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Love Is a Battlefield

David - October 9, 2008

California LDS members watched a live broadcast concerning Proposition 8 in their chapels last night featuring Elders Ballard, Cook, Bednar and L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy. Over the course of the evening, the brethren addressed the points made in Rusty’s email (see The Email Forward Has Convinced Me. Too Bad I Don’t Live in California) and unequivocally cited them as real potential dangers should the proposition fail (they also mentioned the skewed, world-influenced views some of the saints have adopted regarding SSA).

Here is a clip from the broadcast. Unfortunately, it doesn’t carry the whole broadcast, but does give the general tone.

Throughout the address they made it clear that the defeat of Proposition 8 does affect what could be taught in public schools, does affect the vulnerability of church rights regarding marriage ceremonies, tax exemptions and what’s preached over the pulpit, and does affect the future of the family and the moral fiber of society. Elder Bednar, in particular, used a Q&A format to explain how the failure of Prop 8 would encourage the opposition to test how much further they could expand their powers and influence in the courts, churches, schools, society and homes.

California Mormons were admonished to go from “marathon” to “sprint”-mode this last stretch before the election: Knock on doors, talk with friends, put up yard signs and bumper stickers, sound off on their own blogs, other blogs, Facebook and MySpace pages– spread the word and “get out the vote.” To aid in this endeavor, they introduced a Web site, PreservingMarriage.org, as a source for widgets and video clips to put on your own sites as well as materials to help members be more informed and eloquent when talking with others about the issue.

For what it’s worth, both the message and the Web site seem well-balanced and thorough. There’s a lot of good stuff to draw from– including the admonition to respect and love those whose opinions are contrary to ours. Look at the site yourself and tell me what you think.

IMO, with every day it becomes less and less reasonable for faithful Saints to choose alternative positions (disagreement, apathy) regarding this issue. This isn’t politics, it isn’t homophobia. It’s not the paranoia of a bunch of old men. This is serious Samuel the Lamanite-type stuff (I’ll bet I get called out on that remark).


  1. No, no! I totally think of Samuel the Lamanite when I research Prop 8 stuff! I don’t think it’s wrong to draw parallels from the BoM to our day; I mean, wasn’t the BoM written for us?

    Great post, David. I wish I was in CA to actually vote myself; alas, it’s been 6 months since we moved and we’ve already registered here. *sniff

    Btw, I have already looked at the new site they talked about last night and it is great! And I already have a blog post up at my blog goin’ at it (in a civil manner) with some supporters of SSM.

    Comment by cheryl — October 9, 2008 @ 12:01 pm

  2. P.S. I love Pat Benatar!

    Comment by cheryl — October 9, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

  3. I’ve never felt that the Church’s position on this issue was driven by homophobia, but aside from that, I can’t agree with your last paragraph. This is unquestionably a political issue, though it is also, as the Church has stated, a moral one. It is somewhat driven by paranoia, but you can use that word only to the extent that you disagree with the parade of horribles that the Church fears may be coming down the pike. Reasonable people can and do disagree over that and other aspects of this issue and should be allowed to do so. I think Samuel the Lamanite would agree with that.

    Comment by MCQ — October 9, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  4. “respect and love those whose opinions are contrary to ours”

    It’s especially easy to forget that in a hotly contested issue. I support the Brethren on this; I believe they have not blindly thrown their weight on this issue. At the same time let’s be very considerate and not give fuel to the “homophobe” argument.

    Comment by Velska — October 9, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  5. this is a big reason why i have no desire to resume church attendance.

    Comment by mike d. — October 9, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  6. MCQ,

    I guess I said “this isn’t politics” when I should have said “this isn’t about politics.” At least where the brethren are concerned. But I will stick to my comment that it isn’t “the paranoia of a bunch of old men.” Any paranoia that drifts down (and I DO agree there’s that) doesn’t originate from the First Presidency. I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a difference between paranoia and alarm.

    Reasonable people can and do disagree over that and other aspects of this issue and should be allowed to do so.

    Of course they should be allowed to do so. They should be allowed to take the side of freeganism if they want to, no one’s denying them. I’m just saying if you sustain a prophet and that prophet underlines a particular position several times– in bold– it should become less easy to dissent.

    Comment by David T. — October 9, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  7. David, for whatever reason, the brethren have felt moved to speak boldly in their counsel on this issue. Although I am not personally interested in same-sex marriage one way or the other, I see this now as a sort of litmus test of obedience. We can choose to follow the brethren or not. That is the choice that faces us. It is no longer a question of philosophical analysis or critical thinking. Doesn’t matter to me if you were “born that way” or not. I am committed to follow the prophet — that decision has already been made. This makes it simple for me to choose what direction to turn.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — October 9, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

  8. IMO, with every day it becomes less and less reasonable for faithful Saints to choose alternative positions (disagreement, apathy) regarding this issue.

