they go to, mostly based on familial or social relationships, and they rely almost exclusively on those inputs.

    You seem to neglect the fact that their first source for information and revelation — particularly when dealing with something like marriage, which is central to God’s plan — is the Lord. This is not first and foremost a political issue. This is based on doctrine and our prophets have spoken. Where is our loyalty?

    Pres Hinckley has said:
    Now may I say a word concerning loyalty to the Church.
    We see much indifference. There are those who say, “The Church won’t dictate to me how to think about this, that, or the other, or how to live my life.�
    No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein.
    When I was a university student, I said to my father on one occasion that I felt the General Authorities had overstepped their prerogatives when they advocated a certain thing. He was a very wise and good man. He said, “The President of the Church has instructed us, and I sustain him as prophet, seer, and revelator and intend to follow his counsel.â€?…
    In 1933 there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state.
    I was on a mission, working in London, England, when I read the newspaper headlines that screamed, “Utah Kills Prohibition.�
    President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel.
    On this occasion I am not going to talk about the good or bad of Prohibition but rather of uncompromising loyalty to the Church.
    How grateful, my brethren, I feel, how profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith of so many Latter-day Saints who, when facing a major decision on which the Church has taken a stand, align themselves with that position. And I am especially grateful to be able to say that among those who are loyal are men and women of achievement, of accomplishment, of education, of influence, of strength—highly intelligent and capable individuals.
    Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

    (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Loyalty,� Ensign, May 2003, 58)

  88. Lawrence on May 28, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    Sue’s comment, #30, almost sounds wistful. Would Sue have the church solve all the social and health problems of the world? And in the case of churches acting solely to solve all these world problems, there aren’t enough resources to make a permanent dent. Governments in the days of Jesus also didn’t have the will (Romans) or the resources. Today, our government is very generous and the UN, feckless as it is, still manages to do its share of humanitarian good. It’s always easy to criticize the church, but I hope we remember that it’s first responsibility is to help us save ourselves in the spiritual sense. I think the church has done and is doing a great amount of humanitarian good. It mostly flies under the radar.

    I’m also a Nevadan and might point out that the LV mayor never sincerely pomoted legalized prostitution. It was his usual method of getting noticed by the press, both national and local. I might also add that the church in southern Nevada doesn’t come close to having the political clout it had 20 or so years ago.

  89. Josh Kim on May 28, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    I think all five Latter-day Saints in the U.S. Senate today would support the Marriage Amendment. I think all LDS Congressmen would support it too.

    I don’t know if anyone brought up this question but I wonder what would be the consequences if a Mormon member of Congress opposed the amendment, in opposition to the wishes of the First Presidency?

    Would anyone like to take a shot at that? I recall that back in 2004 some Catholic Priests refused to give Communion to Politicians who supported Abortion rights.

  90. Blake on May 28, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    Re: #82. It seems to me, Kevin, that you are missing the simple facts of the Supremacy Clause and the Equal Protection of Laws Clauses in your analysis. This issue is not at all like the the ERA for the following reasons: (1) the 14th Amendment already gave all of the protections sought by the ERA (a fact Rex Lee also argued for) so it was entirely unnecessary — whereas each State now governs whether it will recognize gay marriages and it is not a matter that the National Constitution addresses (at least not without more activist judges on the Supreme Court) ; (2) the ERA would have imposed on States in a matter alread governed at the Federal level whereas the issue of marriage is governed at the State level; (3) unless an Amendment at the National level passes, the U.S. Constitution Equal Protection Clause would probably be read to require one state that doesn’t recognize gay marriage to give effect and full faith and credit to a marriage performed in another state; (4) thus, entirely unlike the ERA, one state could foist its recognition of gay marriages on all other states thorugh a federal ruling or U.S. Supreme Court ruling that granted full faith and credit to another State’s laws and that despite the fact that such other State’s Constitution forbids recognition of gay marriages; (5) so one state can foist its recognition of gay marriages on all other states and no state could require another to refuse such recognition of gay marriage (and the cards are stacked). In this arena, the clash of State Constitutions is a dreaded scenario of one state (or a few) deciding the law for the rest of the United States.

    So I believe that there is a sound legal rationale for the Church’s position that those not aware of how one State’s laws get recognized and enforced in another State may not realize. Of course none of this addresses the issue of whether the government ought to be in the business of recognizing marriages at all. It seems to me that marriage is essentially a religious institution that the government found useful because it is a good vehicle to protect the rights and needs of children and women who would be left otherwise destitute.

    However, alimony is rarely given these days because more women work. With more women working, the nuclear family has fallen apart and divorce rates have sky-rocketed. Marriage is no longer functional as a civil arrangement. So perhaps there is some wisdom to asking the government to get out of the marriage business altogether. Let there be mere common law marriages that assume that if a couple have children, they have the duties of parents and support (which is presently the law). If someone wants to sanctify a marriage before God, then that is the prerogative of whatever religion they belong to. Perhaps we ought to give up the charade that the State can sanctify marriage or give the institution of marriage any propping up. Only those who seek the blessings of the gospel will seek the sealing authority. If gays don’t believe the Church has such authority to sanction marriage, then it need not impact them at all. However, with such actions, we will in fact institutionalize what has already occurred in Scandinavia and Europe — the instittution of marriage will be dead except among believers and the children will suffer as they do now because no one is home to raise them, guide them or love them.

  91. Josh Kim on May 28, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    I personally feel that the Marriage Amendment is a bad idea.

    I am a Mormon. You don’t even have to be a non-member to realize that the letter is an ambiguously worded statement. Niccolo Machiavelli would have been impressed.

    I am a BYU student and among the student body we argue over “quickie marriages” if you would even see the threads we have there over what the First Presidency meant by certain devotionals or Conferences talks given; you would flip your brains.

    So a topic as nationally controversial as the “correct” definition of marriage would of course spark the powder keg here and elsewhere. I guess where I’m going with this is that the FP opened the door when it encouraged Church members to express ourselves on this issue and that is what I am doing.

    If today we are supporting an Amendment towards Marriage then I am afraid that in the future the Government and the majority of the people will intrude and pass amendments that would intrude upon the sanctity of the Family.

  92. Matt on May 28, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    “It worked fairly well when everyone accepted the Christian framework and practices. This is no longer true. Government needs to back off, and restrict itself to practical and legal matters EXCLUSIVELY. It has no business promoting or discouraging religion or religious practices.”

    Seth,

    There was never a time when everyone accepted the Christian framework. A significant majority of Americans have always been Christian, and a minority of the American people have always rejected Christianity and its worldview. What changed over the decades was our laws at the hands of nine men in robes who wrote new laws to overrule those enacted by the voice of the American people. As judges stripped the religious content or basis from many laws, it was inevitable that the laws initial beneficial purpose was thwarted and skewed. As Mosiah taught his people, the voice of the people is the most reliable way for a political body to gauge and establish moral laws.

  93. sue on May 28, 2006 at 10:12 pm

    #64: “If gays are allowed to adopt, then the children must be protected. But the prior issue is whether the State should allow gays to adopt. It seems to me fairly obvious that children flourish and do best in a two-parent, mother-father home.”

    No kidding. Too bad that we have to deal with reality when choosing adoptive homes for children in foster care, and the reality is that there is a huge shortage of married two parent families willing to adopt the “unadoptable.” There are about 80,000 kids living in foster care every year who are available for adoption but who nobody seems to want – they are typically older, minority, and with emotional/behavioral problems. You aren’t choosing between a two parent home for these kids or a gay parent home. You are choosing between NO HOME and a life in foster care, or a gay parent/single parent home. And kid in long-term foster care typically end up with huge problems. It’s a terrible life.

    Also, all of the research, including a recent study from the APA, has found that children of gay parents are just as successful and well adjusted as children of straight parents.

  94. Kimball L. Hunt on May 28, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Proposed amendments to the United States Constitution? I don’t understand T&S’s priorities at all!

    However, if someone could track down the genesis and general promotion this obviously urban legend of BYU students’ hittin a Vegas wedding chapel at the start Spring break — I guess putting General Confernece on TiVo? — then hittin the courthouse for a divorce on the way out, THAT’S what I think ‘udd make fer a FASCINATING STUDY –

  95. sue on May 28, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    #89 – “Would Sue have the church solve all the social and health problems of the world?”

    No. I’m not that naive. But when there are atrocities and evil taking place in the world that absolutely blow gay marriage off of the radar screen, I would expect that we (the members of the church) would be encouraged by church leadership to express our opinions about those far greater evils. It seems odd, and sad, that this is the only political/moral issue the church chooses to address. They don’t ask us to express our opinions about the genocide in Sudan to our political leaders. Just gay marriage. That’s wrong on a lot of different levels.

  96. John Taber on May 28, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    “That’s wrong on a lot of different levels.”

    So is the huge print of Washington praying at Valley Forge that’s in too many meetinghouse foyers. Not much we ordinary members can do about that, either.

    When I was passing through Las Vegas about nine years ago, you could spot the LDS meetinghouses a mile away because they were the only buildings with a full lawn. Is that still the case?

  97. obi-wan on May 28, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    You seem to neglect the fact that their first source for information and revelation — particularly when dealing with something like marriage, which is central to God’s plan — is the Lord.

    Balderdash. You make the same mistake — and I notice you make it on the blogs often — that Oliver Cowdery made in trying to recieve revelation: assuming that the Lord magically provides all the answers, without thought or effort or investigation on our part, with no mis-steps, false starts, or course corrections. The Lord has made it clear, over and over and over, in everyday experience, in history and anecdote, in cannonized scripture, that we are to gather the best information available to us, make our best effort at formulating an answer, and approach him for confirmation. That is just as true for the presiding authorities as it is for anyone else.

    Revelation is a messy, uncertain, intensive process. You put bad information into process, you get bad direction, or no direction, out of the process. Most of us here have some experience with the process, in making personal decisions, or fulfilling a calling, or sitting on a ward or stake council. The highest councils of the Church wrestle with the issues, discuss and deliberate and pray over their problems just like any ward or stake council. Sometimes they get the answer just exactly right, and sometimes they don’t. Gordon Hinkley has repeatedly said that he approaches the Lord for instruction just the same way that the rest of us do. The scriptural examples are legion: Nephi, Moses, Adam, Mahonrimoriancumr all struggled through the same process. There are some nice examples in the new biographies of Spencer Kimball and David O. McKay. You don’t always get it right on the first try, or the second, or even the third. It’s silly and misleading to pretend that there aren’t mistakes, or that it happens any other way

    Where is our loyalty?

    Right where it should be — with the Savior and His work. And let me add that loyalty to the truth, to the Master, to the cause of Zion, and even to the presiding authorities, means a lot more than putting your agency on autopilot and parroting every suggestion that happens to fall from the lips of a General Authority. That’s not how we progress and it’s not how the Work progresses. The Master needs servants, not syncophants.

  98. sue on May 28, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    The church in LV has been swapping out the grass for more appropriate desert landscaping, one chapel at a time. The water district put a rebate program in place – offering financial rebates to residents and businesses that switched out grass for water saving landscaping and I believe the church signed up. There are still some grassy chapels, but they are being phased out.

  99. rd on May 28, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Sue,

    Isn’t the bottom line that a prophet has declared homosexuality to contravene God’s order; that marriage between a man and a woman is God’s way; and that he would have use seek to support positions in line with God’s way? You will have a hard time arguing to the rank and file your position when you disregard these foundation principles.

    I don’t understand homosexuality. Not even close. But I do understand the clear statements of our modern day prophet. Doesn’t it come down to belief in a prophet? And if that is the case, aren’t secular arguments, well, just that?

  100. Kevin Barney on May 28, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    I would be fine with government getting out of the marriage business altogether, which would probably be the best solution. But, pragmatically, I don’t see that happening. Under the system as it exists, I favor gay marriage, so I’m not concerned about full faith and credit clause enforcement.

  101. sue on May 28, 2006 at 11:23 pm

    RD – “Doesn’t it come down to belief in a prophet? ”

    Of course it does. Every issue I have – whether it’s polygamy, racist teachings (that have since been dismissed as prophets speaking as men and not prophets – men who were products of their time with flawed ideas), temple ordinances, you name it – comes down to that singular issue. That’s the whole problem.

  102. Elisabeth on May 28, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    Matt #88 – don’t forget Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. These women (and many other women of the judiciary – including Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the SJC) certainly deserve at least a portion of your disdain for their role in the judicial decision making process. Or are you too much of a gentleman to pick on the ladies :)

  103. Blake on May 28, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    Sue said: “Also, all of the research, including a recent study from the APA, has found that children of gay parents are just as successful and well adjusted as children of straight parents.” Really? Could you provide a better source? My source material suggests that all such studies are simply politically motivated and not well conceived (no pun intended). All the studies I am aware of show that having a parent of each sex is very important to forming appropriate role-models and sexual behavior as well as long-term well being. So I’ll look for further information on your source. As to adoptions — I do adoptions from time to time as an attorney and there is a waiting list of not months but years. Care to explain the difference? I have couples who would take any child and they are forced to wait because they don’t meet the racial criteria of the children waiting to be adopted. I don’t see allowing gays to adopt as a solution. Do you have any data suggesting that gays would adopt the unadoptables of which you speak?

    Kevin: If you favor gay marriage, then perhaps you could enlighten me on what the purpose of marriage is and how it differs from having room-mates. I agree that the gov’t won’t get out of the marriage business — and as long as it is in the business, it ought to make some sense as to which relationships it has an interest in fostering. I don’t believe that gay relationships are among them. Isn’t it pellucidly clear that gays don’t need a state sanction to engage in gay sex? After all, they do it now without marriage. What benefits does marriage offer that they cannot achieve by contracts and wills? I submit — none. The real agenda is clear — they want acceptance and absolition that the State cannot and ought not offer. What is added by a marriage other than the State saying “we sanction your relationship”? Why should they care about such sanction unless they want to force by law acceptance of their relationships and conduct — which I see no reason to have the gov’t do? Why should others be forced to sanction that relationship by force of law? Further, are you saying that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are just out to lunch and that your own preferences have equal weight (that is an honest question)? Do you also favor one state foisting its position on all others via the full faith and credit clause? That seems really calloused and, frankly, rediculous to me as a responsible stance. I don’t believe that I have ever questioned your judgment so this is all new territory for me.

  104. sue on May 28, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    Blake – My understanding is/was that the children of homosexual parents are generally well adjusted and successful. That is certainly my personal experience. I am sure we could each trade biased research and links, but I’m not sure that would be productive.

    Regarding your comments on adoption… My comment was not meant to be a thesis on the statistics of gay adoption. You set up the false chioce between adoption to a two parent straight family or adoption to a gay parent. This is not the choice faced by most foster children. Many would be happy to be adopted into any home that would take them, if permitted by the state. Your personal experience notwithstanding, it is a fact that there are thousands and thousands of foster children who are available for adoption, with no waiting period. Infants and toddlers – there is definitely a multi-year wait. Older, minority children (especially 13 and up) or children with severe disabilities usually are readily available, at least in the system I had experience with. Whether or not your clients meet the criteria set by the state for adopting them is a side issue.

  105. MikeInWeHo on May 28, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Interesting that so few people here are discussing the fact that NOBODY believes this ammendment will pass the Senate. Surely the moribund leadership in SLC isn’t so insulated from the real world as to not realize that. So the question it raises for me is: Why are they making this statement now? If they just want to remind us how much they really, really, really don’t want (non-celibate, non-self-loathing) gays in the Church, why not just expound on their opposition to homosexuality in general? Most of the membership lives outside the U.S. now, right? Why link the moral position so closely to this highly partisan, American political question?

    I agree with # 55. This is incredibly bad politics and will ultimately backfire. However, as someone who supports SSM and expects to see it soon (we already have de facto SSM here in Calfornia under the rubric ‘domestic partnership’…and nobody seems to have noticed !), I guess I’m glad to see the Church being so ham-handed on this one. The pro-gay organizations are proving themselves much more saavy. So keep wringing your hands over “gay marriage” while domestic partnership laws come online in more and more states. That’s fine with me.

  106. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 28, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    we are to gather the best information available to us, make our best effort at formulating an answer, and approach him for confirmation. That is just as true for the presiding authorities as it is for anyone else.

    Of course. And all 15 of our prophets, seers and revelators sought out God’s will according to marriage and came up with the Proclamation. It’s not very often you see something of that kind of import, with all 15 prophets’ signatures. That you might even imply that these issues haven’t been addressed by our leaders with effort and pondering and confirmation from heaven is absolutely mind-boggling.

  107. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 29, 2006 at 12:03 am

    means a lot more than putting your agency on autopilot and parroting every suggestion that happens to fall from the lips of a General Authority.

    p.s. And you can prove that I have put my agency on autopilot? I ponder and think through these things a great deal, and I feel confirmation from the Spirit to support what my leaders say. Besides, following the Savior involves following His leaders. He has even said as much.

  108. sue on May 29, 2006 at 12:05 am

    Blake, perhaps this link will answer the questions you posed to me. Here are a few excerpts that address your points:

    (And by the way, I was wrong, there are not 80,000 kids – it’s more like 127,000 kids waiting to be adopted.)

    http://www.cwla.org/articles/cv0201gayadopt.htm

    “Studies examining children raised by a gay parent or parents have shown no difference in developmental outcomes as compared with children raised by heterosexual parents. Critics, however, contend these studies are politicized with sample sizes that are too small to be conclusive.”

    “Stacey and Biblarz also found that the children of homosexual parents show no difference in levels of self-esteem, anxiety, depression, behavior problems, or social performance, but do show a higher level of affection, responsiveness, and concern for younger children and “seem to exhibit impressive psychological strength.” ”

    “They go on to stress that categorizing parents as gay or heterosexual “erroneously impl[ies] that a parent’s sexual orientation is the decisive characteristic of his or her parenting.” They suggest that sexual orientation only matters because homophobia and discrimination say it matters. ”

    “With so many children in the public child welfare system in need of permanent homes, gay parents are sometimes seen as resources for hard-to-place children. Bennett says, “So many gay and lesbian parents are adopting from the child welfare system. They are so interested in becoming parents that they are willing to take children others are not.” She says an “unspoken hierarchy” exists in adoption practice, and one of the great ironies of the debate is that gay and lesbian parents often adopt the children with the greatest need.

    In a New York Times editorial responding to the Florida decision, Dan Savage, an author, syndicated columnist, and adoptive father, wrote, “The real choice for children waiting to be adopted in Florida and elsewhere isn’t between gay and straight parents, but between parents and no parents.”

    By prohibiting gay and lesbian people from adopting, there are unquestionably fewer potential adoptive homes for children. “If people are going to hold a narrow opinion of who can adopt,” Bennett says, “they are sentencing some children to a life without a loving home.”

  109. sue on May 29, 2006 at 12:08 am

    And I will refrain from any additional posting regarding gay adoption in this thread, as it’s a threadjack.

  110. Elisabeth on May 29, 2006 at 12:18 am

    Matt – Yet another example of revisionism, excising the contributions of women from the historical record to preserve a witty turn of phrase :)

  111. Seth R. on May 29, 2006 at 12:19 am

    Matt Evans,

    One thing that the Christian Right never seems to get is that they do not represent the American majority. A huge portion of America actually thinks they’re full of it.

    Judges are only labeled “activist” when they disagree with religious conservatives.

    What the conservatives don’t get is that at least half the American population either outright disagrees with them, or has serious issues with their take on moral issues.

    The “moral majority” is a myth.

    The Supreme Court has the weakest and most tenuous political position of any branch of government. They only have power over anything when the American people believe in their legitimacy. Time and time again, the Supreme Court has bowed to the conventional wisdom (even at the expense of being right). The Supreme Court has always been the last political institution to take up a new political position. Only when it is obvious that there is enough popular support, do they “break new ground.”

    Roe v. Wade really wasn’t activist at all. It merely reflected what BIG portion of the American population already thought. That’s why the Court felt it could get away with it. The indignant screeching that followed only came from a portion of America. A sizeable portion, to be sure. But still a portion nonetheless.

    Republicans would like us all to think that they represent some moral majority. That they speak for the normal Americans and the Democrats speak only for fringe loonies.

    Matt,

    You don’t speak for the “moral majority.” And scapegoating the judiciary isn’t going to change the fact that the real majority of America actually backs aborition in some form or another.

    Today, it would be the judge who overrules Roe v. Wade who would be the real “activist.”

    If you want to claim that democracy in America has gone horribly wrong and that the voting public has lost its moral compass, go right ahead. But don’t shoot the messengers, which is all the Supreme Court really is.

    There’s just something exceedingly pitiful in the political right’s whining about activist judges that irks me. It’s like they’re hiding from the real fight: the fight they have with the American people.

  112. MikeInWeHo on May 29, 2006 at 12:19 am

    re: 103 I have no interesting in a dialogue with someone like you, Blake. Would have enjoyed that 20 years ago at university, but these days I have a family to raise and a career to develop ( and some blogging to do !).

    For anyone who is interested, here’s a link that will direct you to articles on gay parenting and adoption:

    Hope that link works. There is no longer any serious debate in academia (psychology, education, sociology, et. al. ) about whether or not gays make acceptable parents. I’m sure that there are some corners of evangelical schools where you can find those who disagree, but you can find Creationists in those dark corners too. One thing I’ve learned: There’s no point in a debate with certain people. I do believe they need to be confronted, vigorously and continuously, every time they raise their voice in the public sphere. It’s not a question of pursuasion. It’s a matter of saying clearly: I will not sit by while you diminish my humanity, attack my morality, question my psychological health, and promote laws which strip my family of its legal protections.

  113. Matt Evans on May 28, 2006 at 11:47 pm

    Elisabeth, I’ve griped about O’Connor so much that I don’t want to pile on, but you’re right, she certainly suffered the delusion that she’d been made queen. (Illustration 1: Queen says race-based admissions policies will be unconstitutional beginning 2028.) Ginsburg is fine half the time and, of course, you’re right that Margaret Marshall thinks she’s queen. But I still like complaining about nine kings. Carrying on about seven or eight kings and the queens just doesn’t have the same feel on the tongue!

  114. Eric Russell on May 29, 2006 at 1:20 am

    MikeInWeHo,

    Agreed that there’s no point in a debate with certain people – perhaps the most true words in this thread. I also agree that it’s not a matter of persuasion. Rather, it’s a matter of saying clearly: I will follow the Prophet, no matter what.

  115. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 2:08 am

    MikeinweHo: I believe that you are the closed minded one here hell-bent on foisting your opinions without dialogue. The studies done to date are not longitundinal and are done by gay activists by in large. I’m not interested in rhetoric, nor moral self-justification. I am interested in children. Calling me a Creationist is so far laughable you have no idea how ludicrous you accusations are. I am all for responsible dialogue in the public forum — not for hit-and-run tactics that Pontificate (no pun intended) and then judge that everyone else is merely being judgmental. A request for a reliable study is hardly an attack and mindless judgment. I’m certainly not interested in having your view of what is acceptable conduct and “family” foisted on me by law either.

    Sue: thanks for the link. I’ll look into it more and see if the studies hold water. I’m all for adoption. I’m presently quite opposed to having children adopted by just anyone just to facilitate an adoption at any cost. The studies do show one thing conclusively — children of gays have a much higher percentage probability of being homosexual.

  116. John Taber on May 29, 2006 at 2:10 am

    Re #98: Good, we’re getting with the times on that one. I always thought about it whenever we’d be admonished from Salt Lake to “pray for rain”, or I’d hear about the Presiding Bishopric exploring ways to save water. After all, even if you get the desert to bloom it’s still the desert.

  117. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 2:18 am

    Sue: You might want to look at this link that cites the gay-bias of the studies you cite to, and states findings exactly opposite of what you report: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/may/05053106.html

    Perhaps a few excerpts: “The report contests that the majority of the studies carried out which have concluded in favour of same-sex parenthood betray an egregious lack of scientific rigour. Most of the studies show a strong bias to one side. To prove this the report analyzes the nature of the individuals who have been responsible for the various studies carried out thus far, demonstrating that the vast majority are either homosexuals themselves, or active in the gay-rights movement. Into this category fall all six of the six most prominent psychologists of the American Psychological Association, which, unsurprisingly is one of the organizations most strongly and vocally in favour of homosexual adoption. ”

    In compiling and comparing the available data from these studies, as well as more objective studies, the team of first-class psychologists and sociologists which penned the HazteOir report have noted prominent and disturbing trends.

    “Among children raised by same-sex couples, the report notes a significant increase in low self-esteem, stress, confusion regarding sexual identity, an increase in mental illness, drug use, promiscuity, STD’s, and homosexual behaviour, amongst others. Furthermore, the report shows that statistics have brought to light the fact that same-sex relationships betray a much higher instance of separation and break-up than heterosexual relationships, increasing the likelihood that the child will experience familial instability.”

  118. Mark N. on May 29, 2006 at 2:50 am

    The founding fathers, to my understanding, wrote the Constitution as a way to (attempt to) limit the power of the Federal Government. This amendment does not attempt to limit the powers of the government; instead it grants it power to regulate where it should not.

    I see an awful lot of Latter-day Saints who worry about the Constitution “hanging by a thread”, and have no idea that they are the ones who are unwittingly shredding the Constitution by way of their support for this kind of thing.

    The unofficial Mormon motto used to be “Mind your own business”. Too bad those days are long gone.

  119. sue on May 29, 2006 at 2:55 am

    Blake – We could go back and forth for a long time with battling links we find on google supporting the different sides and directly contradicting each other. I’m not interested in doing that. My point is not that a home with a gay parent is better or worse than a home with two parents. It is that children are far better off in a home with gay parents than in foster care. This is indisputable. Show me a study where children who remain in foster care are better off than children who are adopted by gay parents, then you’ll have a point that impresses me.

    “After aging out of foster care, 27% of males and 10% of females were incarcerated within 12 to 18 months. 50% were unemployed, 37% had not finished high school, 33% received public assistance, and 19% of females had given birth to children. Before leaving care, 47 percent were receiving some kind of counseling or medication for mental health problems; that number dropped to 21% after leaving care.”

  120. APJ on May 29, 2006 at 3:32 am

    i look forward to the day that the church issues a press release that says, in effect, that anti-gay marriage statements were perhaps the opinion of certain members of the 1st presidency, but never ‘doctrine.’ when pushed on the issue by larry king (or his equivalent in a couple decades), Eyring (or whomever) will respond, ‘well, i don’t know that we teach that.’ BLINDLY trusting church leadership is not advisable (as evidenced by recent press releases)…

    To those who have thought through the subject, and reached (ANY) conclusion, good for you. To those whose ultimate argument is: ‘Follow the prophet’ repeated thrice, well, what have you really learned?

  121. Loyd on May 29, 2006 at 3:47 am

    #114 Rather, it’s a matter of saying clearly: I will follow the Prophet, no matter what.

    Reminds me of a question my roommates and I tossed around one night: What would you do if President Hinckley said he wanted to eat your brain?

    It seems the self-righteous will be brainless – perhaps not a big change.

  122. MikeInWeHo on May 29, 2006 at 4:04 am

    Blake,

    Your link is to some right-wing fundamentalist site, replete with quotes like:

    “The Da Vinci Code: Hoodwinking The World”
    “Principle Refuses To Allow Boy Wearing Dress Into Prom”

    If the best you can do is put up a link like that and assert that any study which contradicts your position must be “done by gay activists by in large” (sic)……well, I believe most of the people here will see right through that. Hopefully they will at least follow the links for themselves. None of this is particularly ambiguous when it comes to the scholarship, bloggernacle rhetoric notwithstanding.

    But wait, I’ve been on this merry-go-round before. Anyone else here feel the same way??

  123. Not Ophelia on May 29, 2006 at 8:43 am

    #117

    Furthermore, the report shows that statistics have brought to light the fact that same-sex relationships betray a much higher instance of separation and break-up than heterosexual relationships, increasing the likelihood that the child will experience familial instability.

    Hmmm. Maybe we need some kind of same-sex marriage to help these relationships remain more stable . . .

  124. Kristine Haglund Harris on May 29, 2006 at 9:04 am

    I’m curious about how and where this letter is being presented. I went to two Sacrament Meetings yesterday and didn’t hear it read from the pulpit–anybody else see or hear it?

  125. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 9:12 am

    MikeHo: The link I pulled up refers to the leading study done by Spanish social scientists. It is a simple case if you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger. Moreover, and equally important, it calls into question the APA studies because it just may be that those studies are merely advocacy by gay rights activists doing what social scientists do best — creating studies to support their biases. Further, providing links to other sites is hardly a sign of being a right wing group — your characterization is just off.

    Moreover, those who already exist in gay relationships with children have a particular commitment to assist the rest of us know how they feel (as you are doing here). I am asking questions — the relevant ones. You merely assume that you have rights, that there are no moral issues to be discussed and that anyone who disagrees must be a Neanderthal. That kind of smear campaign is simply something we cannot afford in this discussion when so much is at stake.

    Ophelia: Hmmm. Sounds like you assume that the solution is the problem. However, I agree to this extent — we don’t know what the impact of heterosexual attitudes is one these problems. Do they cause them (as you assume without warrant) or is there something inherent in gay relationships and conduct that creates such results? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am not willing to make the assumptions you do and place children at further risk before knowing.

    Lloyd: Interesting thought experiment that assumes something truly rediculous. What would you do if your body made you have an irresistible urge to have sex with a cow and you were just born that way? Should we legalize human-cow relationships? What if no studies showed that such human -cow conduct caused real, lasting mental harm?

    Here is still the issue — what is the difference between room-mates and gay relationships for purposes of marriage? If you live with another same-sex person, that simply becomes a “family” and we must extend all of the rights to that relationship we extend to marriage. The last thing we want is to have he government poking its head in the door to insure that the two same-sex room-mates in the same apartment are sexually active to insure that they are really gay rather than just two guys renting an apartment together. So same sex marriage trivializes marriage and reduces it to the status of renting an apartment together. That said, heterosexual unions sanctioned by the State don’t do so well either. Like Kevin said, it would be ideal if the State would get out of the marriage business altogether and leave sealing couples to God.

  126. Lisa F. on May 29, 2006 at 9:14 am

    It was read at our sacrament meeting (in eastern Wyoming) yesterday.

  127. Kevin Barney on May 29, 2006 at 9:58 am

    I was away at MHA, but I understand it was read in our ward yesterday, too.

  128. Melissa on May 29, 2006 at 10:15 am

    Kris,

    The letter was read here in New Jersey yesterday too. We actually heard it twice since the sister who was speaking took it upon herself to repeat the point with a lot of drama “In my life I’ve sat through more than 1500 meetings like this one and I have never before heard such straightforward and direct counsel sent from the First Presidency. We should be absolutely obedient to this directive.”

  129. Randy B. on May 29, 2006 at 10:18 am

    Kris,

    The letter was read in our ward in the Atlanta, GA suburbs yesterday. In fact, early Sunday morning before church, I received an email from the bishopric with the contact information for the Georgia Senators (as if they needed any encouragement on the issue).

  130. Rosalynde Welch on May 29, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Sue, and MikeinWeHo, and others:

    Putting myself in the place of a gay parent, I can imagine how devastating and alienating it would be to be informed that I was an unfit parent merely because of my sexual preference, that my love and nurture may actually harm my child. I understand completely your passion on this point. And it doesn’t seem reasonable that sexual preference alone would affect an individual’s ability or willingness to do the physical work of parenting, or to love and provide for children. I have no problem with gay parents who have left a heterosexual marriage (or long-term relationship) being granted half or full custody of their biological children (barring other negative indications, of course), or adopting older children who are able to consent to being adopted into that social arrangement.

    But two things give me pause when I consider the scenario of gay couples adopting infants. First, all of the theories of child sexual and social development that I know of suggest that having an *idea* of a parent of each sex—whether or not that parent is present in the child’s life—is central in establishing gender identification and, indeed, the basic elements of conscious identity (a la Lacan). Second, in every society in every era of recorded human history, the care of infants and toddlers has been overwhelmingly the work of women: of course there are individual exceptions to this arrangement, but no systemic exceptions. Even now that many mothers are not the primary daytime caregivers to their babies, the babies are still virtually all cared for by female care providers. I honestly don’t know why this is the case, but its stability across history suggests to me that it may be adaptive for children in some way.

    So I’m wondering what you think about those issues. I can think of a few ways advocates of gay parents could respond, but I’d like to know how you do—not in a confrontational or challenging way, but in a “let’s have a dialogue” sort of way.

  131. Justin H on May 29, 2006 at 10:52 am

    Kris,

    It was read in my meeting in central PA yesterday by a high counsellor who then read a bunch of his own material on how harmful homosexuals are to society.

  132. Melissa on May 29, 2006 at 11:23 am

    “Even now that many mothers are not the primary daytime caregivers to their babies, the babies are still virtually all cared for by female care providers. I honestly don’t know why this is the case, but its stability across history suggests to me that it may be adaptive for children in some way.”

    Please elaborate on what you mean by “adaptive” above. Are you suggesting that children raised by females might be the most “fit” and thus have an evolutionary advantage over those who aren’t?

    I think there are some fairly obvious biological and social reasons why women have historically been the primary caregivers of babies.

  133. Rosalynde Welch on May 29, 2006 at 11:46 am

    “I think there are some fairly obvious biological and social reasons why women have historically been the primary caregivers of babies.”

    LOL, Melissa, yes, a few occur to me, too! But it’s puzzling that now that many of those biological and social factors have been obviated—women are no longer needed for lactation, women are able to participate in public life and the workplace, daytime childcare has moved outside the home so that, presumably, men *and* women can provide care—women (and not only mothers) still do the vast majority of baby care. One could perhaps chalk it up to residual cultural patterns if we hadn’t simultaneously seen the rather dramatic extinction of other cultural patterns during the same period.

    And you’re right to challenge me on “adaptive”: all we can conclude from the history, I suppose, is that there probably has been in the past some selection favoring the woman-baby dyad. We can’t conclude that those adaptations are still favorable in the present without more specific information on what those adaptations were and whether they are relevant to present-day circumstances. But the possibility that they are still adaptive is strong, I think.

  134. greenman on May 29, 2006 at 11:51 am

    Since an object (or, in this case, an issue) in motion tends to stay in motion, where is the momentum behind the gay rights movement coming from and where will it lead? The inertia behind the issue of gay rights has accelerated rapidly in a short time. How foreseeably far will gay-rights activists go in carrying out their agenda and when is it our duty as Latter-Day Saints to stem the tide in our communities?

    I am firmly of the opinion that homosexuality is a sin. Being gay is, at its core, contingent upon a sinful act that can only feed the carnal lusts of the natural man, who is an enemy to God. Make no mistake about it, the battle for the souls of men is raging and I’m going to fight against any enemy of God, most of all the natural man that I wrestle with on a personal level. Thankfully, I don’t have to fight myself on the issue of homosexuality, but I’ve got my own vices that are probably just as difficult to overcome, though probably not as readily apparent.

    As Nephi pointed out, “For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.”

    Regarding an issue as divisive as gay rights, which side are we going to be on? If Latter-Day Saints don’t take a stand, then who will?

  135. D. Fletcher on May 29, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    I’m in Salt Lake, and the statement was read in my sister’s ward yesterday, Yale 2nd.

  136. Not Ophelia on May 29, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Ophelia: Hmmm. Sounds like you assume that the solution is the problem. However, I agree to this extent — we don’t know what the impact of heterosexual attitudes is one these problems.

    Nearly all of the gay parents I know are raising their own children. If it’s true [per your cite — and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt on its accuracy] that these relationships are somehow less stable, well, maybe it’s in society’s interest to do something to make them more stable.

    I’d guess [no cites, just a guess] that unmarried heterosexual relationships are also less stable than married heterosexual relationships.

    N.O.

  137. sue on May 29, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Rosalynde…

    You are absolutely correct – they do need role models of both genders as a stable force in their lives. An ideal situation WOULD involve a mother and father, I do agree and believe that. But that option is just not always available. Faced with otherwise sentencing them to a life in foster care, I believe that it’s good to place them where they will be loved and cared for, even if the family is not ideal or perfect.

    Most of the gay couples we know personally do have some key female involved or around (most of the couples we know are male) – a sister, a friend, someone. This is what was usually recommended to these couples during adoption and post-adoptive family counseling. I know that during the home studies for several of the couples we know, they were asked if there would be women around to serve as a female influence in the life of the child.

    The gay parents that I have personal experience with are generally very careful parents – after all, they have been longing to be parents for a long time – and they tend to consult all of the child psychology books and research they can devour, etc. This is actually why we know them so well – they tend to call my husband for advice and feedback even after the official foster care transition/supervision period is over. My husband isn’t even in that occupation any longer, or in the state, but we still keep in contact with many of these families.

    One of my husband’s charges was an african american boy who was put into foster care at the age of 7. Parental rights were not terminated until age 10. He had very mild FAS and a host of other emotional problems. There were no restrictions on his adoption. I don’t think I even need to try to tell you how much he longed to be adopted, how much he wanted a family. On his 15th birthday, after 8 years in foster care, he tried to hang himself in the bedroom of the group foster care home where he was living. My husband just despaired over this boy. Later that year he was put into a foster home with a gay parent who ended up adopting him when he was 16. I wish I could express what a change it made in this boy’s life. Just to be wanted and to know that someone is looking out for you and cares for you is life changing for these kids. The lives of most foster kids are just heartbreaking. It’s this whole other life that nobody wants to think about – a culture of kids who have nobody who genuinely cares for them. And to place restrictions on who can love them based on an ideal – it’s just awful. Why would you say to a kid, “Well, yes, Steve wants to adopt you, but what would really be good for you is a two parent home, and there aren’t any families like that who want you, so you need to just sit here and rot in foster care until you’re 18, and then you’ll REALLY be alone. Forget about Steve.”

    I would challenge anyone who strongly feels that gay people should not foster or adopt, to spend some time with foster kids and then come tell me that. My husband had to get out of the job, because it was too continually wrenching to be faced with all of these kids nobody wants or cares about, knowing that we couldn’t take them all in ourselves.

  138. Jim Cobabe on May 29, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    Again, in my perception all of the discussion of peripheral issues effectively bypasses the vital point.

    Perhaps it is more appealing for people to ignore the danger to real marriage, the issue that more directly concerns the vast majority, and instead focus on fringe, virtually inconsequential issues. Like whether “gays” are as good as normal people. Or whether polygamy should be legal.

    In proper perspective, these are doubtless legitimate concerns, but should hardly rightfully occupy the top-of-the-list priority for the majority of us.

    Very few will ever suffer any negative repercussions if the questions surrounding “gays” are never settled. By comparison, the damage that acrues from problems with conventional marriages negatively impacts so many countless lives. As the problems multiply it becomes progressively more rare to find a “normal” family untroubled by problems with conventional marriage. Many of these problems are obviously inventions of our contemporary culture, and we could presumably discover effective means to correct them, if we only tried. Yet we are always distracted from the task by hand-wringing about “gays”.

    I have wondered if just the open discussion of such trivia perhaps serves a bit of latent prurient interest.

    (Speaking first for myself, of course. ;-)

  139. sue on May 29, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    Or better yet… For those who do feel strongly that foster children should not be placed with gay parents, please become a foster parent and invite these unwanted kids into your own home. Or adopt them. After all, you’ll be saving them from exposure to the gay lifestyle that way, and reinforcing the ideal family.

  140. Josh Kim on May 29, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    As long as the First Presidency is supporting the Marriage Amendment, it should also release a statement proclaiming Father Adam as our God.

    Think about it. I mean everything out of the mouths of Prophets and Apostles are infallible, right?

  141. Melissa on May 29, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    “One could perhaps chalk it up to residual cultural patterns if we hadn’t simultaneously seen the rather dramatic extinction of other cultural patterns during the same period.”

    Your hyperbolic description of cultural change is somewhat misleading I think. Certainly women are now able to participate more broadly than ever in the public square, but to my mind that doesn’t really speak to the issue because what we have to explain is why females (mothers and caregivers) instead of males take care of babies. The relatively recent expansion of opportunities for women has done precious little to alter the long cultural history and strong belief that domestic duties are women’s work. That this attitude continues is apparent not only in the fact that women still do most of the childcare, but is also borne out in recent sociological studies which show that women (even among those employed outside the home full-time) still perform the large majority of housework. No evolutionary advantage seems possible for female laundering, dishwashing, cooking, scrubbing . . . and yet it continues. Likewise, evolutionary adaptation is the last place I would seek an answer for why childcare remains an almost exclusively female sphere. As we have seen, an increase in the number of educational and professional alternatives for women means that many of them will choose to do something other than housework and childcare, but it does not mean that men will take on these roles. To my mind male reluctance to take on domestic duties is much more than mere cultural “residue” the dregs of which should have long since been cleaned up given the other sweeping and polishing we’ve already accompished. In short, the social reasons which undergird the gendered division of childcare remain.

  142. Last Lemming on May 29, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    I favor gay marriage, so I’m not concerned about full faith and credit clause enforcement.

    I’m opposed to gay marriage, and therefore am also concerned about full faith and credit clause enforcement. But not that concerned. The federal Defense of Marriage Act remains in place unchallenged after 10 years. States are successfully prosecuting for statutory rape young men who were legally married to their younger spouses in a different state. The full faith and credit clause has exceptions and marriages contrary to the public policy of the state is one of them.

    If the Defense of Marriage Act is ever overturned (and I’m still amazed at how many people assume that it will be), then we can talk about a federal amendment to restore an exception to the full faith and credit clause for certain marriages. But nothing more than that at the federal level.

  143. John T. on May 29, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    It is obvious that the Church General Authorities are participating in a Quid pro Quo; encourage the membership to actively voice support for this proposed Constitutional amendment in exchange for ________?.

    This proposed amendment was voted to be sent to the Senate on May 18th, less than two weeks ago, away from the normal Judiciary committee meeting room, so as to restrict public access.

    This proposed amendment was not the result of a prolonged, organized, state-by-state effort as it would be if it were done in a sincere effort to gain passage. A constitutional amendment even if passed by the required Super-majority of Congress requires ratification by 75% of the states.

    This amendment is an election year attempt to divert attention from other serious problems facing our Nation and our Government; The fact that your GA’s would lower themselves to engage in this political charade and issue this challenge to the membership shows where their hearts lie and the esteem they hold for you, as members.

    Pray about it with a sincere heart.

    Your Church, for all of the good it does, has some serious problems.

  144. Josh Kim on May 29, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    Reply #143 – I agree with you.

    However I believe that the Gospel and the Church are two different things. Somtimes the Church leaders CAN be in error. There are numerous examples of this, like in the Journal of Discourses, for example. When Brigham Young gave his Adam-God sermon, people were scrathing their heads. To this day I have no idea what the heck he was talking about. Perhaps his age was catching up with him.

    Moses was wrong. Lehi was wrong. Church leaders can be wrong and I believe in this issue of the Marriage Amendment, they are wrong as well.

  145. rd on May 29, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    Josh Kim (144),

    The problem with your statement is not that it states the infallibility of prophets. The problem is that, if you believe in President Hinckley as a prophet, it is decidedly not you, or me, to judge when he is wrong.

  146. Josh Kim on May 29, 2006 at 2:45 pm

    #145

    I see your point. It’s like who monitors the monitors, right?

  147. Josh Kim on May 29, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    #145

    Or perhaps you meant that it’s not my place to say when President Hinckley is wrong. I believe he is a Prophet of God. I just don’t agree with him in this matter. I’m sorry.

    Gay Marriage does not hurt me nor does it harm my desire to be a good Husband and a father someday. I want to marry a wonderful girl and raise my kids right. I don’t think this issue is a big deal.

  148. Mark Butler on May 29, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    A/G was never supported by the apostolic consensus, rather it was publically disputed by other apostles in the same(!) conference it was described in. That is why it has no claim to be the doctrine of the Church then or now.

    The doctine with regard to the fundamentals of marriage is orders of magnitude more certain. We are not talking about the opinion of one man, but the inspired consensus of all apostles living (and dead). That is why the Proclamation on the Family is nigh unto scripture. No speculation here.

  149. Josh Kim on May 29, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    You know what? This whole marriage thing is moot. We are only a small percentage of Americans and this isn’t going to affect anything. The majority of people, like myself, believe that the government should butt out of the bedrooms of ordinary Americans. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad Mormon.

    You know what else? I think it’s really sad to see the Mormon Church issue statements on Big Love and Polygamy and try to distance itself away from the Fundamentalists when it has done practically nothing to fight polygamy itself. But when gays adopt kids or get married, oh no! We must spend millions of dollars to prevent it.

  150. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    Hmm. So today’s twin relics of barbarism are “orgyistic” (when no longer sanctioned) polygamy & man love?

  151. Seth R. on May 29, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    Honestly I wonder if this isn’t an attempt by the Church to reassure everyone about our family values. The polygamy issue has been getting a lot of press recently. First from Banner of Heaven, then from Big Love, and always from the cries of conservative pundits that gay marriage is the first step on a slippery slope to legalizing polygamy.

    The Church is in an uncomfortable place right now. Perhaps they were trying to counteract some image problems here?

  152. DavidH on May 29, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    The letter was read in our ward yesterday. In our high priest group, our leader, encouraged everyone to write letters to our senators and representatives to support this version of the amendment. That then led to a discussion started by another brother stating that the immigration bill passed by the Senate was very bad, and that the House bill was much better.

    We returned home, and received an email from an auxiliary leader in our stake, forwarding an email circulating among high profile Latter-day Saints in our state, criticizing the opposition of one of our senators to the amendment (a senator who, like me, does not favor same sex marriage, but believes it is an issue for the states). The “chain” email included an excerpt from a letter of Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, explaining why marriage is not an appropriate subject for the states to regulate (or at least define):

    “Senator [deleted] says it should be left up to each individual state to define marriage. Can you imagine the mess if that happened! Fifty different laws defining marriage! That is totally unworkable. Our forefathers knew the mess that would create, and that is the reason marriage fell under the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

    “One liberal activist Federal judge could strike down the marriage laws in all 50 states because they would be so confusing and conflicting.”

    Again, perhaps I have missed something. I have read all of the statements posted by the Brethren on lds.org. I did not see one (including this weekend’s letter) stating that this version of a marriage amendment, federalizing the definition, is the way (and only way) endorsed by the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency, or that opposition to this version is inconsistent with the will of God. (Perhaps that is the only way all 15 could or would agree with the statements.)

  153. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    Mealsothinks da Church quite intimately interested in mister Romney’s metaphoric ‘n’ allegoric Colonia Juarez sombrero being thrown into the fistfighter’s ring, too. So as ta engage in as much Cumbaya with the Religious Right as possible (which is fine in my book, why not!) But, all a’ this brings up for me a deeper philosophical question:

    Although I wann a stop short from cursing Heaven still I wonder about this whole premise of their bein a Loving God. He finally gets the opportunity to have one of his Special Witnesses in the Senate in the person of Reed Smoot and what does He do? He foists upon us the Smoot-Hartley Act: oy!

    (Imposing formidable tariffs — I guess based on B Young’s divinely inspired ideas re home industry? Which, according to Brittannica, added “…considerable strain to the worldwide economic climate of the Great Depression.” For which we thank you, Lord.)

  154. Mark Butler on May 29, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    I think most of y’all are much too cynical…

  155. Doc on May 29, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    I happen to think the US government could do much for all sides of the issue if it just got out of the marriage business altogether. As many here have pointed out, any type of constitutional ammendment will open the door for some potentially eggregious big brother type limits of individual liberties. Maybe marriege is something that ideally our society should promote, but any real strengthening is only going to come from the ground up. Much more can be done for the institution one family at a time through counseling, teaching of correct principles etc. al etc..

  156. MikeInWeHo on May 29, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    re: 130 Thanks for that, Rosalynde. I really believe you represent the majority of the Church in your kind tone. I think that anyone who decides to weigh in politically on the issue of SSM and gay adoption has a moral obligation to “meet the neighbors.” My sense is that most LDS don’t really know any gay couples, much less gay couples raising children. Huge problem. People will occasionally say “Oh, I have this colleague at work….” etc, but that’s mostly it. On the flip side, you find virtually no (active) Mormons in the heavily gay areas of our cities.

    I know plenty of other gay-led families. Most of the ones I know have adopted baby girls from China, who would otherwise have been killed outright or left to languish in orphanages. My daugther’s best friends are sisters who were permanently removed from an extremely violent drug household (and have the scars and burns to prove it). My neighbor was their foster parent for a while, then permanently adopted them with his partner ten years ago. Thank God there are no restrictions on such adoptions here in CA. The girls are doing great. I’ve seen them go from little girls putting on shows for us to young women learning to drive and thinking about college. One of my fondest memories was this: Their dads made them this way cool, huge doll house for their many Barbies. They were showing me its various rooms, and one of them contained two Kens. They explained “Those are the gay ones!” We had a great laugh over that.

    Perhaps the reason I find the comments from blake, greenman, et. al. so infuriating is that they speak of people like me, and my family, and my friends as if we’re not real people. The tone is just revolting, dehumanizing….and ultimately very dangerous. Check out comment #134. It uses the Nephi quote to predict war and a fiery demise for people like me. This already occurred a scant 70 years ago in Europe; the Germans took out the homosexuals along with the other undesirables. I’m not worried about the Lord’s fire. I sure am worried about people with torches in front of my house someday, taking it upon themselves to fulfill such a prophecy.

  157. Not Ophelia on May 29, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    It was read in our ward. Interestingly, the counsel was to contact our Senators/Representatives and tell them what our opinion is, no matter what that opinion might be. The explanation was that “we should let them know we care about this important issue.”

    Pity more wards didn’t do the same . . .

  158. pjj on May 29, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Well, I did decided that it was indeed time to contact my senators, after hearing this letter. So I came home, googled for the senators’ websites, and emailed them to tell each that I am LDS, and do not support the amendment for several reasons, which I enumerated.
    I also sent them a link to the Trib story about the letter, so that they’d know why they were suddenly receiving all these letters or emails.

  159. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 29, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    In short, the social reasons which undergird the gendered division of childcare remain.

    I think that is a good thing (at least the gendered division of childcare part). Prophets teach that women are primarily responsible for the nurture and care of the children, and that is the way God wants it to be. Not that I don’t rejoice in opportunities for women along the way (I am grateful for my education, for example), but I hope we never see the day when that general gendered division of childcare disappears. I know this isn’t a popular view, but it’s a prophetic one.

  160. Kristine Haglund Harris on May 29, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    “I know this isn’t a popular view, but it’s a prophetic one.”

    Actually, it *is* a popular view–hence the lack of change in cultural support for other arrangements which Rosalynde and Melissa are discussing. (but the alliteration was beguiling)

  161. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 29, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    159
    Good point, Kristine. I was thinking more that it wouldn’t be popular here, however.

  162. Kristine Haglund Harris on May 29, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Yup, the three stay-at-home mothers (and the 7 husbands of stay-at-home mothers) who are permabloggers here are pretty likely to attack you for thinking that caring for children is a good use of their time!

  163. Bot on May 29, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    There is academic support for marriage: Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over.

    As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called “expansive energy,” which might best be summarized as society’s will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.

    Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Harvard University’s Sociology Department Head Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued.

  164. Bot on May 29, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    Women and Children Become Victims if Marriage is Devalued:

    When marriage loses its unique status, women and children most frequently are the direct victims. Giving same-sex relationships or out-of-wedlock heterosexual couples the same special status and benefits as the marital bond would not be the expansion of a right but the destruction of a principle. . If the one-man/one-woman definition of marriage is broken, there is no logical stopping point for continuing the assault on marriage.

    If feelings are the key requirement, then why not let three people marry, or two adults and a child, or consenting blood relatives of any age? . Marriage-based kinship is essential to stability and continuity in our state. Child abuse is much more prevalent when a living arrangement is not based on kinship. Kinship imparts family names, heritage, and property, secures the identity and commitment of fathers for the sake of the children, and entails mutual obligations to the community.

    The US Supreme Court declared in 1885 that states’ marriage laws must be based on “the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization, the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.”

    Those in Utah were well aware of the 1885 decision.

  165. Melissa on May 29, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    “Not that I don’t rejoice in opportunities for women along the way . . . but I hope we never see the day when that general gendered division of childcare disappears.”

    m&m, is there some reason why you hope our culture never comes to view childcare as a responsibility jointly held by men and women, a privilege for which they are both well suited, and a duty for which they are equally accountable?

    It doesn’t matter if society allows women to sit on the bench, perform in the operating room, and preside over the university. As long as society believes that men can’t function as well at home as their wives do, we’ve still got a major problem, and it’s a problem for both sexes. In fact, I think it’s a more serious problem in some ways than believing that women can’t function in the boardroom or the law firm.

    I’d love the day to come when we could use “fathering” the way we use “mothering.” Because I’m female I’m supposed to be able “mother” someone regardless of maternity. How sad it is that fathering someone always implies paternity.

    Of course this little aside has implications for the same-sex marriage and adoption debate as well.

  166. Elisabeth on May 29, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    #162 – I was just thinking about this today as I watched the men and women in my Ward interact with their children at our annual Memorial Day BBQ. I thought it would be wonderful to hear more from the bloggernacle fathers about their challenges and adventures with their children. It seems like the bloggernacle is segregated by subject matter along gender lines- with women discussing their families and men discussing doctrine (probably a huge overgeneralization, but that’s my sense). I’d love to hear more from the fathers here about their experiences with their children.

  167. Seth R. on May 29, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    Elizabeth, can you imagine the crap I’d take from all sorts of people here if I disclosed my concerns and worries about disciplining my daughter (which is one of the big parental concerns I have right now).

    I’d rather not have my parenting style ruthlessly dissected online. I already beat myself up over it.

  168. manaen on May 29, 2006 at 8:05 pm

    162.
    “Not that I don’t rejoice in opportunities for women along the way . . . but I hope we never see the day when that general gendered division of childcare disappears.�

    m&m, is there some reason why you hope our culture never comes to view childcare as a responsibility jointly held by men and women, a privilege for which they are both well suited, and a duty for which they are equally accountable?

    I remember an assembly at BYU in the 1970’s in which new President Dallin Oaks introduced Professor Eloise Bell in glowing terms. She then spoke about how she’s a feminist — and how Pres. Oaks was a femininst also. The only direct quote I recall, though, is this: “A woman’s place is in the home — and so’s the man’s.” I like how it recenters the discussion.

    I’d recently returned from my mission (1971-3) when I heard this talk and I’d found that the dominant social issue in the U.S. had shifted from racial equality to gender equality. It seemed right, but I felt that something was missing or misdirected. I finally realized that the problem was that it was, as thrust forward then, divisive instead of unifying. Far better to talk of *our* rights — and responsibilities — which would preclude either partner’s denigration.

    We hear repeatedly that our families are the single greatest priority (this sticks because of my failure in mine). Then, all the traditional male roles of jobs, politics, etc. should be support activities for the greater priority of families. One of the flaws of feminism circa 1975 was that instead of increasing men’s time *in* the home, it increased women’s time *out* of the home.

    I recognize m&m’s rhyming of the Proclamation’s statement that “mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children,” but it also states, “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibilty to care for each other and for their children. […] Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them […] Husbands and wives — mothers and fathers — will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”

  169. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    MikeHo said: ” Perhaps the reason I find the comments from blake, greenman, et. al. so infuriating is that they speak of people like me.” One of the reasons that people like me find it infuriating to speak with people like you is that you jump to judgment and have knee-jerk reactions without much thought. I give a reasoned position based on the law and ask relevant questions, and you insist on demonizing me. Isn’t that just what you accuse me of doing? To lump me with greeman is ludicrous.Why would you do that?

    In fact, you need people like me to listen — thoughtful, asking questions, considering issues. You don’t like caution and you assume in your assertion that if you are doing it, everyone else must accept it and condone it. That isn’t a way to dialogue — it is a way of assuring that I won’t listen because you appear to be incapable of discussing reasonble views without the kneee jerk “don’t condemn homosexual marriage because that is what I am doing.” That just isn’t a reasoned response that I find at all persuasive — and you respond with such invective emotion that it is offensive.

    Look, I have a cousin who is gay and lives in a gay family arrangement. We are really quite close. So the kinds of assertions you make about not knowing gays are just off base — and the kinds of assumptions you make are unsupported and unjustified. So far, I haven’t heard any good reasons as to why we should consider gay relationships to qualify for marriage any more than mere room-mates sharing a flat. That said, I am interested in hearing your experiences and any reasons you believe gay marriage is justified, other than “I’m doing it so it must be OK.”

  170. Heather Bigley on May 29, 2006 at 9:05 pm

    Per the First Presidency’s instructions, I have written letters to my senators voicing my opinion on the impending amendment vote. Feel free to use as inspiration or not all….

    “Please do not support the Marriage Protection Amendment, expected to come to vote in the Senate the week of June 5.

    This amendment does nothing to protect heterosexual unions, and seems to serve no purpose beyond vote-mongering for congressional elected officials.

    Before we start doing even more damage to the Federal Constitution of our nation (e.g., the PATRIOT Act and its attack on Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly, etc), let us make sure we have an honest and open debate about how to truly support families in this country.

    In fact, many state and federal programs and laws already exist to support and protect the family: dead-beat-dad laws that demand paternal responsibility; education and welfare programs; low-cost housing through Housing and Urban Development; a minimum wage; reproductive rights for women.

    Some of these programs or initiatives are not successful in their present state, due to cuts in funding from state and federal budgets. Some initiatives need to still be enacted…universal health care would go a long way to keeping families safe and healthy.

    Let’s strengthen the laws, programs, and initiatives we already have instead of tacking on an ill-conceived, potentially harmful amendment to our great federal contract.”

  171. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    Heather: Let me explain why I would never consider adopting your letter. The Patriot Act is not an amendment to the Constitution. So you adopt a false notion that demonstrates that you don’t really grasp what is at issue. The fact that other things have been done to strengthen hetero-sexual marriage doesn’t entail that other forces don’t challenge and threaten it. So your letter is just one long non-sequitur by suggesting the amendment cannot do any good because there are other things that have been done. So suggest that the laws be passed protect the family; but your letter offers no sound reasons for not voting for the proposed Amendment. Moreover, by merely accusing those who suggest the amendment of a motive of poltical grandstanding, you assure that any substantive issues are by-passed and never assessed. More importantly, your letter is just as much a political grand-stand as the action of those you accuse of “vote mongering.” It is much easier to adopt an ad hominem argument that merely calls others names rather than taking time to think about and assess the issues.

  172. Heather Bigley on May 29, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you , Blake.

  173. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 29, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    No kidding. Too bad that we have to deal with reality when choosing adoptive homes for children in foster care, and the reality is that there is a huge shortage of married two parent families willing to adopt the “unadoptable.â€? There are about 80,000 kids living in foster care every year who are available for adoption but who nobody seems to want – they are typically older, minority, and with emotional/behavioral problems. You aren’t choosing between a two parent home for these kids or a gay parent home. You are choosing between NO HOME and a life in foster care, or a gay parent/single parent home. And kid in long-term foster care typically end up with huge problems. It’s a terrible life.

    That is terribly true.

    we already have de facto SSM here in Calfornia under the rubric ‘domestic partnership’…and nobody seems to have noticed !

    Well, the current prophet has remarked that nationwide we probably need that.

    Makes for an interesting shade on this debate.

    “After aging out of foster care, 27% of males and 10% of females were incarcerated within 12 to 18 months. 50% were unemployed, 37% had not finished high school, 33% received public assistance, and 19% of females had given birth to children. Before leaving care, 47 percent were receiving some kind of counseling or medication for mental health problems; that number dropped to 21% after leaving care.�

    Are you sure that is accurate? I thought the numbers were much worse.

  174. jbc on May 29, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    Below is the letter I have written to my senators to “express [myself] on this urgent issue.” Much of the language comes from the March 1980 Ensign. Anyone who shares my feeling is welcome to use my letter as well.

    Dear Senator ___:

    I am writing in opposition to the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment which I understand is scheduled for a vote in the Senate on June 6. This amendment is unwise and damaging to the fundamental structure of our constitutional system.

    Passage of this amendment would seriously erode the powers of the states, and would accelerate the ongoing transfer of legislative power from the states to the federal level. Such transfers disrupt the division of powers central to our constitutional system. Domestic relations laws have traditionally been passed, interpreted, and enforced primarily at local and state levels. This approach permits local flexibility for differing cultures, ideals, and customs. Under this Amendment, family law standards would be primarily set by Congress and interpreted by the judiciary, undermining state prerogatives.

    Additionally, this amendment would further shift law-making power from elected legislators to nonelected judges. It would accelerate the trend to govern by judicial decisions rather than by legislative passage of law. If the amendment is ratified, courts will be required to determine what the amendment’s terms mean in specific contexts. The judiciary will inevitably be called upon to give new, specific, legal definitions to the amendment’s broad language. Once judges speak on such matters, their decisions are difficult to change.

    Thus, a new amendment, with key terms to be defined, effectively grants fresh law-making power to the unelected judiciary. Placing more power with the courts further erodes the separation-of-powers protective shield surrounding our freedoms. One need only look at the history of judicial interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to see how an amendment such as this will spawn decades of litigation and numerous opportunities for judicial activism.

    Any action needed at the federal level to support the rights of states to determine their own domestic relations law has already been implemented in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Thus, not only is this amendment pernicious, it is unnecessary. Consequently, I urge you to vote against passage of this proposition.

    Sincerely,

  175. Julie M. Smith on May 29, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    “Well, the current prophet has remarked that nationwide we probably need that.”

    Can you give me a reference on this?

  176. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    Sue: I am interested in your advocacy of adoption of unadoptables by gays. However, adoption by gays is expressly legal in 9 states and permitted in 21 other states presently. However, they are not adopting unadoptables any more than hetero-sexual couples. In fact, if gay adoption were a solution for this problem it would already be solved because it is already widely legal. Do you have any evidence (other than merely anectdotal evidence) that would suggest otherwise?

  177. aletheia on May 29, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    re 167: Heather didn’t say that the Patriot Act was an amendment to the Constitution in the swath that I read. She did classify as something that has damaged those liberties contained in the Bill of Rights, that segment of the Constitution that most Americans think of when mentioning the Constitution. Tacking on a frivolous amendment, motivated by mean-spiritedness in some quarters, to the Constitution would fit well into this narrative of recent attacks on the integrity of the Constitution.

    Additionally, Heather is acting reasonably when she looks for definite programs with tangible effects from people who claim to be so bothered and disturbed by “threats and dangers” to the “traditional” family. If there is an absence of these while a definitional Amendment is being advanced, you can easily makek the deduction that the proponents of the Amendment are either naive, insincere or moving on other motives (like garnering the vote in front of difficult elections).

    Finally, Blake, you are too quick to accuse others of using the ad hominem, of practicing the vices they rail against, and of being confused in their arguments. Heather deserved a bit more (as did several others).

  178. jjohnsen on May 29, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    “The letter was read here in New Jersey yesterday too. We actually heard it twice since the sister who was speaking took it upon herself to repeat the point with a lot of drama “In my life I’ve sat through more than 1500 meetings like this one and I have never before heard such straightforward and direct counsel sent from the First Presidency. We should be absolutely obedient to this directive.â€?”

    Barf.

  179. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    Aletheia: You are probably right that Heather could be read as saying that the Patriot Act is an attack on freedom of speech, which is contained in the Bill of Rights. So perhaps she isn’t arguing that the Constitution has already been tampered with too much but only that the Patriot Act is bad. If so, how is it relevant? It seems totally beside the point to me and an attempt to shift attention away from the actual issues — exactly what she accuses those of fostering the Amendment of doing.

    Of course, accusing those who seek the Amendment of merely seeking to tack on a frivolous amendment motivated by mean-spiritedness is also an ad hominem. Sp perhaps I should give a primer on logical fallacies so this conversation can moved forward? If you can point out where I have made an ad hominem rather than merely asserting that I have, I would be willing to retract it. As it is, it doesn’t follow from the fact that there is an absence of working programs to assist families that the proposed Amendment is merely motivated by insincere motives or that it isn’t an effective or needed corrective. So perhaps you could look again at why I suggest she engages in a non sequitur as you also do here.

    Once again, no one has explained: (1) why the government has an interest in fostering gay relationships and “families”; (2) how a gay relationship can be distinguished from a relation of room-mates renting a flat. Is there anyone who is going to engage these issues?

  180. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Yeah the link (in 79) to Jane Galt’s fantabulous!

    And: If Blake’s tone (in 168) seems to be to want to pull some kind “scholarly rank”(?) on Heather B. (by sayin she’d “not grasping issues” blah blah, in sorta vintage-Farmsish style of defensiveness?), still by all-out flamewars standards this is ULTRA mild. Smiles!

  181. sue on May 29, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    “In fact, if gay adoption were a solution for this problem it would already be solved because it is already widely legal.”

    No-one ever claimed it was the solution Blake. There IS no solution. That’s is why it is a PROBLEM.

    Allowing gay people to adopt adds to the pool of people looking to, well, adopt. Who do they adopt? Children – children who are available for adoption, whoever they may be. Allowing all people who pass the home studies and meet the requirements to be good parents – gay, straight, or whatever – to adopt children, helps to get children adopted. Some of them are foster children. Some are not. I’m not sure what you don’t understand about that. You seem to be trying really hard to miss the point.

    There are not good statistics out there about what children are adopted by gay parents because most states do not collect data about whether or not the parents are gay or straight. So most evidence is naturally anecdotal.

    The general impression I have, from personal experience, is that politically incorrect though it may be, there is a definite adoption “heirarchy” that determines who gets what children. The further down you are on that hierarchy, the harder it is for you to adopt, and you are more open to adopting children nobody else wants.

    Your comments are written in an incredibly arrogant and obnoxious tone. You ask for evidence and provide none. Post whatever half-truths you’d like, I’m done responding to you.

  182. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    Sue: With all due respect, I was thinking the same thing about your tone — arrogant, obnoxious, and frankly lacking any justifiable evidence to support gay adoption. In fact, it seemed to simply be a way of avoiding the issue altogether. I did provide evidence (in fact, decisive evidence) — that gay adoption is already widely legal, that there isn’t any evidence it changes anything with regard to unadoptable children. Is anything I said untrue or a half-truth as you claim — or do you so easily accuse others without justification? So instead of accusing me of posting half-truths, perhaps you could first identify any half-truth I have posted. What is more arrogant and obnoxious than accusing someone of posting lies without an iota of evidence to back it up? That is kind of the ultimate arrogance and avoidance technique in my book.

    Increasing the pool of available adoptive parents doesn’t seem to make a difference with respect to unadoptables. The answer to persuade more people to adopt children who come with incredible challenges and that is, well, a challenge.

  183. jjohnsen on May 29, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    “(2) how a gay relationship can be distinguished from a relation of room-mates renting a flat. Is there anyone who is going to engage these issues?”

    Are you saying all room-mates are of the same sex? If not, how do we distinguish between male/female room-mates and heterosexual marriage?

  184. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    JJ: Well, hetero-sexual couples commit to love each other by a marriage ceremony, then they have sex and they have the natural capacity to have children together and that is how we know they are not mere room-mates.

  185. DavidH on May 29, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    “One of the reasons that people like me find it infuriating to speak with people like you is that you jump to judgment and have knee-jerk reactions without much thought.”

    “that demonstrates that you don’t really grasp what is at issue”

    “your letter is just one long non-sequitur”

    “your letter is just as much a political grand-stand”

    “It is much easier to adopt an ad hominem argument that merely calls others names rather than taking time to think about and assess the issues”

    “perhaps I should give a primer on logical fallacies so this conversation can moved forward”

    “you could look again at why I suggest she engages in a non sequitur as you also do here”

    “If you can point out where I have made an ad hominem rather than merely asserting that I have, I would be willing to retract it”

    “arrogant, obnoxious, and frankly lacking any justifiable evidence to support gay adoption”

    Proverbs 15:1.

  186. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    David: Proverbs 15:2.

  187. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 11:14 pm

    (PROVERBS 15)
    1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

  188. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    (PROVERBS 15)
    2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

  189. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    Proverbs 15:2
    The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright;
    but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

  190. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    So then the moral of these verses is for us to commend knowledge over empty rhetoric whilst we utilize soft answers to turn away wrath?

  191. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    The moral is to correct foolish arguments that berate the Prophet and then show kindness to avoid being called a liar.

  192. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    So, Blake, your replacement of steady argumentation with argumentation-stopping rhetoric was animated by a defensive posture of apologetics then?

  193. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    So, Blake, your replacement of steady argumentation with argumentation-stopping rhetoric was animated by a defensive posture of apologetics then?

  194. Blake on May 29, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    If I understand what you’re saying, Kimball (without adopting your assumption that I replaced arguementation with argument stopping rhetoric) is that I just wanted to discuss the merit of gay marriage and whether an Amendment was necessary without the assumption engaged in by arguing for gay marriage that the Prophet is just out to lunch and that answers it.

  195. aletheia on May 29, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    Blake,

    Despite what introductory texts on logic say, what we’ll widely call ad hominem fallacies are not always fallacious. When the character and moral authority of the person advancing an argument impinges on the strength and value of that argument, the “ad hominem” defined widely is perfectly valid. (Incidentally, I think that you are too quick to perceive inappropriate ad hominem attacks and, in most cases, I’d take the much easier tack of declaring that what you see as ad hominem is not ad hominem). In the case of the proposed marriage protection and marriage definition acts and amendments that are receiving attention here, there is a claim by proponents to special moral authority and knowledge (“This is what marriage is and always should be”). The legislative proposals are deeply undermined when the perceived character of proponents would make it so they don’t have access to any special moral insight nor any title to a moral authority that should be enforced. When Heather and others point out, according to their lights, that the Bush/Republican Administration has committed especially egregious and immoral acts (according to the lights of their critiques, mind) by, say, involving us in a violent war that dismembers families, by undermining the security and liberty of individuals and families through the Patriot Act and domestic spying, by disattending programs that would have tangible effects on families in need, etc. then they are making a forceful and apropos argument. If we find our politicians to be deficient moral actors generally, we are right to be suspicious when they rally us around a particularly moral standard. What’s more, they’re right in drawing the inference that, perhaps, these leaders are issuing these rallying cries for other, less altruistic, more Realpolitik reasons.

    Now, you may wish to accept that the LDS Church hierarchy possesses a particular moral and prophetic authority that removes them from these suspicions and solidifies the authority of their pronouncement. As a non-Mormon, I’d have to part ways with you there…

    I’ll bite a little around the bait of your #1 and #2. #1 is really an overstatement of the case. The government is not involving itself in the business of “promoting” gay marriages or gay values. In fact, it’s doing the opposite in an over-the-top manner – protecting the “endangered” heteronormativity (Oh! What’s next? Will my suburb fall into the sea?) with this proposed amendment. I’d hope for a more tolerant, permissive and neutral approach. I’ll still be coming home to my wife either way.

    #2 – What’s the difference between roommates and gays? The answer would, typically, be sex, how you do it, and what you make it mean. If you had two roommates who had sex with each other, did or didn’t declare their love for each other, lived together for long periods, built an identity around their sexish roommatiness, then you might have something that looks like the lives of some gay couples. Other roommates might look less like a “gay” couple. But, this is a loaded question. To allow us to alll move away from it conceptually, we should perhaps allow gays and lesbians to marry so that they can show us how their relationships look like (and differ) from bachelorhood, life in the dorms, flat-sharing in London and, of course, our varied heterosexual marriages in all their happiness and unhappiness.

  196. Kimball L. Hunt on May 29, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    Whoever this John Rawls guy is (1921-2002), he apparently has something to say about the importance of tolerating the intolerant. Yet how society works is to sort of subject those who deviate too far from the norm with ridicule. So, in one age homosexuals receive this ridicule and in another it’s those who are considered exceptionally intolerant of homosexuality which receive this ridicule. Weird, huh.

    The thing is, we’ve decided not to check into peoples’ bedrooms — not versed enough to use proper legal language, sorry — and now we’re hashing out what legal status to accord gay unions; and the Church’s leadership unanimously stakes out some position in this to which certain folks in the bloggernacle take exception. And, so, Blake, now you’ve shown up here with your armour shining and mounted on a fine white stallion. (And I can dig that. Peace, baby! Anyway, the democratic process is a little messy, but whatever compromise as is worked out by elected reps ‘n’ whatnot will have to be just fine with me — shrugs.)

  197. aletheia on May 29, 2006 at 11:59 pm

    Kimball,

    I got a little hint of Cheech and Chong meets Bill and Ted in your last post. Transported to the past, Bill/Cheech or Ted/Chong say to the knight in shining armour “Peace, baby!”

  198. Kimball L. Hunt on May 30, 2006 at 12:08 am

    But Keanu’s got sort of a rap for bein an airhead — ‘n’ I’m achwilly kinda smart. I think. Maybe.

    Dude.

  199. aletheia on May 30, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Got to separate the character from the actor. I remember thinking – and I admit I was a younger peer to Keanu’s character at the time the movie made its appearance – that Bill was not only uber-cool but intelligent in a misunderstood way. This, I believe, is one of the points of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Here you have two marginal, burn-out type students who are forced to confront history dynamically and turn ouut to be more up for it than their teachers (who really didn’t have much of a clue). All to say, dude, that you’re really smart and such…

  200. MikeInWeHo on May 30, 2006 at 12:12 am

    “….whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matt 5:22b, KJV

    Keep going, Blake! I believe that gay couples and their families need legal protection nationwide. You’re making my case better than I possibly could.

    These strings always degenerate into this, it seems, so I best bite my tongue before I really do berate someone (and it won’t be GBH). Sigh…..

  201. Chad too on May 30, 2006 at 12:16 am

    It was read in our ward in NC. So in just over 100 years we’ve gone from being oppressees to oppressors. Very sad, especially in light of my new favorite scripture:

    Exodus 23:9 “Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

    Substitute “Egypt” with “Missouri,” “Illinois,” or the general “Congress” at your leisure.

    Our New Bishop read the letter personally, finishing with something along the lines of, “Whether you see this as standing moral ground or blatant political pandering, it’s obvious the Church is making a statement.” He did my little blue heart proud.

  202. Kimball L. Hunt on May 30, 2006 at 12:17 am

    Aw. Digs toe into dirt. Sucks! lol. Anyway, thanks, Aleeth.

    Dude. lol.

  203. Jim Cobabe on May 30, 2006 at 12:17 am

    This thread unravels into the surreal. As one who aspires to be a true disciple in the restored gospel, I try my best to understand direct statements from the First Presidency and to follow their counsel. Ideas forwarded by some in this discussion have thoroughly confused me. I cannot see how such thinking can possibly reconcile with the intent of the official statement.

    In this context I can see how President Hinckley gets the impression that things might be as bad today as in the evil society of Sodom and Gommorah. While the Lord’s spokesman warns us that the traditional family is under heavy attack, some of us respond by hoping for more fully funded social welfare programs.

  204. Kimball L. Hunt on May 30, 2006 at 12:39 am

    Just because marauding barbarians sacked/ pillaged a certain metropolis eons ago — and in fact during the time of Father Abraham, the nomadic pastoralist — DOESN’T necessarily mean that either the mores of the sophisticated Egyptian Moses (of course, as are allowing people to be adopted into Abraham’s tribe) or else the further development of these by the later prophets/ Scriptural Deuteronomists, millennia ago, should be the last word for urban metropoles (plural: cute?) today.

    Try ta parse THAT one! lol

  205. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 12:55 am

    So, what’s the record again for the most comments on a post?

  206. sue on May 30, 2006 at 12:57 am

    I should not respond, I know it, but I just can’t back away from the keyboard.

    I’ve stated my case for gay adoption several times. If you don’t agree, fine. But I very clearly explained why I support gay adoption. My viewpoint and claims are based on personal experience and knowledge gained while volunteering with the foster care system in my state concurrently with my husband’s role as a foster care case manager. I don’t have chapter and verse to site you. I have the feeling that I could say that it is generally hot in the summer, and you would ask me for my evidence. I don’t have time to back-up the years of observations made.

    You repeatedly demanded evidence, and when I couldn’t provide statistics, said that my claims must be baseless. I apologize Blake, I’m a stay at home mom, I don’t have unlimited time to surf around looking for links to back up my claims. It’s a blog. I made some comments. It’s not an advanced thesis, and I’m not going to spend that kind of time on it.

    Meanwhile, you make statements with absolutely no evidence to support YOUR position or claims. The only evidence you offered is that gays are able to adopt in many states, which was NEVER in dispute.

    “Increasing the pool of available adoptive parents doesn’t seem to make a difference with respect to unadoptables.”

    That is just not true, and you have no evidence that it is true. You don’t know what the numbers would be without gay parents in the adoptive pool. After talking with my husband about it, I know that I can say with confidence that there are at LEAST 32 children in Las Vegas who would not have parents without them. Sure, that’s a small number, and it’s anecdotal, but it’s still true. And those are real kids, not numbers.

    I apologize for calling you arrogant and obnoxious. That was uncalled for. I am just extremely frustrated with this conversation and do not wish to continue it. I am obviously not emotionally able to handle debating this – it is too close to my heart.

  207. sue on May 30, 2006 at 1:20 am

    I’m sitting here crying about this, because I wish I had the time and resources to back up my argument because I know that what I’ve said is true. And that is nothing short of RIDICULOUS. It’s a blog for heavens sake. They are comments. Ridiculous. It really is time for me to back away from the keyboard, from the bloggernaccle, from trying to share my opinion about this stuff. I am obviously not well suited to defend a viewpoint without going emotionally nuts.

    I just feel like I can’t understand what has happened to compassion. I can’t understand the new defensive mentality. It’s not about loving your neighbor anymore, it’s about protection. Protection against something that might or might not happen. It is more important to guard against something that might happen than it is to show love to people. People can say that this action has nothing to do with love, but it does. It reinforces the bigotry that people already have – makes them feel justified in it – in avoiding people, singling people out, treating people badly – even though that wasn’t the Prophet’s intent. I heard more repulsive comments today at a ward member’s memorial day cookout than I’d heard in years.

    I don’t recognize Christ in this church anymore. I don’t think I want to live with a God who would be so capricious and cruel as to make his children born gay, and then punish them for it, and then have the members of his church, his supposed disciples, make life even more hellish for them. I’m not just talking gay marriage, I’m talking treating people hatefully.

    The mormon God isn’t one I can believe in anymore. And I guess that’s reason enough to let it go. And I’m sure that some people will just sigh and mark down that one more went to Satan (because it’s all about the numbers, you know…). Whatever.

  208. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 1:25 am

    These threads always make me feel sad. The fact that someone would even propose such an amendment to the Constitution, actually limiting rights for a select few, makes me feel sad. That the Church would make such a statement, makes me feel sad. Even if one believes homosexuality to be hugely sinful, the opposite of exalted, why does one oppose homosexuals from legally committing to each other? How will same-sex marriage change the world, and the world of the Church, for the worse? How will same-sex marriage hurt regular marriage, and family values?

    So far, the only answer that I can see from this thread, is that same-sex marriage will somehow give more credence to gay couples as adoptive parents, and this is somehow worse than what we have now, which is gay individuals as adoptive parents. And also, children need role models of both sexes.

    But truthfully, many children need a parent, any parent, of any gender or sexual persuasion, married or single, just to help that child survive. I don’t see how same-sex marriage is going to solve this challenge, or make it worse.

  209. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 1:32 am

    Sue, I’m bleeding right along with you. Where did the love go?

  210. Blake on May 30, 2006 at 1:38 am

    Sue: Apology accepted and I also apologize — tho I don’t like being called a liar. Just keep up the good work. You’ll forgive me I trust if I reveal that I do a number of non-traditional adoptions where both parents are killed in a common accident, have no Will, and finding a home for many siblings at once is a challenge. I work with families and other step-parents to find homes and prepare adoptions where the siblings can remain together. So I see you as a fellow traveller tho we disagree on the issue of gay adoptions (not just any person will do as a parent no matter how urgent the need).

    aletheia : At least someone cared to address an actual issue. Thanks. However, you clearly avoid the first issue rather than address it. Before changing literally millenia of practice regarding marriage, we ought to take a very close look (I have really claimed nothing more). You still don’t provide any reason that the government should take affirmative steps to protect gay relationships or grant them particular protections such as “marriage.” I grant that the Amendment protects the status quo (well, at least before the last few years). I hardly see that as a bad thing.

    As for the second criteria, distinguishing room-mates from gay couples — you step into some deep doo doo here. You suggest among other criteria that the gay couple has “lived together for long periods, built an identity around their sexish roommatiness, then you might have something that looks like the lives of some gay couples.” How long must they be together before we know that they are more than room-mates? 10 years? 20? I suggest that you wouldn’t stand for a view that allows gays to marry only after they have been together for 10 years and “built an identity” around their sexual relation. Nor would you ever think that the government ought to look into the sexual relationship to verify it as a basis of declaring them more than room-mates. I have two friends who have been room-mates for about 15 years but I wouldn’t dare think of them as a married couple.

    That said, I do regard the words of a living prophet as entitled to great respect and deep consideration and prayer. Without such prophetic guidance, all we have to go on are things like your advice and musings. Forgive me that I thank God that he has not left us quite so rudderless and alone and I am glad that I don’t have to rely on the kinds of arguments given on this blog by those against the Amendment. (BTW don’t you see it as a bit presumptuous to assume the name “truth”?)

    MikeHo: You’re not helping your cause here by sarcastic remarks. Regardless of your invective, I am genuinely open to possible civil unions for gays and passing laws that protect certain rights without the necessity of a contractual relation. I am not persuaded yet. Since I believe that marriage is a religious union, I am not open to even the notion of the govenment forcing such unions or opening up the possibility that a Church that refuses to do so violates civil rights laws and becomes inelligible for charitable tax treament. I suspect that scenario is the one that troubles the LDS Church the most — and it ought to trouble every American who values freedom of religion.

    Let me say it again. If the civil rights laws require recognition of gay marriages, and a Church refuses to do such marraiges, they may be denied charitable organization status and the government will have the ability to approve and disapprove of religious beliefs about gays. If no other rationale justifies the Amendment, this one does. Such an outcome isn’t certain, but it is possible. The mere possibility of that happening is enough to justify serious consideration of the Amendment in my view.

  211. Kimball L. Hunt on May 30, 2006 at 1:45 am

    That’s BROTHER Wirthlin to you! (Hey, I wonder if he and brother Scowcroft home taught Rex E. Lee when they all lived in Washington? — )

  212. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 2:11 am

    Matt,

    Your post continues to focus on limiting the rights of gay people, which you think is for their own good. It still doesn’t answer the question: how will SSM harm traditional marriage, and family values? How will children or adults in traditional two-parent families be hurt by *other* people of same gender deciding to legally marry?

  213. Blake on May 30, 2006 at 2:23 am

    D. You fail to address the interests of children in such gay families. How will they be affected? Do you know? It is certain that they will have a greater probability of engaging in gay conduct and other kinds of sexual conduct. The studies of other effects are equivocal and clouded by the personal biases of those doing the studies — but we ought to know the answers before taking a leap that affects such a great change regarding children.

    Further, what does marriage give gays that they don’t presently have? They can achieve every protection that marriage offers through contracts and wills. So your supposition that the Church is depriving gays of anything more than sanctioning gay relationships seems to me to be misplaced. The government has no business sanctioning gay marriages. Moreover, doesn’t the Church have a legitimate interest in protecting its right to define the kinds of unions it will sanction? That control is threatened under current law because the right to tax is the right to control — and if gay marriage becomes declared to be a basic civil right by some judge (Massachussetts already has) then the Church can be denied tax exempt status. The government then gets into the business of declaring what a Church must sanction regarding gay marriage. That’s a pretty compelling reason to be worried about this issue and ask its members to ask members of Congress to consider a Constitutional Amendment.

    However, as I said before, the Church ought to (and in fact has) emphasize that mere gay proclivities are not sinfil, that gays are worthy of love and acceptance. However, they are treated the same as non-gay people when it comes to sex outside of marriage.

  214. Matt on May 30, 2006 at 1:32 am

    Seth,

    The conversation has since moved in other directions (downward), but I wanted to point out that it is not the judiciary’s job to reflect the will of the people. Their job is to say what the law is, but I believe they unfortunately treat their judicial opinions as opportunities to inject their wisdom into what the law should be. It’s a formulations and distinction I believe important. If they were simply reflecting the will of the people they would be redundant, as the legislature is capable of responding to polling data showing what people want and they are incentivized accordingly.

    As for abortion, the majority of Americans want a legal regime comparable to the church’s abortion stance. About 55% of Americans have consistently said abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, or to preserve the health of the mother. That 60% of Americans want to preserve Roe v. Wade shows that at least 15% of Americans are ignorant about abortion law (as most other laws, no doubt). Unfortunately, most polling companies charge to access their archives, but you can see a graph of a post-election one Wirthlin Group did in 2004 that has a typical distribution here.

  215. MikeInWeHo on May 30, 2006 at 2:41 am

    Blake,

    I appreciate your taking the rhetoric down a notch and will attempt to do the same. But I still don’t buy your logic, ‘cuz you’re all over the place. You seem to assert we just don’t know enough about these issues, the evidence is unreliable, etc, then leap to the conclusion that we should ammend the constitution to put the whole issue to rest for good. So I conclude you are either disingenuous or self-deluded, because you arrive at the same destination as greenman, your protestations notwithstanding. “If we don’t ammend the constitution to ban gay marriage, the government might regulate our religious beliefs…” With all due respect, that’s kinda weak. That hasn’t even happened in The Netherlands and other uber-liberal nations. And what on earth is a civil union without contractual relation???

    Re: 213 Are you saying that gay marriage will turn more people gay?

  216. Mat on May 30, 2006 at 1:54 am

    D.,

    It seems to me that gay marriage will further legitimize of homosexual sex, and because sexual orientation isn’t binary or static but spans a spectrum, legitimizing homosexual sex will presumably cause more people — those people with sexualities in the middle of the spectrum — to experiment with their sexuality. Because the church believes it would be immoral to cause more people to struggle with this burden, they want to resist efforts to legitimize gay sex. And though we must love people no matter their place on the sexuality spectrum and no matter their sins, loving them does not necessarily require us to agree with people or give them what they want.

  217. Roy on May 30, 2006 at 4:51 am

    I really anjoyed the quote in #87 from Pres. Hinckley:

    The Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man…

    How ironic in the context of trying to force the Lord’s will upon people.

    In 1933 there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state… President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel. On this occasion I am not going to talk about the good or bad of Prohibition but rather of uncompromising loyalty to the Church.

    It’s no surprise that he’d rather not talk about the good or bad of Prohibition, since supporting it was another huge mistake by the Church leadership.

    Does anyone have that quote by Joseph Smith handy, in which he admonishes members not to obey their priesthood leaders unquestioningly?

  218. qwert on May 30, 2006 at 5:26 am

    I honesty think that this whole debate shows a lack of faith. Why do you spend your time worrying about whether the leaders of the Church are right or wrong on contemporary issues? Ultimately God has control over everything even if Church leaders make mistakes. There’s plenty of evidence of mistaken Church policies and yet the Church doesn’t implode, my prayers are still answered, and I can still feel the power of the Holy Ghost in my life. I still feel edified when I attend Church meetings, and am able to fully serve and love others. What more do you need?

  219. greenman on May 30, 2006 at 5:25 am

    We can all tip-toe around the real issue here but the bottom line is this: homosexuality is a sin. I’m not familiar with the precise details of the proposed amendment regarding marriage, so I can’t say that I would support it in its current form, but I believe that Latter-Day Saints would do well to heed the counsel of the First Presidency by supporting marriage between a man and a woman as the only acceptable form of matrimony. The stakes are high.
    Matt (#213) makes a good point. If we don’t take a stand against gay marriage/rights, then it is foreseeable that individuals with homosexual tendencies will feel more inclined to act upon those urges if such behavior is somehow legitimately acceptable in society. To put it boldly, and sorry if I’m being overbearing, homosexual behavior is unjustifiable, no matter how strong a person’s urges/predispositions are. I was born with a predisposition to drink alcohol but I’m not going to try and justify myself in doing so. Let’s be honest here – if there’s one surefire way that Satan can succeed in thwarting the plan of salvation, it is by tempting people to engage in homosexuality. To justify that sin by normalizing it within society can only lead to ruin, and not only for the individual. To promote gay rights is to be on the wrong side of this divisive issue.

  220. FightingBackTears on May 30, 2006 at 6:38 am

    Re: 217, I think it’s more along the lines of, “We have to fight for this, otherwise people will see that the plan of Salvation makes absolutely no sense.” This last stand seems more like an apologetic move to me–drawing a line in the sand to somehow prove that gays have no place in the plan of Salvation–no exaltation except for married couples, and, by golly, we’re going to make sure gays never marry to legitimize that plan.”

    I say the FP made a transparently bigoted move. I hope more people stood up and walked out of SM Sunday.

  221. annegb on May 30, 2006 at 9:07 am

    #3 — I don’t think it’s their job to get a political clue. I didn’t have a solid opinion on this issue, but I will do as the prophet has asked.

    I don’t dismiss the pain of homosexual Mormons, but I’m taking this on faith.

    I lobbied loud and proud against the MX missile and was quite relieved when the prophet came out against it as well. Had he supported it, I would have immediately shut up.

    I don’t think we get to pick and choose here, the prophet has spoken. And God is going to work out the kinks.

  222. Blake on May 30, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Fighting: I suggest that the FP asked us to consider the impact of a massive shift in marital practices that has taken place without any real discussion of pertinent issues. It is high time that discussion took place rather than being legislated by judges in Massachusetts. You may not like open discussion of these issues; but it is the American way of politics and the only way to assess the impact of such important changes. The fact that you think that the Plan of Salvation makes no sense only suggests that long ago you concluded not to listen tothe FP. Are you suggesting that you actually were present and walked out of Sacrament meeting? Further, your suggestion that gays have no place in the Plan of Salvation is just ludicrous. Is it so unfathomable that God would ask of us to bridle sexual urges, passions and desires? I admit, I don’t see it. I suppose you would suggest that single brothers and sisters also ought to be accepted by allowing them to engage in any licentious conduct they choose because it is just unfair to ask them to keep their pants on.

    MikeHo. Thanks for toning down the rhetoric? First, the notion of denying tax exempt status is not the impossible scenario you think. It already happened with several institutions that failed to comply with Title IX on religious grounds. It also happens to those who refuse to comply with polygamy laws. So not only is it not the impossibility you suggest, it has already happened. And of course a civil union requires a contract — what civil unions won’t require is an additional contract to qualify for the extension of insurance benefits to the “other” once the civil union exists. You say: “So I conclude you are either disingenuous or self-deluded, because you arrive at the same destination as greenman, your protestations notwithstanding. ” Really, so anyone who disagrees with you (that’s the destination) is just disgenuous or deluded? I’m really confused — how is that toning down the rhetoric?

    Roger: The FP couldn’t possibly coerce you on these issues — and obviously hasn’t. If you choose not to follow their counsel, you are obviously free to do so. However, we ignore them at our own peril.

  223. not ophelia on May 30, 2006 at 9:59 am
  224. bbell on May 30, 2006 at 10:13 am

    Despite the heat in the bloggernacle over this issue. There is widespread support amongst the LDS faithful for the FP over this issue. This support will remain and to me its good politics for the FP to reflect the political feelings of their commited members.

    This was read in my ward and nobody batted an eye. Take a PUBLIC poll in your EQ or HP group and see who supports the FP. I am betting you will get over 90% support in public.

  225. Mattt on May 30, 2006 at 9:33 am

    D.,

    I don’t propose limiting the rights of gay people at all and firmly believe they should have the same rights everyone else has. Because I’ve limited my discussion here to gay marriage, you are probably making the mistake of thinking that because I don’t think we (gays and myself included) have a “right” to marry anyone we want, that I’m limiting their (and my) “rights”. No matter how badly someone loves another, however, no one has the right to marry someone of their own sex, marry a sibling that they love, marry a parent or grandparent, marry someone already married to someone else, marry someone under 15, etc. Those limitations on who we can marry apply to everyone equally (though the permitted age and degree of consanguinity varies across states, the laws are uniform within states), meaning Americans all have the same and equal right to marry.

    The difference with polygamy: Mormons weren’t asking for the federal government to recognize their marriage, they simply wanted to be left alone, as gays are now. Early Mormons were content to have their marriages recognized only by God and their religious community, but were jailed for it.

  226. Seth R. on May 30, 2006 at 10:34 am

    bbell,

    Exactly what was the First Presidency asking us to do with this letter?

    All they asked us to do was to support traditional marriage.

    And I do support tradtional marriage-

    By opposing the proposed Amendment defining marriage and telling government to buzz off. I don’t need US govt. approval for my marriage.

    I’m sure everyone in Utah thinks this was a call for Mormons to back the marriage Amendment.

    They’re only seeing what they want to see.

  227. bbell on May 30, 2006 at 10:53 am

    I am getting the emails from my family members across the country today to contact my reps and support the fed amendment. This is not rocket science to figure out what the FP wants. They have put out many similar press releases on this issue in the past. I would suggest we sustain our leaders

  228. Ivan Wolfe on May 30, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Seth R. –

    And what about those who are refusing to see what they really don’t want to see?

  229. not ophelia on May 30, 2006 at 10:58 am

    bbell

    See comment 157. I guess I got different counsel than you.

  230. MikeInWeHo on May 30, 2006 at 11:15 am

    re: 222 Blake, I didn’t say anyone who disagrees with me is disingenous or self-deluded, I said I thought you were. Greenman, for example, is quite straightforward. You’re advocating “discussion” which presumably would occur state-by-state via the legislative process, yet advocating a constitutional ammendment which would cut off the process. Bbell (one of my favorite bloggers, btw) is probably right that it would get 90% support in public in most wards. I’m not convinced it would get 90% in the LDS voting booth, but who knows.

    The religious right is pushing this because they can read the polls, too. Support for SSM is growing, and it skews dramatically upward the younger the person polled. California’s legislature already approved it (the Governator vetoed). It’s only a matter of time before the Blue states approve it via the legislative process and everybody realizes it’s no big deal. It’s not something only forced by liberal courts. This ammendment (which won’t pass….did we all forget that??) seems rather a desparate attempt to alter the direction of the culture via law. Never worked before, won’t work this time. As my smartest friend said “They can win politically at times, but they know they are losing the culture.”

    If you live in a community where 90% of the people around you publically support the same view, you may get a distorted perspective on what most people feel. Please don’t flame me with “Oh yeah, well YOU’RE the self-deluded one….!” My perspective may distort my thinking too, got it.

  231. Doc on May 30, 2006 at 11:30 am

    I think the tone of this post just proves as this question has been parsed over and over again, that there is really no way in today’s charged climate to objectively look at something as emotional, complex, and unfathomable as human sexuality. I really believe nobody knows what mixture it is that causes same sex attraction. I see no merit in blaming people for feeling it, but people whao are deeply disturbed by the hatred fear in others brings out towards homosexuals seem to have it welded into their brains that no element of homosexuality could possibly have any element of choice? How do we know that? NO legitimate scientific study is ever going to be made into the question with the extreme bias brought to the question by either side. And NO, I don’t have any answer to the question either. So at some point I am left to take some things on faith. I do know that christlike love for all of God’s children is paramount. I do know that the qurum of the twelve and the first presidency have unanimously put out a very strongly worded document to the world about the importance of recongnizing and strengthening the family. All I can really do is have Faith that at some point in our existence we will come to an understanding of these issues and put the pieces together as best I can. That is really all any of us can do. Admit that maybe we don’t have all the answers and try to discuss these things civilly. Thats my plea for what ever it is worth.

  232. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Matt,

    I guess my point is that… people can’t really say why SSM will harm traditional marriages. The brethren and the country continue to think that homosexuality is wrong, and should not be legitimized. And I think people think that legitimizing homosexuality will somehow make for more homosexuals (it isn’t true, but only homosexuals know this).

    SSM is really only for homosexuals themselves. It won’t have any effect on traditional families, except to provide a legitimate option of marriage for children with homosexual preferences. And I don’t believe SSM will have any effect on the rights of religious organizations — our Church will not have to approve such marriages, and will not lose any standing as a religious, charitable organization.

    As to homosexuals adopting children, this happens now, and I don’t think there will be a big change, other than… more gays may want to adopt (if married), which must be a good thing.

    I think the push for an amendment is a desperate political measure, because the powers-that-be understand that support for SSM is growing, and fast — better get the resolution in place before the majority is against it.

  233. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 11:49 am

    way back in the 160s (sorry i missed the comments directed to me), someone said:

    m&m, is there some reason why you hope our culture never comes to view childcare as a responsibility jointly held by men and women, a privilege for which they are both well suited, and a duty for which they are equally accountable?

    If you read what I wrote on the motherhood thread, what I said gets to the point that our prioriites, for male and female, are the family. Pres. Hinckley has told the men of the Church….Family first, then job (providing for the family), then Church responsibilities. That said, I will still support the concept that the ideal is that we have some different roles and responsibilities — men as primary providers (and, of course, also caretakers, but providing takes them away for a good chunk of the day), and women primarily in the home. I firmly believe in the equal partnership thing, but that doesn’t mean that equal time is spent by each parent in the home with the children, if the traditional roles (which are supported and preached by our prophets) are carried out. I realize there are exceptions, and people can receive spiritual direction to do something different than the traditional, but I still don’t think that talking about the traditional roles precludes the kind of discussion of the joint responsibility of childcare. I think we can talk about both simultaneously.

    And, Kristine (162), couldn’t we do without the sarcasm? I’m just a little gunshy around here. I’ve been blasted more than once for taking a “traditional” or “mainstream” or whatever-you-want-to-label-it stand on things, and so I was just anticipating that I might be blasted again. If people want to agree with me, great. But I don’t appreciate your needless sarcasm. It accomplishes nothing.

  234. bbell on May 30, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Mikeweho,

    back at ya.

    11-11 states passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in 2004 usually by lopsided margins. Even in oregon!!!!! The polls seem to consistently be opposed to SSM by varying amounts. I would also argue that younger voters are ALMOST ALWAYS more liberal than older ones. (also check out the birthrate figures for massachussetts and Vermont and other blue areas. They are losing the demographic “conflict” including electoral votes) Long term this spells out a more conservative future for the US. Our immigrants are also from conservative societies that are opposed to SSM

    Its a winning political position in the swing states and most other states. If it was not then the national democrats would be running on a pro SSM platform and they are not cause it brings out the repub base in huge numbers. When a Dem national candidate in a debate says that he or she is in favor of SSM in clear terms then we will have changed the culture enough for it to matter

  235. Kristine Haglund Harris on May 30, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Sorry for the sarcasm, m&m. I don’t respond particularly well to the accusation that prophetic views aren’t popular here; I’ve sacrificed things I care about a great deal to be at home with my children, and it makes me angry when asking questions or thinking about different ways to spread out the sacrifices children require elicits accusations of faithlessness.

    Nonetheless, I should walk away from the keyboard when I’m angry. I apologize.

  236. aletheia on May 30, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    Blake,

    First off, my handle is “aletheia” and not “truth”. I chose to keep it in the Greek for a reason. Secondly, there is no presumption. Think of it as aspirational and invocative if you will.

    Let me reiterate some of the gist of my statements around the roommates-gay couple difference. Roommates – no matter the length of their residence together – do not participate in a subculture and do not have an identity politics centered around their “roommatiness”. This is important to note because the fundamental way for you or anyone else to distinguish between gays and roommates, gays and basketball players, gays and nuclear scientists or gays and anything else is to have them tell you (if they think it is any of your business). This self-affirmation (“we’re gay because we do this or that”) then shows itself in all sorts of combinations and conjugations of like-minded individuals and organizations. These can be a nice secondary means of identifying the gays among us, seeing the ways they publicly declare how they are not roommates, etc. if we want to take the time and trouble to do it. [BTW, apropos of an earlier comment by anotherr blogger, how would you distinguish between heterosexual roommates and married couples? I think it would turn to be self-identification even if all they made was a declaration of love (the defining aspect of heterosexual marriage it seems in your opinion)]

    As for #1 and my treatment of it: The issue really was about your overstatement of case. The govt. is not attacking traditional marriage or promoting gay unions. There is no evidence for me to rally since my point was deflationary. It just ain’t so. Why might govt. recognize gay unions? Because it’s good public policy (looking to provide the safeguards of marriage tto committed couples of any stripe and their children) and because it is fine, additional step in the creation of a nation based on equality (That does away with laws that “promote” and “privilege” a form of marriage that is particular although it is majoritarian).

    That said, I’m happy that you have the assurance of prophetic guidance. I don’t think it really absolves you from argument and from being tied up in your own mutterings and musings. The guidance requires interpretation and, on this board, we’ve seen how wide the differences in interpretation among members can be and not all of the interpreters can be written off as deaf or unfaithful. It all means you’re stuck in the trenches with the rest of us (it’s existential).

    Finally, Blake, why the presumption? I may muse and mumble on the board but, having said I was a non-Mormon doesn’t mean that I’m without rudder. My Church likes naval metaphors too. It makes it easy to tell you that I’m on a different ship, built in different ports, heading for another destination. I’ll waive to friendly seculars and various others; They’re sailing on their own ships as well.

  237. Jack on May 30, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Jeremiah was rejected by Israel because (among other reasons) he urged them to align themselves with Babylon. This of course was politically and culturally unthinkable and as such caused Jeremiah to be reduced to the fithly station of a blasphemous defector in their view. But times being as they were, a less than ideal solution was proposed by the Lord’s anointed for a less than ideal Israel. Why can’t the same apply today?

  238. Seth R. on May 30, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Sure Ivan,

    I’ll admit that I’d rather not see a FP endorsement of yet another stupid Republican Constitutional Amendment. Does that cloud my vision?

    Yup.

    Does most of Utah County desperately want to see the Republicans officially endorsed by Gordon B. Hinckley next General Conference?

    Yup.

    We all see what we want to see. But I’ve noticed that the FP has been distinctively ambiguous about politics, especially recently. This letter on SSM comes right after a letter explicitly stating that the LDS church does not officially endorse any political party. The language in this SSM letter almost mirrors that earlier letter in tone.

    The only thing the FP said in this letter is:

    a) The FP supports maintaining the concept of marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.

    b) That concept is under attack by modern society.

    c) We should encourage our politicians to take measures to protect the sanctity of the Mormon idea of marriage.

    d) The issue is being debated in Congress now.

    That’s all it said. It did not say: “go lean on Chris Cannon to back the Republicans’ proposed amendment to the US Constitution.”

    I do intend to advocate the protection of the idea of Mormon marriage. And I think such protection is best acheived by removing government from the business of officially endorsing and licensing marriages.

    So far, neither bbell, or anyone else has shown me anything the FPs have said that disagrees with my political stand on things.

    They said to protect marriage. But they never said what the best political method for protecting marriage is.

  239. MikeInWeHo on May 30, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    re: 234 Glad you jumped in on this bbell. I agree with your assessment of the current political landscape and actually think it’s way too soon for anyone to push for gay marriage. It’s certainly a gift to Karl Rove when anyone does. Much better to achieve solid domestic partnership laws like we have here in CA, without the marriage label. That’s what just happened in the UK, rather non-controversially. You and I might also agree that it’s a reflection of some rather shallow thinking when people rail against gay marriage but acquiece to the exact same thing under a different name. To me it’s just Jim Crow for gays; to others it might be the stealth advancement of an insidious homosexual agenda that will lead us all to flaming ruin.

    As for cultural trends, I’d argue that it’s very hard to predict. I certainly hope you’re wrong, but it’s not necessarily either/or. All the trends I observe seem to indicate a more toward greater inclusivity for gay people. I mean, this very conversation would have been inconceivable 25 years ago. We’d have been discussing the issue of sodomy laws. Now anybody who advocated a return to that kind of overt suppression would be quite marginalized, even in the red states. (Or maybe I really am self-deluded here in LaLa Land and things are worse in Utah for gays than I realize!)

    So the country may become more “conservative” and yet more tolerant at the same time. For some of us, that’s the very definition of conservatism…..

  240. bbell on May 30, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Mikeweho,

    One important note is that when the anti-SSM groups get a constitutional SSM ban on a state ballot they often just stop right there and let it play out (except in liberal states where they keep going). There are few ad campaigns etc. These things pass really easily in most states with little effort on the part of the anti-ssm people. Here in TX a ballot measure passed with 75% in favor of banning SSM. All the leading newspapers editorialized against the ban and there were ads against the ban as well. Not a peep out of the pro-ban people on the airwaves. Also remember that Bill Clinton signed DOMA as a part of his reelection strategy in 1996

    Also conservatives actually never rarely talk about legistatures passing SSM. All they talk is about the fear of a 5-4 Supreme Court decision dismissing DOMA after a Mass gay couple moves to Virginia and sues in Federal court. The MASS Supreme Court is what really unleashed all of this.

  241. DavidH on May 30, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    I tend to agree with Seth. I do, however, think the Brethren have clearly stated that the Church, institutionally, supports a constitutional amendment, but they have not stated that this approach is the only one it supports.

    I also agree with bbell that 90% (if not significantly more) members of the Church support this amendment (and, I would add, that a significant percentage of nonbloggernacle participants would also probably support a harsher constitutional amendment–i.e., one overturning Lawrence and allowing people to be imprisoned for homosexual acts).

    While I do not support the approach of this amendment, I do not favor same sex marriage either, and would support a federalism amendment on the subject (which I believe is within the letter (and spirit) of the First Presidency pronouncements, beginning in July 2004, stating that it was not “endors[ing] a specific amendment”).

    I do know what it is like to be outside the “mainstream” of LDS political views. bbell has argued on many occasions that LDS voters in the US (at least anglos) vote republican 80% of the time. In my ward, I only know of one other registered democrat, and I do not know anyone else in my ward who voted for John Kerry.

    Of course, the First Presidency has repeatedly stated that the Church does not endorse any political party. So I am within the “letter” of the official Church policy. But I cannot help but feel, sometimes, that many of my brothers and sisters believe that an LDS democrat, or an LDS Kerry supporter, must be an oxymoron, or that God certainly would never spiritually confirm a decision, like mine, to vote that way. I mean, can 80 or 90% of the Church (and probably the same or higher percentage of the Brethren) be wrong? If those 80 or 90% are right, that must mean that for the 10 or 20% of the Church who see things differently, something must be amiss.

    I fully respect the right of persons to differ from my views and from the First Presidency’s views. And I sincerely believe that the last sentence of the message (“to express” ourselves, without dictating how to express ourselves) was meant, as much as possible, to signal that the Brethren also love, respect, and welcome those members whose views differ.

  242. -L- on May 30, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    This issue is significant to me as both a gay man and an ardent Mormon in good standing. I want to follow not only the explicit request from the FP to “express myself” but I feel a deep pull to support the implied request to support the amendment despite my own sense that good governance doesn’t include limiting the liberties of a minority who believes their actions are moral. As several others have expressed, I see my difference with the FP to be in the tactical manner in which to support traditional marriage–as an imposition or by persuasion and long-suffering. The Proclamation reminds me that calamities await a society that chooses poorly on this matter, but a sense of consistency and fairness pulls me inevitably toward that end.

  243. Seth R. on May 30, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    DavidH,

    I would like to see the explicit statement from the FP indicating institutional support for an Amendment. Citation please?

  244. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Sorry for the sarcasm, m&m. I don’t respond particularly well to the accusation that prophetic views aren’t popular here; I’ve sacrificed things I care about a great deal to be at home with my children, and it makes me angry when asking questions or thinking about different ways to spread out the sacrifices children require elicits accusations of faithlessness.

    Kristine, apology accepted. I, too, have sacrificed a great deal to be at home with my children. I’m sorry you felt I was slamming people like you. (Like I said, in my somewhat discouraged gunshyness, I was trying to anticipate those who might undermine those of us who have made such sacrifices, actually, not trying to imply that everyone here is faithless.)

    If you think I’m one who doesn’t believe in crossover of roles or the value of discussing how that can happen, then we are in a state of misunderstanding yet again. I would drown without the help my husband is with the children! He gets the kidlets off to school so I can sleep, as I have health and sleep problems, and often takes the night shift when I’m burned out after a long day. I wasn’t trying to shut down discussion of “how to spread out the sacrifices” nor to say that such discussions are simply evidence of faithlessness. However, perhaps I responded too quickly to what I feared might break down into a “men and women have to be exactly equal” kind of discussion. My bad if I jumped the gun. I suppose we could all give the benefit of the doubt a little more, eh? I need to do better about asking follow-up questions rather than assuming something about what someone is thinking and just plowing forward with my own thoughts. But please try not to assume the worst with everything I say. Fair enough?

    Sorry for hitting a nerve. Like I said, I’m all for the equal partnership clause in the Proclamation! When I reflected on this issue a while ago in my own life, I was actually amazed at how much we do to share the load of our life, even as we have our “traditional roles.” Anyway, discuss away….

  245. Loyd on May 30, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    #219 – Why do you spend your time worrying about whether the leaders of the Church are right or wrong on contemporary issues? Ultimately God has control over everything even if Church leaders make mistakes.

    Why bother with anything then?

  246. Tesseract on May 30, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    I was asked to give a talk on laws and government (D&C Section 134) this past sunday in sacrament meeting. While researching the topic I found the following quote from a member of the First Presidency said in 1951:

    “The Church, while reserving the right to advocate principles of good governement underlying equity, justice, and liberty, the political integrity of officials, and the active participation of its members, and the fulfillment of their obligations in civic affairs, exercises no constraint on the freedom of individuals to make their own choices and affiliations…Any man who makes representation to the contrary does so without authority and justification in fact [Richards, p 878].”

    This quote was of particular interest to me because my mother had been excommunicated several years ago. She was trying to get rebaptized but was not allowed because she would not say in the interview that she would vote a certain way (the church’s supported way) on a gay rights issue.

    I am still heavily active but was always confused about the church’s stance and them not allowing my mom to be rebaptized. While, researching this topic this quote gave me much peace and resolution on the matter.

    I was completely floored today (felt like I was hit by a train), while sitting up near the stand, when the bishop read the announcement. It went seemingly very against everything I had prepared for my talk and all the information I had about what laws and government should be and how Christ would have probably dealt with it. I had to hide my anger and outrage and sadness. I had to withstand the urge to walk off the stand. I had to take every ounce in me to go up and give me talk and try to keep the spirit with me. I was very saddened and frustrated by the announcement.

    I have very many gay acquaintances, several close who are gay and mormon and struggling. I have even been to a gay mormon suicide funeral (man who was always celibate). I really cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like for them and their struggle and I feel like this only makes things more difficult for them and their families.

  247. Brad Kramer on May 30, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    I spent the weekend in Casper, Wyoming, didn’t hear the FP statement (spent Sunday on the road), and only just checked T&S. I haven’t read all the responses (I stopped around 50) and I have to go, so I apologize if I’m repeating womething that’s already been said.

    My opinion on the substantive value or legitimacy of this or any amendment is irrelevant. Clearly, the FP wants me to think seriously about this question and let my elected reps know how I feel about it. And although the overall intent of this statement and the proclamation seems fairly self evident, it’s not entirely clear to me how supporting/not supporting ss marriage will strengthen or weaken not “traditional” marriage but the “family as the fundamental unit of society.â€?

    While I was serving my mission in Russia (1998 to 2000), some state supreme court ruled that the BSA couldn’t discriminate against homosexuals by firing gay scoutmasters. The black-robed thugs on the US SC later overturned this ruling, but evidently the damage was already done. I was having lunch with area presidency member Wayne Hancock (himself a Silver Beaver) when he received the news of the court ruling. Immediately he informed us that the Church would be completely severing its ties with the scouting program in Russia (I’m not sure if this was the case elsewhere). Those ties have not been since resumed. That is, in spite of the fact that the court’s ruling had no bearing on BSA’s activities outside of the USA, and in spite of the fact that the Church did not sever its ties with BSA in the one country where the ruling did have an effect (USA), and in spite of the fact that those effects were only temporary (I assume non-existent since I also assume there was an injunction on the ruling until the US SC could weigh in), the Church has washed its hands of Scouting entirely in Russia, presumably permanently.

    M&M, in my opinion, is right. The FP knows what it’s doing and has reasons for doing it. But we should view this for what it is. The FP made a decision, not that it values traditional marriage, not that protecting traditional marriage is desirable, not that protecting traditional marriage will help the Church, but that MAKING AN OFFICIAL ENDORSEMENT of hte concept of amending the US Constitution to protect traditional marriage and OPENLY ENCOURAGING ITS MEMBERS TO WEIGH IN is important.

    We must always remember that fulfilling the missions of the Church is always the number 1 priority for the brethren. Clearly (re: my Russia story) Church leaders feel like perception of the Church re ss marriage, gay rights, etc outside of the US and, in particular, in countries where the Church is struggling to survive (as it was massively at the time in Russia) or even get in (the ME, China, India, etc — all cultures with strong public sentiment in opposition to homosexuality) is crucial to our being able to establish the kingdom, gather israel, perfect the saints, share the gospel, etc etc, on a global scale.

    I think the brethren are much more concerned with the success of the Church worldwide, with our ability to get recognition from foreign governments and legally proselytize, and with how the Church’s image throughout the world will affect those questions than they are with whether or not gay couples in San Fransisco can adopt Chinese girls or American society makes civil marriage a more selfish, adult-centered, unburdening, unbinging institution than it already is.

    Do I support an amendment? No, but that’s because I don’t think that the passage of an amendment will affect the Church’s worldwide success at all (if I thought differently about the relationship between the amendment’s and the church’s success, I would support it, but for reasons other than those articulated by Weekly Standard writers who seem only to fear gay marriage because it will open the floodgates to the real threat to good society and functional democracy: plural marriage).

    Do I support the FP’s endorsement of an amendment and its call to mobilize its members in the cause in some form or another? Yes, but only because I trust that the brethren can see the larger picture and I assume they believe that publicly weighing in on this issue will be better for the long term goals of the church,

  248. hurricane on May 30, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    As long as the Church continues to hold fast to the position that there is no moral outlet for homosexuals in same-sex relationships, gay Mormons will make one of (at least) three unsatisfying choices: they will try to endure in lonely celibacy, they will leave the Church and live a gay life, or they will marry a woman and make the best of it. I did option three, and my life started to fall apart after ten years of marriage and two children. I am fortunate–the woman I called my wife for many years has been very understanding and we are working together diligently and lovingly to take care of our family and each other during this difficult time of transition. I have no regrets about the life I have lived–my marriage, my children OR my decision to start over as an openly gay man.

    Mixed orientation marriages rarely work, and while I know that the Church does not counsel men such as me to marry as a way of overcoming the problem, it also does NOT actively discourage gay men who believe they have their “problem” under control to do so. With no other way to have a family and marital love and companionship and stay Mormon, it is no wonder many gay Mormon men do get married to women. The damage to families and individuals when such marriages break up–and, if statistics are to believed they almost always do–is real and lasting.

    It is a shame that the LDS Church consistently refuses to acknowledge the many loving ways human beings create family. And, with the Church’s own past of non-traditional marriage and family arrangements, richly ironic. This is, I believe, a most curious way to “protect” the family.

  249. sterling w. on May 30, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    So, as a gay man who lives the tenets of the church, I feel completely… baffled by some of the responses to this issue. I have, with the persuasions of the spirit and in light of very direct personal guidance, jettisoned my feelings of homosexual longing and have married and have children, and have done so because I have complete confidence in the Church of Jesus Christ and the men who he has chosen to direct it. Is this blind faith? I think not. I, too, have done much pondering on this issue, and, for obvious reasons, have MANY friends who this would effect. But there are components of homosexuality, and most of all, homosexual relationships, that one would have difficulty fully comprehending without personal experience. Take for instance the Nicolosi statistic about homosexual relationships that:

    “The results show that of those 156 couples, only seven had been able to maintain sexual fidelity. Furthermore, of those seven couples, none had been together more than five years. In other words, the researchers were unable to find a single male couple that was able to maintain sexual fidelity for more than five years.”

    In other words, all the great idealistic blather about gay parents being wonderful parents (which, undoubtedly, they could be on a personal level) is completely obliterated by the fact that children are statistically shown to be greatly harmed by divorce, and if gay marriage is legalized, statistically speaking, divorce will be absolutely unavoidable in nearly all cases.

    This is just one example of the incisiveness of the brethren. They are able to look past the obvious nature of both sides of the argument–the one side saying “these people are my friends, I love them and they should have the same rights as everyone else” and the other saying “these people are completely immoral and giving them rights will completely rot society as a whole”– and can guide as to what to do in light of the LORD’s true desires for the welfare of his children. That’s what Peter, and revelation, and the point of the church, IS.

    Just as the spiritual enlightenmnet of the leaders of Christ’s church led the Word of Wisdom to break with all of the greatest trends and ideals of that time with regard to substance, and was only LATER able to be verified as completely legitimate and good for God’s children, so, I predict, their position on this topic will, with the passage of time, be proven in a similar fashion. ESPECIALLY, lamentably, if what they are suggesting does NOT get passed in law, and we are subjected to actually see the consequences play out.

  250. Seth R. on May 30, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks bbell.

  251. MikeInWeHo on May 30, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    Where have you been Hurricane???! I was starting to feel a bit defensive in here…. : )

    re: 240 Odd how I tend to agree with your take on things, bbell, despite coming from the opposite side of the issue. While it’s just dandy that the couples in Boston can get married, the backlash in Texas, Florida, etc, has been terrible. Worst of all, the MA marriages are not federally valid so at the end of the day those couples have no more legal benefits than I do here in CA with its robust domestic partnership law. On the other hand, change is always messy in this country. From my perspective it seems that in the liberal states, there is close to majority support for full-on gay marriage, and that support is building rather quickly. Sooner or later there will be states wherein the people clearly say: This is what we want to bring equality to all our families. I just don’t agree that you can chalk it ALL off to activist judges. So then what? Scary how polarized the country is becoming, don’t you think?

    Also, the last paragraph of the press release you link to in #246 implies that there will be disagreement on this issue even among the membership, and that people should be respectful of that. But you’re right, of course, anybody who doubts the leadership’s view on this issue is really clutching at straws. The questions are: Is it OK for a member in good standing to disagree with a political pronouncement like this? If so, can that really be openly expressed? Is there any room for debate outside the relative anonymity of the bloggernacle?

  252. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    Brad,
    Your points are interesting, but I do think we need to realize that they also also concerned about traditional marriage in a big way (think the Proc.).

    Hurricane,
    The Church can’t acknowledge gay marriage, even if our leaders wanted to, to extend their love in ways that would be meaningful to you and others in your situation. I imagine that isn’t an easy position to be in (for them or for you), but they declare that this is God’s will, and they simply can’t back down from it. Although it feels personal, it’s not. You can’t simply expect them to change something that they feel is indisputable.

  253. bbell on May 30, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    Mike,

    There has not been a state yet that has passed SSM without judges forcing it. Even in CA the ballot measure against SSM passed handily. There was a Shellacking on this issue in 2004. Also do not count out the Demographic issue of largely Catholic immigrants combined with Red State birthrates for shaping this in the decades to come.

    Here is how it will play out as I see it. Eventually a case will be filed in Federal Court (right now if I was in favor of SSM I would not want this in front of the current SC) This all will hinge on who appoints SC justices. For example I think the 2nd Bush term is a mess. BUT Bush did appoint justices that will probably rule against SSM. In 2008 with Bush gone this will raise its head again. This is a long time winning issue for the repubs. They have already written off the super Blue states and will use this issue in swing states again and are currently using it to go after black conservatives and Catholic Latinos. Electoral votes are shifting to the red states over time so the super blue states are less important as time marches on.

    I am of the opinion that those that speak up in favor of SSM publicly would be looked at funny in my ward. Nobody has ever done it and there have been lots of talk about it in SS and EQ. You would be seen as some type of minor dissident by most and an apostate by a few.

  254. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Sterling W
    Wow. What a stirring personal testimony of our watchmen on the tower! Thank you.

  255. Geoff B on May 30, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    I’m not sure if anybody is still reading this, but I wanted to quickly put in a few words. It has been heartbreaking for me to see people comment that they will stop going to church because of the Church’s position or wanted to walk off of the pulpit because of the Church’s position. Heart-breaking for them. From an eternal perspective, they will probably look back at this time as a key time when they failed to pass an important mortal test.

    Look, you either believe this is the Lord’s Church or you don’t. If you don’t believe that, then you need to get a testimony and faith, and I’m not sure what the purpose is of hanging around an LDS web site (there are plenty of non-Mormon web sites to hang around). Now, if you do believe this is the Lord’s Church, then you believe that the Lord has purposefully chosen men at this time who have purposefully consulted Him and made not one but several pronouncements on this issue. As Mike says in #252, the First Presidency’s position is very, very clear: the Church leadership is against same-sex marriage. It is a signature issue of our time.

    So, why do these men, chosen by the Lord, continue to make pronouncements on this issue? If we want to learn the answer to that question, we must look at history. When have prophets repeated messages again and again? Well, I call to mind Noah telling everybody to repent. I call to mind a long series of Old Testament prophets repeating the same message over and over again. I call to mind the many repetitive sermons in the Book of Mormon. The repetition has a point, and the point is that the Lord has spoken on this issue through His chosen prophets and apostles on the Earth.

    The Lord has given you the freedom to choose. You can reject the message. You can put your own spin on the message. If you don’t understand the message, you can pray for guidance and hope that you may eventually understand the message. But at the end of the day you come back to the same issue: either the Church is true and its prophets are really prophets of God, or they aren’t. And if they are really prophets, and I know that they are, my advice is to find a way to accept the prophet’s message, because the message is pretty clear by now.

    So, who do you hurt by walking out of Church or not going to Church or other such actions? Well, if you study the history of the Church, there have been lots of people who have turned their backs on the Church over time. The D&C is full of names of people who turned their backs on the prophet for one reason or another. And, the Church kept on rolling forth. In the end, the only people who were hurt were the people who turned their backs on the prophet.

    So, I would plead with those who would reject the Lord’s Church: come back, don’t fail the test of this time. Find a way to accommodate yourself to this message from the Lord. Your eternal progression depends upon it.

  256. Geoff B on May 30, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    And let me join those in praising Sterling W for his comments.

  257. MikeInWeHo on May 30, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    You’re probably dead-on right, bbell, which is why I’m strongly inclined to say it should be put to rest for a generation and the focus placed on gaining domestic partnership benefits instead. But certainly not via a federal constitutional ammendment.

    re: 250 Would be great to get you and Hurricane on a disucssion panel together sometime (bbell and I could moderate). You can do better than quoting Nicolosi to prove how promiscuous all the gays are, though. He’s about as polemical as Larry Kramer and a heckuva lot less credible. I can’t even think of anyone who’s been more resoundingly repudiated on the topic of homosexuality.

    Your assertion that “virtually all” gay marriages with children will end in divorce has already been proven false. I personally find that statement almost slanderous. I know gay couples who’ve raised children right through to adulthood, and am pretty close to that myself. The kids are doing just fine, thank you. That much has been well established, but of course any evidence I bring to the table is quickly brushed away by some here as intrinsically biased. While I don’t always succeed, I try very hard not to engage in circular reasoning. It’s the hallmark of fundamentalism and fanaticism.

    re: 255 Ohmygosh, is this actually a Jehovah’s Witness blog?! : ) The stirring testimony of said watchtower might be a bit more, well, stirring, were it not for a few inconvenient historic foibles that have been amply discussed in other strings. There is ample evidence that the leaders have erred in the past, as well as had tremendous success.

    This string is getting me too riled up. I’m starting to sound ex-mo/anti-mo, and that’s just not where my heart is most of the time.

  258. Tesseract on May 30, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Geoff B,

    I admitted I wanted to walk off the pulpit when I heard the announcement; however, I did not. I fail to see how I will look back at this and think I “failed to pass an important moral test.” Please understand that my mom was not allowed to be rebaptized because she said she would not vote yes on Proposition 22 in California. Please, understand where I am coming from. This has been a big struggle for me. I am not saying the Church is wrong, I’m saying I’m confused and don’t understand. Ultimately, I stayed on the stand and prayed for comfort and peace and the spirit. I don’t see how that is a bad thing. Also, please review the comment policies; it is “unacceptable to call into question a commenter’s personal righteousness.”

    You also might want to review some church history. The church has changed policies and reversed statements that they have given. I am not saying they are going to on this subject, but it has happened in the past – blacks, polygamy, womens rights, etc.

  259. Sue on May 30, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    Geoff, I’m not sure if you think this is news to anyone. I can only speak for myself, but of course I know that I would only be hurting myself and my family. Do you really think that we/I imagine it would hurt the church?

    The thing is, everything you said above is dependent on IF the church is true. IF the prophets are really prophets. Those are the questions I’ve been struggling with for almost 3 years now, after 30 years of activity. Since I don’t know for sure and since I have very little faith right now, I have had to try to rely on intellect, on reason, on what seems right, on what seems Christ-like. When fasting and prayer get you no answers, you grasp at straws (and hang out at LDS websites looking for insight and explanations – and you occasionally lose it). I would imagine there are a lot of people out there like me.

    Nothing would make me happier than to get back the testimony I used to have – or a different, more mature one. You mention turning your back on the prophet, but I honestly feel like the Lord has turned his back on me. I envy those of you who are so sure. If I was sure, it would be easy to accept that the prophet said it, and even if I don’t agree with it, it must be right. Since I’m not sure, and can’t get answers, it is not so easy. I can’t rely on faith. I have to go with my heart and brain. That’s why issues like this push people out. Not because they are trying to send a message, but because it seems like one more indication that the church is not true and there is finally a breaking point.

  260. Kristine Haglund Harris on May 30, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Sterling, doesn’t Nicolosi refuse to publish his stats on the number of “reoriented” gays who manage to stay married? In any case, he’s hardly an unbiased source of information about gay couples (!)

  261. Anon on May 30, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    Sterling (#250),

    I don’t know how valid your statistic on fidelity is. But even if it’s valid, it doesn’t support your conclusion. You write that statistics show high infidelity rates in gay relationships; therefore, you say, all gay relationships will end in divorce.

    Your unstated assumption is that any relationship in which either partner is unfaithful will automatically end in divorce. (That’s a required assumption for your argument to work).

    That assumption, however, goes directly against the volume of statistics on divorce and infidelity. In about 3/4 of marriages where infidelity occurs, the spouses choose to stay together.

    Unless there’s some reason to think that gay spouses are particularly likely to see infidelity as cause for divorce, there is no reason to believe that, as you say “divorce will be absolutely unavoidable in nearly all cases” of gay marriage. Rather, even if gay spouses are more likely to be unfaithful, most gay marriages will, if they follow statistical patterns, stay together anyway.

  262. Silus Grok on May 30, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Sterling: I haven’t waded into this because I’m still coming to terms with this (specific) issue myself… but I will take just a moment to say that Sterling’s quoting Nicolosi is unfortunate, as Nicolosi is largely regected by his professional peers as a charlatan. Whether this rejection is warranted or not, is beside the point, but quoting Nicolosi in this thread is counter-productive. His name only brings your thesis into doubt.

    Geoff: I’m not sure whether I should read your post as a rousing personal testimony, or a something else entirely… but regardless of the reading, I would say that you seem to miss what I clearly see: faithful members of the church coming to terms with something that was hard to hear… and even harder to understand. And while you seem to have already come to your own conclusions ( which resonate with me, at least on first reading ) — perhaps becaue you have no stake in the matter? — you don’t seem to afford others the room they need to come to their own conclusions.

  263. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    There’s no question that there are going to be some divorces with SSM. But I’m with Hurricane in advocating a moral lifestyle of legalized commitment for gay couples, something which doesn’t really exist now. We’ve got to start somewhere with this, even though the model of gay couples being faithful and raising children is something pretty new, so few people know how to do it, or make it work, yet.

    But if we start SSM now, perhaps the next generations to come of age will understand the model, and know how to fulfill it.

    IF there were celestial marriages for same-sex couples, there’s no doubt in my mind that the degree of success for these would equal the degree of success of traditional male/female marriages.

  264. hypocrite on May 30, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    To those of you calling others to repentance: You will probably look back at this time as a key time when you failed to pass an important mortal test. Please find a way to accommodate yourself to the Lord’s commandment to “judge not.” Your eternal progression depends on it.

  265. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 8:12 pm

    I think y’all are missing a very significant aspect of Sterling’s choice. He is living in faith and is an example that one does not have to follow gay tendencies. I realize this is not recommended by the Church anymore, but no one can make a blanket statement and say it can’t be done. And he has his sites set on the blessings God has promised to those who are faithful to the standards God has given us. I think that is admirable.

  266. Silus Grok on May 30, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    None of us have commented negatively on his choice (except his choice to use poor logic and to quote Nicolosi in the first place) … so I’m not sure who you’re wagging that finger at.

  267. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    Several of us are in the same category, m&m.

  268. Seth R. on May 30, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Something that hasn’t been mentioned before.

    Will this proposed Amendment ever be used against the Mormon Church?

    bbell’s link leads to a Church press release supporting an Amendment. The same webpage links, in its sidebar, to the “Religious Coalition for Marriage.” This website contains a statement of various religious leaders supporting a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. One of the signatories is Elder Russell M. Nelson. Here is the text of the proposed Amendment from the same website:

    “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

    So, my question is – what does this do to polygamy? The text says “a man and a woman.” It does not say “ONE man and ONE woman.” Is polygamy not precluded by this amendment?

    Secondly, if polygamy is precluded by this amendment, what does this do to LDS doctrine of eternal marriage. More specifically, does the Amendment prevent a man from remaining sealed to his deceased wife if he decides to remarry?

    I just shot this off, and my thoughts aren’t really well formed on this. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  269. not ophelia on May 30, 2006 at 8:35 pm


    “The results show that of those 156 couples, only seven had been able to maintain sexual fidelity. Furthermore, of those seven couples, none had been together more than five years. In other words, the researchers were unable to find a single male couple that was able to maintain sexual fidelity for more than five years.�

    Well I personally know two [male] gay couples who’ve been together for more than 5 years: one for 10 and one for 19.

    Oh, and m&m, and GeoffB — you think it’s fine when a gay person denies his orientation and marries a woman? I think you’d think differently if that woman was your sister or your daughter. It’s not even sort of admirable when the orientation comes out and you-know-what hits the fan [and the wife and the children.] Believe me, it’s a tradgedy for all concerned.

  270. Sterling W. on May 30, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    Silus: the veracity of what you say is self-evident. I totally agree, and think it’s unfortunate that we all can’t just have our way with the primary data itself. (Maybe it’s out there somewhere…) I figured it best to concede from where I extracted the info. than to have someone else say it for me. Nonetheless, even with a paucity of primary data and with the unfortunate need to emblazon it with a name now discredited in the “community”, I still think the study has validity.

    Anon. I admit it, it was an ambitious jump. And it reflects my biases. But, even so, a higher trend of infidelity necessarily indicates the probability of higher levels of divorce, despite the number of people who generally stay with it even in the face of infidelity. And, anecdotally, I don’t give much credence to the idea that gay marriage is hugely viable anyway. I think that the stats show a trend of disintegration of union that is far worse than we would imagine. But I suppose only time will tell.

    Ultimately, however, my point is that if one has a testimony of the church, the brethren and what their revelatory mantle signifies, there’s no reason to even be discussing the issue as if our degrees of higher learning and personal experience give any validity to what we think. It all means very little in light of what God himself thinks. We must be careful to not let our “learning” get in the way of our testimonies of the gospel, and I’ve never seen that more demonstrated in my personal experience than with this issue.

  271. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Amen to that, N.O., these marriages often have tragic results.

  272. sue on May 30, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    N.O.: I think I’ve posted about this before.

    My sister’s husband divorced her last year, after 11 years of marriage, because he’s gay and can no longer live as a straight man. She has two daughters, who are 4 and 9. They were married in the temple. He thought he was doing what was right. She is devastated. Her children are devastated. You are right, it is tragic.

  273. anon1 on May 30, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    D. Flethcer, Sterling — My wifes’s cousin is married to a gay man — self-identified and clearly acknowledged. They have been together for 24 years. They have four children. He is a wonderful father. I spoke with him yesterday. He doesn’t feel that his choice has been inappropriate or wrong. He doesn’t struggle with being a husband and father and he loves his wife and children. They are marvelously happy together (as they both report). He doesn’t feel cheated that he cannot have sex with another guy. He acknowledges that commitment and resolve are necessary to overcome the thoughts of being gay — but then he also told me that it must be that way for any married couple. He feels happy and fulfilled. So I suggest that all of your predictions of inevitable doom are way too negative and judgmental. I wouldn’t suggest it as a model, but it can work and lead to happiness and the good life.

    We must take these issues one person at a time rather than generalizing about everyone. Such generalizations are the very essence of bigotry and prejudice. Gayness is a matter of a continuum and a scale from very gay to mildly gay to mildly hetero to very hetero. When first married he was very gay — now he is mildly hetero (at least by his self reporting). Moreover, where a person is on this scale change change over time. I often think that gay people want to a heterosexual relationship between a gay and a woman to fail. Why?

  274. obi-wan on May 30, 2006 at 9:08 pm

    Since I don’t know for sure and since I have very little faith right now, I have had to try to rely on intellect, on reason, on what seems right, on what seems Christ-like.

    Hang tight. Ignore the Pollyannas. Faith isn’t deluding yourself into believing that leaders don’t screw up. Faith is sticking with them despite the fact that you know they’re screwing up.

  275. hurricane on May 30, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    272–

    Your sister’s marriage lasted 11. Mine 10. It is not at all uncommon for married homosexual men to find their gay identities emerging at about this point in the marriage. Of these mixed-orientation marriage that hit this point of crisis, about a third end immediately in divorce, a third end within a year in divorce and about third try to make it work for a longer period of time.

    I honor Sterling for his commitment to his faith and his marriage. As for my own, I did the best I could for as long as I could.

  276. jjohnsen on May 30, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    “JJ: Well, hetero-sexual couples commit to love each other by a marriage ceremony, then they have sex and they have the natural capacity to have children together and that is how we know they are not mere room-mates.”

    Sorry for taking so long to respond to this Blake, I was at work all day. Only one of those is a physical impossibility for homosexuals, it is also an impossiblity for some heterosexual couples. You’re asking for people to address this issue, but I don’t see how it matters. My wife and I differ from a homosexual couple in only two ways. We have a piece of paper that tells us we got married, and we were sealed in the temple. What point exactly are you trying to make?

  277. Brad Kramer on May 30, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    I personally know of no less than 3 temple marriages that have disintgrated under circumstances virtually identical to those related by Sue re her sister. The logical flip side is that with the rare exceptions allowed by the anonymity of the blogernacle, we’re not likely to ever hear about the situations where individuals are able to work through these problems with Sterling’s success. Things work well, no one ever finds out that anyone is resisting ss attraction, no one’s the wiser. Like the CIA, the public only hears about the failures of closeted homosexuals trying to make it in hetero marriages.

  278. D. Fletcher on May 30, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    “Faith isn’t deluding yourself into believing that leaders don’t screw up. Faith is sticking with them despite the fact that you know they’re screwing up.”

    Obi-Wan, this is absolutely true, and I’ve never seen it written with such clarity. Bravo for that.

  279. quandmeme on May 30, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Geoff B, now hang on a sec. And I am one of those who is on the Brethren’s side (#56), I buy into Sister Cannon’s way of thinking, “[p]ersonal opinions vary. Eternal principles never do. When the prophet speaks … the debate is over.� But. As #260 pointed out, all who are interested in the Gospel are not at the high tides of their confidence. Personally, I welcome them to the discussion. They can not persuade me not to follow the brethren, but I will listen/read and empathize the best I can. Please, share what *you* believe, but might I suggest framing it all in terms of *your* experience in trying to pass the test rather than saying that those unable to are *failing*.

    Today on the commute home I listened to LDSVoices’ podcast of McConkie’s legendary “Purifying Power of Gethsemane.� Because I have been following this thread since Sunday morning I immediately thought of the Lord’s suffering for us all, those we are commenting about and those commenting. Even if we forget it sometimes, I suspect the brethren had this in mind when they made the announcement.

  280. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 30, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    think y’all are missing a very significant aspect of Sterling’s choice.

    uh, I meant “comment” not choice. That didn’t make a lot of sense.

    Oh, and m&m, and GeoffB — you think it’s fine when a gay person denies his orientation and marries a woman? I think you’d think differently if that woman was your sister or your daughter. It’s not even sort of admirable when the orientation comes out and you-know-what hits the fan [and the wife and the children.] Believe me, it’s a tradgedy for all concerned.

    I never said I think it’s “fine” — I said that here is an example of someone who has done it. It might work, but, of course, it would require the right situation. I also acknowledged the fact that this is not recommended by the Church as it used to be, with the recognition that it often doesn’t work. I, too, have seen the difficulties that result as a situation like you described has happened in my own family. So don’t jump too quickly on me. What I was saying is that his faith is admirable, and no one can make a blanket statement about the hopelessness of the situation of gays in the Church. Once in a while, you also hear about one who has chosen celibacy and faithfulness as well. I know I can’t begin to understand how difficult being gay in the Church is, and I’m not trying to minimize that. And yet, the commandments remain unchanged, and faith still can prevail.

  281. jjohnsen on May 30, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    “The difference with polygamy (I think it was wrong of the federal government to prosecute Mormons in polygamous marriages) is that polygamy was a religious act, and we should be free to live our bona fide religious beliefs equally. More importantly, Mormons would have been happy to have been let alone in their relationships, as gays are now, and weren’t insisting that the government recognize their marriages. They were content to have their marriages recognized only by God and their religious community.”

    So if a church declared homosexual marriage a religious act, would you support it as you support our polygamist past?

  282. rd on May 30, 2006 at 10:57 pm

    jjohnson: “My wife and I differ from a homosexual couple in only two ways. We have a piece of paper that tells us we got married, and we were sealed in the temple. What point exactly are you trying to make?”

    Um, yeah. Along with eternal gender characteristics, the ability to bear children, nature, etc. The differences are myriad. So much of this is an attempt to separate love from our god-given characteristics. I can sympathize with, and seek to understand, the challenges associated with homosexuality. But to cheapen the differences to access to paper and ordinances misses the mark.

  283. Blake on May 31, 2006 at 1:35 am

    JJ.Johnson said: Only one of those is a physical impossibility for homosexuals, it is also an impossiblity for some heterosexual couples. You’re asking for people to address this issue, but I don’t see how it matters. My wife and I differ from a homosexual couple in only two ways. We have a piece of paper that tells us we got married, and we were sealed in the temple. What point exactly are you trying to make?

    JJ, here is how it matters. In one generation the human race would cease to exist if we all adopted a gay lifestyle. No exceptions. A gay person cannot will that their life-style be a universal law of conduct and thus cannot meet the most basic criteria of moral laws (at least as Kant elucidated ethics). I agree with rd, you vastly trivialize the differing gender characteristics — the notion that the only real difference between you and your wife is a piece of paper and a ceremony oversimplifies the matter. In fact, the differences are not merely genitalia and the ability to reproduce, but myriad differences in the brain and body as a result of various hormones. Haven’t you read that men are from Mars and Women are from Venus?

    The vast majority of heterosexual couples are fertile and there are all kinds of treatments for those who may have challenges having children — but a homosexual couple can never have children naturally. Moreover, until tests are performed it is never certain that a heterosexual couple cannot have children (as we emphasize with teens who don’t think it can happen to them). You are hard-wired differently from your wife due to androgen and testosterone and estrogen differences. Go get a book about the inherent differences between men and women. You’ll see that the differences are greater than a piece of paper. As a result, we learn from each other because we challenge each other with differing perspectives. I learned very little from my room-mates because they were all slobs like me and we were too much alike. I’ve learned a ton from my wife because she is so different from me and constantly challenges my perspective and my male-way-of-being-in-the-world. Isn’t that also what it is about?

    That said, we must emphasize that merely having gay tendencies is not a sin. Merely having gay tendencies does not mean that a person isn’t loved or worthy of respect or honor. Like a heterosexual, merely having drives and desires is not a bad thing. But like heterosexuals, indulging such desires outside of wedlock is against the commands of God. We can’t change that fact. It is what it is. You and others here might want to redefine God’s commands and change morality and argue that gays must indulge their sexual desires. God’s prophet says otherwise. I suppose it really does boil down to that. I’ve never walked in the shoes of a gay man. God hasn’t called me to judge any of them. I know that they have a place in God’s plan. But it is not unreasonable to ask abstinence of our gay brothers and lesbian sisters if they just cannot make a heterosexual relationship workable. After all, we ask it of single heterosexual brothers and sisters.

    The prophets have been warning us of trends in our society that would lead to the break down of the nuclear family and create untold harm to children. It turns out that their warnings went unheeded and they were right — dead right. Divorce is rampant and at an all time high — and our children pay the heaviest price for our irresponsibility. Marriage has virtually ceased to exist as an institution in Scandinavia and Western Europe. Within two or three generations various European peoples, the French, Spanish, and Danes will cease to be identifiable sub-groups and they will be replaced by Muslims who have enough faith in life to have enough children to at least replace themselves. Europeans have lost faith in life — and that is where we are headed. Instead of protecting the family and making a society that protects and nurtures children, we have built an insane society where adults indulge their desires, ignore the needs of their children and cannot even maintain the most important relationships in their lives. We have gone mad and the prophets counsel is a warning to pull us back from the brink of disaster and this insanity. Let’s listen this time. If we don’t, the Book of Mormon story of the Nephites is merely a prologue to our own fate.

  284. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 2:19 am

    Well said, Blake.

  285. FightingBackTears on May 31, 2006 at 2:29 am

    Someone asked earlier what I meant when I said that gays have no place in Mormon theology, and that to acknowledge gay marriage was to invalidate the Plan of Salvation. Here\’s what I mean: 1. One cannot be exalted without being married. This is the whole purpose of the plan. 2. According to the LDS church, even in MA, Canada and some European countries where gay marriage is legal, gays who marry still aren\’t \”married\” and therefore cannot be exalted unless they: (a) remain celibate throughout their entire lives (notice that no GA or prophet has ever been able to to this) (b) if they don\’t remain celibate, or if they act in any way (hugging, kissing, touching) on feelings for the same sex, they must repent because acting on it is sinful (notice this is NOT like being a single straight person) So therefore, the Church wants to make life hell on earth and hell in heaven for gays who just hope to have a normal family life for themselves. And SO many of them have proven that they are fine, upstanding, loving, caring folks who can parent the pants off some of these deadbeat heteros. Yet because of something they are BORN with and CAN\’T HELP, the Church puts a red letter…or should that be pink shape…on them and tells them they\’re not wanted. Oh, I digress… …So in heaven–in the tippy top super duper exalted version, the church doesn\’t want the riff raff…er gays who dared to have some semblance of family life on earth. No–the worst ax murderer whose temple work was done for him and who some bimbo married while he was in jail can \”accept\” the \”sealing\” after death and go straight to the top level of the Celestial Kingdom. But a gay man who dares to fall in love and commit for life to another gay man will NEVER be exalted. Um, so does that plan of salvation make any sense to you?’

  286. mullingandmusing (m&m) on May 31, 2006 at 3:05 am

    No–the worst ax murderer whose temple work was done for him and who some bimbo married while he was in jail can \�accept\� the \�sealing\� after death and go straight to the top level of the Celestial Kingdom. But a gay man who dares to fall in love and commit for life to another gay man will NEVER be exalted. Um, so does that plan of salvation make any sense to you?’

    FBT, if that ax murderer died with murder in his heart, most likely his proxy sealing will be meaningless. Each person will be judged according to his/her obedience to commandments. The plan does make sense because God is good on His promises. If we are patient enough to wait for them (homosexuals are certainly not the only ones who face the difficult — and I realize it is difficult challenge of being asked to wait until the next life for all dreams and hopes to be fulfilled — then God promises all that He has. My dear friend who was in an accident at age 19 will never marry. Do you think she aches for love as gays do, and has really no choice because no one will marry her. She’s not really ever experienced physical affection, either, except maybe in high school, and that hardly counts. She still cries (over age 60) sometimes, because it is hard. But she TRUSTS in God’s promises and is holding on to them. A single, handicapped woman in the Church has a hard life, too. Other people have hard lives, too. We all have different predispositions and trials and biology and upbringing and family culture and everything else that can sometimes feel like the powers of hell are combining to make us bend. We all will have tests of faith. John Taylor quoted Joseph Smith who talked about having heart strings pulled, that we would be tested as Abraham. At some point, each and every one of us is asked to put something on the altar. But what will He give us in return if we endure in faith to the end? Eternal perspective is not natural or even easy to put on, but, it makes life possible! — regardless of the trials. Faith is the answer. Gay marriage is not. That would still be selling a birthright for something temporary, something that will only last for a moment in the eternal scheme of things. Such a marriage could not last past this life anyway. God wants us to have ALL THAT HE HAS. That plan makes sense.

    We don’t know how final judgments will play out, but we do know that keeping God’s commandments, no matter how difficult it may seem in this temporary, temporal sphere, is the best way to ensure our reception of the most God can give us in the next life. LIfe here truly isn’t fair. But eternally, it IS. Faith is truly an exercise, and sometimes strenuous at that, when we are faced with choosing what we want now with choosing what we want eternally. But THAT IS THE TEST. So, yes, the plan does make sense…although, once again, I can acknowledge how truly difficult the test would be for a gay person in the Church. But God’s promises are sure!

  287. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 3:19 am

    #125 Interesting thought experiment that assumes something truly rediculous. What would you do if your body made you have an irresistible urge to have sex with a cow and you were just born that way? Should we legalize human-cow relationships? What if no studies showed that such human -cow conduct caused real, lasting mental harm?

    Blake, thanks for pointing out that out. My friends and I actually believed there was a real possibility that President Hinckley would walk into my apartment one day and ask to eat my brain. Stupid as this sounds, there are plenty of Mormons I know that would allow their brains to be eaten if such occured. The point of our discussion (which I only briefly brought up in jest – and I’m sure you were not privy to) was the question of where one would draw the line. At what point can someone in the church hierarchy say something, that would make some of the most faithful LDS step back and say, “Wait a minute.”? Most LDSaints that I know are more than willing to say that the prophets of our church are fallible – Moroni is pretty clear on that. However, far less are willing to ever say that a prophet can be wrong on a particular issue. There is a strong tendency among the saints to want to have their cake and eat it too when it comes to this. Too many are quickly willing to laugh off Brigham Young and pals statements as mere opinions of fallible prophets, but give more infallibility to the current leaders than most Catholics would ever give the Pope.

    #283 – JJ, here is how it matters. In one generation the human race would cease to exist if we all adopted a gay lifestyle.

    My brain-eating prophet doesn’t seem so silly anymore. I know you are using this as a categorical imperative, but if Kant was writing up God’s morality, we’d pretty much have to toss out most of the scriptures.

    Blah blah blah…I’ve learned a ton from my wife because she is so different from me and constantly challenges my perspective and my male-way-of-being-in-the-world. Isn’t that also what it is about? Blah blah blah

    So now we must live by the myth of real men and real women/i> and only those should get married. Else, there would be a dangerous imbalance of the marriage institution and yada yada yada.

    But it is not unreasonable to ask abstinence of our gay brothers and lesbian sisters if they just cannot make a heterosexual relationship workable.

    Option 1 – be gay and miserable. Option 2 – be gay and make you and your hetererosexual spouse miserable. Much has been said by church leaders about sex being a very healthy and important part of a marriage relationship. Would you want one of your daughters dealing with a ‘workable relationship’ with a gay man?

    After all, we ask it of single heterosexual brothers and sisters.

    The Church does not ask the same of heterosexual and homosexual members. Heterosexual members are urged to date, have a small level of physical affection, etc outside of marriage. Heterosexual membersare urged to fall in love, to find that special someone, etc. Heterosexual members are told over and over and over again (I live in a singles ward – we are told this way too much) how happy a married life is and how it should be our primary goal. Gay members are not asked to do the same things as heterosexual members.

    Marriage has virtually ceased to exist as an institution in Scandinavia and Western Europe.

    There are almost no more married people there? The most conservative studies say that 75% of families are headed by married parents. Perhaps you use virtually in the virtual reality sense. In that case, pigs are virtually flying and hell is virtually freezing over.

    Within two or three generations various European peoples, the French, Spanish, and Danes will cease to be identifiable sub-groups and they will be replaced by Muslims who have enough faith in life to have enough children to at least replace themselves. Europeans have lost faith in life — and that is where we are headed.

    Steeper and more slippery than the best ski runs in the wasatch mountains.

    Instead of protecting the family and making a society that protects and nurtures children, we have built an insane society where adults indulge their desires, ignore the needs of their children and cannot even maintain the most important relationships in their lives. We have gone mad and the prophets counsel is a warning to pull us back from the brink of disaster and this insanity. Let’s listen this time. If we don’t, the Book of Mormon story of the Nephites is merely a prologue to our own fate.

    The scriptures virtually relate destruction of civilizations every time to economic matters – greed, pride, and the expanding gap between the rich and the poor. We have thousands of years of ignored warnings against mammon. This is what destroys families. The economy is tearing down families far faster and much stronger than gay couples ever will. The Book of Mormon was written for our time. How often does it warn us of wealth and power? How often does it warn us of homosexuals? I don’t know the exact count, but it’s a whole lot to zero. Perhaps it is time for our prophets to heed the warnings of our prophets.

  288. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 3:33 am

    YOu know what I miss in this discussion ?
    That is Jesus.
    Did anyone of you look up in the scriptures what He sais about Gay realationships?
    What do you think He would do or say to a gay person?
    Do you really have and inkeling of how He teached us in the Bible we should be kind to
    each other.

    I can understand everybody being upset about the GA´S using the pulpit for politics
    But come on people can stop doing that and start reachingout the Love and the kindness that Jesus and God has for us to other.

    how did the primary song go: As I have loved you love another, this new commanmend love oneanother by this men know that we are HIs diciples if you have loved one to another.

    I am from Holland europe and we have the law in the country that gay people can gett married.
    It is not what I want but it is what democracy is about.
    You know the first half year there was a run for these marriage and now it is all quiet down.

    What you all need to understand that being married gay or hetero it gives legall rights.
    Most gay people live a lifetime together building up there house etc like hetero´s but since they cannot be married there will be legal problems if one of them dies .

    As I told my own brother many many years ago Jesus gave you as my brother I am not supose to pass a judgement on you being gay.
    I have a wonderfull brother in law and he and my brother are very very good to my son . Who I need to raise without his hetero dad.

    So anyway can anyone of you tell me what Jesus has said in the scriptures about gay people?

    Elizabeth

  289. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 3:35 am

    As a general rule, murderers cannot be saved, certainly not in the celestial kingdom. Scriptural tradition generally has it that willing, first-degree type murder (aka “shedding of innocent blood”) amounts to committing the unpardonable sin. David forfeit his exaltation for simply sending Uriah to the battlefront and hoping he would die.

    No doubt there are grey areas, of course. (cf. Alma 20:18, Alma 39:5-6, D&C 132:27).

  290. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 3:40 am

    loyd wrote
    The Book of Mormon was written for our time. How often does it warn us of wealth and power? How often does it warn us of homosexuals?

    Elizabeth asks:
    could you please tell us the excate scriptures that are in the book of mormon talking about homosexuals?
    Please help me Loyd because I have never ever in my live found one!!!!!

    Elizabeth

  291. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 3:43 am

    Here is the canonical scripture:

    “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)

  292. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 3:44 am

    As a general rule, murderers cannot be saved, certainly not in the celestial kingdom. Scriptural tradition generally has it that willing, first-degree type murder (aka “shedding of innocent blood�) amounts to committing the unpardonable sin. David forfeit his exaltation for simply sending Uriah to the battlefront and hoping he would die.

    No doubt there are grey areas, of course. (cf. Alma 20:18, Alma 39:5-6, D&C 132:27).

    Comment by Mark Butler — 5/31/2006 @ 3:35 am

    ELIZABETH asks:
    what has this to do with the subject
    are you saving that gay people are murderers?

  293. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 3:44 am

    #286 – but we do know that keeping God’s commandments

    m&m. One of the biggest problems of this discussion is that one side (you, Blake, and others) are talking about whether one should or should not follow God’s commandments. You are largely preaching to the choir here because the side you are arguing against already claims that one should follow God’s commandments. The question at hand is whether or not something is a commandment from God.

    Of course, this raises a whole quagmire of different issues about how to judge whether or not something is from God. In the end, it all comes down to faith – whatever that is. To claim that one side has more *faith in God* than the other side is rather silly. Both sides of the arguement generally believe that they have faith in God, the prophets, and the Church. To say one kind of faith is better than another kind is equally silly because both claims ultimately come down to another level of faith, and so on. Either way, both sides require a step into the unknown. It’s fine to strongly disagree about such matters. Believe it or not, members of the Twelve and First Presidency often strongly disagree about church matters. If we all agreed about everything, then life would be pretty drab and boring. When we start making claims about the validity and levels of another’s faith, then we are crossing the line. Unfortunately, I am as guilty as the rest in doing this as well.

  294. MikeInWeHo on May 31, 2006 at 3:48 am

    Blake,

    Dubious prophetic knowledge of future European demographics notwithstanding, I can see why you look across the pond and fear what you see. Their path probably is our future: a secularizing majority in increasing conflict with a fundamentalist minority. In our case, however, the minority will be Christian instead of Muslim. I think the two sides (aggressively secular and religious extremist) reinforce each other, and the polarization increases. It’s a dangerous, scary, and (dare I say) apocalyptic trend. So perhaps we both see the gathering clouds, but disagree as to their meaning. I would suggest you stop worrying about how the human race would cease to exist in one generation if you become more tolerant of gays, though. If said extinction occurs, I’m quite sure it will be due to other factors. The notion that you fear the “gay lifestyle” becoming the “universal law of conduct” did bring a smile to my face, for what it’s worth.

    I think it’s terribly sad that the current culture of the Church allows for no real, open disagreement about an issue such as this. It’s the quintessential social debate of our era and disagreement is to be expected. The Catholics and Evangelicals are way ahead of the LDS on this one. While they overwhelmingly hold the same conservative view and generally require their teachers/leaders to do so, they certainly don’t demand the kind of conformity which results in 90+% concurrence (see post 254, etc). Why does the Church feel a need to excommunicate ordinary gay members (not bishops, not teachers, not GAs) who disagree on this and are in same-sex relationships? That’s reflective of a deep institutional insecurity, imo. It certainly keeps me well away from activity in the Church, which is also sad. I suspect that many of you in here would enjoy knowing me and my family if we were in your ward; I’d certainly enjoy fellowship with many of you. There are plenty of Catholic and even Evangelical congregations around who would be pleased to have us. But I feel I am a Mormon. That never really goes away, does it?

  295. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 3:50 am

    could you please tell us the excate scriptures that are in the book of mormon talking about homosexuals?

    It doesn’t. Discussions of sexual sin itself is pretty rare in the BofM and when it does occur, it usually deals with infidelity, rape, and prostitution – all abuses of others. I’m unaware of any BofM condemnations of consensual pre-marital sex or masterbation, though I do agree with the counsel to abstain from such.

  296. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 3:52 am

    The Bible has ample condemnation of homosexual behavior:

    Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

    Romans 1:26-27: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

    1Corithians 6:9-10: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

    It is a good thing there is repentance (even in spirit prison aka “hell”), needless to say, or most of humanity would end up outside the gates, in some sort of sub telestial limbo (cf. D&C 88:24,32)

  297. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 3:55 am

    I think it’s terribly sad that the current culture of the Church allows for no real, open disagreement about an issue such as this…. The Catholics and Evangelicals are way ahead of the LDS on this one.

    Though it’s not a good excuse, Catholics and Evangelicals are at a different position from a perspective of time and size to deal with the issue, and I think it is one reason why the LDS Church is a less open to the discussion.

    Have you read In Quiet Desperation. I have not read it, but I heard it is at least a good first step toward such discussions. If you have read it, I’m interested on your thoughts from a perspective of a gay Saint.

  298. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 3:59 am

    Elizabeth (#292), Of course not – I am pointing out one of the obvious problems in the argument in #285, which poster held that a bimbo-marrying axe murderer had a free ticket to exaltation in the celestial kingdom. A murderer of any kind would be extraordinarily luck to merit salvation in the telestial glory after a considerable (1000+ year?) tenure in hell.

  299. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 4:00 am

    The Bible has ample condemnation of homosexual behavior

    I forget. Is three ample or few?

    I know. I know. Three is enough.

    It’s good to see that homosexuality is one of many biblical abominations – along with making physical contact with a menstruationg woman. I never did enjoy being in the kitchen when my mom was… well.. you get the point.

  300. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 4:03 am

    So the ten commandments are the ten suggestions then?

  301. MikeInWeHo on May 31, 2006 at 4:06 am

    re: 293 Nice sentiment, Loyd, but I think you are in a bit of denial about the status quo in the Church (see my second paragraph in 294). Bring my family to Church and say “We believe in Jesus Christ and the message of the Restoration, but disagree on this point….” You’ll see how far we get. I saw this first hand when I went to the temple open house in Newport Beach last year. My partner and I were seemingly identified as gay (I suspect the SoCal membership is a little more saavy). In the Stake Center after the tour, various members milled around the visitors, chatting them up. We sat on this little couch on the side eating our Costco cookie, clearly avoided. It was quite striking. I would add that we were not holding hands or doing anything whatsoever which might have proven offensive. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I just had the strongest feeling that they figured us out and steered clear. We left without speaking to anyone individually.

  302. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 4:09 am

    So the ten commandments are the ten suggestions then?

    Are you responding to me? If so, ummm…
    …. ummm… …. ….
    … … ummm… … …huh?

  303. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 4:13 am

    301 – I think you are in a bit of denial about the status quo in the Church

    No I’m quite aware of the status quo. It’s a shame. I’m not quite sure why you think I’m in denial though.

  304. Mark Butler on May 31, 2006 at 4:24 am

    I think the meaning is clear enough. You imply that just because one scriptural prohibition is obsolete then all are. I respond with ten rather well known counterexamples of the authority of scripture. Your argument fails for lack of evidence.

  305. Loyd on May 31, 2006 at 4:45 am

    You imply that just because one scriptural prohibition is obsolete then all are.

    I did not. Nice straw-man though. I’m just pointing out that something is not necessarily God’s unerring command via it’s inclusion in the scriptures.

    x = all commands in scriptures
    Bx = is an unerring command of God

    1. (Ex)~Bx = ~(Ax)Bx

    there is an x that is not B is equivalent to not all x are B.

    2. (Ex)~Bx ~= (Ax)~Bx

    there is an x that is not B is not equivalent to all x are not B.

    you made the fallacy in thinking

    F. (Ex)~Bx = (Ax)~Bx

    there is an x that is not B is equivalent to all x are not B.

    —-
    actually, i wasn’t even going as far as to argue (1). I was merely showing that the weight given to homosexuality as a sin is proportionate to the weight it is given in the scriptures.

  306. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:25 am

    Mike wrote
    We sat on this little couch on the side eating our Costco cookie, clearly avoided. It was quite striking. I would add that we were not holding hands or doing anything whatsoever which might have proven offensive

    Elizabeth sais
    I am trully sorry to hear this Mike I know what you are talking about being home with a depression burn out and a special needs child makes me invisiable for the members of our local ward.

    Your treament had nothing to do with Christlike behaviour.

    Stay stong
    elizabeth

  307. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:27 am

    You know what is funny with mormons they only believe that the bible is the true word from God when they try to make a point other wise it is all about the BOM.

  308. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:29 am

    What did Jesus have to say about the issue of homosexuality? He said nothing specifically. He did, however, have much to say about issues of the heart, and about morality.

    The Hebrew testament forbids homogenitality for purity reasons, male-male sex makes one unclean because it breaks a religious taboo… it associates one with the Canaanites. The hebrew scriptures also list other purity requirements, like washing at prescribed times or not eating certain foods.. example: circumcision… made a person a Jew… qualified them, but no one thought that God rejected the uncircumcised. The purity requirements of the Jewish law were part of being a Jew, they were not necesarily part of being a good person, just and righteous before God. Jesus was clear that being a good person and keeping the requirements of the Jewish law were not the same things, one of the reasons that he was killed was that he challenged the real importance of the law.

    “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles… what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles, for out of the heart comes evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander; these are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.” (Matthew 15:10, 18-20)

    The only purity that mattered to Jesus was purity of heart. Jesus objected to eternal religious show fasting so others can see, praying in front of everybody, putting a lot of money into the collection so others will notice. “People honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

    Jesus is not impressed with externals, He looks into the heart. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; they only thing that counts is faith working through love.” (Galations 5:6)

    The Christian scriptures insist that cleanness and uncleanness does not matter, only whether you are doing good or evil matters. Jesus and the Christian testament reject the only biblical basis for condemning male male sex. We should expect the Christian scriptures to show that something about homogenitality or homosexuality is in itself wrong, that it is harmful, unkind, destructive, unloving, dishonest, unjust, etc. Otherwise, we should expect some sex acts to be condemned only when they do include these other wrongs: when abusive, exploitative, hurtful, wanton or lewd, just as heterosexual acts would be forbidden for these same reasons. Thus, as can be seen after evaluating the verses, it is immoral behavior that is condemned, not homosexual behavior in itself.

    ——————————————————————————–

  309. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:30 am

    Leviticus

    Leviticus 18:22
    “You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is an abomination.”
    This first verse lies in with numerous other laws of that time that were considered important. Another, Leviticus 18:19, states: “Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.” Do we ignore some of these regulations and pick out others?? What was the reason behind these verses?

    The condemnation of homogenital acts occurs in a section of Leviticus called “The Holiness Code”. This list of laws and punishments spells out requirements for Isreal to remain “holy” in God’s sight. What does this mean? According to Jewish belief, Israel was God’s “chosen people” and was bound to God by a covenant, a pact. That covenant required that the Israelites not take part in the religious practices of the Canaanites, the people the Israelites had conquered. To remain separate from the Gentiles was to be “holy”, set apart, different. So, a main concern of The Holiness Code was to keep Israel different from the Gentiles.

    The Canaanite religion included fertility rites according to the Hebrew testament. These ceremonies allegedly involved sexual rituals that were thought to bring blessing on the cycle of the seasons, the production of crops, the birth of livestock. Supposedly, during there was much sexual variation in these rituals. The Holiness Code prohibits all those acts and calls them all “abominations”. This same section of The Holiness Code includes the prohibition of male homogenital acts.

    The point is that The Holiness Code of Leviticus prohibits male same-sex acts because of religious considerations, not because of sexual or moral ones. The concern was to keep Israel from taking part in Gentile practices. The argument in Leviticus is religious, not ethical or moral. That is to say, no thought is given to whether the sex in itself is right or wrong. All concern is for keeping Jewish identity strong. The reasons used to forbid it then have no bearing on today’s discussion of homosexuality.

    To make a comparison, there used to be a church law that forbade Roman Catholics to eat meat on Fridays, and that is still observed less strictly by many Catholics during Lent. That church law was considered so serious that violation was a mortal sin, supposedly punishable by hell. Yet no one believed that eating meat was something wrong in itself. The offense was against a religious responsibility, to act like a Catholic

  310. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:32 am

    1 Corinthians
    (and 1 Timothy)

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (OUTE MALAKOI OUTE ARSENOKOITAI) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the mane of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    1 Timothy 1:9-10
    “the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites (ARSENOKOITAI), slave traders, liars, perjurers and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching…”

    ——————————————————————————–

    The meaning of these verses in regards to homogenital acts depends on the translation of two Greek words: MALAKOI and ARSENOKOITAI, and their translation is highly debated. Basically, MALAKOI has no specific reference to homogenitality, but ARSENOKOITAI is some kind of reference to male same sex acts. A literal translation of the Hebrew word for this relates to the prohibition of the same sex acts as in Leviticus. This is how it was interpretted by first-century, Greek-speaking, Jewish Christians. Specifically, these texts condemn not homogenital acts in general, but exploitative, wanton, lewd, irresponsible sexual behavior. Therefore, this verse would be speaking equally against this type of behavior in hetero- OR homosexuality.

    The word MALAKOS (plural MALAKOI) is a very common word that literally means “soft”. It is said of clothing in Matthew 11:8. Applied to moral issues as here, it could be implied to mean “loose”, “wanton”, “unrestrained”, or “undisciplined”. This seems to be the most sensible translation of the 1 Corinthians passage. The word MALAKOS was also applied to heterosexuals who were wanton or loose. It is a general condemnation of moral looseness and lewd, lustful behavior.

    The lesson to be learned in these verses is that these principles apply equally to both hetero- and homosexuality.

  311. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:35 am

    Romans

    Romans 1:24-28
    “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts (ATIMIAS). Even their women exchanged natural (PHYSIKEN) relations for unnatural (PARA PHYSIN) ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural (PHYSIKEN) relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent (ASCHEMOSYNE) acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”
    This is the only new testament Bible text that actually discusses homogenital acts at any length, it occurs in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. This verse is used by many to show that homosexuality is “unnatural”, that there is punishment for it, and that it also discusses lesbian sex. But considering to whom Paul is writing, how he is making his point, and to what end, all these conclusions seem to be wrong. To understand these verses, one must understand the context of this whole passage. Paul’s letter to the Romans raises a question about the “natural” and the “unnatural”. He certainly was referring to homogenital acts; but what was he really saying?

    PHYSIS is the Greek word for nature. For Paul, the “nature” of something was its particular character or kind. In Romans 2:14, Paul speaks of Gentiles who follow their own conscience and “do instinctively (PHYSEI) what the law requires.” But, the Greek text reads “by nature”, and the implication is that these Gentiles act as is consistent with the kind of persons they are. For Paul, something is “natural” when it responds according to its kind, when it is as it is expected to be. For Paul, the word “natural” does not mean “in accordance with natural laws.” Rather, “natural” refers to what is characteristic, consistent, ordinary, standard, expected, and regular. When people acted as expected, they were acting “naturally”. When people did something surprising,s omething unusual, something beyond the routine, they were acting “unnaturally.” That was the sense of the word “nature” in Paul’s usage.

    The Greek word PARA usually means “beside”, “more than”, “over and above”, or “beyond”. Given Paul’s usage of the term, the sense is not “in opposition to”, but “unexpectedly” or “in an unusual way”. So, what does it mean when Romans says that the “women exchanged natural relations for unnatrual and the men likewise…”? It means that these women and men were engaging in sexual practices that were not the ones people usually perform. The practices were beyond the regular, outside the ordinary, more than the usual, not the expected. There is no sense whatever in those words that the practices were wrong or against God. According to Paul’s usage, the words only say that the practices were different from what one would generally expect. This could mean many things. In Romans 11:24, Paul uses the very same words PARA PHYSIN to talk about God. Obviously, the words do not imply any kind of ethical condemnation.

    Other verses support the same general conclusion. In verses 26 and 27, Paul uses two words to describe the sexual acts he has in mind: “degrading passions” and “shameless acts”. Neither of these words has an ethical connotation. Both refer simply to social disapproval. Take “degrading passions” for example. The Greek word transleates as “degrading” is ATIMIA. It means something “not highly valued, “not held in honor”, “not respected”. “Socially unacceptable” also conveys the meaning of the word and is the very sense in which Paul uses it. For example, in 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul applies that word to himself. He notes that he is sometimes held in disrepute or shame because of his commitment to Christ. Evidently then, to be labelled ATIMIA is not necessarily a bad thing. Again, in 1 Corinthians 11:14 paul uses the word to suggest that it is “degrating” for a man to wear long hair. Even though Paul says this is what “nature” teaches, it is clear that no ethical judgment is intended. In none of the cases in which Paul uses the word does the word express a moral judgment. So, when Paul calls certain passions “degrading” in Romans 1:26, he is not saying that they are wrong, only that they do not enjoy social approval.

    Basically, the same meaning applies to the word ASCHEMOSYNE, translated as “shameless acts” in verse 27. Literally, the word means “not according to form”. Again, by using these words he makes no ethical condemnation of homosexuality. He merely points out social disapproval of it. For all of the words Paul used, there were other words that he could have chosen that DO mean “ethically wrong”, but they were untentionally never used to describe homosexual behavior.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Why does Paul bring the issue up at all?
    In biblical times, religious uncleanness and social dishonor went hand in hand. When Paul talks of homogenitality in Romans, he seems to have the Jewish law in mind. In vs. 24, “God gave them up to impurity and to dishonor”, Paul raises the issue of homogenitality only as an uncleanness, such as mentioned in Leviticus. In this letter, he was speaking to the Romans and was concerned about appealing to both the Jewish and Gentile converts, without offending either of the two groups. Paul hooks the Jewish Christians on their sense of superiority over the Gentile Christians and their impurities and uses the example of Leviticus, which was not really an important issue for them. Then, Paul reels them in, pointing out their stealing, adultery, and robbing temples. His point to them was that in the face of faith in Christ and Christ’s call for purity of heart, ritual behaviors and impurities do not matter. “A person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, it is spiritual and not literal.” (Romans 2:29)
    Paul does not want false issues to divide them, so he insists “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself.” (Romans 14:14). Seen in the context of the whole letter to the Romans, the same sex reference serves a rhetorical function. It is part of Pauls’ plan to win the good will of these Jewish Christian readers, then uses the same issue to make his point that the ritual requirements of the jewish law are irrelevant in Christ.

    Paul mentioned that particular “uncleanness” of the Gentiles, because this was the one thing that they were not still arguing over. It was an obvious point of difference between them, but there was not the arguing about it as there was with the unclean foods and so forth. Thus, he could safely make his point and: 1) gain the sympathy of the jewish christians by seeming to side with their prejudices, 2) next show the Jewish Christians were as guilty as anyone else in breaking the Jewish law, 3) argued that in Christ the Jewish law was superseded and that above all, purity issues in the law do not matter, 4) thus incline the Jewish Christians to better acceptance of the Gentile Christians, and 5) rebuked the Gentile Christians for any superiority they might have been feeling.

    In Romans, Paul mentioned homogenitality to merely serve as an instance of Gentile “uncleanness” as judged by Jewish standards. Paul introduced this “uncleanness” precisely to make the point that such matters have no importance in Christ. Moreover, only if this is really the case does the whole structure of Romans make sense. Not only did Paul not think homogenital acts were sinful, he seems to have been deliberately unconcerned about them. In his considered treatment of the matter, he teaches that in itself, homogenital activity is ethically neutral. Instead, his purpose was to create unity between the Jewish and Gentile Christians and teach them the important things in Christ.

    It is ironic that to insure the unity of believers was the purpose of Pauls’ writing, yet these verses serve today so often to divide and are used to condemn one’s brothers and sisters. What would he think of how the verses are being used so often today? Paul insisted on faith and love as the things that really matter in Christ, but by misunderstanding paul’s argument, people unwittingly rely on tastes and customs instead of the word of God. They argue about what’s dirty or clean, dispute who’s pure and impure, and pit heterosexual against homosexual. Thus, they divide and splinter the church over what does not matter in christ. They commit a grave injustice, the very offense that Pauls’ letter meant to counter.

  312. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:39 am

    21st century family types:
    There are a relatively few types of families in Christian countries today:

    Living together arrangements of heterosexual and homosexual couples: These are common-law, informal co-habiting arrangements, which can sometimes be registered with the government. Most heterosexual couples who eventually marry, have spent an interval of time living together before marriage. Some choose to never marry.
    Heterosexual marriages of one man and one woman. These are formal marriages registered with the government. Many are performed in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc. Others are civil ceremonies.
    Polygynous marriages, which involve one man and a number of women. In North America this was practiced extensively among Mormons, but was largely phased out during the 19th century. Today, it appears to be confined to small Fundamentalist Mormon groups which have been excommunicated by the main Mormon church: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Attorney General of British Columbia, Canada, has decided to not prosecute Mormon splinter groups in that province for polygyny. He predicted that he would lose any case that he initiated. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantees of religious freedom would probably nullify the Province’s marriage act in these cases. This gives such marriages a degree of legality, at least in one province of Canada.
    Homosexual unions of two men or two women. These can be registered as civil unions in the state of Vermont. The couple obtains all of the privileges and responsibilities that the State of Vermont gives to heterosexual married couples. The couple can register as a domestic partnership in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The couple receives all of the privileges and responsibility of married couples, except for the right to adopt.
    Homosexual marriages of two men and two women: These are currently available only to residents in the Netherlands. In that state, no differentiation is made between opposite-sex and same-sex couples who wish to marry.

    Family types mentioned in the Bible:
    God is recorded as promoting the concept of marriage in Genesis 2:18: Referring to Adam, “…the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (King James Version – KJV) “Help meet” also appears in the Jerusalem Bible. It is translated “helper” in many other translations (e.g. Amplified Bible, An American Translation, James Moffatt Translation, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New International Version, New World Translation, Revised Standard Bible, Young’s Literal Translation. The Living Bible, New Living Translation, and Today’s English Version use a phrase like “a suitable companion to help him.” The original Hebrew word, when used to refer to humans, implies a partnership of two equals, rather than a relationship between persons of unequal status. “Co-worker” or “partner” might be a better translation. The Contemporary English Version, New American Bible, and Revised English Bible use the term “partner” indicating an equal status between Adam and Eve.

    We have found eight types of marriages mentioned in the Bible:

    The standard nuclear family: Genesis 2:24 describes how a man leaves his family of origin, joins with a woman, consummates the marriage and lives as a couple. There were quite a few differences between the customs and laws of contemporary North Americans and of ancient Israelites. In ancient Israel: Inter-faith marriages were theoretically forbidden. However, they were sometimes formed.
    Children of inter-faith marriages were considered illegitimate.
    Marriages were generally arranged by family or friends; they did not result from a gradually evolving, loving relationship that developed during a period of courtship.
    A bride who had been presented as a virgin and who could not be proven to be one was stoned to death by the men of her village. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) There appears to have been no similar penalty for men who engaged in consensual pre-marital sexual activity.

    Polygyny marriage: A man would leave his family of origin and join with his first wife. Then, as finances allowed, he would marry as many additional women as he desired. The new wives would join the man and his other wives in an already established household. Polygyny was practiced by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, until the practice was suspended, a least temporarily, in the late 19th century. It is still practiced by separated fundamentalist Mormon groups which have been excommunicated from the main church.

    There are many references to polygynous marriages in the Bible: Lamech, in Genesis 4:19, became the first known polygynist. He had two wives.
    Subsequent men in polygynous relationships included: Esau with 3 wives;
    Jacob: 2;
    Ashur: 2;
    Gideon: many;
    Elkanah: 2;
    David: many;
    Solomon had 700 wives of royal birth;
    Rehaboam: 3;
    Abijah: 14.
    Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives.

    From the historical record, it is known that Herod the Great (73 to 4 BCE) had nine wives.

    We have been unable to find references to polyandrous marriages in the Bible — unions involving one woman and more than one man. It is unlikely that many existed because of the distinctly inferior status given to women; they were often treated as property in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Levirate Marriage: The name of this type of marriage is derived from the Latin word “levir,” which means “brother-in-law.” This involved a woman who was widowed without having borne a son. She would be required to leave her home, marry her brother-in-law, live with him, and engage in sexual relations. If there were feelings of attraction and love between the woman and her new husband, this arrangement could be quite agreeable to both. Otherwise, the woman would have to endure what was essentially serial rapes with her former brother-in-law as perpetrator. Their first-born son was considered to be sired by the deceased husband. In Genesis 38:6-10, Tamar’s husband Er was killed by God for unspecified sinful behavior. Er’s brother, Onan, was then required by custom to marry Tamar. Not wanting to have a child who would not be considered his, he engaged in an elementary (and quite unreliable) method of birth control: coitus interruptus. God appears to have given a very high priority to the levirate marriage obligation. Being very displeased with Onan’s behavior, God killed him as well. Ruth 4 reveals that a man would be required to enter into a levirate marriage not only with his late brother’s widow, but with a widow to whom he was the closest living relative.
    A man, a woman and her property — a female slave: As described in Genesis 16, Sarah and Abram were infertile. Sarah owned Hagar, a female slave who apparently had been purchased earlier in Egypt. Because Hagar was Sarah’s property, she could dispose of her as she wished. Sarah gave Hagar to Abram as a type of wife, so that Abram would have an heir. Presumably, the arrangement to marry and engage in sexual activity was done without the consent of Hagar, who had such a low status in the society of the day that she was required to submit to what she probably felt were serial rapes by Abram. Hagar conceived and bore a son, Ishmael. This type of marriage had some points of similarity to polygamous marriage, as described above. However, Hagar’s status as a human slave in a plural marriage with two free individuals makes it sufficiently different to warrant separate treatment here.
    A man, one or more wives, and some concubines: A man could keep numerous concubines, in addition to one or more wives. These women held an even lower status than a wife. As implied in Genesis 21:10, a concubine could be dismissed when no longer wanted. According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, “A concubine would generally be either (1) a Hebrew girl bought…[from] her father; (2) a Gentile captive taken in war; (3) a foreign slave bought; or (4) a Canaanitish woman, bond or free.” 1 They would probably be brought into an already-established household. Abraham had two concubines; Gideon: at least 1; Nahor: 1; Jacob: 1; Eliphaz: 1; Gideon: 1; Caleb: 2; Manassah: 1; Saul: 1; David: at least 10; Rehoboam: 60; Solomon: 300!; an unidentified Levite: 1; Belshazzar: more than 1.
    A male soldier and a female prisoner of war: Numbers 31:1-18 describes how the army of the ancient Israelites killed every adult Midianite male in battle. Moses then ordered the slaughter in cold blood of most of the captives, including all of the male children who numbered about 32,000. Only the lives of 32,000 women – all virgins — were spared. Some of the latter were given to the priests as slaves. Most were taken by the Israeli soldiers as captives of war. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes how each captive woman would shave her head, pare her nails, be left alone to mourn the loss of her families, friends, and freedom. After a full month had passed, they would be required to submit to their owners sexually, as a wife. It is conceivable that in a few cases, a love bond might have formed between the soldier and his captive(s). However, in most cases we can assume that the woman had to submit sexually against her will; that is, she was raped.
    A male rapist and his victim: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 requires that a female virgin who is not engaged to be married and who has been raped must marry her attacker, no matter what her feelings were towards the rapist. A man could become married by simply sexually attacking a woman that appealed to him, and paying his father-in-law 50 shekels of silver. There is one disadvantage of this approach: he was not allowed to subsequently divorce her.
    A male and female slave: Exodus 21:4 indicates that a slave owner could assign one of his female slaves to one of his male slaves as a wife. There is no indication that women were consulted during this type of transaction. The arrangement would probably involve rape in most cases. In the times of the Hebrew Scriptures, Israelite women who were sold into slavery by their fathers were slaves forever. Men, and women who became slaves by another route, were limited to serving as slaves for seven years. When a male slave left his owner, the marriage would normally be terminated; his wife would stay behind, with any children that she had. He could elect to stay a slave if he wished.

  313. elizabeth on May 31, 2006 at 5:40 am

    leaving you today with the love of Christ I hope and pray to you think before you speak study instead follow and make decisions with God in your heart

    bye for now
    Elizabeth

  314. Geoff B on May 31, 2006 at 6:02 am

    Tesseract and Sue (259 and 260), I salute your attempts to try to adjust your mortal understanding to the pronouncement of the prophets and apostles of our time. I personally had to struggle with a lot of things about the Church before I gained a complete testimony, so please don’t think I don’t understand what you’re going through. What helped me most when I was going through that struggle was to do a logical progression. In my case it was, 1)I know the feelings (joy, burning testimony) I have in Church and when I read the scriptures are true 2)those feelings only happen in the LDS church or when I am reading the BoM 3)there is no way Joseph Smith wrote the BoM (and convinced 11 witnesses to lie) without divine intervention 4)the prophetic assension must be true 5)I have feelings that GB Hinckley is a special leader, and I have a testimony that he is a prophet of God 6)the Church must be true and 7)the pronouncements of the prophets must be true. So, there is room for logic and reason in all of this. I hope with all my heart you are able to work your way through the issues in your own way, which is likely to be different from the way it happened to me.

    It was personally helpful for me when people pushed the process along and forced me to make my own logical progression. That was the purpose of my comment way up there in the 250s.

  315. hurricane on May 31, 2006 at 6:38 am

    283–JJ, here is how it matters. In one generation the human race would cease to exist if we all adopted a gay lifestyle.

    Sure, but this isn’t going to happen ever since the VAST majority of the population is heterosexual. You realize that, right?

  316. FightingBackTears on May 31, 2006 at 7:53 am

    Re 287 and –you miss my point.

    We do temple work for ax murderers and all the spouses or bimbos to whom they were married or with whom they have children.

    The church does not do temple work for any homosexual families and prevents them from being married in the first place.

    How do you know your poor friend with the accident will never marry? The Church doesn’t demand that she never marry. Conjoined twins have married (while still joined). Quadraplegics sometimes marry. Hideously ugly people get married. Thieves, robbers, murderers–all of lthese are allowed to marry according to God and have the promise of exaltation if they repent (or else what’s the atonement for, right?) Well, guess what!? The atonement is apparently not for gay people. becasue if they have the gall to fall in love and marry (someone of the same sex) they cannot be exalted.

    Don’t you GET it? I’m not talking about how “hard” life is for people. I’m talking about the Church’s trying to prevent gays from marrying. This only underscores the issue: gays who marry or who want to have families are shut out from the highest kingdom–just like unrepentant murderers.

    In this sense, the POS makes NO sense. (maybe that’s why they changed it to Plan of Happiness? For straights?)

  317. greenman on May 31, 2006 at 8:02 am

    So, Elizabeth, were you going to reference your citations?

  318. greenman on May 31, 2006 at 8:43 am

    FightingBackTears, the exaltation of which you speak is synonymous with the concept of eternal life, in other words, to know God and His Son. Gay people cannot be exalted because it is impossible for them to perpetuate life, as we know God does with our Heavenly Mother. Makes perfect sense to me. God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. If there can be no children, as Adam and Eve eventually realized, then the entire Plan of Salvation comes to naught.

    In that context, the term “homosexual family” which you use, seems almost like an oxymoron.

    We qualify ourselves for the blessings of Christ’s atonement through repentance. If a gay person unapologetically attempts to justify his/her homosexual actions, they will not be forgiven. The hope God gives us is that people can change. We can even become perfected. By confessing our sins and admitting our weaknesses, by humbling ourselves before God and pleading for His mercy with a broken heart and contrite spirit, we can ask Him to give us the strength to overcome the temptations that do so easily beset us. It is possible for God to entirely remove certain temptations from our path if we prayerfully endure to the end. He will remember our sins no more. We can change.

  319. Seth R. on May 31, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Yeah Elizabeth,

    Why do we only use the Bible to make a point?

  320. Blake on May 31, 2006 at 9:44 am

    MikeHo: I suspect that you are right that I would like you and your partner if we met. Since as I stated earlier I have a very close friend and a cousin who are in a gay relationship I hardly shun or avoid gays. In fact, I like them both. Here is what makes me sad. You stated that you went to a large gathering of Saints at the Newport Temple and: “We left without speaking to anyone individually.” You know what, that happens to me all of the time at Sacrament meeting. So I make a point of going to to meet others, talk to them, interact. You got an idea others were shunning you — may I respectfully suggest that your post in #302 contained a lot of mind-reading and judgment? I suggest that perhaps you isolated yourself and created a self-fulfilling prophecy. That said, your post reminds me that I have a responsibility to seek those out who feel marginalized and may fear being juged (perhaps at some level we all do).

    Further Mike, I don’t fear that homosexual conduct will become the universal rule of life — because the whole point is that it is literally impossible for that to happen. I don’t fear that happening, my point was simply that ethical rules have the feature of being universal or applied to all, and universalizing gay marriage couldn’t be a universal rule of ethical will. Given a Kantian perpsective of ethics (which I find very attractive) gay marriage is unethical. As I stated earlier, the argument, “I am doing it so it must be acceptable to God” isn’t a very good argument.

    Lloyd: Good attempt to avoid the issue and focus on something beside the point. Single brothers and sisters are counselled to not have sexual relations even if they never marry. So suggesting that this fact is different for gays because at least heteros have the logical possibility of marrying is beside the point. The standard is the same for all. God has asked all those who are not married to keep their pants on vis a vis their borther or sister. So that brings us back to the real issue of this post — what is marriage? I suggest that its purpose is to seal couples together to create families together. However we want to parse it, gays have been selected by nature (God) to be unable to create families. So I conclude that God has asked a particularly difficult (not impossible) thing of gays — live a celibate life the same way people who are heterosexual but never marry do. That isn’t a message, however, to fade into the back-ground, allow yourself to be marginalized or ignored. Just as wth hetero-sexual brothers and sisters, please associate with those you assume are judging you. If those of us who are not gay fail to accept, love and support you, then teach us and be friends. But don’t demand that we must give up any notion that sexual conduct cannot be sinful because it arises from natural human passions and urges. Don’t argue that sexual conduct must be acceptable and become the norm because you are doing it.

    Finally, Lloyd, I suspect that the reason the Book of Mormon doesn’t address gay relationships is that it was never considered that in a million years someone would suggest that it was consonant with God’s laws that gay relationships should be legalized.

  321. Blake on May 31, 2006 at 10:36 am

    Re: 287 FBT: “We do temple work for ax murderers and all the spouses or bimbos to whom they were married or with whom they have children.” Why bimbos? Do you feel that way about all female spouses?

    Re: 286 FBT: “And SO many of them have proven that they are fine, upstanding, loving, caring folks who can parent the pants off some of these deadbeat heteros.” All gays are good and heteros are deadbeats?

    *288 Lloud: “Stupid as this sounds, there are plenty of Mormons I know that would allow their brains to be eaten if such occured.” There are plenty of stupid Mormons, all gays are bright?

    I’m getting the feeling that some of you gays feel superior to those poor Neanderthal heteros that evolution undoubtedly just left behind and slated for extinction even tho they reproduce in higher numbers.

  322. Loyd on June 1, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    Good attempt to avoid the issue and focus on something beside the point. Single brothers and sisters are counselled to not have sexual relations even if they never marry. So suggesting that this fact is different for gays because at least heteros have the logical possibility of marrying is beside the point. The standard is the same for all. . . . So I conclude that God has asked a particularly difficult (not impossible) thing of gays — live a celibate life the same way people who are heterosexual but never marry do.

    As I pointed out, but you fail to recognize, heterosexual members are allowed (and encouraged) to date, to have certain levels of physicality, etc before/outside of marriage. Homosexual members are not allowed this. They are not asked to hold to the same standards.

    gays have been selected by nature (God) …

    nature?

    …to be unable to create families.

    last i checked, most homosexuals have the proper anatomy to produce children.

    Finally, Lloyd, I suspect that the reason the Book of Mormon doesn’t address gay relationships is that it was never considered that in a million years someone would suggest that it was consonant with God’s laws that gay relationships should be legalized.

    So after all this appeal to how much more knowledge God’s prophets have, we are now going to appeal to their ignorance.

    *288 Lloud: “Stupid as this sounds, there are plenty of Mormons I know that would allow their brains to be eaten if such occured.� There are plenty of stupid Mormons, all gays are bright?

    Nice. Notice how I never said anything, nor could you show that I implied that homosexuals were smarter than heterosexuals or Mormons or whatever. Sheesh.

    you gays

    I’m straight.

  323. Brad Kramer on June 1, 2006 at 4:26 pm

    Blake,

    A reason why the government should enact measures supporting same sex unions would be if democratic majorities favored it or legitimate political processes brought it about. The notion that it should be enacted judicially, I think, is suspect on both theoretical (though I’m uncomfortable criticizing the judicial “activism” that desegregated schools, decriminalized interracial marriage, etc–against the wishes of MANY in the Church and most religious conservatives in general) as well as practical grounds (gay rights activists shouldn’t push for court rulings because it’s likely to increase backlash and hostility, though I guess this also applies to the above cited rulings). Are you really saying that NOT passing this or a similar amendment in the equivalent of the government actively supporting and sanctioning gay relationships? If this were a debate about opposing an amendment calling for recognition of gay marriage on a national level, then your #1 would be more appropriate. If you really want society to take a closer look at these questions and discard the red herrings that tend to detract from serious discussion, then why support a federal amendment that would prevent that process?

    Just because it cannot be empirically proven that all politicians who support this amendment are engaging in political grandstanding does not mean that any sentient person here can be expected to believe that you believe that that’s not, by and large, what’s going on here (much apologies for that horrifically awkward wording!!!). Or is it just a coincidence that two years ago debate over a marriage amendment died alongside John Kerry’s political career and is now, inexplicably and in spite of the fact that no political forecasters (that I’ve seen) think it has a chance at succeeding, in an election year where republicans are in trouble and want to detract attention from their political failings, being resurrected? I’m not saying that is a reason to oppose or support it, but let’s call a spade a spade.

    Nowhere in this week’s statement or in the Proclamation is the assertion explicitly made that government sanctioning of forms of marriage not sanctioned by God will weaken the family as the fundamental unit of society. I’ve read compelling arguments to that effect from the Weekly Standard and the Heritage Foundation, but those arguments would apply equally to plural marriage–the practitioners of which I’ve seen you rigorously and courageously defend elsewhere. The proclamation states the kind of marriage God sanctions, that the family is central to a healthy society, and that church members, political leaders, citizens, etc should support policies that will strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society. Nowhere does it state that acknowledgment or even support by the State of families that don’t conform to the divine ideal–including but not limited to opposing an amendment to the Federal Constitution defining marriage the way God does–will weaken the family as a fundamental unit of society. Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I tend to think that the wording for these kinds of things is pretty meticulously and thoroughly worked out. And, as one who sustains the men who crafted the language as prophets, seers, and revelators, I take the statements literally and at face value.

    I think you’re right about America suffering the fate of the Nephites. But I think your critics are right about the cause having little to do with homosexuality per se. Even if rampant homosexuality is a problem (which I think most here will agree it is on at least some level), it is really just a symptom of an even more pervasive philosophy that says that all is permitted, there is no right or wrong, only success and failure, that markets are the only real arbiter, that we are entitled to live a lavish and decadent lifestyle at the expense of so much of the rest of the world, that our way of life is blessed, that we are favored of God and therefore can do no wrong, and that we have the right, nay DUTY, to protect our right to engage in our way of life with violence. You know as well as I that blaming S & G’s destruction on homosexuality is a construct that doesn’t even come close to dating back to the composition of the actual texts of Tanakh. And there is not even an allusion to homosexuality in the Flood story (although God does seem to be bothered a bit by pervasive violence in the world).

    I’m not saying I don’t think homosexuality is wrong. But I echo the sentiment expressed here several times that it is an issue probably not worthy of the obsessive attention we are paying it. If Satan can use a truth (homosexuality is wrong) to obscure an even greater truth (the unbridled acquisitiveness, materialism, self-righteousness, and militancy that have infected our society in a worse way than homosexuality ever could are wrong) I think that would be a strategy he would run with. And I think the BoM (although I’d argue that there is one passage that does, in fact, allude to homosexuality) makes pretty clear that God is much more worried about materialism and militarism, at least in terms of the general direction society is headed, than he is about whether gays want to adopt children or file joint tax returns. I might also add that obsessing about other people’s sins the way that the Christian Right does and Mormons tend to (especially regarding the threat of homosexuality) is the polar opposite of repentance. I’d rather err on the side of cavorting with whores, tax collectors, and sinners than the side of pharisaic self-justifying, self-righteousness.

    (BTW, I’m not saying you’re a Pharisee. I have all the respect in the world for you, think you’re an outstanding scholar, and you seem like a genuinely good guy. The “self-righteous, pharisaic” rhetoric was directed more at the Fallwells, Robertsons, and Greenmen of the world).

