Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marriage Amendment Prop 102

This is long and alot of my opinion and believe. You may continue to read but with far warning.

*names have been changed*

The Marriage ammendment prop 102.
"Only a union of one man and one women shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state."

For some reason I keep thinking of this ammendment. I am not sure how I feel about it. Do I believe that marriage should take place between only one man and one woman? Good question. I don't know. Do I believe that marriage is only natural between one man and one woman? Yes.

I am priveleged to have one really awesome homosexual man friend and one really awesome homosexual female relation. Right now I will refer to my gay man friend as Fred and my gay girl relation as Donna.

Donna has been with her partner now for about 5 years. They own to houses together and Donna has 2 children from her previous marriage. They love eachother dearly and I have never seen Donna happier or more successful then she is now. I think it has a lot to do with her partner and what they are to eachother. I love her partner dearly as well. I believe they will be together for a long time if not thier whole lives. They will be together whether I like it or not and I will love them both whether I think it natural or not. This proposition means that they do not have the same rights that me and my husband have even though they have the same relationship me and my husband have. In my opinion that violates the equal rights ammendmant. Now, my friend Fred also plans on finding the man of his dreams and living happily ever after just like I did and he will never have the same benefits I have if this prop passes.

I am a practicing mormon. I believe in the gospel and my religion very much. I like to think of myself as an unsheltered mormon. Unlike Jill, I have experienced many things. Some pleasant some not so pleasant. I also hope, that I have learned some things and have a greater understanding of things because of other people in my life who have had there own experiences such as Donna and Joe. Having experienced everything that I have experienced, I believe that life is too short to suffer when suffering is unnecessary. Whether it be emotional suffering and pain or physical suffering and pain. I don't think god's plan was to have any one of his children suffer by choice.

Like in Donna's case. For her to choose to not be with her partner would cause her personal suffering and I don't believe that god would have her choose something that would cause her that much pain. I believe my gods plan is a plan of happiness, true happiness, not false happiness.

I think Joe is a case of false happiness. I don't think in the life he has chosen he has ever really experienced true happiness and I think that makes my heavenly father very very sad.

One thing I don't believe that is sometimes taught is that one can choose ones feeling. I have never believed this.We always have some kind of choice but we do not always get to choose the choices. Let me say that again, I believe that in every situation we always have a choice, however, we are not always privledged enough to choose the choices. Let me explain, When I was living with dad and I walked in on something no daughter should ever witness of her father twice in one day in places that I thought were safe, my choices were, 1)ignore it and pretend it never happend, 2)acknowledg it happend and that it deeply hurt me and never discuss it with my father or 3)acknowledge that it happend and deeply hurt and discuss this with my father. None of these choices are pleasant but I did have a choice. The same is with feelings I believe. We have feelings that are usually spurred by something. I do not and never have believed that you can choose that feeling I only blieve that you can choose how you react to that feeling. I believe we are on this earth to make those choices to the best of our ability without causing anyone else our ourselves pain. Some like Jill that in making those choices we should only consider others and not oursleves. Such as in the case of gay people. It doesn't matter how much pain they are experiencing it just shouldn't be done because of how other people feel. I do not believe this for one second. Why in the world would our heavenly father who sacrificed his own son for our salvation and happiness ever wish that kind of pain on any one of his children? I don't believe he would. I think this is what we will be judged on in the after life. How well we choose how to be. I believe only my heavenly father knows someones heart. I believe he will judge me on how well I chose to live my life for the benefit of myself and those that I love without causing intentional pain to others. I believe he will judge everyone of his children that way. Even those who have commited suicide. They commited suicide because of how much pain they were in or because they weren't right in the head. By commiting suicide some suffer. People on the earth who loved him or her suffer but he did not intentionally cause them pain. I think my heavenly father will take all that into consideration. Everyone has there own way of finding peace and happiness with themselves on this earth. However they get there is their decision. I try not to judge them on this because I do not know there heart I only know my own. I don't wish pain or suffering on anyone because I have experienced some serious pain and suffering.

I'm not sure I can vote yes on this prop. In my opinion it will cause too much pain and take away some equality. Anyways, I thought I'd get my feelings out there. If I offended anyone, remember, I gave you far warning.

9 comments:

Lisa Marie said...

