What I Would Say To My Bishop About Prop 8

by Caroline

(Painting: The Marriage by Casey Matthews)

Hello Bishop,

It’s been a difficult month for me at church, since I am terribly saddened by the Church’s decision to mobilize the rank and file members against what I see as a civil rights issue.  I also have a deep moral conviction that my duty as a Christian is to reach out my arms in love to those who are most despised, most rejected, and most vulnerable in our society.

I see Prop 8 as pushing these vulnerable neighbors away, as drawing ‘us vs. them’ boundaries. as telling them that they are not worthy of the same privileges as we are. I cannot be a part of something that is so hurtful. You may remember Stuart Matis, the LDS boy who shot himself in the head outside his ward building during the Prop 22 days because he felt like there was no hope for him, no place for him in the church he was devoted to. How many Stuarts are there in our ward? How many parents and siblings and friends of homosexuals are there in our ward, whose spirits are violated every time they go to church to worship, but instead have to listen to political statements that are hurtful to them and their loved ones?

I understand that you are just doing your job and that you believe that advocating for Prop 8 is the right thing to do. I can respect that. But please understand that there is a significant minority who are filled with angst over this issue. Please be mindful of this minority when you and your counselors speak from the pulpit, and please understand that it is not in spite of Christ, but because of Him, that we have come to decide to vote no on Prop 8.

I’m afraid I’ve personally reached my breaking point. Now that the real mobilization has begun, I simply can’t bear another Sunday of political announcements, talks, and constant references to the proposition in Relief Society lessons. Until this election is over, I will not be attending our church. Instead, I’ll be going to the United Church of Christ, a wonderful place that opens its arms to gay people.

I’m looking forward to November when I’ll be able to rejoin you at church services.

Sincerely,
Caroline

What would you say to your church leaders about Prop 8?

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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147 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Douglas, you said it perfectly. Beautiful.

    Jess, I’m glad you haven’t had a horrific experience with your prop, or with your leaders. It’s been a nightmare here in my stake.

    Laura, thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate it for its honesty and sincerity. I, of course, would take a different viewpoint – I really do think that the Church is absolutely becoming politically active in order to withhold marriage rights from homosexuals – but like I said, I appreciate the sincerity of your stance and your personal story. I just can’t help but hurt for those lesbians and gays who are simply not able to embrace a heterosexual life.

  2. Douglas Hunter says:

    “they are not becoming politically active in withholding rights from practicing homosexuals.”

    Sorry but this statement is categorically false. The very purpose of prop. 8 is to eliminate the right to marry for same sex couples. A right they already have in California.

    As for the rest f your post, its wonderful that you have had a positive outcome in your experience, but one of the things we should avoid is the universalizing of our own individual experience. Believing that how it is for us, so it should be with everyone else.

    One of the positive things that could come out of prop. 8 is a more honest discussion of human sexuality that it occurs on a spectrum and includes far more than who turns us on physically.

  3. Laura says:

    Hi Douglas Hunter,

    So often this subject is debated in black and white terms and so I think it can be easy to miss nuances or assume how someone who takes the opposing position must think but please, you have misrepresented my position in assuming “one of the things we should avoid is the universalizing of our own individual experience. Believing that how it is for us, so it should be with everyone else.”

    That is not my position at all — please show me in my post where I have asserted as much. I don’t have to universalize my experience (which I don’t) to be for upholding traditional marriage.

    As to your assertion about rights:

    “California already has on its books (and has for several years) laws granting domestic partners (homosexual and heterosexual) the same civil
    rights as married couples. This is a point that many people seem not to understand. Here is the language of just one California statute: “Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or another provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.” Moris A. Thurston

    AND

    “The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their
    religion free from government interference.” LDS Newsroom

    Hence, this is truly a matter of semantics, symbols and ideals. I’m not going to enshrine it as anything else. I do agree more open and educated discussion of sexuality would be a nice potential byproduct but I’m not holding my breath — so often the thrust of politics tends to obscure rather than illuminate ie. Mitt Romney and Mormonism.

    Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for a kind response to my post. I appreciate and share your committed compassion for those who still struggle thought it appears we will part ways on how we apply our compassion at least in the voting both. Perhaps you will offer us a blog on your experiences with the Universalists in the coming months?

