The My Girl Bill

David - August 7, 2008

The stake president called on our home last night, a pre-arranged appointment that made my wife and me anxious. We knew it was going to be about California’s Proposition 8– that’s all the stake’s been talking about for the past month. It’s become ad nauseum in these parts, even more than Obama.

We wholeheartedly agreed with the prop and already indicated we’d be happy to throw some money at it to help out. What we were dreading, though, was to be asked to make “get out the vote” calls or put up a sign on our lawn (the worst part about being asked by the Church to do something is you really can’t say no– and if you do, you just don’t get it). One of my wife’s best friends is a gay man (with a monogamous partner) with whom she already shared her feelings on same-sex marriage. Surprisingly he agreed, and even called the whole issue “ridiculous.”

As it turned out, when the SP sat down with us, it was actually about making a contribution– a rather sizable contribution. He already had a figure in mind. Interestingly, the Mrs. and I both heard the figure in our heads before he said it. I asked if all the members were being asked for the same figure, and he admitted they weren’t. We told him we’d talk about it and would let him know if we’d send it or an alternative amount. He agreed and left a donation form for ProtectMarriage.com which asks you to submit, among other things, your name, and the name of your ward and stake.

Different thoughts ran through our minds after the visit. My wife wanted to know how they came up with the customized figure and stewed over the notion that they probably reviewed our tithing records. The alternative would have been to pray over each family name, which seemed a painful, time-intensive exercise considering we were talking about the whole stake. Meanwhile, I didn’t like the idea of tallies being made for each ward. The SP said they’d be getting back lists of the donors and how much they paid. I didn’t like the idea of my faithfulness being gauged so. I also didn’t like contributing to a coalition of churches, many of which I suspect are Huckabee fan clubs. Plus, let’s face it, it was a huge chunk o’ change they were asking from us.

On the other hand, my family also has something big riding in our lives: We were waiting on a bank’s approval of a bid we made for what we consider to be our dream house. It’s a short sale and we already waited over a month to see if we’d get it. Now our daughter’s potential school starts registration next week and the house needs to be in escrow for her to be allowed to enroll. This was, in my opinion, no time for peeving over prophetic directives.

This morning we dropped the check into the mailbox and not an hour later our realtor called to say we got the house.

It was an amazing testiimony of obedience and proving the Lord. It was a request we didn’t like and a gesture that wasn’t easy to perform. And yet, by not tarrying we were quickly blessed with the very thing we needed and longed for.

So much for kicking against the pricks.

208 Comments

  1. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, eh?

    Comment by Latter-day Guy — August 7, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

  2. My friend’s sister donated all they had saved up to buy a house during prop 22–about $15,000. Still no house.

    Comment by mmiles — August 7, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  3. Please don’t donate to prop. 8. For gay members of the church like myself, the church’s involvement in this issue has only made me feel more marginalized, isolated, and excluded. When the church fought for prop. 22 in 2000, 3 gay Mormons killed themselves because of how overbearing it got. It brought out a lot of hateful remarks. One of the 3, Stuart Matis shot himself on the steps of his stake center. I just wish the church would stay out of politics and keep church services, meetings, and efforts focused on God.

    Comment by Peter — August 7, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  4. Interesting that the SP approached you with a figure in mind. Does anybody know if this is happening throughout CA?

    Comment by SingleSpeed — August 7, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  5. I was just wondering if could have maximized your contribution: what would the Stake President have said if you told him you were more than willing to pay, as long as he would match you dollar for dollar? (I almost wish I lived in Cali. I really hope someone will try it and report back!)

    Comment by Latter-day Guy — August 7, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  6. L-d Guy,

    Nope, I’ve seen & been part of too much in this Church already to consider it a coincidence.

    mmiles,

    OUCH! Suddenly my sacrifice looks paltry. Thanks for the perspective.

    Peter,

    I’m sincerely sorry for the pain and isolation you’ve felt. Obviously the Church feels this issue goes beyond politics. As a member who sustains the prophet, and who covenanted to consecrate all he has to the Church, I don’t feel I’m entitled to entertain alternatives.

    Comment by David — August 7, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  7. Really guys, is no one old enough to remember the Jim Stafford song and appreciate my title for this entry?

    Comment by David — August 7, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  8. #4-
    I find it more interesting that the SP gave them a figure they already had in their minds.

    #3-
    My MIL was a huge advocate against Prop 22 (in fact, her actions against the Church because of Prop 22 kept her excommunicated) and knew Stuart personally. It was really sad. It still hasn’t changed a lot of minds, though (including my husband’s and mine) about gay marriage. Or the Church’s involvement. I know that has made a lot of people angry, and I’m sad for it.

    I’m glad things worked out for you, David. I think the hardest things we face in this world are the things of the unknown –the few steps into the dark we have to take, hoping beyond hope that there’s a reason for it and that there will be light sooner, rather than later. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out the way (like mmiles’ sister) that we think that it will –in fact, I daresay that it rarely works out the way we think it will! –but I know there’s always a reason. Faith is a funny thing, eh?

    Comment by cheryl — August 7, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

  9. What a wonderful testimony of obedience. Thank you so much for sharing. I know that the Proposition 8 situation is difficult for some members to understand. I personally don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage, and I don’t understand why the church is so adamant in asking us to support the proposition, but I’ve been blessed in the past for obeying my priesthood leaders and am willing to do so once again. Your story only strengthens my resolve to do “the right thing” even if it doesn’t make sense why I’m doing it.

    Comment by Momma — August 7, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  10. 1–I am dying to know the figure!
    2–I much prefer anonymous contributions
    3–This would have made me VERY uncomfortable
    4–Hallelujah I do not live in CA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    5–Glad you are happy with the results

    Comment by ESO — August 7, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  11. I couldn’t have done it. I just couldn’t have.

    Comment by tracy m — August 7, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  12. I’m glad you’re cookie cutter Mormon existence is so wonderful, including perceived blessings for contributing to Prop 8. I only hope one day you wake up and your son, through no fault of his own, comes to you and says, “Dad, I’m gay and I have been as long as I can remember.”

    That’s what happened to my LDS wife and me. Your life will be changed forever, as will your perspectives on many things.

    Comment by Holden Caulfield — August 7, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  13. This sounds like the approach in the old days to the ward/stake building fund and budget (and similar to stories I used to here about blessings after making a big contribution).

    I guess I am a little surprised that, now that the Church has switched to a “free will offering” approach to fast offerings, missionary, humanitarian, temple fund, etc…., that this “assigned” approach is being used for Proposition 8.

    Comment by DavidH — August 7, 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  14. This post is unbelievable to me. My wife showed this post to me because she’s such a huge blog reader and it shocked me on so many levels. We’re a military family living in the east and far away from all this nonsense in California. I don’t know what LDS church exists out west, but this would never happen in our area.

    Issue 1: A stake president was personally soliciting funds from members for a political cause? And you think he may have used your tithing records to find out what your level of giving should be? If my SP stepped into my home, and asked me to give money to a political cause when the Church has said MANY times it would not get involved in political affairs, AND the guy perused my tithing records to solicit me, I’d punch him in the mouth and throw him out by his collar.

    Issue 2: Getting involved in this whole gay marriage thing after years of the “Church doesn’t get involved in politics” is really unfair to members who don’t like their politics dictated to them. Let’s start protecting marriage by getting heterosexuals to stop beating their wives, supporting mistresses, and putting their careers before their families. Then we can talk about gay marriage. Can’t we pull the beam from our own eyes before we pull the mote from others’?

    Issue 3: Correlating personal wealth with righteousness and righteous decisions. This is a dangerous path. If you want to correlate the real estate deal with your decision, go ahead. But you’re deluding yourself if you think that’s God’s way of saying you made the right choice. God answers prayers with warm fuzzy feelings, not personal wealth. And He certainly doesn’t broker real estate deals. If God is managing your real estate holdings while people are starving and dying across the world, you and I believe in two different Heavenly Fathers.

    Man, I don’t want you to think that I’m judging you. I love the Church as much as you do. But someone has to start keeping the Church honest in respecting the lives, livelihoods, and testimonies of its members.

    Comment by Justin — August 7, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  15. This reminds me of the old George Carlin routine on God and Religion:

    “He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money!”

    Comment by WendyP. — August 7, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  16. I sincerely wonder if this is something that is happening purely on the SP’s initiative or if he’s being directed from leaders above him in the church hierarchy. Or is he inspired? Are you allowed to ask an SP what the basis of his instruction is?

    Comment by danithew — August 7, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with Justin (#14)!

    I have also made a “covenant to consecrate”, but mine (like all my actions) is based on prompting/confirmation by the Holy Ghost. No prompt, no consecrate.

    Comment by ed42 — August 7, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  18. My Cali cousin was approached in the same way, with his stake president having a figure in mind that was exactly ten times what cousin & wife had already decided to donate. Turns out the SP had come up with the figure because of my cousin’s profession — had he looked at the tithing records, he would have known that income for recent years was not typical of the profession, because cousin has been researching, not practicing. Cousin donated amount he and wife had decided; SP satisfied.

    I’m glad I don’t live in Cali. I don’t trust the other members of this coalition, either.

    Comment by AEP — August 7, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  19. This type of request from church leaders also occurred during Prop 22. Many people who ended up giving early last time, ended up being approached often. Maybe you can get a boat next time.

    Comment by Paula — August 7, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  20. So it sounds like the church leaders are doing the same thing this time as they did with Prop 22. Some people who have not been happy with the way the church has been involved with both of these issues have a website discussing the issues.

    Comment by LRC — August 7, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  21. I want to apologize for my comment which was meant to be flip, but probably sounds mean. But your post frankly, really bothers me. I think it is a misinterpretation of scripture to assume that tithing leads automatically to material blessings. If so, why is everyone in my rural Utah town poor? And this post seemed to me to be stretching the tithing promise of blessings to include donations to a political cause. And I think in general, LDS folks tend to conflate material wealth with spirituality. I don’t think that God cares if we live in a fancy house or not.

    Comment by Paula — August 7, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  22. Justin (in particular),

    Let me take the third part first: I wasn’t trying to correlate righteousness with personal wealth. My family needed a home– particularly a better environment to raise our daughter. We found one that fit us and our modest budget, and it was iffy whether we were going to get it or not because there were competitors. We were under a lot of stress and were trying to meet a deadline. We prayed, fasted, tried to live as we should and obeyed our leaders. I don’t see getting the house as gaining wealth and I don’t see the Lord as my broker. What I do see is a very welcome blessing. For what it’s worth, I have a notably wealthy brother-in-law who does equate his status to his righteousness, so I know where you’re coming from. If that’s the kind of impression I gave, I apologize.

    The first and second parts of your comment can be answered easily enough. Just because this proposition is tangled up in politics, that doesn’t mean it’s not a moral issue. The prophet has asked us to contribute our means to see the proposition gets passed. Are you saying you’d answer the call by giving your stake president a bloody lip? Perhaps we do serve different Fathers.

    AEP,

    Thanks for your input. I think that suggests the SPs were given instructions from up the food chain to do what they’re doing.

    ed42,

    Sometimes the confirmation comes after the obedience. As I said, I really wasn’t crazy about giving as much as was asked, but I did feel strongly about obeying my church leaders. If you recall, I also said the amount came to our minds before the SP said it. Frankly I don’t get all the hubbub because I credited the Lord for blessing our family as a result of our obedience. It was a faith-promoting experience. And this is wrong because…?

    Comment by David — August 7, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  23. I am horrified to hear that the church leaders are actually soliciting money to promote this political cause. I understand your desire to equate obedience with blessings- that’s one of the main teachings of the gospel. However, denying equal rights and fair treatment of others does not seem to be in harmony with Christ’s teachings- “Love One Another”- and the all important “treat others like you would want to be treated?” Your real estate ventures seem more like a coincidence to me. If it had turned out the other way, would you have decided that the Lord was unhappy with your contribution?

    The church is stepping over its bounds with this one. I am so saddened by its actions. I hope the members of the church will listen to their hearts, seek goodness and do what they think (and feel by the spirit) is right- not what they have been dictated to do.

    Comment by Elisabeth Cohen — August 7, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

  24. The money solicitation is not new. It worked the same way on prop 22 back in 2000. As long as the money is not collected on church property, there is no problem or conflict with the tax status of the church. The donations are not tax deductible and are purely voluntary.

    In our stake, it was decided not to assess an amount, but to leave it up to the individual families as to how much they would contribute. It is probable that those opposed to the amendment will raise twice as much as those who support it. This is quite the dividing issue.

    Comment by Tim Malone — August 7, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

  25. Our stake is also asking for donations and also for committed service time.

    For me, this is an issue of sheep and goats, wheat and tares.

    Let the rock throwing begin.

    Comment by s'mee — August 7, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  26. You know, I’ve recently written here why I think this whole campaign is a very bad idea on the LDS Church’s part.

    But if I lived in California, I think I would contribute nonetheless.

    I don’t believe that gays are entitled to a government legitimacy label. They just aren’t. If people don’t like gays, tough. It’s not the government’s job to try and get people to like them. Neither do I consider a same sex union a “marriage.” Sorry.

    Of course, as I’ve made clear (I hope), I think the Church is going about this all wrong and will ultimately shoot themselves in the foot. But I also believe in supporting my people. I would do this for them. Misguided as I think they are, I would do this for them.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 7, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  27. Paula and Justin,

    You know, I’m reminded of a line from Shakespear’s Twelfth Night where drunk old Sir Toby Belch confronts the sanctimonious and self-righteous steward Malvolio, who has interrupted his revels:

    “Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

    Excuse me both of you, but… I am allowed to try and see God’s hand in the day to day events of my life, and so is David. I am allowed to see a new, and needed legal client for my practice as an answer to a prayer, or as a blessing for something. I am allowed to see the lack of clients in my life as meaning something as well.

    Of course, I am not at liberty to make the same judgments of other people’s lives. But with myself and my own house, I am not wrong to seek for the divine hand in my affairs. In fact, I think God wants me to do it.

    I’m not going to walk about wailing every day just because the world didn’t turn out quite right. Nor am I going to scowl at every rainbow, just because it’s raining on someone else.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 7, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  28. Not that you need it Seth, but just to add a second witness…I am convinced that the Lord blesses us in our careers according to our personal righteousness, humility and faithfulness in service to others, both assigned as callings and basic Christian acts. The coincidences are just too numerous to discount by the faithful.

    I see the hand of the Lord in the successes of my daily work as a reward for obedience. Gratitude demands that I confess his grace and compassion in all aspects in my life. My career is a big part of how I spend my days and God is not absent there. Responding positively to requests from priesthood leaders brings blessings.

    Comment by Tim Malone — August 7, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

  29. For me, this is an issue of sheep and goats, wheat and tares.

    Let the rock throwing begin.

    Or perhaps an issue of glass houses?

    As an expatriate Californian, I get the best of both worlds–a vote and no requests for voluntary donations.

    And Seth R., why on earth would it even occur to you to scowl at rainbows? Rain is life for the arid and parched state that is California and we celebrate when it comes.

    Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing some more testimonies of the Lord’s hand in the accumulation of worldly things. Its an intriguing idea that I think far too many goats and tares discount out of what can only be described as pride.

