Friday, October 31, 2008

How can you NOT vote for Barack Obama?

I'd really like to know.

I don't want to hear about Bill Ayers. I don't want to hear about Obama's lack of experience, either.

Honestly, it's been done. Both arguments are easy enough to refute.

Give me specifics. Policy. Character. Don't give me the crap about McCain being a POW. We all know it, we all really revere him for it, but it's been done. Let's find something else to point at, if we can.

I'd also like to know if you're voting FOR McCain or against Obama? Or are you voting for a 3rd party candidate (and why) or none at all?

I just don't get it. The more I hear from Obama, the more I don't get why people don't like him. Forget about the Liberal thing! I mean, damn! Listen to what he's saying!

I was incredibly impressed with him when Rachel Maddow interviewed him. This is an excerpt from their discussion last night:

"MADDOW: Well, yes, actually. I mean, other Democrats, you will hear them talk about the GOP as the party that's been wrong on all the big stuff. Creating Social Security, civil rights, the War in Iraq. But, you don't really do that. Do you think there is a stark difference between the parties?

"OBAMA: Well, I do think there's a difference between the parties, but here's my belief. That I'm talking to voters. And I think they're a lot of Republican voters out there, self-identified, who actually think that what the Bush administration has done, has been damaging to the country.

"And, what I'm interested in, is how do we build a working majority for change? And if I start off with the premise that it's only self-identified Democrats who I'm speaking to, then I'm not going to get to where we need to go. If I can describe it as not a blanket indictment of the Republican Party, but instead describe it as the Republican Party having been kidnapped by a incompetent, highly ideological subset of the Republican Party, then that means I can still reach out to a whole bunch of Republican moderates who I think are hungry for change, as well."

You can read the rest of the transcript and view the interview here

Fellow LDS especially: how can you watch a McCain rally, a McCain campaign ad, or just listen to the man and Palin speak - all of the hate and the snarling and the pointing of fingers...

And then listen to Barack who refuses to sink as low as McCain and Palin; who, when his supporters "booed" after the mention of McCain said "Hey, don't boo. Vote."

Work with me on a semi-decent analogy for a moment. The starkness of atmosphere between the two campaigns reminds me of attending Conference in SLC seven years ago. On one side you had people with their hate-filled signs damning waiting Priesthood to hell while the Priesthood decided to respond by singing "I am a Child of God."

Stark difference.

Obama is classy. He's intelligent. He's courageous. He isn't quick to anger or accusation. He respects people.

He's human and has faults. I don't agree with or love everything, but nobody is ideal.

I just don't understand why anyone would want McCain in office. All he's doing is spreading fear and allowing hatred to blossom. He has said very little about what he intends to do. Sure, we know about his health care plan, the one that is dismal, at best. Who can live on $2500 ind/$5000 family annually on health care?

Are you kidding me? You'd HAVE to get your own private insurance to supplement, and then what? If you have a pre-existing condition, you're screwed. If you make no money, you're screwed.

Yeah, I have a hang up on the preexisting condition thing. It's...beyond me.

And besides that, he's screaming about Obama having to raise taxes when he admitted he'll have to raise them, too - for his health plan. The one that sucks.

McCain can't seem to talk as much about himself as he seems to want to talk about Obama. It reminds me of the church I used to attend where the pastor would start praying and suddenly start talking to the devil.

It just doesn't make sense.

He's drowning. He's flailing. And the only supporters I see are either the blind ones or the ones so full of racism and hate (I've heard "dirty Arab!"). I hate to think that perhaps some of my "brothers and sisters" would vote for this man just because he's Republican.

He's not what we need. Maybe eight years ago McCain was a "maverick" (take a drink), but he's a puppet now.

McCain instills no sense of pride within me. He doesn't seem sure of himself. Colin Powell said it all (and I read today that Ronald Reagan's Chief of Staff endorsed Obama today. OUCH!).

I don't respect McCain. He won't set his supporters straight, not until it gets so bad he has to. While the moment where he corrected the older woman who spat "Arab" was refreshing, he could have done better. "Arab" isn't a bad word. He could've said "He's not an 'Arab' but even if he was, so?" Then he could have continued with "He's a good, decent man who I happen to disagree with."

Haven't we learned? Japanese internment camps? Don't we remember?

And then Joe the freaking Plumber (take another drink. Two.), McCain's "blue collar mascot" who is getting a record and book deal. And has a publicist. The guy he allows to talk policy with supporters. The one who is agreeing with those who feel a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel (see previous post). He has no control over his campaign. NONE.


Please. Don't vote McCain.

Obama '08.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe the Plumber

How SICK are you of hearing that? If you were to play the drinking game, you'd be rather drunk by now not just off of the word "Maverick" (which, by the way, if I'm forced to endure even four years of hearing that word, I might just shoot myself), but completely wasted off the tired phrase mentioned in the title of this entry.

But let me ask you: his real name is Joseph Wurzelbacher. Does it have a certain "twang" to it? Would that fly in Nashville?

Why do I ask?

I'll get to that in a minute. First you have to hear this.

It's no secret this man unwittingly (and yet somehow wittingly) has been brought into the McCain fold as their mascot of sorts. He shows up to rallies and has even talked policy with those in the audience.

If you didn't think McCain and Palin were a little off their rocker before, you really ought to now. Good ol' Blue Collar Working Man Joe (ah! a song title!) has compelled Fox News' Sheppard Smith to slam Joe for his comments.

According to Keith Olbermann (yeah that's right. I watch Olbermann), one man asked what Joe thought of his idea that "a vote for Obama is a vote for the death to Israel."

Joe's response? "Yeah, I'll agree with you on that one."

If I had a shock emoticon, I'd totally use it here.

But aside from that, the McCain campaign's mascot - who is supposed to represent the middle-class that the campaign believes they're speaking to...

1. ...has a publicist.
2. getting a book deal.
3. ...might be a country western singer sooner than you can say "stupid."

I know what you're thinking:

A. Publicist for what, exactly?
B. A book deal? Are you kidding me? For what? What has this man done? I'll concede that there is every possibility this man has something to say, but...a book deal? Really?

I want a book deal. If you're thinking I'm jealous here, yeah. I am.

C. *Blink* A record deal, too?

"Country singer Aaron Tippin is his manager, Bobby Roberts is his booking agent and The Press Office's Jim Della Croce is his publicist...

"'He is an overnight celebrity, and that notoriety is what needs to be managed,'" Jim said. 'You have a person of substance and quality who is a single father and who is really protective of his son. He is a hard-working guy who is looking for some simple answers and has been thrust into the public eye.'"

"Aaron met Joe when they both appeared on Mike Huckabee's Fox show. 'We started talking, and hey man, he's like me,' Aaron said. 'He likes to hunt and fish, and he's a hard-working guy who came from a blue-collar background. He's still there making a living in the blue-collar world.

"'We exchanged phone numbers. He came looking for somebody to help him with his career. It just exploded. His phone lines jammed… and he didn't know what to do. I was the first person he met in show business.'"

How blue collar of him.

Only in America.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is marriage for?

Two men sit quietly on adjacent couches. Their daughter is playing on the floor when she glances up.


Both men respond to the call.

"Where do babies come from?"

The two men look at each other, eyes wide with the unspoken exchange: Here we go. Did you see this coming? I didn't see it coming. How're we going to deal with this? The expression on both the men's faces are not new to anyone. Everyone dreads this question.

