Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conversation

This was sent out to a list-serve to which I subscribe:

http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081110hate.html
Hello Ladies, I normally do not send out this type of information in this type of venue. But I had no idea that the situation had gotten so heated. My uncle sent me this link to an article written by a police officer who was present for the protest outside of the LA temple. If you have a moment, read what he wrote. Very moving and a little scary. Make sure you read the "part 2" . Apparently there were 2 ladies beaten at the temple protest. Now, I am not looking to start a conversation here. I just wanted to get this information out.

Thanks,
(name removed at the request of the author)

My response:
If you're not trying to start a conversation, why are you sending this out? Prop 8 is a very heated topic, and the article you link to is highly emotionally charged--exactly the thing to get a conversation started. I personally feel we should be discussing this (though perhaps not in this forum)--even if it doesn't directly affect us here in Indiana, we all have friends and family who are directly in the path of this conflict. At some point we're all going to have to face an amendment like this--I've had to twice already, once in California (prop 22, the one that was struck down by the courts) and once in Utah. I voted once for and once against the definition of marriage as only one man and one woman. My vote was influenced greatly both by statements made by the church leadership and by conversations with gay friends of mine. If the switching of my vote from one side to the other isn't evidence enough, this is a topic over which I am quite conflicted. I do believe President Monson and the rest of the Quorum of the twelve are inspired prophets and so we should listen to their counsel, especially when it's this explicit; that said, they are also men and I wonder if this command comes from their prejudices. I wonder how inspired this request can really be if it's creating such a violent, anti-Mormon atmosphere not just in California but around the world? Is it really such a great thing that we've given so much money to organizations that label us non-Christian and would fight against us given the opportunity? We're taking the brunt of the blame for the passage of Prop 8 even though we're far from a majority in California--is that really such a good thing?

Please keep the discussion civil--I respect those of you who would have voted for Prop 8, and I respect many of the arguments for why we should define marriage as "one man, one woman." In my own head, that is the definition of a marriage. I worry here more about the politics of legalizing the definition and about the ferocity of the backlash we are experiencing.

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One more thing: I found this account of the more peaceful protest in Salt Lake a nice counterbalance to the Meridian article.

26 comments:

  1. I hate, hate, hate talking politics - but I really think this warrants a response. I,too, am greatly troubled by this topic, and I know that just about everybody I know is as well. I feel SO badly for those who feel opressed, ostracised, and targeted by prop. 8 and other similar legislation. I have struggled as to why this is such an important issue that the presidency has taken a stand on it. Why should we care who marries who? Why would we do something that hurts the feelings of so many people and opens ourselves up for such severe backlash? I have come to the conclusion that the answer is solidly grounded in modern revelation and scripture and not just in the "prejudices" of men. We know that God's house is a house of order. We know that he has organized us into families with a specific structure - that of one man and one woman sealed together to create one unit and sealed to their ancestors and decendents in a "web." We know that the marriage ordinances performed her on earth continue in the afterlife. Just as God chooses who may or may not hold the priesthood at different times (ex: only Levites in ancient times, etc.) He chooses who may or may not be sealed together to form the basis of a family structure (ex: poligamy was allowed - but has now been forbidden). Marriage is a SACRED institution! It is not something that should be entered into withought agreeing to the terms and responsibility of that covenant! The sacredness of marriage has been corroded away throughout the years - but that doesn't mean that we should be fine with completely redefining it without divine revelation giving God's consent. Marriage is NOT just about the love two people share! It is NOT just about recognition and equality! It IS about a covenant a man and a woman make with God to live according to his will and to establish the continuation of the family structure he has set out. Marriage CAN be redefined - but it must be done according to God's will!!

    This, however, does not lessen my love for those who - for various reasons - cannot or will not enter into such a bond. I hold nothing against them. And I know that in the next life they will be given every opportunity that they have not been given in this life.

    As for the backlash we are being faced with - were we not faced with worse? In just establising our religion and following our beliefs we were cast out and hunted and martyred. Is it such a surprise that once again we are faced with such violence when we insist that our beliefs are true and right and strive to protect them? The day we have continual peace and acceptance in the world - prior to the millinium - we will know that the devil has won and is no longer required to strive against us.

