12.09.2011

Controversy: Because I'm a Glutton for Punishment

A friend recently posted a video on facebook about a boy raised by lesbian parents and how he turned out "perfectly normal". And with that, the floodgates opened. A polite yet passionate debate ensued with comments on both sides of the story. I have to say that it was a very open conversation and no personal insults were exchanged.

However, I was disturbed by some of the comments on both sides for a few reasons. First, on the side supporting same sex marriage, there seemed to be a dismissal of the words of our prophets, present and past. This is not okay with me. Second, on the side opposing same sex marriage were the apostle-quoting, "my way is the right way" sort. Also not okay with me. So, I commented. And then I realized that what I said was only half of my heart-felt feelings on this subject. Because I know I don't have all the answers, many of my posts and comments, here and elsewhere, are often train of thought. The problem with that is that now my train of thought (that is often derailed) is now out there for everyone to judge  read. And this is where I ask for some help. Because of the "conversation" on facebook, I've been thinking a lot about my feelings on this issue. I want to know what you think. How do you feel about this issue? I don't want a bunch of bashers making unkind comments or a regurgitation of doctrine. I want to know genuinely, how do you feel and what do you think about this issue and the people dealing with it?

To get you started, here are the comments I made to my friend, mostly in reaction to some comments by others. Keep in mind that there were others comments posted between these ones, so it may not flow perfectly.  Also keep in mind that the conversation was among members of the church and I happened to be the only female who weighed in (Also keep in mind that, though I often feel like the grammar police, I've noticed many grammar issues with these comments. Apparently, my train of thought has the grammar skills of a sub-average high school student hee hee). It was an interesting discussion with lots of doctrinal issues exchanged. But ultimately, this is where my thoughts led me.

#1:  thanks for sharing this. it's interesting to read the the comments, too. i will say that i am deeply conflicted about the issue of same sex marriage. on one side, you have people who deserve the right to have their love legally recognized. on the other hand, if that "right" comes with direct consequences for our church, specifically temple ordinances, then i will always have to choose saving ordinances over temporal happiness.

i don't think any member of the church who supports same sex marriage would do so if it has adverse consequences to temple ordinances. however, since we all know that same sex marriages will not be recognizes as eternal in nature (based on the understanding that for eternal progression, an eternal union must be able to procreate), why not allow them to be happy.

i think we have a real problem in the church with quickly dismissing people who don't fit our definition of worthy. thirty years ago, my husband would have been dismissed (and some would still dismiss him today) because he is black. there were many members who said that blacks would never hold the priesthood or receive temple ordinances (elder mcconkie among them). thankfully, they were wrong and i have a wonderful, righteous husband who serves his church and family faithfully. there are those who would argue that being black and being gay are very different. they would say one isn't a choice and one is. i don't know whether it's a choice or not, but that's not my place to decide. we don't choose our trials, but only the manner with which we address, overcome, and trust in the Lord to carry us through them. 

my point is that when we are quick to point out what we deem as "wrong", it usually comes back to bite us. i am glad i don't have to be the judge of mens' hearts. i hope and pray that there is a way for everyone to have some joy and happiness in this life and that it doesn't come at the cost of temple ordinances.


#2:  the only reason i brought in the 1978 decision is simply to illustrate how finite our thinking is and our inability to see how the Lord might direct us. Even the leaders, who i believe are inspired, often do not know the full picture. in the end, all things will work out in the eternal scheme. i understand the wide gap between the definition of the family and the rights of the priesthood given to every worthy male. thankfully, we know who is really directing the work on both sides and we have to trust that His judgement and council is sound. that said, i sincerely hope that we can be more compassionate towards the trials of others, as we hope they are towards our trials. gospel knowledge aside, everyone deserves to at least feel that they're heard and valued.