"Mommies have babies, dear," says the first man. "That's where babies come from."

"Can boys ever have babies?"

He chuckles to himself. "No, dear. Only mommies can have babies."

The second man looks on, rather disturbed by this onslaught of perfectly normal questions, questions any couple sees coming years before it actually does.

"Megan says you have to have a mommy and a daddy to have a baby."

The annoyed and uncomfortable daddy chimes in. "Maybe we should spend less time over at Megan's house."

The first daddy ignores the second man. He wants to answer his daughter's question. "What Megan means is that it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. That's all."

"She said that mommies and daddies have to get married first."

The second daddy shifts in his seat. You start to wonder if he's feeling guilty or just angry that they have to discuss this at all.

"N-no, sweetheart. You don't have to be married to have a baby."

Cue Full House music.

"Then..." The little girl casts her eyes down before lifting her chin back up to finish voicing her thought. "What's marriage for?" She looks at second daddy, and second daddy raises his eyebrows to the first daddy.

End clip.

Yep, that's a Yes on 8 commercial.

Personally, I don't see the point of this video. I know it says that we shouldn't confuse children...but isn't this more of a teaching moment than anything else?

The subtleties involved here spoke volumes compared to the rest. I was glad to see a parent speaking so directly to his daughter about what would have to be a very difficult subject, especially in a gay household. So much of this conversation was left out.

Undoubtedly this little girl may have to deal with some issues. She may wish for a mommy, but in some situations two daddies is better than a bad mommy and daddy. While no one can replace a mom or a dad, role models can be substituted. After all, what do single parents face on a daily basis? Sometimes this is just how things work, and given certain alternatives, it's not always as bad as it seems.

Aside from that, problems at school may arise from other children who have been taught that it is a sin to be gay and that she or her fathers will go to hell for the heretical "family" they've created.

Like I've said before, this proposition will hardly rid the world of homophobia.

I wince whenever this point is made though, that marriage is solely for the creation of children, to ensure the lineage. In the past, marriage has been solely for the man. The woman was just his means to an end of ensuring his name carried on through the eternities. Women were given to men along with a dowry - as if the woman wasn't enough, the man needed extra incentive at times to take her on. After all, women can be so demanding.

If this is the "traditional marriage" we want to keep, then I say begone with it.

(and no, that's not originally my train of thought. go visit Feminist Mormon Housewives - they say it eons better than I can. Props to those girls - excellent posts, and please don't let the title turn you off. I know how the church feels about feminists. Give these girls a chance.)

Marriage has evolved through the years. Women are no longer property, but co-equals (at least in most households. Unfortunately no religion lacks chauvinistic asses in a man's clothing). Marriage is no longer about ensuring the family name gets passed down, it's about love.

And now, for the most part, American marriages are more about love than they are about creating children. Yes, it is written in the law that if a couple marries and the man or woman finds that their partner is infertile or barren, this is legal grounds for annulment. I don't imagine this happens very often lately. Our problem in the here and now is the fact that people don't understand that love doesn't protect you from heartache and misunderstandings. The divorce rate is as it is because too many people don't hold marriage sacred anymore. It's a convenience. It can be, especially for many strict Christians (hello fellow LDS), an excuse to have sex.

It is not entirely about the children. Yes, many couples marry and expect to rear families, but anymore this is more about love and wanting to share the rest of your life with each other. There is safety and security in that. There is stability, respect, the commitment - ideally - to work with each other through anything.

Gay couples, like infertile couples, can adopt children. This one of the noblest causes, I believe. Yes, these children may face unique challenges by having two daddies or two mommies, but we can't reject this for fear that a child may face bullying. The most important thing is that a child has a home to go to where they can find security in their parents. The world is full of idiots, and we can teach our children to stand up for themselves. We can protect them.

(And, uh, by the way: Dude was right. You don't have to be married to have a baby. Whether you should is up to individual beliefs and values.)

So what is marriage for?

I know exactly how I would've answered that question.

(side note: Maybe he asks everyone this, but I've just been asked to contribute to Mormon Democrats from time to time. Yay!!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


McCain has found one last thread to cling to - proclaiming over the pulpit to the Joe Plumbers of the world “Obama wants to spread YOUR wealth!” I’ve heard others refer to Obama as a modern day Robin Hood in this regard, robbing the rich to feed the poor, but that it’s not as good of an idea as it seems.

And the conservatives eat it up.

The idea that Obama could be socialist is used as a scare tactic. We were all brought up to abhor socialism and communism and lovelovelove capitalism. To not love it is almost traitorous to many. Therefore Obama = Socialist = Traitor. Goes along nicely with the inferred terrorist label as well, doesn't it?

As members of the LDS church, however, we are also taught and learn (a little) about the United Order and the Law of Consecration. In essence, we are told that the highest form of charity is...well, socialism in its purest form.

This is something we're asked to work for. Anyone who's been to the temple should consider their time and the lessons taught there as well. While the human race is rather hard-wired to be selfish - and this not a stab to anyone out there, we are expected to work against it. As baptized individuals we’re not exempt from the command to at least try. I will go so far as to say as human beings we’re not exempt.

We are our brother’s keepers.

If we see a man on the street with a Styrofoam cup beside him, we shouldn’t pat our pockets, count our blessings, pass our judgments and turn a blind eye. We shouldn’t assume that if we give someone on the street cash that he or she will just take it to their local dealer for their next hit, or visit the local liquor store to get trashed.

People, it’s not the money that is the issue – it’s the hope it gives, the testimony in humankind. Will some people abuse your kindness by getting drunk or high off of it? Yes. But some will be lifted by it, will feed their children with it, will find just the sliver of hope they’ve needed so badly.

The end to our means should be compassion, hope, and charity. Not blind assumptions.

About seven or eight years ago I went to a Giants game in San Francisco. The stadium was brand new and it was “LDS day” or something like that. I had my best friend with me and her fiancé. She’d never been to a baseball game and it was her birthday. She was also quite unacquainted in the ways of baseball, which made it fun for her fiancé and me.

She is also hypoglycemic. While, with diabetes a person’s blood sugar is in danger of surging to dangerous levels, my friend’s condition is such that her blood sugar is in danger of plummeting to dangerous levels. It’s frightening when she has a spell. I’ve watched her face drain of color, her legs give out from beneath her. She’s gone into spasms before, shaking so bad you’d think it was twenty below. It causes blackouts - it also causes some rather unattractive mood swings. To avoid these things, she has to be sure to eat every few hours, and to limit her consumption of refined sugars. This isn’t easy, and though you can try, sometimes you just forget to eat. It’s an annoying condition.

“Sarah,” though, tried her best to keep up with her sugar levels. On this particular day, she had a stash in the car of “illegal contraband” – candy just in case (regular candy is good to get a person’s sugar levels up, but you must give them something more nutritious such as peanuts ASAP or the levels will plunge again).

We left the stash in the car after parking, and started walking toward the stadium. Along the way, we noticed a man rummaging through the parking lot dumpster. Though I wasn’t taught that such people are bad, I did fear them and I did think that they somehow deserved to be in their position. I also had been taught to give them no money as you just don’t want others to take your hard earned cash just to get a high.

Not only that, though, but among my first fleeting thoughts were of equating this person to an animal.

