As part of our assignment we are asked to post a comment on our classmates comments. I will not use their real names for privacy sake but wanted to share their opinion along with my comment that came with it. Here is the first comment and my response
Church vs State
Government is governed by worldly laws. Church/religion is governed by heavenly laws. Large religious organizations do not have the right to influence those laws. There is a difference between defending a religion and not allowing those who disagree with a religion to do and act as they please. America is a country of freedom and I for one am eternally grateful for that the fact that I can practice whatever religion I choose. But I also am also glad that the Catholics can, the Protestants can and the Atheists as well. We all have our own beliefs, opinions, desires and dreams and now it is becoming more and more common to have different gender preferences as well. Do I wish that everyone believed in God the way I do? Yes! It brings me so much joy and eternal happiness. Do I wish that everyone had the same political views? Yes! There would be so much less contention in the world. The reality of the situation is though, no one will agree with everything at the same time and we, as God loving people, have to be accepting of those, and loving towards those who do not agree with us. Oppression is never the answer. That is why I agree completely and wholeheartedly with the Government’s choice to allow gay marriage whether is it in one state or all states.
Where I draw the line is if the government creates a law where all churches, are required to perform gay marriages because that will affect my religious beliefs. I do not agree with gay marriage and I myself will never seek a partner of the same sex but that is my personal opinion and I believe that because I believe in a heavenly law. I also strongly believe that I should not drink coffee or alcohol, but you will not see me protesting outside of a Starbucks saying that these people are all sinners for drinking coffee. They have their choice and I will respect their agency. I believe that church’s resources do not need to go towards preventing laws but finding ways to help their members stay strong and faithful if they do struggle with same sex attraction. I am a true supporter of agency and I will do everything in my power to show those around me how I find happiness in this life but never will I try to mix up church and government
My Response –
“I enjoyed your open minded view point in your blog post. I was living in Southern California when Prop 8 was being endorsed by the church. This was the first time in the history of the church as I understand it that the church stepped out and made an asking of their members to support a certain political position. I was very hesitant to step into that arena as something in me was not sitting right. I have great compassion for people with same gender attraction (If you grew up in theater or music chances are you have met or made friends with at least one gay or lesbian person), and I knew quite a few people who have been in long standing monogamous same sex relationships. I saw the difference economically it could have on a partnership if you were straight vs gay. This was very upsetting to me. I tend to not get into the “politics” of things because the conversations get to limited. I never understood why can’t we just have same sex unions or offer the same financial benefits to ALL people regardless of their sexual orientation? Elder F Whitney Clayton showed up in our ward the Sunday before the voting day. He had a very candid conversation with us about what was going on and we were allowed to ask any questions we wanted. I did ask a question, I asked, “what happens if we lose?” He answered, “Good brother, we will lose, its just a matter of when and where.” Sometime about his answer and his speaking that day reminded me about obedience, something akin to the saints who were asked by Joseph Smith to walk to Zion’s Camp to protect the Mormon Settlers. God will ask us to do things to see how obedient we are and how much we trust him. That day I decided to be obedient and trust the Lord even though I didn’t fully understand what was going on. As I have learned more about the principles this week, I do believe marriage is sacred and important, but what I learned on even a deeper level is about agency and how we can so easily give our agency over to others that do not have our best interests at heart.
I will probably always be a more liberal or open minded leaning Latter Day Saint and I am Ok with that. I appreciate what you wrote here and it helped me go through my mind and secure some of my own ideas, values, and beliefs. I was with a young person the other day at my work and he was being very disrespectful. I got very upset. He said to me, “Dan, I guess we are just going to have to agree that things that you find important, I don’t find important.” And in that moment of reflection I realized yes, he was right, he and I do not share the same values, ideas, or way of living. It made me sad that he chooses to live a different way or see other things as important but that is not in my control. What I can control is how I see him and if I choose to love him. This I can do. I can love many people that I agree with and do not agree with and sometimes the people I disagree with are not who you would assume they would be. Life is interesting for sure.”