    Comment by Peter LLC — August 7, 2008 @ 11:31 pm

  30. Great post, David and great responses from you and Seth and others!

    It may not make sense (I think it does), but since when is that a new thing? I still do not understand why blacks were ever denied the priesthood nor do I understand the church’s current interpretation of gambling. However, that does not keep me from fully sustaining all my church leaders, including and especially the local ones. I have faith that in time, I will understand it all.

    As for the whole obedience=wealth thing, I think David would, like the rest of us, prefer a more eternal blessing of some sort than a temporal one, but it is still a wonderful blessing any of us would take and he received revelation as such.

    Comment by Bret — August 7, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  31. Justin,

    Your “Issue #2″ is based upon faulty logic and misinformation.

    A. The church has been abundantly clear on it’s position against and punishments for abuse in marriage (both here and in the eternities). It’s discussed in almost every general conference. Pres. Hinckley and Elder Holland come to mind as two of the more recent, bitingly stern condemnations.

    B. Appealing to the “there’s bigger fish to fry” argument is one of the most abused (and absurd) logical fallacies around. If everyone abided that rule, nothing would ever get dealt with.

    Comment by Ryan — August 8, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  32. This post is so disgusting to me that I have decided to reprint it on as many sites as possible to alert reasonable citizens as to the activity of the LDS church in politics. To suggest that I am outraged is an understatement. This effort on the part of the church is as unpleasant as Hinkley showing up at Elders Ball and Gordon’s funeral and stating that it does not matter how long one lives in this life and then departing with bodyguards.

    Comment by robert — August 8, 2008 @ 3:15 am

  33. If everyone abided that rule, nothing would ever get dealt with.

    While on the topic of fallacies…

    Comment by Peter LLC — August 8, 2008 @ 3:54 am

  34. As human beings, we all seek to explain the chaos of every day life. That may be the reason we seek to correlate decisions with temporal blessings, and while we each reserve the right to explain our lives in whatever narrative we chose, applying that logic as an axiom to everyone is a grave error. While Church members in many parts of the United States occupy higher levels of personal wealth than other religious demographics, internationally the correlation holds little water. If God blesses Americans with personal wealth in return for righteousness, why does he turn a blind eye to Central and South American members who are just as righteous? Beyond providing for the basic necessities of our families, I don’t see a requirement by Heavenly Father to go much beyond that while so many bellies are still so hungry.

    I don’t really see David’s actions as immoral. He was put into a difficult position by a priesthood leader and David followed the dictates of his heart. I think the real error is in the behavior of that priesthood leader. Whether that SP is trying to get a Seventy or Mission President spot is up for discussion, but he seems to be campaigning for a cause apart from Prop 8.

    I am somewhat surprised that many of you think Proposition 8 is about gay marriage. It isn’t. The Church isn’t stating any new position; indeed, my own personal beliefs fall directly in line with the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman. The real groundbreaking move is not doctrinal but political. The key statement in the letter that was read in sacrament meetings is that the Church was approached by other denominations to support this movement. Instead of staying neutral or trying to explain that the Church does not involve itself in the politics of its people, the Church made a calculating move to be counted with the Christian mainstream, an option we rarely have. That’s what makes this debate fascinating, and that by tossing in our hats to support OTHER churches in the battle for Prop 8, we become a little less of a peculiar people.

    Comment by Justin — August 8, 2008 @ 5:24 am

  35. My father in law is a bishop in Southern CA. For those of you who want to know how much a family is expected to give to Prop 8 in his stake, it’s $1000. A rich ward is expected to be able to come up with about $150,000 for Prop 8.

    Comment by Sophia — August 8, 2008 @ 6:37 am

  36. is no one old enough to remember the Jim Stafford song
    Unfortunately, yes.

    and appreciate my title for this entry

    Uh…no. The song was so bad that no amount of cleverness can redeem it.

    I have also made a “covenant to consecrate”, but mine (like all my actions) is based on prompting/confirmation by the Holy Ghost. No prompt, no consecrate.

    This is an important point, but does not necessarily contradict the original post. I’ve had a similar experience (albeit, not political). While I was waiting for word on a particular job, I received a prompting that I should pay my tithing immediately. Not wait till Sunday–immediately. We had a mid-week correlation meeting that night and I handed the bishop my envelope as soon as I got there. I was offered the job the next morning.

    So is the message that because I was so righteous as to pay my tithing in the middle of the week that I prospered? No, the message is that because I obeyed that particular prompting, I prospered. In fact, I have never paid my tithing in the middle of the week since, and I have done just fine.

    Now, David did not provide enough details to determine whether he attributes his ultimate decision to contribute to a specific spiritual prompting or whether he was just assuming that blessings in his stake were now a function of the size of contributions to Prop 8. If it was the former, then the story is worthwhile and uplifting. If it was the latter, then it is disturbing as some have found it.

    Comment by Last Lemming — August 8, 2008 @ 6:39 am

  37. This post is pretty disturbing. If your conscience demands that you oppose the happiness of others, you should at least approach it with a somber attitude. If your thesis is correct, then your new house is a reward for your support of an act that will cause great pain to thousands of gays and lesbians. Even if this is God’s will, we should be charitable and compassionate to those who will suffer because of it.

    Comment by Doug Hudson — August 8, 2008 @ 7:11 am

  38. Response to Robert in comment #32:

    Welcome to the free world. Get over yourself.

    Comment by danithew — August 8, 2008 @ 7:41 am

  39. Of course blessings can be material items, money, or other worldly items. Blessings can just as easily be things that at the time seem like trials and even tragedies. Getting this house does sound like a blessing in this case, but the blessing just as easily could have been not getting the house, but solving the problems of the current living situation in another way. If the Lord blesses me with a high paying job (I wish), because of my faithfulness, it does not mean that I am more worthy or more faithful than the person who loses his or her job at the same time. That person has different needs, different lessons to learn and a different path. In my life, I’ve seen that losing a job or going through other tough times can turn out to be blessings in the long run, they just aren’t so obvious at the time.

    Comment by Tammy — August 8, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  40. This effort on the part of the church is as unpleasant as Hinkley [sic] showing up at Elders Ball and Gordon’s [sic] funeral and stating that it does not matter how long one lives in this life and then departing with bodyguards.

    I am reminded here of Tal Bachman’s similarly jaundiced representation of President Hinckley’s remarks at Elder Wilson’s funeral in May 1989.

    (I am not the same Justin who posted comments 14 and 34.)

    Comment by Justin — August 8, 2008 @ 7:54 am

  41. Last Lemming (#36),

    Peace be still, my brutha… it was the former.

    Comment by David — August 8, 2008 @ 8:11 am

  42. Tammy (#39),

    Well put. I wish I had articulated that in the original post.

    Comment by David — August 8, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  43. David, thanks for this very uplifting story of faith and service. Who knows whether there was a correlation between you getting the house of your dreams and your Church contribution, but the story itself is interesting and noteworthy.

    I see the effort on Prop. 8 as similar to other Church efforts throughout history, such as being asked to tithe one tenth of your time for building a temple or being asked to participate in Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign or being asked to move into the wilderness to go help settle barren deserts. All of those initiatives involved sacrifices and incredible faith. Given our current political environment, it takes faith to make the contribution, it takes faith to continue to support Church leaders and it takes faith to face the slings and arrows of the outraged intolerants who are likely to come here and condemn you and the Church. Do not think our sacrifices in this generation are any less important than those in past history generations — they are simply different and not as apparent to us now as they will be with the wisdom of the eternities.

    Comment by Geoff B — August 8, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  44. Well said, Geoff B. Well said!

    Comment by cheryl — August 8, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  45. [...] wanted to bring to readers’ attentions an incredible story of faith and sacrifice by a brother in California. To sum up, his stake president asked him and his family to contribute a large amount of money to [...]

    Pingback by A story of faith and sacrifice : The Millennial Star — August 8, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  46. Danithew FTW.

    Comment by Steve Evans — August 8, 2008 @ 8:49 am

  47. I am sorry, but in this case no matter what the outcome you would have attributed it to “doing the right thing”. If you hadn’t got the house, you would have said it wasn’t meant to be and the Lord was protecting you.

    I am sorry, but I have an issue the church trying to legislate morality. Specifically sexual morality. This is the church that defended marriage between one man and many women, and now it defines marriage as between one man and one woman (except obviously, in the temple).

    I don’t think it is appropriate for the church to approach people asking for money-and a very specific dollar amount.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 8, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  48. Ah…the free world…where religion buys law. Its an interesting concept. Think I’ll stay in Vietnam. Glad to see the LDS is mainstreaming into evangelical Christian territory with its previously unheralded political agenda. Should be interesting when the two groups publicly disagree about some civil policy and try to outspend each other. Maybe the churches will go broke…who needs charity when you have faith.

    Comment by robert — August 8, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  49. I’m glad I don’t live in California and have not been solicited this way. I don’t think the church should involve itself with political issues. Is the church only contacting Republican members, or are Democrats also asked to contribute money this way?

    I wonder if the tax-exempt status was jeopardized when a local Stake allowed to Mexican Consulate to setup shop in a Cultural hall and sell $60,000 worth of Matricula cards to illegal aliens.

    I wonder how many members would donate if leaders were approaching them to obtain funds for an illegal alien legal defense fund? Members in Utah are being asked to go out and welcome illegal aliens to the state, offering them free food and legal services with no strings attached. Most are blindly following this request as well, despite the blatant disregard for Federal law.

    Comment by Lee — August 8, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  50. Not going to get in on the Prop 8 debate, but David, FWIW–I know the song you’re referring to and I think your title is hysterical.

    Comment by JimD — August 8, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  51. Years ago my neighbor’s son came out. The ward shunned him. The family disowned him. shortly after the son took his own life. Since then the father has been a walking zombie, not able to function in society. He found out too late that one should prioritize family OVER church.

    Comment by Neil Harmer — August 8, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  52. Well, it looks like some links went up a little before 9:11 AM.

    Comment by John Mansfield — August 8, 2008 @ 9:51 am

  53. The First Presidency letter says, “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.”
    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08028_00.pdf

    When we receive instruction or revelation from our church leaders what are we to do with it? We are not just supposed to follow it blindly. As Brigham Young said, “Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.” (JD 9:150)

    In D&C 134 it says, “ 9. We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

    So as long as having homosexual feelings is choice than we are justified, because you can’t just choose to be something in order to receive civil rights. Those rights under law are given equally to all who naturally qualify for them. We can’t make arbitrary qualifications.

    But from the Church website, “ELDER OAKS: That’s where our doctrine comes into play. The Church does not have a position on the causes of any of these susceptibilities or inclinations, including those related to same-gender attraction. Those are scientific questions — whether nature or nurture — those are things the Church doesn’t have a position on.” http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/public-issues/same-gender-attraction

    So if it is not a choice for some people to be homosexual and they are not members of the Church, can we support legislation that would be denying a civil right to them? Or is the First Presidency justified in calling all California mormons to vote this way? It is up to you.

    Some people are choosing to speak up at signingforsomething.org.

    Comment by Big Hos — August 8, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  54. Here are some quotes for you to consider:

    It is not sufficient to quote sayings purported to come from Joseph Smith or Brigham Young upon matters of doctrine. Our own people also need instruction and correction in respect of this. It is common to hear some of our older brethren say, ‘But I heard Brother Joseph myself say so,’ or ‘Brother Brigham preached it; I heard him.’ But that is not the question. The question is has God said it? Was the prophet speaking officially? . . . As to the printed discourses of even leading brethren, the same principle holds. They do not constitute the court of ultimate appeal on doctrine. They may be very useful in the way of elucidation and are very generally good and sound in doctrine, but they are not the ultimate sources of the doctrines of the Church, and are not binding upon the Church. The rule in that respect is—What God has spoken, and what has been accepted by the Church as the word of God, by that, and that only, are we bound in doctrine.

    Leaders of the Church even spoke out against those who might try to think that some other standard applied for ‘official’ Church doctrine:

    [The Seer, a magazine published by a Church leader] contain[s] doctrines which we cannot sanction, and which we have felt impressed to disown, so that the Saints who now live, and who may live hereafter, may not be misled by our silence, or be left to misinterpret it…It ought to have been known, years ago, by every person in the Church—for ample teachings have been given on the point—that no member of the Church has the right to publish any doctrines, as the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, without first submitting them for examination and approval to the First Presidency and the Twelve. There is but one man upon the earth, at one time, who holds the keys to receive commandments and revelations for the Church, and who has the authority to write doctrines by way of commandment unto the Church. And any man who so far forgets the order instituted by the Lord as to write and publish what may be termed new doctrines, without consulting with the First Presidency of the Church respecting them, places himself in a false position, and exposes himself to the power of darkness by violating his Priesthood. While upon this subject, we wish to warn all the Elders of the Church, and to have it clearly understood by the members, that, in the future, whoever publishes any new doctrines without first taking this course, will be liable to lose his Priesthood.

    Later leaders of the Church have continued to teach this principle. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

    It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man¹s doctrine. You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards of doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works. Every man who writes is responsible, not the Church, for what he writes. If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted.

    Elder Bruce R. McConkie, whose writings some critics attempt to elevate to “official status,” despite the fact that he explicitly states that he writes only on his own behalf, said:

    With all their inspiration and greatness, prophets are yet mortal men with imperfections common to mankind in general. They have their opinions and prejudices and are left to work out their own problems without inspiration in many instances. Joseph Smith recorded that he “visited with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that ‘a prophet is always a prophet’; but I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.” (Teachings, p. 278.) Thus the opinions and views even of prophets may contain error unless those opinions and views are inspired by the Spirit. Inspired statements are scripture and should be accepted as such. (D. & C. 68:4.).

    Since “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (1 Cor. 14:32), whatever is announced by the presiding brethren as counsel for the Church will be the voice of inspiration. But the truth or error of any uninspired utterance of an individual will have to be judged by the standard works and the spirit of discernment and inspiration that is in those who actually enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Comment by Big Hos — August 8, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  55. What drives me bananas is that people assume I hate gays because I don’t support gay marriage.

    Or that I hate drunks because I oppose drunk driving.

    Or that I hate smokers because I hate smoking.

    Or that I hate intellectuals because I hate studying philosphy.

    Or that I hate the Japanese because I hate sashimi.

    Ludicrous. Stupid. Kind of dumb, really. Even my MIL, and advocate for PFLAG and gay rights of all kinds still loves me and respects me, despite the fact that I will always be opposed to gay marriage. She gets the Church, she understands. And yet they excommunicated her. But she still gets it. And she still has love in her heart.

    It’s hard to feel sorry for gay rights activists (and those who leave the church for bitter, hate-filled reasons) when they are so full of hatred and bitterness (obviously). So, I don’t. I’ll have compassion for the ones who show compassion. Spewing forth hatred for Prophets of God doesn’t work, people. Never has. Never will.

    David-
    You are so brave for posting this. I realize this now.

    Comment by cheryl — August 8, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  56. I’ve never heard of postmormon.org but will check it out now to see if it’s worthy of a contribution. It’s good to know that there are those who are doing their part to support Christ’s plan of free will and to thwart Lucifer’s plan to enforce morality on everyone.

    Does not the eleventh article of faith proclaim that all men should be allowed freedom to worship as they please?

    As a Christian, I believe that two people who love each other should be married.
    As a gay person I believe marriage includes same sex marriage.