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  3. Kristine, I appreciate your efforts to not blast this discussion all over the corkboard.

    I have been doing a lot of reading about Prop 8 and the Church's attitude towards it, as well as the aftermath from its passing. It is an interesting subject, and one about which I feel strongly--far more strongly now that I've educated myself about this than even just a month ago.

    The comment I would like to make, however, is in response to your concern about the rightness of this decision by the Church in lieu of its violent aftermath. I feel your point is both troubling and of real concern, however, I must appeal to our Church's history in this instance:

    Nothing was more responsible for Joseph Smith's death than the doctrine and practice of polygamy. It caused a violent wave of rage both from members of the Church who could/would not consent to the practice, as well as among non-member neighbors within Nauvoo and in surrounding areas. The biting newspaper articles written by Thomas Sharp in Warsaw, as well as the "wolf hunts" of Levi Williams were, in large part, fueled to the point of Joseph's death because of the doctrine of polygamy. Now, of course, this was not openly practiced at this time, but that was precisely because of the persecution which arose from it. My point is, the Church has always been persecuted and had violent aftermath from principles and doctrines which it embraced. It happened in Joseph Smith's time, and it happens in ours. I am more surprised that many were not expecting this sort of a response.

    On a more "eternal" perspective, I feel that any time in which the Church is not being persecuted for something, there is probably a problem. If Satan does not have to work very hard against the "defenders of truth" (if I may wax a little dorky), then there is obviously a reason for it, and it does not reflect very well upon us. I do not mean to intimate that activists against Prop 8 are evil, but I do believe that Satan is using them and the anger/rudeness that has been expressed toward the Church to accomplish his own ends. (That said, I feel that anger on the part of Prop 8 supporters works to that same end.) It has been prophesied that a line will be drawn and all people will either be entirely for or entirely against the Church, and I feel this issue is one step closer to that time.

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  4. I tried to comment earlier, so apologies if it is duplicated. In essence, what I find most troubling about your discussion here is your question as to whether the counsel we have been given is coming from the Lord or from the mortal prejudices of the Prophet and Quorum of the Twelve.

    I do acknowledge that we should not follow blindly, but I believe firmly that we should follow in faith. I do not believe that the Prophet would give us any counsel with such enormous and far-reaching impacts unless it is coming directly from the Lord. I find any suggestion to the contrary very troubling, and please forgive me if I am misinterpreting your words, but that is the impression I received from your initial posting on the Corkboard.

    I have many close family members and friends who are gay, and I love them dearly, but I love the Lord and his Prophet more. I firmly believe that the Prophet is guiding us not only to the best of his ability, but in accordance with the counsel of the Lord.

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  5. Sorry--I'm not a very good blog host. I don't always check what's going on, even in discussions I start.

    Tiffany--The arguments you make are some of those I find more compelling. I agree that temple marriage is sacred and should be defined by God's Prophets. I like the way marriage is now, and I want to see the arrangement we have today continue. But to some extent I wonder why we worry about marriage outside the Church. Marriage has changed quite a bit over the centuries, from being mostly about property rights and being entered into by parents on behalf of their children, to focused much more on love and the compatibility of the couple. It's a dynamic institution, and no constitution is going to change that.

    Alisha--I've wondered if this isn't some kind of test myself. I know a lot of people who have stated they're leaving the church, or at least questioning their membership in the church over this issue. Is the issue of gay marriage the polygamy of our time? Is it some sort of crucible, or some sort of refiners' fire in which the membership of the church will be tested? A lot of people did leave the church over polygamy--Emma included. Joseph was martyred, the Saints moved to Utah, and then the practice was dropped and the Church has fully repudiated it. So, is this something that we're just being asked to do as a kind of test? If so, is it more important that we follow the instruction, or is it more important to focus on the truthfulness of the gospel and not let this specific request become a stumbling block?

    Rachel--I am quite certain there are things said by the Prophets that come not from God but from their own beliefs and prejudices. The word prejudices has a rather ugly connotation that I wish I could avoid--I really just mean here the paradigm through which we see the world. That belief allows me to ignore statements the Brethren make regarding evolution--they're not scientists and most of them come at the question of the creation from a viewpoint that is incompatible with evolution. The science isn't wrong, but it is incompatible with their world view. Since my world view allows evolution to coexist with God and with the creation, I just ignore anything they say on the matter.

    The thing is, it's a very dangerous thing to start ignoring the counsel of the Prophets, and so I don't do it lightly. This is another instance where I wonder if the world view is simply incompatible with allowing gay marriage. I know the Brethren are constantly looking for danger in the world around us--that's a big part of their job. I'm grateful they do that and I try to listen because I do believe following their counsel keeps me spiritually safe. I wonder if there is a danger to allowing gay marriage that I'm simply not aware of but they are. At the same time, the dangers that have so far been pointed out are unconvincing to me, leaving me questioning what the real reason is, or should be.

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  6. I don't really care too much about marriage outside of the church - except for how it will affect me and my liberty in practicing my own religion as I see fit. It is possible that the bigger danger is in the world view of gay marriage - however there is already danger for us here. I don't have time to search down all the links and such to articles I've read, etc. But the church has already been affected by legislation regarding gay marriage - and gay individuals. LDS family services has already been shut down in one area (I want to say Massachusetts - but don't quote me on that - and I don't have time to look it up) because of it's refusal to allow gay individuals and couples to apply for adoption services. They don't allow ANY unmarried people to apply - but the courts deemed it against the law and had them shut down. There has been talk about banning churches and lifting their tax exempt status due to their opposition of practicing homosexuality based on hate crimes bills. There has also been talk of imprisonment of pastors and other church leaders who openly speak against practicing homosexuality based on hate speech restrictions and inciting violence. Anybody who thinks that it will end with just allowing gay marriage is naive in my opinion. Homosexual activists will not stop until every barrior or hurdle they perceive as unequal or prejudiced is broken down. Anybody who thinks that churchs are protected from restrictions such as this by the constitution have not taken into consideration muslims - who are not allowed to take more than one wife here in the U.S., even though their religion specifically allows it; Native Americans - who's use of payote is restricted and can still be arrested if found under its influence - same for Rastafarians; The list could go on. I know these examples are not exactly the same thing - but they are examples of how legislation can and does restrict the practice of religion. Let me draw another paralell. Doctors who's religious beliefs object to helping a homosexual couple concieve have already been taken to court on the grounds of unequal treatment. Several Doctors and nurses have been fired for refusing to perform such procedures. Now that gay marriage is becoming legal in many areas - how long do you think it will take before religious leaders are taken to court on the same grounds for refusing to perform marriages and allowing full church membership?

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  7. Sorry, I hit post before I was done.
    This point circles back to my initial argument that the definition of marriage cannot be changed in our church except through divine revelation given to the prophet. If such changes are to be made - it must be on his time table and not man's. We must do all that we can to ensure and protect our ability to practice our religion according to God's law as it is currently set out. Let's face it - we had to leave the country to ensure our ability to practice poligamy - that really isn't an option anymore. We have to protect our rights to worship how God has currently revealed - until such time as he sees fit to change said worship. It's not just about the rights of homosexuals - it's about our rights as well.

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  8. I don't have anything to say about the prop8 discussion but that I second all that Tiffany has said. However I wanted to say that Emma never left the Church - over polygamy - or anything else. While she didn't go west with the others her reasons for that weren't about polygamy. She had some issues with it, like many women at the time did, but stuck it out. When Joseph died there was great contention between Emma and Brigham over property. Joseph owned much land and property that they disputed over who owned it, Joseph or the church. While many, or all, of their kids went to the RLDS church, Emma never encouraged it or joined that church herself. She married a non-member later who respected her and her faith. I think Emma is greatly misunderstood. She went through more trials in a short period that most of us wouldn't see in a lifetime. I think she was tired. She was living with a massive broken heart - she just lost her greatest love. Wow, I totally digressed.

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  10. Kristine, have you seen the BYU evolution packet? I used it in a course I was a TA for--it might be of some interest to you, based on what you wrote about the evolution issue (which I don't really want to make a centerpiece of this discussion, but I do think you might be interested in it. I think you can obtain it via the BYU library; I'm not sure if it's online).

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  11. I stand corrected about Emma. I always thought she joined the RLDS church, since I was also under the impression she supported her son to succeed Joseph as Prophet. If I'm wrong about that one too, please let me know. (oh, and feel free to take the discussion in tangential directions--this might as well be a free for all :) ).

    Rachael--I have seen the BYU evolution packet, though it's been a few years. I stand by what I've said here, and, perhaps of interest, in the post I put up yesterday. Science really has no way of testing religion, and religion should not attempt to test science. The supernatural (including God, the soul, and many other points of faith and doctrine) is outside the bounds of what science can test. But, religions should understand that claims about the physical world are within the bounds of scientific inquiry, and science is the final arbiter of natural laws. I feel no need to listen to even a Prophet when he speaks on natural laws if his claims go against what has been discovered by science. That doesn't make the Prophet not a Prophet; it makes him not a scientist. (yeah, this is one I've had to think about a lot, so I tend to go on about it.)

    Tiffany--I saw just about all of the claims you quoted in a document that unfortunately I can't find either, and in that document all of them were debunked. There may be some good reasons to worry about the legality of gay marriage, but all of those are scare tactics that were passed around and turn out to be exaggerated or outright false. I agree with your first post quite a bit more :) Marriage is, in my mind, between a man and a woman who have chosen to bind themselves together in love, preferably eternally. In my heart of hearts that is what marriage is, and no amount of legal wrangling can change that. At the same time, laws probably shouldn't be decided by what I believe in my heart of hearts--they need to be founded on a basic, as-universal-as-we-can-make-it fairness. So, does limiting marriage, or civil unions, to only heterosexual couples violate that or does it not?

    Everyone, thanks for the discussion--I'm really enjoying this, and I'm glad we're all being civil and friendly to one another.

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  12. I respectfully disagree that these claims have been debunked. Here is a link to an article that ran in the LA Times Newspaper last June listing pending cases illustrating these claims.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-stern17-2008jun17,0,5628051.story

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  13. I feel like I should adress the "fairness" question. There is no such thing. Fairness is relative. Nobody will ever be satisfied with an "as-universal-as-we-can-make-it fairness" because no one will get exactly what they want and deem to be fair. I tend to tentativly support civil unions because they seem to have less legal abilities to hinder the free practice of religion. Civil Unions are meant to overcome such obsticles as hospital visitation and inheritance law and taxes - but they seem to be universally recoginzed as NOT the same thing as marrige. To me - that is the best "fair" compromise. However, I know that many homosexual groups have spoken out against the difference and will not settle or rest until they are allowed to be married - and not just civily unified. They see anything less as "unfair" treatment without equal rights. I'm all for giving homosexual couples equal rights - as long as they don't affect the rights of others. THEY must also be fair to US!

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  14. Tiffany--ok, I can respect that. If you think that's what's fair, I can respect your view. I don't actually know where I would draw the line that I would consider fair to both sides myself. I guess I'm unconvinced gay marriage is going to do all the bad things people on one side claim it will, though I can certainly appreciate that concerns about the claims you're citing would lead one to your position.

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  15. Kristine - Thanks for the civil discussion. You are the first person I have entered into conversation on this subject with - because I do not discuss it lightly - and I'm grateful that it stayed intellectual without smear and slander. I can also respect your view. I agree that it is difficult to imagine that things could get as bad as some claim it could get - and I'm not saying that everything they say will come to pass, but there have already been challenges to the courts along those lines. They may never win such law suits but then again, they might. Things need to move forward with caution. Gay marriage can always be legislated - but once it is - it most likely will not be able to be repealed. And I believe that it is for this reason that the presidency took such a strong stance. I do not believe that it is the time for such things to be enacted. Perhaps in the future - but not at this time. I can fully understand your stance - and were I guaranteed that my rights would not be infringed upon and the church was silent on the matter - I would most likely agree with you. Thanks again for the discussion - it's been awhile since I stretched my brain muscles.