  324. Blake on June 1, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    Brad: Good comments. However, the problem is that the judicial usurpation of the democratic process has stifled discussion of the serious issues and in fact insured that they cannot occur in a democratic process. Right now, gays are demanding that the right to marry be extended to them. However, marriage is an affirmative action of the State to protect certain types of interests and relationships. The question that must be asked, that never is, is this critical question: Does the state have an interest in promoting gay relationships?. My view is that it has an interest, but that interest is not to grant rights of marriage to gays. I view marriage as a essentially religious act — one that started with religion and was later taken over by the State.

    The Amendment deals with a different issue: does the Government have an interest in protecting the male/female relationship as definitive of marriage? I’m torn on this issue because I don’t believe that the government has any business being involved with marriage given its essentially religious nature. However, if the government is going to get involved, then I believe it is fairly clear that there is a great interest in fostering and maintaining heterosexual relationships and families for the interests of the children and for the continuing viability of the social order.

    I am open to civil unions for gays. However, I am not yet convinced because: (1) it is fairly clear that gays and lesbians can create for themselves through contracts under existing civil law virutally all of the rights and protections they would have under civil unions — so they are unnecessary. However, (1) may not be fully accurate because an employer need not extend benefits to gay partners and we may not be able to coerce benefits thru the government given present laws. However, I’m not sure that I want benefits to be extended to gays and lesbians because: (a) such benefits are very expensive and drive up the cost for employers; (b) it is impossible to police any SS relationship if such benefits are given and we will end up extending benefits to merely hetero room-mates at even greater cost — and I don’t believe anyone has the gall to suggest that I ought to pay benefits as an employer for room-mates (except Rocky Anderson). (2) Granting civil unions does nothing more than granting rights that gays already have and so the real benefit from them is the government sanction and endorsement of gay relationships — and I just don’t see it as the government’s job to endorse gay relationships (I lean somewhat libertarian when it comes to government).

    However, I remain open to civil unions because perhaps the State does have an interest in a ceremony (and that is all that it is really) that stabilizes gay relationships and reduces the rampant promiscuity that now exists in such relationships (tho in a lesser degree in lesbian relationships which tend to be more stable and less promiscuous). The cost of civil unions is high, however, because we will all pay more for health insurance and the health insurance benefits are already on the brink of collapse because of the extremely heaven burden thy impose on all Americans.

    What has been ignored in all responses is that there is a genuine scenario where only a Federal Constitutional Amendment could prevent a judicial coercion of gay marriage foisted on all states (I find that posts tend to have responses to weak points and the really compelling points tend to be forgotten). It is very possible that a federal court could rule that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution could be read to require all States to recognize any gay marriage that is valid in another state because the issue is governed not by state law, but by the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Supremacy Clause. Thus, five judges in Massachusetts could decide the issue for the entire country without any discussion of the issues at all and without any democratic process. I suspect that this is the real concern driving consideration of the Amendment, notwithstanding political grandstanding that it is merely a ploy that will energize the conservative base. In fact, I beleive those five judges foisted this entire problem on the country in their remarkable arrogance.

    I agree that the Christian Right is no friend to Mormons. It has been very enlightening to see that Southern Born-agains would prefer an atheist, a Jew, or an agnostic to a Mormon and that most would not vote for a Mormon for President under any circumstances. Certainly we can feel the sheer prejudice and bigotry — and to the extent anything we do perpetuates that kind of bigotry against gays must be avoided and shunned.

    Finally, I believe that because marriage is essentially religious, that marriage ought to be treated as something that the government cannot sanction — so I favor civil unions for heteros as well who are not married in a religious ceremony. I favor recognizing polygamist marriages between consenting adults of adequate age for all of the reasons stated here.

    Lloud: You said: “Stupid as this sounds, there are plenty of Mormons …” Yeahmmm Lloyd, it certainly looks like you’re calling Mormons stupid to me. Otherwise why would it sound stupid to you? Sorry, but the mere fact that gays are not encouraged to hold hands in Church doesn’t entail that the standard of no intimate sexual relations outside of marriage is different for heteros. And you are right that gays have the proper anatomy to create children; it’s the use of the equipement that’s in question.

  325. -L- on June 1, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    #263, 267
    Silus Grok: I consider Sterling’s quoting a “charlatan” not to be illogical but rather inaccurate as the data was merely quoted by Nicolosi and originated in a paper much less controversial. However, fallaciously attacking Nicolosi’s character rather than the data presented, yes, that is illogical.

    The exact numbers on fidelity when comparing gays to straights is debatable, but the trend is not. It is highly relevant to the discussion of legalized gay marriage. However, it is hopefully the case that gay marriage would increase fidelity among gays, not merely that it would cause divorce to skyrocket.

  326. Mark Butler on June 1, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    One way to partly remedy this problem would be for the government to remove the heavy incentive for employers to provide health care in the first place – leveling the playing field as it were. Then we could compensate as necessary by raising the per-child deduction.

    The laws regarding hospital visitation (HIPAA in particular) are ridiculous as presently implemented – why not go back to a previous policy of common sense unless a person say pre-registers for CIA class privacy. I want my friends to come visit me in the hospital, not be turned away at the door. Recently in Utah the police could not even arrest a person in a hospital because the staff cited privacy laws. That is stunningly insane.

  327. MikeInWeHo on June 1, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    RE: 298 and 304. Sorry if I flamed you back there, Loyd. Upon further thought, I realize I was wrong to assert that more liberal Mormons are in denial about the true status quo in the Church. Only an inactive like me could make that mistake. I’m sure anybody who’s out there in the chapel Sunday after Sunday is QUITE aware of where the Church and the majority of the members stand on gay rights and other social issues. That’s got to cause some serious cognitive dissonance at times.

    No, haven’t read In Quiet Desparation. I see that Amazon links it to a book called Peculiar People: Mormons and Same-Sex Orientation. Would be worth checking out both, I suppose.

    re: 325 Of course it’s a different standard that goes beyond the LoC, Blake. Straights can hold hands, gays can’t. How much clearer could that possibly be?

  328. Brad Kramer on June 1, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Blake,
    I think you and I are actually in almost perfect agreement. I definitely agree that marriage should be an exclusively religious institution and I favor civil unions for heteros. I served my mission in Russia and they use completely different, unrelated verbs to describe civil marriages (zhenit’sya) and marriages performed in the Russian Orthodox Church (venchat’sya). The difference is not just semantic either but carries strong connotations and is probably equivalent to the difference between saying “we were unionized [by a justice of the peace] last year” and “we were married [in a church, temple].” (Or, for a Mormon, between “married” and “sealed”).

    Overall, I believe that, if the state is going to involve itself in regulating the institution of marriage, it does have an abiding interest in promoting a definition and understanding of that institution that reinforces its familial and procreating functions. Marriage should be viewed as an institution for creating and rearing families rather than one that merely recognizes the love and commitment of two consenting individuals. I think that gay marriage (at least the way it is being discussed and promoted today) is a symptom, rather than a cause, of the perceptual shift from the former to the latter. I think that, rather than assuming a defensive posture and adopting exclusionary policies, it would be more productive to take affirmative steps to effect a shift back to a more family-centered definition and public perception. This could involve any number of policies and deserves robust debate as to which policies would best serve that end. SSM marriage advocates should not be talking about rights or entitlements or even love and commitment between partners; they should be making the case that, because marriage is a family institution, committed gay couples make fit, loving, nurturing, wonderful parents and that society has an interest in granting such couples access to the institution, not because their mutual love entitles them to it, but because society has an interest in inducing (encouraging) the greatest number of qualified potential parents possible into assuming that role. I think that few if any here would argue that ss attraction in itself disqualifies an individual from being a good parent, and I myself am skeptical (though, I admit, based only on anecdotal evidence with people I personally no) that such a person would be a better parent trying to supress their sexual tendencies in a hetero relationship than in a committed, loving ss relationship under the binding and symbolic covenant/contract of marriage or union.

    My own opinion, in support of gay unions, derives from my sense (again, based on anecdotal evidence from relevant personal experience) that children are better off being raised by committed gay couples than they are by the State.

  329. Blake on June 1, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    MikeHo: Why can’t gays hold hands?

  330. Loyd on June 1, 2006 at 6:30 pm

    “Stupid as this sounds, there are plenty of Mormons …� Yeahmmm Lloyd, it certainly looks like you’re calling Mormons stupid to me.

    Several problems with your claims here. First of all, *stupid* is describing how *this* may *sound* or seem – the act of President Hinckly asking to eat a member’s brain (I believe you used the term ‘rediculous’). Perhaps you have already forgotten the context of all of this and are just straining at gnats to try to make an arguement. I already claimed that it was a silly hypothetical. Second, you don’t seem to know the difference between *plenty* and *all*. They are not equivocable. *Plenty* and *most* aren’t even equivocable. Plenty just means that there is an ample amount to make such a claim. You may disagree with that, but from my experience, I believe that there are plenty of Mormons who would unquestionably allow President Hinckley to eat their brains if they were asked by him. Are there stupid Mormons? Yes. Are there plenty of stupid Mormons? Yes. Was I saying Mormons are stupid? Only in your imagination. I am Mormon, why would I say that?

    Sorry, but the mere fact that gays are not encouraged to hold hands in Church doesn’t entail that the standard of no intimate sexual relations outside of marriage is different for heteros.

    With so many qualifications (intimate sexual relations outside of marriage) I’ll agree. However, you can’t go using that as an arguement against me when you were claiming that they are asked to “live a celibate life the same way people who are heterosexual but never marry do.

    Blake, it seems like you envision all Mormons to be straight, gay-intolerant, right-wing conservatives, as yourself. Thus, anyone who is not is either gay and/or non-Mormon. Am I wrong?

  331. Blake on June 1, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Lloud: The notion that I am a gay-intolerant, right wing conservative is so far off I broke out loud in laughter. Thanks for the laugh. Yes, you are wrong and in violation of rules of posting on this site as well. I am certainly not right wing. I love gay people (I have several close gay and lesbian friends) and I am far from conservative. I am a libertarian leaning independent who just doesn’t like bad arguments.

  332. greenfrog on June 1, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    Blake asked: Why can’t gays hold hands?

    Rather than side track the discussion, let me propose an experiment to you: find a cooperative (male) friend, and arrange to visit a sacrament meeting where neither of you is known by others in the congregation. Go in holding hands. Sit down closely to one another. Put your arm around your friend while listening to the sermons.

    Observe the responses you get and report back here on the results.

  333. Blake on June 1, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    Greefrog: Since I really don’t give a fig what others think, I wouldn’t care what they thought. The only truly free person is a person who is not controlled by the opinions of others but by an internal compass of heart-based integrity.

  334. Loyd on June 1, 2006 at 6:55 pm

    Blake, why do you call me Lloud? Is my name not clear, do you have trouble typing, or is it something else. You’ve done it on several occasions.

    I knew there was a big change that I was completely off on my conjecture. I’m just a bit bothered by your quick and ignorant accusations of assuming that I’m gay and calling Mormons stupid.

  335. DavidH on June 1, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    Re: holding hands

    BYU Code of Conduct: “Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code.”

    *************

    “It is very possible that a federal court could rule that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution could be read to require all States to recognize any gay marriage that is valid in another state because the issue is governed not by state law, but by the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Supremacy Clause.”

    I doubt such a decision (from the 9th Circuit in all probability) would be upheld by the Supremes. But more importantly, this could be addressed by amending the Constitution (before or after the decision) to make explicit that the definition of marriage is the function of state legislatures, and that Full Faith and Credit does not require recognition of same sex marriages of another state (an amendment along the lines of Defence of Marriage Act). I would support such an amendment (and, as stated before, I believe support for such amendment in preference to the one being voted on next week is within the parameters of the First Presidency statements).

  336. MikeInWeHo on June 1, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    re: 333 Wow, I agree with greenfrog. The world is going to spin off its axis if this continues. Love your suggestion. You’re reinforcing the observation about Church culture that I made in the second half of post 295. However, I hear that there are certain wards in the big cities which may be different. Planning to check that out myself soon (solo, no hand holding involved…well maybe emotional hand holding) and maybe I will blog about it.

  337. aletheia on June 1, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    Blake,

    “It doesn’t matter what other people think. Just do what’s in your heart. Do what you know is right”. These are the sort of facile statements that you tell disgruntled children or depressed adolescents. I think they’re smalll comfort even to them. Greenfrog proposed a nice, executable experiment that would allow anyone who cared to to experience in the flesh the not-so-friendly attitudes towards gays that are out there. You don’t seem to want to take him up on it. Fine. But it’s not a question of personal integrity. Those who suffer because of others aren’t appealing to their personal integrity but to their longsuffering to get them through.

    Besides, heartward integrity of principle – something, again, in another realm – does depend on others and their opinions. This is why ethics is taught and religious traditions are transmitted from one generation to another. You’re not borne with it.

  338. Kaimi Wenger on June 1, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    Just a quick response to the side issue — I don’t think that holding hands (gay or straight) is a violation of the law of chastity, or of any other church commandment.

    (We’ve discussed this before, on blog. However, since the comments to that thread are closed (because of the comment spam problem) this is as good a place as any to discuss it.)

  339. greenfrog on June 1, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    MikeInWeHo — just a note to remind that I’m greenfrog — not greenman.

  340. MikeInWeHo on June 2, 2006 at 12:34 am

    re: 339 Well, as the BYU honor code quote indicates apparently it is a violation, at least at the premier Church educational institution.

    re: 340 Sorry for the error, greenfrog. I’m trying hard not to insult anybody, even though some of these comments really get me riled up.

  341. Jim F. on June 2, 2006 at 12:38 am

    MikeInWeHo: Thank goodness not everything that is true of BYU is true of the Church.

  342. Kaimi Wenger on June 2, 2006 at 12:41 am

    Mike,

    The BYU Honor Code is not the commandments, not by a long stretch. The Honor Code prohibits beard-wearing; long sideburns; and “being present where alcohol is being consumed by others.” It prohibits the playing of loud music, and requires that students notify their landlord of any guests.

    The commandments are the commandments; the BYU Honor Code is a creature of administrators with too much time on their hands. The two are not equivalent. . . .

  343. Kaimi Wenger on June 2, 2006 at 12:42 am

    Ahh, Jim beat me to the point, and said it more clearly anyway.

  344. It's Not Me on June 2, 2006 at 1:25 am

    I thought the BYU honor code was a creature of the students, not administrators? I only attended grad school there and was married, so I didn’t really feel like I had to deal with the honor code.

  345. MikeInWeHo on June 2, 2006 at 1:58 am

    OK, I stand corrected about BYU’s honor code. But please refer back to post #333.

  346. Aaron Brown on June 2, 2006 at 2:23 am

    “Rather than side track the discussion, let me propose an experiment to you: find a cooperative (male) friend, and arrange to visit a sacrament meeting where neither of you is known by others in the congregation. Go in holding hands. Sit down closely to one another. Put your arm around your friend while listening to the sermons.”

    Steve Evans and I almost tried something like this, albeit less overtly, back when we were both planning our respective moves to Seattle. We visited a certain Seattle ward, and we considered posing as an ambiguously gay couple as we introduced ourselves in Priesthood. Alas, I chickened out at the last minute. But maybe it’s a good thing, since I ended up moving into that ward, and Steve is about to move in too ….

    Aaron B

  347. John T. on June 2, 2006 at 2:58 am

    Since I live in Seattle now, I could join you….. Perhaps we could get the Church to issue a statement concerning same-sex polygamous marriage? :)

  348. FightingBackTears on June 2, 2006 at 7:02 am

    re: Holding hands–I find this very interesting. Affection between single straights and single gays, including holding hands, kissing, etc., is completely okay with the church and people who so engage (gay/gay; straight/straight) are within the bounds of the law of chastity.

    I think the New Era and Ensign should show pictures of loving, affectionate gay couples who arwe temple-worthy (maybe holding hands on the way to the temple?). The Church magazines obviously don’t show pictures of people engaged in full sexual actitivy, so they’d be doing nothing they don’t already do except affirming that while gays (according to the Church) can’t/don’t/shouldn’t get married, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with encouraging them to be affectionate.

  349. elizabeth on June 2, 2006 at 7:06 am

    there is something bugging me.
    You all live in the USA and I live in Holland Europe.
    Both are democratic countries.

    the thing that is bugging me is this:
    is a church or a goverment allowed to decided for you how you want to live together in what form of juristicially unity.
    Is a church or goverment allowed to decided what I do in my bedroom with whom and how were and why?

    isn’t called theocracy when the church want’s to rule
    and isn’t it called Tyranny when a goverment want’s to rule.

    What happens to a democracy when everything is stipulated in rules and regulations .

    I strongly feel that what I do in my bedroom is between me God and my partner ( if I have one).

    And since recently I also feel that no church or goverment is allowed to tell in what form of unity I want to live.

    Being different doesn’t say anything about your faith in God and in Jesus.
    I still miss that part in this whole discussion

    Elizabeth

  350. elizabeth on June 2, 2006 at 7:08 am

    know how hard it is to be single/divorced and hetero’s holding hands during sacrament how they are snuggled up and some even kiss right in front of you face and that of your child.

    I want a bann on all adults holding hands etc.
    Either we all do it together or we stopp this !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Elizabeth

  351. annegb on June 2, 2006 at 10:57 am

    #259 Your mom could have not told anyone how she voted. It’s nobody’s business. I would just laugh if anybody asked and tell them this is America!

    I think passive-aggressive is a highly intelligent choice in many cases. Don’t fight, just do what you want, and look innocent.

  352. RE on June 2, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Re: Elizabeth #351…LOL, good one. :-)

    When I was teaching a class at BYU many years ago, I gave an assignment where the students had to violate some clear social norm (tho not any laws or explicit rules) and then write about the reactions they got. The most interesting one I got was from two roommates (male RMs) who were both in my class, and both in the same BYU ward. They had been in that ward all year, so most people knew them, and thought of them as heterosexual (which I believe they were, but that\’s neither here nor there). But for their experiment, they went to church one Sunday and held hands, scratched each other\’s backs, put their arms around each other, etc. (and did it without camping it up – being as \’normal\’ as possible while violating norms was one of the rules of the assignment). Now, this is behavior that many heterosexual couples (and, interestingly, non-homosexual women) engage in with each other all the time, including at church. But these guys were really horrified at the reactions they got, and were worried about long-term effects they may have had on themselves in that ward. They were stared at universally, they got all sorts of comments, and someone allerted the bishop, who approached them to find out what was going on. In other words, it caused quite a stir. I asked them what they thought would have happened if they were new to that ward, and didn\’t already have \’idiosyncracy credits\’ stored up there. They were sure the stares and the bishop\’s being allerted would have still happened, but that the direct comments/questioning of what they were doing, would not have.

    At any rate, it was clear that perfectly acceptable \’chaste\’ heterosexual (and heterosexual women-with-women) behaviors in church, were totally not acceptable by two men. BYU Honor Code rules aside, I think this would be true in almost any lds chapel on the planet. Whether you think gays should marry or not, can you imagine being told that you couldn\’t legitimately (ie, not sinfully) have any expression of physical affection your entire life? Even though adults don\’t die from \’failure to thrive\’ as infants do, when they receive no physical affection/caretaking, I believe part of your soul dies year by year, when you are physically isolated but remain integrated in society (ie, not cloistered in some monastic order). It seems insane to ask people to live like this. It seems heartless and needlessly cruel. And if you think it\’s doable long-term, it\’s only because you haven\’t.

  353. Tesseract on June 2, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    My mother didn’t really have a choice – she did not bring up how she voted. It was included in her interview questions. I guess she could have lied and said she would vote yes and be rebaptized, but I think all would agree that this would be wrong. My mom is a very good person – the most Christ-like person I know, full of compassion for all people. Her good friend who was mormon and gay committed suicide on the grounds of the church. He was frustrated by the efforts by the LDS Church to pass Proposition 22, and he felt that he could not reconcile his religion and his homosexuality. He had remained celibate. He had also shared some very personal letters with her about his struggle. Obviously, his death affected her very much.

    I am curious of others opinions on the matter. Should my mom have been asked this questions? Do you think she should have been allowed to be rebaptized? She believed in the Church, but differed on this political issue.

    Also, in April there were some pro-gay demonstrations at BYU led by a BYU student. Approximately 200 demonstrators were there. “Before being arrested, the demonstrators staged a “die-in” in memory of 24 gay Mormons who have committed suicide since 1965. The “die-in” lasted more than an hour. Each participant waited while the biography of a gay Mormon who had committed suicide was read. The demonstrators then walked to a field carrying a lily and collapsed on the grass.” The marchers were arrested. BYU students were put on probation.

    Should these protesters have been arrested? Should BYU students have been put on probation? D&C 134 strongly supports the freedom of conscience – even the announcement on Sunday stressed the importance of freedom of conscience. Below is a statement by the First Presidency from the 50’s:

    “The Church, while reserving the right to advocate principles of good governement underlying equity, justice, and liberty, the political integrity of officials, and the active participation of its members, and the fulfillment of their obligations in civic affairs, exercises no constraint on the freedom of individuals to make their own choices and affiliations…Any man who makes representation to the contrary does so without authority and justification in fact [Richards, p 878].�

    I am interested in anyones opinion on the matter.

  354. RE on June 2, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    It’s clear to me that your mother’s political views should have nothing whatever to do with her standing with the church. The fact that her voting behavior/intention was even asked was a violation, let alone whatever answer she may have offered. She was wronged, period.

  355. Mark Hanzel on June 2, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    The church is talking out of both sides of its collective mouth on this issue. Consider the arguments it made against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. The following is from the March, 1980 Ensign:

    Recognized constitutional authorities state that the Equal Rights Amendment would represent a serious eroding of the powers of states and would result in a massive transfer of legislative power dealing with domestic relations from the states to the federal level. This transfer would greatly disrupt the division of powers central to our constitutional system. Domestic relations laws are now passed, interpreted, and enforced primarily at local and state levels. This permits local flexibility for differing cultures, ideals, and customs.

    The article goes on to say:

    Therefore, maintaining the essential separation and division of powers provided for by the divinely inspired Constitution is a moral issue for Latter-day Saints.

    Dallin Oaks reaffirmed this position in another Ensign article from February of 1992:

    The particular powers that are reserved to the states are part of the inspiration. For example, the power to make laws on personal relationships is reserved to the states. Thus, laws of marriage and family rights and duties are state laws. This would have been changed by the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.). When the First Presidency opposed the E.R.A., they cited the way it would have changed various legal rules having to do with the family, a result they characterized as “a moral rather than a legal issue.� 12 I would add my belief that the most fundamental legal and political objection to the proposed E.R.A. was that it would effect a significant reallocation of law-making power from the states to the federal government.

    Let’s review the key points:Laws governing personal relationships are state laws, which is a good thing.The division of powers between the Federal government and the states is critical to the way our government operates and is part of what is divinely inspired about the Constitution.Taking away the states’ right to determine laws about personal relationships would be wrong, as would any significant reallocation of power from the states to the Federal government.Making sure that this does not happen is a moral issue for Latter-day Saints.It’s no wonder the church’s message has changed so much over its history. It can’t even stay consistent within my relatively short lifetime.

  356. greenfrog on June 2, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    …can you imagine being told that you couldn’t legitimately (ie, not sinfully) have any expression of physical affection your entire life? Even though adults don’t die from ’failure to thrive’ as infants do, when they receive no physical affection/caretaking, I believe part of your soul dies year by year, when you are physically isolated but remain integrated in society (ie, not cloistered in some monastic order). It seems insane to ask people to live like this. It seems heartless and needlessly cruel. And if you think it’s doable long-term, it’s only because you haven’t.

  357. DavidH on June 2, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Tesseract,

    I would be surprised if higher authorities in the Church, on appeal, would approve a decision to refuse permission for a rebaptism solely on the basis of her vote. (That is a polite way of saying that I do not believe the decision was correct.)

    Regarding BYU’s probationary treatment of those arrested for their protest, it actually seemed restrained to me, given the treatment of the good brother who was, at least, pressured to depart from the University a few years ago for being arrested at a sit in, in protest of the invasion of Iraq.

  358. John T. on June 2, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    I wonder why so few of you have questioned the timing of this announcement. The Church’s position on marriage is clear; legitimate questions can and have been raised concerning the ramifications of gay marriage sanctioned on a state by state basis, yet few of you want to inspect the political motivations behind this effort. Based on my knowledge of the RNC — Mehlman, Rove et.al., the political tactic of raising the amendment now is the most interesting aspect of the issue. That the Church would issue a statemtent urging “urgent” action deserves closer attention. Contrasted with the methodical way in which the ERA amendment campaign was conducted, this amendment proposal has been raised to promote partisan loyalties to the Republican party. How do you feel about the Church participating in such a partisan ploy? can one deduce that the Church GA’s have some interest in promoting current Republican political aspirations, ensuring that one or both houses of Congress do not change leadership? does the Church have an interest in an Executive branch with extraordinarily strong power and reach? These are the questions that should be asked before dutifully obeying a simple proclamation. Perhaps an affirmative case can be made for these questions. I, honestly, would like to hear that case.

  359. Jim Cobabe on June 2, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    I would observe that although it might be so inferred from comments here, I would suppose that neither BYU nor the church has any independent civil authority to arrest protesters, or to so act in any other matters under the jurisdiction of civil laws. Offenders would be arrested by law enforcement officers, and answerable for legal violations directly to officers of the court, not BYU staff or officials.

  360. Brad Kramer on June 2, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    But isn’t it BYU that asks(ed) for them to be arrested for trespassing?

  361. greenman on June 2, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Brad Kramer, if I didn’t know who was calling me self-righteous and pharisaic, I might be offended. Fortunately, I can look back on the classes we had together at the U and remember that you had an uncanny ability to make silly comments. I didn’t take you seriously then and I don’t think Perica did, either. Maybe I just don’t like you because you went on a mission to Russia and I was a missionary in Poland. Those two countries have never been able to reconcile their differences. With that hint, have you guessed who I am yet?

    Anyways, pick a side. You try to marginalize the ill-effects of homosexuality but then, after all your words, state that it is wrong. In your words, let’s call a spade a spade. That’s all I’ve been doing, though maybe in a slightly insensitive manner.

    Just out of curiosity, what BoM passage are you referring to that alludes to homosexuality?

  362. greenman on June 2, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    Brad Kramer, if I didn’t know who was calling me self-righteous and pharisaic, I might be offended. Fortunately, I can look back on the classes we had together at the U and remember that you had an uncanny ability to make silly comments. I didn’t take you seriously then and I don’t think Perica did, either. Maybe it’s impossible for us to ever agree because you went on a mission to Russia and I was a missionary in Poland. Those two countries have never been able to reconcile their differences. With those hints, have you guessed who I am yet?

    Anyways, pick a side. You try to marginalize the ill-effects of homosexuality but then, after all your words, state that it is wrong. In your words, let’s call a spade a spade. That’s all I’ve been doing, though maybe in a slightly insensitive manner.

    Just out of curiosity, what BoM passage are you referring to that alludes to homosexuality?

  363. greenman on June 2, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    Sorry about the double, and now triple post. The second one is a little less insensitive, though.

  364. Brad Kramer on June 2, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Sorry, Greenman, don’t remember you. (Though Vic did take me seriously enough to give me an A — in three separate classes — and write me a very helpful letter of recommendation for grad school). I am sorry if you found my comments silly or if I wasted your time.

    For the record, two people can agree that a certain behavior is morally wrong and disagree of the ill-effects said behavior has on society. I would apologize for lumping you in with Falwell and Robertson, but evidently we all have to choose sides and you’ve chosen yours.

    The BoM passage is Alma 30:18. It is by no means a straightfroward reference, though I think there is probably an allusion to it (Hugh Nibley originally pointed out this possibility as an interpretation of the language in this verse).

  365. FightingBackTears on June 2, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    For Blake re 322–PLEASE don’t represent my remarks (or maybe you didn’t understand my basic points).

    1. Perhaps the word “bimbo” is much more offensive to you than the idea that gays are being unfairly treated. Sad. In any case–I said “wives or bimbos” (two different concepts, not the same people. I would have written “…wives, or bimbos” had I meant that those two words are synonymous. Oh, the power of a comma.

    2. Perhaps I should have said that any old ax murderer could be sealed to any woman (married or not) with whom he had children in the next life. Notice I did NOT ever say that a murderer has a free pass to the highest level of the CK. I said a murder’s temple work could be done for him. If he takes advantage of the Atonement, he can be forgiven and sealed to all the women to whom he was married and/or with whom he had children. A gay person–married or not–will NEVER have that opportunity. So a straight married murderer who repents has more chances at eternal life than a gay person who marries another gay person on earth.

    GET IT NOW???

    3. I am a straight married woman.

  366. Brad Kramer on June 2, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    Greenman,

    BTW When did you serve in Poland? By brother was there from 2000 to 2002.

  367. greenman on June 2, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    Lumping me together with Falwell and Robertson. Ouch. That’s a little below the belt but hey, I can take it. You might even have a good point in saying that. Most Mormons, as religious conservative Republicans, which might describe me sans the republican part, would probably get lumped together with them.

    I realize that my previous posts are probably lacking in tact, but why mince words? The first presidency didn’t really mince words with their statement. They’re interested in promoting marriage and families. With that said, it seems pretty obvious that homosexual relationships don’t build up the fundamental unit of society.

    Yes, I know your brother. Tell him that the former Elder (Brad) Powelson says hi. Now you might remember me since we were the only two students in Vic’s Soviet history class with that name. Gee, this is odd considering I tried to insult you earlier.

    By the way, me and my pharisaic buddies want to know if you’ve been cahorting with whores and tax collectors.

  368. Brad Kramer on June 2, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    If I remember correctly, you’re the one with the really cool curly hair, right? I think I may have had another class with you. I’ll mention you to my bro.

    I don’t think I’ve exactly taken a “the-brethren-don’t-know-what-they’re-talking-about-why-bother-paying-attention-to-them” tone in any of my posts. If you take issue with any of the specific points I made in any of my posts, I’d love to engage in a spirited debate. I’ve seen several libertarians (you know, conservatives but not necessarily republicans) argue that widening access to the institution of marriage will only strengthen it for everybody — including traditional (man/woman) families. I certainly don’t take the writings of David Brooks or the CATO Institute as gospel; I’m just saying I don’t think it’s as simple, cut-and-dry as you seem to be making it out to be. This hardly sums up my position on the subject, though I think if you read my posts here, you’ll get a pretty good idea my feelings on the subject.

    For the record, I was not annoyed by any of your comments in Vic’s class, nor did I find them too silly to take serious; I think you were one of the smartest students in the class, and I wished you would have spoken up more. Since I have the tendency of erring on the side of over-participating in class discussion and making rash, shoot-from-the-hip comments (as if you needed that pointed out), I’m not surprised you reacted differently. I’m trying to work on it.

    I sincerely apologize for calling you a Pharisee. It was not even based on reading any of your posts, just looking at how others had reacted to you and assuming that your posts were more than mildly insensitive. I just piled on where others had attacked you. I certainly was not in a position to make a substantive criticism, and criticism based solely on tone is not exactly productive. My comments were completely inappropriate, and I’m sorry.

    Best regards.

  369. elizabeth on June 3, 2006 at 9:01 am

    said: it seems pretty obvious that homosexual relationships don’t build up the fundamental unit of society.

    Elizabeth asks: can you prove this statemend?
    what would hollywood or tv be without homo’s
    what would healtcare be without any healtcare worker who are homo’s

    My brother is working hard as prevention worker of the AIDS foundation here in Holland, Helping the goverment etc.
    My brother in law ( yes the partner of my brother) is a pianoteacher and conducter of choirs.

    They are the live of my son.
    Where the priesthood walked out of my son, my brother and brother and law walked into his live.

    So often people only think that gays are all about those leather jacket males in darkrooms etc.
    But you forgett that like among hetero’s you have all kinds of homo’s and they are often controbuting more to life that you think.

    I think you remark is everything but Christlike.

    Elizabeth

  370. elizabeth on June 3, 2006 at 9:12 am

    Alma 30:18 is supposed to be a remark about homo’s and Hugh Nibley is/was imlying this?

    Well first of all Hugh is accused by his daughter of incest so I don’t know about it. Then secondly he is not God or ever was a GA.

    And thus he ( Korihor) did preach unto them , leading away the hearts of many ( many followed him), causing them to lift up their heads in there weckedness ( the many felt validated by Korihor and where lifting up there heads out of pride. there is no mention here what the many did), yea leading away many woman ( maybe Korihor was a nice looking guy or a loverboy or a pimp), and also men( so men can also be ledd astray ) , to commit whoredoms ( to commit whoredoms sounds more to me like Korihor was a pimp and able to convince the men and women who lived already a sinfull live to continue this) – telling them that when a man was deas, that was the end thereof( so Korihor said live and be merry when live is over that is it).

    MMMM somehow I cannot find a reference to homo’s here. And when Hugh suggest that it might be a translation problem is he saying that Joseph Smith made mistakes.

    This text is not confincing me so please more referance specially form the book of mormon or other specific scriptures, please

    Elizabeth

  371. greenman on June 3, 2006 at 9:57 am

    I apologize, too. I shouldn’t be sowing seeds of discord and I’m sorry. Maybe I’m actually just jealous of the superior intellect that you couldn’t contain in class. We also had a Native American history class together. The curly hair has since been lopped off.

    I completely understand the negative reaction to the militant tone of my posts. There’s a reason for it, though. Are we not promoting, as Latter-Day Saints, worldwide revolution? I’ll speak out just as boldly and militantly against a number of sinful practices. The militancy I speak of has nothing to do with actual physical violence, however. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places…”

    Allow me to elaborate further by relating some personal observations.

    Over the past year I’ve been living and studying in Krakow. Vic helped me get here, too. Around two or three weeks ago the city was host to a gay rights celebration/parade. In a country as religiously conservative as Poland, I can imagine that it takes a lot of courage for the homosexual community to march for their ideals since they were attacked by fanatics whose battle cry was something to the effect of “If you love God, then throw rocks!” which they did, along with eggs. In response to the fiasco, while the Pope was in Krakow last weekend, the homosexual community got together and held an anti-Pope rally, which was a reasonable reaction considering the circumstances. In Poland, unlike the rest of Europe, this issue is pretty cut-and-dry. Case in point, while most religious folk will probably speak out against, or even violently react to, homosexuality, I think it fair to say that plenty of homosexuals will take a stab at religious institutions as well. It goes without say that, as the world becomes more polarized between an increasingly secularized portion of society and a decreasing proportion of religious types, I feel the necessity to put on the whole armor of God and defend traditional marriage and religion. While I would never even consider casting a stone at anyone for their sins, I’ll hold my ground against gay people marching towards the rainbow. That rainbow belongs to the Saints.

    My fellow students here in Krakow all love to drink, smoke and party and sex, drugs, and rock n roll and eat, drink, and be merry with reckless abandon for tomorrow we die and all will be well with us. I get along just fine with pretty much all of them because I know where they’re coming from and I usually bite my tongue just to keep the peace, but I can tell that they suspect that I think they’re all going to hell. I’ll let God be the judge of that. I don’t condemn any of them because I realize that it is possible to change and make a break from Babylon. The reason I’m saying all of this is simply to express that I see a real division taking place and I don’t see any middle ground for the lukewarm.

    While in one of your posts you make a good point in saying something to the effect that the push for homosexual rights is really only indicative of a greater trend towards self-justification in sin a la Korihor, let me emphasize that this really is a slippery slope and we need to watch where we step lest we fall and go all the way down. I actually do have a lot of gay friends and I can sympathize with their plight. Life is brutal, I know. However, harsh experience with my own sins has taught me that I am either with Christ or against Him. Not much room for compromise.

  372. Blake on June 3, 2006 at 11:55 am

    In a prior post I suggested that legal recognition of gay unions and of SSM would create problems for religious beliefs, freedom of religion and tex exempt status of religious organizations. These are dire consequences. First, in 1983 the Supreme Court denied tax exempt status to Bob Jones University because it opposed inter-racial marriage based on public policy considerations. It is quite likely that the same arguments and the same outcome could occur if gay marriage is recognized as a fundamental right the way that the Massachusetts Supreme Court did. In fact, Sue was concerned that disallowing gays to adopt would lead to fewer adoptions. The adoption consideration is important and has weight. However, in the real world the Catholic Charities of Boston ceased its 100 year practice of placing adoptions for hard to adopt children and others because of the ruling granting marital status to gays in Mass.– resulting in liteally 1000s of adoptive children not being placed. In fact, there are already several cases pending against the Boy Scouts to end their tax exempt status based on their opposition to gay leaders (would anyone want a woman to be in the wilderness with a bunch of Boy Scouts as their leader?).

    So the fact is that a recognition of gay marriage may have a profound impact on the ability of the government to approve and disapprove of religious beliefs. Add to that the fact that the Supremes 1990 Employment v. Smith decision held that there need only be a showing of a rational basis for government to impede religious practices and you get the idea. Religious liberties are in real trouble on this issue. The demand “recognize my gay relationship as a valid marriage” will come to decades of “truncate religious freedoms for those who disagree.”

    Mark Hanzel goes so far as to accuse the Church of hypocrisy and duplicity because it argued that the ERA Amendment was not necessary because all of the same rights are already guaranteed under the 14th Amendment — and the Church was righ on that issue! However, he fails to see that given the Mass. Supremes ruling, it is inevitable that the Full Faith and Credit and Supremacy Clauses will be invoked to argue that the issue is no longer a matter of State prerogative — all other States must recognize Mass. marriages. So only an amendment to the Federal Constitution can address this issue. I suggest that Mark has missed the legal issue altogether (and that is a no no even for a first year law student).

  373. Kimball L. Hunt on June 3, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Anne’s right: Geoff’s mom should’ve —- well, at least demurred?

    Still her bish, who has wide latitude to folllow his promtings, may well have picked up some vibe of antagonism to the Church anyway, so as to not feel inspired to recommend her rebaptism? Which means tactically she should’ve soft pedaled her demurral yet hit the opposite pedal — It’s ironically called the “sustain” pedal — about her love of the Church blah blah.

    In other words, you’re right!

    I guess a’ course it takes a UTAH Mo to understand the Machiavellian nature of navigating local ecclesiastical politics? (I’m joking! (PLEASE!))

  374. Brad Kramer on June 3, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Blake,

    I note, with some irony, the gleeful manner in which Scalia cited Reynolds in crafting the Smith opinion. Also, if the FFC clause is the issue that distinguishes this amendment from the ERA, at least in terms of federalism claims, then wouldn’t an amendment that basically reinforces DOMA’s stance on the FFC but continues to grant the states the privelege of defining marriage based upon democratic processes be a better option?

