gay marriage, prop 8, and eHarmony

One of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures comes from Alma 30:

7 Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.

I've mused on it many times, as I'm quite fond of the story of Korirhor as detailed in the same chapter. It's not because I see a drama where an atheist gets punished and the righteous triumph. It's mainly because when I first read this, I found Korirhor's arguments compelling. But that's neither here nor there for what's been on my mind lately. The scripture as it pertains to the current events surround gay marriage, proposition 8 in California, and eHarmony paints the picture of how I feel on the matter.

Not a short time ago I posited aloud in Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School) that this verse gave me grounds for not being against gay marriage. It was not that I was pro gay marriage, or that I condoned it, not the case at all. It was a matter of unequal grounds. I have a hard time telling gay people they can't be married. Specifically, I have a hard time telling gay people they don't deserve the rights and benefits of legally sanctioned union. As you can imagine, the class didn't agree with me. When several of the class members approached me later, quite civilly I might add, I maintained my position that I had great fear of setting a precedent of dipping into morality to support legislation. What happens when it's not my morality that's being supported for legislation? There are a great many Evangelical Christian churches who feel that the Book of Mormon is nothing more than Satan's gift to mankind to blind and deceive. How would I react if a law was passed outlawing the Book of Mormon? Not entirely analogous to gay marriage, but insofar as I can tell, you would have two majorities supporting something that isn't lawful based on their views of morality. Gay marriage isn't legal and isn't illegal because we're still trying to define it.

At any rate, whether or not I was right or wrong in my fears is debatable. I supported the Church's decision to be against it, trusting that (thanks Chance for putting this so well) I raised my arm to the square and sustained President Monson not only as a prophet and revelator, but a seer. Prior to my decision to trust the Church was my coming across their statement concerning the official stance. In short, the Church is not against the offering of all the rights and benefits of marriage, but definitely against defining marriage as anything other than a man and a woman. This relieved me quite a bit. Civil unions never sounded so horrible to me. The reasoning outlined in the official statement explained that if the word "marriage" was to be officially defined as anything other than a man and a woman, then there would be considerable risk to the Church's sovereignty concerning marriage rites and ceremony. Mormons consider marriage in the Temple (not just a church meetinghouse but a Temple to the Most High) a most sacred endowment and a sealing by the power of God that lasts through eternity. Only the worthy from our own ranks are permitted to participate. The Church's right to say "no" to unworthy couples, including gays, would most assuredly be challenged.

Enter eHarmony. According to the LA Times, a homosexual man was upset that eHarmony did not cater to homosexuals and successfully sued the company over it. A New Jersey court ruled that a private business that does not offer essential services must change the way they do business and now allow gay people to search for their matches. The Church's statement seems prescient. I believe this is among the first steps of a -- dare I say it -- scary trend.

Speaking with another friend of mine whose knowledge prowess usually tips in favor of technical knowledge had a not-so-rare moment of logical clarity that so often accompanies a burst of knowledge - when your mind lights up and you say "Yes. This is true. This makes sense. This tastes good to my soul." Defining marriage as between a man and a woman does not deny rights. It simply secures the definition and protects businesses and Churches from conducting their affairs the way they see fit. Allowing legal, probate, housing, insurance, hospital visitation, and other rights to be conferred through the vehicle of a civil union should quell any fears or concerns of same-sex couples.

But it won't.

To top it off, I saw Affirmation - a group of self-declared GLBT Mormons - go on a local news network and claim they would not rest until the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognized them and their lifestyle as in harmony with the Gospel and teachings of the Savior.

In light of all this, I am permanently against defining marriage as anything other than a man and a woman.


cat's in the cradle...

So he's almost here. February 22nd and he'll be here. I can't wait. I have all these daydreams of showing him how to field grounders, catch flyballs, throw a knuckler, how to putt and chip (I should learn those myself...) and of course, talking to him about my mission.

When I was growing up, I just always knew that serving a mission was something I wanted to do. It never felt like a duty, and it certainly never felt like something I had to do. My dad, despite having a generally positive experience when he was a missionary, never felt like pushing any of me or my brothers into it because he felt like that would be counterproductive. Sure enough, I know I served with a few guys who weren't out there for the right reasons.

I really felt like my mission was worth it. I don't mean that in the "it sucked but it built character and was good for me" kind of way. I'm being genuine. There is very little to the experience that I regret and none of those things were incidental to being a missionary but rather my own shortcomings. There was no one person I did not love. There was no one place I did not call home - truly home. This is all to say nothing of the way I developed my relationship and testimony of the Savior. I know it sounds corny, but often I would just sit back and reflect on the fact that everyone that was around me was a child of God. He knew them: their names, their families, their jobs, their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their concerns, their emotions, their desires... He knew them. It was a healthy dose of perspective to realize that the Lord knew and loved them as much as He knew and loved me.

Clearly, I wish for my son to have the same desires and the same experiences. In fact, I'm convinced that it's the desires and state of one's heart that allows one to have one experience over another. I just want my son to want to go. If I say he has to, then is he going to be one of those kids that wants to do the opposite? (And speaking of such, it's not like saying "I *don't* want you to eat your vegetables! I forbid it!!!" makes them want to eat those vegetables anymore... Why is that? The whole "I do the opposite of what you say" thing only applies to what they want.) I don't want to force him, and I don't want him to go out of obligation. And yet, the Savior recoiled at drinking the bitter cup but did it because He knew it was His spiritual duty.

Here's what I will do: Fondly speak of my mission and speak of it often. I want him to know that I desire him to go, but that he should only go if he feels he should.

And if he doesn't, he's out of the family.