Political Action and Education

Is there a voter education night in your area? A political rally? A house-party to discuss the issues? Have you found a website that thoughtfully addresses issues surrounding California’s Proposition 8?

Share the link, time, place or date here.

86 Responses to “Political Action and Education”

  1. 1LRCon 10 Aug 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Here’s a new website people might be interested in (it’s just getting started):

    http://www.republicansagainst8.com/

    Our ward is having a presentation about the proposition before we are all supposed to head out and spend three hours on each of the next few Saturdays canvassing neighborhoods and calling people. Our ward coordinators say they’re just going out to find out if (a) people have heard of the issue; and (b) if they’re decided/undecided on it. If people are undecided, they’re handing out informational pamphlets (pro-8) and if they’re against it, canvassers will note the addresses so nobody wastes money sending pro-8 mail to those homes.

    Anyone want to join us at the local food bank for a few hours over the next few Saturdays?

  2. 2Chino Blancoon 10 Aug 2008 at 6:40 pm

    The Irvine PR company that runs the “Yes on 8” media campaign is holding an Open House on:

    Thursday, August 14th, 2008
    5:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m.

    2020 Main Street
    Irvine, CA 92614

    All those opposed to Prop 8 are invited to attend and/or rally at 2020 Main on August 14th.

    Details here:

    http://www.calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6587

    I am still looking for someone local to help coordinate. If you or anyone you know would be agreeable to helping by providing a local telephone contact number, that’d be great.

    I’m not local, so won’t be able to attend, but I’m keen to continue with helping promote turnout and would also like to pay for “No on 8″ swag for the event. I’ve got a budget of $500 that I’d like to see spent on banners, yard signs, etc. All I’d ask is that the signs and banners be in place for the duration of the 3-hour Open House. After the event, the swag would be yours to keep.

    If you or your group would be interested in taking me up on this offer, please drop a comment at my blog.

    http://chinoblanco.blogspot.com

    Cheers,

    Chino

  3. 3Chino Blancoon 11 Aug 2008 at 2:03 am

    ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

    Coalition meeting of all organizations and groups in Orange County working towards the Freedom to Marry and ultimately true Marriage Equality!

    Who: As many representatives from different organizations/groups as possible working for Marriage Equality in Orange County

    What: Marriage Equality Coalition (1st Meeting)

    When: Thursday, August 21st, 2008, 2:30pm

    Where: Irvine United Congregational Church
    4915 Alton Parkway
    Irvine, CA 92604
    (949) 733-0220

    How: By all coming together in one place at one time

    Why: To network, figure out how we can help each other, see what each of us is doing in the fight for marriage equality right now, strategize together, inform each other, meet each other…

    If you have any questions please contact Erin Weller, OC Chapter Coordinator for Progressive Christians Uniting, at eweller@pcu-la.org or (714) 721-6554.

    Note: This meeting is not being orchestrated by Progressive Christians Uniting, and PCU is in no way attempting to necessarily bring more people to work specifically with PCU. The idea stemmed from PCU’s OC Marriage Equality Strategy Team. The group felt that there was a lot going on in Orange County around marriage equality, but that not everyone knew everyone involved, and felt that that needed to change. PCU is hoping to help bring people together, secular or faith driven, Christian or of another faith, to sit around one table and get to know one another. We must come together and work together if we are to win this very important fight for the freedom to marry.

    And please PASS THIS MESSAGE ON!

    We want to get as many representatives around the table as possible!!!

  4. 4Chino Blancoon 13 Aug 2008 at 9:32 pm

    UPDATE: The local tel contact for our August 14th action in Irvine is Vern Nelson at 714-235-VERN

    Here’s a direct link to the flyer in 8.5 x 11 (PDF) print format:

    http://www.echols.info/SF-Irvine-Aug-14-Flyer.pdf

    The final announcement is now up at the blogs listed below.

    http://www.theliberaloc.com/2008/08/13/action-alert-tell-the-right-wing-consultants-no-to-prop-8/

    http://www.calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6650

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/13/112550/273/228/567260

    http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6488

    http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/8/13/12561/8314

    http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7485

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2008/8/13/13922/1271

    Thank you again for helping to promote this action!

  5. 5LRCon 15 Aug 2008 at 9:13 am

    The California Libertarian Party has come out against Prop 8 as well:

    http://ca.lp.org/lp20080813.shtml

  6. 6Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 18 Aug 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Chino,

    Did anyone take you up on your offer of $500 for the No on 8 swag? If not, would you be interested in supporting a rally/vigil in Sept. in So. Calif? I’m the coordinator for the local event of of the “Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights” campaign. While this is a national campaign, the event in California is focusing on defeating Prop 8. I’m going to hold the event in the San Fernando Valley so that we can pull supporters from Ventura County, San Fernando, Santa Clarita. I’m a high school teacher so I’m recruiting students from local high schools and colleges to help organize this and I’m impressed by their enthusiasm. I’m hoping to get enough networking activated that LDS who oppose 8 will find out about the event and join us. Because this event focuses on straight people showing their support for marriage equality, it may be a bit less intimidating than going to a rally in West Hollywood ;)

    It sounds like you’ve been involved in activism before. Any good tips you’ve got on action planning (particularly good swag sources) would be appreciated. While I’ve participated in actions before, this is the first that I’ve been in charge of.

  7. 7Chino Blancoon 20 Aug 2008 at 2:04 am

    Jeanie,

    At the last minute, I made contact with a blogger in Huntington Beach who made the trip out to Irvine and reported back that a half-dozen folks showed up to leaflet the building where the Open House was hosted. He filed his report here:

    Jubal’s Terror Unfounded: Schubert Flint NOT Overrun by Gay Yippie Bloggers!

    I offered Vern (the blogger) money to help with expenses, but he wouldn’t take it. So, yes, I still have some extra $$ that I’d like to spend on targeted actions.

    If you drop me an email at jason [at] echols.info … I’ve got folks I’d like to put you in touch with (e.g., the Finance Manager for Southern CA for Equality California is preparing to send out kits for those who’d like to host house parties, and such kits might come in handy for other purposes … so he could put you on the mailing list). Drop me a line and I’ll shoot over an email with all the contacts I’ve got in hand for SoCal.

    This is my first time getting involved in an initiative campaign. I’m based in Taiwan, so my somewhat frenetic attempts at online activism are more the result of me over-compensating for not being around than they are evidence of any useful experience.

    By the way, did you catch this?

    Apparently, there is a plan in place to put up one million ‘Yes on 8′ yard signs at 7:00 am on September 22nd.

    I’ve posted a letter sent from Boyd K. Packer on July 28th to the California LDS stake presidents that would seem to suggest as much.

    If you’re interested, pls take a peek:

    LDS ‘Yes on 8′ Game Plan

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/8/19/224211/910/755/570793

    We absolutely need to get our hands on yard signs. Lots of yard signs. I’ll let you know if I hear more about their availability.

  8. 8Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 20 Aug 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I did check on the dailykos site. I really don’t think it is a letter from Elder Packer. The language is all wrong, G.A.’s don’t work at the level this memo alludes to, etc.. Unfortunately someone is trying to create a panic and that really is counterproductive. I recommend that you don’t participate in the rumor. (Although, there will be a lot of signs.)

    As I did in 2000, I want to order bumper stickers that say “My marriage doesn’t need protection. Civil rights do. No on 8.” They were pretty hot last time around. I just haven’t gotten around to finding a supplier yet.

    I do want the info on your contact(s) with EQ-CA I absolutely want to coordinate with them. I’ve sent two emails through their website and haven’t back yet. I will contact you via email regarding details.

    I’m putting at least this much of a response on the blog because I want to make two points for others. First, networking is critical in campaigning, and it is so much easier to do now with the internet. Even though Chino and I our thousands of miles apart, he/she is able to connect me with someone practically in my own backyard who can help me. Second, if you are upset about the church’s involvement on this, the most therapeutic (and productive) thing you can do is get involved in the campaign to defeat Prop 8. You can argue intellectually on blogs and with church members until you are blue in the face and it probably won’t make much difference. But on the campaign, you’ve got an automatic hook to get people to listen to you when you say that you are Mormon. At the very first campaign event I went to in 2000, after I introduced myself as a Mormon, I had several gay people come up and hug me and say thankyou. From that point on, I never doubted that I was doing the right thing…and I know that I personnaly made a difference.

  9. 9admin3on 20 Aug 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I agree that the tone of the letter purported to be from Elder Packer is a bit off – it’s much too casual. It wouldn’t surprise me too much if somebody took notes on a call or a talk and turned those into the letter, though.

    That being said, the avalanche of signs is, indeed, a goal of the Yes on 8 folks. Our ward training program said that signs would be handed out a few days before September 22nd, but with instructions to not actually put them out until 7 a.m. on the 22nd. They wanted to give the effect that suddenly the signs were blossoming all over the place and all-of-a-sudden everyone was supporting the proposition.

    I wonder if anyone has put together the significance of September 22nd to Mormons, or if it just happened to be a random day 6 weeks prior to the election.

  10. 10Chino Blancoon 20 Aug 2008 at 6:34 pm

    If that letter was not the real deal, I wonder why that blog where I originally found it is no longer public?

    It’s not a big deal, but I made sure the original pages were archived, as I’m sure I’ll be called a liar for insisting on the authenticity of the letter:

    http://ia311233.us.archive.org/1/items/Boyd-K-Packer-Letter-July-28/letter-from-brother-packer.html

    In any case, thank you for confirming the Sep 22 morning plan. That’s what really caught my eye when I first read the letter.

    Moving on … drop me a line and we’ll move on to more important matters.

  11. 11On Lawnon 21 Aug 2008 at 5:18 am

    Hello folks.

    I’m going to give a gentle plug for Opine Editorials. A site devoted to, “Defending marriage on the firm ground of reason and respect for human dignity.” Much like yours, though we seem to fall on different sides on this issue.

    I came here from Chino’s website over his ventilating over some of the Prop 8 plans he discovered.

    Currently I’m reviewing the LDS document, “The Divine Institution of Marriage”. Of which all parts are currently visible from the front page. I’m interested in y’all’s thoughts.

    Many Thanks,

  12. 12Chino Blancoon 22 Aug 2008 at 1:16 am

    The Pew Research Center has released a new national survey that finds a majority of the public now saying that churches should keep out of political matters.

    This article over at PewResearchCenter Publications comes with some nice charts and graphs as well …

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/930/religion-politics

  13. 13admin3on 22 Aug 2008 at 10:19 pm

    We’ve tried to provide some information that may help answer an all-important question in a new post, Have four judges overturned the will of the people?

  14. 14LRCon 23 Aug 2008 at 10:57 am

    We’re hosting a get-together in SF Bay Area on Labor Day weekend. Anyone interested in meeting like-minded folks to talk about Prop. 8 or church life in general is welcome. We’ll plan on a potluck barbecue Saturday afternoon (the date is August 30th) in Santa Clara County. If you’re interested in joining, drop me a line and I’ll get the details to you: aurlarae at yahoo dot com .

  15. 15Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 23 Aug 2008 at 5:07 pm

    “My Marriage doesn’t need Protection. But Civil Rights do! No on 8.” bumper stickers are available at cafepress.com/noprop8 in case anyone would like to publicly display their opposition. I set up the shop site so if anyone else has bumper sticker ideas, or other campaign material that they want to have put on there, let me know.

  16. 16LRCon 23 Aug 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Not to compete at all, but there’s also some stuff on zazzle with the theme, “Family – it’s about time!”

    Jeanie, if you want the zazzle artwork to add to cafepress, let me know and I’ll send it your way.

  17. 17Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 24 Aug 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Sounds great. Send me what you’ve got. I set up the site so that people could find stuff or design their own. Any proceeds are being donated to the No on 8 campaign. If anyone wants a sticker or T-shirt with a Mormons for Marriage theme, maybe someone who is artistic can design the artwork and I’ll put it out there. Any artists or creative types out there who want to make there voice heard? (It’s a wonderful opportunity to use all those skills you’ve learned at R.S. Enrichment nights.)

  18. 18anonymousactivememberon 24 Aug 2008 at 9:46 pm

    As my background, I am a 40 year old single female who has been active in the church my whole life. I went to BYU and served an LDS mission. I pay my tithing, have a current temple recommend, and regularly attend my church meetings. I am not bitter with this church. However, this whole issue with the church wanting to block gay marriage has made me feel very uncomfortable.

    I struggle with wanting to being obedient to my church leaders vs. feeling compassion and respect for homosexuals. I don’t feel that the gays are threatening traditional marriages. I want the gays to be treated with love and support as we should treat any individual. What happened to tolerance towards others? What happened to love and compassion? I just don’t get it.

    My ward and stake seem turbo charged on this whole “prop 8″ thing. I can’t wait till this is over.

    I would like to hear more from active members of the church. Maybe others feel the same way I do, but they are afraid to speak out. I need to be true to my heart and obedient to the spirit.

  19. 19Franon 25 Aug 2008 at 6:06 am

    Anonymous,

    I can relate to how you feel. Having a family member who is gay, always makes me think about how I want him to be treated, what opportunities I want for him etc. I want my family member to be as happy as he possibly can be. Realizing that his struggle is not even one he chose, makes it even harder to think that some of the happiest occasions in life wouldn’t be open to him. Well, as it goes, he doesn’t live in the US and where he lives he can get married if he wants to, so it’s not as much of an issue for him, but I think of others who may be in a similar situation as him.

    I think following the spirit in your voting decision is a good idea. I have thought a lot about what I would vote on. I ended up deciding that I would support proposition 8. I don’t know if it helps to explain my reasoning for that but here it is: I would support it, not because I believe that homosexual marriages are a threat, or that they’d do a bad job with having a good relationship, or that if they raised children, the children would be messed up. I also truly wish to for them to have all the joy in life they can have. Yet, I oppose it because I realize certain things don’t bring the happiness they could if not done right. Seeing my brother I realize that even after choosing to not be celibate, and having partners hasn’t made him happier than before. I don’t think marriage would change that for him. It’s the nature of the relationship he’s in. What he truly wants and craves he’s still not having, and probably never will in this earthly life. It pains me to see that, and I wish I could make it all ok for him. But the nature of life is that there are horrible or hard things that can’t be fixed. Another family member of mine is not gay, but will probably never marry in this life. I’m very sad for her as well. She so wishes to have a family, and to love someone, but equally like others this doesn’t seem to happen for her, and fixing it with something that “appears” like a fix, but isn’t in reality doesn’t make things better in the long run.

    To make this short, my feeling is that while wouldn’t be “sad” or anything if proposition 8 didn’t pass, I feel that allowing marriage doesn’t help the situation of gays and lesbians. I understand their desires to be in loving relationships, and to make that commitment etc. And I am proud of those who are commmitted and faithful to the people they’ve chosen to love. Yet, I feel the nature of marriage is more than just two people loving each other. I actually think, defining it as just “between a man and a woman” isn’t really cutting it. I think it’s much more. I think it’s a whole life style, and it’s broader than two people. I do think it includes coming together to invite children into the world. I think Churchleaders do understand the situation of homosexuals. I think they feel as heartbroken for their struggles as I do. I think they want them to be happy. But I also think they realize that just letting them do what “appears” to make them temporarily happy is not the solution. I feel similar.

    I hope no one is offended that I wrote why I WOULD support proposition 8. I’m glad this forum is up and that there’s discussion. I realize it’s a sensitive issue, and personal and painful to those involved. I know members in the church still have a lot to learn in regards to kindness, compassion and understanding. But I don’t think that everyone who opposes gay marriages has bad intentions towards gays. They just may have a different idea of what will truly make them happy.

  20. 20Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 25 Aug 2008 at 9:21 am

    Regarding Fran’s last sentence…

    I think it is inappropriate for any straight person, LDS or not, to decide what would make a gay or transgender individual truly happy.

  21. 21Chino Blancoon 26 Aug 2008 at 6:54 am

    There’s a very interesting interview with Mike Huckabee that’s been posted over at:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=34561

    In which Huckabee holds Romney responsible for implementing gay marriage in Massachusetts …

    “I would not have done that,” said Huckabee, who taped an appearance on CNSNews.com’s “Online with Terry Jeffrey” on August 15.

    In a 4-3 decision issued on Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in Massachusetts. The court gave the state legislature until May 17, 2004 to enact legislation to allow such marriages to take place.

    In the intervening time, the Massachusetts legislature did not enact a law codifying same-sex marriages. Before the May 17, 2004 deadline, however, then-Gov. Romney directed that the words “bride” and “groom” on Massachusetts marriage applications be changed to “Party A” and “Party B.”

    Romney’s chief legal counsel, Daniel Winslow, told justices of the peace in Massachusetts that they should carry out the decision of the court and perform same-sex marriages or resign.

    “My message was: ‘You took an oath, and you don’t have to agree or disagree with the law, you took an oath to uphold the law. Your only job is to follow the law,’” Winslow told Pete Winn of CNSNews.com in January. “We’ll leave it to the courts to litigate what the law is, but once the courts have ruled, if you’ve taken an oath under the constitution, you have to follow your oath.”

    Welcome to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition.

    With friends like these …

  22. 22Jeanieon 27 Aug 2008 at 9:41 am

    Please let any married LGBT couples that you are acquainted with know about this website:
    http://www.MarriageCardProject.com
    Polls are showing that the “movable middle” is most likely to be influenced by seeing loving LGBT couples and families who really aren’t much different from other families in their everyday lives.
    This project was started by a gay friend of mine, Paul Waters, who has been involved in the gay rights movement for years.

  23. 23kodoson 27 Aug 2008 at 12:55 pm

    I’m wondering…is anybody compiling reports about what the church is actually doing at the ward and stake level? Are some stakes more active than others? How is the effort being organized? (I’ve seen lots of information like that, but it would be nice if it were documented in one place.)

  24. 24admin3on 27 Aug 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Some stakes are definitely more active than others. Although some places, like Mormons for Marriage, have been online early with information, it appears that other efforts are just beginning to ramp up. Just taking a look at the number of blogs and news articles on both sides of the issue is evidence that more people are getting involved and talking about it. As election day approaches, and as campaigns in Arizona and Florida heat up as well, there’s sure to be more online. One site that tends to keep up well with LDS-related gay news and internet happenings is affirmation.org (linked to on our sidebar).

  25. 25admin4on 27 Aug 2008 at 4:42 pm

    The letter below was sent to all Stakes in California. From what I understand each Stake/Ward can be as involved as they choose. I know one ward only had the original letter read and nothing since, while another ward is doing “something” every Sunday until the election.

    PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING POINTS IN RELIEF SOCIETY AND PRIESTHOOD OPENING EXERCISES THIS SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, ONLY.

    1. The First Presidency’s letter dated June 20, 2008, to all Church members in California states, “we ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time…”

    2. In connection with the Proposition 8 campaign’s grassroots efforts, the supporting coalition, of which the Church is a member, will hold three walk/phone days to help generate voter support on August 16, 23 and September 6. We invite everyone who can do so to please participate either by “walking” that is, visiting homes door to door in assigned neighborhoods, or by phoning neighbors in specific assigned neighborhoods, for three hours each of these three days.

    3. Church members who have been asked to help with the campaign will be calling you at your homes to officially ask you to help and give you further information about where and what time to meet this Saturday

    4. They will also ask you to bring a friend from another faith to assist.

    We, as a Bishopric, ask you to please participate in this important endeavor.

    The First Presidency also stated that “our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”

  26. 26kodoson 27 Aug 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I realize there is lots of variation in what wards/stakes are doing. I also understand that there is a lot of pressure coming down from the top for the “less active” wards and stakes to do more. That’s one reason why I’d be interested if somebody is trying to systematically gather reports on what is going on.

  27. 27Chino Blancoon 27 Aug 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Great news:

    “In a Public Policy Institute of California survey released Wednesday, 54 percent of likely voters said they opposed Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage. The initiative has the support of 40 percent of voters.”

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_10318977

    Yay!

  28. 28admin2on 27 Aug 2008 at 8:53 pm

    We’ll let post a link here if we find a place online listing actions. There was one person who did this during Prop 22, but it wasn’t posted till after the election.

  29. 29admin2on 28 Aug 2008 at 7:50 am

    A recent poll is showing that support for Prop 8 has slipped slightly lately:
    Most oppose bid to ban gay marriage in California, poll finds
    Fifty-four percent of likely voters are against Prop. 8, with 40% supporting the measure. But when asked if same-sex couples should be allowed to wed, respondents were evenly split.
    By Jessica Garrison
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

    10:36 PM PDT, August 27, 2008

    California voters remain closely divided on the concept of gay marriage, but a significant majority of likely voters oppose a measure to ban it, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

    Proposition 8, which would amend the state Constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman, is trailing 40% to 54% among likely voters, according to the poll. In a separate question, pollsters asked respondents if they support or oppose allowing gay men and lesbians to marry. On that question, Californians were evenly split, 47% to 47%.

    Mark Baldassare, president of the policy institute, said the election probably will be close, in part because of the even split in the general attitude toward gay marriage, but also because those supporting Proposition 8 were more likely to describe the issue as important to them than were voters on the other side.

    The polling, he said, “shows a deeply divided electorate.”

    Wednesday’s poll was in line with previous surveys. Support for Proposition 8 has slipped slightly in the institute’s poll since a survey last month that showed 51% of voters against and 42% in favor.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gaymarriage28-2008aug28,0,6444457.story

  30. 30Kalonon 29 Aug 2008 at 7:53 am

    For a great website that thoughtfully addresses issues surrounding California’s Proposition 8 that is direct from the LDS church see http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/same-gender-attraction

  31. 31Krys Corbetton 29 Aug 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks Kalon for posting the link. There is another one more directly about Prop 8 that has fewer of what many found offensive about the first (to start, comparing homosexuality to mental retardation, even if unintentionally). Here’s that new link: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-divine-institution-of-marriage

    I appreciate the LDS church making clear its doctrine on the point. When it beings to make secular arguments, however, then it must be willing to continue the discussion on that basis, or, as Dallin Oaks has said: “on their merits” (http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1992.htm/ensign%20october%201992%20.htm/religious%20values%20and%20public%20policy.htm?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0)

    One thing that troubles me about the current debate is the sense that not just the position chosen, but even its relative merits, is beyond debate on those merits. The church having chosen to engage in the debate, it should be willing to discuss on “the merits.”

    So the church should be free to make a statement like the following (from a 12 August LDS church publication): “[T]he legalization of same-sex marriage likely will erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children.”

    But then it seems okay to use reason, empirical study, and comparisons to other societies to see if that is truly the case. And here, there is precious little evidence they are correct. (I think “gender development” means that if homosexuality is okay, then more children will “choose” it. That doesn’t seem to have been the case in the European countries that are more open, in the US since it has become more accepted, or even in places like Afghanistan where it is severely punished.)

  32. 32concerned…on 31 Aug 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I believe deeply in the law of tithes, and have always payed it fully. I’ve always gotten additional satisfaction out of this decision knowing that my money would be going to great causes, like humanitarian aid, temple building, supporting families, providing education, etc.

    I realize that the vast majority of the church’s resources are still going towards these things. But now I’m worried that some of my tithing is going to support a campaign that I find very discriminatory, and absolutely do not want to fund.

    How have all of you handled this dilemmas? How do you feel about paying tithing knowing what it might support?

  33. 33Brett Bradshawon 02 Sep 2008 at 12:31 pm

    The No. CA No on Prop 8 Campaign is holding a kick-off event this coming Saturday, Sept. 6th, from 10 am – 2 pm at its San Francisco Headquarters. San Francisco Mayor Newsom will speak, but the main activities are to hold a state-wide phone bank for volunteers to make calls to undecided voters, and to hold a speakers bureau training for persons who are interested in becoming spokespeople or otherwise speaking publicly against Prop 8. Come join the festivities to launch the public portion of the campaign to oppose Prop 8.

    Northern California Campaign Kick-off!
    San Francisco No on Prop 8 Headquarters
    2278 Market Street, 2nd Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94114

    Contact for more information:
    info@NoOnProp8.com
    (415) 267-3910

  34. 34admin3on 03 Sep 2008 at 8:23 pm

    RE #23

    There’s a new website tracking LDS donations to the proposition. It looks like it’s a work in progress, but it might give you an idea where the donations are coming from.

    http://mormonsfor8.com/

  35. 35Jeanie Mortensen-Besamoon 05 Sep 2008 at 8:37 pm

    If you are in the Los Angeles, CA Area, here’s an event you can support–

    7 Straight Nights for Equal Rights

    Be part of a national event that provides straight Americans with the opportunity to do justice and to stand up and be counted for equal rights. In California, Proposition 8 threatens to eliminate the right of our gay and transgender relatives, neighbors and coworkers to marry. Come and join us to promote equality and civil rights and help defeat Prop 8.

    Candlelight Vigil and March
    Date: Friday, September 19th
    Time: 7 pm to 9 pm
    Place: Corner of Rinaldi St. and Corbin Ave. (Porter Ranch Town Center) in the San Fernando Valley
    (Take the Porter Ranch exit off the 118 freeway and turn east on Rinaldi St.)

    Make it a “date night” or family outing! Come early and purchase dinner at the food court or one of the restaurants in the shopping center and then meet us at the gathering spot on the corner behind the food court.
    If you are unable to participate in the ½ mile march, there is bench seating at the gathering spot where you can maintain vigil.

    Questions? E-mail 7SN.LosAngeles@gmail.com or visit sevenstraightnights.org

  36. 36Chino Blancoon 12 Sep 2008 at 3:10 am

    One aspect of political education would seem to involve familiarizing ourselves with our opponents (who they are, what agendas they bring, etc.).

    Ron Prentice is CEO of the California Family Council and Chairman of ProtectMarriage.com …

    A freelance journalist, Justin McLachlan, has broken a major story in the Prop 8 battle: California Family Council spends most of the public’s contributions on employees, not programs.

    http://justinmclachlan.com/08/46/california-family-council-money/

    An excerpt:

    “Since 2003, the public has given the Riverside, Calif.-based California Family Council (CFC) nearly $3 million to support charitable work that the organizations says “protects and fosters Judeo-Christian principles in California’s laws.” But, according to its federal tax returns, little more than $500,000 of that money has gone to “program services,” or expenses directly related to that charitable work.

    In contrast, the CFC’s top two employees, including its founder and executive director, Ron Prentice, were paid a total of $1.1 million over four years. The CFC’s other employees earned a total of $900,000 in compensation — bringing the total spent on employees at the Council to about $2 million since it began in 2003.”

    So far, there’ve been about a dozen news and blog pieces that have appeared online referencing Justin’s research into Ron Prentice and his pocket-lining ways.

    Folks volunteering for and making contributions to the “Yes on 8″ campaign should be aware that the operatives running the show have a track record of using contributions to generously reward themselves.

  37. 37Chino Blancoon 15 Sep 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Just a follow-up to my previous comment …

    CFC (finally) releases a list of its board of directors:

    http://justinmclachlan.com/08/51/cfc-finally-releases-a-list-of-its-board-of-directors/

    When you’ve got a Yes side that gets away with sponsoring their ballot committee with a suspended outfit like California Renewal, it’s nice to see them required to demonstrate even a smidgen of accountability before Nov. 4. Yay!

  38. 38Chino Blancoon 16 Sep 2008 at 10:32 am

    Oh my, the issue of how Yes on 8 funds are being handled is really beginning to attract serious attention:

    Orange County’s OC WATCHDOG: Crusading for ‘Judeo-Christian values’ doesn’t come cheap:

    http://taxdollars.freedomblogging.com/2008/09/16/charity-spends-more-on-overhead-than-on-protecting-judeo-christian-values/

    I just read this article in Provo’s Daily Herald:

    LDS donate millions to fight gay marriage

    http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/280669/3/

    In the article, Nadine Hansen predicts that ” … when this is done, probably 80 percent of the money [from individuals] will be from Mormons …”

    What a shame that these contributions are being managed by an ethically-challenged bunch of Evangelical operatives.

  39. 39Tristan Callon 18 Sep 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I am interested in doing private and public meetings discussing Proposition 8 and how we can respond to it as supporters of gay rights and Mormons, here in Salt Lake City. If anyone knows of any similar events here in Utah or would like to help organize, let me know at tristancall@gmail.com

    Thanks,

    Tristan Call

  40. 40Chino Blancoon 22 Sep 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Just curious: Any ‘Yes on 8′ yard sign sightings to report?

  41. 41Jeanieon 22 Sep 2008 at 8:52 pm

    My daughter contacted the Yes on 8 folks to request a sign. (She wanted to see what they looked like.) She was told that there has been a problem with the supplier (or distributor) and no one has the signs yet. When she asked about the mass display on the 22nd, she was told that this has been delayed for a week or two.

    (When she was telling us about this, someone in the group joked that maybe there was a sympathizer at the sign factory…”Oh dear! You mean it was suppose to say ‘Yes on 8?’ So sorry.”)

    So, we’ve got another week or so to get letters to the editor submitted.

  42. 42Chino Blancoon 23 Sep 2008 at 8:34 pm

    The details are starting to come in about that supplier problem:

    The Floundering Yes on 8 Campaign: One Million Missing Lawn Signs Found in China

    http://www.calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7013

    Funniest thing I’ve read all week.

  43. 43Keithon 03 Oct 2008 at 7:56 am

    Apparently, the signs are now in. I just received an e-mail asking for volunteers to help distribute them so that they can all be posted by October 7.

  44. 44Jeanieon 11 Oct 2008 at 11:28 am

    The Ventura County Star published this Letter to the Editor that I sent in just two days ago. I used CM’s letter as the template and tweaked it to include the website etc. I was surprised that they published it so fast because there are lots of Prop 8 letters being submitted. I sent it out with the title “BYU Law Professor Refutes Claims made by Yes on 8 campaign”, hoping that this would get someone’s attention.

    I encourage everyone to submit letters to the editor of their local papers. Including some reference to the Mormon church (like “BYU” or the website name) helps your letter stand out because LDS members are flooding the papers with their own Pro 8 letters. I’m including my letter here because it really helps to have something to start with, like I did the CM’s letter.
    ********
    BYU Law Professor Refutes Claims made by Yes on 8 Campaign

    Proponents of Proposition 8 have been misleading voters by claiming six consequences if it fails. These arguments are logically and clearly refuted by Morris Thurston, an adjunct professor at BYU Law School, in a document posted at mormonsformarriage.com. Here is a brief summary of some of his points.

    Regarding the claim that children in public school will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage: Current Education Code requires students to be taught respect for marriage and committed relationships in age-appropriate instruction. This will not change regardless of whether Proposition 8 passes or is defeated.

    Regarding the claim that religious adoption agencies will be required to give up their right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father– Adoption Agencies that take government funds must abide by government’s non-discrimination laws. Church agencies that do not accept such funds will continue to be able to place babies with couples that meet their selection criteria.

    Regarding the claim that ministers would be sued if they refused to marry a gay couple– The California Supreme Court specifically noted that its ruling would not require any priest, rabbi or minister to perform gay marriages.

    Regarding the claim that churches would be forced to open their facilities to gay marriages—This is a misrepresentation of a case in New Jersey where a church lost a property tax exemption for a public-access boardwalk pavilion because they illegally discriminated by refusing to allow a gay commitment ceremony.

    Go to the website and read the entire document to find out the truth. Don’t be misled by inaccurate claims. Fair-minded people, regardless of their religious faith, want to defeat Proposition 8 because it denies equal rights to all Californians.

  45. 45Captain Moronion 11 Oct 2008 at 11:01 pm

    I live neither in Utah or California, but my wife and I got calls from the RS leadership and my Quorum President asking us to volunteer for working a phone bank for a 4 hour shift. Neither said where the phone bank will be or other details, just that our Area 70 emailed the Area’s stake presidents and asked them to gather lists of volunteers. Hopefully we’ll get more info tomorrow.

  46. 46Chino Blancoon 12 Oct 2008 at 4:30 am

    Calitics and Brian Devine are currently matching No on 8 donations through today up to $2,500:

    http://www.calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7141

    It looks like there’s still $485 left to go:

    http://www.actblue.com/page/be_devine_8

    In the category of non-Mormon, California-based, No on 8 blogs … Calitics has got to be one of the most respectful and effective I’ve seen on this issue (they’ve been very careful to avoid demonizing Mormons or the LDS church in the course of their opposition to Prop 8). If you can drop a few bucks before the end of today over at the ActBlue page linked to above, their CaliPAC will match your donation.

    And it would also be a chance to drop a comment at the Calitics diary linked to above to let them know that Mormons for Marriage readers appreciate their matching funds and their continued thoughtful opposition to Prop 8 and Mormon involvement in the Yes on 8 campaign.

  47. 47Chino Blancoon 16 Oct 2008 at 10:02 pm

    You are invited to join the Gary Pritchard for State Senate campaign with organizers Nikki Moldovan and her Father with his husband at the corners of Oso Parkway & Antonio Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita from 4:00-6:00pm this Friday 10/17 for a No on Prop 8 rally.

  48. 48Jeanieon 17 Oct 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I just read in the newspaper last night that CTA (California Teachers Association) donated $1 million to the No on 8 campaign. They had already donated $250,000 earlier in the summer. The reason cited for the donation was that teachers deal with the importance of equality and appreciation for diversity everyday and see the actual ramifications of intolerance I’m so proud to be a teacher and part of this group!

  49. 49Jeanieon 18 Oct 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I’m totally jazzed!!
    Now you need to understand that I live in a VERY conservative city, Simi Valley, in So. Calif. Today the local LDS wards had members standing with Yes on 8 signs at various busy intersections in the city, about a dozen or so at each corner. About two hours ago I got a call from my daughter telling me that young adults were spontaneously making their own No on 8 signs and congregating at the corners where the Yes on 8 people were. I had seven No on 8 yard signs in my garage and my daughter thought I should take them to the protestors. They were SO EXCITED to get the signs. I could have given away 20 or so. Within an hour there were about 40 young adults at one intersection and the energy was incredible. Horms were honking like crazy as passerbys showed their support. The Yes on 8 people left. I told some of the group that there were just 6 or so No on 8 people at another corner amidst the Yes on 8 people there. About 20 packed up and drove to that intersection. When I went there about 10 minutes later (at the first intersection there were 2 Jr. High girls with signs that said “Let my Moms marry!” and I wanted to make sure that they weren’t left alone on a corner), that energy had now shifted to this new intersection. Horns, cheers, etc. I’d didn’t stay but my bet is that the Yes on 8 supporters eventually conceded that intersection too.
    The young adults (most looked like they were 19-25 years old) told me that they were so excited about their success that they are gong to tell all their friends and REALLY make a showing next weekend. They said that if they could get 50 people together just on the spur of the moment, just think what they could do if they had a week to spread the word. I’m really glad that I stopped to talk to them and thank them. They really seemed to appreciate the validation from an “old” person like me.
    I’ll keep you posted on what happens next week.

  50. 50sandraon 18 Oct 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Can you provide us with information as to what intersections and the time? I would like to show up for the NO campaign. What a great idea!!

  51. 51Jeanieon 18 Oct 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I talked to a few people tonight and it looks like there is sufficient momentum and interest to really make this an event next Saturday, Oct. 25th. They want to start at the intersection of Sycamore and Cochran in Simi Valley. (Take the Sycamore exit off the 118 Freeway and go south one block.) I haven’t heard of a specific time yet but I imagine that it will be at 1 or 2 pm when they will start. Once there are sufficient numbers, they want to “take back” every other intersection in the city that has Yes on 8 folks on them. There were at least 4 such intersections in Simi Valley today. Several of us are working on getting press coverage for them. Apparently they are going to spread the word and see what kind of numbers they can get to really make this noteworthy.
    I’ll post more information as I get it, but please spread the word…Simi Valley is the place to be next Saturday afternoon….and don’t forget your sign. (”This Mormon says No on 8!” would be a good one.)

