I'm not sure how to approach this without making it sound like I've had a change of heart, because I haven't. I still believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. I still believe that children should not be taught about marriage (specifically) in schools. I still believe that SSM can threaten 1st Amendment Rights. I still believe that when a Prophet speaks and calls people to action, the people should respond with full hearts. I still believe in fighting for what is morally correct. I'm still doing as much as I can to support Proposition 8 as a recently moved California resident. I'm doing all I can to inform and educate, persuade and direct. It may not matter in the long run, but I feel good about what I have done and I will keep doing it as long as it is needed.
But you know? This whole Proposition 8 thing has really gotten crazy. And the craziness is being exhibited by both sides:
*Did you know, dear reader, that there is a rumor going around that all the LDS Temples will have to close in California if Prop 8 doesn't pass? This is simply not true. The LDS Church may one day lose the right to perform marriages in Temples, but they will definitely be able to seal. Many countries already have laws where couples must be married civilly first before they are sealed. We are blessed in Canada, New Zealand, The USA, (and others) to be able to have our marriages and sealings done at the same time. Worst case scenario? States where SSM is legal will have to be married civilly first.
*If you aren't already aware, most newspapers and blogs discuss the situation as "Mormons Against Gays." There is no mention of the fact that we are simply one of many religions fighting to pass Prop 8. Conservative Jewish communities are also trying to pass Prop 8 --not just Christian churches. So, why the hating? I'm not surprised, but I still don't understand it. It's like we have a bulls eye on our back (and everyone wonders why Satan is trying so hard to destroy us. I mean, could it have anything to do with truth? Maybe? Perhaps?) and it's turning into an "Us vs. Them" mentality. Why? Is it because our Church has never allowed SSM and never will? While other churches are slowly allowing SSM, people are just waiting for it to happen with the Mormons and are getting angrier and angrier that it's not? And that we claim to love our gay brothers and sisters at the same time? We do, by the way. Love them, I mean. I know I do. I just can't condone SSM.
*My friend was recently blasted in a harsh way for supporting Prop 8 on a community blog. A MORMON community blog. I won't leave you the link because the language and insults would just shake your soul. Any person who agreed with Prop 8 was immediately labeled a bigot; there was no discussing it. The nicer the person was, the worse it got. I finally stepped in and tried to defend the friend, hoping to deflect or prevent more personal insults. Instead, it got flung at me, and my friend was insulted for having friends. The cruel part? Worst? This website claims diversity, discussion, and coming together to understand, but only gives it out to people who think just like they do. I still can't believe the vile and harsh judgements that were heaped upon a person who disagreed in a civil manner. That was the crazy part! Being told that she was Wrong and a Bigot didn't get a warning from the blog's administration. Those who simply disagreed in kindness were told to watch it or else... I still don't get it...
And you know? Stuff like that just isn't worth it. Don't bother, dear reader. Stay away from contentious debates! Walk away! Because I promise you --it's not worth it.
*Those members of the LDS church who do not agree with the Prophet and the Apostles on this issue (specifically spending money to fight something seen as political) are not all going to be excommunicated. For some reason, that rumor has also been spreading. Granted, those who speak out publicly and criticize church leaders and rally to fight against the Church should probably be very wary, but for those who are quietly disagreeing and voting "No" may not need to worry. I don't speak for the Prophet, but David T. puts it really well in his post here. This issue is a toughie. A Great Big Toughie, and it has divided many a ward in California (not to mention families!). It's easy for me to say: "The Prophet Said So!" because I'm a very right or wrong type of person. I see things in shades of white and black (some blacker and some whiter --I mean, I'm not an idiot). I don't struggle with hard lined prophetic counsel/commandments. I never have (and I probably never will). This is my gift. That doesn't mean I'm perfect (far from it!) --I just have a deep desire, through faith, to follow.
But there are those who do struggle with this. They quote Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and talk about how Prophets can be imperfect. They feel in their hearts that the way they should show love towards their gay sisters and brothers is through allowing them to marry. And so, even though it goes against what they have been taught, they are secretly (and some not-so-secretly) trying to honor their God while voting with their hearts. This isn't necessarily wrong, nor is it necessarily right. I don't really understand it, but I respect it. And we all should respect it.
That's the thing. We all need to respect each other in this. Protesting at places of worship (like some did at the Oakland Temple) is crossing the line. Threatening to burn down the house of a ward member (even jokingly) because they're going to vote No is also crossing the line. Remember this link I shared with you? About the woman who was able to campaign with love? We need to do this. People will disagree (even Mormons will disagree), and even though we (I?) don't understand, the Lord does, and we should save all the judgement (the selfish, calling-to-repentance judgement) up to Him.
Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see.
[Susan Evans McCloud]
So, vote with your heart! Pray hard about it. Do what you know is right. But let the hate and anger and rumors and judgements fall away.
That's what I'm trying to do, dear reader.
Just letting it fall away...