Two weeks ago in my parents ward, the bishop read the First Presidency's letter on the proposed marriage amendment here in California. The bishop said he would let us know as soon as he knew what we would be asked to do. The speakers touched on the urgency of the issue and its connection to the evil in the world.
Last week the letter was read in our current ward with an introduction from the bishop, in essence, explaining that sometimes callings cause you to do things you really would rather not and we don't always understand why we're asked to do the things we do. Followed by a testimony wondering not about the definition of marriage but why the letter contained so little we-still-love-you.
The stake president bore his testimony later in the meeting and never mentioned the marriage issue, but did say that God loveth his children, a soft reference to the recent pamphlet.
The people most vocally against the amendment keep reminding us how well Prop 22 passed, 61.4%. Personally, I don't think that's a super-mighty showing. Plus, it was eight years ago. A lot has changed in California since 2000. I don't see the amendment passing.
But whether it will or not is a different question than whether or not it should.
The first thing I think of whenever this issue comes up is something Orson Scott Card said at Endercon. He was addressing issue of "Is this bad for children?" and said that heterosexual divorce had damaged more children than homosexual marriage ever would.
But it's not really about children, is it? It's about the morality of homosexuality.
Personally, doubting than many people "choose" to be gay, I find it troubling to call it a moral issue at all. I didn't choose to be white. How can being white be a sin? (Critical Racists take note.) And it also seems to me that by allowing marriage between gays and lesbians, many of the alleged immoral excesses will fall into the same range we see among randy heteros.
Having many gay friends, I have a hard time closing doors on them. Granted, I don't see marriage as a constitutional right (more extraconstitutional--like my right to chew bubblegum--only more impactful on my life and happiness), but I also don't see who it's going to hurt. I'm rather utilitarian in my feelings here. If it doesn't hurt anyone and makes some people happy, why not?
On the other hand, I have faith in the teachings of my church and I have to recognize that if I accept a) that God knows more than me and b) the First Presidency knows more about God's will than I do, then c) how can I deign to reject counsel that claims that Godly genesis? Who am I to second-guess God?
For most moderns, this dilemma reveals how little religious people are capable of thought and how beholden to the old men and dead books who do their thinking for them. But that's because they don't recognize the source of faith, which is outside of me and my little brain. Don't accept that, fine--I'll never convince you otherwise--but at least don't thoughtlessly dismiss my testimony that it is true.
For now, my thoughts on the issue center much on the scripture quoted at the beginning of the pamphlet mentioned above:
- I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
And I never will. And I really don't have that much control over which things I do understand and which things I don't. And that means I have to make decisions based on uncertainty.
But that's normal. That's life. Being a Saint doesn't give me access to the Absolute Right Answer to Every Question. And if it did, what kind of life would that be?
God doesn't like telling us what to do--not in the detail work.
Another thing I've been thinking about, courtesy of Brigham Young:
- I refer you to the exhortation you have heard so frequently from me . . . . You may know whether you are led right or wrong . . . . I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. 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. This has been my exhortation continually.
Well, that's a lot more quote than I needed, and meaty enough to deserve it's own svithe. So I'll just stop here and take a nap.
last week's svithe