  52. 52Chino Blancoon 21 Oct 2008 at 7:29 am

    Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign, asks some important questions on the front page of The Huffington Post today:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-jacobs/do-mormons-deserve-equal_b_136392.html

  53. 53admin3on 21 Oct 2008 at 3:56 pm

    ADF attorney to debate same-sex ‘marriage,’ religious liberty at UCLA Wednesday
    ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence will participate in debate on effects of same-sex ‘marriage’ on First Amendment rights
    Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 1:45 PM (MST) |
    ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020

    WHO: ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence
    WHAT: Debate on religious liberty vs. same-sex “marriage”
    WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 12:15 p.m. PDT
    WHERE: UCLA School of Law, 405 Hilgard Ave., Room 1347, Los Angeles

    LOS ANGELES — Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence will participate in a debate Wednesday at the UCLA School of Law on the effects of same-sex “marriage” on First Amendment rights. The debate will address how the conflict affects religious liberty and the right of conscience in the context of business owners, parents with children in public schools, applicants for professional licenses, houses of worship with tax-exempt status, and other aspects of society.

    For the rest of the story: http://alliancedefensefund.org/news/story.aspx?cid=4715

  54. 54admin3on 21 Oct 2008 at 3:58 pm

    “All Families Matter – Vote No on 8″ Merchandise has been newly created at cafepress – http://shop.cafepress.com./all-families-matter

    Enjoy!

  55. 55Alan Scotton 23 Oct 2008 at 3:57 am

    The local No on 8 group in San Luis Obispo, CA is planning a rally on Sunday, November 2nd, and we’d really like to have a Mormon speaker at the event.

    If you’re a Mormon on the Central Coast who opposes proposition 8 and would be willing to speak about it, please contact me at alanrileyscott@hotmail.com

  56. 56Jake Ron 23 Oct 2008 at 10:03 am

    The sunday just before the election I am working to organize leaflet distribution at Mormon churches accross the state.

    I have created a flyer that I think could get some members to reconsider their vote. The flyer focuses on the historical persecution of the Mormon church and asks members to consider their heritage when voting.

    I am in the process of working with the NOon8 campaign to get media attention for this.

    If you would like me to send you a copy of the flyer with details of how my 3 brothers and myself plan to distribute them, please email me at noon8@sbcglobal.net

    According to the campaign Catholics are already targetting their churches. We should too!

  57. 57Bethon 23 Oct 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Chico, California

    RALLY FOR NO ON PROP 8
    Saturday, October 25th at 11am in the Downtown Plaza

  58. 58Keithon 23 Oct 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Jake,

    I really don’t see anything positive coming from passing out leaflets at a Mormon church.

    While there may be an individual or two sympathetic to the No on 8 cause, the vast majority are unlikely to move. And even those sympathetic may be upset by the “in you face” approach.

    If you really want to persuade people to vote no, your time and efforts could be better spent elsewhere.

  59. 59Jeanieon 24 Oct 2008 at 6:33 am

    Do you live in So. Calif? Help us take back our Simi Valley intersections this Saturday, Oct. 25!

    This is a true grassroots effort. About 40 teens and young adults started this spontaneously last Saturday and we’re going to help them repeat it this weekend. We’re meeting at Cochran and Sycamore at noon. Take the 118 Freeway to Simi Valley and exit at Sycamore. Feel free to come anytime from noon to 4 pm.

    Please pass the information to your friends who oppose Prop 8.

    If you have never done this before, you should try it. It will be a very empowering experience.

  60. 60Jake R.on 24 Oct 2008 at 6:48 am

    Sorry Jeanie, I live in Sacramento. Otherwise, I would love to join you! Good luck! I would encourage anyone in the area to join you! I will bee working the NOon8 phonebank Saturday instead.

    If you are interested in leafletting LDS members, email me and I’ll send you a flier.

    Jake

  61. 61Captain Moronion 24 Oct 2008 at 8:46 am

    To all of those who say that Prop. 8 should pass because it was the will of the people with 61% that prop 22 passed banning gay marriage. Yet when it comes to abortion, the will of the people in CA is being ignored TWICE. I wonder if all of those people pushing 8 (because 4 liberal judges ignored the will of the people) are also pushing this abortion measure contrary to the will of CA voters…TWICE!

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,443841,00.html
    LOS ANGELES — California voters have twice rejected initiatives requiring that parents be notified before a minor can get an abortion, but supporters think the third time might be the charm this Election Day.

  62. 62Keithon 24 Oct 2008 at 8:47 am

    C.M.

    I’m tired of the “will of the people” and “unelected judges” arguments, primarily because they really aren’t arguments.

    Nov. 4 will tell us what the will of the people is. How we got here is largely irrelevant.

    What I do find interesting is, regardless of the outcome on Nov. 4, there has been a shift in the “will” since Prop 22 passed with 61% of the vote. Even if Prop 8 passes, it will likely be by a small margin. That’s a pretty significant shift in 8 years. It leads me to believe that passage of Prop 8 won’t put this to rest in CA. I don’t believe this will be like the ERA, where failure has apparently put the issue to rest permanently.

  63. 63Jake Ron 24 Oct 2008 at 10:05 am

    I understand that we may not change many opinions by our leafletting. But i assure you that our tactics will not be “in your face.” We plan to put the fliers are car windshields and will stand at the parking lot entreance. our main hope is to get media coverage for our rasons why Mormons should oppose 8. Email me at the above address if you would like a copy. also. i will try to make it to the downtown plaza rally!

    Jake

  64. 64Jake Ron 24 Oct 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Beth – Actually I won’t be there… I thought this was Downtown Plaza in Sacramento. Guess I need to read more clearly. I will be working a phone bank Saturday though.

  65. 65Jake Ron 24 Oct 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I have made changes to the flier I will be distributing 11/2 if you would like to help in your area email me at noon8@sbclgobal.net

    Jake

  66. 66Lauraon 28 Oct 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Earlier this month some Mormon PFLAG mothers of gay children gathered for a luncheon date. The luncheon stretched out to almost four hours as these mothers talked about what the Mormon Church’s active support for California’s Proposition 8 was doing to their families and to their loyalty for the church.

    While these mothers have tried to give their church leaders the benefit of a doubt with respect to their church’s policies, the church’s recent public support of the California Proposition that would take away the civil rights of their gay children seems to have been a tipping point.

    They want to do something to show their support for their gay children and for the larger gay community. At the mothers’ urging, Salt Lake City PFLAG, Equality Utah, the Pride Center, the Inclusion Center, Affirmation, and the Human Rights Campaign have joined together and scheduled a candlelight gathering for all supporters of our homosexual friends and neighbors this Sunday evening, November 2nd, at the Salt Lake City Library plaza at 6:00 p.m.

    The gathering is open to the general public, gay, straight, Mormon and non-Mormon alike and is intended to be a positive pro-community show of support and inclusion of our gay brothers and sisters. There will be a short program featuring Mormon mothers Millie Watts, Katherine Steffensen, and Linda Barney. Candles will be provided for everyone following the program and we will join together in a short procession around the city block of the library.

    Please spread the word and encourage your friends and families to be there. This event is free. Everyone sympathetic to gay civil rights should be there. The sponsoring groups foster equality for all people. Over 100,000 people have attended such events this year alone. Having a large number of participants will be an eye opener to many who honestly believe our numbers are few. Let’s join with our gay friends and show them that they are valued and equal members of our community.

    WHAT: Candlelight gathering

    WHEN: This Sunday evening, November 2nd, 6:00 p.m.

    WHERE: The Plaza of the Salt Lake City Library, 200 East 300 South

  67. 67Lauraon 02 Nov 2008 at 3:26 pm

    If you are near Los Angeles, the No on 8 campaign has planned the following visibility activities. They’re hoping for significant turnout, so please feel free to share this information far and wide.

    Sunday Nov 2

    – 12-3:00 pm: Meet at the intersection of Santa Monica and Sweetzer in West Hollywood.
    – 4-7:00 pm: Rally at West Hollywood Park, at the intersection of Santa Monica and Robertson.
    – 4-6:00 pm: Meet in Silverlake at the intersection of Sanborn and Sunset (near the Circus of Books).

    Monday Nov 3

    – 4-6:00 pm: Meet in Silverlake at the intersection of Sanborn and Sunset (near the Circus of Books).
    – 7:30-9:30 AM: Morning rally at the intersection of Santa Monica and Westbourne.
    – 5-8:30 pm: Meet at the intersection of Santa Monica and Robertson.

    You can also sign up for election days shifts for No on 8:

    – 6:30 am – 8:30 pm (whole day)
    – 6:30 am – 10:00 am (morning)
    – 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
    – 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm (evening)

    If you want to work on election day, there are training sessions on Sunday and Monday. Call Marilyn at (626) 394-4624. For more info on the Silverlake events, call Dan at (323) 872-8044.

    Thanks for your support!

  68. 68Jeanieon 02 Nov 2008 at 9:18 pm

    If anyone has a link to any video of the SLC vigil, please post it. I would love to see how it went. My thoughts have been with the participants all evening.

  69. 69ANDYon 03 Nov 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Jeanie, comment #204 at the link below has additional links to media coverage of the Salt Lake vigil:

    http://mormonsformarriage.com/?page_id=21

  70. 70ANDYon 06 Nov 2008 at 8:12 am

    As in many struggles, this is among one of the many points we will pass. Californians will be pondering this for years to come, but so will the nation and the world.

    I believe fairness in giving us our equal rights will eventually come to pass, but it may be in our children’s life time, not ours.

    As for Obama, I understand if he does little for civil rights in his first term; there are much bigger issues for our nation and world to resolve. Maybe in the 2nd term.

  71. 71Jeanieon 08 Nov 2008 at 3:30 pm

    There is a large protest scheduled for tonight (Saturday, Nov. 8) in Silverlake (So. Calif.) from 6-9 pm. Sunset and Santa Monica Blvd.

  72. 72Lauraon 12 Nov 2008 at 12:18 am

    For those interested in marching for rights this weekend, check out the national rally information at http://www.jointheimpact.com

    Rallies are being held at city halls in every state beginning at 10:30 PST/1:30 EST this Saturday, Nov. 15th.

    If there’s not a rally already scheduled near you, you can take the opportunity to start one at the website listed above.

  73. 73Not Molly Mormonon 12 Nov 2008 at 9:00 am

    If anyone would like to join me, I will be at the NYC Temple tonight joining my gay brothers and sisters.

    p.s. what should I put on my sign?????

  74. 74Lauraon 12 Nov 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Will Neville is trying to put together a short film on the national protests this weekend, but really needs your help… If you know anyone who can get video of your event (camera or even cell phones) and would be willing to share their footage, PLEASE contact him.

    He works at a national nonprofit dedicated to youth activism, and we really want to help build this moment. We were able to get a film crew to the SLC event last Friday, and it was amazing.

    So please, shoot video of the events this weekend – and ask anyone with footage to sent it to or contact me at FightBackAgainstHate@gmail.com.

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the awesome work! Will

  75. 75Beth Burtonon 12 Nov 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Chico, California

    “Our Families Count, too” RALLY AND MARCH

    Saturday, November 15th at 10:30 am

    Downtown Plaza, march to the Farmers’ Market

    With the passage of Proposition 8, making discrimination constitutional, many people are upset and hurt by the decision of their neighobors to outlaw their love. In solidarity with actions around the country, we will gather at Downtown Plaza, stand proudly and proclaim “Our Families Count, too”.

  76. 76Chino Blancoon 20 Nov 2008 at 8:27 am

    For the record, this is now the third consecutive election cycle in which LDS campaign pros have mobilized the Mormon grassroots to make a major impact. Rewind to 2004 (remember the importance of Ohio in that year’s presidential contest?):

    “Latter-day Saint Volunteers: 50% in Akron … That’s about 3% of the Latter-day Saint population in Akron, a county where Latter-day Saints only comprise about 3/10ths of a percent of the population … In the end, 50% of the poll observers were LDS … [As Bart Marcois told me, ‘Our voices need to be heard during the election so that we will be included in the policy setting after the elections.’]”

    http://chinoblanco.blogspot.com/2008/11/eagle-foundation.html

  77. 77Chino Blancoon 29 Nov 2008 at 9:09 am

    I liked this idea so much, this is just me promoting this post over at PHB:

    Meet our Families Day

    http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=8437

  78. 78Chino Blancoon 09 Dec 2008 at 5:23 am

    I just ran across this great entry over at Calitics.com and thought I’d pass it along: http://www.calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=7655

    Ha!

  79. 79Chino Blancoon 21 Mar 2010 at 10:09 am

    WHAT: Demonstration at Mitt Romney’s San Diego Book Signing
    WHEN: Monday, March 22nd at 6:00 pm
    WHERE: Deseret Bookstore (meet at S.E. Corner of Nobel Dr. and Villa La Jolla Dr.)
    La Jolla Village Sq. Shopping Center, 8657 Villa La Jolla Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037
    (Exit 28 off I-5 south — Exit 28A off I-5 north)
    Call 619-592-2008 for details.

  80. 80fiona64on 24 Mar 2010 at 3:23 pm

    For those who don’t know, there has been yet another delay in being able to set final argument dates re: the Prop 8 challenge.

    Particulars are under discussion at http://www.prop8trialtracker.com.

  81. 81FirstTimeon 15 Apr 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I am a devout Mormon and straight. But since this Prop 8 issue percolated, I have disagreed with the church’s position and political invovlement. As a public defender who has spent years defendimg the rights of citizens under our state and federal constitutions, I cannot see how the church’s position would not be violative of rights those rights. The church’s position is legally untenable. And so I’m wondering – if this case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, would this organization be interested in drafting and submitting an amicus brief? Although this case is likely to draw uncountable amici, and I have no illusions that anything we submit would be the outcome determinative argument in the case, I think it would be a way, on a very high profile stage, to let people know that there are faithful Mormons who fully support the rights of all the marry. It would require a lot of work, to be certain, but I think those who are drawn to this site have an important voice in the debate. (This thread has been dead for awhile, and I’m not sure if anyone is still visiting this site, but I thought I send up a flare just in case anyone out there is listening and likes this idea).

  82. 82fiona64on 15 Apr 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I can say absolutely that people are still reading/noticing. Thanks for this idea, FirstTime. Laura, what say you? I know that I would cheerfully sign on as one of the amici.

  83. 83Sheryl Becketton 17 Apr 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I like the idea, should it go to the Supreme Court and am most willing to sign it.

  84. 84Arleneon 19 Apr 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I like the idea, as well – please count me in.

  85. 85FirstTimeon 26 Apr 2011 at 11:18 am

    Great. Glad to know folks are still visiting this website and that there is support for the idea of an amicus brief from this organization if this case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here’s what we would need if that happens: Volunteer attorneys who are part of MormonsForMarriage.com, or at least a group of attorneys who support the idea and are willing to work pro bono in assisting with research, drafting, and editing. As an attorney, I am willing to organize an amicus committee and cordinate the briefing, but I would certainly need a lot of assistance. We would also need to raise a few thousand dollars for printing costs.

    I’m not sure what the next step is. Even though this case may never reach SCOTUS, we should be prepared if it gets to that point. I suggest a sub thread, under “Political Action and Education”, and incorporating the posts already made on this topic, be added to the site to faciliate particpation. Maybe title the thread: “Amicus Brief Updates”, with an explanation, request for assistance, etc.

Mormons for Marriage

Two Decades of Mixed-Orientation Marriages

The Journal of Marital & Family Therapy is releasing its latest entry on peer-reviewed scholarship about mixed-orientation marriages, and since this is a topic that comes up a lot here at Mormons for Marriage, it’s only fitting that we avail ourselves of the opportunity to see what the state of research is at the beginning of this new decade.

Barbara Couden Hernandez, Naomi J. Schwenke and Colwick M. Wilson of Loma Linda University use their paper, “Spouses in Mixed-Orientation Marriage: A 20-Year Review of Empirical Studies,” to both summarize research so far and to suggest places where research is lacking.

First, the authors set the stage for MOMs (marriages between a heterosexual spouse and a gay/bisexual spouse):

Approximately 20% of gay men marry women over the course of their lives (Janus & Janus, 1993). Buxton (1994) reported that approximately 2 million families must deal with emotional and cognitive dissonance that exist in mixed-orientation marriage (MOM), and that 15% of these marriages continue past a 3-year duration.

With 85% of mixed-orientation marriages lasting less than three years, marital and family therapists are trying to understand the complexities of these relationships and figure out how best to help those involved cope with the aftermath – both surviving/negotiating a continuing relationship and recovering from the pain of divorce. The purpose of this article was to provide a road map of sorts for therapists searching for understanding and considering research and education topics.

An “executive summary” version of the article might read like this:

All the varieties of peer-reviewed research studied (quantitative, qualitative and case study) have found that MOMs are complex.  There is pressure to manage homoerotic feelings, to meet the needs of the straight spouse, to balance tension both inside and outside of the relationship.  There are often fears of losing family – either family of origin or spouse and children. Concerns about living with integrity and ambiguity are real and important, as are coping with issues surrounding religious belief and community. Sexuality within the relationship often needs regular renegotiation.  Bisexuals do better at making MOMs successful, but they are most likely to feel misunderstood by society.

Coming out to the straight spouse is very stressful, and spouses married before 1968 were more likely to postpone coming out than younger bisexual/gay/lesbian spouse have been.

Straight women in MOMs have a variety of reactions to their husband’s coming out – from outrage to relief, but nearly all reported some amount of isolation, humiliation, the need for counseling and attempts to renegotiate or dissolve marriages.

The article goes on to state,

There is not a single theory that accounts for why gay, bisexual, and lesbian individuals marry straight spouses. It was hypothesized that gay, bisexual, and lesbian people choose heterosexual partners based on a combination of early life events, life schemas, societal expectations, religious beliefs, hope to ‘‘cure’’ homosexual feelings, or an overriding desire for family and children. A number of authors offered explanations for their findings based on clinical experience.

and concludes:

Mixed-orientation marriage has only recently been considered a viable form of coupling; however, this is not a universal sentiment. The challenges associated with this unique relationship are many and multifaceted for both spouses. As societal discourse around issues of sexual orientation and marriage become more prominent, a clear understanding of the tasks of MOM families and couples is needed. It is anticipated that this review will encourage further discussion, research, and education on MOM in the field of marriage and family therapy.

The studies reviewed by JMFT were:

Alessi, E. J. (2008). Staying put in the closet: Examining clinical practice and countertransference issues in work
with gay men married to heterosexual women. Clinical Social Work Journal, 36, 195–201.

Buxton, A. P. (2004). Works in progress: How mixed-orientation couples maintain their marriages after the wives
come out. Journal of Bisexuality, 4, 59–82.

Buxton, A. P. (2001). Writing your own script: How bisexual men and their heterosexual wives maintain their
marriages after disclosure. Journal of Bisexuality, 1, 155–189.

Corley, D. M., & Kort, J. (2006). The sex addicted mixed-orientation marriage: Examining attachment styles, internalized homophobia and viability of marriage after disclosure. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13, 167–193.

Edser, S. J., & Shea, J. D. (2002). An exploratory investigation of bisexual men in monogamous, heterosexual
marriages. Journal of Bisexuality, 2, 7–43.

Hays, D., & Samuels, A. (1989). Heterosexual women’s perceptions of their marriages to bisexual or homosexual
men. Journal of Homosexuality, 18, 81–100.

Hernandez, B. C., & Wilson, C. M. (2007). Seventh-day Adventist women in mixed orientation marriages:
Another kind of ambiguous loss. Family Relations, 56, 184–195.

Higgins, D. J. (2002). Gay men from heterosexual marriages: Attitudes, behaviors, childhood experiences, and
reasons for marriage. Journal of Homosexuality, 42, 15–34.

Higgins, D. J. (2004). Differences between previously married and never married ‘gay’ men: Family background,
childhood experiences and current attitudes. Journal of Homosexuality, 48, 19–41.

Kort, J. (2005). The new ‘‘mixed’’ marriage (with case commentary by M. Weiner-Davis). Psychotherapy Networker,
29, 83–89.

Lee, R. B. (2002). Psychosocial contexts of the homosexuality of Filipino men in heterosexual unions. Journal of
Homosexuality,
42, 25–63.

Malcolm, J. P. (2000). Sexual identity development in behaviorally bisexual men: Implications for essentialist theories of sexual orientation. Psychology, Evolution and Gender, 2, 263–299.

Malcolm, J. P. (2002). Assessment of life stress in gay and bisexual men with the Gay Affect and Life Events
Scale. Journal of Homosexuality, 42, 135–144.

Pearcey, M. (2005). Gay and bisexual married men’s attitudes and experiences: Homophobia, reasons for marriage,
and self-identity. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 1, 21–42.

Peterson, L. W. (2001). The married man online. Journal of Bisexuality, 1, 191–209.

The JMFT cite is:

Hernandez, B. C., Schwenke, N. J. and Wilson, C. M. , Spouses in Mixed-Orientation Marriage: A 20-Year Review of Empirical Studies. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2010.00202.x

Filed in Uncategorized, gay |

93 Responses to “Two Decades of Mixed-Orientation Marriages”

  1. 1fiona64on 09 Jan 2011 at 7:38 pm

    It’s always nice to see longitudinal studies. Twenty years seems to be a more than adequate time period.

    And, wow: 85 percent failure rate. Just think of all of the pain that could be avoided if marriage equality existed universally.

  2. 2Paulaon 09 Jan 2011 at 8:00 pm

    We spouses in mixed orientation marriages (or formerly in one) have support groups online, for the pain does not cease, and emotions can be like a rollercoaster. If marriage equality were available, some of us would have been saved this pain, but at the loss of some really special children. Now just to have the courage to move onward.

  3. 3Dave Hoenon 09 Jan 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you Laura. How do you manage to hear about all this interesting information?

    And according to Laura’synopsis, that is 85% failure within the first three years. I don’t know why anyone, understanding what their chances are, would want to risk those kind of odds. Most folks I know in this situation have lasted longer than three years, including myself. Does the study show failure rates for longer periods?

    And I agree with Paula, that we would be missing out on some really special children. But the pain of these marriages and subsequent divorces, even long afterwards, is really awful for everyone.

    Interesting that Loma Linda University, the sponsoring institution of this study, is associated with The Seventh Day Adventists. I’m pretty sure Seventh Day Adventists preach homosexuality is sin. I’m wondering if BYU researchers that were not long ago using aversion shock therapy, would be honest about the long-term results of that therapy?

  4. 4fiona64on 10 Jan 2011 at 11:30 am

    I don’t mean for this to come off as flip as it sounds, but I have struggled to find a better way to phrase it.

    Was it really worth the pain you put those awesome kids through?

    The entire family is affected by divorce (and MOM), not just the parents.

    I speak with second degree experience here, as my niece and nephew’s dad is a gay man who tried a straight marriage with my SIL. My nephew is a hate-filled homophobe as a result, because he somehow fears that he is “tainted” by his dad’s orientation. My niece has a whole separate set of issues surrounding the matter, but at least she is not as angry and hate-filled as my nephew.

    I realize that my comment is anecdotal, but my question is serious.

  5. 5Joshuaon 10 Jan 2011 at 1:01 pm

    20% of gay men is a huge percentage, and very misrepresented in today’s society. I would imagine it would be more among LDS men. I wonder what the percentage is for women? If this large of a percentage of gay men are choosing to get married, more emphasis should be placed on supporting these marriages. Too often, stigma and societal pressures lead to unnecessary break ups in these marriages.

    I’m glad you made this point:

    “Coming out to the straight spouse is very stressful.”

    Another report I saw, found that 2/3 of these relationships end shortly after coming out. Of those that survived the coming out process, the success rate was comparable to same-orientation marriages. Any relationship where one spouse is not being completely honest with the other spouse is bound to have problems.

    I am glad in the Church we encourage openness and honestly. Undoubtedly, that is one of the reasons that it seems that church members in mixed-orientation marriages seem to be able to make it work so much better. I know openness and honesty has made my relationship better.

    Did they study say what helped the 15% of relationships stay in tact? Did it talk more about how many of them were came out before the marriage, and how many came out after the marriage?

    Thanks for posting this. I haven’t found this online, but I will try to look it up in the library.

  6. 6Joshuaon 10 Jan 2011 at 1:03 pm

    “I don’t know why anyone, understanding what their chances are, would want to risk those kind of odds.”

    Love, true love. There just comes a time in your life when you meet someone that you could not fathom being away from. You want to spend the rest of eternity with them, and you won’t let anyone discourage you from following your heart.

  7. 7Brad Carmackon 10 Jan 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Great study, thanks so much for posting it!

  8. 8fiona64on 10 Jan 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Joshua, do you have links to these studies you “saw”? When were they conducted? Were they longitudinal? What was the methodology? Who were the sponsors? Where were they published?

  9. 9fiona64on 10 Jan 2011 at 2:20 pm

    PS to Joshua: Twenty years’ worth of study (this is, after all, a longitudinal study) is a long time … and laws have changed in the interim. Given that, in 1990, same-sex marriage was legal exactly NOWHERE, I think that you are being disingenuous with your comments.

    Again.

    Quelle surprise.

  10. 10fiona64on 10 Jan 2011 at 3:29 pm

    6Joshuaon 10 Jan 2011 at 1:03 pm

    “I don’t know why anyone, understanding what their chances are, would want to risk those kind of odds.”

    Love, true love. There just comes a time in your life when you meet someone that you could not fathom being away from. You want to spend the rest of eternity with them, and you won’t let anyone discourage you from following your heart.
    —-
    And yet, you were more than willing to take that right away from same-sex couples.

    Why haven’t you answered my question, Joshua?

    Why do you claim, on one hand, to want same-sex couples to have their relationships honored and recognized in the same way that your “traditional” marriage is, but yet gave your time, money and vote to support Prop 8? Which is it, Joshua?

  11. 11Joshuaon 11 Jan 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I looked up Buxton’s 1994 reference, the one that claimed 15% continue after a three-year period. The name of the book was:

    “The other side of the closet: the coming-out crisis for straight spouses and families.”

    Apparently, the three-year period referred to AFTER the coming-out. In other words, only 15% remain intact 3 years after coming out. That explains the question Dave and I had about it seeming really short.

    Three of the marriages ended because of an AIDS death, so not all of the 85% ended because of complications due to mixed-orientation marriages. The book didn’t say whether the AIDS deaths were the straight or gay/bisexual spouse. As pointed out here many times, AIDS effects more straight people than gay people.

    The book did have this quote, which I liked:

    “The significant finding is that about half of those who tried to make their marriages work succeeded, an important figure for couples who are dismayed by the fifteen percent figure to keep in mind. This low figure is based on all marriages where the husband came out.”

    I think that is why it is so important that you talk to your spouse about your attractions BEFORE you are married. This will bypass the loss of trust and confidence that happens when your spouse finds you have not been yourself.

    The great news is that if you are open and honest and willing to make the marriage work, then you have about a 50% success rate which is about the same as same-orientation couples. It also shows how successful programs like Exodus and Evergreen are in helping gay people achieve their goals. Where would be without these wonderful organizations that help mixed-orientation couples avoid an ugly divorce? I am so glad there are organizations out there willing to help gay people.

  12. 12Dave Hoenon 11 Jan 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Fiona asked, “Was it really worth the pain you put those awesome kids through [to enter into a Mixed Orientation Marriage]?”

    They are awesome and as much as I love my kids and can’t imagine not having them in my life, I would say no. If I were to do it over again, I would say no. It is just too painful for everyone involved and though the pain subsides, Prop 8 has reopened wounds and inflicted additional ones for my family. And much of that pain has been inflicted by individuals within the Church who have their own warped interpretations of the Church’s un-Christlike stance on LGBT people.

    I entered marriage not knowing I was gay. I knew I was always attracted to guys, but honestly did not know I was gay. I had seen the portrayal of “homosexuals” in the media and the Church and I knew I wasn’t anything like them. So I followed the counsel of my Bishops and Stake Presidents – that if I married a “choice daughter of Zion” in the Temple, those feelings would go away. And I was a really good and faithful Mormon kid who really isn’t allowed to experiment or study or discover the true me. I exceeded what every Mormon kid is supposed to be. So it wasn’t until after I got married (when those feelings didn’t go away), that I finally figured out that I was gay.

    Of course now the option of celibacy is “given” for those who are gay. That is total BS! How is a good kid ever going to have a healthy adjustment to being gay? If he is to remain “clean and pure”, he isn’t even allowed to study homosexuality or watch movies or TV that have positive portrayals of LGBT people. And contrary to the belief of many ignorant people, being clean and pure isn’t going to keep a kid from being gay. It just keeps him from having a healthy adjustment. With the Church’s participation in Prop 8, the gay teenagers and young adults within the Church received a very powerful message that there is no place at the table for those who are LGBT. The only options are to be celibate or get married (to the opposite sex).

    So there will continue to be a lot more Mixed Orientation Marriages within the Mormon Church and the inevitable unhappiness and failure. That is heinous! And it is not worth it.

  13. 13Lauraon 11 Jan 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Quickly, while I have two seconds – Just a reminder that this paper is NOT a longitudinal study over 20 years. It is a REVIEW of 15 studies conducted over a period of 20 years.

    Each study included in the review is listed within the post – interested readers should be able to find each study to review independently.

    Every study included information about the marital status and length of marriage, but the number of years married before/after coming out was only reported in 7 of the studies.

    Study sample sizes ranged from 2 people to 350 people, and while each provides some information, it would be premature to draw conclusions based solely on the results of any one of the studies.

    Despite problems with the current state of research, the authors reported (as noted in the OP) that there are significant stressors involved in MOMs, and that marriage and family therapists need to be aware of those issues.

    The authors also noted that “The majority of gay, bisexual, and lesbian spouses attempted to remain married and renegotiate their relationships. Rating on scales of homosexuality was positively correlated with incidence of divorce and separation.” (Which tends to correlate with all of the anecdotal information we’ve seen on this site, that people whose sexual orientation is closer to bisexual than strongly homo- or hetero-, are more likely to be able to create successful mixed-orientation marriages.)

    The authors created this article to show how much (or little) is knows about MOMs, and to point out places where further research, study and care in counseling are needed.

  14. 14Joshuaon 11 Jan 2011 at 6:50 pm

    >>How is a good kid ever going to have a healthy adjustment to being gay?

    I think I have had a healthy adjustment to being gay. It was a long, hard trip, but I learned a lot on the way. I know your experience with trying to be a good kid in the church was negative, but realize not everyone is that way.

    >> If he is to remain “clean and pure”, he isn’t even allowed to study homosexuality or watch movies or TV that have positive portrayals of LGBT people.

    I am not sure where that came from. Maybe it was a counsel from the Bishop. Not all counsel from Bishops are good. The Church has never made any such statement. I do think it is wise to avoid people flaunting their sexuality, whatever the orientation.

    >> And contrary to the belief of many ignorant people, being clean and pure isn’t going to keep a kid from being gay. It just keeps him from having a healthy adjustment.

    Is there something about being gay that stops people from being clean and pure? Why can’t he be clean, pure, gay and have a healthy adjustment?

    Dave, I know you had a bad experience in your marriage, but that is not the case with everyone. Realize that some people have a healthy adjustment to being gay and go on to have happy and healthy relationships. The 85% failure rate is for those who did not adjust to being gay before marriage, and even that had a 50% success rate for those who still wanted to be married after adjusting.

  15. 15Stephenon 12 Jan 2011 at 1:27 am

    Please read. The best study for why LDS should accept and support same sex marriage. Amazing. I am a gay Mormon and this brings hope

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/44716106/Homosexuality-a-Straight-BYU-Student-27s-Perspective-Draft-2h

  16. 16fiona64on 12 Jan 2011 at 9:30 am

    Joshua wrote: I think I have had a healthy adjustment to being gay.

    Really? Then why did you go to NARTH, Exodus and Evergreen, whose stated missions are to “help people transition from” being gay?

    And why is it that you cannot seem to answer my question? Why do you, on one hand, keep insisting that you want same-sex couples to have the same recognition for their relationships that you have in your mixed-orientation marriage, but on the other hand, are vocal about the fact that you supported Prop 8 with your time, money and vote?

  17. 17fiona64on 12 Jan 2011 at 11:44 am

    Joshua wrote: I am not sure where that came from. Maybe it was a counsel from the Bishop. Not all counsel from Bishops are good. The Church has never made any such statement.

    Really, Joshua? I guess you had better re-read Page 9 of “God Loveth His Children.” In case you don’t have a copy handy, I have a link: http://lds.org/topics/pdf/GodLovethHisChildren_04824_000.pdf

  18. 18Dave Hoenon 12 Jan 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Joshua –

    It is possible for a good kid to grow up with a healthy adjustment to being gay, but . . .
    – When a kid is told by his mother, whom he loves and trusts more than anyone else in this world, that she would rather see him in a pine box than to see him marry outside of the temple, it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.
    – When a kid hears his parents speak derogatorily about gays and lesbians, it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.
    – When a kid isn’t allowed to watch any movies or TV that might have positive gay role models (Glee for instance), it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.
    – When a kid is told he can only read books or visit websites that are in accordance with Church standards, it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.
    – When a kid comes to the conclusion that he will be rejected by his family after seeing them donate thousands of dollars and spend many hours to take away marriage from American Citizens, it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.
    – When a kid watches a loved prophet in General Conference tell him that God didn’t make him that way, it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.
    – When a kid is bullied by his own family or other members of the Church, it is difficult to have a healthy adjustment to being gay.

    Add them all up and it is a miracle when a gay kid comes out the other end and thrives.

  19. 19Dave Hoenon 12 Jan 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Joshua –

    I believe you said that you have been married for two or three years. I don’t think that yet qualifies you as having a successful and happy MoM. I literally know hundreds of gay men that have been married or are currently married. Some were married for only a few years and some for many decades and some are still married. Many of them are Mormons or ex-Mormons. Some of them went through Aversion Shock Therapy and some attended Exodus/Evergreen and two of them were co-founders of Exodus and became gay partners (one has since passed away, however). Of those that had gay experiences before marriage, some of them told their wives beforehand and some didn’t, and some didn’t know they were gay before they got married. I cannot think of even one of those hundreds of men who haven’t said, “If I knew then, what I know now, I would have never married.” I’m sure there must be some that would do it all again, but I’ve never met any.

    When I was first coming to terms with being gay, I asked the Church Social Services Counselor if I could meet with a gay married man who had succeeded in a long term marriage, so I could find out firsthand a possible strategy. I was told that I would not be able to do that and when I asked him why, he said that, “they’re too fragile”. I still vividly remember crying to him and saying, “We’re talking about my life here, and you’re telling me that not one of these men who have succeeded in marriage is willing to talk to me”? He again said no.

    Don’t get me wrong Joshua, I want you to be truly happy. As others have said, I would like to hear what you have to say a few years down the road. I sincerely hope your journey will be happy, wherever it leads you.

    In the meantime, I am personally thankful that I no longer have to spend an inordinate amount of energy trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I am grateful that I don’t have to be involved in organizations whose purpose is to try to make me different than what God made me.

  20. 20Arleneon 12 Jan 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Dave Hoen, thank you for your well thought out reply to Fiona’s question about whether or not it was worth the pain to have entered into a MOM. The counsel given to a couple of my family members, as well as to many other members across the church, to marry a woman and the feelings would go away was clearly false and created so much pain and confusion for the adults and children involved.
    Joshua stated, “I am glad in the Church we encourage openness and honestly.” I have to admit that I burst out in uncomfortable laughter at reading that statement. My experience in the church has been the opposite, with members becoming very skilled at pretending to be what they are supposed to be, rather than being open and honest – since that can cause significant problems. It is also the exact opposite of the time-worn practice of encouraging gay men to marry straight women in order to “cure” themselves. Another example of pretending to be what one is supposed to be, rather than being open and honest.

  21. 21fiona64on 12 Jan 2011 at 3:37 pm

    @Dave Hoen: Thank you for your response. I really appreciate you taking the time, and telling your story.

    @Arlene: Hello, and welcome! I don’t think I’ve seen you post before. I am sorry to say it, but Joshua seems to live in a different reality from the rest of us. :-/

    @Joshua: As I have said before, I truly wish you the best. IIRC, you recently celebrated your first wedding anniversary. I am sure that you believe everything you have written to be so, and I hope (for the sake of all parties involved) that it is. I just wonder why you continue to ignore simple questions. I wonder why you will spend paragraphs justifying the church’s actions, but won’t answer simple questions like “Why do you say one thing and do another” or “could you please cite your source.” Why are you unwilling to answer my questions, Joshua? Is it because you can’t?

