Saturday, October 29, 2011

US passes law allowing SGA couples to marry

That’s the headline so many are looking for. They are looking for marriage equality rights for all. Marriage at that point would not be an issue for the states to decide or confirm.  A new national law would allow Gay men or Lesbian woman to marry – with all the rights and privileges that come with what was previously a standard marriage
A relative of mine says that the best way to get Gays and Lesbians to back off on their desire for marriage is to give it to them - to make it lawful for them to have what straight folk have had forever.  Having what they want, he explains, they then will back off because “marriage  ain’t all that”. (After many years of joking, it starts to get old and one wonders [meaning me] if he is really serious about marriage. One also wonders [still me] what he would say if he knew that some gay Mormon guy married his daughter with full disclosure.)  Stuff to wonder.
A short sidebar as I am wondering;  along this same line, there have been pacifying jokes made concerning women and the priesthood. The point was presented that women should quit complaining about holding the priesthood because they “get to hold the priesthood every night – when her man gets home”.  It could be that I am sensitive to these issues as I have many sisters, mothers daughters and a wife, and I hear some of the expressed and unexpressed feelings of their heart. This “yarn” and those like it – regardless of their well meant attempt - minimize others and their feelings and are equally placating as far as I am concerned.

Jokes and bars aside, lets create a question train – one question that naturally leads to another, starting with this one. 

What could we expect from a new law that allows for same sex couples to marry, and how would such a law affect Latter-day Saints?  Isn’t that after all the reason we vote for, or concern ourselves with issues how it may affect us and those we love?  Those with gay friends and relatives are often on the “Marriage for all” train because they see that side of the issue.  Those without gay friends of relatives may not have that side personally explained, and are on the Between a man and a woman”  side.  Many look at both sides and are undecided, or are conflicted.  One friend of mine said “ I want my friends to be able to get married because I know they are for real.  But on the whole?  I just am not convinced that they are serious.

Others question why some are allowed to dole out the rights for others.  “The only one that can make that kind of commitment (to Marry) are those marring.  It is not my place to judge.”

Let’s start with the law itself. Mormons (and I mean card-carrying Mormons) believe in honoring and sustaining law, in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying the law - as per Article of Faith 12 .  We, and I include myself as a card-carrying Mormon, also enjoy being part of the lawmaking process and allow/expect others to do the same.

There are times when the LDS people made an exception to the law.  When Polygamy was outlawed there was a period where several Mormon men went into hiding to protect their established families rather than leave them or abandon them. These brief exceptions however, prove the law.

The United States, with this new law, would allow those that are SGAttracted to marry. However, Latter-day Saints won’t allow anyone who is not living a chaste lifestyle to enter into temple marriage - not even a man and a woman who are members.

As an example, we allow that people drink alcohol, but we don’t allow for alcohol consumption for ourselves. In fact, many in heavily Mormon areas vote for, and encourage lawmakers to keep alcohol sales to a minimum as many majority groups influence lawmakers in their area and they don’t want alcohol around them – even if they don’t imbibe. 
If the law allows for gay civil unions, the LDS church and its card caring members would not participate directly.   Would they participate as friends and family?  Would they attend, or wish well?  Of coerce.

Would the church allow a civil marriage to take place on church grounds?  My father upon his third marriage was married in a chapel because his new wife was a widower – previously married to a man “in the covenant”.  They are not sealed.  Would we allow those SGAttracted to marry this way as well?

The 11th Article of Faith states "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

Mormons would follow that admonition.  Would the rest of the nation allow us our beliefs?  Would it be that simple?  - End part one

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Favorite Conference Talk - SGA Related

OK, get this.  My favorite talk of the October General LDS Conference compared my life to the Titanic.

Well, not my life exactly, but pain and suffering and all the things I think I am quite familiar with.  Frankly, there have been times when I equated being gay with pain and suffering. Birthdays, new years resolutions, pleas in the temple - all focused on some how god reversing the gay thing.  It was the only focus of my life.  And I think I missed out on so many other things because I was caught up in my being same gender attracted.  Though those days are behind me.  And though I have other things to worry about currently, I still got so much out of Quintin L. Cooks talk.

Ok, it's a little funny
Titanic thing aside, he spoke of enduring, and that sometimes what we see as a tragedy, in the big picture, is something helpful to our souls.  Here are a few quotes that I love.

"...those that appear disadvantaged through no fault of their own are not ultimately penalized."

"...all wrongs will be righted and we will see with perfect clarity and faultless perspective and understanding."

"Righteous, prayer and faith will not always result in Happy Endings.  In mortality, many will experience severe trials."

This thought may be where the titanic logically comes into the picture., but he ends the talk with...

"The atonement covers all the unfairness of life."

Here is the link to his talk if you are interested - special bonus -  you don't even have to read!

This is neither here nor there, but I got the chance to sing in the priesthood session with an area priesthood chorus.  There were 350 of us, so its not because of my excellent voice.  But it was still cool to see the prophet and be a part of the meeting. 

Here is the link: