Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why I'm not posting an equal sign on Facebook...

Most of you know that I am the worst when it comes to politics. I have a hard time getting involved, keeping track of what is going on, or feeling like I am educated enough to even have an opinion. I definitely don't write on this blog about politics. Heck, I hardly write on this blog at all, and when I do its usually about my life or my adventures with sewing. But as I saw so many friends post red equals signs (I just looked it up and according to Wikipedia, that's its legitimate name)
I felt as though I was taking a stand by not doing so and I wanted to explain why, for anyone who cares to know (I know that may not be anybody).

My religious beliefs define my life. I make decisions based on principles and the way I interpret those principles. That being said, the fact of homosexuality has been one that has taken some heavy pondering for me. I grew up in an area where I learned about homosexuality very early. I had friends who were 'coming out' basically as soon as we were all figuring out that the opposite sex didn't have cooties. And yes, I say friends. They were my friends, they still are my friends. So maybe you can see my struggle- I loved my friends but there were certain aspects of their lives that made me uncomfortable. But really, I ignored it, the same way that I ignored that some of my friends drank alcohol and smoked pot and did other things that I believe to be wrong.

So I never took a stand. I never knew exactly where to stand either; some of you may be surprised to learn that the LDS church doesn't make many statements about what its members should do in regards to gay rights. It wasn't until this past Fall that I decided to search out the Church's teachings on homosexuality in general and specifically on gay rights. One of the things I found that really helped me understand that Church's position was this:
Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: “Same-Gender Attraction”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks is one of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Wickman is another General Authority in our church. Here they have been assigned to speak for the Church.

So here it is. The reasons I won't be posting a red equals sign on Facebook:

I believe that God, our Heavenly Father, gets to decide what is right and what is wrong. In this case, through His scriptures and through His living servants, the Prophet and others, He has clearly declared that homosexuality is wrong. I also believe that the point of this life is for me to become as much like my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, as I possibly can. Therefore, I try to align my beliefs about what is right and wrong with His.

I believe that our Heavenly Father defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Here is where He has said so clearly through one of His servants.

We say "there should be no sex (or sexual relations of any kind) outside of marriage" and to now say "no sex outside of marriage, plus no sex inside of homosexual marriages" could be confusing to some people.

I believe that there is a teaching aspect to the law. As Elder Oaks explains, "Law has at least two roles: one is to define and regulate the limits of acceptable behavior. The other is to teach principles for individuals to make individual choices. The law declares unacceptable some things that are simply not enforceable, and there’s no prosecutor who tries to enforce them. We refer to that as the teaching function of the law."

My own study of the scriptures has led me to believe that a nation's best chance for happiness is to govern according to God's laws. It is what our Founding Fathers believed as well. Didn't they make us "one nation under God," after all?  One example is the reign of King David in the Old Testament in the Bible: "David’s reign was the most brilliant of Israelitish history, for…the whole government rested upon a religious basis, and the will of God was the law of Israel.” The Book of Mormon echoes these sentiments, including a warning about what will happen if we don't govern based on correct principles: “If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of  God will come upon you; yea then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” -Msh, 29:27

These reasons, and others, are why I can't feel good about posting an equals sign on my Facebook, though I love my friends that experience same-gender attraction very much. I know that our Heavenly Father loves you very much too. I know He wants what is best for you, the things that will bring you the most lasting happiness in this life and in the life to come. I have come to know these things through my direct communication with my Heavenly Father as I have prayed to Him and as He has sent His Spirit to answer me. I want you to know that I follow the leaders of my church, not blindly, but because Heavenly Father has reassured me that they are His servants and that they speak for Him.

I don't want to start a debate by posting this, I just wanted to share my beliefs. I hope that you can respect them, as I respect your beliefs.

I also hope you can ignore misspellings and grammatical errors- I kind of had to write this in a hurry because I am going to be late for work!

The final thought I want to leave you with is love. Christ teaches us to love one another, regardless of our different beliefs. May we all treat one another with love.



  1. Replies
    1. Alissa! It's been a coon's age! How are you???

  2. I think this is very respectfully and tastefully written. I just have a small problem with the statement "some of you may be surprised to learn that the LDS church doesn't make many statements about what its members should do in regards to gay rights."
    The church in Utah poured millions of dollars into the Yes on 8 campaign in CA several years ago, and as the old saying goes "money talks." So one can reasonably assume that millions of dollars says a lot. We were also solicited in our ward to walk the streets of farmers market with Yes on 8 signs and to make campaign calls. I know that was just one sentence out of everything you wrote, but i think it's important to know that the church does tell it's members how to vote on such issues.

