This svithe is totally gay (or, you know, not)


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


  1. .

    I didn't have time to go over and refine either my thoughts or my language, so feel free to tell me where I'm confused or confusing.

    I (possibly) won't be online as much these next couple days, so be patient for replies.

  2. .

    Two things:

    1) My source for the BY quote.

    2) My use of it was not to imply the FR are dotty, but to suggest the issue is worth thinking and praying about.

  3. This came up in my BOM for RMs class here at BYU this winter. My professor pointed out that, 1) if gay marriage is made legal, then 2) anybody given the legal right to marry will have to recognize gay marriage as marriage, so 3) the Church will lose its legal right to marry people and *POOF* no more temple marriage in the good ole US of A (which I hear is the case in some European countries: people have to get married civilly and then go to the temple to be sealed). In my mind, this is not a huge problem (though I'd like to have a temple marriage, so long as I can be sealed to my wife someday, I'm okay with a civil marriage, I suppose--I mean, I'd have to be, right?), but I'm with you in that, since the adamantly non-political Church leadership is speaking out, we ought to obey because (as you said) God knows more than we do (consider Isaiah 55:8-9).

    Yeah, it's a confusing thing. Homosexuality always is to me. I mean, I'm like you in that I concede that probably very few homosexuals are homosexual because they made a conscious choice to be so, but, at the same time, there's really no quibbling certain Bible verses, either.

    *sigh* I'm glad I'm not the type who is easily disturbed by things he doesn't understand--not to say you are; I'm just saying I'm glad I'm not because there is so little in this world that really makes solid logical sense in my mind.

  4. .

    I very much doubt anything would change regarding the churchs ability to marry people. Also,we ignore lots of OT verses of equal weight, so really, modern revelation is the only reason we have.

  5. I wasn't talking OT exclusively (ergo "Bible"), but the point it moot because you're right: modern revelation trumps all.

  6. This is a very hot subject, so I know I'm taking my life in my hands when I comment. I don't want to offend anyone, but I know it's almost inevitable.

    Right after I read this we were reading fam. scriptures and the first verse I saw was D&C 1:31 "For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance."

    I'm not saying it's a sin to have homosexual tendencies. But I really and truly believe that to act on those feelings is wrong, just as I believe it is wrong to look at pornography, have sexual relations with anyone other than your spouse, take harmful substances into your body, etc. People don't necessarily choose to be born into families with alcoholic tendencies, but that doesn't give them the "moral right" to later become an alcoholic, does it? (Okay, not sure if that made sense in print. It did in my head.)

    I know a lot of people who have strong feelings to do any one of those things, even after praying for years for those feelings to go away. But just because they don't go away doesn't mean it's right to give into those feelings.

    So, is the question really about marriage? If children are entitled to live with parents within the bonds of matrimony, does it matter if they are two women/men vs. a man and woman? According to revelation, yes. Is that because heterosexual couples always make better parents than homosexual couples? Not necessarily.

    I guess the issue really is, is having a sexual relationship with a member of the same sex immoral? Because if it is, we should then take a stand against homosexual marriages. There's no standing on the fence if we're supposed to not look on sin with the least degree of allowance. That's not to say that I am not a sinner. I am. We all are. But in my mind, allowing homosexual marriages validates that that sexual union is normal, natural, and right in the sight of God.

    It's not an easy subject. There are no easy answers. This was a long response and I don't know if it even makes sense.

  7. Along the lines of what I was saying earlier, a bit from the Joseph Smith manual (pg. 163):

    God will not command any thing, but what is peculiarly adapted in itself, to ameliorate the condition of every man under whatever circumstances it may find him, it matters not what kingdom or country he may be in.

  8. I had a small panic attack the other day when I realized that we are moving to California, which means I actually do have to vote on the issue. I'm afraid I'm going to be paralyzed by fear and unable to vote--I have a hard time voting for it to pass, but I fear being struck by lightning if I don't. I think I need to go pray about it more...

  9. Great post. I think I can relate to how you feel about the issue at hand, but I like how you pointed out that "God knows more than we do." I feel I can trust in God, but I'm not sure how much I can trust in leaders to be doing God's will. The same leaders who taught racist doctrines and opposed the Civil Rights movement. I suppose if that's what God REALLY wanted, then I would have to submit to His will. But is a ban on gay marriage any more His will than blacks not having equal rights back in the 60's? The leaders could be right, but they've been wrong before. That's where my doubt stems from. I feel let down by what has been taught before by Church leaders, only to find out later on that it was wrong. One can't help but wonder whether this is history repeating itself. I don't know.