  4. Douglas Hunter says:

    Laura,

    I was not accusing you of universalizing your experience but it looked like you might be moving in that direct so I mentioned it, that’s all. If it was an accusation it would have been worded as such.

    As for CA family code, I am very familiar with it. to a degree I think that there is some merit to the idea that a lot of the current debate is about semantics. But this does not change the fact that same sex couples do have the right to marry in CA and if prop. 8 passes that right will be removed. The removal of that right is fundamental to prop. 8.

    Prop. 8 does one thing, it asks us to vote on a right held by one group of people. This is unheard of. We should not be voting on rights, period.

  5. Laura says:

    Hi Douglas,

    I imagine we will ultimately continue to disagree. In the UK the conglomeration of rights available for same sex partners is entitled a civil union. This package of actual and practical rights matches that of hetero marriages but has not assumed the title of marriage. It does not have the “right” to be called marriage. Marriage continues to be distinctly defined as it always has been — the union of a man and a woman. I think it is an equitable compromise and an exemplary lesson in positive and respectful pluralism while what has occurred in CA is not.

    I do not agree that the ability to put same sex Partner A and Partner B on an application form and stamp the word marriage on it is a civil right. Marriage is a symbolic institution. One does not have the right to be included in a symbolic institution unless one fits the definition of that institution. An attempt to change the definition of a symbol is not about civil rights, its about an ideological agenda.

    If anything, the current status of this issue in CA is a sad overreaction to two sides who took too long to find some common ground and to give each other an inch.

    My Best to you and all

    Laura

  6. Douglas Hunter says:

    Laura,

    There is no doubt that marriage here in the US is a different beast than it is in the UK. One of the reasons for this may be the history of marriage in the US generally and in California specifically.

    Here in CA marriage was determined to be a fundamental right in 1948 in the case Perez V. Sharp that overturned the ban on interracial marriage. So marriage may be a religious and symbolic construct, but in California it has been established for 60 years as a fundamental civil right in way that has been agreed upon by people across the political spectrum. I don’t know if there is anything similar to this in the UK but I think this helps explain why the distinction of marriage is so important over here.

    The supreme court’s decision also directly addresses why the court felt it is a civil rights issue. The text of the decision can be found here if anyone is interested:

    http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2008-05/38894545.PDF

  7. JohnW says:

    Laura, in the U.S. the debate is not one of semantics. A California civil union doesn’t enable partners to participate in the Federal rights which come with the word marriage: Social Security benefits, citizenship tracking, spouse-of-military serviceperson benefits…. According the federal government there are 1000 federal benefits which flow simply from being married.

  8. Laura says:

    Hi JohnW and Douglas,

    Thanks for your most recent posts — they both have definitely helped me understand the debate better though I of course must do some more of my own homework on what you‘ve offered in the near future.

    I am not opposed to same sex partners having Federal benefits but still I don’t want the word marriage to be applied to such unions for a number of symbolic reasons and qualitative differences and so I would hope there could be another way of achieving that goal besides how things have played out in CA.

    Best to you both

    Laura

  9. Laura says:

    Hello again,

    Just another thought. Despite the legalization of gay marriage in CA, I believe The Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton continues to this day to block same sex partners from federal recognition and federal benefits. Hence, a yes vote for Prop 8 is not yanking federal benefits away from such partnerships that they still do not have. No matter how one votes on Prop 8, those Federal benefits for such couples won’t be granted without Supreme Court intervention? No? So again, is this specific vote really about rights?

    I welcome hearing either of your thoughts you might have.

  10. amelia says:

    laura says:

    “I am not opposed to same sex partners having Federal benefits but still I don’t want the word marriage to be applied to such unions for a number of symbolic reasons and qualitative differences and so I would hope there could be another way of achieving that goal besides how things have played out in CA.”

    i have asked this before and i will ask it again:

    what exactly are the qualitative differences between homo- and hetero-sexual marriages and/or relationships?

    i have yet to hear an answer that makes any sense whatsoever. you can say that in the one there is no possibility for procreation and in the other there is, but that argument only lasts until you meet your first entirely infertile hetero-sexual couple. and i don’t believe it anyway. i just don’t think that the love two people who want to be married to each other is qualitatively different based on their sexual orientation.

    plus, who says that all heterosexual relationships are qualitatively similar? i think anyone who says that is fooling themselves. marriages happen for so many different reasons that it would be like looking at the world blind to make such an argument.

    i’d be happy to hear an argument that made some sense, but my suspicion is that this argument of qualitative difference is little more than a mask for disgust at, fear of, and prejudice against something that is not understood.