    The concerns you raise are fair, and deserve to be taken seriously, but passage of the amendment could be just as portentous for religious freedom — especially for a churhc whose entire theology and practice are centered on marriage — as not passing it, perhaps even more so. Everyone is talking about the State taking an interest in promoting certain kinds of relationships via regulation of the institution of marriage. You have, rightly, expressed concern at the very notion of the State regulating something as inherently religious and sacred as marriage. Do you really think this amendment is a step in the RIGHT direction? What if the government decides that, in the service of the greater good for society, it has an interest in prohibiting marriage ordinances that are performed behind closed doors, privately, away from public scrutiny? What if it decides that only the ministers from those religious organizations that exclusively acknowledge heterosexual, monogamous marriage as legitimate should be granted the civil authority to marry (in the spirit of Davis v Beason)? What if laws, passed to increase the ability of law enforcement to go after people like Warren Jeffs, threaten the ability of the Church to perform sealings? I don’t think this is any less likely a long-term consequence of vastly increasing the power of the federal government to define and regulate marriage or reifying the principle that the state has an interest in promoting certain models of marriage over certain others than the Church losing its tax exempt status or having the activity of LDS family services being curtailed is of not passing an amendment given the existence of the FFC.

    I recognize that for an organization with so much of its assets tied up in real property, losing tax exempt status could be devastating. But I somehow suspect that losing the abililty to perform marriages in the temple or having temples subject to state scrutiny would be an even more cruching blow.

  375. Brad Kramer on June 3, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Greenman,

    I know personal experience can influence our opinions in powerful ways, and I am not capable of addressing the question from your place and position (although I am deeply envious of your opportunity). I definitely agree that the world is becoming more polarized, but that doesn’t mean we have to choose sides. You yourself admit that you’re only partially on board with your religious adoptive countrymen in that you eschew the concept of resisting with violence, the idea that if you love God, you must throw stones. The gay men I know are all deeply religious, all served honorable missions, all have testimonies, and all feel alienated by the body of Church membership and its leaders. I’m not in a position to judge whether or not they are justified in their alienation, but I know they feel it. I definitely don’t think, your experience in Poland notwithstanding, that the majority of proponents of gay marriage are attacking religion as an end in itself. They are criticizing conservative churches, but usually with the support of liberal churches.

    I think Satan uses polaraties as a way of manipulating us into advancing his agenda — to produce blood and horror on this earth. He tries to make us believe that we have to choose between to, diametrically opposed groups or ideologies — communists or fascists, socialists or capitalists, athiests or fundamentalists, anti-religious gays or love-god-and-throw-rocks religious folks. The BoM, as I read it, is about destroying the illusion of a bifurcated world that neatly compartmentalizes people as nephites and lamanites, liberals and conservatives, us and them, etc. There is never a time when the Nephites are righteous and the Lamanites unrighteous, least of all when the two start fighting eachother.

    To me, one of the great lessons of the BoM is that if we buy into the side-taking logic of us vs. them, good vs. evil, Shiz vs. Coriantumr, we do so at our own peril and Satan increases his ability to achieve his goal, which is quite a bit more serious that anti-pope rainbow rallies or gay san-fransiscans adopting Polish (or Russian, or Chinese, or American) orphans.

    Still, I respect your opinion and your right to it, and wish you the best of luck in your studies. I’m told Krakow is a beautiful city.

  376. elizabeth on June 3, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    In krakow ( and other nazi death camps) alot of homo’s where gassed along the jews the gypsies and the Jehova witnesses.

    Often people do not realize that the homo’s have suffered alot before.

    And I still do not find anyone comming up with a good argument against homo’s quoted from the book of mormon.
    How come?

    Elizabeth

  377. Jim Cobabe on June 3, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    Elizabeth, what exactly are you looking for in Book of Mormon proof-texts? Would you argue that because there is no Book of Mormon passage which explicitly forbids same-sex marriage, then it should be okay?

    Far as I know, there is no specific mention of proscriptions against homosexuality in the Book of Mormon, but there is explicit recognition of strict cultural observance of the Law of Moses. The Brass Plates apparently contained texts similar to our Old Testament, which offers condemnation for all kinds of sexual perversions in the most specific and unequivocal terms imaginable..

  378. Brad Kramer on June 3, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Jim,

    I think Elizabeth’s point and others’ here re homosexuality in the BoM (here I presume to speak for others) is not that everyone in the BoM would have approved of homosexuality; rather, that for a text crafted with an eye on those specific problems that modern society (particularly American society) would have in common with the great Nephite and Jaredite civilizations and present the greatest risk for our society suffering the same fate as those societies, the BoM is unusually silent on the question of homosexual relations — which have existed in all cultures, including indegenous American cultures, past and present. Put another way, for Mormons in a country with less than 5% of the world’s population but consuming better than a third of its resources to fixate singlemindedly on the gay problem because the Nephites kept the Law of Moses in spite of scores of specific BoM injunctions against the aculumation of wealth, inequality of wealth, materialism, obsession with economic health and consumerism, militarism, etc, seems an awful lot like straining at the proverbial gnat.

  379. MikeInWeHo on June 3, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    It’s less than compelling to argue that gay marriage will lead to loss of tax exempt status for the Church. The Catholics, Baptists, et. al. would be similarly impacted. And that is simply not going to happen. Catholic Charities is not the Catholic Church, it’s a free-standing organization which contracts with states to provide services. When the values of the majority of the people in MA came into conflict with CC, it chose to stop adoptions rather than comply. Fair enough. It’s no different than if it had refused to arrange trans-racial adoptions, refused to place children with Mormon families, etc. These all would have led to a similar outcome.

    The reality is, societal opinion continues to shift decisively in the direction of greater tolerance and inclusion for gay men and lesbians. The trend over the past 50 years is crystal clear.

    There likely will come a time when BYU’s refusal to admit openly-gay students leads to issues re: federal student loans, etc, but this will happen regardless of the outcome of the SSM debate. I expect that’s a long ways off, though.

  380. Blake on June 3, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    MikeHo: You assertion that losing tax exempt status it is not going to happen is not accurate. It happened already to Bob Jones University — it is already established precedent (stare decisis) on a nearly identical issue. So our assurances ring hollow — especially in the face of fact that gay rights groups are presently pursing this very issue in court right now with the BSA.

    It is small comfort that Catholic Charities is not an identical entity to the Catholic Church — the LDS Church too divides the burden of labor among numerous organizations. However, I’m sure that gay rights advocates would be happy to sacrifice tax exempt status and religious freedom for a ceremony that means nothing so that government legitimates their situation — as your post here suggests. That is precisely the problem. The Church ought to take a stand against those who would eviscerate religious freedoms in the name of their own interests.

    Brad: As far as the Book of Mormon goes, it doesn’t address issues that were settled and didn’t need debate. You are correct that it doesn’t address gay rights issues. Neither does the D&C in Joseph Smith’s own time. However, there is a modern prophet who has addressed those issues. Are you arguing that the because Book of Mormon warns us against materialism and militarism in all of its forms but is silent about the sin of homosexuality that it tacitly approves it? If so, it is simply a bad argument. Moreover, an essential part of its message is precisely to heed the message of God’s prophets when they speak whether they are long dead or not. If we do not heed the prophet (right now, that Gordon Hinckley), we do so at our own peril.

  381. Stenar on June 3, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    PLEASE FORWARD:

    In light of the Mormon church lobbying Congress to ban gay marriage,
    I encourage everyone to contact their senators and rep. to let them
    know that you think Mormon Temple marriages ought to be banned
    constitutionally because those secret rituals are kind of creepy and
    not very much in keeping with traditional marriage.

    (This is a rhetorical argument to make a point, people. Don’t get too
    worked up about it.)

    For more info about this lobbying effort to ban Mormon Temple
    marriage (and to find your reps’ email address), go to
    http://www.stenar.org

  382. Brad Kramer on June 3, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Blake,

    I agree that the BoM admonishes us that we heed prophets; but to say that the BoM didn’t address homosexuality because it sas a settled question that didn’t need debate and that we obsess over it today because it is so critical implies, in my mind, that the BoM was not written/compiled/expanded with our time in mind, but only addressed those issues salient in the moment of writing/compilation/expansion.

    I’m genuinely interested in your response to some of the points I mentioned further up (#375). I think you probably know a bit more about such questions as a practicing attorney and honorary scholar of philosophy than I do as a law review junkie/philosophy buff..

  383. Jim Cobabe on June 3, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    This Old Testament passage characterizes the law under which Book of Mormon society operated.

    Exodus 18:22-25

    Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

    Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

    Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

    And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

    I strongly suspect no specifics were ever mentioned explicitly in the abridged histories of the Book of Mormon because the editors considered the topic of such abominations too disgusting and degrading to mention. Because they lived with and accepted this law, they already recognized how evil and awful the consequences of sexual immorality, therefore it needed no further elaboration.

    Defenders of sexual deviance are ever wont to point out that such perversions have ancient historical roots and have existed in all societies from the beginning of time. This assertion, even if true, hardly constitutes a rational defense or justification for evil practices.

  384. Brad Kramer on June 3, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    Jim,
    No one’s trying to justify practices. The BoM has only figured into this discussion as a question of priorities. No one has questioned that Mosiac Law proscribes homosexual behavior or that the Nephites obeyed Mosiac Law. But the law of Moses forbids many practices which, I’m assuming, you don’t wish to codify into law via an amendment to the US Constitution. The BoM describes many things far more degrading and disgusting than homosexuality (yes, there are things more disgusting than men kissing), i.e. ethnic cleansing, the wholesale slaughter of women and children, cannibalism, full on genocide, etc. Since when can it be assumed that because there is a generally accepted law against a certain behavior, it will not be a problem worthy of the attention of prophet writers writing for a different time? Were they not addressing us? Deuteronomy is full of laws and rules proscribing the accumulation of wealth, not to mention murder; yet BoM authors did not just treat those issues as a given and gloss over them. Furthermore, the Law of Moses was subplanted by the teachings of the Savior. Again, no mention (much less obsessive focus) of homosexuality — in either hemisphere. Let me be clear. I’m not saying it’s not morally wrong behavior; I’m just suggesting that maybe, as people blessed with the unique gift of testimonies as to the truthfulness and modern-day relevance of the BoM, we have bigger fish to fry.

  385. Blake on June 4, 2006 at 12:02 am

    Brad: BTW I agree with you approach to an Amendent that does not specify that marriage is between a man and a woman — but it would be a strange amendment indeed (virtually unprecedented in the history of the country) that say “The FFC and Supremacy
    Clauses govern and trump any State laws except with respect to marriage, which are the particular provenance of States.” No one would consider it so it isn’t politically viable.

    Further, several books of the OT say nothing of SS relations but have plenty to say about bridling sexual passion in general (as does the BofM). Yet that doesn’t suggest that they aren’t genuinely Israelite or Jewish. I also agree that the BofM identifies great threats to social well-being such as the rampant materialism and militarism that characterizes our own culture — and I agree these are important issues. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other important concerns like the status of marriage and control of our bodily passions and needs.

  386. Brad Kramer on June 4, 2006 at 1:07 am

    Blake,
    Since when does lack of political viability block consideration of moralistic amendments? :)

    Thanks for the insights.

  387. Mark Butler on June 4, 2006 at 11:06 am

    This argument from silence for gay marriage because it isn’t mention in the Book of Mormon is ridiculous. Not only is it extraordinarily weak, it misses the point of the book in the first place. From the title page:

    Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever— And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

    The fact that the Book of Mormon rarely lists particular sins like some sort of legal code is one of its most striking features. Do we need to have a chapter on every perversion known to mankind? I do not see much there about the dangers of strong drink, addiction to video games or other modern entertainment, gambling, going to bed too late, not keeping house, sleepovers, Myspace, crossing the street without looking both ways, pornography, irrationality, the particular diseases of the modern mind, rock star worship, immodesty, corporatism, child exploitation, and so on.

    Ultimately, if nature and natural reason does not tell you that homosexual relations are a perversion of the proper order of things, and the spirit of the Holy Ghost doesn’t either, and there isn’t a strong scriptural argument to the contrary, then it is simply a matter of faith.

    I believe religious leaders should make every reasonable effort to explain the rationality and justice of religious doctrines, but when push comes to shove we believe in all sorts of things largely based on faith. What sort of *evidence* do we have that there will be a resurrection, for example? Or that any of the scriptures are more than hand-me-down cultural traditions, reflections of our collectively frenzied minds?

    This is a religion, not a philosophical society. Without revelation we are nothing. If you thing the amendment is a bad idea, go tell your senators. But I think the inordinate feeling to say that the Church leaders our out to lunch on the matter is unbecoming, to say the least. Should not we at least venerate and respect them, even when we politely disagree? Fools mock.

  388. elizabeth on June 6, 2006 at 11:36 am

    WEll I can only speak for Elizabeth because I am her. The reason I asked for lds scriptures quoting about homosexualty is the terrible need of lds members to justify things from the scriptures without knowing where is it is said or if it is said .

    To me there is nothing wrong with the GA’s suggesting to us that we should de things about community effort and making our statemend know there.
    Was is wrong is to use the pulpit for it. In his 98 intervieuw with Larry King, brother Hinckley said that the church feel strong about certain moral issues but not the mingle polotics with religion.

    Who are we that we are allowed exclude people . I would love for gay people to gett married and stable lives that keeps them away form proscumity just like with hetero’s

    Doesn’t it say in the temple that you can have sexual relationships with the partner you are legally and lawfully wedded.
    it does not say that it should be a man and a woman perse.

    The amandment is also wrong because the lds church do not practise polygamy at the moment only because it is forbidden by law.
    The law told them that they could only have a marriage one man and one woman , and now all of the sudden they play saints and forgett there own history.

    But I know extually what it is , you all who are for it are scared , scared to lose you temple recomand and your membership in the church. At least that is how I feel about it.
    And I also think that this another ploy of Bush the sway you all away from real problems in own country and in Irak.

    Bush should work and put as much effort into helping the Katarina victems, or the hungry children in his own country.
    But no he rather concentrate on homo’s
    Homo’s have always been an easy target, Hitler knew this aswell.

    You do not know why gay people are gay.
    And you do not know if it is a weakness or a biological problem.
    Either way we should use to love of Christ to help them,
    Just like you would be helped if you had a weakness of something biologically wrong.

    I still really miss the love of Christ in this whole debat.
    I believe in personal revalation so I will make up my mind whom I like and whom I not like and not a prophet a bishop or whom ever.
    I have the right of personal revalation , I recive it and I use it.

    Elizabeth

  389. elizabeth on June 6, 2006 at 11:40 am

    LDS authority and gay marriage
    Jeffrey Nielsen, BYU Faculty member
    Tribune Editorial
    June 4, 2006

    The leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke out against gay marriage and asked members to encourage their U.S. senators to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage. As a member, I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities; however, I reject the premise that they are thereby immune from thoughtful questioning or benevolent criticism. A perfect God does not require blind obedience, nor does He need unthinking loyalty. Freedom of conscience is a divine blessing, and our privilege to express it is a moral imperative. When the church hierarchy speaks on a public issue and requests that members follow, it is difficult indeed if an individual feels the content of their message would make bad law and is unethical as well. I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral. Currently the preponderance of scientific research strongly suggests that same-sex attraction is biologically based. Therefore, it is as natural as a heterosexual orientation, even if rare. It seems it might be caused by environmental conditions in the mother’s womb, before birth, triggering the DNA to give the fetus a homosexual orientation. Neither the mother nor the child has any choice in the matter; it is a completely natural process. Truly, God would be unjust if He were the creator of a biological process that produced such uncommon, yet perfectly natural results, and then condemned the innocent person to a life of guilt, while denying him or her the ordinary privileges and fulfillment of the deep longing in all of us for family and a committed, loving relationship. Even if the scientific evidence does not yet establish this beyond reasonable doubt, it seems that virtuous moderation and loving kindness require us to exercise caution before making constitutionally binding discrimination against a whole class of people based only on fear and superstition. In fact, when we examine the statements opposing gay marriage, we find few reasonable arguments. It is not enough to claim that we should oppose gay marriage because historically it has never been recognized. This is the fallacy of appealing to tradition, which was also used to fight against civil rights and equal treatment of women. Further, to say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage and the family without giving any reasons why is the fallacy of appealing to fear. Indeed, once you get past the emotion, it is quite an unfounded claim. How could the union of two committed and loving people negatively affect my marriage? I believe that quite the contrary is true; namely, legalizing gay marriage reinforces the importance of committed relationships and would strengthen the institution of marriage. Ultimately, any appeal to religious authority to create law is misplaced. Our Founding Fathers were inspired by their study of history to separate constitutional authority from religious belief, recognizing as they did the potential for tyranny in unchecked religious influence. In our pluralistic democracy, attempting to restrict an individual’s rights and privileges based upon a religious claim is a dangerous rejection of our Founding Fathers’ wise insight, and it should be unacceptable to all Americans. As for the statement by church leaders that God has ordained marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, I find it quite troubling. It sidesteps the role of polygamy in past and future church teachings. It seems to me that if church leaders at one point in time, not very long ago, told members that the union of one man with several women was important for eternal salvation, but now leads them to believe that God only recognizes the union of one man to one woman, then some explanation is required. (I am not endorsing polygamy.)

    God is not the author of incoherence or injustice, but we humans often are. We in the LDS Church must be more honest about our history, including the past and future practice of polygamy in our official doctrine. This will be difficult, for it will reveal that we have been less than truthful in our public relations, and it will show our inconsistency with current statements opposing gay marriage. We can no longer afford to teach only what is useful and hope people won’t discover what is true. In this day of easy Internet access, a person can find more real history of the LDS Church in 30 minutes online than the same person would in a lifetime studying approved church materials. This is not right. Too many individuals have suffered a loss of faith when they were forced to choose between the truth or their family after innocently discovering the discrepancy between genuine history and the official story of the church. We need to trust the membership of the church and treat them as adults, as equals. We are a church of brothers and sisters, not one of the few
    privileged leaders and the many subordinate followers. There might be a diversity of roles and responsibilities from prophet to Sunday School teacher, but we are all peers with one another and equally irreplaceable in God’s thoughts and affections.


    Jeffrey Nielsen is an organizational consultant and teaches philosophy at Brigham Young University. He is the author of the book, The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations (Davies-Black Publishing).

  390. Bryce Clark on June 6, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    I think that the letter is worded the way that it is on purpose. I lived in MA when they made gay marriage legal and our Stake President asked us to pray about the issue and then make our feelings known to our representatives. We were not told WHAT to think. In light of Elder Nelson’s appearance at the pro amendment rally, I have to assume that the First Presidency supports the amendment; however, I am glad that they did not ask me to support it. They made their support of man and woman marriage clear and asked that I have a voice in the debate, and as a loyal member of the Church, their views mean a lot to me and will influence my thoughts on this, I still lean toward letting states decide the issue, but with what happened with Catholic Charities in Boston I am less firm in that support, especially with the idea that the Fed Protection of Marriage Act might be deemed unconstitutional. Think about this: If the state says that marriage is NOT between a man and a woman and the gay marriage movement is increasingly taking on a Civil Rights tone, isn’t it possible where teaching marriage as between a man and a woman could be seen as “hate speech”? I know in MA, the schools are being told that when teaching about marriage it is discrimination to teach about it as being between a man and a woman, after all, it’s not, not in MA anymore. There are unintended consequences that changing the marriage laws could lead to – NO ONE could have predicted that legalizing gay marriage would mean that the Catholic Church would no longer be able to place children with families because they wouldn’t place them with gay families. You can see where this could lead to and I have to believe that if the First Presidency are prophets, seers, and revelators, they can see more of this than I can. I guess what it comes down to, if we’re saying this is a disgrace for them to do this, is that we don’t really see them as having that Divine Commission. I find myself in a situation where my political beliefs are not exactly in line with what the First Presidency is saying, so what are my choices? I can just keep on believing as I do, and I think that would be okay, or I can really think and pray about the issue and seek God’s will on it. I really think that this is what I should do. And the fact that this comes from the First Presidency is why. Seriously, what other source could inspire me to reflect on my beliefs if not this one?

    Best Regards,

    Bryce

  391. elizabeth on June 7, 2006 at 7:15 am

    i guesse you are all tired afther reading Jeff Nielsens letter because I do not see any comment about his letter.

  392. Adam Greenwood on June 7, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Yes, very tired.

  393. elizabeth on June 7, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    Or is that Jeff Nielsen made a to good of a statement that you all are in scambles and do not know what to do anymore??????

  394. MikeInWeHo on June 7, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    Is that Nielsen letter for real ? If it is, I’d appreciate some of you in-the-loop Utah-type bloggers to keep us posted on what happens to him next, if anything. I mean, BYU is going after students who just participated in the Soulforce event on campus (some were put on probation, right?). It would seem that a published letter by a faculty member like this is much more provocative.

  395. elizabeth on June 8, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    believe me it is real and I am worried about his status as member and isn’t that
    said to say and feel like that because aren’t we suppose to have the right and freedom to think what we think and the speak wath we want tospeak.
    Isn’t that what free acency is about?

    Elizabeth

  396. elizabeth on June 11, 2006 at 3:23 am

    hey you guys I guesse the amendment didn’t gett through the senate and the
    church has no political power over theminds of the senate.

    there is hope for america, yet
    Elizabeth

  397. aletheia on June 11, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    Elizabeth, There wasn’t much chance that the bill would pass the Senate in the first place. The consensus analysis runs that this was a way for the Republicans to mobilize their conservative base in front of some difficult elections (you can always blame the evil Democrats for not passing a “family values” bill when it fails as you always expected it to).

    Now, I don’t know if this is some kind of hopeful dawn in the American night. It is American politics at work with its peculiar issue and notions. You can’t expect American politics to work like European Union or European local politics (which, by the way, are hardly a shining light for enlightened government and human rights to the rest of the world). But, don’t get me started, I think that European insistence on the horrors of the death penalty or the inequalities of American racism (don’t hear too much about this one anymore; must be that the French and the Brits and the Germans, now having substantial immigrant populations, have gone from the ideal to the practical with policies much darker than the American ones) is simply a continuing chapter in Europe’s denigrating stance towards the New World (We, Europeans, are civilized; you are barbarians).

  398. Kimball L. Hunt on June 11, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    That’s Amerah -“K.K.Kay” — to you, Elizabeth.

  399. notophelia on June 12, 2006 at 12:09 am

    I just wanted to be comment #400

    N.O.

  400. Ann on June 12, 2006 at 12:29 am

    And I just want to say, Adam, that your #393 made me laugh out loud. Thank you!

  401. mullingandmusing (m&m) on June 12, 2006 at 12:53 am

    Did anyone else catch the irony in the title of his book? Sounds like he has his own philosophy on leadership (or the desired? lack thereof).

  402. bbell on June 12, 2006 at 11:13 am

    FWIW.

    I would have been completely shocked if the FP HAD NOT endorsed this amendment. They are acting consistent with revealed doctrine and past statements. Was anybody really surprised?

    I would have been really really shocked if they had not been in support

  403. bbell on June 12, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Also the FP is playing to their “Base” in other words the vast majority of the tithe paying temple attending LDS are in favor of this type of amendment and do not support SSM.

    Trust me when I say I can stand up in Sunday School and roundly condemn SSM as a sign of the last days and that Jesus is coming and there will lots of heads nodding yes

    The bloggernacle is way way out of touch on this issue with the average active tithe paying member.

  404. MikeInWeHo on June 12, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    Right as always, bbell. But would you really want to be part of a Church (in mortality) where nobody disagreed on an issue like this? Is absolute unanimity such a virture?

  405. Mark Butler on June 12, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    I don’t think the FP is playing to anybody. They are trying to execute their divinely appointed duty, not build a power base. The only honor that matters in the long run is the honor due to righteousness, not opportunism. Religious leaders do not need political capital, they need respect as agents of God’s willl here on earth.

  406. Mark Butler on June 12, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    In other words it is not their will, but God’s that matters. They are not trying to leverage a cult of personality – that would be sin – but the propogation of righteousness – not my will, but thine be done, and all that.

  407. bbell on June 12, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Mark,

    See my #403. My number 404 was just how a political scientist would see it.

    Mikeinweho: I have not thought about it much but it is nice to be part of a subculture where most of the members have similar views. I can walk into a ward in Florida or Idaho find some families with 4-6 kids and fit right in with them. I am sure your subculture has pretty much the same types of agreement/similar lifestyles. Except for you my friend. I am sure your gay friends would be surprised by your participation here. You are so interested in your LDS background. You should really ask Adam if you can post on it. Bobmelissabell AT yahoo.com

  408. elizabeth on June 13, 2006 at 5:09 am

    Althenia
    are you implying that europe is bad?
    have you ever seen pictures of people being stuck in a dome ( afther overflowing of water)that are starf to death. that were raped etc.
    Did you ever seen a picture of a grandma in a wheelchair that had died and not looked afther.
    Yes those kinds of pictures make me feel that we in europe are more civilized and not so babarieus.

    Oh for your informatie Holland is beneath sealevel for many centuries and we have a great system that is keeping us dry and we pay tax for that.
    Oh and it is the Dutch who are helping the local goverment of New Orleans to rebuild the levies etc in such away that there will not be a dyk broken again.

    And in anyway event you would like to email about politics you are more then welcome. Love to talk about it.

    Elizabeth, proud citizene of the royal kingdom of the Netherlands

  409. Kimball L. Hunt on June 13, 2006 at 9:55 am

    Well, since instructor ( /assoc prof?) Nathan umwhateverhismiddleinitialis Oman now’s got a teaching post at some little known and modestly sized institution of higher learning founded by a “William of Orange’s” co-royally majestic highness, queen Mary —

    um if ya kin watch out for that green-wearing-on-saint-paddy’s-day Mark Butler guy, Elizabeth, welcome to the fairly uh “orangeish” bloggernacle! (I have no idea what I’m saying. I must’ve been up too late last night! lol)

  410. aletheia on June 13, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Elizabeth, I’m not saying that Europe is bad. Just that Europeans tend to have both a resentment of U.S. independence and power and an irritating penchant for harping on their own supposedly greater civilization. The fact is we don’t need to be put under tutelage, Europe has its own skeletons, and a conversation would proceed more amicably if Europe’s posing came to an end. Perhaps this is a little too frank for a Europe that is used to sycophantic worship of its cultural history and humanitarianism by countries seeking aid and students seeking scholarships.

    You are cherrypicking with New Orleans. Firstly, we are talking about the inadequacy of a disaster response (and the possible reasons behind it). Levels of civilization have little to with it. It was a natural disaster. But, if you want to know my honest reaction, I was shocked by the same pictures and thought about what a mess the South was (hey, look, a regional prejudice). Secondly, if you have New Orleans on a column of American barbarity, I get to tally a list of European pseudo-civilization. We can keep it recent (wouldn’t want to mention, say, two World Wars, a Holocaust, Belgians chopping off hands in the Congo or the Dutch sucking out capital in Indonesia). When I see kids rioting in the banlieus in Paris, hooligans rampaging at British soccer matches or the World Cup, skinheads beating a Colombian blue in Oslo or stomping a Turk in Munich, Spaniards going nostalgic for Franco (he has a museum in Madrid even now) and giving it to the Gypsies, kids dying in Bosnia and the mass of Europe sitting on its hands, France hyping the bomb and waiving it before Iran, etc., well, I am wag my head and my admiration for European civilization just disappears.

    Now, that said, the difference here is that I’m not taking Europe’s crimes and misdemeanors as a stand-in for the continent’s whole history and politics and I am one who listens to particular Europeans for their thoughts – more informed than my own – on local political situations. It makes for a better picture.

  411. MikeInWeHo on June 13, 2006 at 11:13 am

    Hey, no Euro-American threadjacking here! We hit 400 posts with the gays alone. Thanks for defending beautiful Holland, though, Elizabeth. I was just there for the first time earlier this year and LOVED it. I think the mistake we philistine Americans often make is to speak as if there is some unitary “European” for us to even discuss. That’s implicit in Alethia’s above comment. The mistake begins there. Neither side of the pond is in a position to point fingers, that’s for sure.

    bbell, Having just been through the massive Gay Pride celebration here in L.A. last weekend, I was struck by how it’s just the opposite of the LDS environment you describe. There’s utter diversity….incredibly. It’s a mistake I see made in these discussions all the time, the assumption that the expression “gay community” means something specific. On the contrary, what you realize is the sheer ubiquity of gays in every sub-section of society: religious, ethnic, political. If you should ever be in a major city on Gay Pride weekend, definitely check it out and you will understand. They’re mostly sanitized and family-friendly now. At least where I was watching, the viewers seemed at least half heterosexual and there were kids everywhere. It’s very, very different from the videos from Focus On The Family some here may have seen. Getting all your info about gays from right-wing sources is like getting all your info about Mormonism from Utah Lighthouse Ministries.

    As for blogging myself, I’m thinking about it. Apparently this Sunday I’m making my first visit to a Sacrament meeting in over 20 years. Seems like it might be interesting to write something after that.

  412. Mark B. on June 13, 2006 at 11:27 am

    bbell

    I’ll take your bait. Yes, frankly, I was surprised that the First Presidency took a position on the proposed constitutionsl amendment about gay marriage.

    A person can be opposed to gay marriage–in fact, a person can be opposed to the change in the meaning of “marriage” that would require a modifier in front of it–without thinking that the proposed constititional amendment about marriage would have been a good thing.

    I believe that the First Presidency is generally slow to endorse specific legislative proposals, and I would have expected them to stay out of the fray on that one.

    But, it’s dead and gone for now–although it may have a life as long as the Wilmot Proviso or the Hyde Amendment.

  413. aletheia on June 13, 2006 at 11:29 am

    Mike, you’re taking a bit of a cheapshot with me. I’m far from assuming that there is something like a generic or unitary European-type. I do assume that, when the “civilization” of Europe is put up as a foil for the barbarity of the U.S., something more than, “We here in the Netherlands or the South of France or Northern Sweden” is being said. Perhaps not. Perhaps Elizabeth won’t take the risk of recognizing a shared humanity and, especially with the creation of the EU, a shared political and social responsibility with the French, the Germans, the Brits, etc. I think this would be dishonest and a lot to sacrifice for the joy of being able to point a finger at the U.S. but…

    That said, I do think one can find a commonality in attitudes – running across the fissures of national cultures – among Europeans when confronted with Americans. It’s a tale of mutual misunderstanding most of the time, made bitter by the feelings I’ve described before on team Europe and a sense of puissance and arrogance on the part of Americans. I don’t think I’m being reductive in noticing it.

  414. Mark Butler on June 13, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    Kimball, I am perhaps not coincidentally descended from the Irish/Norman Butlers, but I fail to see the relevance here. What is Green and what is Orange here? Green Catholic and (William of) Orange Ulstermen? What specifically about the beliefs of each?

  415. Mark Butler on June 13, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    In other words what about me makes you say I am “green-wearing-on-saint-paddy’s-day” – that I am a pretender? Heritage gets so mixed up that it is hard to take a single influence seriously at all. I do not believe in biological determinism.

    [Apologies for the personal digression here]

  416. Kimball L. Hunt on June 13, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Brother Patrick (ironic name! lol) implies he gets teary eyed about the Fighting Irish football team!

    I got a tear today just seeing something about the PUER-r-r-r-rto RI-can dei PAR-r-r-rade in the NY papers here. And I get nastaligically proud wondering if Mitt’s Mormonism will end up in any way making me proud. By whatever I mean by that.

    And yet some people root for the Syracuse Orangemen, I’m sure, too!

    And Princeton’s colors . . . Note: Princeton happened to have at first been a Presbyterian founded seminary . . . are orange ‘n’ black — after William the Thoid’s House of Nassau-Orange. The first hall at Princeton being Nassau hall. However, Princeton’s school color schemata was due to an error on some Princeton students from way back when’s part. Since actually the colors of the house of Orange — and also of the Netherlands — are orange and BLUE! As in the colors (and for the self-same reason!) of um Knickerbocker’s Gotham! (Aye eeh: New Yoik Citay!)

    So.

    OK.

    You had a bunch of religious dissenters basically runnin Parliament. And then in reaction to the crowns treatin them dismissively and tryin to outlaw em, they —– R-r-r-revolt! Under el generlissimo/”fuhere” (for which I ask for an exception to the principles of REDUCTIO AD HITLERUM here), Oliver.

    Oliver goes over to the emerald isle and completely disgustingly, even for the standards of his own times, kicks Irish butts. Well, since the Irish didn’t like the Presbyterians who’d been granted land grants there. You know, to kind of help integrate these popish lands under the crown and all.

    BUT — When mister All Powerful Oliver went up and subdued the Scots, he was really basically nice about it and all, y’know? Much less, well, horrific. Why? Well, he only disagreed with the Calvinism of Scotland to the degree that it’s churches were state sponsorted. But, maybe Scotland was more integrally (sic [lex.?]) integrated into the kingdom than was the emerald isle, at that time? (Or since!)

    What’s his name?

    Um . . . Yeah: Charles the Second — digs up the deceased Oliver, beheads him (well probably not PERSONALLY! lol) and puts the corpses on a post outside Westminster Cathedral where it stays for the next quarter Cee.

    Until about the time of the afore mentioned William the IIIrd “of Orange.” Who ALSO kicks Ulster butt. (Hmm — ! Sighs.)

    Anyway: As sir Paul sang (altho banned on the British Broadcasting Corporation), “Give Irish back to the . . . !” ( ! )

    Except, in actuality: yo, Mark! I absolutely abhore BOTH English (or ANY kind of) Imperialism — AND any kind of “counter,” ethnic/tribalist Nationalisms. Such as the founding of the Irish Republic!

    To which I would append . . . Greek. American. Turkish. Blah blah blah. Although I’ll refrain to mention Israel on the principle of the rhetorical faux pas of REDUCTIO AD ZIONISMUM.

    Still, I will live with them all. You see, I think “us versus them” is a necessary evil in this world. Patriotisms are simply inferiority complexes turned inside out. False patriotism is, that is. Which is akin to false pride. Whereas true pride is to simply not feel superior to others but to take pride in one’s own actions and accomplishments without reference so much to others. In otherwords, I never trust people who worship mere people or positions. If they say “We’re right and you’re wrong” I don’t want to see them govern.

    Although when I’m stuck with these folks, I’ll go ahead and manage somehow, I guess. But what I mean is that I much prefer folks who say instead, “Hmm. I HOPE that I can rule, I can govern, according to enlightened principles. Yet others’ beliefs and principles must have value too. But it will only be to the extent that the principles I operate by — the ethics and accountability — that my rule will turn out to be good and intrinsically useful.”

    In other words, such people worhips processes of seeking wisdom and discernement and trying to effect ethical principles rather than they’re merely worshiping positions or mere people.

    So — and ta bring it all back now, lol!:

    You know, Mark: Orange. Green. Or whatever — I don’t really care! Except that I believe all forceful hegemony to be in some essence evil. Yet the status quo may give folks in established positions of power and responsibilities the position from which to try and rule according to good principles and all, y’know? Since all established positions are according to some war lord or another’s military type grab of power at some time or another in the past, y’know?

    And: Well, as for your take on Luther/ anti-Luther?

    I just don’t know! Ya just confuse me with your polysyllables in its theological um argot really, Mark. Truth be told. Sighs.

    Shrugs. I like the countercultural aspects of the hut-dwelling, Catholic orders, though. I can relate to that and agree to it, as opposed to some of the proud bourgeoisie of the true faith as manifested in successful works crowd. Or at least maybe I do. I dunno.

    But then I don’t know how well I’d personally fare tryin to live by Benedict’s rule.

    You talk a lot about the elevation of reason after the fact of faith or something, Mark. Which I suppose might be fine. If I could follow it.

    You see, if I see you hangin around your hut, and I come out from workin in my fields to get some kind of enlightening teachings from you that enable me to accept my lot in life while I also work to ethically and altruistically do right by my fellow man — that is, if I want you to take time out from your contemplations and study to impart some teachings I can incorporate into my more secular and householder’s life . . . and then you begin to impart to me teachings having to do with canon law, having to do with highfallutin uh talmudic or jesuitical or whatnot reasonings . . . . Shrugs. I don’t know. Maybe it’ll go over my head.

    Or maybe not. I guess I might try harder to follow what you see and are trying to impart. (As removed as I am from a position of that initial leap of faith as I am in any case. Hmm. Which is an interesting setpoint for me to have even as a potential lay disciple of this hypothetical “Mark as recluse/ holyman” in the first place, I guess.)

    Anyway, Mark, thanks very much for having read this ramble. You are very kind. Kimball

  417. Kimball L. Hunt on June 13, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    (And, I meant to type that it was Oliver’s corpse’s HEAD that Charles II put on a post outside Westminster Cathedral for a quarter century — )

  418. Kimball L. Hunt on June 13, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Uh: Abbey. (Duh!)

  419. Kimball L. Hunt on June 14, 2006 at 12:29 am

    Ah: the Dutch!*******

    ||[*******(One last thing. I promise!): Yet . . . WHY is the flag of the Netherlands, instead of orage, white, and blue, RED white ‘n’ blue?

    ||[The in the 15th Cee, the Lord of Burgandy’s flag was red laurel branches in an ex on a white field.

    ||[Then Dutch rebels under the prince of Orange fought for their independence from the lord of Burgandy (whose flag, incidentally, was criss-crossed red boughs of laurel on white) under striped flags — of variable numbers of stripes, or of even of rays projecting from a circle — of the princes heraldic colors of orange white and blue.

    ||[Some say that as the yellow in the orange dyes would, with time, leach out, they would be rendered red? Anyway, since red and blue can be seen, most general, to be more popular, perhaps with time people tended to prefer this effect.

    ||[From 1810-1813, only French imperial flags were used. After liberation, the people flew both versions at random. However the red white and blue one became the norm, although often with a separate banner of orange flying alongside of it.

    ||[Although Dutch fascists ONLY used the otherwise less-used ORANGE-and-blue colors variant in their party flags, never red and blue (the latter looking to them much too much like that of the French”? And, also, the incredibly brutal, red-white-‘n’-blue waving British had annexed lands from Africaaner farmers/militiamen in the Boer wars); on 19 Feb 1937 queen Wilhelmina (the princess of Orange-Nassau whose family’s still the largest shareholders in Royal Dutch Shell) stipulations the national flag of the Netherlands to be particular shades of, indeed, RED white and blue.]||

  420. Mark Butler on June 14, 2006 at 1:39 am

    Well I rather like green, Kimball, but in Ireland I am afraid the Butlers (Normans all) are rather more well known (perhaps unfairly) for defending the interests of the King of England than the local populace, with notable exceptions among the lesser nobility – who were always going ‘native’, to the dismay of those on the other side of the Irish channel.

