Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Big Ol' Prop 8 Message For You, Dear Reader

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...

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for trying to be objective and yet failing miserably. No, I do not care to see you and your husband kissing on your site any more than you care to see me and my wife. Here's the point: the 'other' side is that the sky is not falling and has not fallen since May when the courts upheld the constitution AND when people's rights are being TAKEN AWAY they get upset, angry, and sometimes even rude. I know it's difficult to imagine being on the side of anything where you can't feel righteous and special - don't worry, God will show you what it feels like when you reach heaven....I'm not worried at all.

Rebekah said...

The Catholic church is also taking a strong stance in favor of Prop 8. The LDS church is just, of course, getting hit the hardest, it seems like, for their efforts to support it. It's cool, we can take the flak!

I've heard the Temple scare too. I think that the biggest fear that people have is that the government will eventually get into private organizations in general. So far, I'm not worried. I think these rumors are worst case scenarios and blown out of proportion. Am I wrong?

Rebekah said...

PS, I like your Prop 8 posts. Everyone needs to be informed and you do a great job!

Cheryl said...

Anonymous-
You failed to follow my first request about Being Respectful. And I won't discuss anything with someone being disrespectful and not brave enough to leave their own name.
Please don't come back. Your tone was the antithesis to what I was trying to get across and I won't tolerate it. This is a personal blog, not a community one where hatred is allowed.

Rebekah-
The thing is, some of this stuff that people are scared will happen HAS happened. But the total elimination of 1st Amendment Rights? If it happens (and it totally could), it will be a slow elimination. At least that is my understanding. Doesn't make it right, though!

Amanda D said...

Great post, Cheryl. I hope this doesn't get ugly. I think you are exactly right. I CAN NOT wait for next week.

Amanda D said...

Also, anonymous doens't have to come to your site and see you kissing. This is your site! Put your picture up if you want, and she can put her picture up on her site!

Cheryl said...

Funny part, Amanda? We're actually not even kissing. *snort

Stop the Hate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janelle said...

I remember the talks at RS General Meeting this year and how unifying they were. The sisters who had felt disinfranchised by the church since last Conference were gathered in, "Like a hen gathereth her chicks" is what I was thinking at the time. The Lord does love all of us and I think that when this ends, at some point, hearts will be softened, contention will melt away and we will all be gathered in.

I have much love for the Saints who are faithfully struggling with supporting Prop 8 or are openly rejecting it. To them I say, Please don't leave us - we need you! And if you need a break for the next two weeks till things blow over, take it! We love you no matter what.

Great post Cheryl, dispelling rumors is a very worth while thing to do.

April said...

Thanks for being civil about this. I don't live in California and I haven't had the exposure to the issue like many have. But the little I have read about it disturbs me. First and foremost, I am a strong proponet of equal rights. I think gays have the RIGHT to get married. I think it should be their CHOICE. Same thing with polygamy. If everyone is consenting adults, then we should uphold the foundation that America was based on. However, I am a Mormon and therefore I think the only person who has a right to judge is GOD....not PEOPLE. The only reason I would NOT allow gay marriage is because it would be taught to my child in conjunction with regular marriage. I believe that yes, people of the same sex can be in love. But no, I don't believe it the exact same thing as a marriage between a man and a woman, and it shouldn't be taught that way.

Mormons in general need to be more tolerant. It's so painful to see all these Mormon protestors being so ignorant. It makes us look bad.

Stop the Hate said...

thank you for removing a dissenting voice and proving my point exactly - praise jesus!

Cheryl said...

You weren't a dissenting voice. You were a troll who had never visited my site before, doesn't care who I am, and is only out to create contention and hate.

That's the best way to turn people against you, btw.

Cheryl said...

Sorry, folks!

The trolls are out tonight, and so for the first time in THREE YEARS, I'm turning on comment moderation so I can get some sleep.

Cardalls said...

I admire you for standing up for things even when you get flak for it! You phrase things so well and I am glad you dispelled the rumors. I am sorry you have had to put up with the contention and stuff. You are not self righteous in the least...don't worry!

Julie said...

Good Job, C. Great post and I love you for it.

SilverRain said...

Cheryl—As soon as I read your post, I knew immediately which site it was. Sure enough, I went there and it was obvious what you were referring to. I thought perhaps I should offer a few things that might shed some light and peace on this subject for you, because I have been where you are now many, many times.

Realize that this is going to sound downright rude, but it is nonetheless true. Many (I would even say most) of the people who frequently post on that site are not interested in discussion. They are not interested in other viewpoints, or in coming to understand another or in learning charity. They are hurting, and will lash out at anyone who challenges their worldview because it is built on self-defense. They often accuse others of this, ironically and sometimes probably truthfully, but that does not mean they are not also guilty. Your friend knows this about that site, and (if I may briefly speak for her) posts there only on occasion to show those who may be lurking that there are other viewpoints. Yes, it hurts her, but she has built up a very tough skin over years of blogging in "LDS" circles. She knows what will happen when she posts there, but I know she'll be okay.