What the hell gave me that right?

I’d venture to say it’s a prevalent attitude. These people, we believe more often than not, got themselves into the situation they’re in. If only they had been smarter, saved more, made better decisions they wouldn’t be homeless. Maybe they didn’t go to school. Either way, they’re sleeping on the streets for a reason and we figure they deserve it somehow, so we stick our noses up in the air and walk past them.

I was going to do this. Sarah, however, had no intention of doing this. She stopped us in our tracks and ran back to the car. Her hands were full of her illegal contraband when she returned. She didn’t leave anything for herself – this man obviously needed it more than she did. Her act humbled me and right then I decided that I would follow her example the next chance I was given (unfortunately callous attitudes are difficult to overcome).

Later, Sarah would need that food. Badly. Sufficiently unfamiliar with the city, we had difficulty in finding a place to eat. She never complained or expressed regret, though. I imagine she knew that she’d be okay and that the man needed to know others cared more.

Even after this, I still believed in not giving the homeless cash. That didn’t change until I met my husband, Eric. I shared with him my philosophy, figuring he’d agree since, after all, we were both conservatives and this was taught to me by a conservative. I also found great comfort in the fact that I had found a compromise, a way to give to the poor while also “protecting” them – and myself. It felt rational.

He surprised me, though.

“I tend to think you should give them the money.”

“What? Why? They’ll just use it to get drunk or something.”

“You don’t know that. So what if they do, anyway?”

“Because…um, that’s my money. I didn’t give it to them to get cigarettes or a hit.”

“It’s not up to you to decide how people in need use your charity. That’s their responsibility. Yours is to take care of them when you can.”


But it made sense. The truth often does.

If there’s anything that Eric has taught me – and being with him has taught me a few amazing things that I’ll forever be grateful for – but this is the one that has changed me the most:

Give people the benefit of the doubt.

Here are a few quotes I’d like to leave you with today:

“Suppose that in this community there are ten beggars who beg from door to door for something to eat, and that nine of them are imposters who beg to escape work, and with an evil heart practice imposition upon the generous and sympathetic, and that only one of the ten who visit your doors is worthy of your bounty; which is best, to give food to the ten, to make sure of helping the truly needy one, or to repulse the ten because you do not know which is the worthy one? You will say, administer charitable gifts to the ten, rather than turn away the only truly worthy and truly needy person among them. If you do this, it will make no difference in your blessings, whether you administer to worthy or unworthy persons, inasmuch as you give alms with a single eye to assist the truly needy.”- Brigham Young

And this, taken from the fourth chapter of the Book of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon:

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are arich as pertaining to the things of this world."

We like to speak of our freedom to spread the wealth all on our own, as we see fit, rather than have the government do it for us.

But do we do it?

You may tell yourself and others that while you may not give directly to the poor, you are charitable – you contribute to fast offerings. But let me tell you this: placing a couple bucks (be it a couple tens or twenties, even hundreds) in a little gray envelope doesn’t necessarily equate charity. Not entirely, at least.

It’s all about motivation. Charity is pure – it’s not based on guilt, obligation, or as a means to make ourselves look better. We could all, myself included, use a bit of help in this area. I’m not sure fast offerings are enough.

The problem I have with fast offering is that it serves to distance us from those who receive and need this the most. We don't get to hear the stories or really get to know those who have had life deal them an ugly hand. We don't understand that "but by the grace of God go I" and that we all screw up. We forget too easily that it's just not our place to judge. Compassion comes from contact and interaction, of really getting to know someone. It comes from being raked over the coals ourselves and being misunderstood or misjudged.

This isn't about money.

Of course there are times when perhaps we don’t feel comfortable giving – and we should trust our gut, trust the Spirit. That is okay. I just wonder if we too often search for a reason, any reason, to keep what we have instead of sharing it with someone who could use it just as much if not more. Let the reason be because we really cannot. Nobody expects you to give to everyone or everything.

And if you find yourself chanting “I would if I could,” ask yourself if you really can’t. While we shouldn’t be expected to care for all those we come in contact with, there’s always something we can do. Always. Every little bit helps, and it is our duty as human beings to give our fellow man the benefit of the doubt. We can’t know anyone’s entire situation. Only God knows the hearts of men. Let’s assume the best of one another and try to not think we are suffering enough that we cannot help a stranger.

Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain on Meet the Press

Have fun, kids!

I hope McCain supporters will watch this as well. Meet the Press is arguably the most respected political talk show out there. It really is a shame Tim Russert isn't around anymore...He'll be missed next week for sure.

Scroll down to "Netcast" All of the McCain clips should be from Sunday. Unfortunately, I can't find anything that captures the entire interview, but this should be enough.

Well, as long as *we* think so

I went to Church yesterday. Let's just say my tongue really hurts.

To review: to many of my fellow church members, by voting no (or even considering voting no), I am defying the Prophet and, by extension, God Himself. This is me being prideful and thinking I know more than God.

I've felt the barbs and guilt of those insinuations if not downright accusations.

There was much talk yesterday about the moral majority and hoping it comes out to vote (Heaven help us if they do! We'll have a President McCain - which I still don't understand the connection between moral and conservative, but I do intend to blog on that). They talk about how we'll be blessed for our obedience (even if the Prop fails), how sometimes we're asked to do hard things and endure persecution for Christ.

One woman brought up the online database of contributors (which points out who is LDS among them) to the Yes on 8 campaign and went on to describe how she felt this issue would be our Missouri. She seemed to believe we were on the threshold of modern day mobbings and tarring and feathering. She believed the people are again fearing a political Mormon uprising and are thus readying to drive us all from the state. Mitt certainly isn't on the ballot this year, after all.

I think we flatter ourselves.

Yes, there are protesters standing in front of temples - Oakland, CA specifically, but from what I can tell, it hasn't been violent. We act like this is new, but members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be used to this by now. If you've been to General Conference in Salt Lake City you'll know the signs well. If you've been to a new temple during open house or in its first weeks of operation, you'll know these signs well.

Yes, some of the signs are unnecessary and offensive, but let's suck it up and try to understand where the Prop 8 protesters are coming from. I'd be really, really, really hurt and angry, too. You would. You'd feel like next to nothing, like you didn't matter. You'd feel like no one cared about your feelings, just about keeping you and those like you from screwing up society.

But lest we forget, too many heterosexual marriages are hardly sacred. Let's strengthen those marriages and families and leave good people alone.

Let's promote good things. Marriage is good. Marriage, even heretical gay marriage, strengthens families.

But...isn't a domestic partnership enough? They're not, by present definition, getting "married," after all. And really, we have no problem with homosexual couples having rights. Isn't that a good enough compromise?

I used to say that, too - until I realized how condescending it is. Is it really up to us to say "yeah, you can have rights"?

How nice of us to think so!

If you think you wouldn't be irritated and hurt by all of this too, you're kidding yourself.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Squirm, Baby, Squirm!

I love Meet the Press.

(I know! Not a Prop 8 entry! Wow!)

If anyone missed it this morning, you really ought to go see if you can find a clip or watch your DVR.

I mean, I have the transcript, but it doesn't do near the justice it ought to. You can't see McCain's tic like blinking, figeting, stammering; his forced smile (you know, the one that says he's trying hard to not seethe certain words through his teeth)...did I mention fidgeting?

