The issue of gay marriage is certainly in the forefront of all of our thoughts lately, with it spattered across Facebook, CNN and Fox. I'm about to reveal my feelings on the issue, which can only be controversial in my diverse group of friends. I'm not doing this because I feel like the world needs to know my opinion on the matter (I'm positive that you don't). I'm doing it because it has raised questions inside of me having to do with faith, organized religion, compassion, and the pure love of Christ, and I'm sure that it has for many of you as well. I'm not looking for an argument on the issue of gay marriage to follow here, but rather a discourse about faith and obedience, and their place in a church. This is my blog, so I'm the boss, so let's try to play nice, okay? Let us all speak kind words to each other. Your unkind words won't be published here.
I support gay marriage. I have people who I love who feel that their happiness depends on their relationships being seen as valid in society, and I completely understand where they are coming from. I feel that all people deserve to be treated with kindness and equality. I believe that gay parents make just as good of parents as anyone else. I actually feel that gay and other adoptive parents may have a little advantage in the parenting area because they wanted their children so badly, and struggled so hard to get them into their families. I don't feel like it's up to me, or my church, to decide what kinds of love are more important than others. I love all kinds of love, and I think any decision our country makes to bring more love into it is a good one, especially in these troubled times.
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I'm a Mormon, and they support my actions towards gays in their official statement which says, "Let us be at the forefront in terms of expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let's not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle as a result of their feelings about their own gender."
They have also said, "We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society."
Works for me! This puts my actions directly in line with the teachings of my church. Where I am a little off line is in my attitude towards gay marriage. The church has said, "We firmly support the divinely appointed definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman because it is the single most important institution for strengthening children, families and society." I agree that strong, committed marriages strengthen children, families and society. I just don't see why a gay marriage can't provide this strength as well as a straight one can. Two parents, any two parents, who love their kids and teach them to be kind are qualified to lead the next generation, right? But the church has asked us to support traditional marriage, and to oppose gay marriage in cases like Prop. 8 in California.
Here's the question that I've been asking myself: Is the Church wrong in this case? Are we going to look back in 20 years and see this as a simple Civil Rights issue that the LDS church missed the mark on? If this turns out to be case, I will still be a devout Mormon. I have a received a witness of my faith too many times in my life to throw the baby out with the bath water. I will be understanding that, while the gospel of Christ is perfect, all men, all organizations, and all religious institutions make mistakes sometimes, and I will promptly forgive my church for this misunderstanding and continue on in my faith. I will have acted as they've directed me to and I won''t have any regrets because of it.
Here's the second question: Is the Church right in this case? Are we going to look back in 20 years and see that legalizing gay marriage really has eroded the foundation of families and that our country is in worse shape than ever because of it? If this is the case I will feel sufficiently humbled and chastised for my lack of faith and disobedience. I'll have some serious reflecting to do about my willingness to follow the prophet in these tumultuous last days because, even though I may not have erred in action, I will have been deficient in the feelings of my heart.
My quick perusal of Facebook tells me that I'm not the only member of the LDS church who is questioning their stance and supporting gay marriage. In fact, I seem to be in the majority. Does this mean we're all having some kind of mini apostasy here? Are we standing up for what's right in the face of authority, or are we allowing the opinions of the world to carefully creep in and damage our faith? In the separation of the wheat from the chaff, are we the wheat right now, or are we the chaff? I really couldn't tell you...