    I’m not sure I follow–what has changed since yesterday? Or the day before that?

    Comment by Peter LLC — October 9, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  9. Peter LLC,

    Exactly– nothing has changed. Only that every time the brethren speak to us again, it’s like they added another “really” to the admonition: “No, we really, really, REALLY need you to support this. We’re not kidding.” And yet there are still those who respond, “Sorry. Can’t get behind it.”

    Comment by David T. — October 9, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  10. Yeah, I’d agree that nothing has really changed here. Either you are convinced by the arguments or not. Saying them more passionately and more often doesn’t add or subtract from their persuasiveness.

    Comment by TT — October 9, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  11. My brother in San Fran was talking about this to me last night. Great post. Totally agree with post and comments so far.

    I wish I could vote there as well instead of here in Utah where it pretty much doesn’t count>;p

    Comment by Bret — October 9, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  12. “Litmus test for obedience?” Really? That sounds horrifying. Except that is seems like almost everything is a litmus test for obedience. How many litmus tests for obedience to the organization and its hierarchy do you think there need to be?

    Comment by Kullervo — October 9, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

  13. What going to happen 50(?) years down the road when the church finally acknowledges that SS people fall in love and deserve the benefits of ‘marriage’. Will the future prophets ignore/cover-up/deny the SS intolerance of current prophets as how the current prophets have done about the blacks/priesthood issue in reference to past prophets?

    Comment by fred — October 9, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  14. What going to happen 50(?) years down the road when the church finally acknowledges that SS people fall in love and deserve the benefits of ‘marriage’.

    If we acknowledge the former–and I don’t know anyone in or out of the church who doesn’t–why do we have to accept the latter?

    Comment by jimbob — October 9, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  15. Fred(And anyone else)-
    First off, the “black issue” as you put, only on the surface looks similar to the “gay issue”, since it gets pushed as equal rights, tolerance, and humanity. Being Black had nothing to do with actions you take. Being Gay(and acting on it) however does. There are plenty of outstanding gay members of this church who hold temple recommends worthily, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t acting on it.
    Second, I hope the answer to your “when will the brethren give in” is never. Are you seriously asking when will the leadership of this church cave in to sin or when will we all cave in and say its ok that we all do whatever we want whenever we want?
    One of the big wake ups I had in this whole Prop 8 thing was that tolerance, doesn’t mean tolerance anymore. It’s been so warped into something meaning full fledged support of one sides cause, and frankly I’m pretty darn tired of being “wrong” because I’m religious. I’m pretty darn tired of being instantly called a homophobe because I believe marriages are eternal before god. People for same sex marriages put it to us that if you aren’t with me, you’re against me. That because I don’t advocate their lifestyle I am obviously inhuman, however they don’t dare allow me my religious freedom and my own opinion with out throwing the stone of oppression.

    Ionno, I guess that’s just one racists intolerant ex(male)ballet dancer, actor, singer, flight attendant, living in San Francisco’s bigoted homophobic opinion.

    Comment by Bryce — October 9, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

  16. Wow, Bryce, you sound really bitter. I thought the point we were making earlier on this thread is that everyone is entitled to their opinion on this issue and that the Church’s stance is explicitly not driven by homophobia but by a sincere desire to protect its ideal of the institution of marriage.

    I think the Church’s statement that “tolerance” on this issue equals “support” is not well thought out. There are some gradations of opinion about this subject and it does neither side any good to insist that there’s no middle ground. I find that when someone is describing an issue in absolutist terms, it pushes more people away than it persuades.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 10:11 am

  17. Yes, that’s why the Lord never, ever phrases His tenets in absolutist terms. :)

    Comment by David T. — October 10, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  18. I think Bryce agrees with you on that, MCQ. He’s just ranting a bit (slightly off subject, possibly) because he is a YSA in San Fran with truly gay friends and has to put up with a lot of crap because of where he lives, who he is, what he stands for and of course with the voting in less than a month.

    I didn’t hear exactly what the Church’s statement on tolerance was but statement that “tolerance” doesn’t mean what it used to is totally valid.

    Comment by Bret — October 10, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  19. I think a lot of us has felt like Bryce; being told we are bigots because we call sin for what it is: sin. I actually feel his frustration on many accounts, especially from friends and family members who think SSM would be the best thing that has ever happened.

    Comment by cheryl — October 10, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

  20. David T, we’re not talking here about the Lord, we’re talking about how we should speak to our brothers and sisters who disagree with us. It sounds like you’re saying that, since the Lord speaks to us in absolutes, it’s ok for us to talk to each other in those terms. I’m just suggesting that, if your goal is pesuasion, that’s not the right tool.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  21. Not sure why we are debating this so hotly. If/when Prop 8 passes, an activist group will sue and get a stay, then sue again and an activist judge will strike it down as unconstitutional, and it will be a moot issue…

    Are we not reading our Book of Mormon?

    Comment by Karl Kategianes — October 10, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

  22. Bret, I was just hoping that Bryce’s rant wasn’t meant to apply to us. Apparently it wasn’t.

    I don’t know what you’re saying about “tolerance,” but my point is that, despite what others might say, it is still possible to be tolerant without fully endorsing another person’s position. One way for the Church to do that would be to affirm that some people, including faithful members of the Church, might be reluctant to support prop 8, while still agreeing with the Church’s position that it has a right to define for its members what marriage means and what behavior it considers sinful. That would be one way for the Church to show that “tolerance” is still alive and well.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

  23. Cheryl:

    I don’t know why anyone has to resort to name calling. You say you are being called a “bigot” for calling sin, “sin.” Why do you feel it necessary to point out someone else’s sin? Do you routinely go around telling people when they are behaving sinfully, because if so, I would suggest to you that doing that is not in accord with what we are told in the NT and elsewhere. Though, of course I would hesitate to call such behavior a “sin.”

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  24. MCQ (#20),

    Just trying to keep the conversation lively. :)

    Comment by David T. — October 10, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  25. Indeed David, I figured that from your comment on Cheryl’s blog:

    I confess I haven’t read all the comments thus far (damn you, job responsibilities!), but ever since the whole SSM/Prop 8 thing came about I’ve been confused by the number of members who disagree with the First Presidency’s position. Granted, I didn’t think much of the issue, either, before the Church’s announcement, but to second guess something that’s being emphasized so strongly by the prophet seems reckless. I mean, seriously. The Church’s admonitions have been nothing short of a biblical prophet on the wall, crying repentance– and those members who choose to ignore or object only remind me of Zion’s inevitable purification.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth so I’m quoting you verbatim. It appears to me that your point of view on this issue leaves little or no room for disagreement by faithful members. I think that’s unfortunate.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

  26. Let me ask all of you who are such strong supporters of the Church’s position a question: Why is it that you seem so unable to support that position without criticizing and/or condemning those who do not?

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  27. IMO, with every day it becomes less and less reasonable for faithful Saints to choose alternative positions (disagreement, apathy) regarding this issue.

    Actually David, I haven’t been asked to do anything concerning Prop 8. Nor have I heard anything from the Brethren concerning Prop 8 for Saints outside of California. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    As to what I will do when the admonition is given in my own state? I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — October 10, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  28. It’s becoming increasingly likely. Connecticut just went for SSM.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

  29. Um, MCQ, first off I wasn’t talking about YOU or “us” I’m talking about being a young, white, middle class, straight, male who was a flight attendant for over a year and if I so much breathed the fact that I was for prop 8, I would’ve never heared the end of the arguments of how wrong I am and a fool for being so ignorant. And actually, that’s not an if hypothetical, thats an if/when once friends started asking me “mormon questions”.
    Oh and in #23, you state that Cheryl is the one pointing out peoples sins, but I have a hard time seeing what you’re saying as a whole different thing. Also, she isn’t the one lableing them as sinners; they do that for us. If you think we’re the ones resorting to name calling, fine, whatever, but I know I’m not the only one with muddy hands. You should go read facebook and see what a number of gay YSA’s get to take for supporting prop 8.

    Comment by Bryce — October 10, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

  30. *Edit*
    …flight attendant, where that makes you the biggest minority in a workforce of 16,000, for over…

    Comment by Bryce — October 10, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  31. My heart aches for you Bryce, but didn’t you choose to be a flight attendant and a Mormon and a supporter of prop 8? No one says you have to be any of those things. If it’s too painful, you can always become a liberal Catholic steel worker in Hoboken. You’d fit right in.

    Comment by MCQ — October 10, 2008 @ 10:34 pm

  32. No, really, I think Bryce has a point.

    I agree that we should not do name-calling (the Brethren have not done or encouraged it that I know of). At the same time it’s understandable that one’s patience starts to fray, being constantly called out on one’s convictions, with so many people condemning you for being intolerant.

    Comment by Velska — October 11, 2008 @ 12:29 am

  33. Cheryl is merely saying that we are defining sins. We label an act or deed a sin, so we call a sin, sin. It had nothing to do with pointing out people’s sins. Merely defining them, yet even that labels us bigots, hypocrites, or whatever.

