I normally do not like to talk about things that are so politically charged, but I feel that I cannot keep my thoughts to myself anymore. I have continually been asked by those that know me what I think about gay marriage, and with the issue being considered by the Supreme Court of the United States, I think that it is time that I break my silence.
Before I begin, I want to first say this to my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and those who support them; it is your right to speak out and do what you can to find the happiness that the Declaration of Independence rightly declares as unalienable. Go for it! Fight and fight hard! You want the right to marry, as is to be expected, for myriad reasons. But on the flip side, there are others who might not, and for just as many reasons. My hope is that if there is legislation passed, it will be something that can appease and placate those on both sides of this sadly growing rift. I do not profess to know the answer to this issue, but I do believe that there is the possibility of legislation that those in support of gay marriage and those against gay marriage can find equally acceptable. Both sides must be willing to compromise. But one side’s happiness and comfort need not exclude the other’s.
The rest of my remarks will largely be directed toward the members of my faith. However, if you do not share my faith, I would encourage you to continue reading. Understanding and communication is vital and I hope that these words will help my point of view to be understood.
In 1995, the Church released The Family:A Proclamation to the World. In it we learn that the Family is an eternal entity. It is central to God’s plan. He wants us to have families and to raise children and teach them well and provide them with the things they need to live a happy and fulfilling life. We also learn, as part of receiving that happiness and fulfillment, that “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 the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” If you believe that this Church teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then you most likely believe that it is led by a modern day Prophet and Apostles who have been set apart as especial witnesses of Christ. A Prophet is the mouthpiece of our Heavenly Father on the earth today and speak His will for us. If you believe these things, then it would stand to reason that you would believe the quotes above about the sanctity of marriage to be true.
To my distress I have seen many close friends who are members of the LDS faith openly reject these teachings and very strongly support gay marriage. And I understand why! They see gay and lesbian friends being denied something that is very important to them. I understand, perhaps better than many in the LDS faith, the pain of not being to enjoy a “complete relationship” with someone to whom you are attracted, and with whom you find romantic fulfillment. It is sad to see. I understand that pain and feel it daily. But while it is sad, it is not an excuse to throw away our convictions and turn our back on our faith.
I want to illustrate this with a conversation I recently had with my friend Cody. He called me and simply said, “How does all this stuff in the news about gay marriage make you feel?” To be quite honest, he was probably the first person to ask me how it affected me and not just what I thought about it. And while talking to him, I found the words to explain things that had to this point been unclear and hard to say clearly.
To see friends of mine, especially those of my faith, actively and vigorously fighting for gay marriage hurts me. I have decided to live according to the principles taught in the LDS faith, meaning I choose to deny me feelings of attraction to other men, and I will most likely live a life devoid of any romantic attachment (to read more of why I choose to live this way, read my about page). And as part of that, I do my best to stay away from things that spark my feelings of desire for other men. To live in a world where gay marriage is common place and completely accepted would drive me crazy. It would torment me make my decision to live what I believe that much harder. To see friends promote such a world leaves me feeling betrayed.
Now, you might say that we as human beings are betraying our fellow brothers and sisters because we are denying them this happiness. But it is all too easy to forget that this life is not the end of things. That there is even greater happiness awaiting us in the next stage of our lives. Our post-mortal existence where we will live for eternity with our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I told my friend Cody that I can’t help but think of Jennifer, a woman whom I have spoken of on this blog before, and her son. He is struggling to understand his same sex attraction and where he fits in his family, his church, and in this life. And he is not alone. There are so many young men like him who are lost and confused. To think of them quietly searching for answers brings tears to my eyes. But to then think of them seeking for those answers and seeing around them a society that promotes a relationship that would condemn them, and to also see members of their own faith encouraging such actions…it breaks my heart. Their confusion would be magnified tenfold. It would make it nearly impossible for them to find solace and courage to live a lifestyle in harmony with this gospel.
To prevent gay marriage would be harsh. It would deny millions a large level of happiness in this life. But to promote and allow it could possible deny countless souls a longer lasting happiness. It would foster an environment that would make failure for members of the church who struggle with homosexual feelings almost certain. And with that failure comes an unhappiness that is much longer lasting than the unhappiness of this life.
I can rest easy knowing that while I may not support gay marriage, which will cause hardship here and now, eventually those brothers and sisters will have happiness made available to them in the next life. They have not made the covenants we have made, and therefore I believe that they will have a chance, like countless others, to make such covenants when they are dead. Therefore, as a member of the LDS church, it seems a disingenuous to push for a relationship that you believe will ultimately condemn someone.
By the turn of the same coin however, I do not think that it is ok for members of the church to attack gay relationships. These people are living the best they know how. We must acknowledge that they do not follow the same belief system as ours and that their actions are theirs to choose. Agency is given to all.
To my dear brothers and sisters, friends in the gospel, I urge you to think of your motivations. While your actions may be well intended, I beg of you to be wary of justification. Thoughts of goodwill to gay men and women are wholesome, but we cannot allow our pain for their situation to be the justification for denying the Savior and His gospel.
My thoughts are strong, and I think that therefore my words may seem harsh. I do not mean them to be. I simply wish to remind us all of what it is that we profess to believe. The world will never understand why we do what we do, and they will not accept our denial of gay marriage. We will be reviled. We will be rejected. We will be persecuted. But as a reminder, so was our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was spat upon, mocked, and ultimately crucified to make our happiness possible. He has promised us that if we hold to what we believe and seek to live the gospel completely, that all will be well and we will once again live in glory with the Father.
I pray that we can all remember our testimonies and find the courage to stand up for what we believe, no matter what.