    By preventing me from marrying the person of my choosing regardless of gender, you are infringing upon my rights to worship the God of my understanding. The God I worship accepts me as I am. The LDS church is hypocritical- either live the eleventh article of faith or have it changed.

    Comment by Jerad — August 8, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  57. It’s hard to feel sorry for gay rights activists (and those who leave the church for bitter, hate-filled reasons) when they are so full of hatred and bitterness (obviously). So, I don’t.

    No one said it would be easy, just worth it.

    I’ll have compassion for the ones who show compassion.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that tit-for-tat is not a principle of the restored gospel. Unlike the moral of David’s story, it requires little faith and no sacrifice to love your like-minded buddies.

    Comment by Peter LLC — August 8, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  58. Peter LLC-
    Touche.

    Comment by cheryl — August 8, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  59. I’m saddened by the Church’s stance on this issue, for political and philosophical reasons.

    But I’m even more saddened by the acrimony, on both sides, that this debate causes. All this talk of “wheat and tares” on one hand and accusations of pride on the other is not what the Gospel is about. We can disagree about something, but as disciples of Christ shouldn’t we be a little more circumspect in the language we use to describe other Christians? Shouldn’t that be more important than being on the right side (whatever side you think that is) of this debate?

    Comment by andrew — August 8, 2008 @ 10:34 am

  60. So you’re thanking your God for (supposedly) helping you profit personally as a reward for discriminating against others? Holy kickback, Batman! ;)

    Seriously, is this post for real? Or is it a test of Mormon ethics like this earlier post?

    Comment by C. L. Hanson — August 8, 2008 @ 10:52 am

  61. I cannot be the only member of the church who feels like a hypocrite for saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, when the temple has sealings between one man and multiple women. As long as the sealings in the temple continue the way they do, then I cannot support what the church is saying it wants us to. How can we say we support marriage only being between a man and a woman when we so obviously don’t?

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 8, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  62. Andrew said,

    But I’m even more saddened by the acrimony, on both sides, that this debate causes. All this talk of “wheat and tares” on one hand and accusations of pride on the other is not what the Gospel is about. We can disagree about something, but as disciples of Christ shouldn’t we be a little more circumspect in the language we use to describe other Christians? Shouldn’t that be more important than being on the right side (whatever side you think that is) of this debate?

    It seems to me that you are contradicting yourself here. You say that we shouldn’t be so concerned about being on the right side, but then the message of your post is also implying that being a Christian is the most important side to be on.
    In my opinion your post is quite hypocritical.

    Comment by paths — August 8, 2008 @ 11:05 am

  63. Sophia #35-are all families expected to give that much? That is more than some people’s rent.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 8, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  64. Things like the LDS involvement in Prop 22 and Prop 8 and the general way religions treat people who are different are why I gave up being LDS and other religions all together… I no longer believe in any organized religion and do not feel I ever will again… I simply express my spiritual outlook with the basic golden rule and express my personal concerns to others around me in my community… may the LDS get the Karma they deserve by treating others less than they want to be treated themselves… all is not well in zion… they cannot build a zion until they want to live it fully by loving and accepting everyone equally… that is how God loves all of his children in my understanding.

    Comment by Loren — August 8, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  65. Wow… as a gay former Mormon I find this discussion and the Church’s actions in California completely disheartening on many levels.

    I served an honorable mission, graduated from BYU, and spent 30 years trying to find the right woman to marry despite feeling zero physical or emotional atraction to them for 30 years. At some point around that time, I had the epiphany (which I think of as being personal revelation) that I’d be much happier being honest about who I was. Long story short, I met a wondeful man that I have been together with for eight years, and we too have been blessed with considerable prosperity.

    I was excommunicated after I went to my bishop and confessed the relationship that I was in. I wasn’t bitter, I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, I fully respected the right of the Church to take a stand and declare me to be an immoral person not worthy of inclusion in full fellowship. I wanted to keep attending Church and did so for a year after being excommuicated, at which point I was old enough to need to move to a family ward, and mainly because I wasn’t sure how to present myself in a new ward where I fully expected to encounter either open hostility or behind-the-scenes condemnation similar to what I’m seeing on here, I stopped attending.

    I still value my time in the Church and the person it made me, in many ways. Most of my famoly continues to be active members. Fortunately, none of them are in California so I don’t have to even worry about what they would be voting for on this issue.

    The Church’s current position on people who are same-sex attracted (as I understand it, calling them “gay people” also implies an acceptance of someone’s identity as a homosexual, and is to be avoided) is that we love them and welcome them into full fellowship as long as they are celibate. Love the sin, hate the sinner == a nice little phrase which is very unclear when it comes to telling someone what they should actually DO or NOT DO.

    To me, loving me but hating my sin would probably amount to displaying some compassion for me. After all, if I live my life as you think I should, I should now leave the man I love totally and completely and live the rest of my life alone. Express some inner conflict over the idea that as many of you claim, you have gay friends or family members and yet the Lord is asking you to tell them that their relationships aren’t worth sanctioning and in fact should be actively prohibited.

    When Abraham went up on to the mountain with Isaac, was he rejoicing and celebrating his blessings all the way?

    You rarely hear this sort of sympathy or empathy from active members of the Church. That’s where the charges of institutionalized homophobia come from.

    Where is the love?

    Comment by Mark in Portland — August 8, 2008 @ 11:38 am

  66. #62 – Here’s a list of what the larger contributors are giving. Smaller contributions are reported at this same website, but not as frequently. By law, all contributions of at least $100 must be reported (so if you contribute $25 four times, your contributions will be publicized at that site as well.)

    Comment by LRC — August 8, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  67. Okay, I’m jumping in.

    First, gay marriage and polygamy are two very different and distinguishable practices. The notion that the Church should accept gay marriage now because it used to sanction plural non-SSM (and because temple sealings imply that such unions may exist beyond this world) is nonsensical.

    Two, it is a gigantic leap to argue that simply because gay folk are born gay they “should” have the opportunity to marry other gay folk (whether “should” means constitutionally, morally, or otherwise). Marriage is both a religious and statutory construct. Both the state and the Church have legitimate reasons for not recognizing gay marriage that have absolutely nothing to do with whether gay folk can “control” their sexual preference.

    Three, the Church has consistently made a distinction between purely political issues and moral issues that happen to be politically driven (such as this one). Believe you me, the Church is very hesistant to jump into political matters, and I have personally seen area authorities tell individual church members to stand down in their efforts to bring seemingly very worthy political causes into the church forum.

    Finally, many of us have made a covenant to consecrate all that we have to the Church. The Church operates on the earth through leaders that are called and set apart to their positions. They are entitled to receive revelation consistent with their positions and we are promised blessings when we are obedient to their instructions. In the end, each of us will choose how we will choose, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that there will be no consequences associated with those choices.

    (Gee, David, I live nowhere near California, and now *I* might even throw in a few hundred bucks.)

    Comment by WMP — August 8, 2008 @ 11:45 am

  68. I am a Utah mormon, raised in the church, return missionary, and long-time active member, but I no longer believe in the LDS church. I no longer believe in concept of God as well. I no longer pay tithing, go to church, read my scriptures, attend the temple, etc. I do give generously to charities of my choosing, who are transparent about how the money is used.

    Shockingly, my family and I are still “blessed” on a daily basis, and have been for a long time, with both the temporal things we need, health, and peace and contentment in our home. Hmmm, how does that happen, when we’re so far removed from “God”? Must be “karma”, or maybe just good choices, along with a tolerant attitude, a reality-based outlook on life, and a bit of luck thrown in. God and his wishy-washy blessing system plays no part in my life anymore, and I can say that with a smile on my face and peace in my heart.

    If I were still a believing member of the church, an action like this from my SP would have me seriously reevaluating things. Very fortunately, I am also the mother of a gay son, which has been one of the biggest “blessings” of my life.

    Good luck with your move!

    Comment by Kristen — August 8, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  69. Two, it is a gigantic leap to argue that simply because gay folk are born gay they “should” have the opportunity to marry other gay folk (whether “should” means constitutionally, morally, or otherwise). Marriage is both a religious and statutory construct. Both the state and the Church have legitimate reasons for not recognizing gay marriage that have absolutely nothing to do with whether gay folk can “control” their sexual preference.

    The same reasoning can be applied to heterosexual people. Just because they are born and want to marry the opposite sex doesn’t mean they “should.” And in this case should means legally, the civil rights that are afford through marriage. The amendment is not about your morals or church’s views.

    Any “legitimate” reason for not recognizing gay marriage, by your line of reasoning, can be applied to heterosexual marriage.

    Comment by Big Hos — August 8, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  70. Mark in Portland-The love is here. This one has been so hard for me that I have actually been considering resigning. I don’t know how in good conscience I can be affiliated with the church. I am not sure that I can.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 8, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

  71. LRC (#65),

    Bearing in mind, of course, that we do not know the religious affiliation, if any, of those listed.

    Comment by David — August 8, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

  72. And when we obtain any ablessing from God, it is by bobedience to that law upon which it is predicated

    This is probably the most dangerously misunderstood verse in modern scripture.

    Example: My mission president once told an elder that his family could surely afford to send him to the doctor because his dad was a Stake President (meaning that he must be rich).

    If you feel spiritual confirmation that the house is a reward for your obedience to donate money, then I am not going to argue with David. But as mmiles mentioned in #2, this is not always the way the Lord works. In fact, my own experience tells me it mostly doesn’t happen the way it happened for David.

    Comment by cj douglass — August 8, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

  73. When I was five years old my extended family was having a party in the cultural hall of my uncle’s ward. He was the custodian and had keys. The adults were playing volleyball and the kids were playing on the stage and a man in his twenties that I had not seen before walked in the gym. Everyone stopped playing and watched as he walked over and spoke with my grandma for a minute, hugged her, and left. I later found out he was my cousin. Everybody spurned him but my grandma. My mom told me that she knew he was born gay because as a child he didn’t play rough like most boys. She knew that homosexuals were born gay long before scientific studies demonstrated it to be true but she shunned her nephew anyway because the church told her he was wicked.

    If I live to be a hundred years old I will not forget the look on my cousin’s face as he left the cultural hall. Nobody told him he couldn’t stay and play volleyball but he was driven out of the room by an atmosphere of bigotry and false moral superiority. Nobody should be shunned by the family. I love my family and they do not think of themselves as hateful but they were raised in a faith that championed intolerance. Religion should not be a tool to divide and drive wedges in families, communities, or nations.

    Most of us thought our grandma accepted my cousin for who he was but in retrospect I think my grandma was just more humble than we were. Today’s general authorities and today’s church could learn from a lot from an old lady that was willing to love unconditionally. I don’t know for sure how my grandma felt about homosexuality but she was humble enough to think it was the Lord’s job to judge and her job to love.

    The church’s active persecution of my cousin and others like him must stop. The last time I saw my cousin was at my grandma’s funeral. He now lives in California and has been committed to the same man for decades. Now they can finally get married and hopefully they can prevail against the bigots that oppose them and stay married. The church’s involvement in the political process to change the California constitution and deny homosexuals the same rights we all enjoy is morally corrupt and an indication that those leading the church are light years away from being true prophets.

    Marriage is the foundation of my life. My wife and I have been married for twenty two years and have two beautiful daughters. The gay couples we know do not threaten our marriage in any way. As a matter of fact, knowing these people enhances our lives.

    Comment by Carl — August 8, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  74. Wait. Wait. Let me get this straight.

    So you’re saying that: (a) the Church is making efforts to support measures that it believes will help maintain the integrity of marriage; and (b) you were blessed for following the counsel of your leaders.

    Well, then, I can easily see what all the hub-bub is about. I mean, it’s not like we teach these things every Sunday in church. Oh, wait, we do! My mistake. Well then, it seems like this shouldn’t be a very big deal to most active members. Maybe I’m missing something.

    Comment by jimbob — August 8, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  75. WMP- (1)the ammendment, if I remember correctly, specifically says that marriage is between a man a woman. How is polygamy between a man and a woman?

    (2) I disagree. I think that we will be humiliated later, similar to blacks and the priesthood.

    (3)as far as moral vs. political, my concern is their legislating all morality. Even if this is a moral issue, do we have a right to legislate it. Why should someone else be forced to live with our moral belief systems. It seems so arrogant to me. How can I demand that?

    (4)I made a covenant to consecrate everything I have, but I also have an obligation to pray about things and make sure that I am doing what I spirtually should. I cannot, after fasting and prayer, get a confirmation that this is anything more than hatred fueling this.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 8, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  76. I simply have a problem with the “blessing” aspect of the anecdote.

    Prayers, and even blessings have 3 outcomes. Yes, No, and wait. Plain and simple.

    If one were to have donated the money andnt have received a “blessing”, then maybe it meant one had to “wait” for it. If it came at a later date, then that answer would have been “wait, and yes”. If it had never come then the answer would have been “wait, and no”.

    It doesn’t matter who you say gave you the “blessing” the outcome will always be the same. Yes, No, and Wait.

    If the Author believed in the abominal snowman to have been his “savior” and he has asked for a monetary donation to the same cause, and the same scenario was in place. The same outcome happened, then one could just as easily have said that the abominal snowman blessed them because they were “faithful” in having paid the money that was asked of them.

    Still. If this was money that was supposed to go towards a house, but went to a polical cause instead, I hope your God helps you find the money to pay for the house now. Sure you may have gotten the approval message, but what about the money now? Maybe you can ask your SP for a loan since you were so faithful and “donated” to the “cause”.

    Comment by Lilth — August 8, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  77. #71 – Yes, no religious affiliation is included on the Secretary of State’s website. I, however, recognize LDS people from current and former wards and stakes, and there are more than a few of them.

    Comment by LRC — August 8, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  78. Glad you made this tough choice. This whole issue is going to make life very interesting over the next decade or two. Here’s my take on it, if you’re interested:

    http://ckbigelow.blogspot.com/2008/07/worst-case-scenario.html

    Comment by Chris Bigelow — August 8, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  79. Sophia #35-

    I think your numbers are slightly off. I live in one of the most affluent stakes in SoCal, and I know that at the stake level we have been asked to contribute at least $110,000 to the coalition. Starting August 16, our stake is organizing phone banks and ‘neighborhood’ captains to start contacting each registered voter in the area of responsibility we have been assigned as part of the effort.

    Comment by mtz — August 8, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  80. Long ago, a wise man said, “Let us force people to live moral lives. This way, none of them will do bad things. We can be responsible for making sure that everyone follows God’s law and there will be no sin.”

    And then another, even wiser man said, “No, it is wrong to force the human will. We should let them choose for themselves. In choosing they will grow and become responsible. Free agency is more important than that, it’s worth having people make bad choices and it’s worth the consequences that may follow.”

    I think all Mormons know who those two people were. Which side of the war are you on?

    Comment by Draconis — August 8, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  81. This is the Justin from #14 and 34. I’m glad some of the edge is starting to leave this conversation so that we as a community can discuss this and come to an understanding. I think Andrew really had a point in his post (#59). I don’t find many people, in and out of the Church, who can “love the sinner, hate the sin.” There are enough people in the Church willing to spew hateful remarks and shun those among the flock who are homosexual. But we should rise above that and love them.

    Whether we choose to support Prop 8 is an individual, political choice. If you hold a temple recommend, you have already proven your dedication to the doctrine behind this political issue. More importantly than gay marriage, the Scriptures teach us to love, to forgive, to understand. It’s hard, and frankly it’s often against our natural inclinations. The most dangerous aspect of all of this condemnation of other people is that once we begin to pass by one Samaritan, we begin to pass by others. Eventually, we stop for no one, putting doctrine and dogma before people. I sincerely hope that we treat other members of the Church, and others in general, with a more Christlike attitude than judging them to be chaff, tares, or goats. We are better than this.

    Comment by Justin — August 8, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  82. I appreciate that there are many divergent viewpoints regarding Proposition 8 and the Church’s involvement with it. I’ve tried to allow all to be represented.

    That said, I think we’ve read enough bitterness, sarcasm and anti-Church/anti-proposition lobbying. Are you trying to persuade people to your point of view, or are you just taking cheap shots to show off to your friends and for self-gratification?

    Any further such comments will be removed from this string.

    Comment by David — August 8, 2008 @ 3:28 pm

  83. Its amazing that the LDS Church bases its homophobic behavior on a mistranslation of the writings of Paul. The word arsenokoitai in Greek is a made up word by Paul. Means – man-beds – and if taken in context refers to temple prostitutes. If Paul had been referring to normal male homosexual behavior he would have used the word paiderasste. In Martin Luther’s time the term was translated as masturbator. Now it is homosexual. Which is a 19th-20th century term. The Church really should stay out of politics.

    Comment by Wil Wilson — August 8, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  84. Why is the LDS so intent on persecuting people? No one has to marry anyone of the same sex but the individuals who want to and the Supreme Court of California has said it would be illegal discrimination to prevent them from doing so.

    There has never been a US law since Jim Crow that discriminated against a group. It’s not time for one now. And people who give money for Prop 8 are wasting it because it’s going to lose. …just like the money those people will lose in vain.

    Why not just be human beings if that’s how you expect to be treated?

    Comment by alice — August 8, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  85. I think that this is a sickening law because it allows for a certain group of people who were born that way to be discriminated against. What people do in the privacy of the bedroom is not my business. I think some people are born with homosexual tendencies, just as someone is born with brown or blue eyes. If you’re truly on the side who said that people should be free to chose how to live, then you’d be against this law.

    Comment by Adrienne — August 8, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  86. Looks like Nine Moons may have set a new site record for first-time readers.

    Comment by John Mansfield — August 8, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  87. One of the most compelling reasons I have heard for members of the church supporting this proposition is that if gay couples are extended the same right to participate in a legal marriage, the church would be forced, by the resulting anti-discriminatory law, to perform same-sex marriages whenever requested including performing marriages in the temple.

    Does anyone know if this is true? I know the ‘nacle is crawling with attornies.

    Comment by Ryan — August 8, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  88. David:

    I appreciate your plight in making this thread positive. However, this is a passionate issue. Many active LDS people do not believe this action to be the correct one. I understand “follow the prophet”, but many active LDS people believe that our church and other churches should not dictate to non-believers how they should conduct their lives. After, in their view, it’s the only life they have.

    Having studied homosexuality in depth the three years since my son came out, I am not going to contribute to any more suicides.

    Comment by Holden Caulfield — August 8, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  89. I cannot be the only member of the church who feels like a hypocrite for saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, when the temple has sealings between one man and multiple women. As long as the sealings in the temple continue the way they do, then I cannot support what the church is saying it wants us to. How can we say we support marriage only being between a man and a woman when we so obviously don’t?

    The church recognizes civil marriage between a man and woman that are not sealed in a temple ceremony. Why should they care about civil marriage at all?! This issue has nothing to do with what the church does to create “holy” matrimony. Why do they need to be involved?

    Comment by robert — August 8, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  90. After nearly a decade of sincere prayer, scripture study, meditation, etc., I just recently made the extremely difficult and tearing decision to walk away from the LDS church’s expectations of me.

    During that decade of faithful stewardship in the LDS church, I was completely unable to hold a steady job… there were days when I simply could not get out of bed… I was completely unable to support myself.

    The very week I sat down with my parents and told them that I had decided to seek a male spouse and raise a family with him, I found a job and an apartment. A few months later, I saw a posting for an ever better job, one in the field I would like to really start my career; I applied and within a couple days was hired. I just checked my bank account, and I have sufficient money to provide for myself. Staying in bed is no longer ideal; life finally is livable.

    To be honest, I feel very much lead by the Spirit to the decision I have made for my life, and I cannot contribute the goodness that has come into my life since making such a decision as anything but the Goodness of God. Indeed, I have never felt closer to God than I do now, nor do I feel as though I have given up my eternal birthright.

    Now, I don’t write this as a proponent of legalizing gay marriage — I frankly don’t care if my future family is seen as valid in the government’s eyes… sure, if it doesn’t happen, it may create some hurdles, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from the past 10 years, it’s how to handle hurdles.

    I simply write to share my testimony.

    P.S. There would be far fewer gay members leaving the church if their celibate offerings were supported in the way the church is supporting Prop. 8… come to think of it, I’m beginning to think it is, indeed, the Lord’s will that the church act so heavily on the issue; the hostility gives sufficient courage for many to detach from the church and choose the best life… maybe the two (the best life and membership within the church) will be congruent for a homosexual one day… I hope so.

    Comment by Andrew Pankratz — August 8, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  91. David, I appreciate that you don’t like bitterness. this is Carl from post 73. I grew up in the church though I am not active now. I am not bitter. What you are seeing here is people that are speaking out for the rights of people they care about. That isn’t bitterness. It is love.

    Some people they speak out because they love the Mormon church and don’t want to see it in a bad light. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember blacks not holding the priesthood but the brethren needed somebody to point out the error of their ways. those people were ridiculed and debased as bitter. I call them heroes.

    I hope I haven’t offended anybody because I am not trying to be antagonistic. Mostly I am would like for people to understand that same sex marriage isn’t just an ‘issue’ and it goes beyond political dogma. It is about real people trying to live good lives.

    Comment by Carl — August 8, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  92. Some people they speak out because they love the Mormon church and don’t want to see it in a bad light. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember blacks not holding the priesthood but the brethren needed somebody to point out the error of their ways. those people were ridiculed and debased as bitter. I call them heroes.

    At times in the scriptures we see a punishment extending for generations. I wonder if this is the case for past racism. Is the true punishment for our society going to be the continual usage of our prior misbehavior to justify discarding moral truths which form the bedrock of good society? Past generations were wrong about blacks so we must be wrong about homosexuals as well? What sin could we not justify in the exact same manner should sufficient sympathy gather behind those that desire to partake in it? When history ends, and our ancestors are judged, will they be shown that their incorrect treatment of their fellow men, solely due to their having the wrong skin color, provided easy ammunition to be exploited by the adversary to rip apart morality?

    Comment by Aluwid — August 8, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  93. The Church was wrong about blacks and the Priesthood.

    So they must have been wrong in banning polygamy too!

    Bring it back I say!

    Comment by Seth R. — August 8, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

  94. So should Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton get themselves and their churches out of politics?

    Should the Rev Martin Luther King Jr. have stayed out of politics?

    What about all those times that Bill Clinton, as a candidate, and then as president spoke at churches? And those churches and their membership supported him and his politics?

    What about Rev Wright? Was he ever political over the last 20 or 30 years?

    No, the only time it’s evil for a church to get involved in politics is when that church pushes something perceived as a conservative cause. That’s the only time we can’t have a church get involved in politics.

    Comment by Bookslinger — August 8, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  95. I walked out of Sacrament when the Pro. 8 letter was read in church.
    At our last F&T meeting, one brother cried as he talked about the
    righteousness of Pro. 8, followed by a young brother who couldn’t
    understand the church getting involved in politics. After the meeting,
    people lined up to shake the hand of that brother who spoke so
    honestly about his concern. This is a troubling issue in our church.
    I attend church for spiritual renewal. I vote using my own agenda.

    Comment by George — August 8, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  96. David,
    I don’t think most folks are taking shots at the church here. I think they are expressing their heart-felt feelings. And, unfortunately, many folks simply disagree with the First Presidency. I know that isn’t very palatable to you, but it isn’t very palatable to me, either. You see, I also have put a lot of faith and trust in our church leaders over the years, and like many, many other members, I feel that it is the leadership that has betrayed us. I feel they have in many ways gone against their own teachings and their own counsel.

    You’ve deleted my comments here before, although I’ve said nothing inflammatory, not used any foul language, merely pointed out that I and others think the church is wrong on this issue.

    You can donate your entire house and spend your daughter’s college fund money, and all of your retirement savings. You’re fighting on the wrong side. The Lord is doing everything he can to make it clear to His leaders, but they just aren’t listening.

    The reason so many of the membership is upset is NOT because we are out of touch. We are the regular workaday members, holding callings, blessing the sick, etc. We just can’t see what harm this does to anyone to encourage marriage. Also, we don’t understand the church getting involved in this “moral” issue when it has declined to get involved in this same issue time and time again all over the world. There are lots of issues here, and the leadership needs to listen.

    They are going to continue to waste our tithing funds on this failed effort, and in the end, the so-called new friends we are making in the Protestant churches are going to turn on us anyway. We are playing with fire, and we’re going to get burned.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 8, 2008 @ 10:20 pm

  97. Perhaps it will shown that their incorrect treatment of their fellow men regarding skin color (or sexual orientation) was wrong and, in fact, very evil instead…Perhaps the “ammunition” is required when the faithful stray so far away from the spirit of Christ’s compassion that they begin to feel that they are “morally superior” to their fellows. Somehow, I don’t think Christ would approve of such an attitude.

    PS I have to post late into your night as I am being censored by the blog owner.

    Comment by robert — August 8, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  98. I’m reading these comments saying that so many of the membership are upset. I’m just not seeing that, at least not in the wards in my stake. I suspect that those who are disenchanted with the church on this issue are a small percentage but are being very active in blogging this issue all over the place lately.

    Seriously, I think the majority are in line with the prophets and apostles on this one. Those who hold temple recommends have acknowledged that they support the general and local authorities of the church. Like me, they will be walking neighborhoods asking others what they think and sharing information.

    I will be very interested in the results of the surveys when they are reported back after we finish walking the precincts the first or second week of September. If it is anything like it was back in 2000, we will find a lot of apathy or lack of knowledge. I’m sure our efforts over the next few weeks will raise that awareness.

    The opposition will outspend us two to one just like they did back in 2000. The vote then was 61.4% approved. It will probably be closer this time. But no matter what the results, this issue is serving the purpose of defining who is on the Lord’s side. Visit ProtectMarriage.com to get more information and to volunteer.

    Comment by Tim Malone — August 8, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  99. Tim,
    You have a Constitutional Right to go out and walk your precincts, etc. The gays have a Constitutional Right to get married.

    Notice who is trying to take away the Constitutional Right of the other, and saying it’s God’s idea?

    If you guys win, you open the door to somebody else deciding next year to restrict the right of Mormons to marry in the temple in California, by passing an amendment to Protect Traditional Marriage from Secret Ceremonies.

    Be careful when you seek to take away the liberties of others, for in doing so, you put your own liberties in jeopardy.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 8, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  100. Are you freaking kidding me? You think that in some sort of equivalent-to-the-blessings-of tithing sort of way you were blessed for making a politcal contribution? This story is so troubling to me on so many levels. I guess I am happy for you if you are happy, but this looks like priesthood authority run amok in support of a misguided political effort. Thank heavens I do not live in CA.

    Comment by Martin Willey — August 8, 2008 @ 11:44 pm

  101. Ryan #88. The argument that without Prop.8 the Church will be required to perfrom gay marriages is, to put it charitably, a load of crap. It is the same kind of scare tactic that was used against the Equal Rights Amendment, for those of of old enough to remember that issue. The First Amendment probints Congress from making any law respecting the practice of religion. Sheesh.

    Comment by Martin Willey — August 8, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

  102. “If you guys win, you open the door to somebody else deciding next year to restrict the right of Mormons to marry in the temple in California, by passing an amendment to Protect Traditional Marriage from Secret Ceremonies.”

    Yes, yes, yes to that. By the way, since the church acknowledges civil marriage without the temple blessing why do they insist on the anti-gay rhetoric with respect to a civil marriage issue?

    Repost the original blog and link wherever you can. Everyone should read this.

    Comment by robert — August 9, 2008 @ 12:02 am

  103. Nice that all of you new guys came out to comment.

    Now, will this be the last thread that we have the pleasure of your company? Or are you here because the blog actually interests you?

    Andrew C,

    No, gays do not have the right to a government endorsement of their “marriages.”

    But then, neither do Mormons, Catholics, or Southern Baptists.

    Better to take government out of the business of issuing marriage licenses altogether. Then people can call themselves whatever fool thing they want – on their own dime.

    I also find it odd that until about 10 years ago, no one in the gay community even seemed interested in getting “married.” They were all too busy talking about how marriage was an “outmoded religious relic.”

    But now, suddenly, it’s all the rage. Wonder why…

    Personally, I think a lot of gays are doing it purely to piss people off. Others may have simply started believing their own press.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 9, 2008 @ 12:03 am

  104. Andrew,

    The gays have a Constitutional Right to get married.

    Everyone has the right to get married, but marriage has never been between members of the same gender before, this is a whole new illogical idea.

    Establishing a right for “Same Sex Marriage” was never the intent of the people of California, and it wasn’t a recognized right until this summer when 4 out of 7 Judges decided it to be true. The point of the amendment is to inform them that they were wrong and to prevent such misunderstandings from occurring again.

    Note that other states have had similar cases and their courts have determined that there is no constitutional right for two members of the same gender to marry.

    Comment by Aluwid — August 9, 2008 @ 12:08 am

  105. Seth: I agree with you. Get the government out of the marriage business. The Church can and should define marriage they way it wants, which I will fully support. Others can live they way they want.

    Comment by Martin Willey — August 9, 2008 @ 12:17 am

  106. Bookslinger (#95):

    You are being a little disingenuous with your examples of the Revs. Jackson, Sharpton, King Jr., Wright, et al.

    First of all, “everyone else is doing it” has never been a valid defense and secondly, members of their congregations are free to come and go as they choose according to their conscience, charismatic appeal of their leaders, even political views. Members of the LDS church, on the contrary, do not enjoy this flexible membership policy–they join (and are expected to remain members) because of a testimony of the gospel. no matter the goat or sheep who might be leading them at any given time, or the highly charged political issue of the day being pressed upon them.

    I believe we all do each other a favor when we focus as a church on the kind of compassionate service that saves souls rather than draw politically motivated lines in the sand and make crossing them a test of faith/obedience/membership for a captive audience. We would do well to avoid adding a political component to church membership requirements as outlined in, say, D&C 20:37.

    There is always a moral question at issue in politics and while the church certainly could join the fray of political lobbying and demagoguery a la Wright, I cannot see through my own dark glass just how this would further God’s work and glory.

    Comment by Peter LLC — August 9, 2008 @ 12:34 am

  107. So if Church and State are supposed to be separate, and all men (and women) are created equal, then shouldn’t all men (and women) have the same rights? Shouldn’t religion stay out of the constitution of marriage? No one if forcing a religion to marry 2 men, or 2 women together.

    Why is it that only some men and some women are allowed to marry and benefit from government tax breaks, cheaper health benefits, etc etc, while others who want to marry and share those same benefits withtheir straight counter parts, can’t just because they aren’t “allowed” to marry someone they love?