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  16. I must say that I find it flawed thinking to state that gay marriage is acceptable and should be allowed outside of the church. The Lord desires exaltation and eternal life for all his childrena and isn't it what we are all working and striveing for? To bring the world to a knowledge of the gospel? To say that it is alright to condone and support a sinful and immoral lifestyle in any of God's children whom He loves is wrong.
    I was upset by your doubting the inspiration of the prophet on such a subject and on a public forum where there are non-members who could choose to interpret your doubts as doubting the church's teachings.
    I do not wish to contend with you in your beliefs. But I do wish to say that I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Proclamation on the Family. I think this subject should be treated with delicacy and that we should study it our in our hearts and then in faith ask Him to answer our concerns regarding it. I think that rather then doubting the inspiration of the Prophet on such an important issue as society's morality and the laws that govern our nation, we should be brought to our knees to receive our own witness of the truthfulness of prohetic decisions and counsel.
    I am not just an uninterested observer. My husband's brother is gay. I love him dearly but I don't wish for society and the church to change their morals to accomidate him, but rather, I pray that somehow he will be brought back to the truth and what his Heavenly Father would wish for him.

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  17. I wrote my thesis describing church doctrine of marriage and family through a feminist lens. And I have many very very liberal friends as well. I feel what is missing from this conversation is the fact about what was on proposition 8. On lds.org it reaffirms that there is no opposition to any individual including homosexuals from having rights such as health care, etc. Proposition 8 did not ask if individuals were in favor or opposed such rights. In addition it did not ask if individuals thought that homosexuals should be allowed to be joined in unions. All it asked was the opinion of the individuals what they think the word "marriage" should mean. We are a democracy and we get to define lots of things such as what it means to "be under the influence" Different states have different alcohol levels. If you ask the prophets what the definition of "marriage" should be, I know from the doctrine (standard works and general conference) that it should be a man and woman. It is an ordinance to us. It would be like having baptism and whether water should be included or not. Marriage is not just a legal contract, it is an ordinance. If you ask me my opinion on what this ordinance should include I'll tell you. If you ask what rights homosexuals should have regarding health care, inheretance, etc I'll tell you. But in reality they asked one question thinking it was another.

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  18. okay, let me make this explicit--questioning my testimony = not part of civilized discussion. Feel free to question my commitment to the church on your own blog, but not here. I'm also not quite sure why you think it inappropriate to voice an opinion contrary to the leadership and general membership of the church in front of hypothetical non-LDS. I've frequently heard the Mormon church described as uniform, homogeneous, and monolithic. I'm pretty much proof against that.

    Amber, I'll agree that for us marriage is an ordinance, much as for Catholics it's a sacrament. We get to define our ordinance as we see fit. Should our theologically-derived, ordinance definition be allowed to define marriage in the larger society? Obviously, most of you think it should for a variety of reasons, many stemming from revelation, others from concerns over societal structure, and some over end of the world type concerns.

    I'm not so sure. Mostly I'm unconvinced all the bad things people claim are going to happen will really happen. Gay marriage is legal in other countries and they've managed to stay pretty stable (Canada being a great example). The world hasn't ended because gay marriage is legal, and marriage isn't falling apart because of the existence of committed homosexual relationships. Divorce is more common today, but that seems to have more to do with people's commitment to the institution of marriage, selfishness, and economics than anything else. So if allowing gay couples to participate in the legal definition of marriage doesn't really impact the larger society, why should we care? The definition of legal marriage has changed dramatically over the centuries; is this not just another stage? I may not be comfortable with it, but that doesn't mean it's not going to happen, or already happening.

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  19. A few things I thought would be worth sharing:

    1) If any of you haven't seen it, I highly recommend this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__rgv-sUpY0

    It is a video of Elder Bednar talking to some YSA about Prop 8 and the potential effects that not passing it could have had. I think his emphasis on the outer ripples is important: no one knows exactly what would happen if gay marriage were legal, but the brethren are obviously very concerned.