  10. 2) anybody given the legal right to marry will have to recognize gay marriage as marriage

    It seems to me that in areas where the Church has any sort of policy on marriage, they're already allowed to discriminate based on dozens of other factors. I don't see why this ruling would change any of that.

  11. This has turned out to be a lengthy comment. I’ll give it a good sum up with two scriptures, and then those who wish to can read the whole thing. I’m also bolding segments for you cliffnotes advocates.

    “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38)

    “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
    “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Nephi 9:28-19)


    For me, there is no question about the issue. I believe that 1.)God exists and loves us, 2.)that his Son Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, 3.)that Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ, and 4.)that there is a living prophet on the Earth today (which must be if you believe in Joseph Smith's calling, due to prophecies regarding the continuance of prophetic guidance until the coming of Christ)

    Because I believe in living prophets I accept their right to speak out on any subject. While the men who lead us have their human flaws, and while they have made mistakes (but NOT given false revelation) from time to time, you will always be blessed for following their counsel. If they ever speak out of turn the Lord will take corrective measures and as it says in Jacob 4:5 “[being obedient] is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.” (which, by the way, is a classic example of the Lord commanding things that don’t appeal to logic in ANY fashion)

    While there has been some dissidence among the general leaders of the Church and apostasy/false teaching even through members of the quorum of the twelve apostles from the very beginning of the restoration, we have never and will never go wrong by following the counsel of the President of the Church.

    I have here a quote by President Hinckley from a talk called “Loyalty” from the Liahona, May 2003. I’m going to include it in length because it really encapsulates the full topic.

    “Now may I say a word concerning loyalty to the Church.

    We see much indifference. There are those who say, ‘The Church won’t dictate to me how to think about this, that, or the other, or how to live my life.’

    No, I reply, the Church will not dictate to any man how he should think or what he should do. The Church will point out the way and invite every member to live the gospel and enjoy the blessings that come of such living. The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein.

    When I was a university student, I said to my father on one occasion that I felt the General Authorities had overstepped their prerogatives when they advocated a certain thing. He was a very wise and good man. He said, ‘The President of the Church has instructed us, and I sustain him as prophet, seer, and revelator and intend to follow his counsel.’

    I have now served in the general councils of this Church for 45 years. I have served as an Assistant to the Twelve, as a member of the Twelve, as a Counselor in the First Presidency, and now for eight years as President. I want to give you my testimony that although I have sat in literally thousands of meetings where Church policies and programs have been discussed, I have never been in one where the guidance of the Lord was not sought nor where there was any desire on the part of anyone present to advocate or do anything which would be injurious or coercive to anyone.

    The book of Revelation declares: ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth’ (Rev. 3:15–16).

    I make you a promise, my dear brethren, that while I am serving in my present responsibility I will never consent to nor advocate any policy, any program, any doctrine which will be otherwise than beneficial to the membership of this, the Lord’s Church.

    This is His work. He established it. He has revealed its doctrine. He has outlined its practices. He created its government. It is His work and His kingdom, and He has said, ‘They who are not for me are against me’ (2 Ne. 10:16).

    In 1933 there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state.

    I was on a mission, working in London, England, when I read the newspaper headlines that screamed, ‘Utah Kills Prohibition.’

    President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel.

    On this occasion I am not going to talk about the good or bad of Prohibition but rather of uncompromising loyalty to the Church.

    How grateful, my brethren, I feel, how profoundly grateful for the tremendous faith of so many Latter-day Saints who, when facing a major decision on which the Church has taken a stand, align themselves with that position. And I am especially grateful to be able to say that among those who are loyal are men and women of achievement, of accomplishment, of education, of influence, of strength—highly intelligent and capable individuals.

    Each of us has to face the matter—either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

    Thank you, my dear brethren, you men of great strength and great fidelity and great faith and great loyalty.”

    You either follow the Prophet or you do not. The issue is more an issue of testimony than it is of anything else. I think the first presidency is very concerned right now about whether or not we will count ourselves with them. The last two first presidency messages for the home teachers have fit in the category of following the prophet. I for one, intend to do what Elder Uchtorf instructs, “Let us in humility and faith refresh our dedication and our commitment to follow the prophets, seers, and revelators in all diligence.”