OK, I totally poached this from brother Jim's blog but I just had to! I have been seething angry over prop 8 and 102. I can't believe the venom that is being directed towards us Mormons. I felt as if my religious beliefs were being trampled and we simply defended them. We NEVER wanted to take away any rights from anyone Else we just wanted to protect ours. And yet people are threatening to "take out" anyone they know is Mormon. Or burn our houses down. Or burn our temples down. All because we exercised our civic right and voted. What the???
So, because of my angry frustrated state of mind even though I have tried to post how I feel or why we voted the way we did, I end up deleting the post because I don't want to respond to venom with venom. And yet there is so much out there on the web that is lies and sick and demeaning and threatening to members of the LDS faith that I wanted to post our reason why.
So today Jimmy posted this on his blog. A friend of our family Kraig wrote it and it says it perfectly as to WHY we voted for prop 8 and prop 102! And he does it without any anger. The way I could not since I am upset with the attacks.
So here goes. It is long but if you were wondering why here it is folks...
I decided to write this memo in response to some of the questions I have seen posted. I am not sure if you really want an answer or if you were just being rhetorical, but your questions seemed very honest and I thought they deserved honest answers. I may not be the best spokesman for this, and I certainly have no authority to speak on behalf of the LDS faith, but I am a member of the LDS faith. I am also a licensed therapist and I have worked with people with same-sex attraction. I care about my clients and I strive to help my clients reach their goals based on their personal set of beliefs, not to impose my beliefs onto them. That being said, I am allowed to have my own beliefs and I feel it is my responsibility to vote according to my conscience and belief. Also, I am not writing this to force my beliefs on you (as that lame anti-Mormon commercial would have you believe – you know, the one with the evil missionaries invading the home of the lesbian couple). I am only writing this as a response to your question. If you don’t want to hear the other side of the issue, then don’t read this. If you do read this, please make the effort to understand my point of view rather than criticize.My purpose is not to persuade you of these beliefs. Please don’t read this with the idea that you are going to “catch” me in discrepancies of logic. Religion is not a logical thing. Instead, I am only hoping to show that the support of proposition 8 is not based in meanness and to try to help you understand the point of view of some of us that supported Prop 8.Before I get started on religious issues, I would like to point out that the people of California voted on this same issue 8 years ago. It should be concerning to all Americans that the supreme court in California decided to ignore the will of the people and make their own decision. Regardless of the sensitivity of this particular issue, it is VERY scary that the people of the state can make themselves clear through a democratic vote and then be overruled by a few elitist judges. Regardless of the issue, it should upset all Americans that a few judges in positions of power are dictating their will on the majority. It is a good bet that there are people so upset by the judges’ decision to legislate new entitlements against the will of the people that they voted YES on Prop 8 this year in order to demonstrate to the activist judges and to the Supreme Court that California is not a dictatorship. This will hopefully make a point to the judges that they are to rule on law, not create law. This may make supporters of gay marriage angry, but they should keep in mind that next time it could be a policy or law that they oppose that is ruled legal by rogue judges. This political activism by judges is a serious threat to democracy and it is critical that it not be allowed regardless of the issue (and in this case, it probably backfired on them).I should also point out that though the LDS faith has gotten much more media attention than other faiths involved in the Prop 8 controversy, it is by no means the only Christian faith involved. That being said, I will only attempt to explain theology based on LDS or “Mormon” beliefs.First, it is important to note that Mormon’s have a religious right to believe in traditional marriage being defined as a marriage between a man and woman. To deny this right would be just as prejudice as trying to deny the right of a Hindu to hold the cow sacred, or the right of pagans to worship the various gods of nature. Whether they should get involved in proactive politics is a completely different subject. In other words, there are two questions being asked. The first is, “Should Mormon’s vote based on their religious beliefs?” The second is “Why do Mormon’s believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman?”1. Should Mormon’s vote based on their religious beliefs?The first concern to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the legal ramifications in regards to performing marriages. If same-sex marriages are ruled legal, it is very possible that all churches will be required to perform same-sex marriages in their chapels and temples. Failure to comply to perform legal same-sex marriages could possibly result in loss of their legal status as a church, including their federal tax exempt status. The problem Mormons have is not that they want to shape the law. The problem is that failure to support Prop 8 will result in the rule of law shaping their practice as a church. By the way, when the founding fathers wrote about separation of church and state, using the government to dictate how people worship is exactly what they meant to avoid. They were not talking about keeping the faith of people out of government; but instead referring to the government intervention in the doctrines of people’s faith. At the time, the English monarchy had a long history of controlling religious beliefs for the purpose of gaining power over the people. Evidence of this is in the phrase, “In god we trust.” Placing this on nearly every founding document shows that the intention was not to keep faith out of government, but instead to keep government out of the business of dictating faith. For instance, if homosexuals wanted to start a new tradition of civic unions and give it a new name besides “marriage,” Mormons would likely be very tolerant and indifferent to the whole thing (as long as you don’t teach it to their kids or require them to participate).Second is the problem with teaching children about marriage. If same-sex marriage is legalized, will a church be allowed to teach that it is immoral or will they be forced to tolerate what they consider as immoral? (Again, their right to view same-sex marriage as immoral is not in question – America was created for the purpose of tolerating different religious views). This also creates the problem of the effect this will have in schools and society as a whole. Mormons will be faced with a choice of homeschooling their children or having them exposed to a belief that is directly opposed to their moral values. Remember, regardless of whether you agree or not, people have a right to determine their religious and moral beliefs. Mormons also believe it is wrong to drink tea and coffee. If there was a measure on the ballot trying to force them to serve tea and coffee in their church or require schools to teach that tea and coffee are good, than the Mormons would likely oppose that also. For this reason, every time an elementary teacher takes a group of children to witness a same-sex marriage it reinforces the fears that Mormons have (and other traditionalists) that these immoralities will be overtly preached to their children. Again, this is an example of how liberal activists really are hurting the homosexual cause in the eyes of the traditional Christian majority due to the perception that they are actively striving to influence the perception of children. I have heard repeatedly the mantra from the picket line to leave homosexuals to live their lives and in return they will allow Mormons to live their lives. However, the above examples are a clear testament that this is simply not true. The homosexual community will never feel they have equality until their agenda is taught to children as being completely acceptable. Where is the right of the traditionalist to maintain their values? How is teaching immorality to our children, forcing churches to perform same-sex marriage, and being called a bigot for our beliefs leaving us alone? Where is the ACLU to defend the rights of Mormons to practice their religion? Is it possible for Mormons to hold their concept of Marriage sacred without being judged as homophobic or bigoted?Next, is the concept of worthiness within the Church. The Mormons have a number of ordinances (such as performing marriages, passing the sacrament, performing baptisms, etc.) that must be performed by a member of the church who wholeheartedly upholds all the values, morals, and commandments of the Church. If same-sex marriage were legalized, would the church be allowed to discriminate and determine who can and cannot perform these ordinances or will the ACLU and other activists begin to file lawsuits forcing the church to allow those legally married homosexuals to perform all the ordinances that a heterosexual can perform? Again, remember that it is not acceptable to change the doctrines of our religion to fit the world’s values. This is truly the violation of state dictating to church that the founding fathers were trying to prevent.Remember, my purpose is not to persuade you to subscribe to the Mormon beliefs. I only hope to help you understand why Mormons resist the legalizing of same-sex marriage and what it means to our religion. Our support is not an attack on anyone, it is a whole heartedly defensive measure designed to keep the government from dictating how we must practice our religion. Ironically, from the Mormon point of view, our way of life is what we feel is under attack.This brings us to the second question that I asked above:2. Why do Mormon’s believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman?I should make it clear that having an attraction to the same-sex is not considered a sin (any more than if a heterosexual man or woman had an attraction to a person of the opposite sex). It’s when someone acts on any sexual desire outside the bonds of marriage that creates the problem. This is where it gets a little complicated. Obviously, if Mormons would simply change their beliefs to include same-sex marriages, the problem would be solved. Why don’t they do this? In order to understand this, you will need to understand two things: The first is that everything we believe is based around the eternal unit of the family and the sacred privilege to bear children within the bonds of marriage. The second is that we believe in modern-day revelation.Mormons are not just giving lip service to the concept of a prophet. As insane as the rest of the world may consider this to be, we really believe that the president of our church is a prophet of God who currently receives direct revelation from God in all things. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not a democracy, but a restoration of the very same gospel that was on the earth during the Old and New Testament. There are members of the Mormon Church that may wish that same-sex marriage would be made “OK.” However, their faith requires that they make the choice to either accept the teachings of the prophet or not. There is no in-between. The Church is either true or it is not true. If it is not true, then I might as well leave it and do as I want (and believe me, the temptations of life do beckon to all of us). However, if it is true, then I need to have faith that the doctrines are also true and it does no good for me to work to change those doctrines. Who am I to change the doctrines of God? I would never force someone to have the same beliefs as me, but I must, in good conscience, exercise my right to define and defend the most sacred covenant of marriage.I would like to share with you that I have worked with several clients (and a close family member) that are strong members of the LDS faith and are also struggling with same-sex attraction. It is heart wrenching to see their pain. They explained to me that they seem to be faced with the choice of turning their back on their beliefs, living a life without a partner, or living life with a partner of the opposite sex that they are not attracted to. I admit I do not have a suitable answer to this dilemma. I do know that I am not worthy to judge them for whatever decision they choose and I offer them as much love and support as I am able. As a therapist, I do not steer their beliefs. Indeed, some of my clients asked if I am a member of the LDS church and some did not ask until after they had explained their feelings to me. Also, though every group of people has a few bad seeds, the members of the LDS church that I know are very loving and supportive of homosexuals. The problem lies in the basic fundamental difference of belief that same-sex attraction is a “problem” to overcome rather than an acceptable way of life. I understand how this is offensive to the mainstream “gay” community. I wish it wasn’t. It is not meant to offend any more than it should offend anyone to have a different religious belief than someone else. It is just a different belief, not a wish for any ill will towards others.So, when you ask why people are so mean that they would vote for Proposition 8, I would say that it is not based on meanness. It is based on religious belief and a determination to act on that belief rather than sit idly on the sidelines while the government redefines a covenant that we hold sacred. I hope you have read this in the spirit of trying to understand the other side of the issue. I put a lot of time into this letter and I hope it is seen as an effort to build a bridge rather than as a tool of divisiveness
Thanks Kraig! This says it perfectly! You did what I could not!