  11. Laura says:

    Hello Amelia,
    On qualitative differences you said:
    “but my suspicion is that this argument of qualitative difference is little more than a mask for disgust at, fear of, and prejudice against something that is not understood.”
    Actually I understand quite well and the occasional persistence of my homoerotic thoughts don’t disgust me though I do keep them in check because they are qualitatively different than the hetero-erotic thoughts I have towards my husband and you know, they’re just disruptive at this point in my life.
    I also think there is a qualitative difference in having my children with my husband versus your friendly neighborhood sperm bank. Sperm bank works for others — ok for you — but personally I don’t think that reproduction via the anonymously donated sample is entitled to the same symbolic significance.
    Moreover, as soon as you can think of a touching little narrative that I can offer my sweet little girls about their noble “father” the sperm donor and how they really don’t have or need a dad, then I may stop making such qualitative distinctions.
    OK, Sorry

  12. Laura says:

    Chopped off my last line — should read :OK, Sorry to be so flippant, but I am being told that I am prejudiced against myself and It’s late.

  13. Laura says:

    To anyone who still cares to gain an appreciation of my perspective. You may think the things I’ve written are trivial but these are real life choices I’ve had to make. They aren’t trivial to me. And since this is a Mormon blog, really having a Mormon cosmology, the differences in the afterlife for me if I had a chosen to further pursue a homosexual partnership vs. a temple marriage are vaste and unending which played a huge role in my decision.

    Best to All

    Laura

  14. Douglas Hunter says:

    Laura Writes

    “Just another thought. Despite the legalization of gay marriage in CA, I believe The Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton continues to this day to block same sex partners from federal recognition and federal benefits. Hence, a yes vote for Prop 8 is not yanking federal benefits away from such partnerships that they still do not have. No matter how one votes on Prop 8, those Federal benefits for such couples won’t be granted without Supreme Court intervention? No? So again, is this specific vote really about rights?”

    Sounds like there is some confusion here. It is true that same sex couples currently have no federal protections, and Prop. 8 only operates on the state level. No one has claimed otherwise, that would misrepresent reality. Congress, the IRS, or the federal courts, etc. could work together or independently to grant federal benefits to same sex partners, but this has not happened yet.

    Prop. 8 is about rights for the exact reason I stated earlier. That California established marriage as a fundamental right in 1948. Remember that here in the US marriages are regulated by the individual states. The federal government does have rules and regulations that address how married couples are dealt with, for example as a matter of the federal tax code. But who can get married is an issue dealt with by individual states. So again prop. 8 if it passes removes a right that same sex couples currently hold in California. So Prop. 8 is directly about a right. That is a simple matter of fact. The court’s decision that I linked to previously goes into considerable detail regarding marriage as a fundamental right in California.

    As citizens I think their should be way more caution regarding prop. 8. Regardless of what each of us thinks about gay marriage, prop. 8 asks us to directly vote on the rights of one particular group of citizens. Just in terms of basic democratic governance, putting the rights of a minority group up to popular vote is a very strange thing to do.

  15. Tamarasw says:

    We keep talking about “rights” here, but we are talking about rights that should not have been granted in the first place. Proposition 22, which passed by 61% of Californians in 2008, was very clear. Four activist judges overturned that decision–something they should not have done.

    It is the same thing that happened in the Book of Mormon when Gadianton robbers got themselves into position as judges in the land and then passed laws that would protect the evils of their friends and fellow secret combination makers. (Read Helaman 5-9)

    Let’s not play around with words here. Heavenly Father and a living prophet and the scriptures are quite clear on the wickedness of homosexual behavior. Not to say that homosexuals are inherently wicked people. It’s just that homosexual behavior thwarts the plan of Heavenly Father for His children–therefore it is wicked. The author of the secret combinations of the Gadianton ribbers was Satan himself, just as today he is definitely behind the push to destroy the sanctity of marriage and family. Satan knows the surest way to destroy our society and bring us all down to hell (to be his miserable partners)is to weaken and destroy the institution of families. If we could only have the faith to see just a glimpse of what our prophet knows is ahead, we would not have any doubts about where this is all going if Prop 8 is not passed.