Hey, good post. I don't know if you remember me from MV or not, we were in seminary together. I check you blog all the time, hope you don't mind. Sorry this comment will be so long. :)

I just wanted to correct one thing. The Church doesn't doesn't teach that you can choose your feelings. (The members of the Church may, but that is another topic for another day.) The Church says that what's important is how you act on your thoughts and feelings. I read a really good article in the Ensign about this by President Monson last year.

We actually discussed Prop 102 in Priesthood/RS a couple weeks ago (weird, I know). And it was brought up that if this passed then the rights of "straight" people would be taken away.

Ex 1: A wedding photographer who thinks that gay/lesbian marriages are repulsive would have to say yes when asked to photo the wedding or he/she could be sued for discrimination.

Ex 2: A doctor who does artificial insemination (spelling?) could not refuse to perform on a lesbian couple without being sued. Even if it was against his beliefs.

I can totally see both sides to this argument. It could be a close vote, that's for sure! And which ever way it goes people will be hurt. That's just how it goes.

Greg said...

Hi!
I'm Harmony (and my husband is Greg- that's why I'm signed in that way). I'm Keeley's big sister and I saw on her blog that you had commented on the amendment and thought you had interesting points. I hope you don't mind that I hopped onto your site to read!

Here's something else to consider. I think that it's just part of our mortal existence to experience temptation. We each have different temptations depending on our inherent spiritual differences. I don't have homosexual temptations but I certainly am friends with others that do. I don't think they "chose" to feel the way they do. I do believe that it is a temptation for them just like sex is a temptation for a lot of other people before marriage. I believe that what God outlined and defined to be "marriage" is between a man and woman, just like His marriage. This doesn't take away the way people feel, but it does require us to resist temptation. For most, it means being chaste and having only one partner (your spouse) after marriage. For gays and lesbians, it means to resist "un-natural" feelings and obey the commandments. There are some good ensign articles online that you can look up and read at lds.org on the subject. People won't be condemned for feeling homosexual tendencies, they will be condemned for acting on them by Heavenly Father and Christ, who understand everything.

For me, I would have to vote to maintain the standard definition for marriage because I believe that is what a marriage truly is. That is what will bring eternal happiness. Gay marriages will never last beyond the grave. Civil marriages between a man and woman have the potential to become eternal if the temple work is done.

Of course, gays and lesbians have the agency to vote against that and that's what democracy is all about isn't it? Let the majority win...

Hope that gives you something to think about! ;)
Love,
Harmony

Callie and Bryce Christiansen said...

I don't mind one bit. Thank you for your comment. This is my only issue with that. You could not pay me enough to be with a memeber of the same sex. No matter what I could not be with a memeber of the same sex because of my feelings and attractions. How can I ask the same of someone else?

Greg said...

Hmm. That's a good question. You could probably think about the subject from a variety of ways.

1- do they feel as strongly about their sexual orientation as you do? For some, that's a definite yes. For others, I don't think so. I graduated from a woman's college- ALL female students. The expression "gay for the stay" definitely circled around. It applied to those "lesbians" that only practiced as homosexuals while at RMWC and then had regular relationships after college. So to me, it seems like they just wanted sex regardless of which gender gave it to them. For cases like these, you wouldn't be asking them to be straight when they had no interest whatsoever.

2- Another expression that would be posted in the halls was "Love is natural" obviously expressing that the way they felt was very natural to them even though straight people thought their behavior was unnatural. This applies to genuine gays and lesbians who truly love their partners. I think we just need to remember that the "natural man is an enemy to God." It may feel very "natural" to be gay for them, but it doesn't make it right. In fact their behavior will take them further from God because it ends their progression in becoming like Him through eternal marriage. We also need to remember that lust and love are very different. You can love someone with or without being sexually attracted or involved. Aren't relationships always better when love comes first, sex comes second? God asks people to deny their natural tendencies and reserve sexual relations for after marriage between husband and wife. This applies to homosexuals as well. They need to find a person of the opposite gender that they love, and then do the best that they can to "cleave" unto their spouse. You could also think about it this way. Gays love members of the same gender the same way pedophiles love children. That's who they are "naturally" attracted to. It doesn't make it right. You don't have to legalize pedophilia and you don't have to legalize gay marriages. (Obviously I recognize that children cannot give consent the same way adults can in a gay relationship. But do consider the "natural" similarity between the two situations). You Callie, can't be paid to be gay. You don't feel like you can ask a gay person to be straight. But we ask pedophiles all the time to not molest children. Can't we also ask gays to abstain from their feelings and behaviors too if it is wrong?

3- This is also about self control. This life is about learning to let our spirit self control our physical self or the "natural man." We are never given a temptation that we cannot overcome. I think for a lot of these people, experimentation magnifies their feelings. It would be easier for them to avoid being gay if they didn't pursue homosexual activity repeatedly or ever at all. What's the easiest way to avoid alcoholism? Never drink, not even a little. So by never acting on their temptations, they can probably avoid a lot of the struggle that they may "naturally" feel if they commonly engage in homosexuality. Their spirits can become stronger than their physical bodies and control what they do. I think this would be a primary approach that church leaders would take in advising our members that have same-sex attraction.

4- You don't have to ask them to be straight. God asks it of them. Those of us who vote to maintain the standard definition of marriage are simply expressing our belief that "man is not without the woman, neither woman without the man in the Lord." We are trying to keep legal what God, and only God, has outlined. The Family Proclamation calls on "responsible citizens and government leaders everywhere" to promote and protect the family because "the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." God intended His children to come to a family with a father and a mother. He designed our families that way because that is ideal for raising children. It also helps us become more like Him as opposite genders complement one another. We grow more from a relationship that complements each other. Obviously, not every home with a dad and mom is the BEST environment. But ideally and generally speaking, it is for a lot of families, this is the best design according to research. You don't have to ask gay people to be straight, but you can vote this way in attempt to preserve the family structure and avoid more children coming into homes with 2 dads or 2 moms.

5- If God doesn't recognize their marriage, then why should I or why should the government have to? People have broken commandments from the beginning of time. I don't have to legalize it in the name of "equal rights." This is very different than the civil rights movement. Sometimes, if you don't keep the commandments, you don't get all the blessings. We wouldn't ask God to bless us financially meanwhile deliberately not paying our tithing. We just don't qualify for those blessings. Gays cannot insist that God give them blessings while they knowingly sin. I wish there wasn't outright discrimination and hatred towards gays. I feel that in a lot of cases it can be avoided and to hate them is wrong. But at the same time, choosing to sin or break laws, does mean that they won't receive all the blessings or priviledges. That is an eternal principle. I will leave it up to God to justify the apparent "inequities" that exist for gays and lesbians.

So really, I think it's fair to vote to maintain standard marriage because not all gays are truly gay, what is natural isn't always what is right, everyone needs to work on exercising spiritual control over their natural tendencies, God has defined what marriages he approves of, and I as a responsible citizen am trying protect that direction and my belief in it. I don't know, hopefully this gives you more to think about. I wish more people were like you and actually thought about issues rather than just vote blindly or sit idly by! :)
Love,
Harmony

Callie and Bryce Christiansen said...

Harmony,
that was very well thought out and superbly written. It is definately making me think. I love your comments. You need a blog.

Greg said...

Haha! :) I have a "blog" it's just not on blogger.com. I'm just glad you weren't offended that I jumped onto your page to comment! I'm glad I gave you some "new eyes" to see the issue with. You can find a link to my blog on Keeley's page. I need to update but not much excitement has been going on! ;) I'm the Apple link that says something like "Keeping up with us."
Love,
Harmony

Trevor said...

Wow! Where do I begin?
Well first let me explain one thing to those of you who feel the need to push your religious beliefs and values upon others. We are not Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons or Catholics. We are not black, white, tall, short, skinny or fat. We are not gay straight, Bisexual or transgendered. We are however all human beings and we are all Americans. Part of being American is that everyone "should" have equal rights under the U.S. Constitution of the United States. It is clearly stated in the first amendment and I quote! "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." No one has the right to tell another person who they can and cannot be with. Everyone should be given the same rights, and if all we have is a biblical document telling us that its wrong than that evidence under American law becomes null in void and can no longer be the premise of argument to the passing of amendments, propositions, or regulations.
I am a Christian, I believe in Jesus Christ and yes I am gay. You have absolutely no right to say that this is just a temptation. Wanting Chocolate is a temptation; an AA member wanting a drink is a temptation. But growing up knowing from the time you are four years old that you are different is not a temptation, getting beat up and left for dead on a barb wire fence because you are gay is not a temptation, accepting who god made you is not a temptation. Many of you ignorantly think that being gay is a choice, that it can be fixed with prayer, denial, or suppression of your feelings. Well I can tell you first hand these methods DO NOT work.
When I was young I used to believe that I was wrong and that the only road paved for me was the one straight to hell. I believed this because of people like you who think they are favored by Jesus more than I am, that you somehow were knighted by Jesus Christ to go out into the world and tell everyone who was different that they were wrong. NO ONE! Would choose to be gay, if you even knew what the gay community has had to go through, if you just spent one day in their shoes you would realize that no person would want to live their life like that. Imagine the government telling you that you can’t procreate because they don’t agree with the idea of Mormonism, Christianity, etc. This is the same exact thing that you are doing. You exercise your right to practice a religion that many people do not agree with but you still have that right, and why shouldn’t you, you’re not hurting anyone. And me choosing to accept who god made me and love my partner should be a right I can freely exercise as well. In conclusion I would like to say that all of you who feel you have the authority to tell me what God wants for me, YOU DON’T. God didn’t place you here to judge, he placed you here to love, and I believe that those of you who have spent your lives telling others what God wants and requires of them without asking yourselves what God requires of you, You will be judged someday as much as you judged others except this time you will be in front of the judgment seat of Christ.

Callie and Bryce Christiansen said...

Thank you trevor for your comment. I always appreciate hearing your opinion on things.

Harmony said...

Hi Callie,
It is obvious that I have offended and deeply angered your friend and for that I sincerely apologize. I had no malicious intentions at heart when I stated my express beliefs. I write this now in defense of myself because I feel that I have suffered an attack for that which I have written. I realize this will likely change very little and will mean absolutely nothing to your friend that I hurt. When a person is so angry, they never have open ears for discussion.

Voting on the marriage amendment would not "establish a religion" on anyone or take away their right to a religion. Because we have the first amendment, you can, however, use your religious background to guide you in deciding your vote. That is expressly your right. Voting to preserve traditional marriage in no way violates the 1st amendment. Voting to preserve traditional marriage does not take away anyone's right to be with anyone else. It doesn't force anyone who is gay to change. It simply leaves the definition of marriage unchanged. It means we don't have to recognize that relationship as a marriage.

I agree with your friend that we are all Americans. In fact, we are more than that. We are all children of a fair and just God. We may not always understand His ways and purposes, but we can be utmost assured that He is most fair. He has given His children commandments. They apply to ALL children regardless of age, color, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. He doesn't make laws and then say, "These apply to most of you, but some of you are special. You are the exception to the rule. You may act however you choose and I will turn a blind eye." That would not be fair and He would cease to be God if He acted that way.

I define a "sin" to be anything that takes us further from the perfect nature and being of God. I call a "temptation" anything that may lead to sin if acted upon. Also remember that we experience mortality to become like God. God does not say, "Now children, you are all different. Be whatever you will be." He says, "Become like me." Many Christians do not accept our belief in a Heavenly Mother but we absolutely know that we have both a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father who acted together in procreation to create us, their spirit children. We hope to attain that same glory and power, and progress towards that through our eternal sealing. That is the standard He has set forth for His children. To marry, as He has, a complementary spirit and continue to progress. Remember, the way is straight and narrow. We cannot live however we want to, and then at the last day, hope God will overlook our shortcomings. We need to actively seek to become like Him and repent, repent, repent.

Homosexuality is a temptation and a sin because it is contrary to the purposes of human sexuality and prevents us from becoming like God. Protestant Christians believe that all truth can be found in the Bible and the Bible is the express word of God. I refer to the Bible for my support. You will find in Romans 1:26-27 "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another..." Homosexuality can also be referred to as sodomy. Remember the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha? They were destroyed. Why? Jude 1:7 "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Those cities were made an example of what happens when sensuality is rampant. Note the part about going after "strange flesh." I don't know how others interpret that, but I highly doubt the people were pursuing sex with their camels. It seems quite clear that God condemns this behavior and for that reason, He destroyed those cities. I do not want to make legal those marriages that historically have led civilizations to be destroyed.