He backpeddled and, as my husband described it, did a bit of fillibustering. Tom Brokaw kept showing clips of previous McCain appearances on the show, at various rallies, etc. from the past that totally contradict the John McCain of today.

Talk about an inadvertent stuffing of the foot in the mouth. It was like watching a tennis match, with one competitor standing tall and calm while the other slouched, acted jittery, and couldn't seem to return the serve.

And ol'Sarah really isn't helping the cause. She's referring to the President as unpopular (which, I know "duh" but Sarah's supposed to be wooing the base. Insulting the base's Budda, so to speak, won't help things). She's referred to the campaign's robocalls as "irritating," which I tend to think is more her attempt to be folksy again - she's so folksy - but the campaign itself has tirelessly defended their tactics and strategies, and as of late, the robocalls have been a large part of it.

(speaking of, I guess Barack's campaign passed around robocalls to decry McCain's use of the robocall, hahahaha)

Some are calling Palin's acts and words as of late "rogue" and there are whispers that, since the polls are looking so dismal (but don't tell John that!), she's working on her own political future.

Ahhh, politics.

It shouldn't be funny, though I do admit to some giggling, that watching the McCain campaign lately is a little like watching a nasty spider wither as it dies, but the desperation levels have reached a bit of a tragic humor level.

I am not so naive as to believe Obama has it in the bag - we've learned that lesson before - but it's looking good. I think even McCain understands this.

There's just something cool and confidence-instilling about Obama right now. He's cool, calm, and collected. McCain can't seem to stand up these days.

I wish my husband wasn't so bogged down with homework, though he will be home November 4th....I won't be alone for the first time ever on election night! Yay!

I just hope we don't have a recurrence of the 2000 election. Silly, young me was up until midnight that night, gnawing at my fingernails in the hopes that Bush would win.

I don't want to be up again. Really, everyone, there's no use for it.

Please don't vote McCain just because you're LDS and it's somehow written in between the lines of the covenants we make at baptism. Look at the issues, look at the man, read the articles.

McCain and the neo-conservative values/principles are hardly conducive to what we believe in our core. You cry out that we should vote yes on 8 because of the Prophet? I say vote Obama because you believe in being good, getting better, and in serving your fellow man.

I truly believe Obama has our best interests at heart, much moreso than McCain, and if you insist on throwing around the "socialist" label, I'll be more than happy to blog on that as well.

Obama '08!

Friday, October 24, 2008

You Call Yourselves What?!

Disclaimer: This is directed at only a select group of people. I am not speaking to all who are for this proposition.

Those attacking those of my faith (and other faiths) for standing up for their beliefs shocks me - not because it is surprising, but because it's uncalled for. It's un-American. I would never condone such things.

But it's happening within our church as well.

Too many times I've read of homosexual or Anti-8 LDS people who are afraid or just don't want to attend church anymore. Many are considering their membership.

Some, knowing how this proposition has divided many of our wards and stakes, have concluded that this call from the Prophet also serves to separate the wheat from the tares, to prune the tree, so to speak.

How dare you!

There are many within our branches, stakes, and wards who suffer silently as they listen each week to entire lessons devoted entirely to promoting this proposition. Others, frankly, are afraid to openly express their opposition with the Church's involvement, that they're against Prop 8. For them, silence is the extent of their support as a member.

We say we aren't against gay people, just them getting married.

Forgive the explitive, but that's bullshit.

It's easy for you to deadpan the expression, that you "love the sinner but hate the sin," because you're probably straight. You've no idea how personally this effort hits home for some. There are far too many LDS members (and Christians in general) who seem to have selective hearing when it comes to the First Presidency's call for us to be loving to these members we are indirectly or directly attacking. Their call did not end at "do what you can to support this measure." We are to be loving, too.

I haven't heard much love, though. Some of what I've heard is atrocious.

If we can't reign in our own members and local leaders, those who pride themselves in their obedience to following the Prophet, then I say we shouldn't even be involved. Shame on those of you who speak insensitively and yet call yourself humble sheep. You're nothing but wolves.

You're not following the Prophet. You're hiding behind his call, foaming at the mouth for spiritual justification to your homophobia. There is no reason for some of the things occuring within our membership - the seemingly benign chats in the foyer between meetings, at friends' houses, at home, etc. There have been reports of ward leaders calling for a public display of support within church meetings. Are you kidding me?

We fool ourselves into thinking that every LDS member must be Pro-8, but they are not.

These are the same who call themselves martyrs for the Prophet's call. Maybe some of you are, but you had to know such involvement in a heated political battle was entering the lion's den. I think many of you find some sort of glory in the persecution you feel.

I don't care about your persecution.

In a related note, on October 21, 2008, Yes on 8 parents instituted a state wide "sick out" after discovering the California Teacher's Association donated $1 million to the No on 8 cause.

A sick out? Seriously?

I wonder how the conversations went at home. I can hope most of these conversations were done in love, but it sickens me because I'm not sure even that works.

"We're keeping you home because the schools want gay marriage, and that's against God's will. We have to make sure they don't go against God and destroy marriage as He has instituted it."

You have no idea how that easily that can translate into "God hates gay people."

I'll venture to say most children won't understand. They just hear how gay people are going against God, how selfish they are (seriously), how a same-sex marriage would somehow destroy traditional marriage, etc.

What would you gather from that?

Gay people are not antithetical to God. They are God's sons and daughters. He made them. He loves them. You ought to respect them and tip toe around them when speaking of something of such a sensitive nature. You have no idea what they are dealing with, especially those within the coalition of churches speaking out so strongly against gay marriage.

You have no place. None.

I only hope no one is creating or feeding any homophobic monsters and we don't have more Matthew Shepard's in our future.

These are your brothers' and sisters'. They deserve your respect. They deserve more love and deference than they are given.

We are probably more ignorant to the gay LDS population than we know - you know why? They're scared to death, especially now, of your judgments and ill-placed zeal.

Even if a homosexual Mormon agrees that acting upon their desires is sinful, they feel this proposition more acutely than we know.

I beg of all my readers to read this blog entry from Soy Made Me Gay. Clint is an active, celibate, gay LDS man. Please read The Last Thing You'll See Me Write About Prop 8 for his views.

I ask you to then please read the following article, Prop 8 Divides the Mormon Faithful before you comment. Here's an excerpt:

The thought of going to church in her southern California LDS ward makes Carol Oldham cry. She can't face one more sermon against same-sex marriage. She can't tolerate the glares at the rainbow pin on her lapel. Oldham, a lifelong Mormon, is troubled by her church's zeal in supporting a California ballot initiative that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. She feels the church is bringing politics into her sanctuary. "It has tainted everything for me," Oldham said, choking up during a telephone interview. "I am afraid to go here and hear people say mean things about gay people. I am in mourning. I don't know how long I can last."

For Mormons, California's Prop 8 battle turns personal describes the underhandedness of some within of No on 8, none of which I condone - but it also determines that even the Yes side isn't without fault.

I challenge any straight person reading to seriously consider a celibate life. That means no dating, no kissing, no holding hands. Nothing.

After you really consider that, come tell me and our gay brothers and sisters they're too sensitive and/or overreacting, that they should just suck it up and "have faith."

I am not asking for your blessing of a "gay lifestyle," just some freaking compassion.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

How sure can you be?