    “After the Ball – How America will conquer its fear and hatred of Gays in the 90s.” – Penguin Books, 1989 by Marshall K. Kirk and Hunter Madsen, is an outline for how to change the world from one that shuns homosexuality to one that tolerates and even embraces it. Only then would they “unmask” their true identity as deviant and completely unacceptable sexual behaviors would then have room to grow unchallenged..including pedophilism and other gross misbehaviors.

    Reading this book is like reading WWII-era propaganda from Germany, describing how to get the common Germans to allow Hitler to do what he did to the Jews. It’s very scary. Is this not just a taste of what the Gadianton robbers did in Book of Mormon times? Will we be like the Nephites who let the robbers settle in comfortably “in the more settled parts of the land”, or will we be like the Lamanites who hunted them down and rooted them out?

    I was assuming we are all Mormons here. Will some of you be so blind as to not see what is going on? Talking about not “universalizing” truths to all, as if one could redefine the highest laws of our Heavenly Father. Or deciding to just not attend church until it is more comfortable. Being a member of God’s true church upon the earth brings with it responsibilities which may not be comfortable. But then, it has been foretold that in the last days, even the members would face trying times that would test their faith and obedience.

    When Prop 8 is discussed in our church meetings, I would not say that the Spirit is chased away. I would say I am thrilled to be asked to do something so important to my family, my grandchildren, and to all future generations. I am thrilled that my Heavenly Father trusts us enough to ask us to fight this battle. I am thrilled to be on the Lord’s side. And I feel the Spirit helping me and guiding me as I go door to door to share this knowledge with my neighbors and urge them to vote yes on Prop 8!

    When I joined this Church, I knew it would not always be easy to be a member. It is not always a popular place to be. I urge you to read the scriptures and pray that you might have the vision to fully understand this issue for yourselves!

  16. Tamarasw says:

    And Laura, your story was absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It confirms the power that God can have in our lives if we will let Him guide and direct us. I cannot say that I have had to overcome anything similar–you are an inspiration. May you continue to be blessed richly by your marriage and family. I hope you are able to share your story with others in a way that will benefit those who are struggling with same-sex attraction. Perhaps an anonymous article to the Ensign?

  17. Douglas Hunter says:

    There are a number of problems with Tamarasw’s comment but I’ll only mention one, the last line:

    “I urge you to read the scriptures and pray that you might have the vision to fully understand this issue for yourselves!”

    I am continually amazed when other act as if those who oppose prop. 8 have not done the most basic level of spiritual and intellectual work. It’s really offensive.

    What you should be do is assume that we HAVE been doing a lot of prayer and study and then start to look into the question for yourself of how or why the spirit might move some individuals to a position that you don’t understand.

    Your lack of understanding is in no way a comment on the spiritual and intellectual effort that folks such as myself, Caroline or others have been doing and continue to do.

  18. Douglas Hunter says:

    I should add one more thought, this being that since I moved to CA I have voted against every single ballot prop. that would have altered the CA state constitution (they appear on the ballot every at every election.) because as a matter of principal I do not think ballot props. are an appropriate way to amend the constitution. I was even in favor of the intention of some of those props but I voted against them because they were the wrong way to achieve the desired end.

    None of the religious arguments I’ve heard for prop 8 address the civic issues involved in voting in an election generally or prop 8 specifically. I’ve read the Supreme Court’s decision, I understand it, and I think its very well written and well reasoned. Are we supposed to ignore basic issues of governance, of civic procedures, or how rights are traditionally dealt with in democratic society? I don’t think so.

