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Clarification on Mormons and Prop 8 9 November 2008

Posted by Todd in Christianity, Democratic Theory, Gay Rights, Mormonism/LDS Church, Religion.
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Just to clarify: I’m completely supportive and in favor of the ongoing protests and civil disobedience to bring to light the wrong-headed, unscientific beliefs in fairy tales, and the undemocratic efforts of the Mormon church and its adherents to enshrine their *religious* beliefs regarding homosexuality and marriage into the *secular* Constitution of California. In fact, I’m especially thrilled by the prospect of protestors disrupting Mormons’ efforts to marry in their temples. The irony is rich, no?

And especially in reference to my post about the Mormon church’s tax-exempt status, I’m in favor of all churches losing their tax exempt status. There is no reason at all that churches should be able to keep their finances secret and that they should be able to control billions of dollars in assets without contributing back to the society. And they certainly should be paying taxes if they are going to step into the public sphere to make their particular biases and bigotries enforced by law.

Unlike Seth, the Mormon commenter to the previous post, I see no difference between the protests in Salt Lake City and in Los Angeles. Both were direct responses to the Church’s efforts to impose its religion on the people of California; both were lawful; and both were filled with the frustration of a people denied. The protestors in Salt Lake City gathered at one of the gates to Temple Square and chanted “You’re Sexist! You’re Racist! And you’re Homophobic!” The protestors in Los Angeles bore signs that read, “You have two wives. I want one husband!” I marched in the protest in San Francisco on Friday night and felt the power of a people galvanized against those who would make them second class citizens. Separate is never equal, and this is but one stop along the route to full equality under the law for the gay and lesbian citizens of Californa. Next stop: The United States.

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Comments

1. Seth R. - 10 November 2008

To clarify on my end, I opposed Prop 8 from the start on grounds that I don’t think the US or state governments should even be in the marriage license business to begin with.

I advocate laws instituting equal and fair “civil unions” for all – homosexual, heterosexual, monogamist, polygamist, whatever. All of them would get the same protections on grounds that the government ought to encourage mutually trusting and dependent relationships and protect those who enter into them. But I don’t think government has much business defining who is and is not “married.”

If a gay couple in San Francisco wants to find a Unitarian pastor to marry them, bully for them.

If the Mormon church wants to exclude homosexual unions from their temples, bully for them too.

Neither gets any preference from the government and both get the same package of rights.

I’m sure it’s just wishful thinking on my part. People are too invested in this train of argument to back down now. Maybe a few daring Mormon couples could sue the state government on grounds that they shouldn’t have to have to get a marriage license….

Hmm… probably legally iffy.

2. Nephi - 13 November 2008

Todd, you’re obviously riled up and pretty upset about the whole issue. To understand why the Mormon church promoted what they did you need to consider this:

Either God exists or he doesn’t. Mormons believe that he does exist as our Heavenly Father, the literal father of our spirits.

Either life exists beyond mortality or it doesn’t. Mormons believe that it does, and that Gods purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of his children. This life is a probationary state, kind of a testing period in which we will be accountable for our choices and actions. We will be judged based on the sins we commit and the lives we live.

Either the Mormon Church does have the truth or it doesn’t. Mormons believe that they do have the truth revealed from God through their prophets. It is their duty to share this truth with others to help them inherit salvation.

Either homosexual behavior is a sin or it isn’t. Mormons believe that it is, and those who commit this sin are jeopardizing their potential happiness in the eternities.

There are many members of the LDS church, many of them who are married (heterosexually) who struggle with same gender attraction.

If government and society say that this behavior and activity are acceptable, it is easier for people struggling with these attractions to rationalize that it is acceptable behavior. Fence sitters will sway and the fundamental family unit (not that it isn’t already in awful shape with divorces, single family home, teenage parents, etc.) will accelerate towards a downward spiral of destruction.

The issue for the Mormons is about saving souls. It’s about doing what they believe is best for the salvation of as many of Gods children as possible. Either its true or it isn’t and God is the only source for real truth. We can’t stop people from sinning, but we can do our best to discourage a way of life that we know is detrimental to salvation.

Now I know that this probably makes you boiling mad, and that you’ll likely delete the post so others can’t read it. But these are a few truths that are real. It doesn’t matter whether you believe them or not, they are true.

3. Capt Jack - 13 November 2008

Nephi:

Many of us who read and occasionally comment here were LDS. We don’t need the preaching about what Mormons believe; many of spent years of our lives teaching it.

