Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Smaller Minority: Gays for Traditional Marriage

I've had something on my mind for the last couple weeks. It's actually been tormenting me here and there, and worst of all, it's been distracting me during my morning scripture study. I know that the "right" answer is to let it go and let God handle it, but sometimes it's helpful to get it out in the open.

A couple years ago, I had a rather significant experience that was pivotal in my understanding of why the nuclear family is so important, not only in the Church, but in society. It helped me understand why Church leaders got so involved in legal processes, even if it was done imperfectly. This experience I had...well...it was kind of sacred, and I struggle explaining it or knowing if I should even share it. It had to do with the Proclamation to the World, particularly the last few paragraphs.

"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity...

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."


The part about the family being a "fundamental unit of society" made me think about a foundation. A building needs a foundation. It doesn't matter if that building is liberal, conservative, God-fearing/loving or atheist. If that building doesn't have its foundation, it will not last. In comparing this to society...I believe the doctrine on the family transcends politics, perceived civil rights, and even personal morality.  (And don't even think that I'm suggesting that marriage redefinition is the sole thing contributing to the disintegration of the family unit, although it is not exempt.  There is so much more.  One way Satan is also attacking the family is parents and siblings intentionally severing ties with their gay family members.)

That opened my eyes to what the rest of the Proclamation is teaching. It teaches the ideal family situation. A family with a married man and woman is the best place to raise children, especially when based on principles of the gospel (this is true for other religions too). I would think even gay children need a mom and a dad! Not all of us will have our own families. Some of us are gay and do not see marriage in this lifetime, some are infertile and some have disabilities that prevent them from getting married.  Heck!  Some of us don't even know what gender God intended for us to be!  Anyway, love and companionship is important in a marriage, but that's not the only reason we have marriage as defined by God. It is for growing and replenishing the earth, possibly to keep societies alive and healthy. And for those of us who aren't married or who do not have children, we will see those blessings come forth as we are faithful.  In fact, I believe this applies to anyone in any situation who strives to turn toward the Savior, even some people in same-sex relationships.

Anyway, I always thought it was ridiculous when I heard about members of the Church facing discipline for supporting gay marriage when they were otherwise living faithful lives. I could understand the conflict, but I think some leaders acted too hastily. But in my case, now that Elder Christofferson has made some clarifications on that (which I'm not complaining about), it has caused me to question my own experience. I honestly felt that in voicing or silently supporting the nuclear family and "traditional" marriage, I was following the prophets and sustaining them. I felt like I was doing what was right. I'd like to think that my experience was something more than just a manifestation of my "conservative" views.

(TANGENT!  Some people don't like the terms "gay" and "straight."  Well, I don't like the terms "conservative" and "liberal" in many situations.  I'm "liberal" because I'm gay, and for some reason, same-sex attraction is a liberal concept.  I'm also "conservative" because of my LDS values.  Really, I'm just trying to learn about God.)

I still believe in what the Proclamation says, and I hope my experience with it was of God and that it was in line with what the prophets say. The main part of this post is...sometimes I feel a lone...as a gay Mormon who doesn't support marriage redefinition ("a smaller minority," if you will). In a world that tells me that the ultimate measure of Christlike love is to support gay marriage and that I'm branded a "homophobic judgmental bigot" if I don't...it's tough to hear that and stick with the revelation I have received. Please keep in mind, I'm not talking about people, as much as ideals and values.  I would hope that as I strive to walk with those who do not agree with me or who live different lifestyles, I would hope they would also walk with me, as I try to figure out the messages I have received.

I value my gayness and I also value the teachings on the family. Nothing matches the marriage relationship (of course, I'm talking about good, healthy marriage relationships). Defining marriage between a man and a woman in no way lessens my worth as a human being.  It does NOT make me second class, and it doesn't demean the love I have for other men. We don't need marriage and sex to find intimacy, companionship and love. I still believe there is a lot about homosexuality that is divine, and I'm grateful for that blessing.

I've opened up my mind and heart to the many ways people reconcile their faith and feelings. We often hear that there's not a one-size-fits-all answer, especially when it comes to LGBT issues. I'd even say that's true even when keeping temple covenants and maintaining an eternal perspective. I'm doing better with how I feel about others in the LGBT community. But I still haven't shaken the feelings I've had about the family.  Even if I were to pursue some form of same-sex relationship, I doubt I would forget that manifestation.

2 comments:

  1. Again, another paragraph just sticks out to me. I too feel that, in this world, too many people misunderstand what intimacy actually is, and how multi-faceted it is. Also, love that you find those sensitivities and attractions divine in a sense, I do as well and have always felt that there was something inherently pure and God-given about it, something that I was to harness and understand and use to help build the kingdom and build up others, especially the men in my life that I care about. Thanks again for another thought-provoking post. I still haven't made up my mind completely on where I stand on the legal sphere when it comes to gay marriage, but I certainly appreciate and respect your feelings on the matter.

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