    Again if humans are created equal, and we were all created in “His” image then something isn’t adding up here. I agree we should let people be free and equal and any “sins” people think others are harboring will be judged by the proper “person” when that time comes. If it seriously doesn’t affect or effect your place in the Celestial Kingdom, then what do you have to worry about?

    If it’s such a sin, then doesn’t that open an extra place in heaven for somemone more worthy of the position?

    Comment by Lilth — August 9, 2008 @ 12:49 am

  108. I’m going to leave aside my thoughts on Prop 8. (1. Living in New York, I have no say in the matter and 2. My thoughts are still not fully formed on the matter).

    But I do want to comment on the premise of this post.

    David, I’m happy you were able to close on your dream house. Seeing how the real estate market is in California these days, congratulations! That said, tying that success to the substantial amount you gave to the political Prop 8 movement skews things. Your post feels like a “call to arms” so to speak. It is a “testimony” that shows that one individual received material benefits by “following the counsel of God’s representatives.” It adds to the larger mythology that we reap immediate benefits from “paying tithing immediately” or this or that last minute dramatic event.

    We hear of many such dramatic coincidences but fail to realize that when looking at the whole picture of a person’s life, such events are rare. I’ve had one such incident in my 33 years. I worked as a sales associate at Men’s Wearhouse in California just after high school. About a year into my job, I began paying tithing. Not a month later, I was offered a promotion to a salesman, doubling my salary. Was it because I began paying tithing? Most likely. But just because I continue to pay tithing hasn’t given me other sudden material wealth.

    My trouble with this kind of story is that it paints a false hope picture in one’s mind. It’s like finding a piece of gold in a river. And it is especially worse because it is tied to such a politically divisive issue. It makes those who don’t like this proposition feel more anger and conflict. It reinforces the views of those who are for this proposition. They feel inside that “hey, look we are right. Mr. So and So is a blessed man because he listened to the Lord’s anointed.”

    Comment by Dan — August 9, 2008 @ 4:41 am

  109. Seth R- Thanks for the welcome, I actually “lurk” here a lot, this is just an issue that is so personal to me that I felt the need to say something. Normally I am quiet in the backgroud.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 9, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  110. Dan, I agree that the story does provide some interesting thoughts. I really struggle with the concept of “blessings”. If we say something is a “blessings” are we saying that the person who didn’t get that same thing wasn’t blessed?

    With the housing market as it is, I am pretty confident that someone will choose to support the amendment and then lose their house for some unconnected reason. That begs the question, were they not blessed for some reason. I have some healthy issues. If I donate money to this (which I won’t because no matter how hard I try, I cannot support it)and then land with a huge medical bill, was it because I didn’t give enough, or because “sometimes blessings don’t work the way we want them to”?

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 9, 2008 @ 5:45 am

  111. Aluwid,
    And, until 1947 interracial marriages were illegal in California. In many southern states they were illegal longer than that. Racially discriminatory ballot issues passed overwhelmingly all throughout the south (and even a few other places) for generations. Limiting the rights of the minority blacks, expressing the will of the people that blacks could not have the same rights as whites. And, the majority opinion was in large measure based on the same religious texts that are now being used to justify denying rights to gays and lesbians.

    Before 1947 blacks had the right to get married in California, just not to whites. So if a black person was in love with a white person, they couldn’t get married. Now, you claim that gays have the legal right to marry, just not someone of their same gender.

    Should we go back to the ban on interracial marriages also? I don’t think so. I’d be just as opposed to that.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 9, 2008 @ 7:25 am

  112. Andrew, we’ve already told you. There are fundamental differences between the race issue and the homosexuality issue. They are not equivalent.

    And just because the Church “was wrong” on blacks and the Priesthood does not mean it’s wrong on homosexuality. That kind of logic could be used to justify just about anything.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 9, 2008 @ 8:47 am

  113. Seth:
    What precisely do you find as the “fundamental differences” between the race issue and the gay issue? In both cases, we are talking about adults who enter into a civil law contract. What is so different except that “being gay” if you are not gay is something of which you know absolutely nothing about. If you are white, you cannot know what it is like to be black.

    Comment by robert — August 9, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  114. Seth,

    And just because the Church “was wrong” on blacks and the Priesthood does not mean it’s wrong on homosexuality.

    That is certainly true. Perhaps we can look at just the stands the church has taken on homosexuality over the past 25 years:

    1. There is no genetic component to gay identity. The church has now reversed its position on this question, with Elder Oaks and Wickham acknowledging that there may well be, and probably is, a genetic component.

    2. Gay men should find an outlet for their sexuality by marrying straight women. Marriage was treated as a cure for their homosexuality. That counsel was given for decades, and created a great deal of misery, heartache, and divorce. The church has now reversed its position, and explicitly states that marriage to a heterosexual female should not be seen as a “cure” for gayness.

    3. On the campus of BYU, we performed aversion therapy on gay men in an effort to turn them straight. We showed them gay porn and then administered an emetic. Some credible reports say that this therapy even involved electric shock treatments. The therapy resulted in several suicides. The church has now reversed its position, and no longer attempts these crazy cures.

    4. Gay people used to be expelled from BYU, simply for identifying themselves as gay. The church has now reversed its position, and allows people who openly identify as gay to study at BYU as long as they are chaste. BYU sponsors an organization for its gay students.

    That really isn’t a very good track record on issues involving gay people. We have been very wrong on at least 4 things in just the past 30 years, by our own admission. So, you can’t blame people for wondering about the current policy.

    Comment by Mark IV — August 9, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  115. Seth,
    JUST because the church was wrong on blacks doesn’t mean it MUST be wrong on homosexuality, but it CERTAINLY opens the POSSIBILITY that they MIGHT be wrong. They were blatantly wrong for a very long time on the issue of blacks and the priesthood. Why do we continue with the MYTH that “when the First Presidency speaks the debate is over, because the will of God is known.” This OBVIOUSLY isn’t ALWAYS the case. SOMETIMES they are ARE WRONG. We do not claim INFALLIBILITY in our leaders, do we?

    We do make the claim that if two or three or 12 or 15 get together and agree on something, then it must be right, but we have the issue of the blacks being unworthy because of their pre-existent less-worthiness, that LOTS of the prophets and apostles agreed on. They were ALL wrong, every one of them, no matter how many of them agreed with one another.

    So, “th[e] kind of logic” I am using is to say that fallible old white men frequently follow the false traditions and bad ideas of their fathers. Happened in the American South, happened in the church, and the church is trying to do it again in California.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 9, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  116. “JUST because the church was wrong on blacks doesn’t mean it MUST be wrong on homosexuality, but it CERTAINLY opens the POSSIBILITY that they MIGHT be wrong.”

    Which reasoning could be used to support just about any proposition.

    Since the church was wrong on blacks, maybe they are wrong on their counsel to husbands to avoid beating their wives too, right?

    In essence, it’s a meaningless point on your part.

    Very few people participating in this blog believe in General Authority infallibility anyway, so I’m not sure there is any point in you beating up that straw man here.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 9, 2008 @ 10:57 am

  117. “What precisely do you find as the “fundamental differences” between the race issue and the gay issue?”

    Is this a soft-ball question or what? Last time I checked having mixed races had no impact on the ability to procreate. So there was no valid reason for such a restriction other than racism. Two men on the other hand cannot procreate together, Mother Nature is conspiring against them.

    Heterosexual marriages are beneficial to society as they provide an environment for children to be born, which society needs to survive, and to be cared for. It is not in the best interest of society to encourage individuals to couple with members of their own sex, resulting in no offspring, which is why allowing same-sex marriages makes no sense. It might make you feel wonderfully tolerant and understanding, but the relationships are not needed for society to flourish and in aggregate they are harmful (lower population).

    Comment by Aluwid — August 9, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  118. Mark IV,

    1. Jury is still out
    2. This would likely be successful in some cases, particularly where the man feels some degree of attraction towards women. But the church has to factor in the odds given the millions of members it’s policies effect. Over time the small chance of success was obviously not considered sufficient to justify the collateral damage.
    3. Therapists have done lots of crazy things over the years trying to resolve a variety of mental issues. The difference is that they have continued to progress in treatments for other conditions whereas treating same-sex-attraction is seen as too divisive. I see no reason why therapies couldn’t be developed to help some percentage of individuals that lack opposite-gender attraction. Our society does a huge disservice to homosexuals but telling them that they are stuck that way.
    4. We’re obviously trying to refine the message and identify exactly what the problem is: Actions not attraction.

    Comment by Aluwid — August 9, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  119. Last time I checked having mixed races had no impact on the ability to procreate.

    Last time I checked not all heterosexual people procreated or even could! So again what’s the difference?

    Still many gay people find ways to procreate justy like the heterosexual people do. Through sperm donation or surrogate mothers they create offspring from their own seed.

    Now if you want to ban all people from procreating in these manners then you would be denying a lot of heterosexual people from having children as well. So I doubt your point hold much water either!

    On top of that, many gay people adopted the many children that are milling arounf foster care. Many heterosexual people do not adopt children if they can create their own off spring, so the homosexuals actually pick up this slack where heterosexuals don’t.

    Comment by Lilith — August 9, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

  120. Aluwid wrote “It is not in the best interest of society to encourage individuals to couple with members of their own sex, resulting in no offspring, which is why allowing same-sex marriages makes no sense. It might make you feel wonderfully tolerant and understanding, but the relationships are not needed for society to flourish and in aggregate they are harmful (lower population).”

    So, by this reasoning, elderly heterosexual couples can’t produce offspring and “are not needed for society to flourish and in aggregate they are harmul”. Similarly, the same could be said of heterosexual couples where one or both memnbers are infertile, how do they help “society to flourish”. In our own church we ENCOURAGE heterosexual marriage even among the elderly and the infertile.

    This “they can’t have babies” argument is really very weak. Those people aren’t going to be having children anyway, married or not. How many people in Massachusetts or Canada or somewhere else where gay marriage is legal have decided not to have children because gay people can get married. How many heterosexual people “turned” gay once gay marriage was allowed. There is simply NO HARM whatever to society from gay marriage.

    I’ve been in a heterosexual marriage for 26 years, and if two gay people get married, it makes no difference in my marriage, any more than if two heterosexuals get married.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 9, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  121. Which reasoning could be used to support just about any proposition.

    Since the church was wrong on blacks, maybe they are wrong on their counsel to husbands to avoid beating their wives too, right?

    In essence, it’s a meaningless point on your part.

    Very few people participating in this blog believe in General Authority infallibility anyway, so I’m not sure there is any point in you beating up that straw man here.

    Which is exactly why we are supposed to confirm what the church leaders tell us.

    If, as you say,

    1. Jury is still out

    then if it turns out it is part genetic or hormone induced while in the womb, would you still deny homosexuals the legal rights afforded by government sanctioned marriage? If we don’t know yet, why are we trying to pass laws about it?

    The D&C is very clear about not letting religious beliefs be the source for denying others civil rights. I fear that maybe what is happening.

    I really hope you don’t feel that the ability to procreate is a requirement for civil marriage. Because the laws I am aware of sure don’t require it.

    Ideally I agree with an earlier poster that government shouldn’t be regulating marriage anyways, and that such rights should be available by contract between legal and consenting parties.

    Comment by Big Hos — August 9, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  122. Dan (#108),

    Your point is well-taken and I’ll admit, particularly in my own life, blessings don’t come that quickly and/or blatantly. But I cannot deny that’s what it was. I am NOT saying I was blessed because I doled over the dough for Proposition 8. My testimony was- and is- that I was blessed for being obedient. Most of the blessings in my life for compliance have been sweet & subtle; this one blew us away.

    Frankly, I had no beef with same-sex marriage. I didn’t agree with it, the whole issue annoyed me, and I don’t think the Plan of Salvation provides addendums for such choices. But I thought it was an empty ritual and of no threat to me. The prophet (the one we profess to be the Lord’s representative on earth, remember?), however, sees further down the horizon than I do, discerns tempests and scourges I can’t see. If he, with firm emphasis, asks for my contribution, I’m there.

    When I was on my mission there once was a very popular quote that went, “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over.” Pity so many Saints today have decided that only applies when they agree with him.

    Comment by David — August 9, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  123. Seth wrote:
    “Very few people participating in this blog believe in General Authority infallibility anyway, so I’m not sure there is any point in you beating up that straw man here.”

    But we hear from the originator of this post

    From David:
    As a member who sustains the prophet, and who covenanted to consecrate all he has to the Church, I don’t feel I’m entitled to entertain alternatives.

    So, notice David doesn’t say he carefully considered, he said he didn’t feel “entitled to entertain alternatives” that seems more like “BLIND” obedience than careful, thoughtful act of receiving confirmation of counsel. LOTS of folks use the “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over” line. It is among the most powerful in the church.

    Your example of wife beating being a good idea is ludicrous. This is not a straw man argument, because it is used EVERY SUNDAY from the pulpit in California. “This is what the Prophet is telling us is right, therefore we must do it.”

    How are we supposed to know when what the prophet tells us is right and when it is wrong? Confirm it through the Holy Ghost? And if the Holy Ghost tells us that the prophet is wrong? What then? The official church answer is, if you pray and receive inspiration different from what those in authority received, you must pray again until you are in agreement. That is NOT choice. That is coersion.

    Nowhere does the church even tolerate open comment in the church that there exists the POSSIBILITY that the prophet is wrong on this one. So, it isn’t a straw man argument, it’s really there. You are REQUIRED to Follow the Prophet else you are “unworthy.” You are not permitted to question. That is tantamount to saying he is always right, and therefore he’s right now. If you don’t think the Prophet is right, then there is a problem between you and God. The entire argument put out by the church to its own members is highly coercive. The members are being treated like children. “Obey, even if you don’t know why, because we in the leadership know what’s best for you.” That is an instruction a tired and confused parent gives to a five-year old, and it’s not even a good instruction then.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 9, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  124. Mark IV, thank you for adding your comment.

    I don’t care what anyone says, I am not _chaff_ for refusing to support this propostion. How dare anyone suppose so…

    Comment by tracy m — August 9, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  125. David wrote: “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over.”
    Do you REALLY believe this? 

    All loaded questions, mean-spiritness and hackneyed fusillade aside, yes.

    (Comment edited by administrator)

    Comment by Andrew C — August 9, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  126. I’ve got nothing to say about the Gay Marriage thing – except that it certainly is a crucible for some people. I find arguments on both sides, strictly as arguments, unconvincing. It is pretty clear that people cling to arguments not for the relative strength of the argument but because it reinforces personal sensibility. This is an emotional, and I find pretense to rationality, for the most part, just that. I’m reminded that pride, or the aggrandizing of the personal, is what Pres Benson said is the stumbling block to Zion. No one need look further than these SSM debates to see it.

    On the other, though, I do have something to say. It is clear to me that the Lord blesses me in my temporal concerns as I listen to His guidance. However, that has not always meant financial victory after financial victory. Quite the opposite. We were recently devastated by the failure of our business. I am a full tithe payer, and do my best engage in all my dealings as a faithful member of the church. In addition, we lost a great deal of my parents money. They are life long full tithe payers, currently serving a mission, and in every way as worthy of receiving temporal blessings as anyone. The blessing for me is that this has forced me to deeply rethink what it is exactly the Lord wants for me and from me in my life. It has gone some way to causing me to see the kind of man the Lord wants me to be – namely, one that thinks of financial expansion as a low priority. To my surprise, really, I’ve discovered that my priorities have been skewed in a direction I didn’t expect them to be skewed. I do believe that we will prosper as we are obedient, but that we need a much broader idea of prospering than how much money we’ve got in the bank. I’ve come to prefer to say, paraphrasing Job, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

    ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — August 9, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  127. David,

    When I was on my mission there once was a very popular quote that went, “When the prophet speaks, the debate is over.” Pity so many Saints today have decided that only applies when they agree with him.

    I fundamentally disagree with this premise. The debate is most certainly NOT over just because a prophet speaks. If it were the case, then we would continued holding the ban on blacks holding the priesthood. Brigham Young’s words on the subject were quite strong. But the debate persisted, and it is a debate still not over.

    In my case, a prophet has to reveal more information about something in order for me to back it. If the truth sets us free, then a prophet should have no trouble revealing everything he knows on the subject so we can make the most informed decision possible.

    Comment by Dan — August 9, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  128. Dan,

    I can’t speak with any authority about the blacks & the priesthood issue. Frankly, I doubt anyone on this string can.

    Admittedly, there is a line between responsible obedience and blind obedience. I try not to be a sheep. I question and determine where things I’m being told came from, and I do speak out when I don’t like something. If, however, a man I put my trust in yells “duck!” I’m not going to demand more information first. I’ll duck. I’ve already sustained President Monson as prophet, seer & revelator of the Church. I’ve covenanted to obey the Lord who said, Himself, “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38)

    If you need more information, Dan, that’s good. It’s good to question. He that is compelled in all things the same is a slothful and not a wise servant. I’m not compelled in all things– but this one didn’t require a lot of thought for me, for reasons I just mentioned.

    Comment by David — August 9, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  129. I struggle with the argument that same gender marriages cannot procreate, and therefor are bad. As a woman, I am unable to have children. Does that mean I shouldn’t marry? No, and no one would ever say that I shouldn’t.

    I cannot under stand how that same argument is used. I have been asking (and am sincere), but I don’t understand how gay marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. The only way I can see it even being an issue is that gay men/women wouldn’t marry members of the opposite sex (which is a good thing in my mind). I have heard from the pulpit-I am in CA-that we need to support it because it threatens hetero marriage. But no one explains how. What am I missing here?

    Also, I think the blacks and the priesthood thing is a valid argument. Don’t forget that Mark E. Peterson said that the black man was determined to be absorbed within the white race and would not be satisfied until it happened. I don’t think that has been the case, and I am concerned that fear is what is driving people to say that they oppose same gender marriage.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 9, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  130. Alright David, no shooting me for this question. But what exactly does sustain mean to you? I know you say you sustain President Monson, but I really struggle with that. Do you feel it is ok to ever say that you disagree? I guess what I am asking is your testimony of him is prophet, seer and revelator stronger than other doubts you may have. I am not sure if what I am asking is clear (I know what I am thinking but having trouble expressing it). For example if he came out with a new revelation that was weird to you and you totally disagreed with, would you trust your testimony in him, even if you didn’t get 100% confirmation the revelation was right.

    Does that make sense?

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 9, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  131. Tanya Sue,

    It does make sense, and it’s a good question.

    First let me throw out the easy answer, which is I seriously doubt President Monson would ever do that.

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll just say I sincerely don’t know until something like that would happen. Knowing myself, I would stop and say “Huh”. Then I’d bat the ball back and forth in my head, pray for confirmation & understanding, watch some Ice Road Truckers…

    Seriously, I can’t say because I haven’t been confronted by anything that out there, not by a mortal man. When the Lord told me the Church was true I had to stop for a second and decide how badly I really wanted eternal life, but that was it.

    Comment by David — August 9, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  132. David, thanks for the answer. So you would be willing to really wrestle with something you felt wrong, vs just saying that you would do whatever he said. And, yeah, I don’t think Ice Road Truckers is going to help me here….maybe Deadliest Catch….

    ok, what about how do you define sustain when it refers to the prophet? Do you think it is ok to disagree? Or disagree, but just not in public, etc. The reason I clarify prophet is because we are taught he will not lead the church astray, vs a local leaders which we are not taught that about (while they may not, there is no specific teaching to that affect). I am the curious type, but I guess that is obvious.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 9, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  133. “You are REQUIRED to Follow the Prophet else you are “unworthy.” You are not permitted to question. That is tantamount to saying he is always right, and therefore he’s right now.”

    If you’re one of those lazy Mormons who want to be commanded in all things and want the First Presidency to do your thinking for you, then maybe this is how you see the Church.

    This is not how I experience the Church, and it is not how many of my Mormon friends experience the Church.

    Neither does it really represent the history of the Church either. Remember when Heber J. Grant called upon the members to vote against Roosevelt? He got shot down by the membership pretty quick. Same thing happened when he called on Utahns to oppose the lifting of Prohibition. Again, Utahns turned out and voted contrary to the prophet.

    This whole lockstep, “debate is over” culture within Mormonism is simply a subculture of the overall membership. It does not represent all, or even most Mormons out there.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 9, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  134. #134 “This whole lockstep, “debate is over” culture within Mormonism is simply a subculture of the overall membership. It does not represent all, or even most Mormons out there.”

    But, it does seem to represent David, (he has affirmed it several times here) and that’s part of the point. This is David’s thread. He DOES believe it.

    That I think is one of the things that so many of us find so fascinating about this. I really wonder how many Davids there are out there, and what they would do because the Prophet told them to. It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?

    One supposes there would be limits, but it is frightening to many of us that absolutist statements like “When the Prophet speaks, the debate is over” are so prevalent, and there are so many other folks ready to pat them on the back and call them a good Mormon. I think several of us are both amazed and a little frightened by that mentality.

    Comment by Andrew C — August 9, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  135. Regarding the implicit (though perhaps not intended) proposition of the original post–following a perceived commandment of God (as delivered through an agent (SP) of God’s prophet) resulted in a blessing.

    The point, if there is one, of the book of Job is that God’s ways (and blessings or lack of blessings) are inscrutable. While other parts of the Old Testament (as well as the Book of Mormon) strongly imply that “obedience” results in blessings (or “prosperity” as the BofM puts it), somehow life just doesn’t seem that simple to many of us.

    Personally, I like the approach of the AA 12 steps that we turn our lives and our will to the care of God (step 3). That is, as I am willing to turn my life and will to His care, He does care for me. But the way He cares for me is almost completely unpredictable. It may be with a job loss or a new job, it may be with a loss of income or a gain of income. I might lose a bid on a house or win the bid. But if I have turned my life and will to God, I can accept (at least eventually) those events as consistent with God’s watching over me.

    With this paradigm, both events you describe may well be signs of God’s care. Obtaining the home you desired may well be evidence that contributing to proposition 8 was correct, and conversely, your having followed God’s will as best you can by contributing to that proposition may also confirm that obtaining that house was the right thing to do.

    This particular comment is not intended to address the rightness or wrongness of contributing to proposition (addressed extensively in other preceding comments), but only to perceptions of the relationship of obedience and blessings.

    Comment by DavidH — August 9, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

  136. Seth,

    Lazy? Well, when you put it that way, maybe I should have held off responding to the call for aid, fasted, pondered, prayed. In all fairness to the SP, he invited us to do that. What we did instead was discuss it that night & the next morning, then said a prayer. It seems to me that those who are troubled or doubtful about what to do– those whose consciences are weighing heavily– should go through the soul-searching calisthenics. We felt good about the decision, and not only because the prophet or SP asked us to. As I indicated in my entry, we knew about it for over a month. We already determined where we stood. It wasn’t the contributing that challenged us, it was the amount. Should we.have prayed about the suggested amount, especially after we heard the amount in our heads first? No need, we felt.

    As for the “debate is over” sentiment, it’s a choice (apparently not as popular choice as it used to be– ever since the Grant Debaucle of 193-something or other).

    Comment by David — August 9, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

  137. The “lazy” choice of words was probably not a great one. But I did have something in mind different than a family who studies out a position, prays about it, and then acts on it.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 9, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  138. “The debate is over” is not just a “popular quote” made up by some overzealous members, it’s the title of a First Presidency Message by N. Eldon Tanner from 1979.

    Comment by kodos — August 9, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  139. I can’t think of another issue in the blogosphere that is as divisive and polarizing as this one. No matter what the content of the thread, if it mentions same-sex marriage it’s going to garner a whack-load of comments. It is always interesting for me to read these debates – a decade ago I would have been fully on board with the originator of this post, and possibly donating my life savings to the cause (even though I don’t even live in the US). However, like a few others who have posted on this thread, I had to reconsider my position on same-sex attraction and gay marriage when it turned out that my beloved brother was gay. Oops!

    Along with my brother and the rest of my family, I tried my hardest to reconcile what was my brother was up against with the rhetoric of Church leaders. For years I remained faithful, and looked for answers to difficult questions that never came. Eventually it sort of unravelled and a deep mistrust of Church authority set in. I am still active in the church and do my best to maintain a relationship with the Lord and be the best person I can be – but I’m wary of the church hierarchy and leadership paradigm. If my stake president were to visit me and ask me to donate money to a similar cause he would be quickly shown to the door.

    Anyway, the point I initially wanted to make is that arguing about this is so pointless, because both camps are so deeply and emotionally entrenched in their positions. I was once so committed to the gospel and so focussed on being obedient that no amount of reasoning or well constructed arguments would have persuaded me that same-sex relationships or marriage were in any way acceptable.

    Having had to face the issue in my own family however, I have crossed over to the other side. In the aftermath of my radical reconsideration of the topic of gay rights, no amount of prophet quoting is going to alter the way I feel about my brother and every other gay person I know. I remember how I used to think, and can relate to David’s experience. I am open to the idea that maybe my current mode of thinking is wrong – perhaps I should make more of an effort to bring my conscience in line with the mainstream church, and I keep in mind the possibility that one day the answers to my questions will manifest themselves. On the other hand, I deeply regret the homophobic and bigoted attitude I used to have and shudder to think of how hurtful that must have been to my struggling brother and others.

    So let’s keep in mind that we all walk different paths and we all experience the gospel differently. Let us get off our high horses and our soapboxes and recognize that we’re at a stalemate – this is kind of a pointless dead-end argument.

    Ok that was long – I have a plane to catch in six hours and have yet to pack. Congrats on your house David.

    Comment by JaneW — August 9, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

  140. It’s always hard to reconcile the deep love we have for people around us who state that they are homosexual with clear Biblical and prophetic teachings that would have us believe being so is wrong. There will always be this tension. I come from a Protestant Church where the debate has been raging for years. I live in the UK where “civil partnerships” have become the norm now and where this is the government’s way of introducing a less stressful solution to the issues that homosexuals in relationships face when a loved on dies and they cannot be classed as “next of kin” etc.

    Of course as Christians we would want to be mindful of emotions and needs of others, but the gospel and its truth is not about meeting needs and emotions. It isn’t about making friends and being popular. Quite the opposite in fact. And if loved ones come to you and present their case for being homosexual, aside from the shock and the tension you feel when trying to match this with your authorities and Scriptures you merely have to accept that you cannot (nor should you) believe for someone else. Their life decision is not a reflection on you; and their choices will be their choices!

    What this whole issue shows is that there is another axe striking at the very gospel principles the LDS Church holds to. And those principles are not there to toy with. They are laid out because God loves us, not because He desires to be a kill-joy and cause harm to our families and societies. If you are questioning this because someone you love is homosexual, what you are actually communicating is a lack of understanding and a firm faith in what you once held dear. Events like this will shake the very foundations of the Church, but you cannot let them destroy the Church. Look at the Anglican communion and see what damage will be replicated in the LDS should you all start to waver on clear gospel principles and declarations from Prophets and leaders in your Church!!

    Interestingly, when the Roman Empire became saturated with people who wanted it all their way (whatever way that was), it fell. The decision shouldn’t be between loving a child who is homosexual and the Church and its teachings. Because we should love no matter. The decision shouldn’t be about authority and expediency. It should be about maintaining gospel standards and principles and obeying God rather than man. It should be about living to the holy standards God demands of us- whether that reflects on a homosexual lifestyle or any other sin man commits. It isn’t a sin to love- but it is sin when we defy the law of God and in our loving we disregard the declarations of those given in authority above us.

    I would plead with you all as an outsider- love your children no matter their sexuality; love your brothers and sisters, parents and friends no matter their sexuality. Love them the same as you did before and be a friend to them, revealing the gospel and its power to them in your actions and in your words. But I warn you at the same time that accommodating their sin will undermine your standards and will NOT “cause the powers of darkness to tremble and to shake” but instead cause them to press further. Today homosexuality, tomorrow?

    In the beginning God made them male and female. That is the principle of marriage and relationship.

    Comment by Paul — August 10, 2008 @ 12:43 am

  141. Brilliantly rendered position, Jane.

    Has it ever occurred to some of you that the planet has an issue with overpopulation? In Asia where I live, it is a subject very much alive. Perhaps “gay” identified individuals were placed on earth by the very God you worship in order to balance this ecological planetary issue. Perhaps they were placed in particular families to facilitate learning and compassion. Do you think that being “gay” is only about sex? If you do, you should google “gay spirit’ and find out more. Are you really so certain that your intolerance is righteous?

    Comment by robert — August 10, 2008 @ 1:11 am

  142. Paul, this is about civil law and using the Church as a bully pulpit for matters of political gain. Nobody thinks the church should start marrying gays if they don’t want to. But the church has decided to put its money behind civil law matters which have nothing to do with church doctrines. The US constitution provides for a division between church and state.

    Comment by robert — August 10, 2008 @ 1:18 am

  143. Personally, I think a lot of gays are doing it purely to piss people off.

    If that’s what Seth R. really thinks is happening here, well, that’s just sad. I don’t know Seth from Adam, but from what I’ve read online, I would’ve assumed he was smart enough to know better. Guess not.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — August 10, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  144. Just as a P.S., since my earlier comment seems to have displayed successfully for once … there’s plenty of stuff that happens that seems intended “purely to piss people off” … particularly when one chooses to take the position that dissenters are a priori disloyal.

    As a branch president and AP during my mission in Brazil, I had the ‘pleasure’ of butting heads with North American GAs who, at that point in time, were still flying down to deliver the message that all our retention problems were due to genetic problems with the native targets of our efforts.

    As if …

    It was we who hadn’t figured out how to structure and adapt our missionary program to achieve best outcomes in the country, but we were too damn proud (and lazy) to admit it.

    So, now that Prop 8 looks set to fail (big time), deep thinkers like Seth R. are gonna start blamin’ the defeat on angry gays who apparently didn’t rise to the occasion and endorse his view of how the world ought to work …

    A bit of advice: you’ve totally misunderstood the world you live in, and you’d do well to not act so indignant when that same world rejects you as out-of-touch. Take it as a lesson, not an invitation to further embarrass yourself.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — August 10, 2008 @ 2:03 am

  145. David,

    #128,

    If, however, a man I put my trust in yells “duck!” I’m not going to demand more information first. I’ll duck.

    But this situation is not analogous to one of immediate danger. We have time to debate this. We have lots of time, in fact, to make reasoned and informative decisions. Where is the rush? This particular vote is in November, and I get the feeling that that itself won’t end the debate. So why should it be analogous to someone yelling “Duck!” when nothing is flying immediately towards our heads? If in fact that is the case, it makes it that much harder to take the person who yells “Duck!” seriously.

