Friday, July 3, 2015

No hate crime today

I was both pleased and saddened to learn that suspected hate crimes against a Delta man were not crimes done out of hate towards a man who had said he was attacked for being gay.  The idiots of society that usually perpetrate these crimes were not to blame.
Unfortunately, it seems that the acts were actually staged by him as local police confirmed several days ago. Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Tuesday -- as per the Deseret News -- that the assorted crimes were all faked.
"The investigation has come to an end today with Jones admission of to having staged all of the incidents," Dekker said. He later added that investigators are meeting with the Millard County Attorney’s Office to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed against Jones.
It had been reported that the Grand Central Station eatery was vandalized with graffiti several, that money was taken from the restaurant on another occasion, and Jones' assertion that someone threw a rock with gay slurs and a Molotov cocktail through his bedroom window.
Jones' attorney, Brett Tolman, said his client "is accepting responsibility for the incidents" and asked Tolman to contact the sheriff's office and have them cancel the investigation.
Quotes from his attorney:
"At this point we are working with investigators and with the community at trying to point out and recognize that what this really amounts to is a very serious cry for help by an individual … who is gay and is in need of mental health treatment, which he is getting,"
"The fundraisers were not something that Rick started," the attorney said. "That was (done) by well meaning persons that wanted to help out. But it was the appropriate thing to return those donations."
"I don’t think it was an intention on the part of our client to do anything criminal. I think this is truly a cry for help by someone that needs it."
"At this point the most important concern is his well-being. … And while he’s acknowledging that this is something that he takes responsibility for, it still underscores some of the difficult and rough roads that those in the LGBT community go through."
I remember a time in my life that I may have been tempted to do the same type of thing.  I hope this man gets the help he needs so that he can feel good about himself.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blessed are the obedient

I have so many feelings this week concerning my LGBT family and friends. I support them in their personal endeavors and wish them and their families -- blood or other -- all the light and love that can be pored into their cups. You are welcome in my house. I will treat you the same as any other. (If you know me then you know that I should treat everyone a little better.)

I have LGBT friends in the church that have chosen to go a different direction, on a different path with their SSA than the one generally thought of this week. I fall into this boat.

I made the same decision that some of you made. I felt at the time (and still do) that it was the right decision for me and my spouse to marry. I stand my my decision.  

I don't need affirmation from my friends, nor do my friends need my reassurance that they did the right thing. The Spirit of the Lord can give that confirmation. It is Him we should seek for guidance and direction.

This week I sent congratulations to those who support gay marriage. I would also like to congratulate those in the LGBT communities who are Latter-day Saints and who wish to continue to obey the prophets -- who speak for the Lord.

I don't usually quote people I don't know of, but I would like to do so now. This gentleman has explained my thoughts better than I can come up with different words.  Here are his words that I have edited for space and clarity:

"To straight Latter-day Saints who -- though with good intentions -- choose to publicly support gay marriage:

You mean well, and do your best to show love to LGBT individuals. But for us it can seem like you’ve ignored your LGBT brothers and sisters within the Church in favor of supporting those without. It hurts us when:

  • Our brothers and sisters in Christ flood our feeds with symbols of a life we’re fighting to forsake. 
  • People who don’t experience same-sex attraction take lightly the prophetic council that affects our lives and the thorn(s) in our side.
  • When people we love try to show their love for us by supporting the voices that strive to undermine our eternal happiness with our Father in Heaven. 
  • For those who are open about their same-sex attraction, it hurts when (our) friends (who have been spared this trial) side with those opposing Church policy.

Faithful LGBT members of the Church need Christ-like love and acceptance too. We need:
  • Members who seek to cement our faith in the prophets and apostles.
  • Members who will be brave and support unpopular policies set forth by the Brethren, not out of blind faith or bigoted arrogance, but out of pure testimony."  --Joshua M Butler
I cannot tell you how important it is to have direction from the Spirit in all things. This is not an arbitrary thought stuck in at the end of an essay. I am just going to have to come out and say it. I have gay friends who have married one of their same sex and feel they married with the blessing of the spirit. I am not calling that into judgement.

A poor simile: A prophet of the Lord was once commanded to kill a drunk in the street. He followed the Lord and completed the task. The instruction was not given to the city, but to an individual who did as he was commanded. The spirit can confirm a correct action for an individual. He can be that specific. 

I have made the decisions that I have made concerning my SSA based on my testimony and personal revelation -- subtle as it was. I was not/am not blindly following. God wants all of his children to have joy. I believe that God will bless the obedient with the righteous desires of their heart.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Was this the real battle?

I feel now, and have always felt, that gays should have the same rights under the law to enter into a marriage contract as anyone else does. When marriage is something that takes place in a courtroom, every citizen of the country has the right to sign a contract with anyone else. Here is where I get to say, "This is America, buddy", and sound like a redneck.

I am a politically moderate gay Mormon married man -- just so you know where I am coming from. I firmly believe that the Supreme Court of the United States made the correct decision on the recent gay marriage case correctly.

I am not required to support it on Facebook (though I do). I don't have to like all the rainbow photos (though I got to tell you that I am pleased for my friends who feel validated this week and wish them all the happiness in the world.)  If we have put the federal government in a position where they have to regulate marriage and marriage licensing, then everyone has the right to marry.

The bigger concern for me has always been of freedoms in general. I am not interested in forcing my moral code onto someone else, and I will not have them force theirs upon me.  Some things just feel wrong, and I would fight that fight until my fingers bleed.

The real issue is not that the government gets to regulate marriage for all, but quite the opposite. The government should not be in our homes and in our bedrooms. The fight, the issue we should have been fighting for is not the regulating of marriage but in putting marriage back in the hands of the people.

I support the right of two people to marry and I support the right of a pizzeria to cater any event they choose. I also support the right we have to attend the wedding or patronize that pizzeria – or not.

Where we go from here.  

First things first.  Congratulations to all the new married people. 

Next thing, and I believe the very next thing: There will be those who will use this week’s ruling to aggressively pursue religious institutions who choose not to marry gays -- which is exactly why several religious institutions have been engaged in pushing for personal and religious freedoms protection in courts of law. (Ah, who am I kidding.  I am talking Mormons and Catholics.)

The same morality that conservatives used to exclude homosexuals will now be aimed at those who do not share their personal beliefs. 

Your religion doesn't allow gays to marry?  Take that.

The SCOTUS answered the question in the right way but we should have been asking a different question. Our focus should have been wither we want the U.S. government to have a more say in anyone's marriage? 

What we have done is given the government itself a dose of Viagra. This ruling that we asked the supreme court to make has effectually enhanced the power of the federal government and lessened ours. The feds get to make the decisions now, and it shouldn't be their call. The final say should have been the peoples. 

We should have been trying to restrict government from having more than limited say in the marriage between two people. 

And now, the real battle starts.