Also, you know her and I know her and many other people know her. Those who post such vilifying things against her do not. There is no reason to worry too much about people who are only lashing out at her as a symbol. We love her, and she knows this. We can all be there for each other as friends who have seen each other's spirit and know the goodness.

Similarly, those who do lash out at her this way have legitimate pain that leads them to do so. It takes a rare and mature mind to accept the aggressions of others with a candid and acceptable feeling in one's heart. Those who have been hurt by true bigotry and prejudice, among other things, usually find themselves locked in a childish mindset. They cannot respond to harsh truth because they are already so wounded. They need an outpouring of demonstrable, real love. Since that cannot really be done on the internet, short of typing out agreement, there is no way to reach out to them without getting one's fingers bitten. Your friend, again, knows this. I admire her because she reaches out anyways, allowing her fingers to be bitten, because she does love and wants to understand. She is truly courageous, largely because she is so well-grounded in the Spirit and the gospel. That will not be understood by those she is reaching out to, but neither was Christ understood by those who crucified Him. In some small way, all who profess discipleship must eventually learn to sacrifice as He did, without gratitude and without understanding, but in perfect love.

Richelle said...

Sorry this doesn't have anything to do with this post. But, I just wanted to ask a question about the book you recommended, Eat Cake. I think I trust your recommendation, but want to make sure. (We have just had some interesting experiences with people recommending stuff for our book club and having it end up with some bad stuff in it.) Most of us are members, as I know you are, so I do trust your judgment. I just want to make sure this is a clean book. No "scenes" or language. :) From the synopsis and reviews I found it sounds enjoyable and funny.

Cheryl said...

Sliverrain-
I know. I've talked with her before about it, and I know. It's still hard to deal with it, though.
Sigh.

Richelle-
Well, I would say it's pretty clean by my standards. Of course, there is reference to two people having "relations" but there's never a scene and the reference is pretty clean. And as the book goes on, those relations become "cleaner" --I can't give you more than that or it will ruin the book!

Cheryl said...

Silverrain-
I think my response was too short and may come across as flippant, but I want you to know I really appreciate what you said. When I said "I know" it meant I understood why she throws herself into the fray and I understand why people are so quick to attack her. I admire it, too, but sometimes I wonder if there will be a time (now, perhaps?) when it's best to just walk away. For most of us (the weaker ones! :) ), I think it's too hard. It's just not worth it because it turns our Spirits ugly and angry. But for those who can endure it and continue to do so, my heart goes with them. They are the bravest souls!

Jeff said...

While there are strong similarities between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement, believing that gay unions are equal to heterosexual unions and that opposition to gay marriage is equal to the discrimination of race is a misconception.

If the state legalizes gay marriage, then suddenly marriage changes from a protected belief of a small minority, to the false impression that the state (which is an extension of the people) believes that it is morally acceptable to practice homosexuality.

As individuals, law abiding homosexuals should be entitled to every inalienable right held by any heterosexual; but as couples, gay relationships no longer hold an equal stance to the synergy of a heterosexual relationship. The answer lies in procreation—the primary responsibility of a family.

The gay agenda wants to redefine marriage as simply commitment, honesty, affection, and warmth between two loving individuals. If so then it simply becomes an equal protection issue and the gay couple argues they are being discriminated against for a relationship they claim holds equal commitment and value to the heterosexual relationship. This argument breaks down because it ignores posterity and procreation. Children are what differentiate the marriage contract from all other consensual adult arrangements. The state has always had a keen interest in the bearing and rearing of children. Indeed that is why the state got in the business of registering and recognizing marriage in the first place.

The point, both legally and historically, the gay family can ONLY exist as a product of government policy and modern science, and a dependence on the natural family. It is very clear that there is no natural procreative ability between gay partners. The procreative ability between heterosexual couples is, by contrast, perfectly natural, and dates back to the start of recorded history. The natural family would continue whether the government or science became involved or not. Thus, we see that a homosexual relationship is not naturally equal to a heterosexual relationship.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that we are endowed with unalienable rights, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". John Locke, called this "natural law". Natural law is not a creation or product of the state, but was to be protected by the state as these are the natural rights of all men inseparably connected to being human. Gays may argue that they are in the pursuit of liberty and happiness, yet there is no logical means by which they are naturally in the pursuit of life. Indeed we may argue that the gay movement, by its very nature, is a movement in pursuit of death, its own extinction, for without the intervention of the state and modern science, homosexuality results in the termination of posterity. Thus, from the perspective of both science and state we can see that the union of man and women, with their resulting children compared to the gay union are polar opposites both in origin and fruit.