    1. In 2010, it was proposed that the Church be fined $5,538 for $37,000 worth of non-monetary contributions it made to in support of Prop 8 in California. "The amount of contributions not reported represented the cost of staff time spent by church employees on activities to help the Yes on 8 committee during the final two weeks of the election."
      -AJ Thank-you for sharing this, but next time please state correctly that the misappropriation of funds came in the form of people working on a committee, you stated your point as if it were actual money being contributed. Which is tantamount to slandering on behalf of a persons own prejudice against an organization.
      Do I agree with you in regard to money being appropriately used, yes- I however must say that as a private organization the Church is authorized by law to dispose of it's monetary assets in anyway it deems fit with regard to remaining inside it's legal right to do so. The Church does not support legal parties, does not impose on any choices made by special interest groups and makes official statements when necessary to correct any deficiencies in it's conduct.
      The Church however retains the right to make stances on certain political reforms that have an expressed interest contrary to what the Doctrinal teachings of the Church are; example- Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage. They do not support these because of the Churches view on the Sanctity of Life, believing that we come to this life to receive a body and have the opportunity to learn and grow, and with regards to Same-Sex Marriage- the Church holds firmly to it's statement of Marriage being ordained by God as being between a man and a woman and that sexual relations are to be kept within the bonds of marriage.

    2. I'm not sure if this was in response to my comment or not, since you addressed it to "AJ"... However I'll assume it was to me.

      I never said it was wrong for the Church to make those contributions. I was merely observing that Larken stated that the church hasn't made many statements to it's members on how they should feel about the issue when the reality is quite the opposite.

      I also don't know where you get your numbers. The Church itself declared funding of as little as $180,000 whereas other sources estimate as high as $6.9 million. However you want to dice it, many millions of dollars worth of man power was provided by the Mormon church in this effort.

      I do not state wether this is appropriate or not so please don't make assumptions that I am prejudice.

    3. *addendum*

      Ahh I see you got your knowledge of the campaign funds from Wikipedia. Well if you continue with that trusty source further you will see that contributions from LDS were not limited to that $37,000.

  3. Agreed with Jamie on the hundreds of millions of dollars a HUGE organization (the LDS) poured into one state's campaign. I also think this is very respectfully and tastefully written and I thank you for that. I'm probably going to regret saying this and I know you said you didn't want to start a debate but I just have to:

    While I respect your rights to your own beliefs and choices regarding religion, it is NOT RIGHT for religion to have ANY IMPACT WHATSOEVER on our government. No one is trying to steal or change your religious views on marriage. You are entitled to your religious views just as we are entitled to ours. The marriage people are fighting for is literally the 1138 rights and protections under the law that come with it. So really, this has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand, or at least it shouldn't, according to the first amendment. Your religious beliefs shouldn't be defining anyone's life but your own.

    1. | It is NOT RIGHT for religion to have ANY
      | IMPACT WHATSOEVER on our government.

      Says WHO?? That makes absolutely zero sense. I'm calling BS on this right now. Religion shapes who a person is and what decisions they make. Telling religious people they can't let religion affect their opinion is like telling a gay person that they can't let their feeling impact how they vote on an issues. The founding fathers founded the country on religious principle. Your point is invalid.

    2. If you read the entire sentence the end says, "on our government". I said absolutely NOTHING against religion shaping individual people or having an influence on the decisions they make for themselves. And I also said NOTHING about "telling religious people they can't let religion affect their opinion". Hence my quote, "You are entitled to your religious views just as we are entitled to ours".

      "Says WHO", you ask? The first sentence of the first amendment of the constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" We are talking about laws, not restricting individual religious beliefs.

      Please do not misread what I said if you are going to be "calling BS".

      To summarize since you seem to be a bit small minded: I never said religious people can't let religion affect their opinion. Try reading what I posted again if you'd like to attempt to have a civil discussion.

    3. You seem upset. Its kinda cute. Didn't mean to make you mad.

      I still don't follow your argument though. You should re-read what you wrote. You say people are entitled to their own opinion, but then in the same breath, you say that their "opinion" can't have any impact on our government? Opinions are all we have. How can you have an opinion and not let it affect gov?

      Again I ask, says who? We don't have a theocracy and your quote from the constitution was talking about theocratic rule.

    4. so ignorant... she is saying your opinion which is based on religious doctrine should not be taken into account when making laws because the constitution prohibits it. christian beliefs cannot be used to make laws that affect everybody.