#3:  
i think in my effort to be "nice", some things got lost. like jay and danny, i don't believe we should hide our faith "under a bushel". i believe we should stand up for our church, its leaders, and the gospel we hold sacred. i do not expect or want the church to change its position on same sex marriage. i believe in our living prophet with all my heart and am willing to honor the covenants i have made. i just wish that people would simply be a little more compassionate.

i am often disturbed by members who hide behind their "beliefs" as an excuse to dismiss someone who doesn't fit the mold. they dismiss people of other faiths, people who believe different than they do, people who look or act different, or people who've made decision they don't agree with. we've all done it and will probably continue to do it, but using the gospel as a reason to exclude is not something Christ would do. in the current political climate, it is fascinating to see other christians attempt (yet again) to marginalize the church by finding reasons we're "different". my only hope is looking for things i have in common with anyone and everyone around me. i will not apologize for my faith or the beliefs that are not popular. but i do think our role as members of the church is to help people understand our beliefs through compassion and commonalities, rather than condemn their actions because they don't fit with the gospel as we know it. we will never be able to be instruments for missionary work if we ostracize people at every turn. our job is to believe the doctrine, live the doctrine, and share the doctrine. it is not to judge or assume an attitude of "our way or the highway".
i am ever grateful for the saving work of the gospel and especially the gift of the plan of salvation. i recognize that we all have need of the atonement, whether members or not, and my only goal in life is to help my family and anyone who is willing to listen receive the blessings of the gospel. but they won't listen unless they know they're loved, even if we don't agree with their choices.

So, where do you stand? There will be NO judging and berating others' comments. Just share. 

4 comments:

Me said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Very much how I feel about the issue. I have several friends I've met through blogging that are Lesbians. I love them. They are in loving relationships with their partners and have children that are amazing.

I also agree that I need to support our prophets, and that sometimes we just need to follow. So I will support them, but I also love my friends, and the families they have built. They are good strong families. Just because they don't follow the things I believe in, doesn't make them bad people. They just have different beliefs, and that's OK, and we can still be friends despite our differences. (I even wrote a post about how we connect despite our very obvious differences, the post is called "A Mormon, a Muslim, and a Jew, and a Lesbian walk into a bar") They DO deserve to have the same rights as married couples. They should be able to legally say we are together.

So, I don't have the right answer. I'm just as conflicted. Just wanted you to know, that there is someone out there that feels the same as you.

Summer said...

I went through this confliction right after highschool when the guy I wanted to marry decided he was gay. "Decided," "realized", whatever. I've finally come to a simple conclusion that brings me a lot of peace whenever I have to discuss this issue.

We know that wickedness never was happiness. We know that having sexual relations with someone of your own gender is a sin.

We've read the Book of Mormon- we know what happens when the majority of the people side with people who want to commit sin. It's a cycle, and we're not exempt.

Yeah- on the surface, to people who don't believe what God says about homosexual acts, it seems heartless not to be a proponent of same-sex marriage. But when it comes down to it, having sex with your own gender either brings happiness or it doesn't. As soon as a society condones something that doesn't bring happiness, you know the cycle is starting to run on the down-hill side.

I have thought about how someone who suffers (yes suffers) from same-gender attraction can live a happy life. Like all trials we mortals can be faced with, these people, too, can live righteously and be happy. I know it's possible. Because sex isn't the only route to happiness.

Love is.

Jana said...

Yay! i loved reading this. i feel like members of our faith, especially here in utah, can be so heartless twords others who live differntly. the whole prop 8 thing in cali was a hard time, but i was grateful for it because it forced me to really take a look at how i felt. i really don't care if a woman wants to marry a woman. i DO think it's wrong and not at all in God's plan for all who come to this earth, but i believe very much in free agency. i do not want others to tell me that i can't go to my church on sundays or read the book of mormon, just because they do not believe or agree with it. i don't think same sex marriage threatens my temple marriage in any way. and i realize as a parent that it is up to ME (and adam) to teach my children the value of a temple marriage and the plan of salvation, and right from wrong. but i also want them to know that when people live "sinful" lives, we still love them. try to do good for them. try to be examples for them.
through the whole prop 8 debate, i thought a lot about the saints who were violently driven from state to state. although our church would never ever behave in such a manner, these poor members lives were harsh and all because people didn't understand them. didn't repect their right to choose for themselves what they believed and how they wanted to live their lives.
what i'm trying to say, i think same sex marriage is wrong, but God sent us here to choose for ourselves the life we will live. and if same sex married couples want to adopt a baby, yes, i think that's kind of sad for the child, but more than anything, if that child will have a good home, with an education and LOVE, is that so bad?

gay said...

So I don't know exactly where I stand on the issue, but I will say this issue being brought to an open forum through the media and inviting discussion from both sides has definitely widened my view and helped me accept a lot of homosexuals as great, contributing people/citizens rather than allowing their sexual preference to stamp their whole character. Either way, I'm completely enthralled by the topic.