    Comment by Dan — August 10, 2008 @ 5:44 am

  146. Since it is already law, and thousands have been married, it is now a different issue altogether. The public is deciding to eliminate a right and not protect “tradition”. Hooray.

    Comment by robert — August 10, 2008 @ 5:47 am

  147. “Has it ever occurred to some of you that the planet has an issue with overpopulation?”

    What a dumb justification for gay marriage.

    You could use that same rationale for aborting all fetuses.

    Chino,

    To be honest, I’ll actually probably derive a bit of personal satisfaction when this incredibly stupid and misguided proposition fails.

    Obviously, you haven’t been reading my views on this very closely or very well.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 7:19 am

  148. Actually, I think the views have morphed over time. I really do think the initial push for gay marriage was coming from a petty desire to stick it to the Christian Right. There really wasn’t much of a push for marriage in the gay community about ten years ago.

    But that was just the initial push. Now that this has been an emotionally vested issue, I think a lot of gay marriage advocates have simply started believing their own press. Kind of like when you go to your local college football game.

    Half the year, you don’t really care or think about the team. But once you’re in that stadium and rooting for the team, doing the wave, and screaming at the ref… suddenly whether the blue team or the red team wins matters a WHOLE lot more. You’ve artificially invested yourself in the scoreboard and suddenly whether the red team wins or not becomes grounds for picking fights with rival fans, using language you usually try to avoid, and possibly even rioting afterward for some people. Half the year, you couldn’t care less. But now that you’re there, investing emotional energy to the issue, surrounded by the electric charge of your fellow fans… now it’s almost a matter of life and death whether the QB makes that crucial pass.

    I think the same thing is happening with this issue. Gay advocates who ten years ago would be telling all of us what a dumb institution marriage is, are now suddenly all gung-ho to get as many gay couples married as possible.

    But I think a lot of the enthusiasm for gay marriage is largely manufactured.

    If equal rights were what was wanted, why weren’t gays simply pushing for tax breaks and visitation rights? Why is it suddenly so important to get crummy, outmoded, outdated, old-fashioned “marriage?”

    Because gay advocates have shouted the rhetoric long enough and invested enough energy into this that they’ve started believing their own rhetoric.

    Now that new generations of gay advocates are arriving, the old “marriage is crap” crowd is slowly being replaced by a new crop that really does believe in gay marriage and does not subscribe to the old anti-marriage viewpoints. So the ground is shifting too.

    But I remember how gay advocacy circles used to be. And as far as I remember, they never gave two straws about marriage until relatively recently.

    That said, my feelings on this are decidedly ambiguous. Read my previous post on Proposition 8 and you’ll see that.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  149. My comment regarding overpopulation had nothing to do with gay marriage and everything to do with accepting gays in society at large. To draw the parallel to abortion is absurd.

    One of the things that is not being said is that supporters of this prop are really no different than Fred Phelps and his gang in Wichita.

    At least Phelps isn’t a hypocrite. He comes right out and says what the supporters really believe: “God hates fags” Rather than hide behind a political campaign, why don’t you just come out and say it!

    Sorry, Seth, but as a 60yo gay man, gay marriage has never been off the table. However, the enlightenment of people toward the issue has increased dramatically except in fundamentalist christian (including mormon) households and mostly in the south which is still in the 19th century in many places.

    Comment by robert — August 10, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  150. “Thou shalt not lie.”

    We claim to be subject to “presidents and rulers,” we claim to obey the law of the land yet we beg for money from the pulpit. How are we not lying, angering God, when we try to sneak around the income tax constraints against non-profits getting involved in politics if they want to preserve their non-profit status.

    Aren’t we supposed to obey all the laws, while working within the law to change those we may disagree with? I’m so confused.

    Comment by Jessica — August 10, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  151. But I think a lot of the enthusiasm for gay marriage is largely manufactured.

    I think a lot of the opposition to gay marriage is largely manufactured.

    In keeping with your college team metaphor, most people would be hard pressed to worry even for six months out of the year about what is going on down at the county clerk’s office.

    Comment by Peter LLC — August 10, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  152. The movement toward Marriage Equality is the same as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. As with that great empowerment, some forward-thinking people are using reason guided by their ethical and moral sensibilities to work toward a better future. They are ahead of the curve. Others are using the bigotry and prejudice of the past as an guide to continue discrimination in America. They are behind the curve and apparently intend to stay there. Those who insist on using past injustices to justify future injustices are making America a laughingstock among our peer-nations around the world.

    What position on the curve will you take?

    Comment by flattopSF — August 10, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  153. As if the Lord would bless you in an effort to punish another. Your blind and put your faith in a man (Stake President) rather then the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of helping a person in need you spend it on a political issue. Wasn’t Christ about helping people rather then tearing them down? Loving your brother?

    Comment by Jon Blake — August 10, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  154. So David, the realtor called within an hour of the tithing payment to say the house was yours. That alone means the house was a reward for the tithing payment?

    Look at it as you wish, and I have myself seen what I consider miracles in my own life, but I have to agree with the first poster, this sounds like nothing but post hoc ergo propter hoc. Especially when I factor in the the realities of how long it takes people to make major decisions like whether to sell a house to a particular person for a particular price, the inevitable time lags in communicating because people don’t always answer phones or pick up voice mail, don’t always immediately return calls, etc.

    Again, you’re certainly free to interpret it as as you wish, but in the circumstances you’ve described, I think it’s much more plausible to suspect that chronologically the seller had already decided to accept your offer before you made the tithing payment. I could be wrong. But the timing you describe just doesn’t match any reality I’ve ever seen through the countless business and real estate deals I’ve done.

    Comment by Alan — August 10, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  155. “I think a lot of the opposition to gay marriage is largely manufactured.”

    I think I would agree with you there as well Peter. Believe it or not, defense of marriage legislation is very, very low on my priority list. No matter who wins this fight in California, I’m not going to be too busted up. I have reasons to disagree with both sides.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  156. But I think a lot of the enthusiasm for gay marriage is largely manufactured.

    I really do think the initial push for gay marriage was coming from a petty desire to stick it to the Christian Right.

    I agree. This makes me think of Ellen wanting President Bush to walk her down the aisle.

    Comment by Tim J. — August 10, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  157. “Events like this will shake the very foundations of the Church, but you cannot let them destroy the Church”

    Sorry Paul (#140) I will do everything I can to destroy the LDS church BEFORE I ever let it destroy my son, which it would have eventually, through its narrow-minded teaching and subtle bigotry. If there is a god, and he/she punishes me for that, so be it. I’ll happily take that over watching my son’s self-esteem and hope for a happy life be slowly erroded by what most of christianity currently holds as the “will of god”.

    My son being gay only started me asking the questions about the LDS church (and christianity in general) that I should have started asking as an LDS missionary, but was too immersed in the mormon kool-aid to even think about. I’m not actually out to destroy the LDS church (like I could, although they did lose six active members in our family over this). If they’ll leave my family alone, I’ll leave them alone. But unfortunately, they can’t seem to do that, either in our private lives or on the political stage. The arrogance continues to astound me.

    Comment by Kristen — August 10, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  158. #158: I wish more parents shared this protective spirit. Sadly, it is often much easier for parents and siblings to watch their own children suffer than to question their church leaders.

    Comment by Andrew Pankratz — August 10, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  159. Kristen,

    Comments like “Mormon kool-aid” make you sound unhinged and bitter. If you just came here to yell at us, I guess that works. But if you came here to actually convince anyone, you might work a little harder to not sound like a rabid ex-spouse after a bad divorce.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  160. The Brethern know that the future of our civilization is at stake. As did Edward Gibbons when he wrote “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Unfortunately our illiterate youth don’t have any comprehension of this issue.

    Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over. As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called “expansive energy,” which might best be summarized as society’s will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.

    Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.

    Comment by Man/Woman Marriage Impt for Civilization — August 10, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  161. “any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called “expansive energy,” which might best be summarized as society’s will to make things better for the next generation.”

    The “nuclear family” is a myth that has almost never existed in the entirety of human history. It’s a freak, and an aberration. Our Church will probably eventually have to remove the nuclear family as the basis for moral and “normal” family life.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  162. I have to interject here: Whether the nuclear family is a myth or not, the atomic wedgie most certainly exists.

    Comment by David — August 10, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

  163. Yes, Seth, I will admit that I am still somewhat bitter. I put nearly 40 years of faith, time, and money into the LDS church, with what I believed was a rock-solid testimony of its truthfullness. Sometimes it takes something as potentially devastating (especially for an LDS family) as a homosexual child for a person to really start questioning what they believe and why. I spent a couple of years praying (and PRAYING) and reading and talking to my church leaders, trying to stay in the church, and NOT have it affect my son, because I still believed.

    But what kind of help did I get from the church? I was told that my son was, for some unknown reason, defective, and that he wasn’t worthy of mortal companionship with a loving spouse. I was told that somehow it would “all work out” on the other side (I even had a bishop tell me to encourage him to dress in boys clothes? Ummm, my son is not a cross dresser, and never has had those tendencies). In the meantime, though, I should let my sensitive, loving, brilliant son know that nothing but complete celibacy, and denying to the world who he really was, would be acceptable to me or god. The only answers to my prayers was an overwhelming feeling that I needed to support my son in being who he IS. Kids are becoming depressed, hurting themselves, and sometimes even killing themselves over the question of homosexuality, and the leaders in Salt Lake City are more concerned about how many EARRINGS its members are wearing. The president of the LDS church is supposed to be a PROPHET, and he can’t even tell us why people are born homosexuals, and what their fate really is.

    All the policy changes (not “revelations”) over the years concerning homosexuals made me realize the 15 men in SLC don’t really have a clue, and definitely don’t have a hot line to god. It all clicked for me, one momentous day, that the LDS church is NOT headed by a prophet of god, and that was a more profound witness for me that any spiritual experience I ever had in the church, even while on my mission. Every bit of my testimony fell apart after that, and it actually brought me more peace than anything else, but it’s still not without grief.

    Believing members of the church have this odd idea that it’s somehow “easy” for a previously believing member to leave the church, that it’s the “lazy” way out. After 40 years of being a member, are you kidding me! It’s not easy telling your still-believing spouse that you don’t believe anymore, and hoping he won’t divorce you. It’s not easy telling your still-believing family, and hearing that you’re not welcome to stay at their homes anymore (but I’m still allowed to “visit” my parents when I come to Utah, how christ-like of them). It’s not easy telling your friends in the church, many whom you thought you were close to, and then see them distance themselves from you as much as possible. Why do they treat me this way? Because the church tells them I’m being led away by satan, and that’s what they need to believe, because any other reason is unfathomable to them, so they must hold me at arms-length or further. It’s not easy giving up everything you believed in about your pre-mortal and post-mortal life, your belief in a caring and just Heavenly Father and Christ, and thinking you have all the answers. If I seem bitter, it’s because I’m still going through the process of leaving a church that is telling my family and friends that I’m a sinner, that I’m weak, that I didn’t have enough faith. Putting your children ahead of the church is a sin, please remember that.

    It’s easy for members of the church to say to themselves “I’ll follow the prophet, even if I don’t understand”, UNTIL it’s your own child who’s going to feel the repercussions of that decision. I had had a couple serious trials of faith in my life, before my son, and my testimony came through those unscathed. Until something like the reality of a gay child whacks you between the eyes, you have no idea how strong your testimony really is, or isn’t.

    Comment by Kristen — August 10, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  164. Kristen, I don’t dismiss any of that.

    However that’s no reason to come storming in here flinging about words like “cool aid,” “cult,” “bigot,” “TBM,” and whatever other terms of derision and contempt find particular vogue in ex-Mormon circles, with utter abandon.

    You’ll find us a lot more receptive and friendly if you tone it down and refrain from insulting our intelligence just because we didn’t draw the same conclusions about the Church that you did.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  165. *sigh* I guess Milgram was right.

    Comment by Phouchg — August 10, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  166. Thank you for following your priesthood leaders, no matter how difficult it was. It’s one thing for the act to be difficult, it’s another for it to be a request you may not agree with.

    Thank you for your faithfulness, and for your testimony. I shall remember this and share it as may be appropriate.

    Comment by Muslihoon — August 10, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  167. Many Americans do not understand what the Mormon church stands for. This post is a brilliant demonstration of how the Church does its bidding. And the faithful follow.

    Comment by robert — August 10, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

  168. Kristen’s observations demonstrate the damage the Church has done to people. I do not blame her for telling her truth and asking others to think about it. If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you still have one?

    Comment by derek — August 10, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  169. The Church does who’s bidding robert? America’s?

    Comment by Seth R. — August 10, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

  170. Kristen,

    Unfortunately, we are not spared the most difficult trials we can imagine. You have not been spared, and you have loved your son more than your testimony. I don’t blame you for that, who could? But it says nothing about what is true, only the potential dimensions of any person’s trial, and what we might be asked to sacrifice. That no doubt seems harsh – the world is harsh. It is, I guess, much harsher yet than you or I even guess. Weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — August 10, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  171. It would be interesting to compare the post above with:

    mormon inquiry post

    I’m amazed the one got over a hundred posts, the other hardly any, yet they are, in many ways, the same post.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — August 10, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

  172. The arrogance continues to astound me.

    Which pretty much captures how many people on both sides of the issue see each other.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — August 10, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  173. Re #10, all donors and donations to Prop 8 are made public here:

    http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Measures/Detail.aspx?id=1302602

    The reporting is current to 7/31, and it’ll probably take a few more weeks for David’s contribution to show up.

    Re #98, Prop 22 won with “yes/for” votes from 12.6% of California’s Y2K population.

    That 61.4% figure that everyone on the pro-8 side loves to cite ad nauseum sure sounds impressive, but it’s a result achieved in a low-turnout primary election.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — August 10, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  174. Is this the longest 9M thread ever?

    Comment by Steve Evans — August 10, 2008 @ 10:23 pm

  175. Re: #163 “It all clicked for me, one momentous day, that the LDS church is NOT headed by a prophet of god, and that was a more profound witness for me that any spiritual experience I ever had in the church, even while on my mission. Every bit of my testimony fell apart after that, and it actually brought me more peace than anything else. . . .”

    Kristen, I’ll be the first to question the brethren’s understanding of LGBT issues, especially when they used to describe homosexuality as “gender confusion.” However, I suspect that your concept of a “prophet of god” might demand more than should really be expected. I hope that you will recall the spiritual experiences you had on your mission and throughout your years as an active church member. There may still be a wellspring of goodness and light among the saints, even with their imperfections.

    That said, whatever direction the Spirit leads you, the important thing is that you keep your relationship with God alive and be prayerful in all that you do. I don’t need to preach to you, as you have had 40 years of instruction to build on. But I do wish you and your son God’s spirit and blessings. Thank you for contributing your insight to the discussion.

    Comment by Steven B — August 11, 2008 @ 12:41 am

  176. David, I gave up trying to read all the comments you received on this one. I hate the contention it is causing, and especially disheartened to read the bitter LDS member comments. I appreciate your exercize of faith in this challenging matter and your witness that when we follow the prophet, we are blessed.

    This is definitely NOT a political issue – it is a moral one which affects our entire nation. When human beings choose to mock God and His laws, all suffer. I love my gay friends. I have many. This is not an anti-gay campaign – it is a fight to preserve the sacred institution of marriage and family that has been defined by God our Heavenly Father from the very beginning with Adam and Eve. If our prophet had not spoken out on this, then we should have been worried. A true prophet is God’s mouthpiece on earth. When mankind chooses to defy His commandments, it is the prophet’s calling to speak out for God. This is a testimony to me that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet. True prophets do not shrink from controversy, nor try to be politically correct, nor try to make everybody happy, nor worry about whether people are going to get offended or not. True prophets speak the truth. It’s up to us now to listen, and heed – or pay the consequences.

    I am grateful to you David that you are willing to help stand for truth and righteousness in defending God’s commandments and the sacred institution of marriage and family.

    Comment by Mormon Soprano — August 11, 2008 @ 3:14 am

  177. Stephen M-I think part of the reason this one received so many comments is that the author directly attributes blessings to giving money to the church in order to support this proposition.

    Comment by Tanya Sue — August 11, 2008 @ 4:01 am

  178. Re #26

    I think the Church is going about this all wrong … But I also believe in supporting my people.

    At what age do the gay children of Mormon parents stop being “your people”? 8? 12? 19? I’m curious to understand which birthday party is the one where they get told they no longer belong.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — August 11, 2008 @ 4:28 am

  179. Steve,

    Is this the longest 9M thread ever?

    Oh, how easily you forget.

    Apparently, you’re more popular than gay marriage.

    Comment by Tim J. — August 11, 2008 @ 6:11 am

  180. Mormon Soprano,

    #176,

    This is definitely NOT a political issue – it is a moral one which affects our entire nation.

    It most definitely IS a political issue. It is being done IN AN ELECTION! You bet it is political.

    Comment by Dan — August 11, 2008 @ 6:27 am

  181. Chino,

    Who says that all of them are on your side in this debate?

    Being a bit presumptuous aren’t you?

    Comment by Seth R. — August 11, 2008 @ 6:36 am

  182. I just think it’s funny that if David had had this financial experience of Faith over anything other than Prop 8, not one person would have questioned him nor insulted him. There wouldn’t have been a debate.

    Kristen-
    I understand what your family is feeling; I understand what you are feeling. One of the worst experiences of my life was finding out 30 days before my wedding that my MIL was being excommunicated by her own choice. After the family shunning (her family, not my husband and I), I was so glad to see them realize how much she needed them. All hearts are now healed, and our family (extended) is closer than ever.
    Best part? We all agree to disagree. She supports Gay Marriage –many of her family does not. During Prop 22, she started a non-profit to raise funds to refute it –her brother raised funds to support it. And yet, they are the best of friends.

    In my earlier comment (#55), I mentioned that I couldn’t be compassionate to those who are not compassionte (a stupid, stupid thing to say), but I think I need to clarify: Points of View, Sympathy/Empathy, and Respect can never be received or accepted when there is bitterness and hatred. LDS (and former LDS) Gay Rights Activists who call Mormons evil and non-Christ-like are the most bitter people I’ve encountered. There is no reason to their arguments. There is only contempt –and it drives me crazy. Branding a people as blind idiots isn’t the way to secure their understanding. And yet, the branding continues…

    Comment by cheryl — August 11, 2008 @ 7:17 am

  183. cheryl,

    #183,

    I just think it’s funny that if David had had this financial experience of Faith over anything other than Prop 8, not one person would have questioned him nor insulted him.

    I would still have made the same remarks I made.

    Comment by Dan — August 11, 2008 @ 7:21 am

  184. Dan-
    Took me a while to find your remarks, but I see what you mean. At least you talked about the premise of the post and didn’t turn it into a “All Mormons hate gays!” type of debate.
    Sigh…

    Comment by cheryl — August 11, 2008 @ 7:26 am

  185. Cheryl:
    I have to disagree with you. What does the Church consider a gay sexual orientation? They call it SSA/SGA. They consider it a condition like a disease. They certainly do not believe it has any part in God’s plan. The old adage “hate the sin love the sinner comes to mind”. To me, this is the same as saying that God hates homosexuality. If I identify as homosexual and have sex as a homosexual which is natural to me, it is impossible to be anything other than hated by god from an LDS perspective. The act of sex without marriage is a sin in the LDS church. The church does not support gay marriage. Ergo you are not allowed to have sex and if you do you are a sinner. Fred Phelps just tells it like it is, and does not sugar coat the message.
    Why does the Church care what gay people think? Just own your position and tell the truth.

    Comment by derek — August 11, 2008 @ 7:31 am

  186. The commentor at #160 writes the following:

    “The Brethern know that the future of our civilization is at stake. As did Edward Gibbons when he wrote ‘The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately our illiterate youth don’t have any comprehension of this issue.”

    I can’t resist. The book, properly titled “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” blames the fall of Rome squarely on the adoption of Christianity for many reasons, but, primarily, for its adherents caring more about preparing for afterlife than for being good citizensd in the here and now.

    Also, the blog-author certainly is mistaken about his blessing timeline. Not to say that blessings may not accrue, just not this one, as there was but an hour between him dropping off the check and confirmation from his realtor that he had received his house. The house was a short-sell, meaning it had to have approval from the originally selling bank. That approval process certainly finished (at the latest) the day before–with the information then being passed on, eventually reaching his realtor the next day.

    Comment by djinn — August 11, 2008 @ 7:38 am

  187. bark-
    What law?
    A bunch of judges overturn 61% of California’s popluar vote? Where is the law in that?

    derek-
    What truth? You equate truth to be hate.

    Hey, I get it. Gay people are frustrated. It sucks. They want monogamy and marriage and to be with one person. They want to be able to have a meaningful relationship that includes all facets: companionship, sexual satisfaction, security, trust, intimacy, etc. What’s hard to get? I GET IT. I think most of us do.

    But you asked for Truth. What is true? Eternal marriage? Gender? Law? Order? Commandments? Is God Real? Does He exist? Does He care?
    This is why people leave the LDS Church. They can’t handle the truth.
    So, hey, fine. Leave the Church, don’t believe, call us all bigots and blind idiots. Fine. But don’t think for one moment that we HATE gay people. Because it’s not true, and certainly not fair (see comment #55).

    Comment by cheryl — August 11, 2008 @ 7:52 am

  188. Re 181: It’s been estimated that 1/2 of the approx. 100,000 same-sex couples in CA will choose to marry during the next 3 years (in 2000, the census identified 92,138 same-sex couples residing in California). As of March 2007, there were about 38,000 registered domestic partnerships in CA (the figure on which the 50,000 marriages within three years estimate is based). If 2% of California is LDS, that’d suggest there’s maybe something like 4,000 same-sex couples in which one of the partners is/was LDS, wouldn’t it? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest they might be on my side of the Prop 8 battle.

    Re 190: Keep on keeping on with the bogus 61%-got-overturned-by-the-darn-judges argument … because it gives me hope that, after Prop 8 is defeated handily on Nov. 4, maybe your side can finally agree to never ever run one of these waste-of-time initiatives again.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — August 11, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  189. Why doesn’t Derek just admit it?

    He hates Mormons.

    Comment by Seth R. — August 11, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  190. I have spent far too much time reading this, and thinking about both sides of this issue. The thing that came most to my mind were these words of Christ, a man who sacrificed all that He had for us; a man who preached peace and was called the Prince of Peace.

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

    I think I will bite the bullet and post more of my thoughts on Proposition 8 tonight on my blog. This topic saddens me, but I think it would be good for me to do so, even should no one else read it.

    Comment by SilverRain — August 11, 2008 @ 8:27 am

  191. SilverRain-
    That scripture came to my mind, too. I’m glad you shared it.

    Comment by cheryl — August 11, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  192. djinn (#188),

    Your point’s well-taken and deserves response. Of course the “one-hour effect” is dubious if all the elements involved were temporal, but we’re talking about Heavenly Father here. Who knows at what point He determined the blessing was going to be granted? The timing, admittedly, was something out of a Frank Capra movie, and perhaps that was done on purpose. Whatever the case, I can’t see this event as anything but a gift from God.

    Comment by David — August 11, 2008 @ 8:40 am

  193. Only a couple more comments to go before gay marriage is officially more popular than Steve! Thanks, Tim. And thanks, David, for breaking my record. Of course it took me months of fraud to establish it in the first place — all it took you was a controversial court decision and a multidenominational fundraising political org.

    Comment by Steve Evans — August 11, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  194. Steve,

    Believe me when I say I wasn’t looking to set any records here– especially like this. The response totally blind-sided me. Who knew there were so many members with authority issues? Oh, wait… never mind.

    Comment by David — August 11, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  195. David,

    On such a contentious issue in an election year, no less, you think you would only get like 30 comments? ;)

    Comment by Dan — August 11, 2008 @ 9:19 am

  196. That’s a worthy goal, Steve. By the way, what’s your record Steve? We there yet?

    Comment by Randy B. — August 11, 2008 @ 9:53 am

  197. Cheryl
    What an arrogant statement:
    “This is why people leave the LDS Church. They can’t handle the truth…”

    I thought you would show your true colors eventually: yes, you believe that gays are sinners. just remember, we are also citizens. we do not buy your belief system. but we still pay taxes and that is why this is a civil law. we are not asking your church to recognize us as part of your faithful…just part of society. i feel genuinely sorry for any gay person who feels they actually belong to the mormon church. And you think God is “on your side”…I GET that you think gays are sinners. I GET IT…but do you want to eliminate our rights, too?

    Comment by derek — August 11, 2008 @ 9:56 am

  198. I think the idea that obedience + tithing = financial prosperity is one of the most damaging ideas we hear at church. One of my favorite bloggernacle truths is “God is not a vending machine.” Because He’s not. If that were true, there would be no poverty-stricken faithful members of the church. They’d all get really cool financial blessings. They’d all get promoted, they’d all get substantial raises. No obedient mormons would be stuck in dead-end jobs with horrible hours and low pay.

    Just as the loss of our business, home, and car was not due to our lack of obedience, regaining our home, getting jobs and finding a car had little to do with obedience either. It had to do with working hard. What God DID send us was comfort, fortitude, and endurance. I firmly believe that God sends us spiritual blessings, not cash.

    Comment by Sue — August 11, 2008 @ 10:45 am

  199. Trying to stick to the point of the original post. My comment at 154 anticipated Djinn’s in 188. The timing of events described by David doesn’t fit his attribution of the source. David replies by saying in 195 that Djinn’s points were well taken “if all the elements involved were temporal, but we’re talking about Heavenly Father here. Who knows at what point He determined the blessing was going to be granted? The timing, admittedly, was something out of a Frank Capra movie, and perhaps that was done on purpose. Whatever the case, I can’t see this event as anything but a gift from God.”

    Sorry David, I’m not convinced. As I said before, you’re free to interpret this as you wish. But if your interpretation is right, then the “blessing” you received was set in motion before you actually qualified for it. Which means it was coming your way anyway, whether you paid the contribution or not. I have no problem with your feeling every proper sense of gratitude, we should all be grateful every day for everything we have. But I am skeptical of an attitude that describes an entirely temporal chain of events as a miraculous and divinely ordained payoff for a political contribution.

    Comment by Alan — August 11, 2008 @ 10:49 am

  200. Who’s to say David’s blessing wasn’t spiritual and temporal together? Are they not both together? Who’s to say that because they got this house, their daughter will now have the education she needs, or that they will meet the neighbors that will help them or vice versa? Nobody will know except for Heavenly Father and eventually, David and his family.

    Aren’t all things temporal done with the spiritual in mind?

    derek-
    That’s harsh, man. You act like I’m an idiot and don’t have any experience in life to back me up. And you need to be careful about what you say. One of Nine Moons Permabloggers happens to be a very faithful Mormon –and Gay. Maybe Seth is right –you just hate Mormons?

    Comment by cheryl — August 11, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  201. Sue,

    This point has been brought up a number of times in the string, and I wholeheartedly agree with you. In my haste I must have made it sound (to some of you) that there’s a big payoff in store for the obedient regarding Prop 8. I was just trying to relate a personal experience illustrating that sacrifice brought forth blessings.

    For us the house is not really financial gain (more like mortgage gain), but a solution to our deep concerns over raising our daughter in a healthier environment. And for “the rest of the story,” the obtaining of the home didn’t come without a price: A couple of years ago my wife fell and ripped the tendons in her knee while we were on a cruise. We settled with the liner for a relatively modest amount (especially considering that her knee will never fully recover), but enough to get us a decent down payment on a first home. The process of finding a house that fit us and our budget, in a good family neighborhood in Southern California, was an ordeal in and of itself, and we were up against a timeline for reasons I won’t get into.

    The Gospel is not our get-rich-quick scheme and, no, God is not our vending machine. And our obedience is usually met with sweet, subtle blessings that enrich our spiritual and physical lives– even in the form of trials. So no, Sue, I am not numbered among those who gauge prosperity with righteousness. But I thank you for calling me on it and keeping me honest.

    Comment by David — August 11, 2008 @ 11:28 am

  202. Okay, time’s up. Congratulations Steve, you are no longer the most important person on Nine Moons and we’ve now settled the issue of gay marriage, a very productive thread.

    I’m also happy to note that all of the strangers spewing hatred for the Church on this thread gave equal time praising it on my thread where I showcase the unconditional love and support of the members. Oh wait, the strangers didn’t do that, they just spewed their vile all over my blog and won’t stick around to clean it up. Bye bye, Pukies, I’m sure you won’t be back.

    Comment by Rusty — August 11, 2008 @ 11:31 am

  203. [...] http://www.nine-moons.com/2008/08/07/the-my-girl-bill/#more-830 [...]

    Pingback by Prop 8 and the Mormon Church « About Mormonism — August 28, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  204. [...] Sermon: Are Ye Blessed, Or Not? Posted on August 31, 2008 by Jesse I recently read a post by an LDS member who was asked to support Prop 8 through a monetary donation.  In his story, he tells about how he [...]

    Pingback by Sunday Sermon: Are Ye Blessed, Or Not? « The Sparks — August 31, 2008 @ 3:17 am

  205. [...] The Mormon church is spending its money and time trying to pass Prop 8. and hard-knuckling its members for cash as a test of faith rather than on helping its members with defaulting mortgages, gas prices, bankruptcies and many [...]

    Pingback by subvert » We need Harvey Milk right now — September 5, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  206. [...] Mormon account of solicitations for Prop 8 donations by the church, perhaps using tithing records to determine how much money they should ask them for. [...]

    Pingback by Stop The Mormons » Blog Archive » “Wonderful Testimony of Obedience” — November 13, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  207. [...] did donate whatever they felt like donating, reports from donors themselves confirm that some were given suggested donation amounts, some were asked to donate more than once, some were told that donations to support Proposition 8 [...]

    Pingback by Why Single Out the Mormons? — Mormons for Proposition 8 — November 19, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

  208. [...] There were special PO Boxes for receiving LDS donation forms to the Protect Marriage coalition.  Forms from the general public were sent to P.O. Box 162657, Sacramento, CA and those from LDS members were sent to P.O. Box 819, Placentia, CA.  Assessments were made for stakes, as had been done in Hawaii and previously in California during Prop 22.  Individual members were contacted with suggested donations as was done in this blog post. [...]

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