    For me this was always an issue of following the prophets. Whoever disagrees with them within or without the church may even be right. This may be a bad PR move by the church and we may suffer the consequences of following what could turn out to be apostolic opinion and not, as we thought, apostolic prophecy.

    But that doesn’t matter for you and me. What matters for us is did we follow the prophet.

    If we do and do so with faith, we will be blessed. Were not those who followed the followed the Prophet Joseph through the Kirtland Safety Society mess (those who obeyed, lost much but stayed and continued to believe he was a prophet even though he’d made a major mistake) blessed beyond eternal measure? The issue is following the prophet knowing no matter how many mistakes he may make, he CANNOT lead us astray.

    Comment by Bret — October 11, 2008 @ 1:45 am

  34. Once again, MCQ, all I can say is “wow”. So lemme get this right: Your post is basically telling me I put myself into a position where I was the minority, and since I put myself there, I should be 100% ok with getting crapped on for being that minority. Oh, but homosexual minority shouldn’t just put up with it, after putting themselves there. Am I close?

    Also, when did I say it was painful? I merely stated that as a minority I was attacked for my beliefs by a group of people demanding their beliefs are correct. But if you want to come onto this blog and continue to stir up drama over this with every person here, especially since real life doesn’t have enough drama, please continue on, since this is obviously cheaper than a movie and you at least get to be one of the main characters.

    Comment by Bryce — October 11, 2008 @ 3:19 am

  35. Bryce (34):

    Umm . . . I’m pretty sure that was a joke.

    Comment by Nate W. — October 11, 2008 @ 5:58 am

  36. First off, I want to say thank you to those who understood what I was saying.

    My only question: You came to my blog and didn’t leave a comment? What the?
    (okay I’m kidding. sort of.)
    What I really want to ask is this: You really believe I’m a bigot because I agree with the Prophets/scriptures about what defines a sin? I honestly don’t go around saying “Repent, ye sinner!” to individual people, but I do know the difference. I have my own sins, you know; I’m not professing to be perfect. But here’s the thing, when a group of people are demanding that everyone recognize their sin as NOT sin –even to legislate it!! Holy cow!! –then, yes, I will follow the Prophet and say “Dude. It’s a sin.” And even if SSM does become law, it will still be a sin.

    As to people who say they follow the Prophet but then don’t? That’s not my place to judge them, but it breaks my heart because they are putting themselves into a place where it will be easier to not follow him in the future. As David T. said, that is reckless.

    Comment by cheryl — October 11, 2008 @ 7:53 am

  37. Sorry I wasn’t around to share in on the fun, but Magic Mountain was calling me.

    MCQ (#25),

    You’re taking my quote from another blog out of context – I wasn’t trying to be persuasive there, merely sharing my perplexion of those who choose not to follow the prophet because they don’t like what he,s asking. Ani repeat, it was a little quip, hardly worth the retrieval of my comments on other blogs. Are you in politics?

    CJ Douglass (#27),

    I was directing this thought towards California Mormons who HAD– ad nauseum– been given the admonishment. I apologize if I gave the impression I was talking to all Saints.

    Comment by David — October 11, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  38. Um…admonition–NOT admonishment. ACK…

    Comment by David — October 11, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  39. The real problem here is the anti-discrimination laws already in place in California. After reading through the Church’s reasons for supporting Prop 8, the Church really should be attacking these laws instead of Prop 8. Even if Prop 8 passes, it won’t override the anti-discrimination laws.

    Is the Church’s concern here only that the word “marriage” not be used to describe a state-sanctioned relationship between people of the same sex that confers all the legal benefits of a heterosexual marriage??

    Comment by ECS — October 11, 2008 @ 10:38 am

  40. Obedience is the first law of heaven.

    If this was just one apostle’s opinion, or something mentioned in a talk at Stake Conference it might be different. But this is the policy, the will, the admonition, the direction of the brethern with the Prophet’s full backing a approval.

    Thou shalt not kill. Nephi go kill Laban.

    I think the prime example of we are required to do what God wants us to do…obedience….whether we like it, agree with it or want to. I don’t think Nephi liked the idea, thought it would make him popular or anything else. He knew what God wanted and he obeyed.

    We know what God wants….if we believe the prophet is a prophet….are we going to be a Nephi?

    Comment by Don — October 11, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  41. Don,

    The problem with that statement is that Nephi was not told to kill Laban by a prophet. He was told by the Spirit. In listening to the Spirit, he was ignoring the voice of the prophet Moses. Did Nephi stop believing in Moses as a prophet? Probably not.

    Likewise, it is unwise to presume that some members are taking a contrary stand because they are afraid of the word or disobedient to God. Perhaps some are, but isn’t it possible that some are listening to the plan that God has for them personally? The Brethren have always said that they teach general principles and that exceptions would be taught by the spirit. To assume that this is a piece of counsel to which there is no exception is counter to both scripture and the message of current prophets. No matter how much I may disagree with what the Church is doing in California, I never doubt that the people involved in Yes on 8 sincerely believe that they are doing God’s will. I think that the same courtesy should be provided to those on the other side as well.

    Comment by Nate W. — October 11, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  42. Once again, MCQ, all I can say is “wow”

    If only that were true, Bryce. Unfortunately, you contradict yourself in your very next word.

    Cheryl: I actually did leave a comment, but it appears to have been sucked into the ether of cyberspace. Perhaps that’s best. It was pretty long and boring, but part of it was to say thanks to ECS for bringing some very welcome light and knowledge to the scene. So I guess I’ll just say that here.

    Please don’t now put words in my mouth Cheryl. I am not calling you a bigot, and I think I’ve been pretty clear that name calling, by either side, has no place in this discussion. My only point was to say that there is a difference between believing certain behavior is a sin and actually telling someone that they are engaging in sin. I still can’t tell from your comment which you are doing, but if your quote (“Dude, it’s a sin”) means you are actually saying that to someone, then I think that person has every right to tell you their point of view as well, and you will then have no right to complain, having been the person to cast the first stone.

    ECS: Couldn’t agree more. The sad truth is that it appears that the Church’s actions on this issue will not actually accomplish much except preventing SS couples from using the word “marriage.” Is that small goal really worth all this? The cultural and legal battle over whether SS relationships are protected by law is largely over.

    Don, you could hardly have chosen a worse example for your admonition to follow the prophet at all costs. As Nate has pointed out, Nephi was not following the prophet, he was following the Spirit, which in his case directly contradicted the prophet. In that sense, you are right that all of us should ask ourselves if we are going to be a Nephi. But I’m not sure the answer to that question tells us where we should come out on this debate. Only the Spirit can do that.

    Comment by MCQ — October 11, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  43. If/when Prop 8 passes, an activist group will sue and get a stay, then sue again and an activist judge will strike it down as unconstitutional, and it will be a moot issue…

    I don’t know if this is serious or not, but I don’t think this trajectory is likely. If California passes Prop 8, then the SC of California could not have it deemed unconstitutional, since it will be, by definition, part of the California constitution. That’s the main (only?) reason this was proposed in the first place.

    Moreover, while a federal court could overturn this on the grounds that it violates the EPC of the federal constitution, that result seems unlikely to be sustained by SCOTUS, I think (and it would definitely end up there with relative alacrity). I mean, in essence, the reasoning would have to be that even though marriage is typically a state-regulated process, and even though states are free to interpret their own constitutions without much help from federal courts, there is a penumbral right to gay marriage. That is, you’d have to have the fairly conservative SCOTUS find both (1) against states’ rights in this situation and (2) for a hidden fundamental right. I just don’t see it happening. Maybe after an Obama re-election and a few unforeseen deaths, but not with the court as it stands now.

    Comment by jimbob — October 11, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  44. Jimbob, that’s actually incorrect. As this article explains, there is a difference in California constitutional law between an amendment, which may pass by a simple majority of votes cast, and a revision, which may only happen by constitutional convention. The California Supreme Court has heard a challenge to proposition 8 on the grounds that it constitutes a revision, but concluded that since prop 8 has not passed, the issue was not ripe for decision. If you’re a law geek, you can check out the petition arguing that prop 8 is a revision here (.pdf).

    Comment by Nate W. — October 11, 2008 @ 9:13 pm

  45. Mormons are morally superior, holier than thou, bigots.

    Comment by A Gainst — October 11, 2008 @ 9:13 pm

  46. 45. Irrelevant.

    Comment by Bryce — October 12, 2008 @ 11:48 am

  47. I’m getting the impression from some of these comments that this is a bad move for the Church because no matter what we do, in the long run it won’t make any difference, the issue’s already been decided, etc. etc.

    Do we not aspire to Paul’s admonition to fight the good fight? Or perhaps even better stated the “The Impossible Dream”?

    Comment by Bret — October 12, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  48. I guess the point is that if we were going to “fight the good fight” on this issue, we should have started long before now. This current fight is only about whether SS couples can use the word “marriage.” Many states have already granted them the right to have civil unions (which give them most of the legal privileges of marriage) and most states already also prohibit discrimination agaist sexual orientation. It seems odd that the word “marriage” is where we draw our line in the sand if we really believe SS behavior is sinful.