  19. Laura says:

    ” Prop. 8 only operates on the state level. No one has claimed otherwise, that would misrepresent reality.”
    Douglas, please see JohnWs original post which does raise his concern about federal protections…
    JohnW wrote
    “Laura, in the U.S. the debate is not one of semantics. A California civil union doesn’t enable partners to participate in the Federal rights which come with the word marriage: Social Security benefits, citizenship tracking, spouse-of-military serviceperson benefits…. According the federal government there are 1000 federal benefits which flow simply from being married.
    …which prompted my response you’ve qouted on the topic of above DOMA.
    You also said
    “Prop. 8 is about rights for the exact reason I stated earlier. That California established marriage as a fundamental right in 1948. Remember that here in the US marriages are regulated by the individual states. The federal government does have rules and regulations that address how married couples are dealt with, for example as a matter of the federal tax code. But who can get married is an issue dealt with by individual states. So again prop. 8 if it passes removes a right that same sex couples currently hold in California. So Prop. 8 is directly about a right. That is a simple matter of fact. The court’s decision that I linked to previously goes into considerable detail regarding marriage as a fundamental right in California.”
    I think we could argue in circles on this one though overall, I have appreciated being able to have this discussion.
    3 out of the 7 CA Supreme Court justices disagreed with this ruling which I also disagree with while you accept. I don’t doubt that the 4 who have ruled in favor on this matter have a perfectly sound legal argument to back it up which you have cited but the 3 who did not vote in favor of this ruling can also make a perfectly sound legal argument to back up thier position. Any biological anthropologist will tell you that racial catagories are merely sociological constructs while the catagory of sex is not. For me, that is enough to throw out the comparison outright.
    But I wouldn’t accept or translate either sides voting justifications as “a simple matter of fact” but rather different interpretations of the law which I am free to question and reject and I’m glad we live in a country where there is a civil and appropriate avenue for people to challenge such rulings. Hence, we have Prop 8.
    Again other pluralist countries have resolved this matter differently and it’s not been because they have withheld actual rights from same sex partnerships.
    With federal marriage benefits currently blocked by DOMA, and state benefits already included in CA statutes, any assertion legal or otherwise that a yes on Prop 8 takes away actual and practical rights to me is a weak one.

  20. Laura says:

    Hi Douglas,

    I just read your second post. I hear what you’re sayin. I actually think it’s more democratic to be able to vote on specific issues though rather than on candidates who change thier stances once in office all the time. I’m a registered independant in CA. I hate having to pick candidates by wieghing out which issues are more important to me than another because my politics don’t fit tidily into a major party platform. But again I see your concerns as valid. Most of the time I find myself voting no on the propostions too.

  21. JohnW says:

    Did I say plonk?

    Laura writes:

    Any biological anthropologist will tell you that racial catagories are merely sociological constructs while the catagory of sex is not. For me, that is enough to throw out the comparison outright.

    I’m afraid you’re not with the Brethren on this one, Laura. In 1949, the First Presidency issued a statement that the Black skin of the Negro was a curse from God.

    Here’s the link again. It’s the very first text section after all the links:
    http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/neither/neitherappx.htm#Appendix

    I urge you to get on board with the multiple Prophets who have spoken on this issue. Anthropologists might say one thing, but this letter from the FP is as clear as can be about this issue.

    I’d also point you to the CURRENT Aaronic priesthood manual, which quotes SPK:

    We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally.

    Again, despite what anthropologists might say about biological compatibility, it’s just better to not marry within races. Especially when some of them are cursed by God.

    I urge you to pray and read your scripture on this.

  22. Douglas Hunter says:

    Laura,

    I missed that. John’s wording could have been a lot better. But lets be clear, if same sex couples retain the right to marry in CA that does not grant them any different federal status or status in other states, John’s poorly worded comment aside.

    Moving on, you don’t seem to understand my point of fact. I was speaking to the law here in CA. The legal reasoning behind the case, or the fact that 3 judges dissented does not matter (although both are interesting!). The court’s decision, pragmatically, as a matter of law in California, includes same sex couples in the fundamental right to marry that was established by the court in 1948. That is a fact.

    As a result same sex couples can and do marry in California. That is a fact.

    We can discuss legal reasoning until the cows come home, but that does not alter the reality that same sex couples have the right to marry in CA and that prop. 8 seeks to remove that right. Good, bad, or otherwise these are the facts.

  23. Douglas Hunter says:

    “I actually think it’s more democratic to be able to vote on specific issues . . .”

    Yes, it is indeed more democratic, in the sense that it is direct democracy rather than representational democracy. one citizen = one vote and all that.

    But we are talking about different issues.

  24. poeticnurse says:

    I believe there are two issues here that are being overlooked. The first is this – Do you believe the Prophet is called of God and it is his responsibility to defend the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ? The second – Do four judges, not called of God but man, have the right to overturn the will of millions of voters? On which cases should they be allowed to do this? I have a brother in law who is gay. I love him and support his right to live as he pleases but I do not feel he should be allowed to break the law of chastity. When I broke that sacred law I was disfellowshipped and rightly so. The laws don’t and shouldn’t show favoritism just because we cannot or will not control ourselves to obey them. Yes Jesus taught that we should love all men as ourselves. He also taught accountability and responsibility for our obedience to His laws which are eternal. Why should someone who breaks the law of chastity have the same rights and privileges as someone has lives the law?

  25. John D says:

    “The court’s decision, pragmatically, as a matter of law in California, includes same sex couples in the fundamental right to marry that was established by the court in 1948.”

    Here you talk about the “right to marry” as if it is an individual matter. Marriage is an institution that has certain eligibility. One person alone does not have the “right to marry.” A person does not have “the right to marry” their Grandma because the institution is by definition conjugal. The 1948 decision did not expand the definition of marriage beyond heterosexual conjugal relationships. It established that anyone has the right to enter into a marriage contract with a consenting adult of the opposite sex. That this was the nature of marriage, of course, went without saying back then, but it was the underlying framework of the historical particularity you refer to. The recent court decision is about expanding the criteria of eligibility for a conditional right, not providing what was always meant to be an unconditional right to any conceivable dyad.

    The question now really is, how do you define this institution? Everyone has the right to enter into traditional heterosexual marriage (the “hetero” aspect of which was taken for granted by the 1948 court). But to say same-sex couples have been previously denied a status that has been rightfully theirs since 1948 is like saying Mr. Jones who earns $200,000.00 a year has been denied the right to Medicaid. Or to be more cliché, Tom Green has been denied “the right” to marry his three wives. If they fit the criteria of eligibility this would be true, but they don’t (unless you find anti-bigamy laws unconstitutional). There may be good reasons to change the definition of marriage. However, the argument you are using seems to imply that marriage is an unconditional right, which leaves the remaining conditions on the “right” to enter the institution unjustified.

    best..

    jd

  26. poeticnurse says:

    Please consider these statements by a prophet of the Lord. I am not a sheep because I have faith in the Lord’s anointed. Remember Amos 3:7 as well.

    No doctrine is a doctrine of this Church until it has been accepted as such by the Church, and not even a revelation from God should be taught to his people until it has first been approved by the presiding authority–the one through whom the Lord makes known His will for the guidance of the saints as a religious body. The spirit of revelation may rest upon any one, and teach him or her many things for personal comfort and instruction. But these are not doctrines of the Church, and, however true, they must not be inculcated [taught or distributed] until proper permission is given.
    No man possessing a correct understanding of the spirit of the gospel and of the authority and law of the Holy Priesthood will attempt for one moment to run before his file leader or to do anything that is not in strict harmony with his wish and the authority that belongs to him. The moment a man in a subordinate position begins to usurp the authority of his leader, that moment he is out of his place, and proves by his conduct that he does not comprehend his duty, that he is not acting in the line of his calling, and is a dangerous character.
    We can accept nothing as authoritative but that which comes directly through the appointed channel, the constituted organizations of the Priesthood, which is the channel that God has appointed through which to make known His mind and will to the world… And the moment that individuals look to any other source, that moment they throw themselves open to the seductive influences of Satan, and render themselves liable to become servants of the devil; they lose sight of the true order through which the blessings of the Priesthood are to be enjoyed; they step outside of the pale of the kingdom of God, and are on dangerous ground. Whenever you see a man rise up claiming to have received direct revelation from the Lord to the Church, independent of the order and channel of the Priesthood, you may set him down as an imposter.
    Joseph F. Smith Correspondence, Personal Letterbooks, 93–94, Film Reel 9, Ms. F271; cited in Determining Doctrine: A Reference Guide for Evaluating Doctrinal Truth, edited by Dennis B. Horne (Roy, Utah: Eborn Books, 2005), 221-222, emphasis added.
    Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 185, emphasis added.
    Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 41-42, emphasis added.

  27. Laura says:

    Hi Douglas,

    Despite your assertion that I don’t understand the points you are trying to make, I do and I’ve given you my thoughts on them and listened to you reiterate them again. I’m not sure what else your after here but I think I’ve pretty much said as much as I want to say on the perspective you‘ve given in this thread.

    Regards

    Laura

  28. Laura says:

    Hi Tamarasw,

    Thank you for your very kind words to me. I really appreciate your enthusiasm to support our Prophet.

    Best to you and your family too,

    Laura

  29. Douglas Hunter says:

    John,

    sorry if my post was confusing. I was summarizing from the court’s decision. I was not interjecting my opinion about it I was using the court’s language. It was the court itself that made reference to the Perez case of 1948 as establishing marriage as a fundamental right. That is the language of the decision, its not my language.

  30. Douglas Hunter says:

    . . .”right to marry” also comes directly from the decision.

  31. Tamarasw says:

    Poeticnurse,
    We’re definitely on the same page, you and I. But there are a few on this blog who feel that the Prophet’s counsel and warning does not apply to everyone. Trying to justify a position by debating the finer details of the law isn’t going to change one iota of the law of God. We can only pray that someday everyone will come to know the truth.

  32. Tammy says:

    To the sweet former bishop with the gay friend:
    Gay Pride is a version of what straight people would be doing if they couldn’t get married. It’s completely juxtaposed to getting married. It’s people just like your friend who want to love someone for the rest of their lives who are looking for the right to marry.
    In another universe we could be looking at strait people misbehaving and decide that that’s the reason they shouldn’t get married.
    And remember, the more you (plural, hypothetic you, not the nice former bishop any more) take away right for gay men to marry someone they are attracted to, the more likely it is that they will try to disguise themselves and MARRY YOUR DAUGHTERS, and your daughters don’t want that. Let people follow the longings of their hearts and not feel like a criminal.

  33. Daryl says:

    Caroline,

    Curious to get your thoughts as they relate to
    the talk given in the following link –

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/fourteen.shtml

    Particularly, point #5, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

  34. Douglas Hunter says:

    Just in case any LA area Exponent folks are interested there is going to be an interfaith No on 8 event tomorrow at noon at.

    St. John’s Cathedral
    514 W. Adams Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA. 90007

    There are going to be a number of wonderful speakers from different denominations.

  35. Kelly Ann says:

    Not surprisingly given the eminent election, four “prop8-omonies” were born today at church. They still have me riled me up.

    After one particularly drawn out one from one of the YSAs who felt reprimanded for not acting on his conviction, and was thus going to take off the next two days of school to make calls and encouraged people to join him, I got up.

    “I am grateful for fast and testimony meeting today, for the diversity that exists in this branch. I am grateful for the opportunity we have to testify of the fundamentals of the gospel. I know God lives, I know he loves us, and that we have a Savior. Those are the truths I hold to be most important. I am grateful for this church, even though I don’t always agree with or understand everything, especially lately … In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

    This probably spurred the remaining “prop 8-omonies” even though I didn’t spout my political platform (which actually fits neither side). And really I was sincere, my testimony was drafted in my head earlier.

    Seriously, I am tired of politics in church. I think some members are way over stepping their bounds. I keep telling myself I just have three days, but unfortunately I think tension will continue.

    And the thing is, after being opposed for most of the summer, I have decided to vote yes on 8. But I am sick of the tactics used to try to get members of the church to support it.

    I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. However I am voting for the prop because I want it to be overturned. I believe heterosexual and homosexual couples should be entitled to the same privileges (although I don’t consider marriage a right). I read an interesting article that said they could foresee only civil unions for all being recognized as a consequence.

    That’s what I want – I think everyone should go to the courthouse for legal rights and to the church for their religious ceremony. I think it would put a lot more meaning on the temple sealing.

    But that doesn’t really fit either side.

    Anyone have any other thoughts as we approach Tuesday …

  36. Daryl says:

    I imagine many of you may have already seen
    this clip –

    http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1822459319&channel=1156873697

    The Parker family is just plain wrong, right?

  37. Douglas Hunter says:

    Daryl,

    There is a lot more to the story than that video lets on. But also keep in mind that 5 year olds all over California have already been exposed to gay marriage and it was done at church! Because for months now its been discussed from the Pulpit in our wards! If it was not for the Church’s activism the numerous talks I’ve had with my 8 year old about gay marriage would not have been necessary. Yesterday she was crying in Sacrament meeting because in her own words her “emotions felt assaulted.” She’s 8 and Church has become a negative place for her. That is not a positive development.

  38. Eric says:

    Supporting Prop 8 is a test of faith. Not blind faith, but good ole’ plain regular faith. Any individual who believes that God calls prophets today should prayerfully consider the invitation to support Prop. 8. If you don’t feel comfortable in church it is usually a sign that something is not in harmony with yourself and the Lord. I would tell the Bishop that I will prayerfully ponder the First Presidency message and I hope to be able to follow their counsel.

  39. Annon. says:

    Eric,

    With all due respect, its a huge mistake to think that those of us who do not support prop 8 haven’t done a great deal of prayer and other spiritual work.

    You will not understand this but I felt called by the spirit to discuss ethics, to talk about the experience of listening to gay friends and the stories of their lives. To speak about empathy and the nature of human sexuality and relationships. I was called by the spirit to speak out in these ways and I have done so. I never criticized the Church or it’s leaders, I never said the Church should change its position, but I was active in the No on 8 movement. I gave interviews to print and broadcast media and spoke at public events. I stood shoulder to shoulder with civic and religious leaders in my community. During this time I have been deeply blessed and have been able to bless others both in and out of the Church. There are those who think what I say is impossible, but it is true and I would say that to my Church leaders about Prop 8. I am also NOT a homosexual but I am temple worthy priesthood holder. On this issue there is simply more than one model of Mormon faithfulness.

  40. Angie says:

    I am actually disappointed that this material is on your website. There is a reason for the church getting so involved in Prop 8. Whether we understand it or not we have to trust the Prophet that knows what he is doing. I have always valued the lesson material given on this website, but after reading this I won’t be returning.

  41. amelia says:

    angie: one of the purposes of this blog is to give voice to more than the mainstream perspective. it’s obviously your choice (and each of ours) about where you’ll turn for help in preparing lessons. i’d simply point out that this particular post is similar in tone and kind to many posts that have been published here before. nothing has changed.

    personally i think it’s vital that caroline’s voice, and people like her, be heard. i have been personally thanked by many people for my willingness to speak openly about my disagreements with church leadership while continuing to express my belief in the principles of the gospel. surely there is room for multiple perspectives.

    if not, well where does that leave us? multiple perspectives are unavoidable. we may lie to ourselves and believe that somehow we all think the same way, but that’s simply impossible. seems better to openly acknowledge and listen to the viewpoints of people from all points of view.

  42. Carolyn says:

    I just stumbled onto this thread while looking for ideas on RS Lesson 27 on apostasy. I fear that many who have written the comments here are on a slippery slope toward apostasy. If you question counsel from a prophet of God, you aren’t convinced that he is a prophet. One commented that he looked forward to the day gays would be welcomed into the temple. Homosexuality is a sin. Period. Should adulterers and fornicators be welcomed into the temple? No scientific evidence proves that homosexuality is something we are born with. If, however, one has those tendencies, one can choose to fight them…just as many must fight their urges to watch pornography or have an affair with the neighbor. If I have no opportunity to marry, or if I lose my husband, I do not have sexual relations. I don’t question the church’s stand on adultery and immorality. God will not require of us anything that he won’t help us achieve. I know that from personal experience. We can love all people without giving into the fallicy that to love others we must condone their way of life. Marriage has always been defined as being between a man and a woman. Insisting that we change the definition of marriage is unkind and unChristian. If marriage is redefined, homosexuality will become more and more popular as it is accepted by society. Young people will think it is a normal choice. It is not. Homosexuality is a sin, as the scriptures tell us, and it should be resisted at all costs. It goes against nature. It frustrates the plan of happiness. That’s why it is a sin. God will enable all who love and follow him to keep all his commandments, even the tendency to be attracted to those of one’s same sex. Celibacy is an option. It hasn’t killed anyone.

    I suggest that those who believe the church should change its stand on homosexuality should immerse themselves in the scriptures, fast and pray. Reading Lesson 27 of the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith would also be a good thing to do.

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