One of your points was interesting to me:

“The issue for the Mormons is about saving souls. It’s about doing what they believe is best for the salvation of as many of Gods children as possible.”

Now it’s been a while, but wasn’t that the plan that you believe was rejected in the pre-earth existence? Never mind, you don’t have to answer that.

Assuming you don’t think that’s Satan’s plan, I expect you to go after Marriott for his providing pornography in his hotel rooms. After all, many “fence sitters” might see it and sin. Can’t have that, right?

“Fence sitters will sway and the fundamental family unit (not that it isn’t already in awful shape with divorces, single family home, teenage parents, etc.) will accelerate towards a downward spiral of destruction.”

Your “fence sitters”, as you put it, are homosexuals. The fact that they feel forced to marry heterosexuals–thus spreading the psychic misery far and wide–is one of the greatest tragedies in the LDS church.

One more thing–gay marriage is a fact of life in countries around the world. What has happened in those places? That’s right, nothing.

What you and other Mormons seem to want to do is force homosexuals back into the closet. That isn’t going to happen. Get over, accept it, and let them live their lives. And, my Mormon friend, is the truth. It is real, and it doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.

4. Jer - 13 November 2008

Oh Nephi. To answer your questions, god doesn’t exist, there isn’t an afterlife, the mormon church doesn’t have the truth, there’s not such thing as “sin” so homosexuality definitely can’t be one.

Now multiply me by millions. There are that many people that disagree with what you’re saying. Your little church’s beliefs don’t matter a god damn to us and we’re tired of you legislating your doctrine on us.

Go back to your tiny world where people who drink coffee will be visited with the worst of god’s punishment.

5. Todd - 13 November 2008

Brother Nephi,

I’m not boiling mad at you. No, I’m just exhausted. I’ve had this conversation too many times (including from your side of the fence), and I understand perfectly well where the Mormons are coming from. I’d list my Mormon bona fides here, but to what end? Your comment is just like all the stuff I used to hear at firesides or in the MTC or at BYU; spiritual messages that create false choices out of false dichotomies, clumsy and hapless versions of Pascal’s Wager with a healthy dose of “testimony” thrown in to avoid making a rational argument.

But the biggest problem I have with your argument is that it’s made in extra-democratic terms. I’m perfectly fine with you believing all that (although I think you’re wrong) and would defend your right to believe any manner of wrongheadedness. What I cannot abide and what has happened in the Prop 8 madness (a continuation of a long history of the mixing of religion with law in the U.S.) is the imposition of religious definition of marriage on the secular state. You have all kinds of religious justifications for what you and your church have done, but fail to make a single argument that would sway anyone who does not share your assumptions.

That you feel intensely that you have made the correct bet in your pascalian wager and/or that you feeeeel intensely in your heart that what you believe is true is of utterly no worth in the public sphere where there are a plurality of religious views, including a healthy chunk of them that are gay-positive and/or atheist.

So give me your best non-religious argument as to why your sexual mores should be adopted by (or kept in the law of)the state, and that it is constitutionally acceptable in a democracy for them to be imposed on everyone in the state of california.

6. Hellmut - 14 November 2008

Nephi, you are free to believe as you please, but, please, do not impose your religion on the rest of us.

Minorities ought to be able to practice their religion free from majority intrusion. Therefore, your faith is no license to discriminate against anyone.

7. anon - 16 November 2008

Brother Nephi,

Either Prez Monson actually “walked the walk” and donated some of his own money towards prop 8 (as he asked his followers to do so) or he is a hypocrite. I bet you can’t find his name on any of the donor lists. BTW, A true leader would donate in his own name.

8. Randy - 17 November 2008

Nephi:

You wrote:

Either homosexual behavior is a sin or it isn’t. Mormons believe that it is, and those who commit this sin are jeopardizing their potential happiness in the eternities.

There are many members of the LDS church, many of them who are married (heterosexually) who struggle with same gender attraction.

If government and society say that this behavior and activity are acceptable, it is easier for people struggling with these attractions to rationalize that it is acceptable behavior. Fence sitters will sway and the fundamental family unit (not that it isn’t already in awful shape with divorces, single family home, teenage parents, etc.) will accelerate towards a downward spiral of destruction.

Are you seriously arguing that anything Mormonism considers to be a sin ought to be illegal? Should I be fined $100 for walking over to Starbucks and buying a latte? How silly.


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