  22. 22Joshuaon 12 Jan 2011 at 6:03 pm

    David,

    Once again, your experiences are not mine. My mom never said she wished to see me in a pine box, and I am still confused what is wrong with watching Glee. A lot of what you said is really bad, and I am thankful I belong to a church that discourages gay-bashing and tells family members to love their gay children. See

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Family_members

    I might not have been married long, but I am sick of all these predictions of gloom and doom. I know many people who have been happily married for decades. Even the study Laura quoted says couples who are open and honest with each other have a 50% chance of survival. There are some many people on here who have been hurt and are seeking to take their hurt out on other people. WE need to stop accusations against other people’s lifestyles and let them live how they want to live.

  23. 23Joshuaon 12 Jan 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Arlene,

    In regards to marriage, Elder Oaks taught:

    “We are not going to stand still to put at risk daughters of God who would enter into such marriages under false pretenses or under a cloud unknown to them. Persons who have this kind of challenge that they cannot control could not enter marriage in good faith”

    More information about the church encouraging people to be open and honest can be found here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Honesty

    The Church never encouraged people to marry people in order to become straight. Individual bishops might have, but never from the Church level. See here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_gender_issues/Same-sex_attraction/Marriage_as_therapy

  24. 24Lauraon 12 Jan 2011 at 6:25 pm

    The reality now is different from what it once was (at least in part). That is important to remember because we are all products of our cultural upbringing. While many young people have not experienced the rhetoric of 40 (or even 20) years ago, many leaders and other older people still recall that counsel (and some, shamefully, continue to preach it), and the thousands that grew up hearing it still carry the scars that should not be lightly dismissed.

    Regular readers may recall a prolonged and somewhat painful discussion about how the rhetoric has changed from what it used to be:

    In 1970, the Church published a pamphlet for local leaders called, “Hope for Transgressors.” It advised that “homosexuality can be cured…. [and]… forgiven.” It encouraged leaders with particularly difficult cases to contact [Quorum of the Twelve] President Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Mark E. Petersen if they needed specific assistance. As men worked through the curative and repentance processes, leaders are counseled:

    When you feel he is ready, he should be encouraged to date and to gradually move his life toward the normal….If they will close the door to intimate associations with their own sex and open it wide to that of the other sex, of course in total propriety, and then be patient and determined, gradually they can move their romantic interests where they belong. Marriage and normal life can follow.

  25. 25Joshuaon 12 Jan 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I have read much of what President Kimball has said. He consistently refers to homosexuality as a “sex act”. He likened it to drinking alcohol, in that the act of drinking may be overcome, but the desire may never go away.

    Even the current American Heritage Dictionary defines homosexuality as:
    1. Sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
    2. Sexual activity with another of the same sex.

    It is obvious that in the 1970’s, President Kimball was using the second definition.

    When he said “cure” you have to remember that at the time, the World Health Organization considered it a mental illness. Using the correct vocabulary of the day should not be taken as a doctrinal stance on the issue.

    So yes, I agree with President Kimball that anyone having gay sex can stop.

    I am also glad that he added “when you feel he is ready”. Marriage is not for everyone, put those who do feel they are ready need to know that marriage and normal life is a possibility. That is what the study Laura quoted shows.

    This is totally different than what Arlene was said about “the time-worn practice of encouraging gay men to marry straight women in order to “cure” themselves”. There is a huge difference between assuring that marriage is possible when you are ready and using marriage as a tool to become ready. I think this quote from 1992 clarifies the difference:

    “Encouraging members to cultivate heterosexual feelings AS A WAY to resolve homosexual problems generally leads them to frustration and discouragement. However, some people have reported that ONCE THEY ARE FREED from homosexual problems, heterosexual feelings have gradually emerged.”

  26. 26Joshuaon 13 Jan 2011 at 9:18 am

    That probably didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. I am trying to make it sound like the Church and President Kimball were perfect. That is not true. Both the Church and President Kimball have made mistakes. The Church has made a lot of improvements, and they still have more to make. I feel they are trying to understand the situation, but they don’t yet. No one does.

    President Kimball was from the 1970s. No one understood homosexuality like they do today. I believe President Kimball was trying to do what was right, but he simply didn’t understand homosexuality. It seemed he was saying that marriage would be an obvious next step once you are ready. It seems many Bishops missed the once you are ready part, or didn’t understand what it meant to be ready. Obviously many people were promised by Bishops that marriage would make the feelings go away. That certainly isn’t the case in my situation. President Kimball never promised that, in fact warned the opposite was true, but neither did he correct that. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the Church clarified that marriage was not to be a cure. We do see tragedies, like Dave and Paula, were people who never were supposed to get married were pressured into marriages.

    However, I think this web site is making the same mistake. The LDS church isn’t perfect, but neither are you. Many of you have been hurt deeply by the LDS Church’s naivety on this subject back in the 1970s. I am glad they got that corrected in the 1980s. I still think it was done out of love for LGBT people back in the 1970s, but it was naive. While they did make mistakes, they didn’t make half the mistakes you are accusing them of making.

    The difference is that it seems many people here are reacting out of the pain that has been caused them. They were hurt, so they can’t see any good. They don’t understand that many LGBT people have been richly blessed by the LDS Church, and by pitting us against our own church you think you are doing us a favor. It is not fair. Why repeat mistakes? Let everyone pursue happiness as they see fit don’t. Don’t attack anyone’s relationships. Don’t attack anyone’s religion. Let’s all be friends and be happy.

  27. 27fiona64on 13 Jan 2011 at 9:37 am

    Joshua wrote: WE need to stop accusations against other people’s lifestyles and let them live how they want to live.

    Then why did you lend your time, money and support (via the ballot box) to Prop 8, which took away peoples’ rights to live how they want to live?

  28. 28Roberton 13 Jan 2011 at 9:44 am

    Finona wrote: “Was it really worth the pain you put those awesome kids through? The entire family is affected by divorce (and MOM), not just the parents. I speak with second degree experience here, as my niece and nephew’s dad is a gay man who tried a straight marriage with my SIL. My nephew is a hate-filled homophobe as a result, because he somehow fears that he is “tainted” by his dad’s orientation. My niece has a whole separate set of issues surrounding the matter, but at least she is not as angry and hate-filled as my nephew…..”

    Ouch.. really ouch.. that was my situation.

    Except I was in denial and honest about my homosexuality before my young marriage. My denial during my marriage went like this “Yes I think about members of the same sex” but I’m certainly not one of those horrible homosexuals.

    My ex left me for a series of unsuccessful relationships and I was forced to deal with reality, yes I am a gay man. I was denied visitation by my ex-wife’s family members because they did not want our son getting AIDS or turning into a homosexual. And my son had to deal with relatives who would whisper “sure hope he does not turn into one of those” as he was growing up.

    And the relationship that I ended 3 years ago… is one that for years it was as though he was doing me a favor to even talk to me. He calls me by my first name and never uses the term “Dad”. I would wait, and hope “he would come around, forgive if needed and let go”.. It never happened.. I just could not continue a relationship of disrespect… the price to have a son, became too high… His Mormon homophobia from a small Utah town, got the best of a what I think could have been a good father and son relationship.

  29. 29fiona64on 13 Jan 2011 at 11:24 am

    PS to Joshua: Mormon apologist sites? Really?

    Wow.

  30. 30fiona64on 13 Jan 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Joshua wrote: A lot of what you said is really bad, and I am thankful I belong to a church that discourages gay-bashing and tells family members to love their gay children.

    He then provided a link to a Mormon apologetics site which says that family members are instructed to love their gay children and denies that there is a significant portion of gay LDS kids who are homeless.

    I guess that Joshua has missed this recent article (from November 2010): Suicide, Homelessness Plague LGBT Youth in Utah.

    Or perhaps this one: Life on the Streets for Utah Kids: A Growing Problem.

    Or perhaps Joshua did not see “8: The Mormon Proposition,” wherein numerous GLBT LDS youth were profiled — in their homeless squat, where they lived after being put out of their homes. (I’m guessing that Joshua did not see this film, as “alternate sources of information” are frowned upon by the Church of LDS.)

    So often, it seems to me that what Joshua says the church teaches and what the church actually *does* are two different things.

    Why is that?

    And why haven’t you answered my question yet?

  31. 31fiona64on 13 Jan 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Joshua wrote: Let everyone pursue happiness as they see fit don’t. Don’t attack anyone’s relationships.

    If this is your philosophy, Joshua, why did you donate your time, money and vote to attacking relationships between same-sex couples via your support of Prop 8? Why did you support a ballot measure that removed same-sex couples’ rights to pursue happiness as they see fit?

  32. 32fiona64on 13 Jan 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Joshua wrote: However, I think this web site is making the same mistake. The LDS church isn’t perfect, but neither are you. Many of you have been hurt deeply by the LDS Church’s naivety on this subject back in the 1970s. I am glad they got that corrected in the 1980s.

    Really, Joshua? Perhaps you can explain the Church’s involvement in defeating HI’s marriage equality bill and in Props 22 and 8 during the 21st Century?

    And while you are at it, you can answer my questions.

  33. 33fiona64on 13 Jan 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Joshua wrote: Even the current American Heritage Dictionary defines homosexuality as:
    1. Sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
    2. Sexual activity with another of the same sex.

    This does not mean that the AHD authors believe they are two different things, Joshua. It means, in fact, that they believe they are the *same* thing.

  34. 34Roberton 13 Jan 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Fiona asked a great question to Joshua, and I’m also waiting anxiously to hear the answer…

    “Then why did you lend your time, money and support (via the ballot box) to Prop 8, which took away peoples’ rights to live how they want to live?”

  35. 35Arleneon 14 Jan 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Fiona – thank you for the welcome. I have only posted once before, quite a while ago, but have been “lurking” here since I first heard of the website prior to the vote on Prop 8. You seem to bring up many of the comments I would like to make (plus a few I haven’t thought about), so I typically don’t repeat them, but I appreciate your comments in favor of treating all of our neighbors with equality.

    Joshua – after reading your posts for a long time now, I was stunned to see you acknowledge that the church and its leaders have made mistakes in the past. We have seen more discussion of this topic by church leaders lately as they try to mend fences related to how support of Prop 8 was managed. However, so many members (or former members) are still trying to recover from the results of those mistakes and I firmly believe that the list of mistakes will include the handling of Prop 8 in the future. I grew up in the 60’s-70’s and have lived in many places and attended many wards. In my life experience, the “mistaken” counsel to marry was not isolated to a small area, but was fairly widespread, as were other “mistakes” in the church’s history. It is hard for me to believe that it was due to a few rogue bishops, rather than counsel from higher church authorities that caused such a widespread affect. You are free to believe otherwise and, if you grew up in a different generation, your experience may have indeed been better than mine.

  36. 36Joshuaon 14 Jan 2011 at 5:56 pm

    This web site is called Mormons for Marriage. The purpose, as I understand it, is to support marriage equality from a Mormon perspective. Marriage equality is treating all marriages equally. I came on here to support that goal. I do not agree with all aspects of marriage equality, but I wanted to contribute where I do fell passionate about, and that is marriage equality for mixed-orientation marriages.

    While I do not completely embrace marriage equality, I am glad that there is a site for Mormons to come to who are supportive of that goal and I do not want to interfere with it. I have had long talks with people who opposed Prop 8 and for the most part I see their arguments and respect their opinions. I appreciate the discussions we have had on here about how to stop bullying, about saving LGBT teens from homophobic parents, about how to treat same-sex couples with respect, and so on.

    In fact, I respect most of what this web site is doing. I do not respect what I consider fear-mongering, scare tactics and misinformation to attack gay Mormons. Painting us as hopeless closet cases who are horrible husbands and wives is not really doing us a favor. I do not understand how people can think doing so is “pro-gay” or “pro-marriage equality”. I have no respect for that mentality.

    I came on here to defend marriage equality. Not to attack it. You know my position on Prop 8, and that is good enough for me. If you can’t see how someone can in good faith support Prop 8 and still argue that everyone should have the right to live how they want to live, and have the rights and benefits they need to protect their families, then I suggest you read some more pro-Prop 8 sites. That argument has been hashed over a million times. No sense repeating it here. This is not the web site to attack marriage equality. Here, I am defending marriage equality, not re-hashing pro-Prop 8 arguments. That is why I am not responding to those questions.

  37. 37Lauraon 14 Jan 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Joshua:

    If you can’t see how someone can in good faith support Prop 8 and still argue that everyone should have the right to live how they want to live, and have the rights and benefits they need to protect their families, then I suggest you read some more pro-Prop 8 sites.

    Let’s say that Prop 68 means every person “afflicted with same-gender attraction” legally HAS to marry someone of the same sex. Let’s say I support Prop 68. Let’s say YOU want to marry someone of the opposite sex – your soulmate, even – but you are attracted to members of the same sex, so if Prop 68 passes, you won’t be able to marry the person you love. We have debates and arguments and after it’s all over, Prop 68 passes and now the law says you can’t marry your soulmate.

    Then I come and say, “I’m for marriage equality. I want everyone to be able to live how they want to live in whatever lifestyle they choose.” You respond by saying, “But MY choice is to marry someone of the OPPOSITE sex. Because of YOUR campaign FOR Prop 68, I can NO LONGER MAKE THAT CHOICE. I cannot live the way I choose to live. How can you say that you are for marriage equality when you are against the kind of marriage I want?”

    Does it really make sense to respond, “If you can’t see how someone can in good faith support Prop 68 and still argue that everyone should have the right to live how they want to live, and have the rights and benefits they need to protect their families, then I suggest you read some more pro-Prop 68 sites?” If ANYONE sees how that makes sense, please enlighten me.

    Back to Prop 8: John and Mark have two children. One is John’s from a heterosexual marriage and the other could be either man’s daughter (they mixed their sperm and used a surrogate mother). They began their own committed relationship in late 2003. When same-sex marriage was legalized in California, they wanted to marry one another in order to “have the rights and benefits they need to protect their famil[y].” They prepared for marriage and were looking forward to it, and their children were looking forward to participating in the ceremony and watching their dads promise to love one another and to take care of each other and their children ‘as long as they both shall live.’

    Then voters in California changed the constitution, taking away the right of these men to “live how they want to live.”

    I’ve read lots and Lots and LOTS of websites and listened to ALL the arguments in favor of traditional marriage. I must be really stupid, though, because, for the life of me I cannot see any way that an argument in favor of “letting people live how they want to live” can be made while simultaneously taking away the opportunity for people to choose the life they want to live. People wanted to marry others of the same sex. That was their desire and their chosen lifestyle. When California’s constitution was changed, the state was unable to let them live how they want to live.

    You can’t take away all the chocolate and then say people can choose any kind of candy they want. If the only kind of candy they want is chocolate, they are SOL.

  38. 38fiona64on 14 Jan 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Joshua, if I were a lawyer and this were a trial, I would look at the judge and say “Move to strike as non-responsive.”

    The bottom line is that you espouse a philosophy that is belied by your actions. This is called being a hypocrite. If you honestly think I have not read what the other side is up to, then you are hopelessly ignorant.

    You, sir, are a hypocrite. The end.

  39. 39fiona64on 14 Jan 2011 at 7:02 pm

    PS to Joshua:

    Just a clue for you. When the only kind of marriage you support is heterosexual (i.e., man/woman)? You do NOT support marriage equality.

    Stop deluding yourself, because you’re the only one being fooled by your inane rhetoric.

  40. 40Joshuaon 14 Jan 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Laura,

    There is a lot of tension between both sides, but I believe by discussion we can come to common understanding. I said I came here to promote marriage equality, not to attack it. Your position does not make sense to me either. I’ll tell you what, if YOU explain why:

    1) This web site only gives two options for gay Mormons to live within the bounds of the Church, and calls both options “hopeless”. No chance of happiness is given for faithful gay Mormons, making us seem like depressed people to be “rescued” for Mormonism.

    2) Uses scare tactics like “Would you want your child to marry someone in this situation?” when you are so upset about Prop 8’s scare tactics.

    3) Say “The vast majority of the mixed-orientation marriages ended in tragedy or divorce”, but fail to acknowledge that those who are open and honest had a 50% success rate.

    If you explain how you can do these things and still call this site “Marriage Equality”, then I will explain my reasons behind Prop 8. But I warn you, I don’t think you will like my reasons once you hear them anyway.

  41. 41Lauraon 14 Jan 2011 at 7:32 pm

    (A) I haven’t voted or campaigned to prevent people from marrying, and once any two people are married I send my hearty congratulations and best wishes that it works out.

    (B) The Mormon Church provides options for gay Mormons, not this website. These words are not mine, they are LDS Church Historian Marlin Jensen’s:

    “And yes, some people argue sometimes, well, for the gay person or the lesbian person, we’re not asking more of them than we’re asking of the single woman who never marries. But I long ago found in talking to them that we do ask for something different: In the case of the gay person, they really have no hope. “

    (C) As for scare tactics, there was a succinct answer here The quote in context reads:

    Option 1: To enter into a heterosexual marriage in spite of their dismal success rates — most often leading to misery and disaster for both husband and wife. Consider what it would be like to either: 1) marry someone you were not physically attracted to, or 2) marry someone who is not at all physically attracted to you. Would you want your child to marry someone in this situation? For most, this option is simply not viable.

    Just as I wouldn’t ask you to go marry a man just because he was a man, I wouldn’t ask someone else to go marry a woman just because she was a woman. That you have developed a deep love and appreciation for your wife is commendable. In fact, it’s extraordinary.

    (D) The mixed-orientation marriage research is clearly identified on the site and anyone interested in it can go and look up the numbers. And the comment thread continues to provide details from the research data available for anyone who wants to take the time to read, study, share, etc.

  42. 42Dave Hoenon 14 Jan 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Arlene, I too was stunned and was about to commend Joshua for acknowledging that the church and its leaders have made mistakes in the past.

    Joshua, as I’ve said before, I appreciate your contributions to this website. And I hope you don’t get fed up and stop contributing. I appreciate your attempt at explaining why you supported Prop 8. But, I have been to the pro Prop 8 websites and I have listened to many (if not all) of their arguments. I’ve listened to lay members and leaders of the Church explain their reasons and I understand what they’re trying to say, but their arguments don’t hold water when it comes to the Constitution of the United States and basic tenets of the Church (The Articles of Faith, as a starting point). And most of their arguments are just plain fearmongering BS. And when it gets right down to it, the only “valid” argument that members have left is that they did it because the Prophet told them to.

    Which gets us back to your statement that the Church and its leaders have made mistakes in the past. In the past, the leaders called for the destruction of homosexuals. They softened that stance and just called for excommunication instead. Then they softened that stance and came up with a list of causes for homosexuality and methods of curing them. Then they softened that stance and said they don’t know what causes homosexuality. We all can look back now and recognize they made mistakes, but at the time those proclamations were made, they were regarded by the membership as the inspired words of prophets.

    So every few years, they pull out the stake they had so firmly planted in the ground and they move it. You’d expect better on such an important matter from a Church that claims divine revelation. Have they finally got it right and planted the stake for the last time, or in a few years will we look back and recognize the mistakes they are making now and the stake will once again be moved?

    I’ve got an easy fix. All Mormons must stop having kids immediately. There will be no more gay kids born into the Church and in a few years there will be no more gay young adults. Just a few years after that and the entire gay Mormon population will be cleaned out. The crisis will have been averted.

    Of course, that is ridiculous. But telling members to stop having children, is no more ridiculous than telling gay members to remain celibate and never take a companion.

    Stop with the incremental mistakes and get to the real fix of full equality for gay members, including temple marriage to the person of their choice. We all know that is what is going to be required anyway. That is if the Church wants to remain relevant.

  43. 43Roberton 14 Jan 2011 at 9:08 pm

    As someone lived in a mixed orientation marriage for 9 years and loved my wife, rated my marriage an 8 or 9 on a scale of one to 10 (would have been higher if there was more than robotic action during love making). I am glad my ex-wife found the courage to leave me for another man who could love her fully in a way I could not. It took me over year to come out and face denial. Joshua, I’ve been there and done that. My sincere hope that your eventual journey is less painful than mine.

  44. 44fiona64on 15 Jan 2011 at 8:33 am

    Joshua wrote: I said I came here to promote marriage equality, not to attack it.

    Marriage equality, in your mind, consists solely of marriages between opposite sex couples: straight/straight and gay/straight, but opposite sex only.

    That’s like being in the KKK and saying that you promote cultural diversity by means of segregation.

    Like I said, no one is fooled by your inane rhetoric but you. You do NOT promote marriage equality; you promote exactly the opposite. I wish you would just *admit* the truth: you voted in favor of Prop 8 for two reasons and two reasons only.

    The smaller one is that you genuinely do NOT believe that same-sex couples should have the same rights as opposite sex couples (because being gay is icky/bad and must be overcome) … and the larger one is because you marched in lockstep with what your church told you to do in the October 2008 General Conference special comment.

    Oh, one more thing: you tried to argue that “liberation from homosexuality” meant something other than what it does. Liberation means freedom. “Freedom from homosexuality” does not mean “freedom from having gay sex,” no matter how many times you want to defend the oft-discredited, NARTH, Evergreen, Exodus, Northstar and every other organization that exists *solely* to stigmatize gay people.

    I feel more sorry for you than you will ever know, Joshua. Just stop lying to yourself and everyone else; your life will be much better as a result.

  45. 45fiona64on 15 Jan 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Joshua wrote: 5Joshuaon 10 Jan 2011 at 1:01 pm

    20% of gay men is a huge percentage, and very misrepresented in today’s society. I would imagine it would be more among LDS men.
    —–
    Best estimates of the percentage of gay people in the population is 5 percent — of whom half are men. Twenty percent of 2.5 percent is not very many people in the grand scheme of things, and that is why not very many studies are out there.

  46. 46Joshuaon 15 Jan 2011 at 5:09 pm

    >>The Mormon Church provides options for gay Mormons, not this website

    The quote from this web site is:

    “Presently, LDS Church leaders offer only two options to homosexuals within the church.”

    You then give the two options. The first you end by saying “Would you want your child to marry someone in this situation?” The second you say is “just as hopeless”.

    Those were the two options that this web site mentioned, both hopeless. This site clearly said the church only provided two options: a disaster marriage or a life of solitude. That is simply not true.

    The argument “It does not state that there are not “mixed orientation” marriages are where the couples are not attracted to each other, it asks you to consider what it would be like” might have worked if you were not making an exhaustive list. You did not say two of the many options available to gay Mormons is a disaster marriage or a life of solitude. You say those were the ONLY options.

    Obviously it would stink to be married to someone who wasn’t attracted to you even if both are straight. What is your point if it isn’t to say that is what is going on in mixed-orientation marriages.

    You provided the example of Prop 68, which I will address as promised. Let me give you another example.

    Suppose instead of being about mixed-orientation marriages, it were about same-sex relationships. Suppose it said:

    Presently, the LGBT community offers only two options to homosexuals within their community:

    * Option 1: To enter into a same-sex marriage in spite of their dismal success rates — most often leading to misery and disaster for both spouses. Consider what it would be like to either: 1) marry someone you were not faithful to (www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/29sfmetro.htm), or 2) marry someone who is not faithful to you. Would you want your child to marry someone in this situation? For most, this option is simply not viable. But Option #2 is just as hopeless…
    * Option 2: To voluntarily choose a lifetime of casual sex and solitude – where one of the most basic human needs (that of human physical intimacy) – is made unavailable for the entire lifetime of the homosexual member. Can you imagine for a second being asked to deal with HIV your entire adult life (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm) – never to know the joys of spousal companionship and intimacy? To us, this is perhaps the cruelest of requests. In war, the worst possible type is not the loss of lives, but biological warfare, where the soldier deal with the consequence the rest of their life. And this, in essence, is what we’re asking of our gay brothers and sisters with this option. Can you imagine living the rest of your life unable to have sex with someone you love for fear of passing on HIV? While it’s true that some heterosexual people live a promiscuous lifestyle and get HIV, at least they have the HOPE of leaving it and living a chaste lifestyle, where they can be free from casual sex and the solitude and diseases that brings.

    Obviously, this paragraph is full of errors. It assumes all same-sex marriages are unfaithful, and that everyone else has casual sex and gets HIV, but isn’t that what you are doing? I honestly don’t see a difference.

    The argument: “It does not state that there are not same-sex marriages where the couples is faithful to each other, but asks you to consider what it would be like to be in an unfaithful same-sex marriage.” Doesn’t work because there is no mention of the faithful same-sex marriages.

    Also, the argument “The same-sex marriage research and HIV research is clearly identified on the site and anyone interested in it can go and look up the numbers” just seems like a slap in the face.

    The above paragraph that I wrote is horrible, twists the facts, and demonizes the opponent, which is what I feel you are doing.

  47. 47fiona64on 15 Jan 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Joshua, you are a liar. Pure and simple. Laura answered your questions. The things you say that she wrote? Are quotations FROM YOUR CHURCH LEADERSHIP or FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE STUDIED THE MATTER FROM A PERSPECTIVE OF YOUR CHURCH.

    Yes, I am shouting on purpose.

    You also didn’t answer the question about the reasons for your hypocrisy (as you promised that you would). The bottom line, Joshua, is that you want to be left alone to live your life the way you want to — BUT YOU DON’T GRANT OTHER PEOPLE THE SAME RIGHT. You have no problem with denying people the right to marry the person they love, because you think that being gay is only about sex. You said yourself that “people who have gay sex do not want to be in long-term relationships.” Where did you draw that conclusion, Joshua? Because it sure as HELL doesn’t match up with reality for any of the gay couples I know — some of whom have been together longer than you’ve even been alive.

  48. 48fiona64on 15 Jan 2011 at 6:43 pm

    You know what, Joshua? I think you really DO believe all of the things you wrote in your examples, with all of your heart.

    And then you write this: The above paragraph that I wrote is horrible, twists the facts, and demonizes the opponent, which is what I feel you are doing.

    How shall we speak politely about people who want to deny equal protection under the law to law-abiding, tax-paying citizens? People who went a long ways to REMOVE EXISTING RIGHTS from people? Are you proud of yourself? And then you have the freaking AUDACITY to pretend that someone has tried to stop you from being married to a WOMAN? Really? Could you show me the big ol’ campaign that did that? The television ads filled with falsehoods? The “gathering storm”?

    Oh, wait. You can’t. Because it’s bovine excrement.

    Perhaps it’s time to stop having false niceties and call it out for what it is: bigotry, pure and simple. It is not “demonizing the opponent” to call bigotry what it is. It’s called REALITY.

    And just so you know, Joshua, straight marriage does not make anyone “the opponent.” I’m married, I’m straight — AND I KNOW GOOD AND WELL THAT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE NOT ONLY DOES NOT HARM MY MARRIAGE, BUT IN FACT STRENGTHENS IT.

    [edited – time for a deep breath or two]

  49. 49fiona64on 15 Jan 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Joshua wrote: Obviously it would stink to be married to someone who wasn’t attracted to you even if both are straight. What is your point if it isn’t to say that is what is going on in mixed-orientation marriages.

    Joshua also wrote: I managed to develop a sexual attraction to my wife. At first it was forced, yes.

    Hmm. Sounds like that’s what was going on at YOUR house, but obviously you “overcame.”

    You are a typical “concern troll,” Joshua (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=concern+troll). You espouse a belief in marriage equality — but you don’t actually believe in it, as has been revealed repeatedly.

    [breathe, breathe, breathe]

  50. 50Lauraon 15 Jan 2011 at 11:22 pm

    There have been a lot of conversations since July, 2008, and it’s possible that Joshua has had a change of heart about same-sex marriages in the interim.

    I know a number of people who supported Prop 8 two years ago who’ve since spent time in quiet conversations, reading, listening to legal arguments and thinking things over and have figured that allowing two consenting, loving adults to marry wouldn’t really destroy the very foundation of modern American society as was threatened by Prop 8 proponents. There are plenty who haven’t changed their minds as well, but the pendulum continues to swing.

    So maybe we can ask, “If a same-sex marriage amendment were on the ballot again in 2011, would you do things differently?”

    Or, perhaps more apropos to this thread, “If same-sex marriage were legal, what effect (if any) would that have on mixed-orientation marriages?” If SSMs won’t harm MOMs, why spend precious time and energy fighting SSMs?

  51. 51fiona64on 16 Jan 2011 at 8:35 am

    50Lauraon 15 Jan 2011 at 11:22 pm

    There have been a lot of conversations since July, 2008, and it’s possible that Joshua has had a change of heart about same-sex marriages in the interim.

    Joshua stated that he does not believe in “all aspects of marriage equality.”

    He’s also stated that he’s here to “offer a message of hope” to gay people that it is possible for them to “overcome” and marry straight people.

    I will concede that there is a possibility that what you say is true, but that it is incredibly remote. Like … light years away remote.

  52. 52cowboyIIon 16 Jan 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Joshua typed:

    2) Uses scare tactics like “Would you want your child to marry someone in this situation?” when you are so upset about Prop 8’s scare tactics.

    I don’t think this is a scare tactic. First off, it pales in comparison to the televised commercials a lot of Mormons funded and still promulgate.

    It’s a honest question. Would anyone like their daughter to marry me, a gay man, even if I promised to support financially and raise our children together in the best way I can?

  53. 53Joshuaon 16 Jan 2011 at 3:30 pm

    First I wanted to address the Prop 68 scenario, then I will get to my support of Prop 8. (Please give me time, I’m not going back on my word, just making sure I have a good response.)

    >> Let’s say that Prop 68 means every person “afflicted with same-gender attraction” legally HAS to marry someone of the same sex.

    I prefer to say “blessed” with same-sex attraction because I believe God blessed me with it because He loves me.

    I would object to any proposition that forced anyone to marry anyone. Even saying a straight person HAS to marry someone of the opposite sex would be unfair.

    Let me reword that to be more consistent to say if I wanted to get married, I would have to marry someone of the same sex.

    >> Because of YOUR campaign FOR Prop 68, I can NO LONGER MAKE THAT CHOICE. I cannot live the way I choose to live.

    Because Prop 68 forces me to marry, it takes away my right to live as I want. However, this is different from Prop 8 because Prop 8 still allows you to live as you want. What is more, Prop 8 still allows for same-sex relationships to be legally recognized and subsidized by my tax money.

    In the scenario you suggested with John and Mark, they can still have a ceremony and their kids can “watch their dads promise to love one another and to take care of each other and their children ‘as long as they both shall live.” It just isn’t called a marriage. It is called a domestic partnership.

    I realize that there are differences between the rights same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples have in California. The biggest difference is same-sex couples don’t have their relationships recognized outside of California and consequently don’t get a lot of federal benefits that opposite-sex counterparts. I think that is wrong. I would like to see same-sex couples get the same benefits and rights as opposite-sex couples regardless of where they live or move to or travel. I just don’t think Prop 8 is the way to do it. Prop 8 only applied to California, not the rest of the US.

    So for the scenario to really work, I would to NOT be forced to marry someone of the same-sex, and I would have an opportunity to be in a relationship with my soulmate that would be recognized and subsidized by the government in which I lived. The only difference is I would not be able to marry her.

    Even with this modified Prop 68, I would be outraged. Excluding my relationship from marriage seems to modify marriage to being only about sex and sexual attraction, not about the union between a man and a woman, which I think it is. I would protest. I would start web sites like this one. I would speak out. I would NOT attack other people’s relationships, unless there were a direct comparison about how so-called “marriages” were better than mine.

    I think I have said several times that I am glad this web site exists. I am glad there is a place where Mormons who believe in marriage equality can come together and fight for what they believe in. If I were in your situation, I would do the same thing. I think I said the only thing I didn’t like is the claim that gay Mormons only have two options – a disaster marriage and a life of loneliness.

    Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of why I supported Prop 8, but that will have to be another day when I have more time. I am working on it. I am not going back on my word.

  54. 54Dr. Boneson 16 Jan 2011 at 4:52 pm

    “Because Prop 68 forces me to marry, it takes away my right to live as I want. However, this is different from Prop 8 because Prop 8 still allows you to live as you want.”

    Do you hear what people are saying? They are saying:

    I don’t want to be just “domestic partnered” I want to be “married.” Prop 8 took away my right to marry. I want that right back. Plain and simple.

    Prop 68 takes away the right to of a gay man to marry a woman if he so chooses. Want to be her domestic partner instead? Go right ahead. But don’t dare call that a marriage.

    Now, if a gay man wants to marry a man, we’ll call THAT a marriage. And if a straight man wants to marry a woman, we’ll call THAT a marriage as well.

    So, if a gay man wants to lie about his orientation and marry a woman, we’ll call THAT a marriage as well, because it looks just like a marriage between a straight man and a straight woman.

    But if someone is attracted to men, and does not want to lie about that attraction, but still wants to follow the belief that he needs to be married to a woman to find true happiness, they would have to settle for a domestic partnership registration. No marriage for them.

    Can someone support Prop 68 (which denies marriage to people who seek it) and still be counted in the group “Marriage Equality Supporters”?

  55. 55Dr. Boneson 16 Jan 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, just say, “I supported Prop 8 because I am interested in saving souls.”

    As we learn to control our feelings and bridle our passions, we feel better about ourselves. We are empowered to do more, and accomplish great things. There is a peace that only Christ can give us. This peace is the sweetest thing on Earth. As members of the Lord’s church, we dedicate our lives towards bringing this peace to our fellow man. This may prove difficult at times, as it may require an abrupt change in the lives of those we teach. However this peace and joy is the purpose of why we are here, and if we are diligent in helping our brother and sisters to change their lives, they too can join with us in the most glorious joy available to man.

    This requires some hard changes. In doing so, we might come off unloving. With regards to the church’s position on same-sex relationships, many feel the church is unloving. But this is really one of the greatest things we can do for those involved in same-sex relationships.

    President Packer explains “We understand why some feel we reject them. That is not true. We do not reject you, only immoral behavior. We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you. You may even feel that we do not love you. That also is not true. Parents know, and one day you will know, that there are times when parents and we who lead the Church must extend tough love when failing to teach and to warn and to discipline is to destroy. We do not make the rules; they were revealed as commandments. We do not cause nor can we prevent the consequences if you disobey the moral laws. In spite of criticism or opposition, we must teach and we must warn.”

    Our leaders teach us correct principles because they love us. Wickedness brings pain, and our purpose is to have joy.

    Satan tells gay people who want to obey the commandments of God that it is impossible, he tells gay people who are confused about which way they should go that they should pursue same-sex relationships, and he tells those that are in same-sex relationships that they can’t change. Isaiah 5:20 reads “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” So many people with same-sex attraction believe they should pursue same-sex relationships in order to be true to themselves. They avoid marriage because they believe it would be dishonest for their spouse. Those already married leave their marriages because they believe that is what they should do. Those who want to obey the commandments of God are being ridiculed and told they are being dishonest, and those trying to help them are being told they are hurting them. Marriages are being broken apart, lives are being destroyed, souls are lost, and the wounded suffer in silence and are denied the healing power of the atonement, all in the name of acceptance and open-mindedness.

  56. 56fiona64on 16 Jan 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Joshua wrote: However, this is different from Prop 8 because Prop 8 still allows you to live as you want. What is more, Prop 8 still allows for same-sex relationships to be legally recognized and subsidized by my tax money.

    In the scenario you suggested with John and Mark, they can still have a ceremony and their kids can “watch their dads promise to love one another and to take care of each other and their children ‘as long as they both shall live.” It just isn’t called a marriage. It is called a domestic partnership.
    —–
    Except you are wrong, Joshua. The situations are not even remotely the same.

    Domestic partnerships not only lack Federal benefits, but also have different requirements from marriage. For example, you must be jointly domiciled; if one of you has to move for a job, your DP is invalid. Not so with marriage.

    You cannot have been in a previous DP for six months before the current one. Not so with marriage.

    If you are in a DP, the partner whose employer is providing various benefits must pay taxes on those benefits as though they are income. Not so with marriage.

    If you are in a DP and die intestate, your partner will not automatically inherit — as they will with marriage — because they are not next of kin.