    Well, as it happens James Butler (1610-1688), heritary leader of the Irish Butlers, was the most prominent royalist in Ireland during the English Civil War, led the armies of Charles I against the initial Irish rebellion, a man who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland through many of the following decades, raised a Protestant in England after the death of his father and never particularly popular with with the Catholics even when they joined forces together against Cromwell’s Parliament. Given the succeeding anti-Catholic turn of events after the Restoration with the ascendancy of William of Orange, you can see why many Catholics in Ireland might view the Butlers with some suspicion, no matter how distantly related and anti-royalist they might be – always perceived as foreigners to a degree, agents of Norman and English influence in Ireland, and among the minority of the long time Irish who readily converted to Protestantism.

  421. MikeInWeHo on June 14, 2006 at 1:48 am

    re: 414
    Mais bien sur, alethiea. I suspect we mostly see things eye-to-eye. You win, regardless. I can’t compete with someone who tosses around the word puissance so comfortably. For the most part, I was just trying to defend poor, besieged elizabeth. Can you imagine how tough it is to be a good Mormon AND European these days?

  422. aletheia on June 14, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Mike, I know that you were trying to defend Elizabeth. I think that she can take care of herself – even that she’s scratching for a fight. But, regardless, I don’t really want to go after her (I just got a little riled and rhetorical). She has some genuine points and concerns. However, seeing the marriage debate as an index of American civilization, just doesn’t work and I wanted to point that out.

    It has to be difficult to be Mormon and European. In most countries, the two don’t flow nearly as seemlessly as being Mormon and American. There are reasons for the comparatively small numbers of converts in most European countries.

    You’ve been defeated by the ease of my puissance?

  423. MikeInWeHo on June 14, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    No, I was defeated by the puissance of your vocabulary !

  424. Steve Hardy on June 14, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    I assume that most bloggers know this already, but Jeffrey Nielsen’s contract as an adjunct professor at BYU was terminated because of his written opposition to the FP statement, as stated above in # 390. Both the SL Tribune and Deseret News have it in their on-line versions of the news today. His deparment at BYU appears to be taking full responsibility for this decision, and his department has made it clear that this was not done by the “administration.”

    Those of us who know Jeff also know that he is a person of great integrity and real sensitivity. He has a life-long commitment to the church and to his family. I will hope for the best for him, as I am sure that this will be difficult time for him and for his family.

  425. Kimball L. Hunt on June 14, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    Well. To adapt an idiom from Spanish (um as has to do with bullfighting?): Immaculate puissance the breadth of a hair’s easily subdues a thousand bulls.

  426. S Hardy on June 14, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    This won’t be news to most bloggers, but Jeffrey Nielsen (wrote the op-ed piece in #390) was informed that his contract as an adjunct professor at BYU would not renewed because of this piece. His department at BYU has made it clear that they acted on their own, and not as a result of a recommendation from the “administration.”

    We can hope that Jeff and his family will be able to get past this issue without too much damage being done. I admire him for his integrity and agree with his reasoned conclusions.

  427. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    S Hardy,

    That’s an interesting definition of integrity that applauds someone for violating the terms of his contract.

  428. greenfrog on June 14, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Are the terms of such contracts public knowledge? If so, I’d be interested in reading one.

  429. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    greenfrog,

    I’m thinking of BYU’s policy on academic freedom, which is available online. Perhaps it wasn’t technically correct to call that ‘his contract’ (or maybe it is–I don’t know the ins and outs of BYU’s policies) but what is clear is that BYU makes no effort to hide its policies on what is and what is not permissible for its professors. There’s no reason on earth for what happened to have been a surprise to him–he knew exactly what he was getting himself into.

  430. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    See here: http://www.byu.edu/fc/pages/refmapages/acadfree.html

    Relevant passage:

    “Examples would include expression with students or in public that:

    1. contradicts or opposes, rather than analyzes or discusses, fundamental Church doctrine or policy;

    2. deliberately attacks or derides the Church or its general leaders; or

    3. violates the Honor Code because the expression is dishonest, illegal, unchaste, profane, or unduly disrespectful of others.”

  431. Anonymous on June 14, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    #427: How does not renewing a one-class per semester contract–probably worth no more than a couple of thousand dollars a semester–harm a guy who has a best-selling business book and a successful consulting business? Nielsen\’s letter may have hurt him with some of his fellow Mormons, but I don\’t see how refusing to renew his contract hurt him or his family very much.

  432. Mark Butler on June 14, 2006 at 6:35 pm

    Kimball, I do not think a world not subject to the constraints of logic of some sort or other can be conceived of – reason does not tell us anything about the world, other than it is consistent with itself – determinate not arbitrary in fundamental respects. Having faith in *necessary* contradictions is contrary to the ideal of truth.

    And if a world that subject to the constraints of reason cannot even be concieved, A God who is not a God of truth is not worth worshipping.

    D&C 93 is very strong on this topic:

    Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;

    And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.

    The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.
    (D&C 93:23-28)

    Now there are some subtleties to that correspondence-style definition of truth that are rather significant, but clearly any schema of truth that denies the reality of history (fixity of the past, determinacy of the present, constraints on the future) or the law of non contradiction must be regarded as evil in our doctrine. The deflationary theory of truth will not cut it either. Truth is about reality, a purely self referential truth is powerless.

  433. obi-wan on June 14, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    That’s an interesting definition of integrity that applauds someone for violating the terms of his contract.

    It would be an odd definition of integrity that, when appropriate, didn’t applaud some violations.

    Some contracts can and should be violated, particularly if their repugnancy only becomes apparent over time. I think it’s very clear that at least one definition of “integrity” would include principled breach of a contract, even at high personal cost. Thank heaven that there are some soldiers who disobey immoral orders, some employees who blow the whistle on illegality, some bureaucrats who decry corruption, even if their actions violate some contract or other.

    I won’t opine on whether Neilsen’s action was in fact such a principled violation — but pretty clearly he thought it was.

  434. Nathan on June 14, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    I admire [BYU] for [their] integrity and agree with [their] reasoned conclusions.

  435. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    I am not buying it, obi-wan. Incidents like this crop up with some regularity at BYU, and he should have known what to expect. If he thought BYU s policy was unethical, he should not have kept cashing their checks and signing their contracts. It is very, very difficult to see this as anything but a publicity stunt on his part–anything but a principled violation.

  436. Kimball L. Hunt on June 14, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    Re # 433:

    What I’m talkin bout, Mark, is such things as the

    /de.FLA.tion.AR.y THEOry of TRUTH/.

    But it’s not this noun phrase’s one and two syllable-ers but its FIVE syllable-er. Also above it is that

    /CORresPONdence-STYLE defiNItion of Truth/.

    Which sneaks up on my since — well yeah — I do correspondence all the time. So I wait for this familiar lics in these chops of phillysophical riffs to register with something in my head. Ponders long. Shrugs.

    By the way, science contradicts itself constantly. Its theories do. They gather data and find patterns which they try to account for. But, then, even according to the best theories they come up with, newly collected data in some measure continually contradicts with these theories they come up with. So then they go back to the drawing board again to refine their theories. Something like that, I think. Shrugs. But the very basis of science is — the data. Which data can be recurrently collected.

    Or: As is “established by the voice of many witnesses”(?) . . .

  437. obi-wan on June 14, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    Incidents like this crop up with some regularity at BYU, and he should have known what to expect.

    The First Presidency endorses constitutional amendments with some regularity? To my knowledge it is a first.

    It is entirely possible that one could enter a contract feeling one could live with opposition to ERA and the MX missile, and yet later come to feel the need to draw a line at more blatant political interference by the Church with the constitution.

    But in any event, I am not interested in defending Mr. Neilsen’s particular actions. You claimed as a general matter that a definition of integrity could not include breaching a contract; I claim that it can.

  438. Mark Butler on June 14, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    Kimball, you are falling for an unnecessarily bivalent definition of truth. The classic error of skeptics everywhere – notably Thomas Kuhn. Scientific truth, of all things, should be conceived in terms of *fidelity*. Newton’s laws have not been proven false, they have only had their fidelity refined.

    Any theory that can be proven absolutely false was never science at all, but idle conjecture. Sure the schools of science are infested with such vain speculations, but none of it is science without evidence to back it up. The truth of a theory is approximated as coherence to evidence. No coherence no truth. Lots of coherence, plenty of truth.

    Why? Because the first principle of science is that coherence to evidence converges on fidelity to reality.

  439. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    obi-wan, that’s a pretty uncharitable reading of my comment. Of course amendments about SSM don’t come up much, but situations where a BYU instructor/prof takes public issue with the church and/or its leaders and is fired/not offered a new contract seem to happen at least every couple of years or so. My point was that it isn’t like whatshisbananas got ambushed: he knew the policy, he knew it was actually enforced.

    I suppose there are some cases where integrity would require breach of contract, such as an employer interpreting the contract in some unanticipated manner (“By compensation, we meant seashells!”). But this isn’t one of those cases.

  440. Mark Butler on June 14, 2006 at 9:18 pm

    The second is that the fidelity of a theory to reality is best known through predictive power – predicting the evidence before it is gathered, rather than predictive impotence – modifying the theory after the fact.

    On the predictive power / impotence spectrum Newton’s law is higher than just about any non-physical theory every proposed. So it is highly ironic that social studies types use it as an example of infidelity. Einsteinian relativity is far less confirmed in fundamental respects than Newton’s law is. There is a reason why Newton’s Law is known as law, and relativity is still known as theory – namely that the most controversial aspects of Einsteinian relativity have never been validated, as in demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. Newton’s Law has – within the domain of applicability as accurate and faithful as any scientific principle ever discovered.

  441. Julie M. Smith on June 14, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    This page takes forever to load . . . must be time to close comments.

  442. Mark Butler on June 14, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    If what’s his name is going to appeal to the higher law to justify his actions, that is fine – however BYU can also appeal to the higher law to justify its decision to fire him. He has no basis for complaint on contractual grounds. The only complaint can be a dispute over the higher law, beyond simple mortal adjudication.

    It is like somebody complaining they are being kept out of heaven because the laws of the kingdom are all wrong. Okay, go form your own kingdom, or at least address your arguments to the law makers and fellow citizens, not those without the gates.

    At some point dissent turns into sedition, an organization based on *voluntary* consent rather than coercion has to maintain its integrity by different means. And the prerogatives of membership and exile are the only means available – ultima ratio ecclesiasticum.

  443. obi-wan on June 14, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    I suppose there are some cases where integrity would require breach of contract, such as an employer interpreting the contract in some unanticipated manner (�By compensation, we meant seashells!�). But this isn’t one of those cases.

    I don’t know if it’s one of those cases or not. It could be.

    But I agree that an excellent way to avoid having to choose between your conscience and your job in such cases is to not have an employment contract at BYU.

  444. Russell Arben Fox on June 14, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    “…but what is clear is that BYU makes no effort to hide its policies on what is and what is not permissible for its professors.”

    I assume this is correct, Julie, but my experience is that, when the Board of Trustees feels the mission of BYU is being compromised or the tithing funds they invest in BYU are being abused, they don’t exactly wait to dot every i and cross every t. An example from back in the early 90s was when Cecilia Farr was denied tenure, technically on academic grounds. In reality, of course, Farr was not granted tenure because she’d spoken at an abortion rights rally in Salt Lake City, and had been enough of a feminist “troublemaker” on campus to have little cover once the backlash began for her having done so. She was told, in one of her many meetings with then-Provost Hafen, that she’d violated a university policy by making a public appearance at that march. When she asked to see that policy, she was told she couldn’t, as it was an “unwritten” one.

    I’m assuming, though, that BYU has gotten a lot better at this sort of thing over the past decade.

  445. S Hardy on June 14, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    “That’s an interesting definition of integrity that applauds someone for violating the terms of his contract.”

    Julie M Smith: In his book, “Integrity”, Stephen Carter writes that integrity requires a three step process:
    1. Decide what is right and wrong.
    2. Do the right thing.
    3. State why you are doing the right thing.

    Although I can’t read someone’s mind, it seems to me that when you agree to a contract such as that required at BYU, that you might, at some future point, find yourself disagreeing with some stated policy. If that disagreement is important to you, then some sort of resolution might be sought. One resolution is to remain silent on the matter. This is the resolution which many of us may choose. Over time, we might come to decide that the matter isn’t that important after all, or we may find that after time and reflection that we were wrong, and the church policy was correct after all. Sometimes however, we might find that the issue can’t be resolved by silence and reflection. When two principles collide (a signed contract at BYU, vs a strong belief about a matter) one principle may need to trump the other. In this case, I applaud his integrity for having the courage to publicly state the reasoning behind his action. I believe that the tone of the column was restrained, respectful, and thoughtful, and showed respect for church doctrine.

    Furthermore, I am sure that the writer was not shocked or surprised at his dismissal from BYU. He is quoted in the SL papers as having lost much sleep since publishing the piece.

  446. greenfrog on June 14, 2006 at 11:14 pm

    I’m thinking of BYU’s policy on academic freedom, which is available online.

    Thanks for the link, Julie. I hadn’t read that before.

  447. DavidH on June 14, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    I am not surprised that his contract was not renewed, and note that BYU has not alleged that he breached his contract, nor tried to terminate his contract now on the basis of some sort of breach.

    With respect to the BYU academic freedom statement:

    “Examples would include expression with students or in public that:

    1. contradicts or opposes, rather than analyzes or discusses, fundamental Church doctrine or policy;

    2. deliberately attacks or derides the Church or its general leaders; or

    3. violates the Honor Code because the expression is dishonest, illegal, unchaste, profane, or unduly disrespectful of others.�

    Which one was violated?

    Was his statement in opposition to “fundamental” church doctrine or policy? If so, which doctrines or policies that he opposed are “fundamental”?

    Was it “attacking” or “deriding” the Church or general leaders? (Perhaps. Calling the Church’s position “immoral” might come close to an “attack.”)

    Or was the expression “disrespectful” of others?

  448. Julie M. Smith on June 15, 2006 at 12:02 am

    RAF, I am not familiar with the details of that incident, but I did think it was a very good thing that the letter BYU wrote (which Neilsen released) made it clear precisely why his contract was not being renewed. Of course BYU should follow its own policies, to the t. In this case, it appears that they did.

    S Hardy, the problem that I have with your scenario is that he wasn’t locked into some eternal contract; presumably, he didn’t come by his opinions on SSM in the last few months, but he did sign on to teach at BYU on a semester or year or whatever basis. If I found out that he had a change of heart on SSM since he signed his latest contract, I’ll eat my words, but my hunch is that he knew precisely what he was getting himself into. I cannot countenance making him into some kind of principled hero when he put himself into this situation of his own volition.

  449. Jim F. on June 15, 2006 at 12:15 am

    Russell (#445–unbelievable!): I think there is general agreement at BYU that Cecila’s case was bungled in a variety of ways. The document on academic freedom to which Julie referred was written after that case and surely at least partly in response to it.

  450. Mark Butler on June 15, 2006 at 12:18 am

    I think BYU’s problem with Nielsen has less to do with his position on same sex marriage than it has to do with his with his position on the illegitimacy of Church participation in the political process with regard to issues it sees as fundamental.

    He is saying that the Church’s participation is less legimate than his is. That is religious antinomianism of a sort that potentially invalidates the Church’s raison d’etre.

    That said, I think a position on the relative lack of merit of a consitutional amendment as a solution to the challenges facing the Church on this issue would have been fine, but a position claiming that SSE is legimate per se, and that (implicitly) the Church is up in the night, discriminating without a basis, is definitely in opposition to fundamental Church doctrine.

    Other religious academic institutions have much stricter requirements than BYU does. Professors end up moving / being dismissed all the time over arguments we would consider relatively inconsequential.

    Excellent article here:

    To Be a Christian College
    Alan Jacobs, First Things, April 2006
    http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0604/articles/jacobs.html

  451. Galileo on June 15, 2006 at 12:52 am

    There are plenty of wonderful things about being a professor at BYU — good undergraduates, beautiful campus, affordable housing, excellent skiing, wholesome family environment, etc.

    But the fear that you won’t be allowed to speak your mind (in blogs, letters to the editor, conferences, discussions with students, etc.) on moral or political issues is enough to frighten away a lot of people. Certainly this is the greatest worry among academics I have known who have considered jobs at BYU. Even people with no current desire to express misgivings about a church policy worry that they may feel a need or desire to express misgivings in the future.

    So there is no question that these policies cost BYU something — namely, their ability to hire top chemists, biologists, literary theorists, etc. is diminished somewhat by their restrictions on speech. (I’d wager that most university departments around the country don’t contain even one professor who supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It sometimes seems remarkable that BYU can find anybody at all from academia who is willing to work there, let alone enough people to staff an entire university.)

    On the other hand, they gain something — namely, a remarkably orthodox and academic community and (more amazingly) a university town that votes overwhelmingly Republican. Perhaps this (the spiritual orthodoxy, not the Republican voting) is really good for the students and the university overall. Perhaps the gains outweigh the costs.

    Hard to say without some actual data….

  452. MikeInWeHo on June 15, 2006 at 1:56 am

    Galileo,
    You’re assuming that BYU isn’t replete with academics who just keep their mouths shut. Human nature and the market for PhDs being what they are, I’m sure there are plenty of people willing to take a cush job on the faculty of BYU even though they hold ‘liberal’ views. I wonder what an anonymous faculty poll would reveal. On the other hand, as you correctly point out, they mostly seem to wind up voting Republican and presumably the polling booth remains anonymous (although these days, who knows!).

  453. WillF on June 15, 2006 at 9:41 am

    On the other other hand, I’m sure (ok, I’m guessing really) there are quite a few closet-conservative professors at other Universities who “just keep their mouths shut” for similar but opposite reasons.

  454. MikeInWeHo on June 15, 2006 at 10:37 am

    Oh for sure! In such a polarized climate, there are infiltrators everywhere……. : )

  455. bbell on June 15, 2006 at 11:21 am

    Hey Mike,

    I went to the University of Illinois. There were as far as I knew 0 conservatives in the political science department. In the business school there were 1-2 conservatives. I knew other conservative students but conservative viewpoints were not welcome in the classroom. So we shut up and graduated. I remember once that a German student made some unPC comments in a business class in my presence. She was reported to the honor code people and was investigated. They let her off with a warning. Essentially she had voiced support for the do not ask/tell policy in the US military. When she said this I remember hoping that she did not get into trouble. But she did.

    BYU is a major anamoly in academia. Its essentially the opposite politically of most universities.

  456. Mark Butler on June 15, 2006 at 12:03 pm

    That is because in America increasingly “religious” and “conservative” are becoming synonymous terms. Most of the denizens of the ivory tower see themselves as the anti-religion, the enlightened liberators of religious tyranny everywhere.

    The exception is those institutions that still see religious heritage as something worth preserving and promoting, not an embarrassment of their past best worth burying like rotten cabbage.

  457. Costanza on June 15, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Ask Larry Summers about academic freedom at Harvard. No institution allows for complete academic freedom. How would an Ivy League school react if a professor began teaching that the Holocaust never happened, or that it did happen but that the Jews deserved it? What if they were to teach that slavery actually improved the lives of slaves? You get the point. Conservative limitations on academic freedom and speech are typically deemed authoritarian (like Michael Quinn’s absurd and oh so dramatic assertion that BYU was an “Auschwitz of the mind”) while liberal constraints are simply seen as protective.

  458. MikeInWeHo on June 15, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    bbell–

    At U.of M. in Ann Arbor in class it was all-liberalism all the time, that’s for sure. There were definitely campus Republicans though, often quite vocal, along with every imaginable religious organization. I was in student government still remember how frankly wacko some of the far-left types were. One thing I learned there: There’s no one more illiberal than a liberal. Yet I find the far-right even more repellant. Where have all the true moderates gone?? Too busy blogging, I suppose….

    re: 458 You can’t reasonably compare Harvard to BYU. The reason conservative limitations on academic freedom are deemed authoritarian is because they are SO much more restrictive. Let’s make a list of what views/speech/publication can get you kicked out of BYU and compare it to what can get you kicked out of Harvard.

    I rather liked BYU’s statement about academic freedom, even though I would never agree to it (or send my child to an institution that used such an approach). It’s very clear, candid, straightforward, and explanatory. For me, sorting through the cacophony of Berkeley or Madison or Ann Arbor is the core of higher education. If someone disagrees and chooses to opt out for BYU, what’s wrong with that?

  459. mullingandmusing (m&m) on June 15, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Galileo,
    There is a lot more that comes into play than just BYU’s policies. The pay there isn’t as high as with other places, and I suspect it’s often harder to get funding than at other, more recognized schools.

    Mike,
    I wouldn’t go right to cush to describe jobs at BYU. I know a professor or two, and I’m not sure they would describe their job as cush. Generally, I think people who go to BYU WANT to go for the culture and environment, not because it’s some easy life. If they don’t want that culture, there are plenty of other places that would be great for them. And they are encouraged to go elsewhere, I believe. I believe BYU wants people who want to be there and who want the unique culture that BYU offers.

  460. Costanza on June 15, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    ” You can’t reasonably compare Harvard to BYU.” Sure I can. But I didn’t. I simply suggested that there exists a blind-spot when it comes to the limitations placed on academic freedom and speech at academic institutions at large.

  461. elizabeth on June 16, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    hallo I back ( my son was sick but better know) just read all about the dutch in your postings.

    First of all lett me say that all of dutchies would love to gett out of the EU, per person we pay the EU the most tax.

    Secondly yes your are right we have our own problems here in Holland ( I do not want to talk about other countries because we are a country of our own) BUT the differance I find is that our goverment knows and not hide behind the gay people.

    things are changing in every country even in liberal Holland.
    My brother is gay and his partner recently told me that it was getting harder for him and my brother to walk the streets in Amsterdam without some people glaring at them.

    I find in Holland that the great division between the level of wealth is getting bigger and since that is bigger people freak out. Before everybody in Holland ( even the once on welfare) had a very good live, since the economy dropped and the introduction of the euro life is harder here.

    And when life is harder then people tent to point out to minority groups to blame them.
    That is what I think is happening in the States ( from the vieuw I have of it).

    The lds church is so big and because of the thinthing pretty wealthy they do can so much more with there money.
    Why don’t work and encourage there members to work on other issues like kids that starf, kids that gett pregnent because there is no sexual education at home or at school etc etc.

    Bush abused the conservatif orriented churches for his agenda and that is to bad that the lds church fell into that trap.

    I am also freaked out with generalization.
    here in Holland people have a certain vieuw of the americans
    and the americans have their vieuw about the dutch

    this also with gay people.
    My brother and brother in law live normale lives just like hetero’s do.
    and the Hollywood stereotyping of homo’s is not always the reality
    just like the steriotyping that Bush and his crowd are doing isn’t reality.

    And I think we as christens have no right to say anything wrong or denying other people just because they are different.

    Ok just one more remark
    Alatehia:

    I was only talking from a dutch point of vieuw. To talk about the ww2 with a Dutchie who parents and other family members suffert greatly by the germans I want to point out to you that your country had no intrest back then to help us , until they where attack themselves at pearl harbour.

    I have lived in Croatia for about five years I know first hand wath the war has done with them overthere and I can tell you that I looked into that war and talked with people and they all said that that the civil war in Bosnia could have been prevanted if the States kept to there NATO promise to help out but they did not because there was no oil under the Bosnian soil.

    Ok I think before we gett of subject that anyone who like to talk politics write me personally
    blombenhard at yahoo dot com

    love
    Elizabeth ( you know the proud citizen of the royal kingdom of the Netherlands)

  462. elizabeth on June 16, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    in posting 396 I stated that I was afraid of Jeff Nielsen’s membership
    I listened to mp3 broadcasting of a intervieuw he did at KUER radio and it was asked if he was scared that he would lose his membership and he said yes.

    So now not only gay people should be scared but also people who would like to express themselves just like the church ask them to do.

    This is the typical double bind theory that the church is using and making me grazy.

    a you have free acency
    b but you are not allowed to express it

    c devallop your talent
    d but you are not allowed to use it

    etc

    Elizabeth ( the real dutchy)

  463. MikeInWeHo on June 16, 2006 at 6:06 pm

    re: 462 “Bush abused the conservatif orriented churches for his agenda and that is to bad that the lds church fell into that trap.”

    That’s the best statement I’ve seen on this entire thread. The over-identification between the Church and Bush2-era Republicanism is just profoundly unfortunate, from my point of view. Hard to imagine anything much worse for overseas mission work. Anybody gotten any feedback from overseas missionaries to that effect the past few years?

    Thanks for jumping in Elizabeth!

  464. Mark Butler on June 16, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    I think it is so amusing that the radical left thinks in the same black and white terms as the radical right. You call it “abusing” I call it coalition building – something the Democrats will have to learn how to do unless they want to remain indefinitely in the minority.

  465. Kimball L. Hunt on June 17, 2006 at 2:01 am

    Well, Elizabeth:

    Good luck to the orange shirts in the upcoming Cup match! (Lol: However, I’ll admit to you I have Argie friends who’ll be singing Ooooo-LEEEE! ole`! ole`! o-LEEEEE! Smiles.)

    – Kimball

    (Oh P.S. — Do you happen to have got straight, blonde hair crisply cut to stick out from under your white linen hat in a flip, wear yellow, wooden shoes and grow tulips near a windmill by any chance? That is — when you’re not ice skating?)

  466. MikeInWeHo on June 17, 2006 at 11:36 am

    re: 465 So true, Mark. The extreme left and right are very similar in their thinking, as you have noted (no doubt you imagine me one of the radical left, but then again I may be making the same mistake about you on the right).

    Perhaps Elizabeth should have said “Bush deceived the conservative oriented churches into joining his coalition, and many fell into his scheme….” : )

  467. Mark Butler on June 17, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    One could see the same thing on the right – notably in the pages of American Spectator in the early nineties. I happen to think that Clinton was in some ways a disgrace to his country, but he is far from the pure evil. Likewise I have my qualms about President Bush – different ones in many cases, but serious nonetheless, but I cannot think of him as an evil man – just one whose policies I disagree with in many cases.

    I might suggest by the way that the reason why Bush is unpopular has relatively little to do with his lack of support on the Left, but rather with his lack of support on the Right. Reagan was more conservative than Bush in a variety of respects and did not have half of the right wing publicly distancing themselves from his policies.

    As far as Bush (or his administration), I think he is too naively Wilsonian, too naively laissez faire on economics, largely absent of any kind of coherent domestic policy, too welfarist, inclined to spend too much money on things of limited value, to establishmentarian, too much in league with unjustified business interests, and so on. But that makes him more of a Rockefeller country club Republican, not the root of all evil.

  468. MikeInWeHo on June 17, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    Yeah, the rhetoric on both extremes is strikingly similar. I hate it when people compare Bush to Hitler, etc. That’s incorrect, offensive, and politically stupid. Since I don’t have any close friends who are Republican, I’m exposed to the excesses of the left much more frequently. That said, I just love listening to Ann Coulter. She cracks me up! Not the brightest star in the conservative firmament, imo….

    Bush has earned his lack of support on the right. He has betrayed the heritage of Reagan that he seems to think he’s following. The fact that he’s never vetoed a single bill out of congress alone indicates just how bad it is. Will be interesting to see what happens in November.

    (Just doing my part to bring the string over the 500 mark)

  469. Mark Butler on June 17, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    If you want to read intelligent conservatism, National Review is probably the thought leader among “movement” conservatives. FIRST THINGS as well. Commentary is the classic neo-conservative journal, and apparently Weekly Standard is following in their footsteps. I am generally an NR conservative myself, with some notable exceptions on the proper role of certain types of economic regulation (antitrust, telecom) and the unwarranted degree of faith many conservatives have in capitalism based on rational self interest alone. Morality in business ultimately has to be a religion of principle, and not just government regulation of outright fraud.

    Ann Coulter I don’t listen to, but generally I classify her with the demagogue, populist quasi-conservatives, not the deep thinking, well considered ones. She says some ridiculous things on a pretty regular basis, seemingly more to gain notoriety than to promote sound judgment – to a degree anyway. Talk radio has the same problem – politics as entertainment. Useful, but limited.

  470. elizabeth on June 18, 2006 at 7:03 am

    Reaction to 466

    No Kimball I am to busy keeping my tumb in the dyke!!!!!

    Elizabeth

  471. elizabeth on June 18, 2006 at 7:26 am

    So if the conservative churches were lured into Bushes agenda and the lds church was one of them I then start to wonder were the inspiration of the GA’S is comming from?

    There is still not hunderd percent prove that homosexuality is only a choice.
    My brother has said that he has felt like that his whole life. And now that I am raising a boy myself I can see the differance between how my bro was as a young child and how my son is.

    I remember when my brother came out and told us all. My mother worried that I would condem my brother ( I am the only lds in my family).
    But one day I talked with my brother and told him that I do not understand same sex attrection ( still do not)but that I knew one thing for sure and that is
    that Jesus gave him as my brother and that mented that I would love him indeffently and forever.
    He is a gift in my life from God, just like if he would be a hetero orieted person.

    In my opnion that are several reasons why a person could be same sex oriented:

    a the genetical make up in his/her body
    b the way he/she was raised
    c the person in question had so much negative experiances in live with someone of the oposite sex that it seems beter to have a relation with someone of the same sex.
    d……………………..

    I think we as simple people( In dutch we say: wij boeren lullen= we simple farmers) do not know it all but sometimes behave that we know it all just to elavated our own sense of welbeing , our superpriotiry feeling.
    they are wrong and we therefore we are right.

    I think we as Christians ( active of not active lds and others) should be very very carefull labeling people like that.

    What would have happended with the States if Bush and all the churches would put there time and financies in a amandment that it is unconstitutional for children to be hungry in the states.
    What do you think would have happened to the States and the people living in it?

    Now people are divided by this whole issue. Families are not brought together but seperated because you had to take a moral stand. And from my vieuw ( down here in the all and mighty kingdom of the netherlands:) )it seems that the polici of Bush if you are not for us you are against us, is not bringing families together but divided them.

    You and I know that if you live in 100 procent conservertive religieus family ( lds or other) and you where about to tell your family about your sex orrientation that you will not talk about it because your parents, brothers sisters etc just wrote a letter to deny you rights because of your same sex feelings.

    So therefore I feel that this whole thing is dividing families instead of bringing then together.

    Elizabeth( Who can proudly tell that the dutch soccer team won and goes to the next round and the US team is going home. Oleeee- Oleeeeeee- Oleeeeeee:) )

    ( sorry if i make typing or grammer mistakes it is hard to talk about these issues in another language)

  472. Kimball L. Hunt on June 18, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    (Well actually Liz: – I F – the yanks beat Ghana – A N D – Italy doesn’t draw against the Czechs, the US team WOULD likely advance . . . )

    But still: Can’t wait for the Dutch-Argie match tomorrow! (Played for fun! Both teams sure to advance, regardless!)

  473. Blake on June 18, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    I have a theory that the various sports popular in different countries tell us a lot about the psyche of these countries. Take soccer. Despite its world-wide popularity I just cannot bring myself to brecome interested in it. It is too much like Europe and South America in general. A lot of running, tremendous effort and sweat with nothing to show for it — no scoring. Games are won and lost in overtime on free kicks. Too European for me — to much sweat and lots of trying and a lot of pomp with no real results.

    American football is a sport I love. But it is a sport for those living in a Disneyland culture. Lots of actions for about 30 seconds and then it’s go stand in line for the next thrill about an hour from now. I could spend $150 for one day and get maybe five rides. Like football players standing in a huddle and then playing a play now and then, American culture consists of standing around for 30 seconds of thrills and then standing around waiting for it to come around again — kind of like working 6 days a week so that we can enjoy the 7th day. It is a game for a thrill-seeking work-aholic culture.

    Maybe baseball is the real American sport. Two guys palying catch with maybe a third getting involved again with 15 other guys watching and numerous umpires standing around doing nothing most of the time. It is a culture of great person surrounded by a bunch of do nothings and a lot of judges waiting to call the shots and lots of lawyers in the stands waiting to argue with them. On the other hand, the game is quintessentially American because one doesn’t really have to pay attention to enjoy the game, catch the peanuts and stand during the 7th inning stretch to sing with the crowd. Yep, it’s a game for a lot of people who just want to just go with the crowd.

    Tennis is a game that is perfect for the French. Lots of hitting, lots of running and lots of scoring — but it isn’t a team sport and only one person at a time can do all the work. It is like the French penchant for ignoring every one else and being annoyed when they invade personal space. Or maybe it’s the opportunity to make grunting sounds and really annoy one’s opponent that is so great about both France and tennis.

    Of course, it could be that LaCross is the real French sport. Lots of action. Lots of scoring. Lots of passing and team play. The only problem is figuring out who has the ball and whether there is any strategy except pass and let someone else huck it toward the goal. The problem is that everyone thinks everyone else will attempt a point on goal and so no one does — and they all sit around knowing that they could score from any position on the field but they are too cool to attempt it.

    Yep, sports tell us a lot about a national culture. I can’t get into soccer. Just not enough scoring and I don’t care if the Euros and South Americans love it — it is just a futile effort to look busy without results. I love American football but I hate waiting for rides at Disneyland. I love singing “take me out to the ballgame” but I hate watching a game of catch without any batters involved. I love watching tennis, but I hate all of the grunting. Maybe I should stick with figure skating which is graceful, athletic and the judges can fix it at will. Now there’s a sport the whole world can love.

  474. Kimball L. Hunt on June 19, 2006 at 2:50 am

    (Oops — Argentina-Netherlands is Tuesday!)

  475. Kimball L. Hunt on June 19, 2006 at 2:52 am

    Um Wwednesday, I mean!

  476. elizabeth on June 19, 2006 at 7:31 am

    kimball although I love your analysis of sports what has it got to do with the subject and my statemend that the amandmet thing didn’t bring families together but devide them even more?

    Elizabeth( from Holland)

    ps Holland – argentina is hard for the royals of Holland. Our future king is dutch and our future queen is from argentina. They both will be there to see the match.

  477. MikeInWeHo on June 19, 2006 at 10:51 am

    re: 471

    Watch out, Elizabeth! If you get caught doing that, you will lose you temple recommend or worse.

    (Sorry guys, I just couldn’t resist…….)

  478. Kimball L. Hunt on June 19, 2006 at 11:36 am

    U-u-um, h-h-ow does my mentioning the World Cup apply, Elizabeth?

    Well, how bout if Saints NOT supporting this admendment and those who DO both sponsored teams and settling their differences down on the playing field! And thanks for the celebrity tidbit about their Royal Majestic Highnesses’ family, too, “Eliza,” lol, which definately adds more intrigue to this coming game!

    pee ess: Ya wanna go out? DUTCH treat!
    _______
    (& pps to Mike in We Ho: I’d never even thought about this possible, etymological association of the slang term dyke before. . . . Could it be?)

  479. elizabeth on June 19, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    ain’t got a temple recomand so I am not worried here.
    ain’t going to CK either so I am not worried about anything.

    Elizabeth
    Don’t worry be happy

  480. elizabeth on June 19, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    Kimball I don’t like dutch treat
    I rather French kiss!!

    Ok I gett the explanation of the world cup the amandment etc.
    Watching them play soccer can bring families more together then asking over thepulpit to write to your senators.

    Be sure to watch the game because I am sure they will show our Royal Highness Crownprince Willem- Alexander ( we dutchies just call him alex or lex) and her Royal Highness Crownprinces
    Maxima and maybe you can spott them!!!!

    ( did you know that Maxima;s father was in the goverment of Argentina when all the people were disapearing? He was not allowed to be at his daughters wedding because of that.)

    Elizabeth ( your own special dutchie)

  481. MikeInWeHo on June 19, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    Oh that’s cool, Elizabeth. We’ll probably wind up together in some mid-level afterlife, and that sounds like fun !!!!

    Maybe the Terrestial Kingdom is like Holland !

  482. Kimball L. Hunt on June 20, 2006 at 12:51 am

    Hmm, a jeans wearing lass who frenches! So: You can’t be all that “bad,” lol, then, Elizabeth. And so, um, what kind of clavicles do ya have? (I.e.: Is your skin freckled or else unblemishedly, alabaster white!) And I’ll definately be looking for her royal highness, princess Maxima! (Who I imagine’s a real looker, too, huh! lol.)

  483. elizabeth on June 20, 2006 at 6:20 am

    reaction to 482

    Hey is Holland is the terrestial kingdom I know that we will have a ball because we are so multiculturale and open society that we have great people living here.

    I know that where ever I go in the afther life I will haver friends there, because It is not importend to me if you are CK material or not.
    What is importend to me is to share God’s love.

    And to come back on the subject that is what we really should do with people who live differently from us.

    Elizabeth ( the Dutch not CK goer)

  484. elizabeth on June 20, 2006 at 6:25 am

    Kimbal if you want albaster white woman you deffitenly need to go to the UK!!!!!!!!
    You can spot then right on at every coastline in the world( that and that the guys drink alot of beer)

    If you want a more personal thouch to how I look etc. I challlence you to write me privat
    blombenhard@yahoo.com

    hahahaha !!!!

    Yes our princes and future queen is very good looking and she speaks better dutch then I do.
    hahahaha

    Anyway do you know that gay people are also good at arts , sports etc?

    Elizabeth ( who is trying to survive larangitis at themoment)

  485. annegb on June 20, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Mike, how was church?

  486. MikeInWeHo on June 20, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    I went and saw States of Grace on Saturday (it’s showing up the block from me), then had the most vivid dreams about being back at Church that night. They weren’t bad dreams, just incredibly real. Then I chickened out on Sunday morning (sorry, Brian!) and went to brunch in Santa Monica with a friend instead…..

    But I’ll get there eventually. I really do want to visit.

  487. Aaron Brown on June 28, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    I completely disagree with all the comments in this thread, and I will now respond to all 487 of them in turn. Stay tuned …

    Aaron B

  488. Kimball L. Hunt on June 28, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Well, your grace — dutchess Elizabeth:

    I’m as white as sin — myself! (( . . . AND, admittedly, I’m at the very UPPER end, unfortunately, of my weight fluctuations, of late, too?!: almost 180 pounds on a five-foot, ten-inch frame — Which I think might be 170 cm? — Which I only mention ‘caus it might look like a slight BEER belly? And, um, although I’m visiting friends at the moment and had (solely) TWO Coronas — and NOT Amsels, sorry! lol — I don’t DON’T stock my own at home and fairly uh r-r–r-rarely drink! Laughs. However its consumption’s probably the best explanation of this current ramble as well, huh!))