    BTW, Paul’s admonition is:

    whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    As for “The Impossible Dream,” that’s Man of La Mancha:


    Good theater, if you like Broadway musicals, but not exactly scripture.

    Comment by MCQ — October 12, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  49. I wish people put HALF as much time and money into causes like feeding the hungry and taking care of the sick than they do judging others’ lives.

    Comment by Anon — October 13, 2008 @ 9:53 am

  50. nate, thank you for #41. this issue has weighed very heavily on our family and we’ve really struggled with it all. i appreciate what you said. i’m sick of being told i’m “spitting in the eye of god” when i’ve spent countless hours in tears and on my knees about all of this.

    Comment by makakona — October 13, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  51. As for “The Impossible Dream,” that’s Man of La Mancha…
    Good theater, if you like Broadway musicals, but not exactly scripture.

    That is, of course, unless it’s sung by Jim Nabors.

    Comment by David T. — October 13, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  52. Maybe my example of Nephi being obedient and asking if we are all Nephis or not was a poor example. But maybe not. Comments were made that Nephi didn’t listen to the prophet Moses, instead he listened to the spirit and killed Laban.

    So I still like my example. I choose to be obedient to God’s prophets unless the spirit speaks to me as forcefully as he spoke to Nephi. Unless the spirit tells me directly to go contrary to what the prophet has asked me to do, then I choose to follow the prophet.

    Comment by Don — October 13, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  53. Don (52):

    That’s fine. Just please don’t assume that no one has had such an experience regarding this issue. Extend the same courtesy to others as you would have them extend to you: that they are sincerely trying to understand and act on the will of God for them.

    Comment by Nate W. — October 13, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  54. McQ,

    I made the unfortunate error of using the word “admonition.” I didn’t mean THE admonition, rather Paul admonishes us to fight the good fight as he did. My bad:)

    Man of La Mancha not scripture. Well no %^&*! BUT I’m glad you brought up THE admonition of Paul because I consider the lyrics of “The Impossible Dream” to be such things to seek after and aspire to and really you could point to countless OT examples of prophets fighting the good fight without ever getting much of anywhere. Jeremiah being the best.

    Oh, and we HAVE been fighting this issue since (as far as I remember) at least 00′ when the original proposition 22 was passed by 60%+ of the voters. Plus, your implication that it is just over the word “marriage” is of course, your opinion and debatable at best.

    Comment by Bret — October 13, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  55. Bret, Paul does indeed tell Timothy, and by implication, all of us to “Fight the good fight of faith,” but whether that can be applied to the issue we are discussing is exactly the question. Is this a good fight? Well, probably not if it’s only over the word “marriage.” If you think it’s over more than that, please explain what more will be accomplished by prop. 8.

    Comment by MCQ — October 13, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  56. @ #49

    Well, if you want to look at it quantitatively, I’m fairly certain the LDS church’s funding of humanitarian aid outstrips its funding for proposition 8. I don’t get the picture from anything that has been said by a church leader that passing prop 8 is somehow more important than humanitarian aid.

    Comment by Assorted Chocolate — October 13, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  57. 53. “Extend the same courtest to others as you would have them extend to you” but only if it’s fair just civil and in reality, one sided. (In my expirience atleast.)

    Anyway, so I’m reading my scriptures at 1:30 in the morning and came across this:(Oh and this is the 1st time I feel I’ve ever actually read them in my opinion, so yes go me 8-P)

    Mosiah 29:26~27

    “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is the right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice of the people.
    And if the time coes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.”

    Comment by Bryce — October 14, 2008 @ 1:53 am

  58. Re 57: I’m not sure what you mean. Your sentence could benefit from the use of commas.

    Comment by Nate W. — October 14, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  59. #56 Well, if you want to look at it quantitatively, I’m fairly certain the LDS church’s funding of humanitarian aid outstrips its funding for proposition 8.

    I’m sure that’s true. Which leaves me wondering why, if marriage equality is such an existential threat to the family and to religious liberty, it isn’t out fighting gay marriage on every possible front?

    The simple truth is the Church continues to do what it does without any threat to its practice or doctrine in many places where same-sex marriage is recognized: Massachusetts, Canada, Europe. No bishops have been thrown in jail. No temples have been confiscated and defiled. No tax exempt status has been revoked. No freedom to practice one’s religion has been infringed upon. And none of that will happen in California if it passes. I know a lot of gay people, and none of them want to see any of those things happen to the LDS Church or any other religious institution.

    Proposition 8 is profoundly anti-family. Gay-led families already exist in California and across the country. They will continue to exist, even if discrimination against them is written into California’s constitution. Families with gay members exist in even greater numbers, and Prop 8 a does nothing to reconcile these families to each other. Too often it needlessly drives them apart.