    If you are in a DP and your will specifies that your partner inherits, they have to pay capital gains taxes. Not so with marriage.

    If you are in a DP and hospitalized, your partner may not be permitted to visit you in the ICU for the same reason — even when you have paperwork proving that you are not only the next of kin but hold their durable power of attorney for health care decisions (here I specifically reference the case of Janice Langbehn: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/health/19well.html). Not so with marriage.

    If you move to another state, even if that state recognizes DPs, you are no longer in a DP and have to start the process all over again — not so with marriage.

    And guess what? This is not even the complete list.

    So, yeah. I think you’re more than a little bit misinformed (quelle surprise). None of those, BTW, are Federal-level benefits.

    So, all of that said: if a DP should be good enough for gay couples, Joshua, then why wasn’t one good enough for YOU?

    Oh, wait. You wanted to be married.

    Just like the gay couples from whom you took away that right.

    BTW, just a little scripture for you to look up: Matthew 7:12. Think about it, Joshua. Meditate on it. Then think about it some more.

  57. 57fiona64on 16 Jan 2011 at 7:27 pm

    53Joshuaon 16 Jan 2011 at 3:30 pm

    First I wanted to address the Prop 68 scenario, then I will get to my support of Prop 8. (Please give me time, I’m not going back on my word, just making sure I have a good response.)
    —–

    Seems to me, Joshua, that you had plenty of time to write the response; I’ve been asking for months. And, as usual, you had time to write something bizarre that totally misses the point of the discussion.

    I don’t believe you have an answer other than “because the ‘prophet’ told me to,” frankly … and I think you’re just stalling for time.

    I would respect you a lot more if you could at least be honest about *that.*

  58. 58fiona64on 16 Jan 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Joshua wrote: I just don’t think Prop 8 is the way to do it. Prop 8 only applied to California, not the rest of the US.

    You’re right, Joshua, Prop 8 did not grant rights to people: IT TOOK THEM AWAY. It took away a right that Californians were enjoying. Some marriage ceremonies were stopped right in the middle — did you know that? Some people were seconds away from being legally married and the JP had to stop and tell them he or she was sorry.

    Thanks to people like you.

  59. 59fiona64on 17 Jan 2011 at 1:53 pm

    A little something in honor of the day:

    ”When any society says that I cannot marry a certain person, that society has cut off a section of my freedom.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. (whose mentor was a gay African-American man named Bayard Rustin)

  60. 60Arleneon 17 Jan 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Laura wrote: “So maybe we can ask, “If a same-sex marriage amendment were on the ballot again in 2011, would you do things differently?”

    Or, perhaps more apropos to this thread, “If same-sex marriage were legal, what effect (if any) would that have on mixed-orientation marriages?” If SSMs won’t harm MOMs, why spend precious time and energy fighting SSMs?”

    My answers would be the following:
    1. If this went to ballot again, I would have fought so much harder against the bigotry behind it. I honestly did not imagine that so many people could have been so misled by the bizarre “arguments” for the proposition in all of the advertising. That brings me to…
    2. I cannot find any way that SSMs would harm MOMs just like I could not find a reason they would harm straight marriages. Allowing SSMs to be strengthened and protected by allowing full marriage rights doesn’t take anything away from my straight marriage or Joshua’s MOM, rather, it provides for the same strengthening tactics for all types of marriages, straight, MOM, SSM. I never understood how prop 8 could strengthen my marriage by denying someone else the right to marry the person he/she loves.

    Two quick questions for Joshua:
    1. Did you live in California during the campaigns?
    2. From which year was the quote from Elder Oaks about honesty that you quoted to me above?

    I am here on this site because I believe in marriage equality for every person to marry the person they love. No exceptions. No justifications.

    The work of the church and its members against marriage equality is bigotry, pure and simple.

  61. 61fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 7:44 am

    55Dr. Boneson 16 Jan 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, just say, “I supported Prop 8 because I am interested in saving souls.”

    Dr. Bones then goes on to quote extensively from Joshua’s blog article.

    Looks like, Joshua, you already know your answer … and have written it repeatedly in other places. Why were you unwilling to write here what you did in your blog: that (in summary), God wants people to change from being gay to being straight?

    (And when did God tell you that? I have never met anyone to whom God speaks directly.)

  62. 62fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 11:32 am

    Arlene, the quote comes from this interview with the Church of LDS Public Affairs department. Unfortunately, the interview itself is not dated, but it does speak about constitutional amendments against marriage equality — which tells me that it is from 2004 at the earliest (when Bush was trying to get such a thing accomplished).

    http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/same-gender-attraction

    (I know you asked Joshua, but he seems to be a little … tardy … in responding to hard — not as in difficult, but as in direct — questions when they are asked of him.)

  63. 63Lauraon 18 Jan 2011 at 11:38 am

    I’m fairly certain the Public Affairs interview was in 2006. If I get time later, I’ll try to pin it for sure.

  64. 64Lauraon 18 Jan 2011 at 11:48 am

    Yes, August 2006. It’s listed in our Prop 8 Timeline post.

  65. 65fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks, Laura!

  66. 66Arleneon 18 Jan 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you, Laura and Fiona, for confirming the date. This push for “honesty” is certainly a recent one, huh?

    Joshua, no one begrudges you your ability and decision to have gotten married and I am glad that you were honest with your fiance prior to your marriage. I am sure that that honesty will make your marriage stronger than if you had kept the information regarding your sexual orientation from her. However, I don’t believe that you are here for the reason of promoting equal marriage. The rest of us are here to support marriage equality for all – whether it is straight, MOM, or SSM.

    After all this time, we are very aware of your opinions and I don’t think it serves this site well to have so much contentiousness. You have been very clear in your belief that homosexuality can be “cured” and you offer yourself as proof. I am glad for you that you have found the option that works best for you. However, most homosexuals will not be cured and this website is obviously not the place to promote that idea – it is a site to promote marriage equality only, which you only believe in for male-female marriages. We get it.

    You also offer yourself as proof of the viability of MOM as an option. I have no problem with that option as long as it was entered into willingly by your wife (which you have already asserted) and I sincerely wish you both the best of luck in your marriage. I’m glad you married for love and wish you could see that other homosexuals just want to do the same – marry the one they love.

    Because this site is meant for those who fully support marriage equality for all, including SSM, and is a place for us to share ideas and stories regarding that goal, I am frankly tired of the continual argumentative mood that you bring to the discussion. You’ve already contributed all you have to offer; perhaps it’s time to move on to other websites where your message will have a better chance to make a difference. It’s simply not working here.

  67. 67Joshuaon 18 Jan 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Fiona said (that I said) “God wants people to change from being gay to being straight?”

    Arlene said “You have been very clear in your belief that homosexuality can be “cured” and you offer yourself as proof.”

    Neither of these statements are true. I actually strongly object to both mind sets attributed to me.

  68. 68Joshuaon 18 Jan 2011 at 3:04 pm

    >> This push for “honesty” is certainly a recent one, huh?

    The Church has always taught honesty. “We believe in being honest” is one of our articles of faith. They never encouraged dishonesty. One problem that the church faces is dealing with people’s “reinterpretation” of what they teach. I spend most my time on this site saying “I didn’t say that”. I don’t know how many times I have said I haven’t been cured of homosexuality, but yet people still quote me as having said such things. The church faces a similar problem.

    This interview from 1986, shows Elder Oaks surprise at the accusation that marriage should be a cure.

    CBS: The Church has recommended in the past marriage as a part of repentance, when you’re engaging in homosexual…

    ELDER OAKS: I don’t know whether that has been recommended by individual bishops or priesthood leaders counseling persons in individual circumstances. I just don’t know that. Marriage is not usually thought of as an act of repentance.

    CBS: As part of repentance from …there have been several cases cited of when a homosexual who wants to remain within the fold and is fighting his feelings will go to a bishop or will go for counsel and what is recommended is that you repress those feelings and get married and have children and that will set you on a better path. Is that foreign to you? Does that sound…

    ELDER OAKS: I don’t know whether that has been recommended or not because the counseling sessions you refer to are very confidential counseling sessions and when the bishop comes out of that counseling session he doesn’t report to anyone. When the person he’s talking to comes out of that session they’re free to talk to anyone and say anything without fear of contradiction. So I don’t know. I just don’t know what has been said in such sessions.

    This was 1986, which was before President Hinckley made the statement marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step. Elder Oaks said that marriage was not thought of as repenting, yet apparently even at that time people were making accusations that the church recommend marriage as part of the repentance process.

    The church never recommended lying to your spouse or using your spouse as a therapeutic sex object, yet people continue to pin that on the church. Does the church have time to address every single wild claim that is levied on the church? If they addressed it recently, it is only to reiterate the church’s long-standing position on honesty.

    How many times have I been misquoted on this site? Even you have misquoted me. How am I supposed to believe what people claim the Bishop told them? Why a Bishop would encourage someone to lie is beyond me, but it certainly didn’t come from the brethren.

  69. 69fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Joshua, give me a break. You keep promoting organizations that offer “liberation from homosexuality” (from quotes I already posted, with links, to the sites in question).

    You’re very fond of quoting the American Heritage Dictionary, so I’ll do the same here:

    lib·er·a·tion
    /ˌlɪbəˈreɪʃən/ Show Spelled[lib-uh-rey-shuhn] Show IPA
    –noun
    1.
    the act of liberating or the state of being liberated.
    2.
    the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.

    Do you know what it means to be “liberated” from something, Joshua?

    lib·er·ate
    /ˈlɪbəˌreɪt/ Show Spelled[lib-uh-reyt] Show IPA
    –verb (used with object), -at·ed, -at·ing.
    1.
    to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
    2.
    to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
    3.
    to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, esp. arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
    4.
    to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
    5.
    Slang . to steal or take over illegally: The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes.

    Yep. To be free of something. To be “free of homosexuality” is exactly what you promote, Joshua.

    And I see you still haven’t answered the question you promised to answer.

    At this point I’m not even surprised.

  70. 70fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Your words, Joshua, from the link provided by Dr. Bones:

    Satan tells gay people who want to obey the commandments of God that it is impossible, he tells gay people who are confused about which way they should go that they should pursue same-sex relationships, and he tells those that are in same-sex relationships that they can’t change. Isaiah 5:20 reads “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” So many people with same-sex attraction believe they should pursue same-sex relationships in order to be true to themselves. They avoid marriage because they believe it would be dishonest for their spouse. Those already married leave their marriages because they believe that is what they should do. Those who want to obey the commandments of God are being ridiculed and told they are being dishonest, and those trying to help them are being told they are hurting them. Marriages are being broken apart, lives are being destroyed, souls are lost, and the wounded suffer in silence and are denied the healing power of the atonement, all in the name of acceptance and open-mindedness.

    —-

    Or are you now trying to deny your position that I summarized (for the sake of brevity)? You are saying here that Satan tells people that it is okay to be gay. You are therefore saying that God does not want people to be gay — and that they can change. This is, after all, what you say at the same link:

    This may prove difficult at times, as it may require an abrupt change in the lives of those we teach. However this peace and joy is the purpose of why we are here, and if we are diligent in helping our brother and sisters to change their lives, they too can join with us in the most glorious joy available to man.

    This requires some hard changes. In doing so, we might come off unloving. With regards to the church’s position on same-sex relationships, many feel the church is unloving. But this is really one of the greatest things we can do for those involved in same-sex relationships.

    President Packer explains “We understand why some feel we reject them. That is not true. We do not reject you, only immoral behavior. We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you. You may even feel that we do not love you. That also is not true. Parents know, and one day you will know, that there are times when parents and we who lead the Church must extend tough love when failing to teach and to warn and to discipline is to destroy. We do not make the rules; they were revealed as commandments. We do not cause nor can we prevent the consequences if you disobey the moral laws. In spite of criticism or opposition, we must teach and we must warn.”

    Our leaders teach us correct principles because they love us. Wickedness brings pain, and our purpose is to have joy.
    —–

    By this, Joshua, you are saying that being gay is wicked … and that only by changing to being straight will people have joy.

    And you wonder why gay people are stigmatized …

    In the comments, at the same link, you say this (in reference to your earlier remark, “Melissa left her girlfriend and is touring the country telling all of how God saved her from the chains of homosexuality.”):

    One thing I love about Melissa Fryrear’s story is that she was in a same-sex relationship when she showed up at a church. She was as lesbian as they came. The couple was able to show love even though they knew she was not obeying the commandments of God. It was through that love, that she came to know God, and repent.
    —–

    You want people to “repent” of being who they are — as God made them — and be something they aren’t. Being “saved from the chains of homosexuality” is pretty strong language, don’t you agree?

    Once again, you try to deny positions that you obviously hold.

  71. 71fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 3:41 pm

    To Laura’s earlier question, I must echo Arlene’s response. I could not imagine that intelligent, thinking people would be so easily bamboozled into violating the rights of their fellow citizens. That they could not see how easily *their* rights could be put up for referendum if some organization thought that they were “icky.” And yet, I was astonished to see that it did indeed happen.

    Since then, I have studied a great deal about the psychology of prejudice. There is a lot of good information here: http://www.understandingprejudice.org/apa/english/

    One of the most powerful statements is “Where prejudices lurk, stereotypes are seldom far behind.” Look at the stereotypes promoted by some of the anti-equality folks: that gay people are disease-ridden, promiscuous, child molestors … just to name a few. As usual, these stereotypes have little, if anything, to do with reality. For example, the largest growing group of HIV patients is heterosexual women of color, according to the CDC, but the anti-equality forces bring up HIV/AIDS as a valid reason to deny same-sex marriage.

    Promiscuity? Well, I guess if you don’t have the right to marry, and marriage is the only “honorable state” in which to have intercourse, folks will view you as promiscuous. On this very website, Joshua said that “people who have gay sex do not want to be in long-term relationships” — a fantasy whose origins I surely cannot comprehend, given the number of same-sex couples I know who have been together longer than he’s been alive.

    Child molestors? This is no doubt because the vast majority of child molestations are adult men on young boys, but the truth of the matter is that 95 percent of child molestors are heterosexual … and the gender of the child is not even remotely as important to the molestor as accessibility (at the age that pedophiles prefer, dimorphism is pretty limited). Child molestors seek positions that put them in regular contact with potential victims, such as coaching teams or leading scouting organizations.

    The thing is, prejudice is not innate. Once I started studying the matter, I could not help thinking of the lyrics to this song from “South Pacific”:

    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to Year
    It’s got to be drummed
    in your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    You’ve got to be taught
    To be Afraid
    Of people whose eyes
    are oddly made
    And people whose skin
    Is a different shade
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    You’ve got to be taught
    Before it’s too late
    Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
    To hate all the people
    your relatives hate
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    So sad that those of us who believe in equality for all — not just people who look, think and behave as we do — still fight an uphill battle against prejudice in this day and age. And yet, it is the only right thing to do.

  72. 72Lauraon 18 Jan 2011 at 3:41 pm

    FYI, Joshua’s response to why he supported Prop 8 is it’s own post now.

  73. 73fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you, Laura.

  74. 74Joshuaon 18 Jan 2011 at 4:01 pm

    > You want people to “repent” of being who they are — as God made them — and be something they aren’t. Being “saved from the chains of homosexuality” is pretty strong language, don’t you agree?

    People aren’t sexual relationships. You are reducing being gay to just about sex. If a gay person so chooses, they should be able to go to groups like Evergreen and Exodus which helps liberate people from gay sex. Many people share my beliefs that reserving sexual relationships for husband and wife will bring them happiness in their own lives. Supporters of marriage equality should respect this choice equally with the choice to have sex with the person of the same gender. We shouldn’t be using scare tactics or claiming the only options are a disastrous marriage or a life of loneliness for people who believe that. That is not marriage equality.

    While I have said I do not support all the goals of marriage equality, equality of MOM is a goal I do support, and I do not think is reflected on this site.

  75. 75fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Joshua said of me: People aren’t sexual relationships. You are reducing being gay to just about sex.

    No, Joshua. That’s what you have been doing when you differentiate between sexual acts and sexual orientation. I was just as straight as a virgin as I was when I lost my virginity. I did not suddenly become straight once I had intercourse.

    Joshua then said: While I have said I do not support all the goals of marriage equality, equality of MOM is a goal I do support, and I do not think is reflected on this site.

    Joshua, if there had ever been a law laid down saying that gay men could no longer marry straight women (or vice versa), I would be standing up screaming from the rafters against it. OTOH, no such law exists. Equality of MOM is basically saying “I believe in the equality of the status quo” — which is, by your own admission in the separate post, inherently unequal.

  76. 76Joshuaon 18 Jan 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Is marriage equality just about legal equality? Can’t the words you say and the things you do also be about equality? Using scare tactics against someone’s marriage doesn’t seem to be marriage equality to me.

    Not that I ever said I was completely on board with marriage equality, but it doesn’t seem like some of the tactics this web site uses is either.

  77. 77fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 9:10 pm

    76Joshuaon 18 Jan 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Is marriage equality just about legal equality?

    Yes. Absolutely. We are not talking about liturgical marriage, but marriage as licensed by the state. You know, the thing that you and others helped to TAKE AWAY from law-abiding citizens because you don’t think they deserve to be married to the person they wish to marry.

    No one is using “scare tactics” against anyone’s marriage except for the people who supported Prop 8.

    No one stopped you marrying the person you wished to marry, Joshua, but you were more than willing to do that to other people. Did you look up Matthew 7:12 yet?

    Look. When I was seven years old, Loving v. Virginia had been in effect for a little less than three years. My dad had an African-American student named Joe, who fell in love with a Caucasian woman named Christine. They became engaged. My dad gave away the bride because her own parents refused to attend the wedding. I talked with my dad about this many years later, and here is what I said.

    “I was brought up to believe that such a thing wasn’t right. But I also believed that they had the right to be supported in marrying the person they loved.”

    My dad, BTW, is a priesthood holder in the Church of LDS — and he feels the same way about same-sex marriage. He wasn’t brought up to believe that it was right, but he believes that people have the right to be supported in marrying the person they love.

    Why were you so willing to meddle in the marriages of other people if you don’t want people to do that to you, Joshua? (Ref. Matt 7:12 again.)

    If anyone ever tried to stop you from marrying the person you loved, Joshua, I would stand against them. I mean it. But you wouldn’t do my friends the same courtesy, and I pity you because of it.

  78. 78fiona64on 18 Jan 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Oops, just noticed my typo. That quote is not what *I* said, but what my dad said. Mea culpa.

  79. 79Dave Hoenon 19 Jan 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I realize this thread isn’t the Thread du jour, but I’ve been meaning to point out a disconnect in the quote from Elder Oaks that Joshua brought up 18 Jan 2011 at 3:04 pm.

    The premise of Joshua’s post is that the Church has always encouraged people to be honest and that our recollections of past events are not always honest. He then gives a quote wherein Elder Dallin Oaks apparently interrupts the CBS interviewer (asking whether or not marriage has been a recommended path for repentance for homosexual sin) with, “I don’t know whether that has been recommended by individual bishops or priesthood leaders counseling persons in individual circumstances. I just don’t know that. Marriage is not usually thought of as an act of repentance.”

    In other words, Elder Oaks and Joshua are saying that those individuals that have reported that marriage had been recommended as part of their therapy/repentance may not be honest in their recollections.

    That statement by Elder Oaks is extremely disingenuous. It was during President Dallin Oaks watch as BYU president, that the barbaric practice of aversion shock therapy was taking place and he knows full well that all the BYU Bishops and Stake Presidents were always encouraging marriage as a cure for what ails them. If a male member hadn’t proposed to at least one woman within six months of returning from a mission, he was shirking his priesthood responsibilities!

    As a Ward Clerk and a Stake Clerk, who took minutes of Church Courts, I stand as a witness that I’ve heard more than one Bishop and Stake President recommend marriage as part of a “sinners” path to repentance. For Elder Oaks to assert “I don’t know whether that has been recommended or not because the counseling sessions you refer to are very confidential counseling sessions” is lawyer-speak for, “Yes, I know that probably happened a lot, but I can slither my way out of this by claiming counselor-patient privilege”.

    Now who’s the one that is not really being honest? I mean no disrespect for lawyers, but Elder Oaks was a lawyer by profession and lawyers are trained to withold exculpatory or inculpatory information depending on which side their on.

    Probably not a good example of honesty, Joshua.

  80. 80Joshuaon 05 Feb 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I just realized you posted here Dave.

    I am positive individual Bishops recommended marriage as a therapy. I also had a Bishop that told me University of Utah was better than BYU. Heck, I even had a branch president who slept with one of our recent converts on my mission. Bishops are people and they do a lot of things of their own accord, and are subject to the prejudices of the day (as are prophets).

    I think my point and Elder Oaks point is that the direction wasn’t coming from the Church, but from the Bishops, and even those stories could very well be exaggerated.

  81. 81Joshuaon 05 Feb 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Anyway, I actually got a copy of the report in question, and there was an interesting finding. It said:

    “Factors that threatened marital stability were family of origin negativity and negativity from the gay and lesbian community about their marriages.”

    So there you have it. Scientific research that shows that the attitudes in the gay community that are reflected on this site do have a negative impact of mixed-orientation marriages.

  82. 82Arleneon 09 Feb 2011 at 2:07 pm

    There is an interesting article in Slate today that addresses this issue as it is occurring in China at http://www.slate.com/id/2279907/pagenum/all/#p2.

  83. 83fiona64on 09 Feb 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Joshua, please provide a link to the report you are quoting. No one knows what you are talking about otherwise. You are kind of famous for saying “I read a report that said XYZ” and never providing the report for anyone else to look at. When people *do* find the reports, we often find that they do not say what you stated.

    At this point, to be honest, I wouldn’t believe you if your tongue came notarized (h/t to Judge Marilyn Milian).

  84. 84Joshuaon 09 Feb 2011 at 10:57 pm

    It was the report that Laura cited, “Spouses in Mixed-Orientation Marriage: A 20-Year Review of Empirical Studies”. The quote is from the top of page three.

    The discrimination by the gay community against people like me is well documented. The Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation found one of the benefits of ex-gay groups was that it serves as “a refuge for those who were excluded both from conservative churches and from their families, because of their same-sex sexual attractions, and from gay organizations and social networks, because of their conservative religious belief.”

    There is a lot of antagonism against us, and to deny it is to compound the problem.

  85. 85fiona64on 10 Feb 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Joshua wrote “a refuge for those who were excluded both from conservative churches and from their families, because of their same-sex sexual attractions, and from gay organizations and social networks, because of their conservative religious belief”

    You know, I googled that phrase to see where it came from, and the only reference is to the “Ex-Gay” article on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex-gay. And guess what? Only one of the footnotes has anything to do with the APA, and it goes to their pamphlet that was sent out to school administrators when NARTH started demanding that public schools teach about “ex-gay ministries” and “conversion therapy” rather than allowing gay-straight alliances.

    Nowhere in the entire 24-page pamphlet does that statement appear, BTW.

    So, then I decided to check out the other three footnotes that go with that quote.

    Crafting stories of sexual identity reconstruction. Social Psychology Quarterly, 62, 157-172: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2695855. This is, according to the abstract, a specific look at why a group of religious lesbians went to Exodus.

    “Emotion work, commitment, and the authentication of the self: The case of gay and exgay Christian support groups”. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 30: 305–334: http://jce.sagepub.com/content/30/3/305. The abstract pretty clearly shows that this is not a study of the efficacy of reparative therapy at all but, in fact, on the general nature of how support groups work. Quote: Whereas previous research on support groups focuses on cognitive aspects of the self-redefinition process central to support group success, this ethnographic study of gay and ex-gay Christian men examines the importance of emotion in the support group process. By analyzing the emotion work done within these groups, we learn how support groups can create and maintain the member commitment necessary for individual transformation and support group success. Specifically, the author shows how members are (1) recruited through an emotional promise, (2) taught emotion management strategies that make participation initially tolerable and later rewarding, (3) encouraged to share emotions that build collective identity, and (4) lead to authenticate new self-meanings via emotional experience. The implications of this study for understanding how emotion work affects recruitment and participation in social movement organizations are also discussed.

    Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian conversions in the ex-gay movement. Los Angeles:University of California Press. This one brought me to a book by that title. http://www.amazon.com/Straight-Jesus-Christian-Conversions-Movement/dp/0520245822/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297382690&sr=8-1 . This is an ethnographical study of a particular e-gay group (New Hope). It is not presented as an endorsement of these groups, but as an observation. Quote: Erzen, an assistant professor of comparative studies at Ohio State University, spent a year of intensive dissertation fieldwork in 2000 with a residential program in the ex-gay movement called New Hope. The ministry caters to men, usually from conservative Christian backgrounds, who struggle with a deeply felt contradiction between their sexual desires and their religious convictions. Erzen argues that most analysis of the ex-gay movement has failed to grasp the powerful role of religion, and how many homosexuals yearn to reconcile sexuality and faith.

    All these documents do is affirm my belief that “reparative therapy” is the religious equivalent of a pie-crust promise: one that actual science demonstrates is easily made and easily broken.

    And nope, not one of these documents contains that Wikipedia phrase that you attributed to the APA.

    The evidence (or, in this case, the lack thereof) is there for anyone who bothers to look.

    At least now I understand why you never provide links to go with your assertions. It’s worth the time I take to research your comments, though, because those who read but do not comment need to see the truth behind what you are saying.

    No one, despite all of your assertions, is trying to stop you from marrying the person you wanted to marry — the proof is that you did so. And yet, you would not give that same courtesy to millions of people whom you don’t even know. You insist that the courts are trying to stop you from doing so, which is a blatant lie (there, I said it) … while you support courts doing that to same-sex couples.

    You keep insisting that you want to be left alone to live your life the way you choose. Why don’t you want others to have the same right?

  86. 86Joshuaon 10 Feb 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I gave you the document I got it from. It is called “The Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation”

    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeutic-response.pdf

    The quote is on page 49.

    This has nothing to do with reparative therapy. This is how we are “excluded both from conservative churches and from their families, because of their same-sex sexual attractions, and from gay organizations and social networks, because of their conservative religious beliefs”

    The other quote talks about how the negativity from the gay community contributes to our divorce rate.

    So what if we happen to be conservative Christians? We are still gay. Is there only one way to be gay?

  87. 87Lauraon 10 Feb 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Joshua notes,

    The discrimination by the gay community against people like me is well documented. The Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation found one of the benefits of ex-gay groups was that it serves as “a refuge for those who were excluded both from conservative churches and from their families, because of their same-sex sexual attractions, and from gay organizations and social networks, because of their conservative religious belief.”

    Technically, this was not a finding by the APA, but a summary of findings from three studies which discussed positive perceptions of people who participated in sexual orientation change efforts (but I see nowhere that the studies are specifically looking at discrimination by any community specifically against people in mixed-orientation marriages). The studies specifically examined religiously oriented ex-gay groups, noting that benefits for participants included “options for individuals to remain connected to others who shared their religious beliefs, despite ongoing same-sex sexual feelings and behaviors”; they “recast homosexuality as an ordinary sin, and thus salvation was still achievable”; and “built hope, recovery, and relapse into an exgay identity, thus expecting same-sex sexual behaviors and conceiving them as opportunities for repentance and forgiveness.”

    Certainly these groups provide shelter and space for religious people who want and need social support in coming to terms with their sexual orientation and sexual orientation identities. The APA report also notes that there are LGB-affirming groups that provide similar benefits to their participants. This seems to indicate that what people need is support in living with the decisions they make in their lives – that if they want to choose sexual orientation change efforts, they need support groups and if they want to choose to accept their LGB orientations they need support groups. And that there is a place for each.

  88. 88fiona64on 10 Feb 2011 at 9:15 pm

    86Joshuaon 10 Feb 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I gave you the document I got it from. It is called “The Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation”

    Yes, Joshua, you did. And, as I pointed out, that phrase is not used by the APA itself, anywhere (although you tried to bamboozle people into thinking that it was). I gave the three citations of the ethnological studies that were examined (and to which Laura refers).

    Why do you keep doing this, Joshua? You misattribute statements, or define words differently from the rest of the world, and then you get upset when people call you out or question you.

    You still haven’t shown me a court case that denies you the right to marry a woman, BTW — although you claim that “recent court cases” discriminated against you. Nor have you explained to me the difference between marriage and marriage, as I requested after you went on your “separate but equal” rant and I introduced the drinking fountain analogy.

    ::shrug::

    I really pity you, because your position must not be pleasant if you are so defensive all of the time. You presume that general statements are all about you and your situation, and you presume that people should bow to your authority on all matters (even those in which you are blatantly, factually incorrect). I don’t know what happened in your life to make you that way, but I do know this:

    You get to choose your thoughts and feelings. How about if you focus more on your marriage and less on preventing other people from marrying? People whom you don’t even know? People with loves and dreams and aspirations and plans that probably look just like yours? Except that ::gasp:: the person they want to marry is of the same gender? They’re no different from you, Joshua; they want to marry the person they love.

    You got to do it. I got to do it.

    So, why shouldn’t other people get to do it? (And skip the “procreation” argument, okay? I don’t have kids and don’t want ‘em … and plenty of my gay friends have children and want more.)

  89. 89stephanieon 11 Feb 2011 at 2:53 pm

    As a woman in a failing MOM of 16 years, I was once as bright eyed and hopeful about my marriage as Joshua is. I, in my head, proudly proclaimed that my husband and I had beat the statistics. I felt certain that my marriage would endure into the eternities. However, as time wore on the discord within my gay husband became too much. I feel that it is important for us to stand up and realize that being gay is not a communicable disease. We LDS believe that it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone. I would never condemn anyone to an empty existance where there is no hope for any intimacy. A life spent without intimacy or hope for intimacy is a recipe for disaster. We can not be the gatekeepers for everyone else’s morality. And we can not deny people who desire to make a legal and moral commitment to their partners. That is not part of the plan of Agency or of Happiness.

  90. 90Joshuaon 11 Feb 2011 at 4:04 pm

    > This seems to indicate that what people need is support in living with the decisions they make in their lives.

    Yes. I agree with this 100%. That is what I have been advocating all along. I want same-sex couples to get support in living with the decisions they make. I want MOM couples to get support in living with the decisions they make. I want celibate gay people to get support in living with the decisions they make. Saying their decisions are “hopeless” is not giving that support.

    What the report says is that the gay community does not provide that support. For gays living the law of chastity, which includes both celibate as well as those of us who are in a MOM, we are “excluded” from gay organizations and social networks. That is not right and that is not fair. Why are religiously oriented ex-gay groups the only groups we can turn to for support?

    Shouldn’t I be concerned that we only have one place for support, and that gets openly attacked here on this web site? Shouldn’t I be concerned that modern research shows that “Factors that threatened marital stability were family of origin negativity and negativity from the gay and lesbian community about their marriages” and that negativity is expressed here?

    I’ve brought up my concerns, and you have brushed them off saying that the negativity expressed here does not harm my marriage. I have provided evidence from the very same study that you quoted that the negativity is one of the biggest factors that affected MOM’s.

    Are my concerns valid yet?

  91. 91Joshuaon 11 Feb 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Stephanie,

    I am sorry you have a failing marriage. I have seen a lot of marriages fail, both mixed-orientation marriages as well as other marriages. As the statistics show, MOM that are open and honest still have the same failure rates as other types of marriages. I think every failed marriage is a tragedy.

    I also completely agree with what you are saying about not being the gatekeepers for everyone else’s morality. That is why I think we should stop pointing fingers at whose relationships are better and whose are worse and just try to love and support everyone in whatever lifestyle they chose – even if it is a choice that we have already tried and failed.

    It seems our worse enemies are those who didn’t succeed at what we are trying to do.

    What if the Wright Brothers listened to those who said “We tried to fly, so you will never make it”? I am sorry your marriage is failing. I really am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a fair chance.

    That is all I am asking for, a fair chance. I want to be open and normal and feel free to be me. I can love a woman just as good as someone else. Telling me that I can’t isn’t going to improve my marriage.

  92. 92fiona64on 11 Feb 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I also completely agree with what you are saying about not being the gatekeepers for everyone else’s morality. That is why I think we should stop pointing fingers at whose relationships are better and whose are worse and just try to love and support everyone in whatever lifestyle they chose unless it is one that my Church disagrees with.

    I hope you don’t mind that I fixed that for you, Joshua. You seem to have missed a clause there, based on your own actions in support of Prop 8

I Would Really Rather Be Dead – Stuart Matis

From No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones
By Carol Lynn Pearson, reprinted with permission

I Would Really Rather Be Dead

“The scary truth of matters is that I would really rather be dead than living outside of the Church.”
So it was written and so it was done. The suicide of Stuart Matis, a life-long celibate gay Mormon man, is, I think, the most well-publicized of many similar stories. Stuart lived only miles from me here in Northern California, and I remember that when I heard of his death from a self-administered gunshot wound on the steps of the LDS stake center in Los Altos in the early morning hours of February 25, 2000, I felt that I had lost someone close to me. I had never met this man, but I knew him. I had come to know intimately the workings of the mind, the workings of the heart of the devout, gay Mormon man. As I read bits of his story–in the newspapers, in Newsweek, on the internet, in the very moving account written by his mother and published by Mormon Church-owned Deseret Book, In Quiet Desperation–I could only sigh and say, of course, of course.
He was thirty-two years old before he told his parents about the cross he had carried since age seven. He had been certain that with obedience and faith his attraction for the same gender would pass–at age twelve when he was ordained to the priesthood, as most Mormon boys are–then when he received his patriarchal blessing–then when he attended the temple for the first time–then when he went on a mission. Surely God would approve of his life now and work for him the miracle of becoming normal, taking away the torment of his homosexual feelings.
Of course.
He fasted and prayed and he went to the temple every week. He wept as night after night he prayed until morning, begging and pleading with a God he knew could help him if he was only worthy enough. As a child he would deny himself a favorite television program as punishment for a homosexual thought, or he wouldn’t allow himself to attend a friend’s birthday party.
Of course.
His mother wrote:
Stuart’s entire life was spent striving for perfection. He reasoned that if he were perfect, then he would find God’s approval. His efforts became a never-ending cycle: effort–perceived failure–effort–perceived failure. The harder Stuart strove for perfection, the more he hated himself….he believed that he not only could change, but should change. When no change in his feelings occurred, no matter how hard he worked at it, he came to the conclusion that he was not worthy and that God did not accept his efforts. His self-loathing became…intense….Once Stuart said to me, “Mother, all my life I have tried to do what is right. I just can’t pass the test.”

Of course.
In the suicide note that Stuart left on his bed that morning, along with love and appreciation to his family, were the words “….I am free, I am no longer in pain, and I no longer hate myself…..my life was actually killed long ago.”
Stuart’s bishop, with whom he had been counseling for months, aware of his suicidal thoughts, had pled with him, “Stuart, if this is a choice between the Church and your life, choose your life!” How I wish Stuart had done that, had grabbed his soul and run for his life, out the chapel door never to look back. How I wish he had listened to the voice inside that surely witnessed to God’s unconditional love for him. But–of course–I know so well how that voice was silenced in childhood by the voices that came from outside, speaking with authority and spelling out the conditions under which God’s love would be available.
The final straw that drove Stuart to suicide was the intense distress he felt around the politics of California’s “Protection of Marriage” initiative, Proposition 22, for which the Mormon Church was perhaps the leading proponent. The time of his suicide–two weeks before the voters went to the polls–and the place of his suicide–the steps of a Mormon building in which he had worshiped for years–give a clear indication that he hoped his death would bring attention to the issues about which he felt so passionate and so helpless.
After all the reports of others, I was yearning to get a better glimpse into Stuart’s mind, and I found it on the website of Affirmation. Earlier in February, the month of his death, Stuart wrote a very long letter to a cousin who had asked Stuart to give him information and opinion for a paper he was writing on California’s “Protection of Marriage” proposal. There, along with a picture of this very handsome and endearing young man, were some impassioned personal and political statements, fragments of which I share here.
*****
Feb, 2000
Clay,
At the outset, I’ll tell you that the events surrounding this initiative have been painfully difficult for me to endure. Last July, I read online that the Church had instructed the Bishops to read a letter imploring the members to give of their time and money to support this initiative…I cried for hours in my room, and I could do very little to console the grief of hearing this news.
Furthermore, I read that the Church had supported similar measures in Hawaii and in Alaska. In Alaska, the supporters of the measure had raised $600,000. Of this, $500,000 came from the Church. Ads were aired on television describing the downfall of the Roman Empire and placing blame on Rome’s tolerance of homosexuality. Its message was that a similar fate would occur to those who supported equality for gay Americans. Not only was this historical analysis completely fallacious, but this was a prejudicial ad designed to invoke a visceral reaction of fear and hate among the Alaskan citizens.
Apparently, the Church has raised $1 million in support of this [California] initiative. This is so disheartening because I feel that my own peers are attacking me….In July, I realized that I was going to have to endure viewing millions of dollars of television ads designed with one intention in mind: raise fear against gay and lesbian Californians. What’s worse is that this fear campaign has been orchestrated by my own friends.
My mom is completely distraught over the issue. She told me that she is scared to read the papers or watch TV. When her bishop read another pro-Knight letter last Sunday, she wanted to cry…. I have met with my bishop to discuss the matter. He too disagrees with the Church’s involvement in anti-gay politics. It’s very disheartening for him as well, but his concurrence still does nothing to ease my pain….
….When anti-gay advocates use the term “traditional,” I always wonder what tradition and what time. Do we support early 19th century traditional marriages when married women had no legal standing, could not own property, sign contracts, or legally control any earned wages?…I also find it somewhat hypocritical for the Church to appeal to people’s emotions and use the “tradition” argument when it was on the receiving end of such abuse during its polygamy era. The Church more than anyone in this country should know how persecution feels.
….The false dilemma is that either one is pro-homosexuality or pro-family. This, of course, is false. I am gay. I hate to sound redundant, but whether I remain celibate or find a partner, the net effect on families is zero.
….Straight members have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up gay in this Church. It is a life of constant torment, self-hatred and internalized homophobia….The Church has no idea that as I type this letter, there are surely boys and girls on their calloused knees imploring God to free them from this pain. They hate themselves. They retire to bed with their finger pointed to their head in the form of a gun….They are afraid of their parents. They are afraid of their bishop. They are afraid of their friends. They have nowhere to go but to lay on their floors curled in a ball and weep themselves to sleep….On the night of March 7th, many California couples will retire to their beds thrilled that they helped pass the…initiative. What they don’t realize is that in the next room, their son or daughter is lying in bed crying and could very well one day be a victim of society’s homophobia.
…. Most of my gay friends (and I) were suicidal at one time in their lives. I have friends who have swallowed pills, cut their wrists, burned their arms, placed bags over their heads. I have friends who have taken anti-depressant pills as if they were candy. Years of internalized homophobia have deeply scared my friends and me. It is only after we began to accept our identity that we have been able to heal our minds.
….In the end, remember, Clay, that we gay people are your family. We are your brothers and sisters. We are your sons and daughters. In your case, I am your cousin….I wish that I could shout this message from the rooftops, but alas, I sit alone in my room typing wondering what will happen next.
Well, Clay, my fingers are blistered…. I apologize if my words were a bit strong….On a more upbeat note, good luck preparing for your mission. I’ll see you in the spring. Take care.
Warmly,
Stuart
*****
There is a tragic addendum that must be added here. Stuart had become close friends with Clay Whitmer, not the cousin Clay to whom he wrote the letter, but a man he met as both served Mormon missions in Italy. They later confessed to each other their homosexuality, remained best friends and tried to be a support to one another. Newsweek reported, “A few weeks [after Stuart’s suicide], anguished at his friend’s death and tormented by his own long-term depression, Whitmer put a gun to his own head.” Clay was a brilliant young man with both an MBA degree and a JD.
Another gay Mormon suicide created a triple tragedy. Brian (DJ) Thompson ended his life two weeks after Stuart did. He had served as a missionary in Seattle, had been president of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans, and had once traveled to Paris as an artist’s assistant. In his suicide note, DJ wrote, “It is unfortunate that the lives of good people such as Stuart Matis, Mathew Shepherd [victim of a hate crime in Wyoming], and many others go unnoticed, unappreciated, and undervalued in this country. Therefore, I believe that the end of my life will simply be the same….I see Proposition 22 as a last straw in my lifelong battle to see peace in the world I live in.”
It is true that the consciousness of many has been raised by Stuart’s act, by the sharing of his story by his parents, and by the suicides of those that followed him. But, ah, Stuart, how I wish you had chosen life and taught us in a different way, taught us by bravely insisting that you too are that you might have joy, showing us how brightly a gay man can shine.

Newsweek Article about Stuart Matis

Mormons for Marriage

Loving others means…standing up

Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes this post from an old friend who, under a bit of ecclesiastical pressure, censored herself.  Her whole blog post is definitely worth reading.  Here’s an excerpt:

… While the chorus for marriage equality grows louder, the choices facing Mormons with these convictions is complicated.  The church’s position toward the gay community has softened over the years, but its opposition to gay marriage remains steadfast.  We see it not only in vaguely worded addresses during General Conference, but also political efforts. In fact, for the past 30 years no other issue has received as much of the church’s time, energy and focus in the political arena.

In 2008 I found myself between a rock and a hard place in terms of the Prop 8 debate. As the church took even greater strides to make this constitutional amendment a reality, I believed my silence to be approval and felt compelled to speak up for my gay brothers and sisters and for other Mormons who feel this way too. I made what I considered to be a compassionate video outlining my position and submitted it to Mormons for Marriage, a site dedicated to respectful dialogue about the issue. My motives were to speak for myself in the political arena according to the dictates of my own conscience. I wished the church no ill, and I made every effort to be reasonable and stay within my own stewardship. Looking back on the video 2 plus years later, I still do not know a more respectful way to have expressed my position, which is that the morality of homosexuality has nothing to do with this debate, loving others means allowing everyone the recognition and rights we wish for ourselves in expressing love and building families.

I did not discuss the video with my local leaders before making it public, but they were directed to it by church headquarters. At the end of some very heart felt discussions, my speaking out with this video threatened my temple recommend and my calling, and I ultimately chose to take it down to protect my standing in the church.

I have lived to regret the decision. And so today, in honor of the Valentine legend and in support of the love that drives so many of us to share our lives with each other, I stand up once more in favor of marriage, all marriage, with my Prop 8 video.

Filed in homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |

24 Responses to “Loving others means…standing up”

  1. 1Lauraon 14 Feb 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Hope your Valentine’s Day was as beautiful as your post and video, Mel!

  2. 2Carlaon 14 Feb 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Excellent!!! I love you and I am so happy to see you stand up for what’s right!

  3. 3Brad Carmackon 15 Feb 2011 at 9:09 am

    Cool story- thanks for your “recovering chicken” courage! Also, know you’re not alone– as evidenced by the dozens of comments on your post!

  4. 4fiona64on 15 Feb 2011 at 11:08 am

    It is amazing how one’s vibration changes when one is going in the right direction (i.e., one that fits with his or her own integrity). Thank you for sharing this. Outside pressures should never stop someone being their best self.

  5. 5Dave Hoenon 15 Feb 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t remember how I was lead to it, but I saw your video when it was originally posted during Prop 8. I remember thinking how respectful, loving and courageous it was. And I also remember wondering if the Church Authorities would show the same respect, love and courage in return. I guess we know who failed that test.

    Thank you for your original courage in making and posting the video and thank you for your renewed courage in again posting it.

  6. 6Melon 15 Feb 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing Laura. This site is what prompted my video in the first place, I’m inspired by this work.

  7. 7Joshuon 15 Feb 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I think this video was well done and respectful and sincerely hope that whoever threatened to take away your temple recommend has since come to their senses.

  8. 8Tyon 15 Feb 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you so much for that message. It was beautiful. I wasn’t around during the prop 8 mess, and I’m glad I wasn’t, because I doubt that many were as kind, respectful, and universally loving as you were in your video. Thanks.

    Hope you had a wonderful valentines day!

  9. 9CowboyPhDon 15 Feb 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Thank you for your courage, to stand up for your convictions. I only wish my own family, with a long history of participation in the LDS faith, would be so courageous as to practice loving (and treating) others as they want to be treated. I would enjoy the warmth, the love, and the blessings of my family in my advanced years. Again, thank you for sharing your video.

  10. 10Arleneon 16 Feb 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Mel,
    Thank you so much for having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Your video is a respectful, beautiful expression of your love for all of God’s children and I hope your church leaders will see it that way and treat you with more respect than they did previously. Threats of excommunication are a very heavy-handed way to treat a member of the church for having an opinion that so closely follows Christ’s admonition to love all of our neighbors.
    Arlene

  11. 11cowboyIIon 16 Feb 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Howdy CowboyPhD. (From one cowboy to another: I tip my hat)

    You touched on a sensitive issue for me as well: having family as we grow older. The greatest fear I have is being alone. I probably will never have a family (wife and kids) I will certainly be alone at some point in my later life. It would be nice that a religious organization that claims to be family oriented would have some sort of support for their gay members. But, alas, there is only a place in the pews for a certain kind of family. I don’t even think there is support for totally celibate gays.

    Reading some of the profiles on mormon.org (through a link I got about viewing the I Am Mormon and then links to I am an Ex-Mormon videos) it’s clear that a majority of Mormons believe gays are all characterized as being unable to control their thoughts and they are not born this way.

    It’s going to take decades of work to change that Mormon train of thought.

  12. 12Heatheron 17 Feb 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I have a gay brother and I feel like he isn’t even fully accepted in our own family. I wish to fight for him. I hope and pray that the Church will come around. I’ve vocally announced to my family that I believe that the Church is so very wrong here. It angers me and hurts me that they think they are some favored few. God, I am sure is shaking His head in disappointment.
    Thanks for standing up!

  13. 13Sherylon 17 Feb 2011 at 4:10 pm

    CowboyII and CowboyPhD, in addition to knowing that taking away rights is wrong, I do not want my son alone when he is older. I don’t want him to worry about what about will happen when his partner is ill or deceased — will their wishes be honored or will some family member contest them. I want him to have what I have (which also includes the struggles of making a marriage work). Listening to the NH hearing on the laws to take away marriage rights. Such wonderful and sad stories from the LGBT community and such bigotry from the other side.

  14. 14Sherion 18 Feb 2011 at 11:07 am

    I know many of you have heard this all before and I’m preaching to the choir, but I feel the need to share again today.

    I feel blessed to have the ability to see the GLBT community for who they really are, normal in every way that heterosexual people are except in what gender they are attracted to or what gender they identify with when they look in the mirror.

    I don’t have a g, l, b or t child, nor am I any of those myself. But my passion for equality prompted me to write a book about leaving the church over their involvement in the politics of gay marriage, and I’ve made numerous videos in support of the GLBT community.

    I found a voice for my passion through the Orange County Chapter of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and find it very empowering to stand up in front of college students and speak my truth, that regardless of religious beliefs, discriminating against tax paying law abiding citizens is not what any church should be asking its members to do.

    One can stand up for what they believe without rendering others as 2nd class citizens by blurring the line between religion and state. Once we blur that line, whose religion will become the standard? If not Mormonism, what part of their religious practice might be in jeopardy if the groups that dislike Mormons come into power? Implementing laws that favor certain religious beliefs is a very slippery slope. Creating laws based on biblical interpretation is leading us closer to a theocracy. Iran comes to mind. Do we really want to go there? Do we really want to continue creating laws that oppress others simply because of who they are?

  15. 15Dave Hoenon 18 Feb 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Sheri –

    Responding as a member of your choir. . .
    Thank you for standing up for us, not because you are LGBT or have a close relation that is, but as a member of the human family that has nurtured the gift of embracing and celebrating the differences in all of us. In fact I would like to thank the many contributors on this website who are not LGBT that have likewise taken a stand for equality. Laura, Fiona, Brad, Arlene, etc.

    Although scientists will probably eventually find a way to determine and/or control sexual orientation pre-conception or in the womb, I really hope they don’t. Because no doubt there will be parents opting to ensure that their child isn’t homosexual. We’d be losing out on a lot of wonderful people.

  16. 16Sheryl Becketton 19 Feb 2011 at 11:57 am

    Sheri, so nice to see you posting here again. I do wish I had your way with words. I need to remember some of them when I’m having discussions with other church members.

    Dave, I do hope that day never comes. You are so right that there are parents who would choose to abort if their unborn child were known to be LGB or T the same as there are parents who opt to abort if their unborn child is found to have some abnormality (i.e, down’s syndrom or apert syndrom) and doctors who would recommend that abortion. Hmm, wonder if those same people are anti-abortion until it applies to their “special” situation.

    It will be wonderful when the day comes that one’s sexual orientation is not an issue.

  17. 17Lauraon 21 Feb 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Mel’s posted a follow-up to her original post which some here might find interesting:

    http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2011/02/the-sound-of-silence

  18. 18Alessandroon 22 Feb 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Great! Standing up for one’s believes is the ethical thing to do.

  19. 19Sherion 24 Feb 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Dave and Sheryl,
    Thanks so much for noticing my post and for your kind words. Sometimes I feel that people get sick of hearing from me so I back off for awhile, but then I just can’t contain myself and have to speak again:-) That’s on all social media sites, not just here.

    I believe that as the momentum speeds up, justice is going to roll out like a river and will not be contained. With the President’s message about DOMA we will begin to see a change across the country and before we know it the battle against equality for the GLBT community will be a distant memory. YES!!!

  20. 20Roberton 24 Feb 2011 at 4:28 pm

    You are all uninformed fools looking through a looking glass into an issue you do not comprehend. While your hearts are in the right place, you are bitterly and sadly mistaken. While I doubt you will post this – as I believe many with your agenda don’t want to see or understand the TRUTH!

    I am one who struggled/struggles with same sex attraction issues and who suffered forays into the gay lifestyle. Had I listened to popular culture and the appologists on this website I would not have been able to have the full and wonderful life I have experienced! I would not have married and found the fullness of joy there, and would not have fathered children – truly one of the greatest joys of this existence. You want to normalize behavior that is degrading and against God and nature. As you do so, more and more will fall into it’s trap – curious good people who would otherwise steer clear of their curious or baser thoughts. Mainstreaming homosexuality in any way means more will suffer from it’s lies and degrading lifestyle. This is a confusing existence – don’t be misled by those who claim to know what they can never understand. We in the life do know! “Gay” does not mean happy or in any way content. I wonder if you also want to side with those who are tempted by pedophilia, drug abuse, sexual abuse, or other issues – simply because you sympathise with their temptation. Don’t fall into a trap and a lie that it helps them!!! Your empathy might be just the thing to destroy them! Tough love is what we all need who are weak and tempted.

  21. 21Lauraon 24 Feb 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Robert, your post went through, but please refrain from name-calling. It does nothing to further the discourse.

    I, for one, am happy you’ve been able to find a soulmate, marry her and enjoy the blessings of children in your life. Every time anyone is able to reach that pinnacle, I rejoice, and every time someone is prevented from making such a loving commitment, I am disheartened. Adults create new relationships every day and regularly bring children into those relationships. There is no doubt that children living with married parents are far better off than children living with non-married parents.

    Now, just because you had what you categorize as curious, base thoughts about homosexuality does not mean the rest of the heterosexual world does. For billions of people living on the earth, knowing that homosexuality exists does not make them want to experiment with it. The rates of homosexuality in Canada or Massachusetts are no higher now than they were before same-sex marriage was legal there. While that may not be your situation, it is reality for others – many of whom are loving, happy, contented people who live in your neighborhood and walk the dog and buy groceries at the corner market and pay their taxes and brush their teeth every day.

    Whether you believe it or not, homosexuality exists outside of a world of abuse and hedonism, just as heterosexuality does. Both camps have more than their share of abusive components, and if I had my way all abusive relationships would end immediately and people would be more respectful of one another – especially of the people they profess to love more than life itself.

    If you would like to remain part of the conversation, it might be helpful to educate yourself on the differences between legal, loving, supportive relationships between consenting adults and abusive, harmful and poisonous relationships between any other person.

  22. 22fiona64on 24 Feb 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Robert wrote: I wonder if you also want to side with those who are tempted by pedophilia, drug abuse, sexual abuse, or other issues – simply because you sympathise with their temptation.

    Hmm. I’m straight and married, and I support the rights of my gay and lesbian friends to do the same. My marriage is not even remotely affected one way or the other by another party’s marriage, gay or straight.

    I wonder why you compare the desire of two consenting adults to get married to pedophilia (no consent), sexual abuse (no consent) and drug abuse — which is irrelevant?

    Is it so foolish (you did, after all, call me and everyone else here an uninformed fool) to believe in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution? Because I do. It is so foolish to believe that Rabbi Yeshua was right when he said we should love our neighbors as ourselves (and made a big point that *everyone* is our neighbor)? Because I do. Is it likewise foolish to believe in the Establishment Clause? Because I do — and Prop 8 (and similar legislation) harms the rights of many faiths to practice their equality doctrine freely because some other faiths thing GLBT people are “icky” and not worthy.

    And dude? If that makes me foolish in your eyes, I suspect I can live with the pain.

  23. 23cowboyIIon 25 Feb 2011 at 6:50 am

    I wonder what sorts of homosexuals Robert had to “suffer” to be with…during his ‘foray’? Robert, if you think you are still struggling with something you feel is a temptation, I might suggest you are not able to cope with those feelings or you are not really gay. Because, a real gay person knows it’s not a temptation or a struggle.

    I know who I love.

    But, since you are married and have children, don’t do any more foraying into the gay world.

    We have heard the phrase: “I love him/her but I’m not *in* love with him/her.” There is a difference. You can love someone but some people know what I mean when I say: “I am IN love with ________ ” (fill in the blank.)

  24. 24Sherion 25 May 2011 at 3:00 pm

    The Oscar winning film maker and former Mormon, Dustin Lance Black has teamed up with Courage Campaign on a new Equality project. I thought you all might be interested in learning about it if you haven’t already. Here’s the link If you’d like to check it out.
    http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/dustin-lance-black-testimony-contest

Mormons for Marriage

Edits to Boyd K. Packer’s talk

We’ve discussed this talk briefly in another post and noted that there were some changes made between the version given at General Conference on Sunday morning and the official transcript now available online at lds.org.   For those of you interested in the changes, read on.

Thanks to Heather for doing the legwork on this one. She took the time to listen to the original audio and compare it with the new version of the transcript so we can see the changes.  Deletions from the original are in strikeout; insertions are bold.  Footnote references are noted, but are not included in this markup.  They are available here.

Edited to add official LDS Church response:

The Monday following every General Conference, each speaker has the opportunity to make any edits necessary to clarify differences between what was written and what was delivered or to clarify the speaker’s intent. President Packer has simply clarified his intent.

As we have said repeatedly, the Church’s position on marriage and family is clear and consistent. It is based on respect and love for all of God’s children.

-Scott Trotter, LDS Church Spokesman

Cleansing the Inner Vessel
President Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance.

This general conference was convened at a time when there is such confusion and such danger that our young people hardly know which way they can walk. Having been warned through the revelations that it would be this way, the prophets and apostles have always been shown what to do.

The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith “that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.”1 When the keys were restored, they provided priesthood authority to be present in every home through the grandfathers, the fathers, and the sons.

Fifteen years ago, with the world in turmoil, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the fifth proclamation in the history of the Church. It qualifies according to the definition as a revelation and would do well that members of the church to read and follow it. It is a guide that members of the Church would do well to read and to follow.

It states in part: “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”2

“The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.

“And the Gods said: We will bless them. And . . . we will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”3

This commandment has never been rescinded.

“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”4

It is intended that we be happy, for “men are, that they might have joy.”5

Lehi taught that men are free and must be “free . . . to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day.”6

The old saying “The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts” describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s and his will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.

There is also an age old excuse: “The devil made me do it.” Not so! He can deceive you and mislead you, but he does not have the power to force you or anyone else to transgress or to keep you in transgression.

To be entrusted with the power to create life carries with it the greatest of joys and dangerous temptations. The gift of mortal life and the capacity to kindle other lives is a supernal blessing. Through the righteous exercise of this the power, as in nothing else, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy. This power is not an incidental part of the plan of happiness. It is the key—the very key.

Whether we use this power as the eternal laws require or reject its divine purpose will forever determine what we will become. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”7

There is something very liberating when an individual determines of his or her own free will to be obedient to our Father and our God and expresses that willingness to Him in prayer.

When we obey, we can enjoy these powers in the covenant of marriage. From our fountains of life will spring our children, our family. Love between husband and wife can be constant and bring fulfillment and contentment all of the days of our lives.

If one is denied these blessings in mortality, the promise is that they will be provided for in the world to come.

Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and a lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple, are those life-giving powers released for to the full expression of love. It is to be shared only and solely between man and woman, husband and wife, with that one who is our companion forever. On this the gospel is the very plan plain.

We are free to ignore the commandments, but when the revelations speak in such blunt terms, such as “thou shalt not,” we had better pay attention.

The adversary is jealous toward all who have the power to beget life. Satan cannot beget life; he is impotent. “He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.”8 He seeks to degrade the righteous use of the life-giving powers by tempting you into immoral relationships.

The Lord used the expression “is like unto” to create an image His followers could understand, such as:

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man.”9

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field.”10

In our day the dreadful influence of pornography is like unto a plague sweeping across the world, infecting one here and one there, relentlessly trying to invade every home, most frequently through the husband and father. The effect of this plague can be, unfortunately and often is, spiritually fatal. Lucifer seeks to disrupt “the great plan of redemption,”11 “the great plan of happiness.”12

Pornography will always repel the Spirit of Christ and will interrupt the communications between our Heavenly Father and His children and disrupt the tender relationships between husband and wife.

The priesthood holds consummate power. It can protect you from the plague of pornography—and it is a plague if you are succumbing to its influence. If one is obedient, the priesthood can show you how to break a habit, and even erase an addiction. The holders of the priesthood have that authority and should employ it to cast out these combat evil influences.

We raise an alarm and warn members of the Church to wake up and understand what is going on. Parents, be alert, ever watchful that this wickedness might threaten your family circle.

We teach a standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes or counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From the Book of Mormon we learn that “wickedness never was happiness.”13

Some suppose that they were preset and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn temptations tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, God He is our Heavenly Father.

Paul promised that “God . . . will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”14 You can, if you will, break the habits and conquer an addiction and come away from that which is not worthy of any member of the Church. As Alma cautioned, we must “watch and pray continually.”15

Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”16

Years ago I visited a school in Albuquerque. The teacher told me about a youngster who brought a kitten to class. As you can imagine, that disrupted everything. She had him hold up the kitten up in front of the children.

It went well until one of the children asked, “Is it a boy kitty or a girl kitty?”

Not wanting to get into that lesson, the teacher said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a kitty.”

But they persisted. Finally, one boy raised his hand and said, “I know how you can tell.”

Resigned to face it, the teacher said, “How can you tell?”

And the student answered, “You can vote on it!”

You may laugh at this story, but if we are not alert, there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. For instance, what good would a vote against the law of gravity do?

There are both moral and physical laws “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world” that cannot be changed.17 History demonstrates over and over again that moral standards cannot be changed by battle and cannot be changed by ballot. To legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.

Regardless of the opposition, we are determined to stay on course. We will hold to the principles and laws and ordinances of the gospel. If they are misunderstood either innocently or willfully, so be it. We cannot change; we will not change the moral standard. We quickly lose our way when we disobey the laws of God. If we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties must needs perish.

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”18

Every soul confined in a prison of sin, guilt, or perversion has a key to the gate. The key is labeled “repentance.” If you know how to use it, this key, the adversary cannot hold you. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the tempter. If you are bound by a habit or an addiction that is unworthy, you must stop that conduct that is harmful. Angels will coach you,19 and priesthood leaders will guide you through the those difficult times.

Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God,  have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.”20 In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay.

For those who truly desire it, there is a way back. Repentance is like unto a detergent. Even ground-in stains of sin will come out.

Priesthood holders carry with them the antidote to remove the terrible images of pornography and to wash away guilt. The priesthood has the power to unlock the influence of our habits, even to unchain from addiction, however tight the grip. It can heal over the scars of the past mistakes.

I know of no more beautiful and consoling words in all of revelation than these: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”21

Sometimes, even after confession and paying penalties, the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive one’s self. You must come to know that forgiveness means forgiveness.

“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.”22

President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.

In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt.23 Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”

She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”

“Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!”24

Strangely enough, it may be that the simplest and most powerful prevention and cure for pornography, or any unclean act, is to ignore and avoid it. Delete from the mind any unworthy thought that tries to take root. Once you have decided to remain clean, you are asserting your God-given agency. And then, as President Smith counseled, “Don’t look back.”

I promise you that ahead of you is peace and happiness for you and your family. The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home. And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague, to find the healing that is available to us in the priesthood of the Lord. I bear witness of that power in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Filed in Uncategorized |

102 Responses to “Edits to Boyd K. Packer’s talk”

  1. 1KayGon 07 Oct 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Thank you Laura and Heather, for making this so clear and understandable. Those two deleted sentences (as well as changing “tendencies” to “temptation”) are significant.

    Was it in the 70s or the 80s that Ron Poelman’s General Conference talk got re-video’d and much-edited for publication? Few people knew about that. In this era of easy video recording of the original talk, and discussion on the Internet, it’s harder to conceal an about-face!

  2. 2Phouchgon 08 Oct 2010 at 7:01 am

    We are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia…

  3. 3Joe Geisneron 08 Oct 2010 at 7:52 am

    Great job Heather. Thank you both for providing the transcript.

  4. 4Lauraon 08 Oct 2010 at 7:53 am

    As was noted on the other post, it’s not unusual for minor changes to be made to the text of conference talks between the time those talks are presented in conference and the time the transcripts are available for printing and reading. Many of the grammatical changes as well as the incorporation of gender-inclusive language fall into that category here. The printed versions of talks are used as references and as the basis for lessons in Sunday School and other classes, as well as for talks in Sacrament Meeting, so it’s important that they are well-edited.

    Several points stand out in my mind in these revisions to Elder Packer’s talk:

    1 – The language used to describe The Proclamation on the Family is religiously significant to Mormons. There is a difference between a “revelation” and a “guide” and since the Proclamation is NOT canonized scripture at this point, it was important to clarify that point.

    2 – The rhetorical question and the language surrounding it – whether it’s a temptation or a tendency – created the largest controversy in General Conference history, not only within the Church, but also within the general population. The reaction of the HRC was unprecedented and if anecdotal stories are correct, hundreds, if not thousands of members, media representatives and non-members were contacting both local and general leaders for guidance, clarification and reassurance. Removing the question helps to address the ambiguity of whether it is doctrine or opinion that homosexuality is a choice.

    Even though Elder Packer did not use the words “homosexual” or “gay” or “same-gender attraction”, because of the placement of the question, the references to the Proclamation and marriage equality referenda, the stories of gender confusion (which is regularly conflated with homosexuality within LDS circles), and the use of words like “unnatural” many listeners got the distinct impression that Elder Packer was suggesting homosexuality is a choice. While that may be what he believes or understands, it is not in line with current church teachings which indicate General Authorities do not know what causes homosexuality.

    And, KayG – the Poelman talk was from 1984.

  5. 5Joe Geisneron 08 Oct 2010 at 8:00 am

    I agree with your comments Laura. What you have pointed out are key elements.

  6. 6fiona64on 08 Oct 2010 at 8:26 am

    Boyd Packer: And I invoke the blessings of the Lord upon you who are struggling against this terrible plague,

    Wow. “Terrible plague”? Being gay is a “terrible plague”?

    I am so sorry for young people who sat and listened to this, and can only imagine how they must have felt.

  7. 7CJon 08 Oct 2010 at 8:57 am

    The Proclamation on the Family should be considered to be revelation just as much if not more than anything written in the Doctrine and Covenants. It is God’s authorized representatives declaring the mind and will of the Lord. That, by definition, is modern-day revelation straight from God. That is what makes this church different from all other churches.

    President Packer’s message is one of hope and love. He is saying that we can change our very natures with the help of Jesus Christ. That is the whole point to this religion. We, unlike many other Christians, believe that Christ’s atonement applies not only when overcoming sin but also when overcoming addictions, temptations, and tendencies. The world tells us we can’t change and that we are stuck as we are. God’s appointed prophets and apostles tell us that Christ will help us overcome. As President Packer noted, “…God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able…”(1 Corinthians 10:13) I feel like President Packer is on my side and wants me to know that Christ is also on my side. I thank both of them.

  8. 8lisaon 08 Oct 2010 at 9:28 am

    good god.

    i want to post this at my facebook but it wouldn’t matter. i don’t know. i’ll have to think about it.

    a friend of mine who seems to be wavering was taken aback by that rhetorical question. i’m hoping she’ll read the talk and realize it’s gone.

    and notice the change from “revelation” to “guide.” I can’t believe my eyes. that’s *huge*

    after hearing some of the more staunch members praise this talk (and I do mean the whole thing), I’m feeling a bit defeated. There’s no convincing some people, but others maybe.

    We’ll see.

  9. 9Mollyon 08 Oct 2010 at 10:17 am

    @Phouchg EXACTLY what I was thinking!! The second this story broke all I could think of was Winston Smith sitting at his desk, deftly rewriting reality.

  10. 10Kathleenon 08 Oct 2010 at 10:36 am

    @ CJ You said “We, unlike many other Christians, believe that Christ’s atonement applies not only when overcoming sin but also when overcoming addictions, temptations, and tendencies. ”

    HUH? You seriously believe that other “christians” don’t believe they can overcome their additions through Jesus Christ? That’s about ALL they believe, my friend.

    That might be the most whackadoodle comment I’ve seen in awhile! Please try and educate yourself on what others outside of your Mormon circles believe.

  11. 11Dave Hoenon 08 Oct 2010 at 11:00 am

    When I first listened to this speech (Most of it is available on YouTube) I had to laugh at the hypocrisy of Elder Packer’s statement, “there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature.”

    I thought, does he listen to what he is saying and does he not even realize the hypocrisy of this statement when the Church paid for putting Prop 8 on the ballot and then paid and organized the campaign itself? But then I realized he knows exactly what he is saying. His speech was given to the Church membership as a whole and outside of California, most Mormons don’t know about the Church’s key role in Prop 8 and the Church leadership doesn’t want them to know. (And if it hadn’t been for all the publicity, most California Mormons would have been kept in the dark too.)

    If the Courts don’t extend marriage equality first, California and other states will use ballot initiatives to legalize marriage equality. No doubt Elder Packer’s quote will be used in Mormon Churches to rally the troops about how wrong it is to use the ballot box for this purpose.

    And from the Church’s press release after Judge Walker ruled Prop 8 as unconstitutional, “California voters have twice been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage . . .” So apparently in Elder Packer’s mind it is okay to use the voting process to take away basic civil rights, but not to extend those rights.

    Elder Packer’s “cute” story about the kitten is laughable and pure hypocrisy!

    Dave Hoen

  12. 12Sherion 08 Oct 2010 at 11:51 am

    So many people are being paralyzed by this kind of fear rhetoric. Neall Donald Walsh in his message for today had this to say:

    “….that the mere apprehension of a coming evil has
    put many into a situation of the utmost danger.

    F.L. Lucan said that, and it is right. There is no faster way to bring about misfortune than to think it is coming. Thought is a powerful force, and it is a creative tool that many people give little energy to — or abandon in the face of any real threat to safety or stability.”

  13. 13jedon 08 Oct 2010 at 12:49 pm

    CJ,
    I have to take issue with your statment the the proclimation should be concidered revelation. As it happens the church, as outlined in the doctrine and covenants, has a process for accepting something as being a revelation or not, this also qualifies it to become cannonized. So my question is this, has the church followed this process and accepted the proclamation as scripture? My other question is who wrote the proclamation, who receved the revelation?

  14. 14Tachyon Feathertailon 08 Oct 2010 at 1:07 pm

    The Proclamation on the Family should be considered to be revelation just as much if not more than anything written in the Doctrine and Covenants

    That’s not what the correlation department thinks. Or LDS.org newsroom.

    When was the proclamation sustained as a revelation by the membership? Why isn’t it in the D&C? If the message is one of love and hope, is it everyone else’s fault that they’re hurting?

    Wait — don’t answer that question. Because when I was growing up in your church, it was always my fault.

  15. 15Heatheron 08 Oct 2010 at 1:48 pm

    @Dave–yes! I leaned over to my husband and mentioned that absurdity. I agree–moral/religious issues shouldn’t be decided by ballot . . . which is why the church shouldn’t have gotten involved in that.

    You can’t say that you’re against legislating morality only if you disagree with the proposed ballot measure . . .

  16. 16fiona64on 08 Oct 2010 at 1:55 pm

    As I posted on another thread:

    If there ever comes a day when the Saints interfere with the rights of others to live as they see fit, you can know with assurance that the Church is longer led by a Prophet but by a mere man. — Brigham Young

  17. 17Jameson 08 Oct 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for posting this, and for making the edits so clear. If the church thought this would soften their words, I think they will find it will backfire, again.

    Sad.

  18. 18Julianeon 08 Oct 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks everyone for this post and the comments.
    It has been very confusing for me to figure out what is “official doctrine”/revelation and what is merely a guide, a tradition, or even just a personal opinion. I found this article on staylds.com (careful not to type in .org as that will land you on an anti-mormon site) which explains the process in more detail on how official doctrine is approved. It was extremely helpful to me since I’m struggling with much of the frills that have nothing to do with the gospel. Here’s the link:

    http://www.staylds.com/docs/WhatIsOfficialMormonDoctrine.html

    you can check out my personal journey with living in cognitive dissonance on http://www.mollymormonseviltwin.blogspot.com

  19. 19Ellieon 08 Oct 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks! That’s helpful information.

    A few questions:

    What you’re saying is that the prophet never approved BKP’s talk, right?

    What is this about the term “free agency” “no longer allowed” in GC addresses?

    I also heard that the word “homosexual” can’t be used anymore. Any idea if that’s true?

    Thanks!

  20. 20Mike Parkeron 08 Oct 2010 at 3:26 pm

    fiona64 (#6): Four times in the talk, he referred to pornography as a “plague.” It seems to me that’s the plague he’s referring to in the closing portion.

  21. 21Mike Parkeron 08 Oct 2010 at 3:30 pm

    fiona64 (#16): I have electronic databases of both the Journal of Discourses and the comprehensive Addresses of Brigham Young, and I can find nothing like that quote in either one of them.

    Can you provide a citation for that quote?

  22. 22Lauraon 08 Oct 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Ellie – Go do a search at lds.org and see when the last time was that they used “free agency” in any official publication. Then look up the term “moral agency” – that’s the new terminology. There may even be a talk or article about the reason “moral agency” is more accurate than “free agency” (I can’t remember for sure and don’t have time to look it up myself.)

    I don’t know if there’s a rule against the term “homosexual” but it certainly is hard to find articles at lds.org (or any of its sub-sites) which use the term on its own. If you want to know about the church and homosexuality, you need to look up same-gender attraction or same-sex attraction. There are several posts on this site where we’ve discussed the use of “homosexual” in comment threadjacks. (HINT: Don’t go there on this thread, folks.)

  23. 23fiona64on 08 Oct 2010 at 3:48 pm

    @Mike Parker:

    http://brighamyoungquotes.com/?s=blacks

  24. 24EmiGon 08 Oct 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hmmm…the context of the Brigham Young quote isn’t particularly encouraging. “The man who abandons polygamy or allows blacks the priesthood of God is a fallen prophet”? And it still doesn’t really provide a source, unless I’m missing it…

  25. 25Mike Parkeron 08 Oct 2010 at 4:04 pm

    fiona64 (#23): An uncited quote on an anonymous web site is not a source.

    This quote is all of sudden popping up on the Internet. You’d think something so inflammatory would have been discovered and used for years now.

    It sounds manufactured to me.

  26. 26Sherion 08 Oct 2010 at 4:30 pm

    The daily message from Neale Donald Walsch (author of Conversations with God) is rather appropriate here (IMHO).

    “….that the mere apprehension of a coming evil has
    put many into a situation of the utmost danger.

    F.L. Lucan said that, and it is right. There is no faster way to bring about misfortune than to think it is coming. Thought is a powerful force, and it is a creative tool that many people give little energy to — or abandon in the face of any real threat to safety or stability.”

    The fear in people’s hearts being generated by talks like this one, achieves nothing but rigid, paralyzed spirits. Whatever light that is intermingled is quicly snuffed out with the dark thoughts being promoted.

  27. 27Obligatory post-published President Packer talk analysis « The Religiously Sanctioned Co-Habitation Chronicleson 09 Oct 2010 at 12:26 am

    […] major changes of import (and you can see a great blog post comparing the spoken and written version here) are […]

  28. 28The Religiously Sanctioned Co-Habitation Chronicleson 09 Oct 2010 at 12:44 am

    […] changes of import (and you can see a great blog post comparing the spoken and written version here) are […]

  29. 29Thoughts on the revisions to Pres. Packer’s talk « Prolusion Sixon 09 Oct 2010 at 5:43 pm

    […] our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” (You can see a combined version of the two talks here). The emphasis of these revisions seems to realign Pres. Packer’s remarks with those made […]

  30. 30wgon 09 Oct 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Laura (22) & Ellie(19) Free agency has often been used in the past but it is not found in scripture. Moral agency is the correct term and is found in D&C 101:78.

  31. 31Lukeon 10 Oct 2010 at 12:31 pm

    @Dave: I really don’t see any hypocrisy here.

    The quote you give comments on using the ballot box/voting process to promote/accept immoral behavior (i.e., behavior that is contrary to God’s laws). Which the church has ALWAYS taught that we should do: people who know what is good and right should stand up for it and promote it using every legal and appropriate means to do so.

    (Disagreements can come up about what is good and right, of course, but voting with your conscience is always been a consistent message of the Church for as long as I can remember)

    And you make it seem like the church tried to be secretive about Prop 8 efforts. I’d be surprised to see facts that back up the assertion. I’ve never lived in California, (Oregon and Massachusetts have been my homes for the past few years), but I frequently heard about the Church’s efforts to get contributions / organize efforts to promote the ballot initiative.

    I don’t see any evil secret conspiracy here: Just a church that has a strong belief and is doing what it is free to do (and obligated by its own beliefs to do) to fulfill its mission.

  32. 32Geneon 10 Oct 2010 at 3:20 pm

    In the Proclamation referred to it states: “All human beings – male and female – are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    Would someone please explain how an hermaphrodite fits in that picture? One out of 200 live births in the UK is identified as an hermaphrodite (it has both sexual organs present). What is it a son or daughter, male or female? If gender is “an essential characteristic” of eternal identity and purpose, please, someone explain. According to BKP a loving God would not do that to one of His children, right?

  33. 33Marcos Puertaon 10 Oct 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Gene – Excellent question. In the past babies with ambiguous genitalia (the term hermaphrodite can be misleading and carries a certain stigma) were assigned a gender. We have learned through these cases that pure environment cannot make that child that gender and many of these intersexed individuals felt the medical team made the wrong call. Now physicians usually wait until later for gender manifestation before surgical intervention, and that person will have to make the call. In accordance with the Proclamation (and consistent with scripture), that child does have a male or a female spirit.

    Those are tough calls. There is genotype (what the genes look like) and phenotype (physical characteristics) and even chimerism (different genetic patterns in different ares of the body). As Elder Russell M Nelson said in conference in 2002, “Gender disorientation is poorly understood.”

    If you believe scripture and the living prophets, the clear answer is that each person carries a male or a female spirit, regardless of physical manifestation.

  34. 34Nicholeon 10 Oct 2010 at 11:05 pm

    What person among us has not mis-said something? Or used a similar word when it was not in fact the precise term we were intending? I’ve had many years of teaching both in and out of the Church (not the least of which includes my children) and I have definitely found a need to clarify or change wording to better get my point across. Often this need has come to my attention after I have seen the effect of my words as spoken on my ’student.’

    Of course the reaction to those words could have spurred “the need” for changes. Because at the reaction Elder Packer could see what the perception of what he said was. At that point he can decide if that was what he meant or not.

    I would say that how his words were taken was probably not exactly as he meant them. I come to this conclusion because he changed them. Elder Packer does not generally mince words. If he wanted to make a certain statement then he would have. Obviously what he said was not received as exactly the message he intended. Why is this so inflammatory?

    On that note, I suppose I could see the need for a notation in the printed document that some words were changed from the original oral presentation. I don’t believe the exact changes would need to be listed. If someone was so moved, they could research it as I did and listen to the original talk while reading the written version to find the changes. For the Church to publish the original version in a written format would be putting out there with “endorsement” exactly something they felt needed to be changed.

    On the point about that Brigham Young quote used by fiona64- the author of the site “spoke” as ‘Brother Brigham’ in response to questions about his lack of citation and explained that it isn’t an actual Brigham Young quote.

  35. 35Debbion 11 Oct 2010 at 4:58 am

    I could have sworn that when I first watched the clip of Packer’s talk that after he stated “he is our Heavenly Father” he went on to say “God doesn’t make mistakes”. There is an edit, a change of camera angle right at the point I thought this was said. Does anyone else remember this?

  36. 36fiona64on 11 Oct 2010 at 8:45 am

    Luke wrote: And you make it seem like the church tried to be secretive about Prop 8 efforts.

    It did. In the Kolob Cafe transcript of the “special comment to California,” people who were “called” to go door to door were cautioned not to wear white shirts and ties, or look “too Mormon.” They were cautioned not to identify themselves with the Mormon church during their “callings” in the phone center.

  37. 37fiona64on 11 Oct 2010 at 8:46 am

    25Mike Parkeron 08 Oct 2010 at 4:04 pm

    fiona64 (#23): An uncited quote on an anonymous web site is not a source.

    This quote is all of sudden popping up on the Internet. You’d think something so inflammatory would have been discovered and used for years now.

    It sounds manufactured to me.
    —-

    And, of course, your Church would never try to “hush up” anything controversial said by Brigham Young …

    Whatever.

  38. 38fiona64on 11 Oct 2010 at 8:47 am

    Luke wrote: I don’t see any evil secret conspiracy here: Just a church that has a strong belief and is doing what it is free to do (and obligated by its own beliefs to do) to fulfill its mission.

    What about the church’s statement that it stays out of politics? Running phone banks, sending out precinct walkers, and sending bishops to peoples’ homes to tell them how much they were “called” to donate toward Prop 8 hardly sounds like staying out of politics to me.

  39. 39Carrieon 11 Oct 2010 at 9:32 am

    @Dave: “there are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature.” He’s saying that man’s vote does not change God’s law.

  40. 40Timon 11 Oct 2010 at 10:23 am

    I’m linked here from Huffington Post and have no real connection to this controversy on either end. (Not Mormon, not gay, not a gay Mormon.) I’m surprised at the vitriol being shared here … seems like you either disagree and shouldn’t give a second thought to what he said, or you agree and shouldn’t have any complaints. Clearly, his comments are for his followers. And from the way I understand it, you either whole-heartedly support your leaders, or you aren’t really a true Mormon.

    I don’t consider his comments to be that inflammatory. He seems more concerned about pornography than homosexuality, but you don’t see porn lovers flocking here to complain how they’re offended and feel like he’s infringing on their rights. I don’t think his comments are so cruel … I think he’s just big into God’s laws and trying to clarify them to a specific group.

    I’m politically moderate, so I disagree with some of his comments and agree with others. But in the end, they weren’t intended for me. They were intended for a church congregation that already believes that homosexuality is a sin. So what’s with all the drama? I’m afraid you guys have created that, not him. (Just had to say it.)

    Perhaps we could save our comments for positive pro-(sexual)-choice forums.

  41. 41Lauraon 11 Oct 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks for checking in, Tim. Just as a background, this site, Mormons for Marriage, was created because there are Mormons who are opposed to their church’s involvement in trying to impose LDS moral standards on the rest of the community, and there are participants in this discussion on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue. This is a pro-sexual-choice forum.

    We try to be civil here, we avoid calling one another to repentance and we avoid personal attacks as much as possible. Same-sex marriage and treatment of GLBT people (especially by God’s spokespeople) can be and often does turn heated and emotional very quickly.

    Part of the angst surrounding Elder Packer’s talk is that some of the things he said, and the way he said them, were hurtful to GLBT Mormons and their friends and family members. Because of the ambiguity and euphemisms Elder Packer used, it’s not always clear how the message was even related to homosexuality, since Elder Packer never used the term homosexual (or even the Church-approved same-gender-attraction) in his talk.

    This is certainly not the first time Elder Packer has used references from The Proclamation on the Family, or voting down God’s laws, or conflating gender identity with homosexuality or speaking about unnatural tendencies and temptations when discussing homosexuality. Anyone can do a search at lds.org on the term “unnatural” and see who uses it and what it refers to.

    There has been an unusual amount of rancor in the discussions this week (and that’s only counting what’s been reflected by the posts which have made it through the moderation process). We all have things to learn from one another if we can step away from our cherished beliefs and chronic hurt long enough to listen quietly and non-judgmentally to those “on the other side.” This is not a black-and-white, all-or-nothing, wheat-and-tares, righteous-and-evil issue. It is complex, there are nuances and there are real feelings, real stories, and real people behind every comment.

  42. 42Dave Hoenon 11 Oct 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Luke #28

    Yes, the Church has always encouraged its members to vote their conscience. But except on gay rights and womens rights, it has never told them how to vote and it has never inserted itself into the political process and spent millions like they did on Prop 8.

    There are some religions who believe they should be able to marry gay couples. They don’t think it is immoral or contrary to God’s laws whatsoever. The Mormon Church took those rights away from those Churches. What if the Evangelicals, Catholics and Protestants decided Temple work for the dead is immoral? What if they secretly formed a coalition to pass a law that would make it illegal to perform any religious rituals for people who are dead? What would you think about this use of the ballot box? After all the majority wins, right? Regardless of what the issue is?

    Luke, I have you at a disadvantage because I have seen it from both sides of the fence and I know how difficult (if not impossible) for members to see the other point of view or to believe that the Church ever does anything wrong (how could they after all, since it is led by God). That you believe that the Church wasn’t being secretive only means that you haven’t learned everything the Church was attempting to be secretive about. And the things that you have heard about, didn’t come from official Church sources. It came from media reports, because the Church “got caught”. If you only read what the Church distributed you wouldn’t know boo. But if you are a true seeker of truth, I would recommend you seeing the documentary “8: The Mormon Proposition”. But if you’re only going to believe what the Church tells you, it won’t have any meaning.

    Dave Hoen

  43. 43Nicholeon 11 Oct 2010 at 3:31 pm

    “There are some religions who believe they should be able to marry gay couples. They don’t think it is immoral or contrary to God’s laws whatsoever. The Mormon Church took those rights away from those Churches.”

    Really? I was under the impression it was a public vote. I realize that the majority here wish the LDS Church hadn’t involved itself in Prop 8. But to say the Mormon Church caused all of it. Or to make it seem as though it wasn’t a vote is kind of…well, I don’t want to use any words that may offend anyone. Yes, the LDS Church pushed for a certain political outcome. And they did push hard. Whether or not you think they should have is not really what I’m saying. What I am saying is it seems overboard to state that the Mormon Church took rights away, that the LDS Church was the cause.

    And, in the Mormon Church history, there was a time when a certain principle was deemed illegal by many religious and politically motivated groups outside of the LDS Church. And the Mormon Church did give up that practice in part because it was illegal.

  44. 44fiona64on 11 Oct 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Nichole wrote, in message 43: “There are some religions who believe they should be able to marry gay couples. They don’t think it is immoral or contrary to God’s laws whatsoever. The Mormon Church took those rights away from those Churches.”

    Really? I was under the impression it was a public vote.

    —-
    Yep. With a scare campaign primarily financed by the Church of LDS and the Catholic Church. It was the first time in *history* that a designated civil right was put on a ballot to vote to have it TAKEN AWAY.

    Which of your rights should we be allowed to put on the ballot to scare someone into taking away with deceitful campaigning?

    Why should your church’s beliefs trump the beliefs of another church?

    Nichole also wrote: And, in the Mormon Church history, there was a time when a certain principle was deemed illegal by many religious and politically motivated groups outside of the LDS Church. And the Mormon Church did give up that practice in part because it was illegal.

    Oh, dear. Here we go again with re-writing history. The Church of LDS only “gave up” polygamy because Utah was going to be denied statehood because of Church practices — and please don’t pretend that the Church didn’t run Utah back then, because it did (much as it does now). And I put “gave up” in sarcasti-quotes because the Church still practices polygamy in its beliefs, in terms of men being sealed to multiple women in celestial marriage.

  45. 45fiona64on 11 Oct 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Nichole wrote: Yes, the LDS Church pushed for a certain political outcome. And they did push hard. Whether or not you think they should have is not really what I’m saying.

    How do you reconcile this with the church’s stated apolitical position?

    How do you reconcile the fact that the church successfully inserted its beliefs into civil law (in violation of the 1st Amendment) and took civil rights away from law-abiding citizens (in violation of the 14th Amendment)? What happened to the church’s stated position in favor of separation of church and state?

    Or doesn’t that count when the church sees an opportunity, via California’s absurd ballot proposition system, to take away rights from a group of people they find “immoral” or “impure” or “unnatural”?

    Don’t you get that the slippery slope is not any of the nonsense that the LDS-paid-for ads (under the rubric of “National Organization for Marriage,” which is an LDS front organization) about teaching kids or anything else? It’s about having precedent to take away rights from any group of people that you deem distasteful from the pulpit.

    Womens’ suffrage? Let’s get rid of it. Women shouldn’t be doing anything but working in the home and having children; they shouldn’t be voting. And while we’re at it, how about if we put the coverture laws back in place, so that women have no property rights, not even to the clothes on their backs? Or maybe we can bring back the days of NINA and separate drinking fountains?

    Don’t you get it? Prop 8 is the exact same thing.

  46. 46Lauraon 11 Oct 2010 at 4:38 pm

    How about, “The Mormon Church led the way in taking away those rights by providing the bulk of the grassroots leadership and volunteers, by soliciting and raising the most amount of money provided to the ProtectMarriage coalition, by supporting the groundwork to create a coalition in the first place, by facilitating leadership for traditional marriage coalitions in California for 20 years, by disseminating and not contradicting the less-than-accurate campaign bullet points, by advising in legal briefs both directly as an amicus curiae and indirectly as non-public reviewers of both briefs and pending legislation?”

    And how about, “The Mormon Church did not hide the fact that it was involved in the campaign, but it did delay, postpone and minimize the full extent to which it was involved in trying to persuade its members to volunteer and donate money and by limiting its donations to non-monetary donations only so that it could truthfully tell the world, ‘We did not donate any money to the campaign.’?”

    A timeline discussing the things the Church did during the Proposition 8 campaign can be found here. If any of the foregoing activities are new to you, it would be especially helpful for you to review the timeline before continuing the conversation.

  47. 47Nicholeon 11 Oct 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I read your entire list. Most of them were not “new to me.” I’m not an idiot, I just feel differently from you. And I’m on the other side of the fence in regards to the Church’s campaign, I suppose. I guess it’s an agree to disagree.

    “Yep. With a scare campaign primarily financed by the Church of LDS and the Catholic Church. It was the first time in *history* that a designated civil right was put on a ballot to vote to have it TAKEN AWAY.”

    I don’t believe that it was a ’scare campaign.’ However, I can see how there were undoubtedly members that must have felt steam-rolled in the frenzy of action and opinions. That is the part that makes me sad and I think was handled poorly. The Church isn’t a “Big Bad Wolf” to me. It makes me sad to know there are many out there who see it as such.

    As for the ‘TAKEN AWAY’ part. When was same sex marriage legal in California? I’m not being bratty, I really don’t know. What other states have allowed same sex marriage and then had the right removed? Just curious.

    I can see why you might feel it is a right being ‘TAKEN AWAY.’ However, the other side of the debate is that asking for same-sex marriages to occur is asking for a right to be ‘EXTENDED’ and a often-religious as well as legal definition changed. And there are those that want to prevent that so that the original definitions can be preserved. It has a huge part to do with the fact many people view marriage as a religious institution. Therefore it follows that religions the world-over have opinions on the matter in regards to its secular handling.

    I guess it comes to this for me: If the Church is morally opposed to a certain thing, where is the line in how they participate to prevent it? What rights does the Church have as an organizational entity to act? And that followed by where is the line in regards to requests/calls to action for its members? I suppose that is the major issue being debated here and in thousands of other places.

  48. 48mofemboton 11 Oct 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Ah yes, the Proclamation, the compromised, committee-written, year-long-internally-disputed “next best thing to genuine revelation.” BKP didn’t think it went far enough, others thought it went too far.

    Use calligraphy and print it on expensive paper, frame it, encourage people to have a copy displayed in the homes, sell it in Deseret Book, and perhaps then the membership will ignore its origins and inconsistencies and forget that it really didn’t emanate straight from the mouth of God to a prophet.

    Glad someone caught BKP’s attempt to canonize this thing all by himself.

  49. 49Nicholeon 11 Oct 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Also, just another quick question…

    I noticed that only in some states where same sex marriage is approved is a caveat made to allow religious institutions the right to refuse to marry same sex couples (or at least only specifically noted in your time-line). Is it the position of most pro- same sex marriage groups to allow that caveat to stand in all states? Or is that just considered another step that will be taken in equality of marriage? Is that the eventual goal?

    Because I can definitely understand even more why some religions (including the LDS Church) would stand against same sex marriage. How would a church that holds marriage and particular types of marriage to such high ideals deal with a forced need to perform marriages that it is morally and doctrinally opposed to?

    Again, I’m not trying to be bratty, I’m trying to get more information.

  50. 50Thomason 12 Oct 2010 at 12:17 am

    Concerning the Brigham Young quote from #16 Fiona64 and #23 Fiona64 response to citation, when you follow the link you find the line quoted in the About section. There is a direct quote from Brigham Young from the ‘Journal of Discourses’. Brigham Young never what Fiona64 quoted. The second section on the page is an ABOUT area, written by the ‘Brother Brigham’ the site admin of brighamyoungquotes.com NOT Brigham Young. ‘Brother Brigham’ the site admin responds in the about sections comments section stating the “To answer your questions, the above information is merely words that sum up my doctrine and my teachings. While I never said these exact words (and they do not appear in any of my published works) they express my personal religious convictions and a life time of teachings.” The site is not a reliable source as the site admin seems to believe he is Brigham Young.
    http://brighamyoungquotes.com/?page_id=2#comments

  51. 51Lauraon 12 Oct 2010 at 7:46 am

    There were 18,000 same-sex couples legally married in California the summer of 2008.

    The Church could have done in Prop 8 what it did with the Federal DOMA legislation, or Canadian Same-Sex Marriage legislation, or Argentinian Same-Sex Marriage legislation, or Amendment 3 legislation in Utah: Send out a letter from the First Presidency telling members the legislation is coming up and urge members to express their opinions on the legislation/vote to their elected representatives/neighbors. It could have even done that multiple times during the election. They could have reminded members to register to vote. I personally wouldn’t have had any problem if they’d repeated some of the things done in the Prop 8 campaign: assigned each bishop to say a special prayer the Sunday before the election, create a website and provide content for that website (so long as the website used truthful, gospel-centered messages about marriage and was not paid for by tithing funds).

    What it did not need to do was pick a political committee with which to align, tell members about it, set fundraising goals for wards and stakes, call (even informally) members to supervise political campaign ZIP codes and regions, have general authorities make multiple personal fundraising conference calls to potential large donors, assign young single adults to spend specific numbers of hours blogging/texting/emailing – campaigning – each week, organize call banks and firesides for people with California connections, encourage pollwatching and precinct-walking, etc. We did not need church meetings taken over every week to discuss the evils of homosexuality and the threats to our own families if our gay neighbors wanted to create lasting pair-bonds. The only thing that kind of rhetoric did was fan the flames of fear, misunderstanding and battles, and it served to give free rein to those Mormons who felt the need to speak out derisively of GLBT people.

  52. 52Lauraon 12 Oct 2010 at 7:50 am

    California had this legislation passed this summer, with the full support of many (if not most) GLBT groups in the state. The governor vetoed it.

    No GLBTQ people or organizations that I am aware of want to force religions to bless and sanctify marriages against their own beliefs.

    That being said, there is currently no law in California which forces clergy to marry anyone and everyone who comes to them for marriages. Moreover, religious leaders are free to impose counseling, membership and/or worthiness standards on anyone who wishes to have a religious marriage ceremony in the state. Otherwise Mormons would have to open temple doors to anyone who wanted to get married in temples and Catholics would have to provide marriage masses for non-Catholics.

  53. 53fiona64on 12 Oct 2010 at 9:24 am

    Nichole asked: As for the ‘TAKEN AWAY’ part. When was same sex marriage legal in California?

    From May of 2008, until Nov. 2, 2008. During that time, 18,000 same-sex couples were married. Supporters of Prop 8 sought to have those marriages judicially annulled, and failed. Those couples are still married.

    So, I guess you have to ask yourself this question, Nichole: since you didn’t even know that gay marriage had been legal in California, how were you harmed by those 18,000 marriages?

  54. 54fiona64on 12 Oct 2010 at 9:28 am

    Nichole wrote: I guess it comes to this for me: If the Church is morally opposed to a certain thing, where is the line in how they participate to prevent it? What rights does the Church have as an organizational entity to act?

    When it comes to civil law? Your church has no right to impose its “morality” on non-members — which is exactly what Prop 8 sought to do.

    Why should your church have its “morality” put into law instead of say, the “morality” of some other church? Say, Unitarian Universalists?

    That’s the point — marriage is a *civil contract.* Churches have to have permission from the state to perform legally binding marriages, and must cite it (”By the power vested in me by the State of …”). It’s a *courtesy* to allow religious marriage to be legally binding, and one which has been done away with in the EU, among other places.

    I’m beginning to think that’s the only correct answer in the US, to be honest. Have all of the church weddings you want, but they won’t be legally binding without a civil one. Keep *your* church out of *my* laws, because your right to swing your Bible/D&C/Pearl of Great Price/Book of Mormon/Whatever ends where my nose begins.

  55. 55fiona64on 12 Oct 2010 at 9:30 am

    Nichole wrogte: I noticed that only in some states where same sex marriage is approved is a caveat made to allow religious institutions the right to refuse to marry same sex couples (or at least only specifically noted in your time-line). Is it the position of most pro- same sex marriage groups to allow that caveat to stand in all states? Or is that just considered another step that will be taken in equality of marriage? Is that the eventual goal?

    Honestly? That caveat is there to mollify churches that don’t seem to comprehend the 1st Amendment. No church can be forced by government to do something liturgical against its will.

  56. 56Fredon 12 Oct 2010 at 10:02 am

    Does anyone have the link to Scott Trotter’s statement? I would like to see it in it’s original context.

    Thanks all – and great comments thus far in this thread!

  57. 57Lauraon 12 Oct 2010 at 10:45 am

    Fred – Trotter’s comments are complete and in context as presented at the site here.

    It was a very short statement issued at the end of the day in response to multiple media inquiries about the differences between the spoken talk and the written talk which will be published in the Ensign/Liahona.

  58. 58Lauraon 12 Oct 2010 at 11:27 am

    For those of you interested, here’s a link to today’s coverage by CNN:

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/12/mormon-leaders-remarks-spark-outcry-on-same-sex-issues/?hpt=T2

  59. 59Geneon 12 Oct 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Marcos Puerta – With respect to gender characteristics (both primary and secondary), as we define them, it has been my observation in my short existence on this earth (67 years) that each of us can find him/herself somewhere on a continuum with strong, definite male characteristics on one end and strong, definite female characteristics on the other end and with hermaphrodites (ambiguous genetalia) right in the middle. And that not only applies to physical attributes but, emotions, predilections and preferences, or other psychological attributes which are all tied together in genetics and environment (each individual packaged uniquely).

    For example, I have known women who have born children but get up every morning and shave their faces, have a low register in their voices and are likely stronger than most men and I have known men who have very definite female characteristics who have sired children. Gender characteristics are obviously not black and white throughout humanity and that includes sexual preference.

    The stigma that is placed on those who have same-sex orientations is just as wicked as the stigma that was once placed on the mentally challenged, the epileptics, the “spastics” and many other different groups of people who have struggled to find acceptance and happiness
    in this world.

    Jesus taught us to love and accept everyone including our enemies. Surely the homosexual is much less than an enemy. My wife and I have known a number of people who have struggled in our culture because of their basic same-sex nature (yes, it is their “natural self,” in spite of what BKP says) and in every case they were wonderful, kind, loving, productive, creative people.

    If two women or two men want to live their lives together in “marriage,” that is no threat to me and my wife or family. If they are sinning, as some say, it is not for us to judge or condemn. That will be between them and the Lord. We are commanded not to judge but to love (and that includes acceptance). From a legal stand-point they should be allowed all the benefits of marriage.

  60. 60Kirkon 12 Oct 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Also, for those interested, here is a link to a statement from the church posted in response to the petition by the Human Rights Campaign: http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/article/church-mormon-responds-to-human-rights-campaign-petition-same-sex-attraction

  61. 61Nicholeon 12 Oct 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Laura, thank you for your responses. I appreciate the respect with which you respond and communicate here. Also, very informative. And for the record, there are definitely some parts of what you said in the second paragraph of comment #51 that I agree with. Again, thanks for the info.

    Fiona,

    “So, I guess you have to ask yourself this question, Nichole: since you didn’t even know that gay marriage had been legal in California, how were you harmed by those 18,000 marriages?”

    I actually never said I was harmed. I was aware that some marriages took place but I didn’t know the time-line and I didn’t know what the legal standing was in regards to the time-line. That’s it.

    By the way, I also never stated what my own personal beliefs are in respect to whether or not gay marriages should be allowed. I was talking about my feelings and thoughts regarding the LDS Church’s actions. And I don’t believe I did any book waving in your face. I have a different opinion than you. In fact you are more than free to your opinion. The only time it bothered me was when you used a quote by Brigham Young that wasn’t actually said by Brigham Young. I’m sorry I obviously offended you.

  62. 62Marcos Puertaon 12 Oct 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Gene – your question was…”Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
    Would someone please explain how an hermaphrodite fits in that picture?”

    So how did you get from the gender identity of intersexed individuals to sexual preference? A woman who shaves or a man with breasts is not necessarily intersexed, and if so, all three individuals still have a male or a female spirit. That’s how an intersexed individual fits into the picture, and as I said before, the only way we may know if they are male or female is through consideration of all physical and psychological characteristics and after they weigh all the data to let the individual identify which gender they identify with.

  63. 63chrison 12 Oct 2010 at 10:10 pm

    wow i see the controversy however. I still believe in Christ and I still believe in this church. No one I know of is perfect and i do not expect anyone to be perfect if he misspoke then it is within his right to correct himself. I make mistakes all the time. I say oops and I move on. If he did or not I can not judge I am not God. His actions and words whether I agree with them or not will not effect my belief in the whole church. I have a greater witness than mankind. I have a greater knowledge than what words can express. My faith in God does not rest on one person and whether or not I agree with them.

  64. 64Brad Carmackon 13 Oct 2010 at 9:44 am

    @ Gene and everyone- I recently finished the second draft of a 123-page book entitled “Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective.” It contains two parts: 1) homosexuality and 2) same-sex marriage. Chapter 5 contains a detailed response to part of this talk. Keep an eye out, I’ll probably have edited the book enough to distribute in a couple weeks.

    In the meantime, thanks to Heather for doing the “legwork” on this one.

    Okay fine, I’ll just paste the relevant section from chapter 5 now.

    “Many church leaders have argued against a biological origin for homosexual orientation based on the claim that God makes no mistakes- “While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men –masculine, manly men –ultimately to become husbands and fathers” (Packer 1978). This position was reiterated as recently as the October 2010 general conference: “Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember, He is our Father.” [one might question the implicated theodicy (resolutions to the problem of evil) here- if He is our benevolent Father, why did He create and send so many of us physically and mentally disabled into a world saturated with evil and suffering?]

    God created man male and female- Genesis says so, right? Not if you’re talking about physical sex. Application of the idea that God made us all physically male or physically female fails not far beyond its limited application to Adam and Eve. The proof:

    Because the claim requires gender to be binary (either male or female and nothing in between), in order to be reliable a gender test must also place every individual it is applied to correctly into one of the two categories. This infers two requirements:
    1) the test must place every person (i.e. none can be ambiguous), and
    2) there must be no false positives or false negatives.

    What criteria would you use to ascertain physical gender?
    (for support of the examples cited below see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klinefelter’s_syndrome,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_hermaphroditism,
    http://www.isna.org/, and the references section of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex)

    I present several commonly proposed phenotypic and genotypic criteria:

    a. The “pull your pants down” test (genitalia)- take a look and see if they have a vagina or a penis. This test fails because there are some people that have both. There are some that have a partial penis/partial clitoris. Some have both ovaries and testicles. Some have testicles where their ovaries should be. This test violates both requirements 1 and 2 above.
    b. The genetics test (XY is male, XX is female)- this will help by separating those with ambiguous genitalia, and is testable through genotying. However, this test also fails because some people are XXY or XXYY. Also, some have XY but the SRY gene either isn’t expressed or is damaged (so the XY individual is phenotypically female, the default gender in the sexual differentiation of humans- see chapter 2). This test doesn’t tell a judge how to come down in these cases (violating 1 above).
    c. The gametes test- whichever gametes (eggs or sperm) a person makes defines the person’s gender. A number of people fail to make any gametes (e.g. via upstream aborted oogenesis or spermatogenesis)- thus frustrating requirement 1.
    c. The brain test- though largely alike, as Brizendine (author of The Male Brain and The Female Brain) summarizes, there are distinct structural differences between the average male and the average female brain. The exceptions here are 1) those who exhibit intermediate brain phenotypes, 2) those who have a male brain but female genotype and female genitalia, and 3) those with a female brain and female genitalia but male genes. Thus, requirements 1 and 2 are both violated.
    d. The sexual orientation test- assign the gender opposite the sexual orientation of the subject (e.g. if the person’s attracted to men, conclude the person is a female). This test fails both because it is counterintuitive and because sexual orientation is spectral rather than binary (e.g. what about bisexual people?), thus at the least violating requirement 1.

    Take Mr./Ms. Chase as an example. Born in New Jersey with ambiguous genitalia that baffled doctors, her/his parents originally named her/him Brian Sullivan, noting that “Chase is XX, and the reason for her intersex condition has never been fully understood.” Chase was born with “mixed male/female sex organs” and after the discovery of ovaries and a uterus, a clitoridectomy was performed when she/he was aged 18 months. Her/his parents, as advised by doctors, moved to a new town and raised him/her as a girl, Bonnie Sullivan. Although she/he had begun speaking before the operation, she/he fell silent for six months after the operation. She/he developed ovotestis at age 8 (later clarified as “the testicular part of her ovo-testes”). She/he found out about the clitorectomy aged 10, and at age 21 succeeded in gaining access to her/his medical records. She/he now goes by two names, Bo Laurent and Cheryl Chase, and advocates that surgery should only be done on patients who are able to make an informed choice.

    What is a bishop to do when one of these ambiguous-gender persons comes before him requesting marriage? Does he send the person away with a prescription for celibacy? Does he randomly assign the person a gender and restrict their marriage prospects to its opposite? Oftentimes judges decide the gender of these ambiguous individuals when the intersex person is young, ordering invasive surgery and hormone treatment to force the individual to become one gender (one of the judges I’ve worked told me he has had to make the call a few times). Not infrequently the person grows up and angrily claims the judge got it wrong, in some cases seeking a sex change operation. In other cases the individual grows up and criticizes the judge for not letting them remain as they were born – phenotypically a third gender.

    Now back to the argument, where I conclude:
    Unless and until a reliable and ubiquitous test of physical gender is identified, the existence of these intersex persons frustrates the two-gender claim.

    As one can see, the claim that God made all people either physically male or physically female is demonstrably false. If this building block is destroyed, the cross-beam that relied upon it, namely that God placed the proper sexual orientation into every body, is also suspect.”

    I would also note how absolutely useless the doctrine of “premortal gender identity” is in these cases. True though it may be that each person is spiritually male or female, it doesn’t do decision makers like the judge or bishop above a lick of good to help in the difficult judgments they must make. Epistemologically we are forced to admit that we have no idea if a person standing in front of is a spiritual man or a spiritual woman, as the person’s body is obviously not a reliable indicator, even if there existed some basis for the presumption that physical sex is always matched to spiritual gender. Similarly, as demonstrated by their comments, many church leaders seemingly presumed that everyone starts out with the “proper” sexual orientation and homosexually oriented people chose to pervert that orientation. As I demonstrate in chapter 2 of my book, this view finds painfully little evidentiary support, and instead the evidence best supports the theory that [genes + prenatal hormones] is at the least the primary cause of homosexual orientation in at least the vast majority of cases.

  65. 65Markon 13 Oct 2010 at 1:25 pm

    All I have to say is that I wish I had the time back that it took me to read this “edit”. Heather waisted her time in going back and looking for these changes. I was expecting some real “key” changes, not the ones listed above. The items that were struck out or added are so small and petty that it was pointless to read. Next time you post something in opposition of the Mormon church make it worth the readers time.

    Sincerely
    Disappointed Reader

  66. 66Jedon 13 Oct 2010 at 2:05 pm

    First, Nichole, thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate it and agree with you.

    Gay marriage was only made legal in CA after the California Supreme Court overturned a state statute in May of 2008. Prop 8 was an attempt to ammend the CA constitution to ban same-sex marriages and take it out of reach from the court system. So yes it can be viewed that prop 8 “took away” same-sex marriages, but it would be more accurate to say that it was restoring the law to what it had previously been before the court system intervened. It did it by appealing directly to the citizens of CA in American fashion by letting voters decide the law and exercise self-government. Proponents of same-sex marriage would be equally happy if the opposite had happened, namely an ammendment that allowed sam-sex marriage had been passed. The voters ultimately decided in favor of banning same-sex marriage, it wasn’t a removal of civil rights, it was an act of self-government, the main principle our country was founded on. You may disagree with what the LDS church promoted, you may disagree with what the people voted, and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and until the majority opinion of this country and CA changes, this is how our laws will stand.

  67. 67Debbion 13 Oct 2010 at 4:11 pm

    @Brad

    I totally agree. Even if we cannot be sure what causes sexual orientation we can be sure that we cannot conclusively rule out inborn same gender preference as you outline. In view of that uncertainty we must give those who feel they are irrevocably same sex oriented the benefit of the doubt and treat them with compassion and understanding even if we believe it to be morally wrong.

    I agree that sexual orientation is a spectrum. I’ve heard it said that 5% of the population is left handed but only 5% of the population is truly right handed and the other 90% are somewhere in between. Because society and the world at large caters to right handed people, that is what most become or identify themselves as being but there are people who are truly ambidextrous or have varying capacity to use both hands. I believe sexual orientation is the same.

    I propose that there are a percentage of individuals that are only attracted to the opposite sex, with not even the slightest curiosity about relationships with their own gender, and a percentage of individuals who are only same sex attracted. Everyone else is somewhere on the spectrum; from very limited curiosity about their own sex to gender neutral (where the gender of a person isn’t really a factor in what makes them attractive) to predominately same sex oriented but if the right person of the opposite sex came along sparks might fly.

    Basic human psychology means most people believe what is true for them is true for everyone. Many of those for whom there is an element of choice (where they have some same sex attraction but choose to remain heterosexual) believe those claiming to be exclusively same sex oriented aren’t really because if “I can choose, so can they”. Those who are truly “heterosexual” may find “homosexuals” non-threatening because they have no doubt they could never be “infected” but those elsewhere on the spectrum may fear “conversion” because they have felt some degree of same sex attraction. A true “heterosexual” may also disbelieve a “homosexual” because they have never had even an inkling of same sex attraction and it is so foreign as to be impossible in their minds.

    Summation: There is enough doubt to make anyone claiming ALL LGBT people choose to be that way guilty of prejudice. By making such blanket claims enormous harm is being done to some LGBT people resulting in despair and suicide. BKP certainly inferred that and reinforced prejudice and discrimination of LGBT people. I find that to be morally wrong and unworthy of anyone claiming to be a true follower of Christs teachings and philosophy.

  68. 68Marcos Puertaon 13 Oct 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Brad – Again, without confusing intersexed individuals with homosexual orientation, the answer seems quite simple. If I were a bishop, and someone came to me for a recommend, and told me they were intersexed, the only way to know their gender would be to ask them. As you said, and I said before, there is no other objective way to know the gender of an intersexed individual. I don’t think any church leader would disagree with this.

  69. 69Debbion 13 Oct 2010 at 8:10 pm

    @Marcos

    If a church leader can take the word of an inter-sexed individual, why can’t they take the word of homosexual or trans-gender individual? That seems neither fair nor logical.

  70. 70fiona64on 14 Oct 2010 at 7:00 am

    Jed wrote: The voters ultimately decided in favor of banning same-sex marriage, it wasn’t a removal of civil rights, it was an act of self-government, the main principle our country was founded on

    Um, Jed? You might want to take a look at Loving v. Virginia. Marriage is cited as a basic civil right.

    So, I ask again: which of your basic civil rights shall we put up for a vote?

  71. 71Marcos Puertaon 14 Oct 2010 at 11:49 am

    Debbi – For the third time, lets not confuse gender identity with gender attraction. When you don’t know the gender you just have to trust them. Again, as Elder Russell M Nelson said in conference in 2002, “Gender disorientation is poorly understood.” The Proclamation is very clear on gender. It is not clear on intersexed individuals for good reason.

    I absolutely believe people with same gender attraction and gender identity disorder (the only self diagnosis in medicine, ICD-9 302.85) truly do have strong feelings, for whatever reason. Again, nature versus nurture is not something the church has a stance on, which is why President Packer clarified his statement. The feelings are there, and as a bishop I wouldn’t sit second guessing why they are there. I would absolutely trust them on that. What the Lord and his prophets have promised is that by forming a family according to the scriptures and Proclamation you will be blessed. If you can’t because you can’t find someone you love or because of same gender feelings you will still be blessed, I believe even moreso because of having to wait and withstand the temptation of acting on sexual feelings, homosexual OR heterosexual.

    Some of the happiest people I know are active Mormons who will never marry in this life. They have filled their life with Christ and service for others and have great blessings awaiting them. I know about this from personal experience and the experience of close friends. Telling a young Mormon who is gay that they have to act on their sexual feelings to be happy is a gospel of dispair because you are pitting deeply held feelings against one another.

  72. 72Cashon 14 Oct 2010 at 12:03 pm

    #70 fiona64
    Loving v Virginia declared marriage to be a basic civil right for men and women. In fact, the decision specifically said that the reason it was a basic civil right was because of the powers of procreation that are inherent in its application with regard to men and women.

    This does not apply to same sex marriages and so, when it was declared to be a fundamental right, that statement did NOT pertain to same sex relationships which are inherently not about procreation.

  73. 73Cashon 14 Oct 2010 at 12:09 pm

    An example of how this failure to recognized differences on the basis of gender and sexuality can be seen in a recent court case that was filed in San Francisco.

    There a person who is genetically a man and who has the bone and muscle structure of a man, has been surgically altered to have the appearance of a woman.

    Now he/she wants to compete as a golfer in Lady’s tournaments. But He/She is able to completely dominate because He/She is not really a woman in structure or abilities.

    It is very unfair. His/Her surgical alternation should not be sufficient to compare him/her to other women athletically.

    And thus, the whole notion that “gender doesn’t matter” is exposed. Gender does matter. And it matters profoundly in marriage, because marriage is for the union of a man with a woman.

  74. 74fiona64on 14 Oct 2010 at 1:34 pm

    72Cash
    on 14 Oct 2010 at 12:03 pm
    #70 fiona64
    Loving v Virginia declared marriage to be a basic civil right for men and women. In fact, the decision specifically said that the reason it was a basic civil right was because of the powers of procreation that are inherent in its application with regard to men and women.

    This does not apply to same sex marriages and so, when it was declared to be a fundamental right, that statement did NOT pertain to same sex relationships which are inherently not about procreation.

    Dear Cash:

    Please show me the requirement to demonstrate either fertility or the desire to procreate in order to obtain a marriage license, in any state of the union.

    I’ll wait.

    I know a number of same-sex couples who have kids — many of them biological — who would be surprised to learn that their kids apparently don’t exist. I also know a number of opposite sex couples (my husband and I among them) with no desire to procreate — and yet we are legally married. How can that possibly be, if the civil right of marriage is only extended to certain people.

    Are you seriously trying to pretend that marriage is predicated on breeding? Will your church next go after the marriages of the infertile and the post-fertile?

    Civil rights are NOT up for balloting. Which of your rights shall we put on the ballot for a tyrannical, whimsical and (I hasten to point out) temporary majority to take away? Seriously, which of your rights would that be acceptable to do that with? Because you seem to have no problem with the concept of doing it to those whom you find personally distasteful, but I suspect you would kick up a big ol’ stink if it were *your* rights on the line, and *that,* my friend, is the slippery slope that you and your churchy friends have started.

    BTW, Cash, your discussion of gender reassignment surgery above demonstrates an extraordinary lack of understanding, along with an enormous depth of prejudice. The person is a woman, not “he/she.” She is indeed really a woman, whether you happen to like it or not. Gender is a matter of far more than external genitalia.

  75. 75Bob25on 14 Oct 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I am a new poster, and usually quiet, and mostly enjoy reading what everyone has to say. I am an LDS gay man that turned 60-years old this year. I know I was born gay because of the way I was “naturally” as a child. I spent YEARS faithfully serving in the church—a mission, and faithfully serving in every calling that I was called to. When I finally had to admit to myself that I was gay in my very early 20’s, I began to desperately try and change. Yes, I was one of those who sat in church and at General Conferences and heard the General Authorities tell me what a vile and horrible person I was, and I would just die inside. It was the most hopeless feeling anyone can ever have. I fasted and prayed endlessly that God would lift my “gayness” from me, and indeed I had often thought about suicide as well, but thankfully I never followed through. But finally at the age of 38-years old I decided to find out about the Affirmation group (and thank goodness I did). I also heard at this same time someone say—and he wasn’t gay or even talking about anything gay, he was just giving advice in a church meeting—that sometimes we pray for things that God does not feel we need in our lives, and that we should consider what we pray for and instead ask God to help us be what He wants us to be, and what He wants us to have in our lives. I really considered this for a long time, and began praying with a whole different way of thinking. I asked God, if it was possible that he did NOT want me to be straight, that he really wanted me to be homosexual like he had obviously made me, and if he did I wasn’t going to fight it any more and I asked him to help me be just what he wanted me to be and guide me as to what to do. I asked that if there was someone that I could love out there, that He would guide me to that person. Well, I know that God does answer prayers because it was like God was just waiting for me to come to my senses, and with hardly any effort on my part He answered my prayers so fast I couldn’t believe it. I had almost lost any kind of faith that God would ever answer any of my prayers, but this was uncanny, and the remarkable things that happened in my life at that time will always resonate strongly in my mind. Within days I had met the man that would become my life partner (we have been together now since 1989), and I came out to my family, which was another miracle all on its own.
    Since that time I have met many gay Mormons—both men and women. And I have also heard many of them tell me stories about their personal experiences with various church leaders that would make your skin crawl. But what was most shocking to me were the stories I heard of personal experiences that some had with the General Authorities themselves. They were hard for me to believe because of how I had always thought of them as these perfect, infallable, incredibly righteous men. But as I have watched what the church has done over the years toward the gay community, including their own gay members—and especially recently with Prop 8 and now Boyd K. Packer’s remarks this past General Conference, none of this really surprises me.
    The minute I started hearing about Boyd K. Packer’s remarks, I was immediately reminded of an interview I had read with D. Michael Quinn, who is an historian of Mormonism and former Brigham Young University professor. He was excommunicated from the LDS Church in 1993, after publishing research into controversial subjects in church history.
    Only part of the interview was available, but I was still amazed by what I read, and I copied it so I could refer back to it. Boyd K. Packer’s remarks to D. Michael Quinn only proved even more to me that I couldn’t trust these men “without question” as most members do. It also proves that these men also try (and possibly do) re-write history! Here is the part of the interview that was conducted on January 6, 2006:
    What were your confrontations with Boyd Packer about your different views on history and faith-producing history?
    When I was admitted to the faculty of Brigham Young University, I had the same kind of interview that all prospective faculty members have, and that is that a General Authority of the LDS Church meets with the prospective faculty member. The person who interviewed me was apostle Boyd K. Packer. We were together about 45 minutes, and almost all of that was a lecture. He began by asking me what position I was going to be hired in or was being considered for, and I said it was as a professor in the history department. The very next words out of his mouth were—and I’m not exaggerating; these were seared into my memory—Elder Packer said, “I have a hard time with historians, because historians idolize the truth.” I almost sunk into my chair. I mean, that statement just bowled me over.
    Then he went on to say, quoting him as accurately as I can …: “The truth is not uplifting. The truth destroys. And historians should tell only that part of the truth that is uplifting, and if it’s religious history, that’s faith-promoting.” And he said, “Historians don’t like doing that, and that’s why I have a hard time with historians.” And the conversation just went from there. He occasionally would give me the opportunity to respond to what he was saying, and I would talk about putting things in context, and that one could deal with a controversy or a sensitive area, or even a negative experience in the past, but put it into context. I said that it’s a question of do you talk about this in a sentence, a paragraph, a page, or do you just have a footnote reference to it? And I said, “That’s a decision that each individual historian will make, but,” I said, “I cannot agree with the idea that I should conceal this evidence.” And he just shook his head, and he said, “You’re wrong,” … and he went back to what he had started with to begin with.

    And with these remarks by Boyd K. Packer, one can make up their own minds as to what this General Authority is really like. I always try to remember not to “judge” harshly. It is easy to do, and I know I do sometimes. But I always have to remind myself that God will do the judging in the end.

  76. 76a random Johnon 14 Oct 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I am pretty sure that the line:
    We teach a standard of moral conduct…
    was originally delivered as:
    We teach the standard of moral conduct

  77. 77CASHon 14 Oct 2010 at 4:57 pm

    #25 Bob,

    My posts do not seem to be showing up here. Not sure why. But never mind.

    I love the last like of your post: “I always try to remember not to “judge” harshly. It is easy to do, and I know I do sometimes. But I always have to remind myself that God will do the judging in the end.”

    This sounds just like me.

  78. 78fiona64on 15 Oct 2010 at 5:52 am

    77CASHon 14 Oct 2010 at 4:57 pm

    #25 Bob,

    My posts do not seem to be showing up here. Not sure why. But never mind.

    Dear Cash:

    This is a moderated board. Sometimes it takes a while.

  79. 79Jenniferon 17 Oct 2010 at 3:09 am

    I read the BKP talk published above, and I see no mention of homosexuality whatsoever. I have no idea where the controversy is coming from. The talk seems to be about avoiding pornography, addiction, and also adultery and fornication (hence, the emphasis on marriage and having children within marriage and preferably a temple marriage, as stated in the talk).

  80. 80Steveon 17 Oct 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Even with these changes, his core message is unchanged. In line with what President Packer said, Satan does not have that power to procreate which power is central to our Father in Heaven’s plan. He will do anything to entice, lead, or tempt us to use that power in violation of God’s Eternal Laws. Satan does not care how he leads us astray whether it’s through masturbation, fornication, adultery, sodomy, pedophilia, bestiality or any other immoral behavior. How a person refers to those actions makes no difference, tendencies or temptations it is the same. What is important is what we do, how we use our agency to act on those inclinations. It is critical to remember that the action not the individual is abhorrent to God. In regard to same gender attraction, deciding to ignore behavior or voting to redefine marriage does not make it correct. Our Father in Heaven loves us and will forgive us as often as we repent (Mosiah 26: 30). He wants us to be happy and He knows that is only possible through obedience to Eternal Laws. He will help us overcome our weaknesses and make them become our strengths through our faith and desire to align our will with His (Ether 12:27).

    “…the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.” -1 Ne. 16: 2

    I know Boyd K. Packer is a prophet, seer and revelator and if Christ were here he would have said the same words.

    “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” -D&C 1:37

  81. 81Sherylon 17 Oct 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Why do so many people have a problem separating church doctrine from civil laws. Allowing same-sex civil marriage in no way devalues church doctrine. Since some are so bent on making everyone live according to LDS standards, perhaps they will soon start campaigns to make smoking; drinking alcohol, coffee, or tea; and sex outside of marriage illegal. After all, those are also against LDS standards.

  82. 82fiona64on 18 Oct 2010 at 6:27 am

    I wonder if people understand that they are talking about real people when they compare gay couples (consenting adults) to pedophiles (children cannot consent), those who practice bestiality (animals cannot consent), rapists, gamblers, etc.

    I wonder if people understand that they are talking about real people when they say that the power to procreate makes one holy — because there are plenty of straight people out there who are infertile, and plenty of straight people with no desire to procreate. I guess those people are unholy, and like unto pedophiles, rapists, etc., in some peoples’ eyes.

    As for the “sodomy” business, I guess that some people also do not understand that there is nothing that same-sex couples get up to that straight couples don’t. I wonder at the obsession with one particular act, though …

    Anyway, unless and until people start to recognize that being gay is part and parcel of who someone is, just as being straight is part and parcel of who someone is, they can continue to fob off their personal distaste as being righteous and pretend that they are not part of the problem.

    I pity those people, to be honest. It must be hard to live completely without empathy.

  83. 83Sam Okraon 18 Oct 2010 at 7:35 am

    [Moderator note: This comment is in response to Bob25’s comment here, which was made into a guest post on another thread. Because it deals with Elder Packer and Mike Quinn, and not Bob25’s personal experience, we’ve moved the comment to this thread, per the instructions left at the other thread.]

    Laura:

    This post has nothing to do with the marriage or gay marriage for that matter. I can read Michael Quinn’s “tired” anti-mormon apostate statements on thousands of anti-mormon websites. His comments are unproven heresay and I see no reason to post these inflammatory, “off topic” comments on your website. I thought this was a forum for people who are basically believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ but who are working to reconcile the church’s doctrines with their own.

    Posting this statement gives “tacit” if not outright endorsement of his statements. Michael Quinn is a disengenous apostate who has done considerable damage to his family and his church. He blames others for everything and takes zero responsibility for his own actions.

    Sam

  84. 84Lauraon 18 Oct 2010 at 7:39 am

    Sam –

    Elder Packer speaks of his own distrust of historians in his biography, A Watchman on the Tower. He has whole chapter about it, plus at least one letter between himself and the First Presidency discussing his concerns with historians. If there’s time later today (and if nobody else puts the citations up before I do) I will provide page numbers and quotes for you.

  85. 85fiona64on 18 Oct 2010 at 10:53 am

    http://www.mormonismi.net/kirjoitukset/bkp_mantteli.shtml

    Above is a link to a talk Packer gave in 1981; one of the many thing she addresses is his “concerns” with historians.

    In this speech, he cites historians who tell the truth as “serving the wrong master,” says that historians who follow the tenets of their profession instead of the tenets of the church are putting themselves in “spiritual jeopardy” and more.

    He further specifically says this: In an effort to be objective impartial, and scholarly a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary.

    Really? Being scholarly means that one is somehow in league with Satan? I mean, honestly. I didn’t like my algebra teacher very much, but that didn’t mean that he was evil … or that his scholarship was off.

    I guess that, somehow, speaking the truth about things a man has said from his own mouth, and in his own writings is apostasy? Wow. From the perspective of one who finds history fascinating, I cannot help but wonder what it is that the church so fears …

  86. 86Joshuaon 18 Oct 2010 at 2:38 pm

    fiona64,

    A sexual action is not a part of who someone is, but a choice that they make. Gay couples chose to be in a gay couple. No one forces them to. From a Mormon perspective, the comparison between homosexuality and fornication and adultery is a perfectly good comparison.

  87. 87fiona64on 18 Oct 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Joshua, you are being ridiculous.

    Was I not straight when I was a virgin, despite being attracted to men only? Was I not straight when I was divorced from my first husband, since I wasn’t seeing anyone? Was I not straight until I met my second husband, no matter how many men I dated? Was I some amorphous something else?

    Give me a break.

    Your sexual orientation does NOT change with your virginity, or your sexual activity. It is NOT a reasonable comparison whatsoever.

    You can keep telling yourself that, though, since it appears to make you feel much better.

    I just prefer not to tell myself comforting lies, okay?

    “Gay couples choose to be in a gay couple” because they love and care for the other person. No one forces *anyone* to be part of *any* couple, gay or straight.

    I’m not Mormon, so your “Mormon perspective” doesn’t apply to me. I prefer the reality based community, where words mean what they mean and not what someone wants to pretend they mean in order to “justify” their cruelty.

    If your logic applies, Joshua, being gay is not a noun but is an adjective (just as Packer once said). That means you aren’t a Mormon; you just do mormon things.

    (Your religion, unlike your sexual orientation — *is* a choice.)

  88. 88Joshuaon 19 Oct 2010 at 7:38 am

    I did not mention sexual orientation. I specifically said sexual actions are not part of who someone is, but a choice they make. I said nothing of sexual orientation.

    And for the record, I think sexual orientation is more of a choice than my religious beliefs. I can chose not to act on my religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean my religious beliefs go away. I met way too many apostate Mormons who still fully believe in the Church, despite trying their hardest not to.

    Often people ask straight people if they can chose to be gay. Well, let me turn this around. Can you chose to believe in Mormonism? You may live a Mormon lifestyle, but to actually believe in it?

    I don’t believe either is really a choice. I simply cannot chose to disbelieve Mormonism. I could chose not to act on it, but I cannot chose not to believe on it.

    That is why a web site who makes people chose between sexual orientation and religion is so damaging. You are asking us to chose between two parts of ourselves.

  89. 89fiona64on 19 Oct 2010 at 2:40 pm

    You don’t believe that Mormonism is a choice, but you believe sexual orientation is?

    How is it, then, that I can choose not to be Mormon but cannot choose against being straight?

    Let me make it perfectly clear, in case you have some confusion remaining.

    Joshua, you’re not asking me anything my Mormon parents haven’t asked me when you say: Can you chose to believe in Mormonism?

    The absolute, unequivocal answer is *no.*

    Just as the answer would be if you asked me whether I could choose to be gay. Nope, no can do. I’m straight.

    You are using circular “logic,” Joshua.

    Your ongoing assertion that sexual orientation is separate from sexual acts is ridiculous. As I pointed out already, I was straight when I was a virgin. My orientation is not based on my sexual activity, no matter what you seem to believe. It is as part and parcel of who I am as you allege your Mormonism to be.

    You further wrote: That is why a web site who makes people chose between sexual orientation and religion is so damaging. You are asking us to chose between two parts of ourselves.

    Sort of like your own church does, when it tells you to either marry a person of the opposite sex or be celibate and alone for the rest of your life if you want to be a “good Mormon”?

    No one here is telling you to make a choice, Joshua.

    Laura is saying that she and other Mormons disagree with the church’s stance against GLBT people. She’s not asking people to choose anything. There are plenty of Mormons who agree with her, BTW.

    You, OTOH, are bowing and scraping along with policies that do harm to your fellow GLBT people because it makes you feel good to do so for some odd reason. I can’t help comparing this situation to one of the many described in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s most famous novel. I understand that it’s a coping strategy of some sort, but that doesn’t make it any less sad to me.

    Let me see if I can help you understand your own position a little better.

    How would it be if a large group of friends and I got together and decided that we could somehow get a proposition on the ballot to make it illegal for the Mormon religion to exist in the public square. Disregard the unconstitutionality thereof (after all, that’s what people did with Prop 8, which was obviously a violation of the US Constitution. We’re going to compare apples to apples here.) So, now we succeed! Much whooping and hollering and backslapping now ensues because we took away someone’s right to practice a particular religion. We say things like “You have the same right to practice religion — Uggabugga, just like everyone else. We all practice Uggabugga, our ancestors have always practiced Uggabugga, and you can do Uggabugga or nothing.”

    That’s what you and yours did to people, Joshua. People whom you will never know. People who do not subscribe to your church’s belief system.

    Would it be okay for us to do that to you, Joshua? Would it be okay for someone to say: you can’t have what you really want, something essential to who you are, but you can have Uggabugga?

  90. 90Steveon 19 Oct 2010 at 2:48 pm

    The Proclamation on the family is not considered canonized scripture as Laura pointed out. However, all official proclamations by the first presidency are considered doctrine. This was stated on the lds newsroom site in 2007.

    As far as it being revelation. I believe that it is. I don’t know of any statement that a revelation has to be voted on by the general church to be considered revelation; just to be considered canonized scripture.

  91. 91Sherylon 19 Oct 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Interesting thoughts you have, Joshua. While it is true that acting upon one’s sexuality is the sin in Mormon religion, the problem is that for those who are unable to form the loving relationship that you have with your wife, the only thing left is a life of celibacy and, in my opinion, loneliness or a sham marriage which has the potential to bring heartache to all involved.

    Were you baptized at age 8 or did you join the church at a later age? If at age 8, I better understand your feeling that one’s religion is not a choice. If at a later age, then it most certainly was a choice for you as it is a choice for all of the converts. Yes, I’ve known apostate Mormons who still believe in the tenets of the church just not the changes that have come down thru the years (i.e., the blacks receiving the priesthood). I’ve also known people who have left the church and are quite happy with another religion. So, in my opinion, religion is a choice. I firmly believe that sexual orientation is in no way a choice, it is a part of who one is. Religion, on the other hand, is a learned belief. We either accept it (no matter what the religion may be) or we don’t.

    Now, back to my not understanding why people cannot let go of their religion when it comes to a civil issue. Allowing same-sex marriage does not require a church to change their teachings about marriage. It does allow the committed couple to have the same civil rights as heterosexual couples.

  92. 92Dr. Boneson 19 Oct 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Great that you believe it to be revelation. It looks like Elder Packer (or whoever changed the talk) is clarifying its description and calling it “a guide” for Mormons to follow.

    It does bring up an interesting question for Mormons, though. Is it more important to follow the words you hear (”revelation”) or the words your read (”guide”) when discussing General Conference talks?

    Forgetting the details of exactly what the Proclamation is, are there any guidelines as to whether the printed version or the spoken version is The Correct Version to use? I’m guessing that the grammatically correct and footnoted printed version is going to be the default that’s used.

  93. 93Cresley Walkeron 19 Oct 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I was born with a rare physical condition related to my male gender for which medical science and LDS Church authorities have no answer.
    I know that God has permitted me to have this condition and I trust that God will use the experiences I am having for my eternal benefit.

  94. 94Dave Hoenon 19 Oct 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Joshua –

    Just a little technical detail I want to ask of you. I hope I’m not embarrassing you, but could you try to correct your usage of the words “chose” and “choose”? In your last post @ 7:38am, you used the word “chose” many times when you should have used the word “choose”. It may seem like a little thing, but it makes it difficult to read otherwise. “Chose” rhymes with “hose” and “choose” rhymes with “snooze”.

    Thanks!
    Dave Hoen

  95. 95Steveon 19 Oct 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Dr. Bones – Those are good observations. I’m not sure that I know the answers to them. I know that there is a book called “Conference Reports” (or something like that) that is considered the official transcript of the conference talks. The talks printed in the Conference edition of the Ensign are not considered to be the official version. I don’t know if there are texual differences between the two publications.

    As far as the Proclamation on the family, I think your assumption that the “grammatically correct and footnoted printed version is going to be the default that’s used” is most likely correct. At least that would be my guess as well.

  96. 96Ex-Mormonon 30 Oct 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I just want to say that I am incredibly happy that this website exists. I am an ex-Mormon for many reasons, including my fundamental disagreement with the LDS Church’s position on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. I have spent several years trying to overcome intensely bitter feelings toward the Mormon Church and the tendency to see all Mormons as the same. The way I was taught Mormonism, it was all or nothing. There was no room for dissent and continued identification with the church. This and other doctrinal and on-the-ground practices were unbearable for me, so I left.

    I just want to say that seeing self-identified LDS members publicly declare their support for gay rights is extremely encouraging for me. It is one more piece of evidence that Mormons do not all blindly follow church teachings, that many are willing to challenge what they find morally questionable while still embracing elements of the Church that work for them.

    Way to go, Mormons for Marriage! Keep standing up for justice and keeping talking to your ward and branch members and leaders. There was a time when I would never have dreamed of accepting gay marriage. Now I am a solid advocate. People and their opinions do change. Keep talking to people!

  97. 97Sherion 01 Nov 2010 at 11:49 am

    Well stated Ex-Mormon. I too am an ex for the same reasons and found this site extremely helpful in healing the anger I’ve felt over the church’s all or nothing doctrine.

  98. 98cowboyIIon 05 Nov 2010 at 3:19 pm

    And so the news from the Salt Lake Tribune is: 55% of Utah Mormons believe gays can change.

    (I have to interject something here before I go on. I had to qualify it as UTAH-based Mormons because they are a different breed. I can dare say without speculation that Mormons who live outside the boundaries of Zion are a more educated and well-rounded Saint.)

    I’m a bit dismayed when the author of today’s (Friday Nov. 5th) front page article said:

    “The majority of scientific research suggests that efforts to change one’s sexual orientation aren’t effective.”

    That’s the understatement of the day.

    “Majority?” … If only the Tribune person who typed the headline had inserted: “vast” in front of the printed word: majority. (That’s probably why you don’t see it on the web version.)

    I can only surmise that Utah Mormons are less likely to study or even have an educated debate about this. They believe whatever is spoken from the pulpit of their magnificent conference lectern. Closed-minded they be. But, that’s what we have to fight.

    Enlightenment. And the truth shall follow.

    Oh…please let me vent a little bit more on the Salt Lake Tribune. They had an opinion about something being anti-family. What is that? Who is anti-family? Really?

    Whenever I read where someone is saying “they are anti-family” it really means: they’re mad at the gay culture. We see so often in the political junk in my mailbox.

    Quit saying that, please. Nobody here is anti-family.

  99. 99cowboyIIon 07 Nov 2010 at 10:49 am

    Elder Boyd Packer has opened a can of worms. Coupled with this latest survey of Utah Mormons, I come to understand that 55% of Mormons reject scientific analysis and would rather blindly believe what Mr. Packer said during General Conference.

    I would almost say it’s a lost cause. I will not waste time with trying to convince those 55% of Mormons but I do appreciate the other 45% who possibly will treat me with respect and are, at least, intelligent enough and are willing enough to discover the truth.

    Which group of Mormons do I go to work with tomorrow and feel I have any kind of mutual respect? That’s rhetorical. It’s a moot point. I don’t have any right to ask my Mormon co-workers their feelings about Boyd K. Packer. And they don’t have any right to ask about my personal life. Stale mate.

    Life goes on, though.

    As the holiday season approaches, I will partake of the marvelous concerts and revel in the joyous festivities. I will even attend some concerts on Temple Square. I wish all a very Merry Christmas and I hope the Mormons who rule the Utah legislature in 2011 are of the 45% I mentioned above.

  100. 100Sherylon 12 Nov 2010 at 12:57 am

    I share that sentiment with you, CowboyII, in hoping that those in a position to effect change believe in that change and will work toward it.

    And, thanks ex-Mormon, for your insights.

  101. 101Jenon 05 Dec 2010 at 7:47 pm

    A couple of people mentioned Leviticus. I don’t really see how this applies. Was this written only for men? Because in that case, lesbianism isn’t wrong. On the other hand, if it was written for men and women, how would this work? If women do not mate with men, no children would be born…

    Does anyone else see the hypocrisy of this particular verse, or is it just me?

  102. 102fiona64on 06 Dec 2010 at 7:18 am

    Jen, there are a number of things at play in your question. The first is that during Biblical times, sexual orientation was not understood as it is now. Sex was not something that occurred between equals. A man could have sex with a woman (who as considered property) or with a slave of either gender (as both were considered property). If he had sex with another free man, that was “toevah,” which means “ritually impure.” He would have to be ritually purified before he could return to temple for services (just as every woman had to be ritually purified after her menstrual period, because menses was “toevah”).

    The other factor seems to be (and please correct me if I am misunderstanding here) the assumption that if gay marriage is acceptable, no children will be born? Please. Only about 5 percent (it’s hard to know, exactly, because people come out at different points during their lives) of the population is GLBT. Some of those people have kids. Many straight couples do not (by design or accident). Some straight couples have what I personally consider an insanely large number of children (e.g., the Duggars) … although I would not stop anyone making their own reproductive choices. The population of the planet is rapidly becoming unsustainable, so I doubt that the human race will die out if gay couples are permitted to marry.

Mormons for Marriage

CA Hate Crimes Down and Up in 2008

The California Attorney General released its report on Hate Crimes in California in 2008. It has some interesting statistics which are likely of interest to folks following accusations of violence, intimidation, assault, vandalism, etc. related to the Proposition 8 debates.

Overall, hate events in California were down 2% from 1,426 in 2007 to 1,397 in 2008. There can be multiple hate crime offenses in each hate crime event, and offenses were also down from 1,931 to 1,837 (4.9%). There can also be multiple victims in each reported hate crime, and those numbers, too, were down from 1,764 in 2007 to 1,698 in 2008 (3.7%). Fewer people were committing hate crimes in 2008 as well – the number of suspects decreased nearly 10% from 1,627 in 2007 to 1,473 in 2008.

Despite the overall decrease in hate crimes, both anti-gay and anti-religious hate crimes were up.

The most common type of hate crimes in both 2007 and 2008 werethose motivate by race/ethnicity or national origin (about 60% of all hate crimes).

In 2008, hate crimes with a religious bias motivation comprised 21% of hate crimes (with anti-Jewish bias accounting for nearly 63% of those incidents). Crimes with a sexual bias motivation comprised 20.3% of hate crimes (with anti-Gay bias accounting for just over 54% of those incidents). In 2007, there were slightly more sexual bias-motivated crimes than there were religious-bias motivated crimes.

Some more details about California hate crimes:

  • Total hate crimes : 1,397
  • Race/Ethnicity/National Origin: 800 (57.3%)
  • Religion: 294 (21%)
  • Sexual Orientation*: 283 (20.3%)
  • Physical/Mental Disability: 4 (0.3%)
  • Gender*: 16 (1.1%)

*There were 13 gender-based hate crimes against transgendered people and 3 sexual orientation-based crimes against heterosexuals. If one were to include these gender-based hate crimes with those based on sexual orientation, there would have been more hate crimes based on sexual identity/orientation than those based on religion (307 vs 294). If one were to exclude the hate crimes toward heterosexuals, there would have been 304 instances of GLBT-based hate crimes.

RELIGIOUS BIAS
Anti-Jewish – 184 (13.2% of total hate crimes; 62.6% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Catholic – 12 (0.9% of total hate crimes; 4.1% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Protestant – 8 (0.6% of total hate crimes; 2.7% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Islamic – 11 (0.8% of total hate crimes; 3.7% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Other Religion – 64 (4.5% of total hate crimes; 21.4% of religious hate crimes)*
Anti-Multiple Religious – 14 (1.1% of total hate crimes; 5.1% of religious hate crimes)
Anti-Atheistic/Agnostic – 1 (0.1% of total hate crimes; 0.3% of religious hate crimes)

*In 2007, there were 24 hate crimes in this category, which would include Mormons.

SEXUAL-ORIENTATION BIAS
Anti-Gay – 154 (11.0% of total, 54.4% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Lesbian 22 (1.6% of total, 7.8% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Gay and Lesbian – 102 (7.3% of total, 36.0% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Heterosexual – 3 (0.2% of total, 1.1% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)
Anti-Bisexual – 2 (0.1% of total, 0.7% of Sexual Orientation hate crimes)

GENDER BIAS
Anti-Male – 0
Anti-Female – 3 (0.2%)
Anti-Transgender – 13 (0.3%)

CRIMES BY LOCATION
There were 110 hate crime offenses reported at church/synagogue/temples in 2008, accounting for 6% of the locations reported. That’s up 52.8% from 72 in 2007.

CRIMES BY VICTIM
When viewed by type of victim, there were 75 (4.4%) reported against religious institutions, 1,455 (85.7%) against individuals and 51 (3.0%) against businesses/financial institutions.

The “All Other Religions” category which would include Mormons accounted for 30 of the 75 hate crimes against religious institutions; 41 of the 1,455 hate crimes against individuals and 1 of the 51 hate crimes against businesses/financial institutions.

CRIMES REFERRED FOR PROSECUTION
In 2008, there were 530 hate crimes referred to prosecutors. Of those, 353 were filed as Hate Crimes and of those 260 were disposed, resulting in 28 non-convictions, 128 hate crime convictions and 104 other convictions.

So, what might this mean?

It appears that there may have been some increases in hate crimes as a result of the heated Proposition 8 debates, and it is possible that anti-Mormon hate crimes increased from 2007 to 2008, but since Mormons are not listed as a single religious category, it is impossible to tell from this report exactly how many Mormon hate crime victims there were.

There were, at the most, 75 anti-Mormon hate crimes (with, at the most, 41 individual incidents and 30 institutional incidents such as vandalism or property destruction) compared to 304 anti-GLBT orientation/gender hate crimes or 184 anti-Jewish hate crimes (out of about 1400 total hate crimes).

Any hate crime is one too many, and anything we can do to teach ourselves, our friends, our children and our parents to follow the Golden Rule and respect others is a step in the right direction.

There’s an LDS hymn (No. 295 by Lorin F. Wheelwright) that is not sung enough these days. Its final verse says:

O Lord, give me the will to mend;
O Lord, change me from foe to friend;
Dear Lord, sustain me to the end –
Come, fill my soul today.

This holiday season, as the Psalmist said, let us “seek peace and pursue it” in all facets of our lives.

Filed in gay, homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |

7 Responses to “CA Hate Crimes Down and Up in 2008”

  1. 1JBon 24 Nov 2009 at 8:00 am

    Thanks, Laura–this is important information–any word on what percentage of GLBT hate crimes were against “persons” versus against “property”?

  2. 2Lauraon 24 Nov 2009 at 9:32 am

    That is broken out, as I recall, but I don’t have time to look it up right now. I will and post it later in the day or perhaps this evening.

  3. 3Lauraon 24 Nov 2009 at 10:19 pm

    It turns out that there’s not a breakdown in the report that breaks out property vs. individual crimes by bias motivation, only victims. So, while we can tell from the report whether victims were individuals or business or religious institutions, we cannot what crime(s) were committed against those victims.

    Overall, property crimes accounted for just over 1/3 of all hate crimes, so most hate crimes were “violent” crimes with intimidation being the most common violent crime (about 42%) followed by simple assault (29%), aggravated assault (24%), robbery, murder, and forcible rape.

    Almost 94% of property crime was destruction/vandalism.

    The report includes plenty of graphs, tables and charts, making it easy to see what all of these numbers look like.

  4. 4fiona64on 30 Nov 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Unfortunately, things like Prop 8, Question 1, etc., give some people the idea that their homophobia is “righteous” (for lack of a better word) and that it’s acceptable to act on it. There is always a sharp uptick in anti-LGBT hate crimes whenever some piece of legislation like this passes.

    147 transgender people were murdered in the past year, just to name one statistic. http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=555 If you look at this link, you will see that many of them are unnamed; no one from their family or friends even claimed them. This is the legacy of things like Prop 8, and it does not just happen abroad in third-world countries. It happens right here in the USA, in places like San Francisco or Chicago or Orlando.

    It saddens me mightily that people are so filled with hate against their fellow human beings.

  5. 5Sherion 30 Nov 2009 at 6:05 pm

    What makes these statistics even more tragic is Uganda is now trying to pass a bill where they can put to death LEGALLY gays with HIV/AIDS and imprison for life those without the disease. Anti-gay legislation here in the US has set a precident for the world. Those countries who tend to be more extreme in their views can now use us as they collect evidence for why it’s okay to punish homosexuals. Reverand Rick Warren (he said the prayer at Obama’s inauguration) and many high ranking officials in government are even offering their approval of this barbaric Ugandan law. What has happened to the consciousness and conscience of so many otherwise intelligent people?

  6. 6Fiona64on 04 Dec 2009 at 10:45 am

    Sheri, that law was put forth as a plan by a US organization calling itself “The Family,” led by Douglas Coe. Overview here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_%28Christian_political_organization%29

    They also sponsor the National Prayer Breakfast, which should be very disturbing to people.

    Like I said, people use their bibles as weapons and things like Prop 8 and Question 1 to make their hatred “righteous.” It is a crying shame — and also part of the reason that organized religion is losing proponents at an enormous rate nowadays. :-(

  7. 7Sherion 04 Dec 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I just had to make a correction to my post above. Reverand Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in South Orange County, CA, isn’t offering his approval for the pending bill in Uganda where gay people can be put to death, but he did state that it’s not for him to interefer in another country’s political issues. He does have ties however, to those who have brought the anti-gay views of Americans to Uganda. But, I guess he thinks that’s okay

Mormons for Marriage

Happy Birthday, Mormons for Marriage

Four years ago, as hundreds of thousands marched in San Francisco’s Pride Parade, hundreds of LDS bishops stood at pulpits asking Mormons to do all they could to support Proposition 8. Four years later, hundreds of Mormons across the country (and around the world) are stepping out in pride parades in support of and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

What else has changed in the past four years?

– The Church Handbook of Instructions no longer includes a request that church members should lobby governments to deny same-sex marriage rights (and rites) via legislative actions.

– LDS rhetoric about same-sex marriage rights is shifting to focus on the need to protect religious freedom, rather than the need to protect families.

– The LDS Public Affairs office actually used the term “gay” to describe individuals, rather than-sex attracted or same-gender attracted in its response to HRC’s criticisms of Pres. Packer’s October 2010 conference talk.

– BYU students have created and continue to grow a gay-straight alliance (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) at a school where once admitting to same-sex attraction was a fast ticket out the door

– Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought published a paper (Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology) exploring what it means to be both homosexual and Mormon.

– The LDS Church came out in support of non-discrimination ordinances in Salt Lake City which would protect homosexuals in housing and employment. While there are large carve-outs for church-related/owned businesses, the ordinances in SLC inspired a number of other Utah and Idaho towns and cities to follow suit and opened many conservative Mormon’s eyes to some problems they’d never before considered.

– Individual Mormons are coming out and telling their own stories – whether they are gay, lesbian, bi, in mixed-orientation marriages, or have family/friends that fit the bill. These discussions are happening on a daily basis in person, in the media, in churches and online as LGBTQ members and allies find one another and give each other strength to carry on, both in and out of the church.

– The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) has published a booklet specifically for LDS parents based on FAP’s foundational research on family acceptance and rejection that provides guidance on acceptance and support of their gay children.

– There have been no church-sponsored efforts aimed at mobilizing Mormons to fight same-sex marriage at the polls the way Mormons were mobilized in California in 2008, despite efforts of other religions originally part of the “religious coalition” that supported Prop 8. General church leaders have gone out of their way to make sure all overt same-sex marriage advocacy is being done by local leaders or individuals.

Do we still have a ways to go? Yes, we do. But we are making progress, one step at a time.

Filed in Uncategorized, homosexuality, mormons, prop 8 |

13 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Mormons for Marriage”

  1. 1Brad Carmackon 20 Jun 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Great summary Laura, thanks!

  2. 2Mikeon 20 Jun 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Let’s hear it for progress, one step at a time!

  3. 3Morris Thurstonon 20 Jun 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Nice summary, Laura. Thanks!

  4. 4Trevoron 20 Jun 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Don’t forget the recent Pride parades that have featured Mormon contingents :)

  5. 5Lauraon 20 Jun 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Yes, Trevor. A clearinghouse site showing where they’ve all been marching or will be marching is mormonpride.org. There are several this weekend, including big ones in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco, and there are a number of others listed at that site – go check them out!

  6. 6Lauraon 21 Jun 2012 at 7:18 am

    In late October 2008, just a week or two before the November election, Elder Clayton told the Salt Lake Tribune that

    Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. “We love them and bear them no ill will.”

  7. 7Lauraon 21 Jun 2012 at 7:28 am

    Earlier that month, in a satellite broadcast Elder Quentin L. Cook reminded the audience that:

    Please understand that the central message of the Savior is to love all of our brothers and sisters. Remember there are good people who disagree with the church’s teachings on marriage.
    Others are unsure of where they stand. Be respectful of their opinions as you share your message. Nothing we say here can be used as an excuse to treat those with same gender attractions partially or disrespectfully. There are faithful temple-worthy members of the church who struggle with this great challenge, often in silence, fear, and great pain. Our hearts go out to these good brothers and sisters

  8. 8stephanieon 21 Jun 2012 at 9:54 am

    I especially appreciate the courage of gay members of the church who are now speaking up, letting the rest of us get to know them and their stories. I know the gospel of Christ is one of love and compassion. And I hope we are getting better as a church at living more Christ-like lives.

  9. 9fiona64on 22 Jun 2012 at 8:46 am

    Hard to believe that it’s been four years! I am personally grateful, as a straight ally, to every LDS member who used the courage of his or her convictions to stand up against the “teachings” of the church (my parents are LDS and, while they disagree with the church getting involved in politics, take the attitude that “the prophet knows best” at all times). I am hopeful that more members will take a more loving attitude toward what happens under *civil law* rather than trying to insert churchly beliefs into politics. Thanks, Laura, for all that you do and have done.

  10. 10Lauraon 22 Jun 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Mormons, of course, are not the only people changing views about gays, lesbians and same-sex marriage in the past four years. Take, for example, David Blankenhorn. He was one of the witnesses testifying on behalf of traditional marriage in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial. He’s changed his mind about preventing same-sex couples from marrying.

    He’s written an op-ed piece at the NY Times discussing his reasons for changing his mind, including:

    I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.

    I had also hoped that debating gay marriage might help to lead heterosexual America to a broader and more positive recommitment to marriage as an institution. But it hasn’t happened. With each passing year, we see higher and higher levels of unwed childbearing, nonmarital cohabitation and family fragmentation among heterosexuals. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the reconceptualization of marriage as a private ordering that is so central to the idea of gay marriage. But either way, if fighting gay marriage was going to help marriage over all, I think we’d have seen some signs of it by now.

    So my intention is to try something new. Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation? Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents?

    Will this strategy work? I don’t know. But I hope to find out.

  11. 11fiona64on 25 Jun 2012 at 11:02 am

    Laura, I wholeheartedly concur. When Prop H8’s “expert witness” is now recanting, it is indeed evidence of progress.

  12. 12First Timeon 26 Jun 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Wonderful progress, and I believe this site, Laura, and those who participate in this forum have played an important role in educating those both in and out of the church that marriage equality for all is essential to gospel living.

  13. 13Sheryl Becketton 01 Jul 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Wish I had known about the Mormons for Marriage contingent, but, I did march (walk) with my PFLAG chapter. I was surprised but happy when my son told me about the Mormons for Marriage contingent. Time are changing.

Mormons for Marriage

By BoLOHUKE payday loans uk

A Prop 8 Timeline

This is a work in progress and will continue to develop as necessary.  If you notice something missing, please let us know.

Click here to view the timeline.

Much appreciation to these other sites which pointed us in some good directions for material:

LDS involvement in Hawaii’s SSM issues
LDS involvement in California’s Prop 22 issues

And a couple of existing Prop 8 timelines:

Here and here.

5 Responses to “A Prop 8 Timeline”

  1. 1Lauraon 07 Apr 2009 at 4:55 pm

    It’s been a busy week for GLBT couples and families – the Vermont legislature overrode the governor’s veto, making Vermont the 4th state in the union; Washington, DC’s council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and, finally, this note about the White House Easter Egg roll:

    WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House is allocating tickets for the upcoming Easter Egg Roll to gay and lesbian families as part of the Obama administration’s outreach to diverse communities.

    Families say the gesture shows that the new Democratic administration values them as equal to other families. And for many, being included in the annual tradition _ dating to 1878 _ renews hope that they will have more support in their quest for equal rights in matters such as marriage and adoption than under the previous administration.

  2. 2Crystal Don 21 May 2010 at 2:22 pm

    With respect to the same sex marriages, one thing comes to my mind time and again. Law should ideally protect us only from against each other and not from ourselves. Let us leave to to religions or beliefs – as those things are suggestive in manner, not compulsory . So if 2 people are doing something with their own choice and it doesn’t have a direct impact on the third one, it shouldn’t be in the scope of law.

  3. 3Sherion 26 May 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Great point Crystal. It just seems that some people are incapable of understanding this concept.

  4. 4Heatheron 11 Nov 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Thank you for creating this website. I was raised in the church and have since left… the catalyst being the way the church conducted itself with Prop 8. While I now live in Virginia I grew up in California and still consider it my home since all of my family is still there. The timeline you created was very helpful. However I was shocked to see in two different places where “the church” stated that it was okay for members to support gay marriage. While that may have been the case in 2008 I can tell you that in 2010 in Virginia that is not so. Within the year before I left the church I went in to renew my recommend. I was asked the standard questions but on the one about affiliating with groups not in harmony with the teaching of the church both the bishopric and stake presidency counselors used gay marriage as the example. I was shocked and taken off guard both time and I am sad to say that I lied and said no. Afterward I felt horrible I could not believe that I didn’t stand up for what I believe in (that being gay rights). Soon after I went to my bishop to hand in my recommend as I felt that I needed to make a stand. We spoke about how I felt and in the end he would not take my recommend back and said I should keep it. Talk about confusing…which way is it, you have men doing interviews saying that you are not worthy to go the the temple if you support gay rights, but then a bishop that says it’s okay!! Then I read that they church came out with official statements saying that it was okay to be against prop 8. Seeing this makes me want to email it to our bishop and stake presidency. How many others like me are having to swallow what they feel and believe in just to save face in the church. All because these wards/stakes never received these letters/notices and have interpreted the churches actions in prop 8 as doctrine.

  5. 5Michaelon 23 Apr 2011 at 6:07 am

    @Heather: I guess the church is also changing along with the times. And this is actually a good sign. The sense and sensibilities of the world around us change through the years, there’s no point in sticking to an old fashioned point of view just for the sake of it.

    Now I’m not saying the church supporting gay rights is right and I;m not saying its wrong. I wouldn’t want to get into that particular discussion here, but the fact is you gotta stick to what feels right to you, irrespective of what the the church or any other institution says.

Mormons for Marriage

About

The 3 purposes of this site are:

  1. To let the world know that not all Mormons (LDS church members) oppose gay marriage.
  2. To share our perspectives on both homosexuality and gay marriage with other Mormons who are meaningfully exploring the issues for the first time — and who are trying to make up their minds on how to think/feel/vote on the issue (if in California).
  3. Just as progressive LDS Church members in the 1960s and 1970s had an opportunity to speak out on the denial of priesthood to blacks — this is our chance, in our day, to express our thoughts and feelings (respectfully) in support of gays within the LDS Church, and of gay marriage within the U.S. (and abroad).

This site has its roots in the community-forming that sprung up as a result of the LDS Church’s involvement in Proposition 8 during the summer of 2008.   In carving out a community that represented a safe place for members to come together to discuss issues surrounding same-sex marriage, it became clear that heavy comment moderation was needed to keep the discussions on track and to create a safe space for questions to be raised and answered.  Comments continue to be moderated.

The requirements for participation in this project are:

  1. All communications must arise from a place of love and understanding.
  2. No name-calling or personal attacks – not only does it show poor debate skills, it does nothing to further the conversation.
  3. Respect others’ beliefs – there is no need to call anyone to repentance or to throw scriptural references at one another.  People do not have to agree with you in order to be deemed righteous or god-fearing.

Mormons for Marriage

The October 8th Broadcast

We’ll have more up before Friday, but here’s a spot to discuss the broadcast on this site.  What were your reactions?  How many people were there?  Have you checked out the Church’s new site for Yes on 8 materials?

As with all things at MfM, honest, thoughtful comments are welcome, but please be polite and considerate of one another, of folks who disagree with you and of folks who are still trying to figure out where they stand and come to terms with some hard-to-digest information.

Filed in Uncategorized |

27 Responses to “The October 8th Broadcast”

  1. 1admin3on 09 Oct 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Dave had some interesting thoughts about the broadcast, which we’re moving over here so everyone can find the discussion:

    So I attended the broadcast last night. I behaved myself. Didn’t speak to anyone and wasn’t approached by anyone. Didn’t hand out articles or anything like that. I took lots of notes. I could regurgitate them, but I don’t think that’s necessary.

    I would estimate there were approximately 300 in attendance at this Stake Center. Average age was probably around 45-50. Not really very many young adults in attendance which surprised me because the presentation was geared toward young adults and I believe there is a young adult ward within this Stake. Not much diversity in the congregation; mostly white anglos. Since there are a lot of hispanics in this area, I was expecting to see a large proportion, but really didn’t see any at all. One black family that looked out of place. I guess I’m not really surprised because this is typically how all Mormon congregations look in Utah, but I was expecting a little more diversity here.

    It was a pre-taped presentation with Elder M. Russell Ballard, Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder L. Whitney Clayton giving the presentation. They were sitting around a small round table and reading from teleprompters, with no live audience which made it look “robotic” at times. The presentation didn’t seem inspiring and it didn’t appear to me that those attending felt inspired.

    Much of the presentation was geared toward young adults and even Elder Ballard (who admitted he didn’t understand what it meant) was encouraging them to “go viral” on the internet. On more than one occasion they implored the conversations and web chats, etc. to not be antagonistic. They showed a sample of YouTube videos and encouraged those with the know-how, to post their own. A portion of the presentation was college age students asking an Institute Director, questions about the proposition and it’s consequences.

    It was obvious that the Church has gone full bore political machine on this issue with all the attendant lies, half-truths and exaggerations in an attempt to spread FUD to get people to vote yes. They laid out the schedule of “phases” up through election day, and it looked like any other political campaign strategy. (I’ve been involved in a few myself, so I know what they look like.)

    I was curious to see if they would bring up any of the “six consequences if Prop 8 fails”. Sure enough they brought up the first three several times. Although they added the disclaimer that these consequences wouldn’t all happen right away, they nevertheless emphasized these consequences will surely befall us. I was a little surprised that two of the Apostles would compromise the integrity of the Quorum of Twelve by repeating these lies and encouraging members to repeat these lies in their “Get out the vote” campaigns. As I said, It was obvious that the Church has gone full bore political machine on this issue with all the attendant lies, half-truths and exaggerations in an attempt to spread FUD to get people to vote yes. But as they say, Politics is Politics and apparently the only way to get your side heard is to lie. After all, the Church is clearly on the wrong side of equality on this issue and they have to present some sort of scary story.

    One other tactic was mentioned which I believe borders on unethical. They asked if people know someone who is not currently living in California, that they make sure they vote. I could have been reading this wrong, but it seemed the subliminal message was to get your friends and relatives throughout the country to register and vote in California. As I said, I may have read that wrong but I wonder how many people had a light bulb turn on at that moment.

    It could be that the Church feels they are justified to pull out all the stops – a take off on “it is better that one man perish than a whole nation dwindle in unbelief” attitude, but I believe the message last night compromised the Quorum.

    Being there with three hundred saints was sort of a melancholy experience for me. These are the people I spent the first thirty years of my life with and I would have been right there with them in my previous life. It is hard to describe, but I believe I felt compassion for them. They were there firmly believing that they are about the work of the Lord. I wish them no evil. I believe most of them are probably very kind and gentle people and probably would be heartbroken if they really understood the turmoil they are causing for some of the young (and even some of the older) members in their midst. And I felt sad. Sort of how I felt at the end of Stepford Wives.

  2. 2Kevinon 09 Oct 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Dave,

    i appreciate your concern for those faithful members of the church who sustain the prophet and apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. I believe you are genuine. I want you to know that i was at a stake center on wednesday to watch the prop 8 broadcast. It was filled with over 300 young adults. There are so many of us young adults who support prop 8 and who believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.

    I do not believe that the general authorities of the Church were lying.

    And finally, I want you to know that there have only been a few times in my life when i have felt more inspired than I felt last night. I know I felt the truth of their message, and i was inspired to act in support of prop 8. I know that the Apostles and other general authorities are acting in truth and under the direction of God. I hope and pray that the small efforts we make as faithful church members will preserve marriage and our society.

  3. 3Johnon 10 Oct 2008 at 12:56 am

    Some clarification about the comments about CA voters living out of state. This was referring to legal CA residents who are currently not physically in the state such as someone in serving in the military (who may be in Iraq), or a student, or someone temporarily on a business assignment who ARE legally California residents and have the right and even duty to vote in the state of CA.

  4. 4Natalieon 10 Oct 2008 at 7:20 am

    What is the church’s new site for Yes on 8 materials? They actually have their own website?

  5. 5admin2on 10 Oct 2008 at 8:40 am

    The new church site is:
    http://www.preservingmarriage.org/

  6. 6Dave Hoenon 10 Oct 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Kevin –

    Clearly your expectations of an inspirational experience are different than mine.
    – Does it bring more love to our existence here on earth or does it take some away?
    – Are the hungry fed, the naked clothed or those in prison, visited?
    – Are those in pain or maybe even contemplating taking their own life, comforted?
    – Is there a reverence as if Christ himself is present?

    I did not feel that and I did not see that in the faces of those present or those presenting on Wednesday night.

    I believe that every Mormon on both sides of this argument should read Carol Lynn Pearson’s account of Stuart Matis, “I Would Really Rather Be Dead” and the Newsweek article about him. Both of those can be found on this website at:

    http://mormonsformarriage.com/?page_id=22
    http://www.mormonsformarriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/newsweekarticlematis.pdf

    I believe that if Wednesday night’s meeting had simply been reading the account of Stuart Matis, those attending would have left inspired to bring more love to our existence here on earth, instead of taking it away.

  7. 7Captain Moronion 10 Oct 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I went to the http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ and there was basically nothing there. The did have some bullett points on the left making “Six Consequences..” type statements. I addressed some and asked them to remove them since they were deceitful. I cut and pasted most of my responses from Morris’ rebuttal to “Six Consequences”. I called on the to repent. Check it out –

    As a recommend holding LDS, I am dismayed by the bullett points listed on the left hand side of the page. I know that I and others have addressed them on the blogs. Please consider these thoughts and remove those items from the page. We LDS continue to suffer from those who speak lies, half-truths, etc…We should not be using those tactics ourselves.

    * Proposition 8 will not hurt gays.
    In California, the law provides for marriage-related benefits to be given to civil unions and domestic partnerships. Proposition 8 does not diminish these benefits. Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children.
    CM – Having separate schools, separate drinking fountains, separate restrooms, etc.. treated Blacks as second class citizens. Most claimed that Blacks aren’t harmed since the water in both the White and Black drinking fountains was equally cold and clear and that the back of the bus gets to the bus stop just as fast as the front of the bus. “Where’s the harm?”, they ask. Do we LDS REALLY want adopt the cruel logic of those bigots?

    * Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children. If gay marriage remains legal, public schools will put it on equal footing with traditional marriage. Children will likely receive “age appropriate” information about sexual relations within heterosexual and homosexual marriages.
    CM – The CURRENT LAW in CA, Education Code (51933), deals with comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention. It provides that instruction shall be age appropriate and medically accurate, shall teach “respect for marriage and committed relationships”. Since it pushes other types of committed relationships (other than traditional marriage), kids will still be taught those things whether or not Prop. 8 passes.

    * Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt churches.
    The court’s decision will inevitably lead to conflicts with religious liberty and free speech rights. Society will become more and more hostile to traditional beliefs about marriage and family.
    CM – The California Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage cannot have any federal tax consequences, and the Court so noted explicitly in its decision. The Supreme Court also noted that!its ruling would not require any priest, rabbi or minister to perform gay marriages, which should be self evident because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion.!!!!!

    CM – As representatives of Christ, we have to be completely honest, candid and without guile in communicating with others. The bullett point on your page do not come close to the standards the Savior expects of His Church and disciples. Please repent of this deceitfulness and remove them.

    Thank you.

  8. 8Lauraon 10 Oct 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Dave, I am saddened by your accusations of lies and deceit of the apostles. If you truly sustain the the apostles, seers, and revelators, do you not think they have a greater understanding and view of the consequences of this Proposition? Right-wing groups push at the edges of the law all the time to get what they want. Just because some of the consequences spoken of in the presentation won’t happen tomorrow, doesn’t mean they won’t happen at all.

    Also saddened by your comment: “the Church is clearly on the wrong side of equality on this issue”. Did you hear the comments given on tolerance? It has nothing to do with equality. It’s not a fact of life, it’s a choice of behavior. We can be tolerant, but don’t need to condoning. Love the sinner not the sin. If these teachings aren’t ringing true to your soul then I’m unsure why you’re a church member at all?

    God, through his Prophets, draws the line in the sand. If you’re not on his side of the line, you’re on the other.

  9. 9LDS4gaymarriageon 10 Oct 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Laura – Dave, I am saddened by your accusations of lies and deceit of the apostles. If you truly sustain the the apostles, seers, and revelators, do you not think they have a greater understanding and view of the consequences of this Proposition?

    CM – I think SCRIPTURE knows best of all and SCRIPTURE condemns Prop. 8 and AZ’s Prop. 102. The words of the scriptures overrule the words of the prophets…according to the prophets.

  10. 10Davidon 11 Oct 2008 at 12:18 am

    Just some clarification on the earlier comments about the Institute Director in the Wednesday night broadcast. That was not an Institute Director, it was Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

    Thanks.

  11. 11Guy Berryessaon 11 Oct 2008 at 10:29 am

    I, too, dropped in on the broadcast the other night, mostly attended (not too well, thankfully) by young families in our local chapel in San Francisco, as I was trying to better understand why the church is working so hard for Prop 8 and exactly what they’re doing. I missed the earlier part of it, including Elder Ballard’s talk (my partner was back East on business and our young daughter refused to go in when we stopped by to inquire about the start time, etc.–and I was afraid to have her hear awful things said about how evil her parents are, so found a neighbor to watch her so I could go). What struck me most was the warnings of how urgent this was to fight for “to protect children and families”, etc., to prevent same-sex marriage (some youth in their video said this was the most important thing they could possibly do in their lives) and then hear an apostle say how vitally essential marriage and raising children are, that it is the purpose of life and the key to a happy life, yet they can’t seem to see the irony of fighting so diligently (and unfairly in deceitful ads, etc. they’re largely helping pay for) to try to prevent that happiness or opportunity for a minority of their brothers and sisters, many of whom are, despite greater odds, already in loving, committed relationships and raising children, including many Mormons like my partner and I and many of our friends. Why is marriage so important for them and yet so important that WE never have it? It seems to me that some blind, extreme prejudice must be behind this crusade, not divine, loving inspiration from a God who I must believe loves all children and all families. I can’t believe God would not support ALL loving families and want us, also “to do all we can” to protect OUR children and the validity of our relationships, just as they think they are protecting theirs from gays destroying marriage and family. Frankly, most of the damage to families I’m seeing these days is caused by the torment the church is causing LDS families with gay members, dividing them bitterly over this issue as they pit them against their own family members, fighting to deny them rights at the behest of the church, and also the families of gay parents, like our own growing family and those of many of our closest friends. Why don’t OUR beloved children deserve the benefits and legal protection that marriage can provide? Many of them were born to straight parents who, for a variety of reasons, were unable or unprepared to raise them and we are blessed to have them join our families. Do the brethren really think they’d be better off left with them, with any mother and father, any two people of opposite gender? Or in foster care? If only they knew the families I know and the love these children share in their families. Or maybe they do know some and are just don’t really care about these kids. Whatever their motivation, it makes me ill to think of the consequences. And, honestly, since when can LDS leaders speak of the tradition of marriage of one man and one woman with a straight face? History is apparently quickly forgotten (or denied). Their very misguided, in my opinion, efforts me sad and angry, certainly frustrated. By the way, I felt like an alien sitting there watching the broadcast…among “my people” on one hand and yet a possibly feared, despised outcast on the other, knowing they may fear for their children interacting with me there, if only they knew who I was! Their fear makes so little sense to me. Sorry for the rant, it just brings up so much…

  12. 12Jeanieon 11 Oct 2008 at 11:36 am

    Guy,

    Thanks for the post. When I hear such stories and reactions, it just furthers my resolve to keep fighting for families like yours. It reminds me that the time spent is worth it. Keep sharing!

  13. 13Natalieon 11 Oct 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Apparently at this event, they announced a church-wide fast for “Yes on 8″ to take place tomorrow.

    Please join me and others in a fast for “No on 8″ tomorrow, Oct. 12. We are hoping to have large numbers of people participate in this fast tomorrow for enlightenment, understanding, and Christian compassion.

    Feel free to look here for more information. http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620183&ref=name#/event.php?eid=29716898910&ref=mf

  14. 14Franon 11 Oct 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’m breast feeding and won’t fast at all…, but if I could, I think I’d fast that EVERYONE can get over themselves and stop painting those with opposite views as bad, evil, unfair and with ill intentions, and that as we all try to love one another, and be believing, and faithful, and follow the spirit to the best of our knowledge, all will be made right…

    I feel that I can see both sides of the debate. I can see the pros and the cons regarding gay marriage. But I tire of the lack of tolerance and compassion on both sides of the debate.
    Why is it so hard to just believe that everyone has the best at heart and that maybe we all have a different understanding right now of what is the right thing/best thing to do?

    I think that in reality none of us really know where the future will take us, and what the actual consequence (or lack thereof) of proposition 8 passing will be. The Church may end up being right. They may end up being wrong…but really, no one knows, neither those who support or oppose it. Only time can tell what the future holds.

  15. 15Jeanieon 11 Oct 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Fran,

    For many of the No on 8 people, its because we have personally experienced the loss of loved ones through suicide, disownership by our families, alienation and even excommuncation from the church of our youth. It’s not as trivial as just getting along. To say that no knows what will happen in the future…many of us have already experienced what happens “in the future” because of the Church’s involvement is something that is a civil rights issue.

  16. 16Dave Hoenon 11 Oct 2008 at 10:34 pm

    You are right, that was Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of Twelve in the video presentation with the college age students. That now makes it three members who have compromised the integrity of the Quorum by asking members to beguile voters on this proposition. Where are the Apostles akin to Elder Hugh B. Brown to stand up and say, “This is without honor! If we can’t stand on our own truths, then we should not participate.” Perhaps there are some Apostles like Elder Brown, but they’ve been overruled. (See Hugh B. Brown in Wikipedia who favored ending the “Negro doctrine” within the Church, nine years before it finally was, but was overruled and seemingly punished for it.)

    So where is the honor in using lies, half-truths and exaggerations in obtaining a victory? See Barry Bonds. If proposition 8 passes, it will be a hollow victory for the Church and I know of at least three apostles who might consider doing some repentin’.

  17. 17Chino Blancoon 12 Oct 2008 at 8:24 pm

    A transcript of the October 8 broadcast has been posted here:

    http://kolobcafe.com/wiki/index.php/Talk:Prop8Recording/Full

  18. 18Ludlowon 14 Oct 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Speaking of Tolerance:
    I TOLERATE people with freckles. I understand that it may be something beyond their control whether they get freckles or not. But they could stay out of the sun/light and possibly live a freckle-free life. I want people with freckles to have the same civil rights as everybody else. But people with freckles are just different from everybody else.

    I would not be surprised if because of some comment in the Bible about how spots are unclean, that my church would want to limit the salvation options of people with freckles. I would support that whole-heartedly.

    Now that being said, do you think for one moment I consider people with freckles to be equal to everybody else?

    All the talk of tolerance just highlights how the church considers gayness ‘less than’ or ‘worse than’ the rest.

    The church has every right to determine who should be worthy of a temple recommend and that won’t change just because gays can marry, but it has no right to limit the civil rights of Californians. And it ought to stop acting like it’s not being on the wrong side of civil rights, which in my book is an Evil.

  19. 19erikon 20 Oct 2008 at 6:02 pm

    After reading several of the comments posted above, I’m truly confused at some of the positions expressed. Regardless of all that we don’t know about God’s plan, there are some things that according to our faith we do know. Central to our religion is the fundamental link between God and man through holy inspired prophets. Scriptures are the material evidence of this primary connection, they being written by prophets under the inspiration of God. It is by scriptures and the mouth of prophets that we come to know the will of God.

    That being said, this is a church of faith. Just as Jesus required the faith of the sick that they could be healed in his day, he requires our faith so that he can heal us today. Following the prophets is essential for the Kingdom of God to be established in any dispensation. It is not a matter of blind obedience, but rather faithful dedication.

    Perhaps the hardest test we face in this life is following the counsel of our priesthood leaders, even when we do not understand or know all of the reasons behind they actions. Our identity as Latter-day Saints is defined by our belief in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through divinely appointed prophets and apostles. Though imperfect they may be, when acting in the name of the church the Lord has promised us we will not be led astray.

    If we believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, truly called and ordained by God, we must necessarily believe that the doctrine that he taught is true, that the line of prophets and apostles from his day to ours has remained unbroken, and that Thomas S. Monson is a true and living prophet today, bound be the Lord to speak the truth, nothing wavering. To try and separate these truths and believe that we can sensor the words of the prophet is to deny the faith, the church, and the doctrines for which it stands.

  20. 20Lauraon 20 Oct 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Amen Erik.

  21. 21MarcLuxon 21 Oct 2008 at 5:24 am

    Erik:

    Surely you can’t believe that in the unbroken line of apostles there have not been revelations that have been changed and even overruled over time. See Hugh B Brown for starters. Men are human, and can make mistakes even with what appears to be revealed truth.

  22. 22admin3on 21 Oct 2008 at 9:11 am

    We must be getting close to election day, because with the heated emotions, folks seem to be forgetting our comment policy.

    Just a reminder folks that we can debate issues without attacking one another, issuing calls for repentance, or swearing. If you want your posts to get through, please keep that in mind.

    We’ll keep this thread open as long as people can treat one another with the respect they deserve as sons and daughters of Deity.

    Let us do what we can now to help one another by listening and reading with open hearts and minds, by speaking and writing about our beliefs with respect and by being true under-shepherds for Christ, searching out and comforting those who need it the most.

  23. 23Bryanon 21 Oct 2008 at 9:51 am

    That revelations appear which show the Lord’s expectation of changed behavior (e.g. the fulfillment of the Law of Moses with the resurrection of Christ, and the consequent change in practices) does not mean that any preceding revelation is/was false. If Hugh B. Brown spoke out against what he thought was a bad Church policy does not absolve us of the responsibility of abiding the counsel and instruction of our Church leaders. The Lord revealed his will definitively in due time. That’s the essence of Church membership. If you don’t believe that, that’s fine. But as Erik alluded, you either believe in the unbroken line of priesthood authority or you don’t. Being a Mormon, but casting aside the Apostles is something of paradox.

    The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are instructing us to support Yes on 8. Not just a few rogues. I sympathize with those of you that have suffered and watched others suffer because they have grappled with temptation and sin. Surely the Lord is conscious of the pain. But so is the Adversary, and he is, evidently, making the most of it.

  24. 24Erikon 21 Oct 2008 at 10:54 pm

    MarcLux:

    I only mean to state what I understand to be some of the most fundamental beliefs of the Mormon faith.

    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” –Article of Faith 9

    After the death of Joseph, the quorum of the twelve led the church under the direction of Brigham Young. Eventually, Brigham and the entire quorum were gathered at the same place long enough to meet together, and Brigham proposed that they re-establish the first presidency. Wilford Woodruff was uncertain of the initiative and there was some debate over the issue. At last, in a unified effort, the quorum sustained Brigham Young as President of the Church. The quorum of the twelve has the right and even the responsibility to question and discuss decisions that most be made regarding the Lord’s church. However, when action takes place, it is only by unanimous consent. Hugh B Brown’s position in favor of rescinding the “negro doctrine” was not in opposition to President McKay or the Lord. The prophets had gone to the Lord for decades asking about the issue, and the Lord had not spoken yet. And when the Lord had spoken, the change was promptly made.

    Unlike the circumstances surrounding Hugh B Brown, the Lord has spoken on the issue of marriage as stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The Apostles acting on assignment are doing so in unison according to the truths that have been revealed.

  25. 25Natalieon 22 Oct 2008 at 9:12 am

    Erik,
    I think that history has shown that certain announcements by the church often fall by the wayside. For example, the Proclamation on the Family was not the first such proclamation issued by the church. Back in 1875, they issued the Proclamation on the Economy. Part of it states:

    “One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals…. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the nation is likely to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin. ”

    This was signed by all members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, and was also sustained by the general body of the church; this makes it official doctrine. But how many saints are heeding those warnings? I would love to see these doctrines enacted more fully. I think poverty is a much more serious moral issue than gay marriage. Why has the church stopped speaking up on these important issues? Why don’t members live up to these standards?

    Many saints want to claim that gay marriage will tear apart society and bring about the downfall of our country. For myself, I have much more fear for the twin evils of greed and want. Many of us feel dismayed that the church, which has the potential for so much influence, has chosen to direct that influence towards something that takes away the freedom of others.

    I find it immensely hard to believe that homosexuals having equal rights is the greatest threat to our morality at this time. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so put off by the church’s stance on Prop. 8 if they were devoting equal attention to other moral political causes that affect far more people.

  26. 26Erikon 23 Oct 2008 at 9:41 am

    Natalie,

    Though I cannot comment with any great knowledge about the specific case which you bring up, I must agree that there are many issues that the prophets have spoken on that we have not lived as a people to their perfection. If it were otherwise, the saints would have established Zion in Missouri and we would never have been required to endure the exodus west.

    However, our failure to adhere to the prophets words in one area do not dismiss or justify or failing to do so in another.

  27. 27Marieon 04 Nov 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Bro. and Sis.

    I came to this site to better understand feelings and thoughts that accompany the opposition to Prop 8 from members in the church. I do not live in California, but if I did I would be voting for Prop 8. While I can not speak for others like myself, who would vote like wise, I can speak for myself; and say I WOULD NOT vote, if given the opportunity to vote, for Prop 8 out of hate or malice. Rather I would vote for Prop 8 because I desire to do what the Lord has asked of me. This issue is a delicate one, cutting to the very core of our beliefs, one where there can be no fence sitting. If one understands the mind of GOD and Christ then one can better understand Gods will. If one understands his mind then one understands that HE has appointed leaders to use HIS resources in defending HIS purposes. While I am not in the heads of those who have posted here, from what I have been reading it seems to me that many have forgotten that this IS Gods church NOT the worlds or mens. What the Lord desires of us will not, in most circumstances, be popular or politically correct. God has appointed mouth pieces to speak for him in the form of our First presidency and 12 Apostles. We have also sustained them to their specific callings. The Lord WILL NOT! allow them to lead us astray. If they were to try to do so HE would immediately remove them from their spot. That said I also know that I can personally talk to God and have confirmed by the Spirit those things which I have been taught by my leaders to do. Just as the Lord confirmed to Nephi the dream that his Father had had. When Nephi asked to know and understand what his Father had been shown the Lord did not say “no, I don’t think so you’re just going to have to rely on what I told your Father”. He taught Nephi, through the Spirit, what he had taught his Father. Keywords being “through the Spirit”. Which would imply that the petitioner would need to be prepared to receive and listen to the Spirit and its promptings. My point being, that so far as knowing whether supporting prop 8 is truly the mind of God all one has to do is EARNESTLY pray to God and then PONDER over in their hearts to receive the burning in their bosom(chest) if this is Gods will. If then having received this confirmation it still can not be understood why the Lord would want one to vote for something that seems to be hateful, ignorant, outdated or any other number of other terms that could be used; one must then ask themselves do they trust him or not. I respect that this is a very personal decision and that in the end all will vote their mind and/or their conscience but I pray that those who who read this post will be open to accepting my challenge and ask the Lord for themselves in voting for Prop 8 if it is right and then asking for the strength to vote based on their response