What about couples who are infertile? Many married heterosexuals choose not to have children, and others cannot because of medical problems or physical handicaps. But gays fought furiously to convince the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from their books as a "disorder", or medical problem. The majority of the United States will now agree that homosexuality is not a medical problem or disorder. Even in perfect medical condition, a gay couple cannot procreate without the help of a third party. Therefore homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are inherently, and naturally, unequal. Gays should NOT shunned because of their beliefs and tendencies. Nor does this fact infringe on their God given rights. The argument is that the two relationships are very different from one another and for that reason they should be defined differently.

More here

Cristy said...

Wow! Go Cheryl! I had a friend in California finally post about this the other day with much fear and trepidation. With all the talk of tolerance etc, not to mention we all believe in free speech, I wonder why it is so hard for all of us to voice our opinions, and then get slapped when we do? Opinions people! That's why we vote.

Desi said...

Cheryl,

You know my views on Prop 8, and I love this post! I love that you are unwavering in your beliefs, but you can see that it's not necessarily as easy for everyone. Thank you.

Leslie said...

Thanks for being so brave Cheryl!

Amber said...

I don't know who Jeff is but he brought up some obvious points that I had not thought about before. Particularly the LIFE part about the two different relationships. Very thought provoking. Thank you Cheryl and Jeff. :)

Cheryl said...

Jeff,
Thank you for that explanation; it made a lot of sense.

Thank you to all of you who understood what my post was about; I'm glad we can be kind and have love for each other --even if we don't agree!

Oh, and April! Welcome! I'm glad you came by. :)

Moddy said...

Thanks for breaking some of the points down. I think that it's so important for people to stand up for what they believe, and you've shown it can be done with out being rude about it, great job!

m_and_m said...

Cheryl,
This was a great post. I agree that there has been extremism on both sides of this issue...once of the downsides about hot-button topics.

I really like what you and SilverRain have said, too, about trying to respect and understand people and their struggles with this issue. We don't have to agree to try to understand and have compassion and love.

I do worry a lot with this issue, however, and what Elder Bednar called the 'tyranny of tolerance.' It seems to me that has already begun in a way...where the point of view of those who support prop 8 is often not tolerated and intimidation and personal attack are used to try to silence.

But also, like he said, we are not just concerned about what might happen immediately, or in a year or two but rippling over time. Part of what concerns me is that we simply don't know how things will unfold over time. Gay marriage as a concept or a practice just hasn't been around long enough.

Anyway...thanks for your posts. I have appreciated them.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Cheryl, Keep your chin up. I have to disagree with you on one thing though. You made it sound like those of us who avoid the contentiousness of mean community blogs are just too "weak" to handle the flak. In my opinion, we stay away because we see the pointlessness of squabbling over our personal beliefs. Please tell me you'll walk away from those sites...they don't deserve you. Love you. :)

m_and_m said...

I agree that it's not weakness to stay away from contentious blogs. More often than not, that shows wisdom. :)

Heidi said...

Cheryl,

I think that you are amazing and I love your spirit. I too have heard some of the rumors and I appreciate you clearing them up. You are a great person and you have a beautiful family!

flip flop mama said...

Thanks again for standing up for what is right. I also agree that we should stay away from those blogs. I try to stay away from places I know there will be contention. Contention doesn't solve anything. Healthy discussion does and those places aren't looking for that.

Never A True Aggie said...

Good post. Honestly, I have been a little tired of the subject and was going to skip it, but I read on and I agree with you. 6 more days until Novemeber 5th!

Changed My Mind said...

I love all of you - I'm so happy I found this sight and read some of the newer posts. You've convinced me that I just need keep coming back here and reading your insightful thoughts. I'm a changed woman. I am now willing to accept that gays and lesbians should not be allowed to use the word marriage. It's horrible that I even thought that we should. Thank you again for reminding me of my less-than-2nd-class-status. I'll be happy to go back to being invisible and be not quite sure how to answer the question: are you married since no one has ever asked me if I'm civil unionized.
Thanks - God...Love...Peace.

Cheryl said...

Never a true aggie-
I'm glad you read it, too. :)

flip flop-
True! Contention never persuaded anyone. It just makes everyone feel bad.

Heidi-
Hey!! Thanks for coming by! It's good to hear from you. Thank you; I think you have a beautiful family, too. I'll have to stop by your blog soon...

M&M-
You're the best. There's not much else I can say but that. Thank you for everything.

Mother-
Good point! We are not weak. I guess I just wish I could withstand the personal attacks and not let them get to me. But how could I not? And you're right. They don't deserve me. *snort :)

Moddy-
Welcome again! I think you stopped by before and I'm flattered. I've seen you around. :) I try not to be rude --I know I come across as blunt and abrasive sometimes, but I really hope I never cross that line into rudeness. Sigh...

Changed My Mind-
Your sarcasm is very obvious. Good job!
I was never out to change your mind. But since I have, hooray!

Dang it, Moddy! Now I was rude.
Figures.