    2) I think it's important to remember that in the eyes of the Church leaders/Lord, it is not an issue of equality, but rather an issue of morality. The Lord does not consider homosexuality (and therefore gay marriage) as morally acceptable. I think we can all agree that people who follow that lifestyle are not bad, evil, etc. They are, however, engaged in sin. Now, in reality, that sin is not, by the Lord, considered any worse than pre-marital sex. The Lord expects celibacy from all of his un-married sons and daughters, regardless of what temptations they struggle with. To the Church, this is wholly an issue of morality--and morality, for the Church, is defined by what God tells us is moral, not whether it will "hurt someone" or not. For that reason, I felt it was important to support Prop 8, because I felt that to do so otherwise would be condoning something that I consider to be morally wrong. (I would do the same if the Church encouraged us to vote for--hypothetically--laws against premarital sex, drinking, etc.)

    3) I think Kristine has a valid point about being concerned that the "prejudices" of the Brethren are to be considered. Certainly Pres. McKay said that the blacks would never get the priesthood in his lifetime (they didn't), and Pres. Kimball himself admitted to being uncomfortable with the idea, but knew that God was directing him to allow it. I think one could definitely consider these to be prejudices. HOWEVER, I think there are three important considerations: 1) These Brethren were not acting, they were maintaining the status quo. There is a big difference in letting something remain as it's always been in your lifetime, and in supporting a political position that is virtually unprecedented in recent Church history; 2) When the Lord saw fit, He directed the Prophet to change the practice, regardless of how the man felt himself about the issue. No prejudice was going to keep the Lord from directing His will; 3) No man who leads the Church will be permitted to lead it astray. God would destroy him first.

    In lieu of those things, I feel confident that we can rely on what Pres. Monson teaches.

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  20. Emma has said that she never supported her sons joining the RLDS church or as prophet of either church.

    My other issue with gay marriage is where does it end? If it's fair and equal to let gays marry, wouldn't it also be fair and equal to allow polygamy again? There are many living in polygamist relationships and I'm sure they would like the chance to be legally married as well. And then why not allow young girls the chance to be married as well (with "permission" from parents)? I think once we start opening the doors things will go downhill fast.

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  21. Some clarification on Emma (from a master's student in Church history): Emma did not "join" the RLDS Church, because her previous baptism was considered valid--remember, they do not consider themselves a splinter group, but rather a continuation of the original. She very likely had apprehensions about Joseph III becoming prophet, due to the extreme suffering that came into her life from having her husband be prophet. Once Joseph III was the RLDS president, she did have involvement with the church (for example, she made a new hymnal for the organization), and as she attended the conference in Amboy, IL when Joseph III was made president, she was considered part of that church. At the same time, however, she was also considered a baptized member of the Church in Utah. Overall, Emma seems to have been relatively ambivalent in both cases--she was not really active in either organization.

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  22. That information about Emma makes a lot of sense. It's a little too easy to assume the way things are now is how it's always been, and forget that there's a gradual evolution from one state to another. I always think of the membership that went west to Utah as "the Church" and think of the rest of them as splinter groups that wouldn't have considered themselves Mormons. Then again, some of the FLDS splinter groups today would still call themselves Mormons, even though we wouldn't. Maybe one of you who knows more about Emma than I obviously do should write a post on the topic so I can learn something!

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  23. Kristine - I just had to post one more thing and then I'm done. You stated that you were unconvinced that all the bad things people are afraid of happening will actually materialize. I found an article (http://www.dailypaul.com/node/70673) linking to a VERY LONG scholarly paper entitled: The "privilege of speech" in a "pleasantly authoritarian country": how Canada's judiciary allowed laws proscribing discourse critical of homosexuality to trump free speech and religious liberty. The article that links to it details the effects legalizing gay marriage has had on societies around the world as well as in Massachusetts. I found it on Ron Paul's website - which makes me cringe because I can't stand him. But the paper he sited was written by Hans C. Clausen, former Editor in Chief of the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. Here's the link to the paper (warning - it's 66 pages long)http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-6559580_ITM It's easy to dismiss claims of what may or may not happen when current effects are not widely published. As far as most people know Canada is doing great and none of the former fears have come true - however, that is due in part to the resistance of the media to give attention to such matters. When people don't hear about the problems that have arisen - it's natural to think that things are all ok - but the fact remains that they are not ok - at least for those who's rights have been infringed upon.

