Thursday, April 23, 2009

Going Underground on Gay Marriage?

As a Kool-Aid-swilling Mormon, my big question on the whole gay marriage issue is, What is the LDS Church's next move?

I used to think the church should keep fighting in the public arena on this issue. But now I'm thinking it would buy us more peaceful years in society if we went mostly dark on the issue—not refute our beliefs, but circle the wagons, reaffirm what we believe to each other and our children and whatever sincere seekers come our way, and let society do what it will without much further input from us.

I think winning Prop 8 actually backfired because it galvanized the gay movement. Gay marriage is definitely coming, one way or another, probably on the federal level. But Prop 8 was an important opportunity for the LDS Church to make it clear to all Mormons everywhere that the gay lifestyle isn't going to be accepted by the church, despite all the wishful thinking that goes on within liberal Mormon circles. The message is clearer than ever: If you want to be in the church, you need to work on resisting and overcoming your same-sex weakness, not seek justification through so-called marriage. And this message is especially important for our children, who will grow up in a world where the gay lifestyle is promoted and celebrated far more than it is today. God help any of our kids who feel same-sex attraction, because it's going to be damn hard to survive spiritually in tomorrow's radically pro-gay moral climate.

Obviously Mormons will continue to reaffirm the sanctity of godlike marriage within our own group, but I don't see the point in raising much more stink about it in general society, which is pretty much equivalent to the great and spacious building nowadays anyway. It's not worth all the bad publicity and ill will to fight something that's going to happen anyway. We've gone on record with Prop 8, we're now widely known to oppose gay marriage, and I think we should just wash our hands of it and sit back and watch with dismay as society does what it will. To do otherwise seems as unwise to me as pasting targets on our foreheads and butts.

Even if we go mostly underground about this issue, though, I still think society will eventually become so culturally fascist about gay marriage—so politically correct in a twisted, diabolical way—that society will eventually dig us out of our burrows, and of course we'll have to hold our ground at that point, come what may. But clamming up until then will hopefully buy us more time.

The only exception I can think of is that the church should probably help block gay marriage at the Utah level, because we can't just roll over and play dead right here in our own backyard. However, even if Utah votes against gay marriage, it will still eventually gain federal acceptance, and then Utah won't really have a choice, at least while the union still stands.

At some point down the road closer to the Second Coming, when our society is really falling apart due to the majority's departure from God, I'm sure we Mormons will be able to say, "Told you so." Your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Very interesting thoughts brother Bigelow. I like fellow Mormons who say "Damn". I guess that makes us both liberal Mormons in a certain kinf of literary way (-:
I was very anti-gay until 1998. That year I found out a friend and client was a closeted gay Republican.~{he outed himself 5 years later}~He was a city councilman and very well respected in our wealthy and conservative enclave (Lake Oswego, Oregon). After that, I decided to really look into it. As a scientist, I think I can say with conviction that the large majority of homosexuals are born with a genetic predisposition toward same-sex attraction. This manifests itself in clear physical ways that make for societal stereotypes we all recognize. You know, the occasional lisp, the predilection for fastidiousness.....the hightened appreciation for broadway musicals and Barbra Streisand (-:
Seriously though. I think the church will have to eventually accept the federal law. This might lead to a "revelation" where our current Prophet/President Monson will take a halfway stance that "understands". Many believe the JAMA and the DSM are close to empirical evidence of genetic predisposition. How can the worlds fastest growing major religion argue with that...and society as well.
Just my opinion.
David H. Elton III
Spokane Washington

Margy said...

I'm actually wondering if our nation's departure from God is more along the lines of our refusal to use our democracy to freely choose a society that makes sure kids don't go hungry and our inability to view people who aren't citizens of our country as human beings who are also endowed with the inalienable rights we claim God gave us.

William said...

I was most intrigued by this line: "If you want to be in the church, you need to work on resisting and overcoming your same-sex weakness."

Let's talk a bit about weaknesses and strengths. I'm assuming you would consider adultery an opposite-sex weakness, since it's not an approved form of intimacy by the church. Yet I've never heard someone refer to heterosexuality as a sin or curse or illness which must be dealt with. This in spite of the fact that Rape is a disproportionately heterosexual act. Only about 5% of society are gay or lesbian, but much more than 95% of rapes are heterosexual.

The blind judgment that spews out of this post is disappointing. The church no longer pretends that homosexual attractions are a choice. They try to dodge the issue by focusing on intimacy. Similarly, you pretend to avoid judging by labeling homosexuality as a "weakness" rather than an abominable sin, but would you dare repeat your logic with other "weaknesses?"

Let's talk about blindness, or cancer, or intolerance to gluten. These things are not chosen, but if you knew that someone could pass any of these characteristics on by being intimate, either to their spouse or their children, would you similarly discourage them from lifelong monogamous relationships, tell them just to stay celibate, and refer to their families with "quotation marks" or prefaces like "so-called?"

I am a gay man and my weakness is impatience with those who see their sexual orientation as natural and mine as deranged. I don't comprehend how you can subject yourself to heterosexuality, but I do not condemn you for your lifestyle choice.