    5. The state must be taken entirely out of religion, but religion cannot be taken entirely out of the state. The entire debate can be taken back to religion because our moral codes, our belief in what is basically right and wrong, comes from religion. Perhaps the best answer for the problem would be to redefine the argument not as a fight for marriage equality, but as a fight for the legal rights that come with marriage. Perhaps those rights should be separated from marriage and marriage remain a religious ceremony. Of course that would be very difficult and will probably never happen for many reasons.

    6. Thanks for that. I'm fine with being ignorant, but you're still wrong. This is my whole point. Go read my reply to you post below. If you read some of the journals, letters, or book from the era, you can understand the context in which this was written. It is often grossly misinterpreted and used in debates as such.

      My opinion is based on religious doctrine and the constitution doesn't prohibit it. Why should I not have the right to exercise my opinion as I see things? Telling me I can't exercise my opinion, but you can is kind-of ironic.

      "Unknown" I like the way you think. Nice comment.

  4. Why should a gay or lesbian couple that loves each other not be able to acquire the legal and economic benefits that come with the act of marriage? it has NO EFFECT on your life whatsoever if these people are able to get the same rights available to heterosexual couples. You are free to hold your beliefs privately but the fact that this is used as a reason to halt the progressive spread of equality for all in public policy is appalling. it is an infringement on the rights of other people who do not have the same point of view as you. Also, America is not a christian nation just because the major faith in it is christianity, hence why there is a seperation of church and state.

    1. Haha wow... You seriously missed the point of her post. Side note: the church openly supports legal and economic benefits for gay couples, just not marriage. Your message hates on Christians, which is very ironic. We love everyone. We are all entitled to our own opinions.

    2. im hating on christians because im advocating equal rights? you are terribly misguided on the principles this country was founded on. i could care less what you believe. but when that belief is used in an attempt to limit the rights of others, it becomes open to criticism. we live in a country where religious belief is a matter kept completely seperate from public policy. its a legality issue, has nothing to do with your opinion.

    3. side note: civil union is not the same as marriage and is therefore not equal. again this is a legal issue, not a matter of opinion

    4. |We live in a country where religious
      |belief is a matter kept completely
      |seperate from public policy

      This is total BS. Separation of church and state has absolutely nothing to do with keeping your religious opinions out of your everyday decisions in gov ("public policy"). The phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson in one of his letters. The whole idea was to separate the church from the government. There wouldn't be an official religion for the people and there couldn't be theocratic or monarchist rule (monarchs ruled by divine right).

      My question is this. Where do we draw the line? Can we restart polygamy? What about bestiality? You probably would scoff at both of these ideas, but honestly, if we are going to grant rights liberally, why not just give it to everyone who asks?

      My quarrel with your argument isn't so much on the issue of giving gays and lesbians "equal rights," it is in the point that you believe that religious opinion has to be held "privately." There is nothing in our constitution that backs this idea.

      You were hating on christians by saying that their opinions had to be kept to themselves privately. In other words you say their opinions really don't matter. Honestly, I love reading everyone's opinions.

    5. I wasn't going to jump into this conversation thread.. but honestly it makes me sick to my stomach when people compare homosexuals to animals by comparing homosexuality to bestiality. Those comments have no place in any conversation.

      On another note, I do understand that it probably frustrates mormons that gays might get equal rights but polygamy was made illegal ages ago. However, if you look at the sick way that the polygamist communities today treat their women and daughters is it any wonder no one is in a hurry to legalize that again? If you are unfamiliar with the issue, I would suggest Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven."

  5. Larken, absolutely loved this! Very well written and well thought out! Don't get involved in defending against some of these comments. Your opinion defends itself. Loved it!

  6. Thank you. Beautifully put. I'm a mormon. My oldest daughter is gay. I have not put a red equal sign on my facebook page. Nor will I. I honestly do not know that I'd vote yes for "gay marriage"...don't know that I could. Civil union? Yes. Because my daughter's partner deserves to be bedside should my daughter be in the hospital. But, marriage? I have a tough time with that proclamation...I love my daughter. I will fight for her. I will defend. I will not call her names or demean her because of her sexual orientation. But I won't be putting that red equal sign up...and she'd fight for my right to not. Thanks again.

    1. I have family members who are also gay and lesbian. I love them more than words can express, and want them to be happy. I believe they are capable of greater happiness outside of a homosexual relationship. I cannot in good conscience believe that a label of "married" will bring them happiness. I also recognize that I personally have no right to make that decision for them.

      I believe legal unions provide all of the benefits of marriage and from a legal perspective are equal. This solution also protects the sanctity of marriage.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective Connie!

  7. Thank you my friend. Your statements mean a lot.