    Gay people love family just as much as straight people. My gay friends who are alienated from their families because they are gay carry with them constant pain because of it. Many of my gay friends want children of their own to raise and love and nurture. I know of gay couples raising children now, without the benefit of the protection that marriage brings to the family unit, at considerable sacrifice. Why do we want to attack these families? What threat to they really pose?

    Prop 8 weakens the family. I don’t live in California, but Prop 8 weakens my family. My children know that my partner and I love each other and are committed to each other and they know that TOGETHER we are an integral and critical part of their big, sprawling family. They cannot fathom why anyone would seek to make it harder for us to be a family.

    This idea that marriage is some ancient institution that has never evolved is ridiculous and historically untrue. That said, I can get behind the idea that marriage is a basis for a strong society. So why then would you exclude from marriage those who seek to make society stronger? Why would you not encourage the societal stability that comes from promoting commitment and stability and safe, nurturing environments for children?

    Comment by Chris Williams — October 14, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  60. Clarification:

    And none of that will happen in California if it passes.

    None of that will happen in Prop 8 fails.

    Comment by Chris Williams — October 14, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  61. Thanks for you input Chris. Good to see you around this part of the blogosphere.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — October 14, 2008 @ 1:32 pm

  62. McQ,

    I believe gay marriage can be as dangerous as the brethren are telling us. They could be wrong but I’m willing to take their word for it and support them in it. It may eventually come down to just being a defense of the word “marriage” but I don’t believe that’s the case yet and I’m willing to fight for it until we’re sure.

    Comment by Bret — October 15, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  63. God forbid the dirty gays should ever get their hands on the word “marriage” …

    Oh. Wait.

    They already have?

    Oh. Well. Nevermind.

    Will folks like Bret ever eventually ask themselves what it is exactly that they’ve been fighting for?

    Or maybe folks like Bret are just always and forever looking for a fight?

    Cuz, you know, at the end of the day, it’s always been the fighting that’s kept it interesting, hasn’t it?

    Comment by Chino Blanco — October 23, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  64. On a related note, a reader on my personal blog sent this comment. Love is a battlefield, indeed:

    I just got an email from a friend in Oakland. There were protesters at the temple last weekend. They were blocking the road and screaming vile things at members who were attending the temple and the stake center there.

    If anyone had done that in front of a mosque, they would have summarily been hauled off to jail and charged with a hate crime. Seems it is OK to do it to LDS people though, just because we disagree with them on Prop 8.

    Insane behavior from many of them, like jumping out in front of cars that were making a tricky turn (I used to attend there weekly, it is a nightmare getting into the car park) and daring people to run them down.

    I don’t get it, what did they prove, that they could act like hysterical morons by endangering their lives and screaming dirty words at people who just turned up the music and ignored them?

    My friend said that the temple security is made up of huge Tongan guys, so no one tried to get in, just stayed outside and cussed and screamed. Such a waste of energy. I guess they must have found some sort of payoff. Weird.

    Comment by David T. — October 23, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

  65. at the end of the day, it’s always been the fighting that’s kept it interesting, hasn’t it?

    No, actually. If that were the case, it would be easy to discredit this effort. As it is, there are sincere (if possibly misguided) arguments that support it.

    If anyone had done that in front of a mosque, they would have summarily been hauled off to jail and charged with a hate crime.

    Um, no.

    Comment by MCQ — October 23, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  66. Has anyone confirmed the Oakland temple protest story?

    I’ve seen comments suggesting it’s bogus.

    Oh, and by the way, the Yes on 8 campaign is apparently run by a bunch of amateur blackmailers. No kidding.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — October 23, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  67. Interesting article in the SL Tribune yesterday touching on Mormons for Prop. 8 getting into bed with those who hate & revile them:

    “I am so grieved to see whom my church has chosen as friends in this campaign to pass Proposition 8,” said Carol Lynn Pearson, a longtime advocate for gay Mormons. “We have gotten into bed with some of the most extreme of the ‘Religious Right,’ some of whom are well known as hate mongers.”

    However you slice it, this has been a messy, complicated campaign.

    Comment by David T. — October 24, 2008 @ 8:48 am

  68. Regardless of which side wins, I doubt that anyone will forget the Church’s involvement in the issue, and it has certainly been enlightening to those who are most affected. I would not expect any gay-identified people showing up at the LDS church anytime soon…Oh, I forgot, they’re already there.

    Comment by robert — October 24, 2008 @ 9:06 am

  69. Yeah, as to that blackmail thingie, four members of the Yes on 8 campaign including one Mormon sent letters to 30-odd businesses that had donated to “No on 8″ demanding that they donate a similar amount to “Yes on 8″ or their businesses would be publicly declared to be “against traditional marriage.”