Let me end by a reflective illustration. My heart goes out to you for your obvious inclination toward heterosexuality. I don't know what caused you to have the feelings that you do. I figure you must have been born that way or maybe you were abused by a woman as a child. Regardless of the source of your feelings, if you choose to act on them, I will have no choice but to discourage the government from doing anything which might acknowledge that you have a right to live that lifestyle. Moreover, I must share that as a Christian, I believe that Jesus is the divine example and while he was nice to women, the scriptures are quite clear that he never married one. I would discourage you from abandoning Christ's path for your own selfish desires.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Hey, William, I appreciate the comment. First let me say that I would never presume to judge an individual's relationship to this topic. While I'm certain that it's not right for society to put homosexual relationships on an equal footing with heterosexual, it may be that some individuals are truly not accountable for their orientation or perhaps even their corresponding behavior. Glad I'm not the judge of that!

As far as my line, "If you want to be in the church, you need to work on resisting and overcoming your same-sex weakness," I am willing to concede that overcoming may not take place until the afterlife/resurrection. And trying to resist does not mean mistakes are never made, as long as the person acknowledges that same-sex actions ARE mistakes and does not try to say, "Let me celebrate my sinful lifestyle with you at the sacramental table."

The bottom line is that God has set clear bounds for marriage/family relationships, bounds that make good sense biologically if nothing else (and yes, sometimes those bounds are expanded to include polygamy). Human sexual/romantic urges naturally fall outside these bounds all the time, but those who want to follow the plan of salvation have to either discipline themselves now or repent at some later time, to the degree that it's possible. Just because someone is sexually/romantically attracted to same gender, animals, children of either sex, or inanimate objects (all of which happen within humanity) doesn't mean that they should feel justified in pursuing those feelings. With real faith, anything can ideally be resisted, even if earthly celibacy is the only other option.

Homosexuality is a weakness of the flesh that, when acted upon, becomes a sin. It is not part of a person's eternal spiritual identity; it is an earthly trial. It's comparable to cancer, since you're the one who brought that up. In cancer, certain unhealthy cells proliferate and overcome the good cells. In same-sex attraction, certain unhealthy attractions proliferate for unknown reasons and overcome the good attractions. I also think homosexuality can be compared to alcoholism, in that some people are disposed to it through no fault of their own and in that it operates as an addiction. We should have compassion for all who suffer these weaknesses of the flesh and should not judge individuals caught in their grips. However, we should not say, "Cancer is an equally valid, workable option to living cancer free. Alcoholism is a perfectly desirable lifestyle. Homosexuality is a worthy, welcome alternative to heterosexual marriage."

William, I don't actually find most of your logic and comparisons very convincing, tell you the truth. I think you are not thinking clearly on this topic. You wrote, "I am a gay man and my weakness is impatience with those who see their sexual orientation as natural and mine as deranged. I don't comprehend how you can subject yourself to heterosexuality, but I do not condemn you for your lifestyle choice." Um, have you given any thought at all to the concept that heterosexuality is what propagates the species, and those who opt out into homosexuality are essentially opting out of procreation? Homosexuality IS "deranged," as you put it, because if everyone lived that way, our species would soon die out.

I can't tell from your comment if you are Mormon or not, but I'm coming at this topic from my understanding of Mormon theology, an understanding that we apparently don't share. So let's agree to differ, and you live your life the way you want without interference from me, and I'll continue to voice my opinion that I don't think society should give sinful, biologically dead-end lifestyles equally valid status as heterosexual marriage. I don't want my kids to grow up in a world that confused!

Montgomery Q said...

We were supposed to see Star Trek together!

I forgive you, because I cheated on you, too. How bout Terminator? We could share popcorn. Don't forget to shave that area.

I feel so comfortable talking to you ever since this blog turned into a gay marriage discussion forum.

Paul Burrows said...

Actually, If we stay silent then that will be a sign that we have changed our minds on the subject. Its when we show firmness and stand for something that people want to know more about us. In California the baptism rate has gone up since Prop 8. Also we need to push back the tide of wrong ideas, because if we don't fight it then our kids will be indoctrinated on the wrong ideas in their schools. It probably is inevatible, but we need to at least continue to stand up for what is right.

Patrick said...

I have a cousin in her late 30's. She is a beautiful girl who has never married and has remained chaste. She has all the desires of a healthy sexually capable woman. She desires love. She has learned to live a valuable joyful life even though there are unfulfilled desires. The world would have us identify ourselves as merely vaginas and penises and how we use those organs. Power to the man and woman that can see beyond the sexual organ and see the deeper reason of why we are here. Why shouldn't a member of the LDS Church with same sex attraction be required to live a chaste life, just like my cousin, if they are unable to express their sexuallity within the limits defined by Christ? If they aren't held to those limits, it belittles the effort made by every other member out there living a chaste life outside of a heterosexual marriage.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Paul Burrows, that's interesting that the baptismal rate has gone up since Prop 8. The overall membership in California has recently fallen by several thousand, but I guess that's mostly people moving away.

I don't think we should lie if people ask us our opinion, but I don't know if we should be quite so aggressive as we were with Prop 8. For instance, I think that beauty queen did the right thing when she answered truthfully when the mean blogger asked her about gay marriage, but it would have been a mistake for her to bring up the issue herself.

I dunno. It will be interesting to see where this goes in coming years.