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

    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.

  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:


  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.