    They sent letters to Comcast, apparently. I imagine Comcast has a few lawyers, and doesn’t this little letter sound a bit over-the-top?

    Comment by djinn — October 24, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  70. djinn,

    Absolutely, pretty ugly behavior. Personally, I’m against the publication of donors names for either side precisely because of the tactics that are being perpetrated. I think they should be as private as a vote. Thanks for the input and the article.

    Comment by David T. — October 24, 2008 @ 9:43 am

  71. Well, legally there’s a big difference between the two tactics. If you know something about A that she doesn’t want disclosed, and you tell everybody anyway, that’s A’s tough luck.

    But, if you go to A and say give me money and I won’t tell, that’s blackmail. The fact that A’s secret isn’t illegal doesn’t change the analysis. And the amount requested, over $10,000, may trigger some sort of federal/felony threshold. Not sure on that, but it seems like a lot of money. I understand some letters were given to very large companies with donations in the 50K range. I guess they have lawyers.

    Here’s the letter:

    Comment by djinn — October 24, 2008 @ 10:32 am

  72. Campaign contributions are often public information (unlike voting), so there’s nothing unusual about them being made public, it’s just unusual for someone to threaten to use that information in a negative light. I suspect many of those who contributed have no problem with being identified as contributors, and this attempt at blackmail will fall flat on its face. It really is a very amateurish tactic.

    Comment by MCQ — October 24, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  73. Hope you’re right, old bean.

    Comment by David — October 24, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

  74. It seems because the info the yes on 8 people were threatening to publish was already in the public forum, it wasn’t blackmail. Apparently, though, there are a number of no on yes contributors that are in a tiff that they didn’t get the “blackmail” letter. Just can’t please some people.

    Comment by djinn — October 27, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  75. One good thing about the Yes on 8 campaign: It has kept busy a lot of people who would otherwise be picketing LDS temples. Remember: “The enemy of my (gay) enemy is my friend!”

    Comment by Martin Willey — October 27, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  76. Either the church is true or it isn’t. Either you believe the prophet is a prophet or you don’t. With the mormons there is NO SHADE OF GREY. You CANNOT sit on the fence in your membership. Either you believe in the Priesthood authority or you don’t. If you think the brethren are acting on their own volition rather then acting in behalf of the Son of God, you are wasting your time as a member. If you believe that Spencer W. Kimball was a racist that bent under public scrutiny, you DO NOT KNOW THE MAN. If God had judged it so, Pres. Kimball would not have allowed the Preisthood to be extended.
    YOU MUST DECIDE IF THE BRETHERN ARE INSPIRED OR IF THEY ARE NOT. Once that decision is made, act accordingly.

    THAT is the simplicity of the faith.

    Comment by Jenny — October 27, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  77. Jenny, diatribes like that are certain to alienate about 50% of our membership. If that is your goal, you’re on the right track. If, however, your goal is to do as Christ commanded and “feed my sheep,” you might want to take a different approach.

    For one thing, your stance is at odds with many of the prophets’ own statements, including Joseph Smith, who explicitly stated that he was not infallible and who in fact, was censured by the brethren during his own lifetime for mistakes that he made. Statements like the one above would not, in fact, be recognized by a leader like Joseph who famously said that his approach was to teach correct principles and let men govern themselves.

    Let me also clarify one very important point: no one, to my knowledge, on this site has ever called SWK a racist. That would be ridiculous indeed. But this thread is not about the priesthood ban, so I’m not sure how that applies.

    Comment by MCQ — October 27, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  78. BTW, I’m glad you find that your faith is simple. Please have patience with those of us who have more complex relationships with our faith on certain issues.

    Comment by MCQ — October 27, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  79. This is, indeed, a complex issue and I believe it all comes down to each member’s personal relationship with God. Seeing the rift among members makes me think this is about more than just seeing to the passing of Proposition 8; It’s a test and opportunity for each one of us to exercise our faith and wrest with the issue through prayer and pondering. That is not to say everyone will come away with the same answer. It isn’t whether the Church is right or wrong, but whether we can each individually attain a sense of peace and confirmation from the Lord that it’s all right to hold the sentiments we do– and to recognize that this answer is valid to no one but each of us alone. Because when it all comes down to the end, it’s just us and the Lord, one on one.

    Comment by David T. — October 28, 2008 @ 8:43 am

  80. Amen David.

    Comment by MCQ — October 28, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

  81. Thank you, Steve & Barb, for your most excellent Halloween decorations:


    Comment by Chino Blanco — October 31, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

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