I Am Not Crazy, Stupid Or Amoral. And I Am A Good Mormon.

11 11 2008

I want to say something about Proposition 8.  I’ve written and re-written several blog posts on the subject without publishing any of them because I never felt I could express myself correctly.  But I really want and need to say something.  The recent blog posts of my friend Randal have provided me some courage to do so.  

I didn’t support Proposition 8.  Which made me a minority among Californian Mormons.  While I agreed with the emphasis on ensuring that the family remains a sacred institution, I disagreed that this was the battle we should fight to ensure it.  I believe that there is much, much more to the issue.  It was never explicitly said that Mormons were required to support the proposition, only that they were urged to do so.  Each member was still allowed the political freedom to vote their conscience, the same freedom that is afforded to any other citizen.  Many members of the church, however, seemed to treat the encouragement from the leadership of the church as another commandment and became careless in the way they treated and spoke about those who did not support Proposition 8, including other members of the church.  Many people I noticed certainly did not seem to think that any good Mormon could possibly disagree with Prop 8.  I heard Steve Young’s wife, Barbara, called crazy.  I heard others called stupid and moral-less.  Each of those remarks stung me deeply.  I am not crazy, stupid, or amoral.  And I like to think that I’m a pretty good Mormon.  While I am certain that it was a minority of Mormons who were careless enough to become rude and offensive towards the opponents of Prop 8, I am just as certain that many, many others just ignored the fact that it was happening.  It is my plea to members of the Mormon church in California and elsewhere to remember and live up to one of our most basic beliefs: We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, and what they may.  And all men, no matter what, deserve to be treated as Christ would treat them.

Everyone is entitled to live and believe as they see fit.  Every Mormon is entitled to act as they see fit in the political arena.  I can think marriage between a man and a woman is sacred without supporting Proposition 8.  And unless one’s Prop 8 stance becomes a question in the temple recommend interview, I think I can continue being a good Mormon, too.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

9 responses

11 11 2008
Fred

You’re a brave man Peter. I admire you.

11 11 2008
Fred

… and yes, you’re a good Mormon too.

11 11 2008
randaltheresa

Way to go Peter – I was able to avoid any real confrontation because I left California before any of the real campaigning began, so I totally admire you for really standing up for what you believe in. Being a Mormon Prop 8 opponent is not an easy position to be in. As my own blog posts have meticulously explained, I certainly agree that you don’t have to support Prop 8 to be a good Mormon. I’m so glad that you have joined me in my cyberspace stand – we certainly seem to see things similarly.

14 11 2008
Aunt Lisa

Peter I am sorry that there were members that made you feel bad for your beliefs. That’s wrong, you know it and I know it. Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or herself. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with “civility, respect and love,” despite their differing views. It’s unfortunate when they don’t and it’s unfortunate this issue has caused “stings” on all sides.

5 01 2009
Dan

Pete,

It was so crazy to be in California when all of this was going down. I really didn’t know what to think.

As strange as this sounds, I think I experienced a lot of culture shock when I moved to the United States. And then on top of that, proposition 8 at church made things even more dramatic.

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear you and Randal comment on the issue.

It’s a complicated issue though. I really liked how you quoted the articles of faith.

I had some really interesting experiences with this proposition though. I’m not sure if I told you about them, so I’ll write it here. And if you’ve already heard it, just skip my comment. :)

So, I’ve been going to the temple every week on Thursday.

The Thursday before election day, I went in the change room, and one of the old temple workers came up to me and asked me about proposition 8. I was reluctant to talk about it, because we were in the temple, and I had made a commitment that I wouldn’t speak out against it in formal public church settings (like institute/priesthood ect…) but… since I was in the temple, I thought I might as well be honest.

The conversation went something like this. “Well… I don’t really understand it. I’m not sure how a christ centered church could oppose free agency. If someone really loves someone else, I’m not sure why I would want to fight that.” He grunted, and said that all of the kids of my generation were all the same. Then he said, “Why don’t you read helaman 11-13.

So I went home and read it. It totally hit me Pete. I felt the spirit so strong. I loved hearing from the prophet Samuel the lamanite. It hit me like a ton of bricks that we have a prophet just like him today. And that just like Samuel, the things president Monson has been saying are not popular but they are true. The recommendation to vote yes came directly from him.

Pete, I’m not going to lie to you. It didn’t make any sense when I read the letter issued by the first presidency. It seems totally backwards. There’s nothing about it that feels right.

I even went out and paraded the “Yes on prop 8” signs for family home evening one night. But, when I saw the people of the other side of the street, I had to look away, or cover them with my sign. I couldn’t stand it man.

People from my extended family even started to come out of the woodwork and ask me how I was going to vote.

I really feel strongly though Pete that if you follow the prophet’s counsel you can never be wrong. I know that there is a reason why God calls prophets in our day. If we didn’t have living prophets, we would just be as lost as everyone else. Frantically trying to interpret the bible’s stance on issues.

I hope this comment wasn’t too controversial.

Dan.

9 01 2009
David Leavitt

Interesting reading that latter-day living prophets are infallable. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both advocated strongly for plural-marriage, saying it was God’s requirement for salvation. But two prophets later, and under pressure from Ulysses S. Grant and Federal troops, Wilford Woodruff got a “revelation” that plural-marriage wasn’t needed for salvation any longer. What changed? Were Smith and Young wrong? Did God make a mistake? The Moutain Meadow Massacre is another deadly example of revelation gone wrong. And, what about Black People. When I grew up, they were thought of as being “marked” for the sin of Cain. But when the State of Wisconsin initiates legal procedings to take away the churchs tax exemption, all of a sudden, David O. McKay has a “revelation” and Blacks have been forgiven.

Sorry… there may or may not be a God. We’ll find out soon enough. However, ALL religion is corrupt. And ANY religion that compells its members to blindly follow their “Prophet” is a cult.

Your Gay Cousin in Califonia

9 01 2009
David Leavitt

Opps… I forgot to add that the Mormon Church will find that it is on the wrong side of history in this fight for civil rights. The USA is not a theology (yet) and the separation of church and State is there to protect everyones beliefs. In a country as diverse as ours, you simply cannot legislate based on faith. And if the government is going to offer its support to institutions like marriage and license them, then it MUST offer that institution to all citizens. Otherwise, the State should get out of the marriage business.

Just a few thoughts…

17 12 2009
Alycia

I found myself back and forth on the issue at first, how everyone should have their free agency. Then I realized that this issue isn’t about taking away someones agency, its a fight for what marriage means. Gay and Lesbian couples can still be together, still have civil unions (which pretty much give them all the rights of a marriage) they still can live their lives however they want to and I am not trying to stop that by supporting prop 8. Marriage is sanctified of god. I am defending the word and meaning of that word. Not stopping others to live how they would choose.

5 10 2010
Kai

Alycia fails to realize several important points:

First, is that there’s two kinds of marriage, civil and religious. Gay marriage will not impact the religious meaning of marriage because churches will still be able to choose who they wish to marry. This is not a theocratic government, therefore there’s no need to defend the meaning of the word marriage in the civil sense.

Second, Alycia obviously doesn’t know about equality nor does she know her history. Civil unions are not equal to marriage. The civil rights movement of the 1960’s taught us that “separate but equal” is still discriminatory. Does Alycia believe that gays and lesbians are 2nd-class citizens?

Third, does Alycia not realize that when you take away the right to marry the person you love, you ARE “stopping others to live how they would choose” ? Not only that, she uses the phrase “how they would choose”. Is she unaware of the the abundant scientific evidence that being gay is NOT a choice?

I think she needs to think this through better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: