Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marriage and Faith

There are some days when it's really discouraging for me to get on Facebook. This week has had a few of those days which have been marked by the increase in conflict and propaganda. This week, it's about the constitutionality of gay marriage.

My first grief is for the conflict and strife that such sensitive topics engender. I'm tired of the war of words and philosophies that inundates such platforms for social interaction. It seems like there's no way to contribute without raising one's voice, or without getting messy from all the mud-slinging that goes on. No one seems interested in changing their own mind, or in understanding the other person's perspective. Involvement in (or observation of) this just doesn't feel right; it makes my heart queasy inside.

My next grief is specific to this issue, and is hard to articulate.

If I were like many of my classmates growing up, I might be mildly religious, but mostly bathed in the religion of acceptance and tolerance for everybody, no matter who they are and what they believe, without thinking much about God unless things go wrong. I see some of my friends who zealously and lovingly call out for marriage equality for everyone, and I firmly believe that God loves these people, His children, and appreciates their compassionate hearts that reach out to extend to others the same happiness and fulfillment that they feel. They have good, beautiful, wonderfully loving hearts, and that is Godlike.

Those values do resonate with me, and I would join with them except for a couple important differences in my beliefs. The most important one is that I believe that my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is headed by Jesus Christ, and that He directs His church by revelation given to church authorities. The church leaders have been clear for years that marriage is ordained of God and is an exclusive union between one man and one woman, and that marriages are about creating a loving family unit, and that children need and deserve both a father and a mother. These leaders and authorities have left no ambiguity about their stance on legalizing gay marriage, and when they speak in harmony, they speak for God. Sometimes their counsel doesn't make sense when it is first given, but clarity often comes with later, confirming experience. Even if that clarity doesn't come while I'm alive on earth, I will still do my best to stick close to the counsel of the prophets, even when it doesn't always make sense. It both confuses and saddens me when I see fellow Latter-Day Saints go in direct opposition to what God's representatives have passed on from Him; it just doesn't make sense to me when the church has been so clear on what the right answer is.

I'm just a young, newly-married, middle-class, college-educated, dessert-loving, Latter-Day Saint, Midwestern-American woman with limited experience in the wide variety of life there is in the world. There's just too much of it for one mortal person to experience and comprehend. I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about life. That's why I have to rely on faith, because there are so many things that I don't understand. When I decide what to have faith in, God's prophet seems like a pretty reliable source of information. I can directly pray to God Himself to get revelation as well, and use that to guide me. It seems like a lot of this life is about recognizing how little we can do by ourselves.

Anyway, that's my take on the legalization of gay marriage. Take it how you will. My point in sharing this is to hopefully promote understanding of one viewpoint, and maybe introduce you if it's one you hadn't considered.

On a related note, I'm really tired of "wiser, more enlightened folk" saying that because I'm religious, I therefore don't have a brain and cannot be trusted to make correct, informed choices for myself, unless those choices include "liberation" from my religion and aligning my views with theirs. Good grief, what kind of "tolerance" are they promoting? What hypocrites they are for their narrow-minded prejudice against religious faith! This kind of bigotry and disenfranchisement shouldn't be acceptable to our "enlightened," modern society. End of rant.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! Definitely one of the best things I've seen all week. You are such a wonderful example to me, Katie!

  2. This was such a great way to sum up EXACTLY how I feel! I'm a non-denominational Christian, and I feel the same way--the Bible is clear on the fact that homosexuality is a sin, and that the ideal family unit is a union between a man and a woman. It's very hard to be able speak out for Christ in these times because people immediately cast you as bigoted and hateful--when in fact, hating the sin and loving the sinner is all I'm doing. I feel uneasy agreeing to gay marriage. I have no problem with civil unions--I feel that any couple of any sexuality should be able to have hospital visitation rights, etc. But to go so far as to change what the word marriage fundamentally means seems too much. And my heart and spirit are so grieved as this is going on because I feel very uncomfortable with the tide of acceptance that's flowing. I feel that loving gay people (as God does) doesn't mean that I should agree to change the ideal family structure that God set up with Adam and Eve.

  3. I want to preface this with the following. You are a good person Katie. I don't want you to take any of these statements that I am about to make as personal attacks. And I know I just posted about conflict on my Facebook page. This isn't about conflict. This is about dialogue. So while some of my words may seem "harsh", they are coming from a different perspective than yours.
    "These leaders and authorities have left no ambiguity about their stance on legalizing gay marriage, and when they speak in harmony, they speak for God."

    "It both confuses and saddens me when I see fellow Latter-Day Saints go in direct opposition to what God's representatives have passed on from Him; it just doesn't make sense to me when the church has been so clear on what the right answer is.”
    Both of these statements are intensely problematic and of great concern to me. Since when does the Church have the right to dictate my political beliefs? Since when does the Church decide how I can or cannot feel about social issues? The Church has a stance of political neutrality. While the Church may endorse certain social platforms that it feels are important, these stances are not necessarily binding upon the members of the Church. These stances are not considered canon or doctrine. The Church encourages members to seek out personal revelation on these matters.

    Furthermore, the use of the word “direct opposition” is problematic to me. Does my view that gay marriage should be legalized and that gay men and women should be afforded equal protection under the law imply that I am in a state of apostasy? My testimony of the Gospel is based in the fact that we see through a glass darkly. I believe in the role of prophets and apostles, but I believe that God has also endowed us with certain abilities and capacities that we cannot deny. That’s why I really like what you said later in the post.
    “I can directly pray to God Himself to get revelation as well, and use that to guide me.”
    Have you considered that Mormons that support gay marriage have considered this matter long and hard? They have prayed and received revelation. We have our personal opinions about this matter, but they are not in any way binding for the Church. Many of us don’t claim to have these opinions be binding for the Church. They are our opinions that we have formulated after prayer and study. Our testimonies are forged by our relationship with God. We aren’t doing this to be popular. We aren’t doing this to be accepted in the world. We are doing this because we feel it is the right thing to do. Our personal relationship with God has led us here. Just because your relationship hasn’t led you to the same point doesn’t mean that our relationship with God is any less valid, or that the revelation we received is any less valid. God works through people differently.
    If the Church had all the right answers already, what would be the point of revelation? Did the Church have all the right answers twenty years ago? Five years ago? Even within the last year, we have seen revelation come from the prophets. The Church is constantly receiving new revelation and insights from God. We as a people should constantly be striving for that ideal as well. It isn’t in contradiction to question. Doubt and questioning can be a bond that strengthens as much as faith.

    1. Katie, this is wonderful!

      The Family: A Proclamation to the World is Church doctrine, not a social platform. The doctrine of the family is just that, doctrine; it has and always will be.
      "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."

      This is doctrine. The doctrine of the family is why we are here. It is the reason we were sent to this Earth. The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children!

  4. Katie, this is so beautifully written! I admire you so much for speaking out--especially when doing so opens you up to potential negative and hurtful attacks, as well as potential drama and conflict. That takes courage and conviction, you go girl! :) You and previous commenter Gentian so perfectly explained how I feel about all of this--it is definitely not an easy time to be in support of traditional marriage and an advocate of traditional values. Thanks again!