Referring to True to the Faith, we are taught that if we struggle with same-sex attraction, we must not "give in to those temptations. Be assured that you can choose to avoid such behavior." We can pray to receive the Lord's help to overcome even those temptations and we should certainly counsel with our Bishops because they can help us. Heavenly Father gave us agency and we can control ourselves in even matters such as these. He requires that we pray and watch continually and we will not be tempted above that which we can bear. Remember, we can do anything with the Lord on our side. I do not doubt His power. It seems like sadly your friend believes IN Christ, but He doesn't believe Him. We have an unlimited source of power from the Most High to overcome any and all temptations that we face, according to His promise to us. We can also ask for priesthood blessings. And then, Christ's atonement will make up for our shortcomings if and when we repent.

I still believe that if we can help porn addicts and pedophiles overcome their addictions and stop their behavior and live clean lives, then certainly homosexuals can too. The Church has programs specifically designed to do this so that all of God's children can return to Him and be like Him.

Being different is not a temptation. We are all different. We all have different struggles and strengths. In that we all have "differences," we are ironically, also all the same. We all suffer shortcomings. Unfortunately, God will not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. To think that gays and lesbians are somehow different, more or less fortunate, in God's eyes is arrogant. We are all "different" to Him and so we are all equally important to Him. I, however, fail to understand how this "difference" that your friend speaks of, that he felt at 4, can be attributed to sexual orientation because children do not have a sexual orientation at that age. They do not recognize different genders in any significant way. In preschool, boys and girls mix and befriend evenly. That is a characteristic of their age. Once older, they often separate and pay more attention to gender difference, specifically playing with their own gender. I'm sure your friend felt some difference at the age of 4, I just can't attribute that to sexual orientation with my experience and understanding of child psychology.

Certainly being abused verbally or physically because of sexual orientation is not a temptation. That is absurd. That is wrong. There is no place for this kind of discrimination and I certainly do not believe that it is okay despite my feelings towards "gay marriage." Remember, our community too, has a heritage of abuse. Our prophet was tarred and feathered countless times and his children DIED because of mob attacks. We understand violence and hatred and physical abuse because of belief. Don't forget for a second that we don't understand this pain.

Now, as far as judgement goes. I must draw a distinction between judging and condemning. I have no idea where homosexuals will eventually go. It's not my job to condemn. I do not have complete understanding of everyone else's situation. Likewise, no one but Christ and Heavenly Father can condemn. We are asked, however, to judge. In our lifetime, we will need to judge ideas, situations, and people. True to the Faith states, "You need to make judgements of people in many of your important decisions, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, and choosing an eternal companion." Judging is how we exercise our agency. How can we "choose the right" if there is no standard of right and wrong and we can't decide or "judge" which it is? We have to judge right from wrong and we are encouraged to act on that which is right. Judging however does not mean we cannot love our neighbors, the second greatest commandment. We certainly can love our associates, friends, and family despite whatever they may be doing and how they live their lives. I am friends with homosexuals. I am currently employed by a lesbian who is the MOST wonderful employer I have ever had! She is an excellent doctor and friend. As much as I love and respect her as my dear friend, I am not willing to give up my belief in eternal marriage and vote to allow gay marriages. We are warned to judge righteously and fairly, for as we have judged, we will be judged.

This does not mean the government is telling them that they cannot procreate, etc. That means that the majority of people still believe in traditional marriage. If you want to be gay, be gay. If you want to be straight, be straight. The government doesn't care and isn't trying to take away that identity. They are enforcing a law that a lot of people believe in when it comes to what marriage is however. These are distinct ideas and cannot be confused.

To conclude, I believe God has given us a standard of what is right and what is wrong and has given us resources (scriptures) to determine what that may be. He wants us to become like Him and has also given us a way to overcome temptation and succeed. While we may not choose our sexual orientation, we can choose our actions because God has given us agency. We don't have to just accept our natural selves and sit helplessly by hoping for the best in the end. We do need to judge for ourselves what is right without hatred and condemnation. We can uphold what we believe because it is our religious freedom to vote however we deem appropriate. I will not forsake my agency. These words came from the heart and are my sincere belief.
Love,
Harmony