I felt my response was worth sharing here for a few reasons. Mostly because I have this tendency to see things through the worlds eyes as well as spiritual eyes. I am not 100% sold on the spiritual reasons all of the time because often the secular reasons resolve an injustice that I am seeing in policy or laws. I also want to be more faithful and trust that God sees things that we do not see and He wants us to trust Him as we navigate these difficult waters. Right now the Church has not reversed any of it’s opinions on same-sex marriage or relationships but it is making a very vocal and concerted effort to promote love, tolerance and understanding to those we do not understand or agree with, especially regarding same-sex attraction and marriages. I did not see that coming back in 2008 when Prop 8 was a discussion we were having. I am glad I trusted and voted with the idea to be obedient to what I felt God was asking me to do. It has been a walk of faith and I know the Church’s leaders are asking the members to dig deeper and truly learn how to love and accept those who they do not see eye-to-eye with or completely understand.
The first person I was able to agree with easier. This next example is of someone that I really struggle with understanding and loving. I am being asked to love as well, because obviously he and I do not see eye-to-eye about this subject
Post – “
I think that with the busy nature of our days, it is easy to not consider the importance of the doctrine concerning marriage. The church teaches us that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that this is the nature or order of Heaven as well. The Supreme Court decision allowing nontraditional marriage does not seem to coincide with the previously defined wording of marriage, nor does it seem to line up with what scripture says about these issues. While I understand that there are many people who support this decision, this is one that is personally hard for me to understand.
I personally have always felt that if things do not effect me, then it’s none of my business. I have never been a fan of government intervention into the private lives of it’s citizens. While the freedom loving side of me does not feel that it is the governments place to tell grown adults how they should live their lives, or who they should love, I also understand the doctrinal side of the equation. While the world seems to exist in a mostly gray area, scripture and the prophets have made clear their thoughts on this issue.
President Nelson cautions us to never be embarrassed of the Gospel, and to stand up for traditional marriage and traditional values. While there may be many things in this world competing for our time and attention–including the media, we should always know that we have a Heavenly Father that we can look to for advice. I know that if we diligently seek him, we will know in our hearts what is right. As President Nelson said, we do not have the capability to make something moral that God has deemed immoral. Having the chance to have an eternal family is one of the greatest gifts that our Heavenly Father has given us, and we should guard and protect such a precious gift. Our steadfastness and ability to hold onto the simple and precious doctrines our Gospel could have an unbelievable effect on the world around us. We never know the lives that could be changed simply because we were willing to guard and protect the institution of marriage.
My response –
“Thank you for your post and I appreciate your ability to articulate your thoughts and convey understanding to a very complicated and emotional subject.
I personally struggle with this whole issue of marriage because I have seen traditional marriages that end in divorce because of alcoholism and addictions, abuse, and infidelity. I have also seen a few good traditional marriages work, unfortunately one of them was not the marriage of my parents. I am not convinced one marriage type is better than the other as people do good things and awful things regardless of their sexual preferences.
I struggle when people see things so black and white because as you said, “the world can be seen in grey”. When real people and real emotions come into the mix then things get “grey” and there are no easy answers, solutions or conversations regarding the topic of marriage, family, same sex attraction and the LGBT community.
I do concede and say that despite my own personal experiences and feelings it doesn’t change the doctrine. So in my experience it has been a walk of learning to have compassion and empathy for those who I feel are bullies (religious or political), and have lifestyles that I do not understand or have an experience with.
I feel as Latter Day Saints we are not just being asked to defend principles and doctrine but we are also be asked to learn how to truly love people like the Savior did. In my opinion President Nelson, the Pope and other spiritual leaders of our day are trying to teach us to step past the letter of the law and engage deeper in the spirit of the law.
Thanks for helping keep a space to have a positive and helpful conversation about this subject “
I often wonder why the world has to be this way when it comes to something as simple and beautiful as the family? If the stresses of day to day living don’t tear us apart as a family this type of discussion can. I personally don’t feel connected to many members of my faith and their faith and my faith hardly to seem comparable or recognizable to me. Have I moved too much towards the “world’s opinion”? Or have those who are ultra conservative become cold and intolerant to the world in their piety and “righteous” judgements of the world? I think it may be a little bit of both. I know this conversation is far from over and I knew that I feel compelled often to speak out for the counter opinion to the topic because it is something I feel compelled in my heart to defend. I know that I can remain open and continue to learn; just like I did from this reading assignment. In knowledge in there is understanding and power. I am grateful to be in a place where I can experience the full impact of this concept.