    BTW - thanks for the tip on the silicone baster - I'll have to look up the one with nobbys on them =).

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  24. Hey, Kristine,

    Ah, I'm sucked in again! :)

    So, I admit that I haven't read the previous 22 comments in detail - just skimmed - so if I say something redundant or stupid, I apologize.

    I consider it my right to vote in any way I feel will protect me or my family. There are a lot of things I support on this premise, for example alcohol laws. Do I care if Joe fro across town drinks himself silly? Well, yes, because I don't want him to drive, and I don't want to pay for his emergency medical care when he has a heart attack...so, I vote in favor of alcohol control.

    Likewise, I care about gay marriage. Why do I care? Because I want myself and my children to live in a moral environment, and permitting gay marriage encourages immoral behavior. (It will take a lot of argument to convince me that making something legal won't encourage it.) So, I vote in this way on these issues.

    Now, I also believe it's my right to share my viewpoint on voting issues with others and try to persuade them to my point of view. This is the whole point of the democratic process, right? What would be the point in voting if nobody could try to persuade anyone?

    So, I don't see why the LDS church is supposed to have done something wrong, unless it's the fact that it was a large organized group exercising their rights to vote and persuade others.

    Christine (the other one)

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  25. Tiffany--here is the document I was referring to about debunking "if prop 8 passes." I admit I haven't taken the time to read the link you posted, so I'm not sure it's addressing the same issues, but this is the one I was referring to, for what it's worth.

    Christine--first of all, congrats on the new addition!

    Second, I don't think the church did anything wrong, per se. I don't disagree with the right of the leadership to make the statements they did in support of prop 8, or even to ask those members who agree with them to vote for the measure.

    What I'm uncomfortable with in the process is the enthusiasm (for lack of a better word--sorry, I'm a little brain-dead at the moment due to lack of sleep) that was put into the campaign by the church and the membership. We became so much the face of the pro-prop 8 movement that now, even though Mormons represent maybe 2% of the population in CA and certainly had to have the assistance of other groups for the measure to pass, we are receiving the brunt of the backlash. We gave lots of money to groups that would work against us given any other issue, and I'm not at all comfortable with that. I just wonder at the wisdom of our so prominent involvement. It doesn't help that many of the pro-prop 8 arguments sound hollow and flat, or downright untrue to me.

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  26. Kristine,

    This is seriously the last thing I am going to say. (I can't seem to help myself from commenting) The document you linked to was written for a specific purpose and to refute certain misleading and false claims that were being circulated. In another document answering a paper writen by William Duncan, Morris Thurston states that, "[Mr. Duncan] accuses me of saying that “there is no reason to worry that churches and religious believers will be harmed in any way if California redefines marriage.” How does he get that out of my Commentary? Surely jumping to such unwarranted conclusions is unworthy of Mr. Duncan’s fine academic credentials." Clearly stating that he was not debunking the fact that there could be problems ahead for churches and religious believers if Prop. 8 didn't pass. He was simply addressing specific cases and information being cited in "Six Consequences...If Prop. 8 Fails."

    The second thing I want to address is how "uncomfortable" you are of the church's involvement with other groups normally hostile to us. We constantly and continuously work with such groups to achieve our end goals. The church has a long record of searching out common ground with whomever they come in contact with. The most notable would be our partnerships with various charities around the world as well as here at home. I find it very comforting that the church builds such bridges. It gives others a chance to rethink their positions on how they feel about us as a church. It breaks down barriors and squashes prejudice. We may be bearing the brunt of the backlash - but if it makes you feel any better - many people in the other churches and groups that worked with us are jealous that they aren't getting as much attention as we are. They want just as much of a chance to stand up for their beliefs and be recognized for them. (I took that from a newscast I saw where a woman expressed such sentiments)

    Anyway, I guess we can consider this discussion a draw. We both, obviously, have strong beliefs on either side. I can respet your views just as I'm sure you respect mine. So I guess we can just agree to disagree.

    -Tiffany

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