Friday, October 31, 2008

California Proposition 8

My Dear Friends,

As you know, California's Proposition 8 seeks to amend the state Constitution so that marriage would only be legal between one man and one woman. In supporting this measure, I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is engaged in an extremely selfless act of compassion towards our homosexual brothers and sisters. I know it may not seem that way to some of you, but I am convinced that this is the case. Please allow me to illustrate why I think as I do:

During the time that I was in junior high I had two different English teachers. One was a seemingly ornery old-school-woman who insisted upon forcing her students to diagram sentences, memorize grammar rules, do homework and pass difficult tests. The other was an easy going old-hippy-man who gave us word puzzles to play all term long without much homework or testing ever. As a kid, you can imagine which teacher I liked better -- the fun one, the old-hippy-man!

But, as I have grown older I have come to better understand which one of the two really cared for me the most, worked the hardest for my best interests, and better served me as a teacher -- the one that actually taught me something, the old-school-woman.

Sadly, she was not a popular teacher. And, I remember how hurt she appeared when my friend and I asked her to sign the forms that allowed us to transfer out of her class and into the class of the old-hippy-man. Oh, how I now regret that! But, I have learned my lesson:

Today, I can clearly see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acting in a manner similar to this dear old-school-teacher. It, among the very few, has the courage, the integrity, the wisdom and the love necessary to tell the truth to a world that would prefer to be seduced by lies.

The Church is not trying to be popular. It is not trying to hide from the painful persecution that will surely follow. Rather, it is simply doing what is right -- for society today, for our future children, and for our beloved brothers and sisters who deal with same sex attraction.

The truth is that all of us have been given issues with which to deal in life. And, the truth is that all of us would prefer to take the course of least resistance. Homosexuals are not unique in that respect. We all deal with one thing or another.

The question, then, is: "Who do we believe when trying to decide how to live our lives?"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as historical Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was founded upon the belief that God reveals himself and his will to prophets who then act as his messengers. For those of us who are believers, that is why we belong to the Church -- through profound personal and spiritual experience, we have become convinced that those who lead the Church are in fact "true messengers."

Apparently, those members who now find fault with the Church's efforts seem to be saying that they no longer accept that idea. Apparently, they have become converted to another paradigm.

That, of course, is extremely sad news to folks like me who remain convinced of the Church's truthfulness. We love these back-sliding members and we wish them well. But, this kind of apostasy is not something new to us. We have been dealing with it from the very beginning. And, we know that though many of these people may choose to leave the Church, they will not leave us alone.

Like some kind of obsessed and scorned lover, they will continue to stalk the institution, its leaders, and its faithful followers. They will misrepresent who we are and what we do. They will unite with and stir up our enemies to persecute us. And, as a people, we will suffer greatly because of them -- even unto the losing of our lives.

Bank on it.

We have seen it before.

We will see it again.

But, with the help of a loving Heavenly Father, enough of the Saints will survive that the work will go forth. Joyfully, some of these prodigals will return. And, soon we'll have this tale to tell: All is well.

That is my testimony.


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At Friday, October 31, 2008 9:17:00 PM, Blogger Natalie said...

Thank you for your kind, insightful, loving and true words.

At Friday, October 31, 2008 11:30:00 PM, Blogger Obi wan liberali said...

"the courage, the integrity, the wisdom and the love necessary to tell the truth"

In my opinion, there is no courage, no integrity and a dearth oif wisdom that has led some truly uninspired old men to embrace the amendment. And "love"? Harming the rights of others isn't love, it is tyranny. The LDS Church desperately wants to mainstream itself,and they think attacking a common enemy (gays) will accomplish this.

That is pure delusion. So-called Christians, at the end of the day, will despise Mormons just as much as they did before. Mormons are still a competitor for the same revenue that Christian pastors want. It's called theological capitalism.

What the LDS Church is doing in California should negate their tax exemption pure and simple. They want to use the apparatus of government to harm U.S. citizens and their rights to equal treatment under the law.

Admittedly, I figured out years ago that Mormon myths were, well, myths. There were no hebrew native americans, nephite polynesians and Joseph Smith's stories carried less water than a cracked thimble.

But I'm willing to let Mormons believe in their said myths so long as they don't try to use the apparatus of the state to impose those myths on the rest of us. In Amendment 8, they seek to do so, and atleast for me, that means the gloves come off.

Their history, their shakey dogma and their tax exemption are fair game at this point. They want to use their dogma to harm real people by amending constitutions. They did so with amendment 3 here in Utah. The LDS Church has shown itself to be an agent of intolerance and there must be someone willing to speak 0ut against them.

And for me to shy away from doing so would be an act of moral cowardice, and I refuse to be a coward.

At Saturday, November 01, 2008 11:04:00 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

Thanks for this. Excellent comments.

At Monday, November 03, 2008 11:11:00 AM, Blogger timdonaldson said...

The only people who die in the persecution on gay issues are the gays. Not the religious people wasting their period of probation confessing others' sins.

Lame attempt to claim the victim altar.

At Monday, November 03, 2008 11:32:00 AM, Blogger timdonaldson said...

Seeing as how you make infallability of the historically very fallible Church leadership the central focus of your faith, what do you think of this?

“There is no doubt that the so-called civil rights movement as it exists today is used as a Communist program for revolution in America, just as agrarian reform was used by the Communists to take over China and Cuba. . . . We must not place the blame upon Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans—black or white—really understands the full implications of today’s civil rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the Communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather than their own.” Ezra Taft Benson, LDS General Conference, October 1967

At Monday, November 03, 2008 9:54:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Natalie and Anne,

Thank you for your kind words. I so appreciate you visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. Thank you very much!


At Monday, November 03, 2008 11:35:00 PM, Blogger Alienated Wannabe said...

Dear Obi Wan and Tim,

Thank you also for visiting my blog and for taking the time to compose a comment. I commend you for actually caring about something and for fighting for what you believe is right. God bless you!

I am just a dumb guy, really. And, I am never exactly thrilled with anything I write. Afterward, I always wish that I had phrased something better, had been gentler, had toned down the rhetoric a little more, etc. And, with respect to this particular offering, if I have offended you, or anyone you care about in any way, I am sincerely sorry. Please accept my apology. My intention was the exact opposite.

However, having said that, I want you to understand I care about things too -- just as you fine folks do. And, I too feel a responsibility to fight for what I believe is right and true. My words, however flawed, represent my best efforts to do that. And, my brothers, I stand by what I have written.

Those who are familiar with me know that I neglect my blog, choosing instead to hang out on those of other people. (I’m kind of a disgusting blog parasite.) And, this particular entry was originally written as a comment to a blog entry made by the Salt Lake Tribune’s Glen Warchol on his Salt Lake City Crawler. Thus, to understand my point, you would need to understand the context in which it was written. Briefly, it was this: I was responding to Glen’s question, “Will Proposition 8 Change Mormonism?”

In my opinion, this recent dust-up is simply the latest in a series of controversies with which the Church has dealt during its history. And, as a believer, I am not limiting myself to the history of the Church in America since the days of Joseph Smith. I am also taking into consideration the history of the Church in the Roman Empire as well as in Ancient America.

And, I sincerely believe, all of these eras reflect the same pattern playing itself out: The followers of Christ, led by his appointed oracles, find themselves at odds with an increasingly wicked world that ultimately seeks their destruction. And, from Judas Iscariot until to today -- though dissenters and traitors have betrayed it -- by the grace of God, the work has gone forward, even if it was by restoration. That is still my hope and my conviction.

However counter intuitive it may seem to you, I am convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is acting in the best interest of the gay community by supporting Proposition 8. And, I believe that the opponents of the measure, however sincere and well intentioned, have actually fallen into the trap of being “enablers.” (That is an expression used by addicts to describe friends who hold them back from recovery by enabling their addiction.)

And, I am also convinced that gay marriage is not something that only affects gay couples. I strongly believe that it also will have profound consequences that affect all of us, especially our children. I realize that is not how you might see the situation, but that is my sincere opinion.

As for your theory, Obi Wan, that the Church would undertake this battle in order to somehow mainstream itself, I am sorry bud, but that is ridiculous. The Church is swimming against the tide. Moral traditionalists have been steadily losing ground in this culture war ever since the 1960’s. And, so-called mainstream Protestant faiths increasingly perform gay marriage.

If the Church wanted to “mainstream” itself, it would just go along with the crowd and keep its head down. Trust me, the Church is acting out of a sincere concern for the future of the family unit, and it is going to take plenty of lumps for the stand it is taking. I am proud of its courageous, principled, and compassionate stance. It is doing the right thing for the right reasons.

As for your comments, Tim, let me first state that everything Ezra Taft Benson said regarding the role of communist agents during the cold war era has been proven to be true. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the KGB archives were opened to the world, and we now know they had extensively infiltrated the civil rights movement (no matter how worthy the ultimate cause) as well as many other American institutions. That is now widely recognized and accepted as fact regardless of one’s politics.

But, however true Elder Benson’s claims might have been, it is preposterous to compare them to the campaign that all of the Apostles have been unitedly and consistently pursuing ever since gay marriage first became an issue. This is something that has been going on for many many years. It is not just one man expressing his personal opinion. It is all of the brethren, consistently acting in their official capacity.

Anyway, my friends, it is late and I need to be getting to bed. But, thanks again for dropping by. I care about you. I respect you. And, I wish you well.



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