Paragraph breaks added for ease of reading:

"All too often I have sat in a church and heard a pastor use gay bashing as a cheap parlor trick -- 'It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!' he will shout, usually when the sermon is not going so well.

I believe that American society can choose to carve out a special place for the union of a man and a woman as the unit of child rearing most common to every culture. I am not willing to have the state deny Americans a civil union that confers equivalent rights on such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex -- nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.

Perhaps I am sensitive on this issue because I have seen the pain my own carelessness has caused. Before my election, in the middle of debates with Mr. Keyes, I received a phone message from one of my strongest supporters. She was a small-business owner, a mother, and a thoughtful, generous person. She was also a lesbian who had lived in a monogamous relationship with her partner for the last decade. She knew when she decided to support me that I was opposed to same-sex marriage, and she had heard me argue that, in the absence of any meaningful consensus, the heightened focus on marriage was a distraction from other, attainable measures to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Her phone message in this instance had been prompted by a radio interview she had heard in which I had referenced my religious traditions in explaining my position on the issue. She told me that she had been hurt by my remarks; she felt that by bringing religion into the equation, I was suggesting that she, and others like her, were somehow bad people. I felt bad, and told her so in a return phone call. As I spoke to her I was reminded that no matter how much Christians who oppose homosexuality may claim that that they hate the sin but love the sinner, such a judgment inflicts pain on good people -- people who are made in the image of God, and who are often truer to Christ's message than those who condemn them. And I was reminded that it is my obligation, not only as an elected official in a pluralistic society but also as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided, just as I cannot claim infallibility in my support of abortion rights.

I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God; that Jesus' call to love one another might demand a different conclusion; and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history. I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian. I believe they make me human, limited in my understanding of God's purpose and therefore prone to sin. When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static text but the Living Word and that I must be continually open to new revelations -- whether they come from a lesbian friend or a doctor opposed to abortion. That is not to say that I'm unanchored in my faith. There are some things that I'm absolutely sure about -- the Golden Rule, the need to battle cruelty in all its forms, the value of love and charity, humility and grace."

-Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

You know, I seem to think I need to remain firm in my decisions once made. One of my major downfalls is that I often make decisions, proclaim them, and then later come across something that brings me to consider changing my mind. I hate it when I commit myself too early, because I make myself feel too much obligation to not change my mind. We should always be willing to change our minds.

The moment we proclaim our steadfastness is the moment we tempt ourselves to fail.

We need to take care to not dig our feet in too deep as, I'm finding, there is always something out there that may "prick" our hearts. Let's remain open to those things. Let's always allow for that.

We need first and foremost to understand that we're all people and we're all entitled, per the Declaration of Independence, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Per the Golden Rule, we are to treat others the way we would like to be treated, love our neighbor as ourselves.

Let's stop generalizing, pointing fingers, and get off our religious or non-religious soapboxes for a moment and start putting on some different shoes for a spell. Let's get back to the basics. We've complicated things entirely too much. Let's breathe a little slower and be less apt to fear and allow ourselves to consider the more encompassing things in life. I think sometimes we dig so deep to find reason and right that we find it difficult to get back out of the hole.

The world is not black and white, but many shades of absolutely amazing colors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


"I know that this Church is true."

Said so often, it's in danger of losing its power, its meaning - but I'm not here to question testimonies, though some may see it that way today.

Again, I repeat: I am not here to question testimonies.

Mine has come into question by some individuals (who don't necessarily comment here...that I know of at least), and I wouldn't dare step on that toe. It's not within my authority. I don't know the whole the encompasses any individual person. It's just not my place.

I do want to talk about faith today, though.

I've had at least one commenter express some offense that I might even think to question her faith because it may or may not be "blind." I never said that. I said while some blind faith may be good, it is not good all of the time. I do think even the Prophet would agree with me on that. We would not be told to pray about various things (this includes things that our Bishop asks of us, etc.) for ourselves if blind faith was always great. We'd be told to counsel with our leaders on every meaningful decision. Our leaders just don't have the time for it. We're taught what we're taught, and when there is question, we study, think it out, and pray.

But back to my introductory line.

There's been some talk about faith. It's understandable that some do not want to allow anything to have even the chance to shake it. I get that. I was there too, and in some ways and in some things I still *am* there.

Let me ask you all one question, though: What is faith if it can be shaken?

Don't read things if you're afraid it might shake your faith. Again, I get that, and again, I'm there with some things. I'm not drooling over the idea, either. But for various reasons and experiences I've had in my life, I did decide to read things such as Rough Stone Rolling among other, non-anti-Mormon media. Again: NON anti-Mormon media.

I've had thoughts and feelings tucked away in the back of my mind and heart for some years now. I didn't want to give them much credence because I feared what they meant and what they would bring, but eventually I had to look at them.

One thing I've learned over the course of many years, a lesson I've been taught repeatedly as if God Himself was knocking me upside the head is this:

The higher a pedestal you place something or someone on, the further and the harder they will fall - the more your world will crumble around you.

Through years of demonstrating this to me through various friendships I've had, God finally tripped me up good with a non-religious experience in my life. What I learned is that no one is perfect, that it is possible to know the whole story and still have faith, if not knowledge, in someone or something. It's a large part of what the principle of forgiveness is based on. We can peer into the dark closets of someone or something and still know they are good.

The church has some skeletons, just like any other church or any other person. To suggest it is perfect is wrong. The Gospel is perfect - not the Church. The people who attempt with their best efforts to follow it are not. That includes Joseph Smith and Brigham Young - even President Monson. You.

They are people, too. To give them the title of infallible would be far too much burden for them to ever accept themselves.

While I understand and don't find fault or anything weak in those who don't want to or don't care to look inside the darker closets of the Church, I want those people to know you can't possibly decide that I or any other person engaging in this process is wrong or right. It's a frightening journey, but one I and those like me feel compelled to embark on. I appreciate the concerns of friends and family, but please take solace in that truth always prevails. I want to hear what you have to say, but I want to be heard, too. I feel too often only some of my words are being heard.

Just remember: if your faith is such that you fear it could be shaken, then it is not knowledge. Even with knowledge, it takes strength (and dare I say the ability to think critically), to protect yourself from straying. There are very compelling arguments for every side of everything, and so you must know for yourself.

To think it would never happen to us or those we revere and love is to deceive ourselves. It's also a fabulous way to ensure we will be tempted at some point in our lives. Again, the pedestal. Keep it low. Keep it within reach. Give it a chance to have flaws, because it does.

We all, no matter who we are or our experiences, have the danger of apostasy (or just rejecting the church - I do think the two are separate) lurking in the shadows. The road those of us who decide to take when we read revealing books such as Rough Stone Rolling may have the deeper danger, but if this is truly the truth, then there is nothing for to fear.

All of that good stuff: prayer, church attendance, etc., is good insurance but sometimes we come upon things unwittingly that challenges everything we've grown to know. I remember saying to some very close friends of mine that I couldn't fathom ever leaving the Church. Now that I absolutely think it could happen, I can do what I can to ensure I wouldn't do it out of offense or spite, or just lack of knowledge. I can protect my testimony, but protecting one's testimony is not found in burying one's head in the sand or pretending the doubts don't exist. They have a way of rearing their ugly little heads later. If you ignore them, they will not go away.

Doubt and even a fall is nothing we can't recover from, but at some point we need to accept nobody is immune. It can and even probably will happen to everyone to some degree.

Adversity in any form can and will shake faith, but it can also strengthen it. I'm willing to chance it. Ignoring my questions and doubts and fears has not worked, so I've chosen to confront them. Despite the inevitable questioning of my very motives and my testimony, I've chosen to embrace the political and spiritual viewpoints I feel are true - many of which, if you look, the Church itself embraces. So far, they've only served to strengthen my faith.

Call it what you might, suggest I am placing one foot in the world and the other in the Church, I know what I am doing; God knows what I am doing - and that, everyone, is all that matters.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just going to say it:

Even though I really don't need to and no one is asking me to, and I flatter myself in thinking anyone cares, I'm going to say it. For far too long I've hidden behind some self-censored curtain of anonymity on this issue for fear of those I love and respect reprimanding me, and I don't care to anymore. I am grateful for this blog and for the Internet - the wealth of information is absolutely priceless. I cannot begin to express the much needed spiritual strength I've found here.

The Church, as far as I know, has not raised their hand to the square on this issue. From my own research, meditation, and introspection, I can only say that the Church is simply using its influence to state their uncategorical stance on traditional marriage - that to not say anything on an issue so central to its teachings would be, in essence, a sanction of gay marriage.

This is not President Monson telling us that the Lord has told us to vote yes. This is President Monson and the other leaders reminding us of the importance of the traditional family not just in this world, but more especially in the world to come.

The Church wants its message to go forth and be known. Fine. I can totally respect that.

But for me, while I do not know where I stand on a religious standpoint with this issue, I do know where I stand on a political standpoint.

And before anyone says anything, yes I do understand the spiritual and even celestial logistics behind a heterosexual coupling. I don't want to get into this now.

I'm a member of some discussions on Facebook regarding this issue, and it's only helped. While some have expressed very calmly and respectfully their reasonings behind their voting intentions, those who have expressed their staunch, unyielding, and at times perhaps unrighteous judgements upon those of us who struggle to agree with the church on this political issue have only steered me further into the "no" category. They are not my sole reason for voting no, but I kid you not: the hate and otherwise un Christlike feelings exist on both sides of this fence.

One person said "Well then let's start discussion groups such as Mormons For Premarital sex, Mormons for Drinking, Mormons for Smoking, etc"

It's a load! We cannot legislate only Christian values here, and we certainly would not even dare to narrow the field to legislate Mormon principles into national law. It just would not happen. I wouldn't want it to. We cannot force our beliefs onto people. That's not very American, and it goes against the Eleventh Article of Faith. Let people worship how, where or what they may.

And how can we even fathom to argue for "preserving marriage" when, even in the Celestial sense, the Church still teaches polygamy? Top leaders once practiced it to a large scale. There are countless people who would argue that is antithetical to preserving marriage and the family. We cannot claim divine inspiration here and leave it at that as if it ends all conversation. There is reason for everyone to believe that polygamy is hardly traditional and would negatively impact the children (not to mention the women) involved.

To this I'd also like to add that I believe it's inherently wrong to make something deemed unconstitutional, constitutional. That is more frightening to me than ensuring homosexual couples can marry.

We have nothing - repeat: nothing - to stand upon here politically. The Church and the State are and should be separate entities. While I respect and understand others dissenting opinions and votes, I couldn't in good conscience vote yes, so I'm voting no on 8.

Monday, October 20, 2008

oh the IRONY!

I'm dying, here - so hilarious. I had never heard of the Proclamation on the Economy until just a few days ago, but oh I have some friends who absolutely must read this. If only I could see the look on their face when they did...

An excerpt:

The experience of mankind has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice.

The 1875 Proclamation on the Economy
Brigham Young

Not all blind faith is good.

It took me a while, but eventually I decided I would write openly about some issues regarding the church. I was actually shaking the moment my article regarding polygamy and the church was published because I knew family and friends would be notified of it and would read it.

Sure enough, a day later a friend of mine emailed and asked if I was "okay."

I assured her I was.

She expressed her discomfort with my use of unauthorized sources.

I assured her it was okay. The main text I used was written by an active LDS scholar, and as far as I could remember, the work had been ok'd by the Church – which I did on purpose to quell this specific kind of reaction. But oh well. Everything else I used was scripture. I felt comfortable in my sources and chose them with great deliberation, and I told her that.

She bore her testimony to me and hoped I would be able to come to terms with things.

Listen, there's a problem when people don't want to hear "the whole story" regarding anything. When I was investigating the church some ten years ago, my family threw all sorts of anti-Mormon media at me. Some years before, my mom found much thrill in "winning an argument" with the missionaries. My stepbrother dated a member, and my family was very concerned but found much entertainment in some of the stories he brought home. I won't lie. I laughed, too. I still do. You've gotta have a bit of humor.

Anyway, I visited various websites for both sides of the spectrum.

I've seen The Godmakers. Horrible movie, almost entertainingly so. Anyone with half a brain could see that (one gem in this movie is that "Mormon" means "Satan" in Chinese. Geeeeez)

My mom felt certain I'd move to Utah, be one of fifty wives, and raise chickens (which I find hilarious now that I know Eric wants to raise chickens someday. But he's weird – and cute).

I know what anti-Mormon media looks and sounds like. Richard Lyman Bushman's Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling is not anti-Mormon media.

It is, however, fabulous reading. You should all read it.

What it came down to, by my impression, is that if I would've quoted John Bytheway or anyone like him, my friend would have been fine.

But anything that doesn't shed good light on the church needs to be stifled.

Listen, faith is good. I would venture to say some blind faith is good. Sometimes I just want my kids to trust me, and I'm sure God feels the same way about many things.

But what is faith if you don't know the whole story? What is faith if we feel compelled to withhold information because someone might find offense to it? Naïve faith. That’s what it is.

For argument's sake, let’s assume you join the church wrapping yourself in the blanket statement "...plural marriage has not been approved by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and any member adopting this practice is subject to losing his or her membership in the Church."

...but you don't know that we still believe in it. That it's a Celestial doctrine. That it is so central to our beliefs that it has been said that if we do not accept it as God's truth, we will not be permitted into God's presence.

What if you don’t agree with that? What if you don't like it?

Should we be told “chill out, you’ll be fine,” or "Too bad. You don't have to like it, you just have to accept it"? (I want to punch people who say that) Are those tired, assumed rationalizations of why polygamy happened sufficient? Does it definitively say anywhere that there were too few women for the men and we needed to raise up a righteous, LDS generation? That it was also to take care of the older women? (I always wondered about that last one: can't we take care of each other without marriage?)

We don’t really know why. Let’s just say it. We don’t. Honesty leaves a stronger impression than tired, weak rationalizations.

So what if a member or investigator has serious problems with something like polygamy? What if she prays and still has issues? Can you really tell her to have faith and just get over it?

Can you really?

But I digress. My friend felt my article didn’t shed good light on the Church and stood as evidence to a shaky testimony. She closed with an email expressing her love and concern. I'll admit to finding some amusement as I warned her of an impending article which refuted arguments for Proposition 8.

The thing is, I never said the Church was wrong, and I did that on purpose. I know what can happen when you dare something even close to that.

But what I did say was enough for her. After reading my Proposition 8 article, she told me she no longer wished to read them. Another friend whom I’d known almost as long told me she had to shake off some bad feelings after reading my articles.

Is this really where we’re at?

I can see how questioning can possibly lead to “apostasy,” but can we truly live in such a way as to be afraid to question? To wonder? Should we rationalize in order to satiate that unsettled feeling or thought we’re having? Should we settle with believing what our leaders say? Our bishops, home teachers? Dare I say even the Prophet?

Listen! These are MEN. Not every word that comes from the mouth of the Prophet is prophecy, not every word from his mouth is the word of God. Though I’ve never read it myself, I’ve been told Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s book Mormon Doctrine is not authorized material. Many people find great solace in that because, apparently, Brother McConkie takes quite a bit of license in his words.

But many still cite it as if is infallible, undeniable truth.

Hell, even then-Elder (and later Prophet) Spencer W. Kimball offers this in his preface to The Miracle of Forgiveness: “I accept full responsibility for the contents of this book. Specifically, the Church and its leaders are totally absolved from the responsibility from any error which it may be found to contain.”

I'm told this book was later accepted as scripturally sound and is now considered doctrine, but the fact remains that in the beginning, then-Elder Kimball felt the need to qualify his work.

The moment someone says something that might not reflect well on the Church, though, we balk. I can understand why: we have skeletons in our closet, but we also have a history of persecution and we’d just rather leave it alone. Isn’t there enough negative attention given to the Church for its own members to add to?

But sometimes you have to.

Nothing I’ve said regarding polygamy was a lie. We do believe that it is practiced in the afterlife, and if a member or investigator doesn’t know or is otherwise kept from knowing that, then there is a problem.

If the Church is true, if any doctrine is true, than we shouldn’t be afraid to explore it. We shouldn’t be discouraged from talking about it. We shouldn’t keep others in the dark for fear that they may decide to leave because of it. That’s not our problem.

And yeah, I would rather die than have to see my husband take on another wife, and that feeling should be okay. I imagine many women would feel the same way – that many back in Joseph Smith’s days did feel that way.

While I’m okay with not knowing some things, there are things I take personally, and this (for various personal reasons) is one of them. I want to understand this, and I don't. I would hope this would be something the Lord would feel those who are troubled should understand.

I want to be taken seriously. I think anyone, especially women in the instance of polygamy, should be taken seriously when she presents this as a concern.

And rather than joke about delegating chores out to “the other wives,” we should consider this with an honest heart, because sometimes our faith is only as strong as our knowledge.

(if anyone is interested in the above referenced article: Mormons and Polygamy: Practice versus Belief. Thanks.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Poor horse.

Page 117-118 of the official text in regards to the May 15, 2008 California Supreme Court decision on gay marriage (emphasis added):

“Further, permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not alter the substantive nature of the legal institution of marriage; same-sex couples who choose to enter into the relationship with that designation will be subject to the same duties and obligations to each other, to their children, and to third parties that the law currently imposes upon opposite-sex couples who marry. Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs (Cal. Const., art I, sec. 4)

“While retention of the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples is not needed to preserve the rights and benefits of opposite-sex couples, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage works a real and appreciable harm upon same-sex couples and their children. As discussed above, because of the long and celebrated history of the term “marriage” and the widespread understanding that this word describes a family relationship unreservedly sanctioned by the community, the statutory provisions that continue to limit access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples – while providing only a novel, alternative institution for same-sex couples – likely will be viewed as an official statement that the family relationship is not of comparable stature or equal dignity to the family relationship of opposite-sex couples. Furthermore, because of the historic disparagement of gay persons, the retention of a distinction in nomenclature by which the term “marriage” is withheld only from the family relationship of same-sex couples is all the more likely to cause the new parallel institution that has been established for same-sex couples to be considered a mark of second-class citizenship…”

Agree with that last part or not – I am positive some of you will not – the fact is that the Court found that it was unconstitutional to restrict the definition of “marriage” to a man and a woman.

Consider that a moment. There have been other times in the past where the people “spoke” and the Courts found the people’s voice unconstitutional.

Interracial marriage.


Among others, I’m sure.

You may say, as one reader has, that non-members may look at this blog and wonder “what the hell is she doing in that church if she doesn’t agree with them, anyway?” But I don’t think that will happen so much.

You see, those in other churches don’t always agree with their church’s stance on political issues. And it’s okay. Really, it’s generally okay in our church as well. Right now it is not, though, and that bothers me. I think I am allowed to disagree, but I am still expected to do as told.

But it's not as if the Prophet is suddenly saying "Gay marriage is good! God wants us to solemnize gay marriage. He wants us all to become gay!"

Nooooooo. I tend to think, right now, that's it's more the Church taking a strong stand on the issue, saying "We refuse to go the way of the world, the way of so many other churches. Our doctrine is consistent and will not waver on this issue - gay marriage goes against God's central plan and the family." Just like so many other things the Church stands against.

I worry that so many members aren't considering what exactly it is they’re saying in defense of their beliefs and/or actions.

For some of us, we’re being asked to do something we’ve never been asked to do before. Up until now, I’ve been told to vote according to my conscience and my personal prayers. Now those two things don’t matter? My prayers have been said for me? What?

I joined the church in the year 2000. I was 19 years old by the time November came around. It was my first year voting, and I remember most of the flurry surrounding Prop 22 (the proposition that has brought us to 8). I don’t remember quite this much activity surrounding the church other than it supported a “yes” vote. It didn't matter, though. I felt gay marriage was wrong and voted yes.

When Proposition 8 began hitting the airwaves, I was just as angry as the rest of you were. “The liberal California Courts are at it again, overruling the voice of 61% of the people! How dare they!”

Then I was told that wasn’t exactly what was going on.

That’s when I realized the argument “Those in ‘Domestic Partnerships’ are afforded the same rights as those in marriages” was wrong. They are not afforded all of the same rights. Some aren’t even able to get health insurance if one of them works for the feds.

That’s when I began to sit in Sunday School listening to my teachers and leaders read off of a list of reasons why same-sex marriage was just plain wrong…and my instincts kicked in for the first time in years and I realized every single one of those arguments was wrong in some way.

I went home and did my research, and sure enough I was right. I didn’t take that debate and those critical thinking classes for nothing, apparently.

I started wondering why those in the Church would perpetuate deceptive statements in order to further a cause, why it was allowed to happen.

I wanted to scream every Sunday.

It’s one thing to tell the congregants “I know some of you may not understand why, but the Prophet feels strongly, has received direction from God, that it is within our best interests to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 8” and then leave it at that.

But that’s not what’s been happening. “Vote yes on 8 not just because the Prophet said so, but because gay couples are selfish and can’t procreate and the family unit as we know it will crumble around us. There are also these other reasons (that hold no merit).”

That bothers me and brings me pause.

We’re being told to make something deemed unconstitutional, constitutional.

I’m not saying the Courts are always right and we’re always wrong, but we need to listen when they speak and stop learning to brush them off because they’re known to be a – gasp – liberal court. Liberal views do not always equate sinful views. As a general people, we’ve been wrong before and the Courts have been right. Just because we’re uncomfortable with something doesn’t mean it’s wrong and we’re right.

That said: I may be wrong on this.

I’m just tired of people using irrationality to back up their feelings on the matter. It really doesn’t cast a good hue on us.

I know personally some people who are not comfortable with a “yes” vote, but they’re voting yes because the Prophet asked them to.


I just know too many other people who are allowing this to mask their homophobia, and that’s wrong.

I know too many people who think this will be the beginning of a slew of reverse-hate-crimes against those who are against gay marriage. This is not the gateway to that, though. It could happen now. It would be happening now. It’s not.

If the Church is true, it is true. It will always be true, gay marriage or not. Nobody is forcing us to condone it, and by taking an official “yes” stance, the Church is in fact saying they will not condone it – and I’m okay with that.

As much as I like a good debate, I’m beginning to see the impracticality of this particular one. No matter who we are or where we stand, we can always find someone to agree with us. I appreciate support immensely and find great comfort in it, but in the end I have to be confident in my decisions alone.

I will not vote or believe something because of peer pressure. I will do because I feel it is right, not because other people are questioning my membership or my testimony. That really isn’t within my fellow members’ realm of authority anyway.

I’ve been called upon a few times to “say something good about the Church,” but I didn’t start this blog to cater to other people. I started this blog to express views I haven’t been able to, and the less I am able to speak and write about something, the weaker and more frustrated I become.

I have to be careful to not do things simply because others want me to. I respect my friends and those with good intentions very much, but I’ve spent my whole life working to please the masses. I want to be true to myself here and say what I hope others are thinking but are afraid to say.

Questioning should be okay. I would like to think even the Church leaders would agree with that. Ten years ago that’s exactly what I was told. I was told to study the matter out and then pray. Why is that suddenly not the thing to do?

Ideally, if I’m going to vote yes on this, it will be because the Prophet asked me to. It will also be because I’ve done the research myself and have not allowed myself to believe deceptive arguments. It will be because I feel it is right. Because I've studied the matter out.

But honestly, it will also be because I'm at least a little afraid to "go against the Church."

Explain the merit in that.

On a final unrelated note: General Colin Powell has endorsed Obama! Yay!

Friday, October 17, 2008

To all the lovely sign snatchers

You're idiots.

You know, this is one thing I don't get. It's childish and lame. It only says that you've no other recourse, that you're so desperate, that you'll trespass and steal signs.

It also says, in the case of Proposition 8, you're just as prejudiced as you claim the "yes" crowd is. It says you're scared. It says you have the same lack of respect as you claim you or your friends are victim of.

Just like you have your right to freedom of speech, so do those who don't agree with you. It's one of the lovely things about living where we do.

I have every faith that what is supposed to happen, will happen. What you think should happen may not, but truth always prevails in the end. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes it doesn't, but truth always prevails.

Trust in that. Be the bigger person. Let's not resort to name calling, sign snatching, etc. It says more about us than it does about them.

As for the question as to how I think this will affect churches should Proposition 8 fail, I imagine graffiti and other hate crimes would be happening now. It's no secret that many Christian churches are very much against this proposition. What's stopping the backlash now?

It's just sign stealing, and I don't mean to say that as if to brush it aside. What I am saying is that the law is on the side of the anti-8 crowd, and if they wanted to do something worse they would now.

As far as I can tell, that hasn't happened yet. We're allowed to believe as we will. We're allowed to disagree. If someone feels the need to violently attack anyone who is against gay marriage, the law will undoubtedly be on the side of the attacked.

There will always be those who feel they have to resort to baser methods to prove a point.

On an ironic note, I just noticed two of our pumpkins were stolen overnight. Mmph.

Anyway, listen: the Church's stance on gay marriage is no secret. It's only expected that they would feel the need to take an official stance on this proposition. Everyone wants to think they'll be a victim of their beliefs. Let's not forget, though, that signs are stolen in every election.

Did anything happen after Proposition 22 passed back in 2000? For those unfamiliar with California politics, Proposition 22 called for the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. The California Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional and overturned it this past May 15th. Proposition 8 calls for an amendment to make Proposition 22 constitutional.

Seriously though - did anything happen? I don't remember anything earth shattering happening. This kind of thing, the sign snatching, happens every election year.

I mean, somebody felt it necessary to remove half of our Obama '08 sticker on one of our cars in the last few months. Classy, right?

I actually laughed. We live in one of, if not the, most conservative county in the state. As far as I can tell, we're the only ones with an Obama anything.

It's no more personal than it has been in the past. I'd be rather surprised - and dismayed, don't get me wrong - if these kinds of actions continued and escalated after November 4th.

I really think we're all better than that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Something to chew on.

Let's take a few steps back and breathe a moment, shall we?

Why do gay members of our society - of the human race at large - desire the term marriage?

This is what I think: It would offer what homosexual couples want: acceptance and respect. Churches, however, do not want to "accept" what they see as sinful behavior, even if they themselves do not have to solemnize it. Others don't want to accept it because, well, it's just "icky."

Seriously now. If it were solely a moral issue, we would then attempt to make it illegal for couples to live together and so on and so forth. If gay marriage is a threat to the family unit, certainly unmarried couples living together is as well. The argument could be made.

Giving homosexual couples the right to the term "marriage" and the benefits thereof would not necessarily equate acceptance, though. That starts with us and ends with the notions that homosexuals aren't a family-kinda-people, that they're selfish sex-machines compelled to screw anything they come in contact with and burden the world with AIDS and the like.

We have to stop the awful way some equate them with pedophiles. We have to stop calling them horrible, degrading names. We have to stop because it says nothing good about us. Because they're people, too.

"Me thinks you doth protest too much," anyone?

We have to understand that our sexuality is so much a part of who we are. It just is, and we're creating more problems than we are solving by our actions today. You attack a person's sexuality, call it an abominable sin, and you're attacking them personally. It would be the same way for heterosexual people.

Maybe it wouldn't be such an issue if we'd quit dwelling on it so much, but those gay members of our society need our love. Not our proclamations of love, but actual love. Not an outpouring, but everyday respect. They need us to not treat them differently. We should strive to understand each other, come to terms with our own phobias and preconceived notions. We need to embrace the fact that gay sex seems icky to the heterosexual crowd - but we need to understand straight sex seems icky to the gay crowd.

Correct me if I'm wrong, here, but we are not bringing more to the fold by screaming and shouting and letting our prejudices get the better of us.

Some homosexuals will testify to changing their orientation. I won't question that, but just because a few are able to do this does not mean the whole lot can.

Can you change your heterosexual desires? Maybe some of you could, but I imagine most wouldn't be able to. Most of us wouldn't want to. It doesn't seem natural.

Well, it doesn't seem natural to them, either.

"They're" just like you and me - in more ways than perhaps most of us know.

Listen, this isn't as simple as so many people want it to be. Lord knows I've tried to make it simple - but we have to start by getting over our issues with the gay community. With our own sexuality. We have to start talking to each other to start understanding one another. We have to.

A compromise won't necessarily placate the masses, but unfortunately this won't either. I'm not saying a "no"or "yes" vote is in order, but I really do hate how it's progressing and wish people would suck it up and be mature about this. We have to own our feelings, beliefs, and be held accountable to our actions and words. We have to consider that even if we don't accept what they do, we ought to respect their freedom to live and pursue happiness as they can.

Lets just remember: gay people have feelings, too. You don't have to tell anyone you're doing this, but be a sport for one second and put yourself in their shoes. Too many tormented souls have resorted to suicide, unable to reconcile their homosexual feelings with a heterosexual, self-righteous society or religion. Too many live in self-loathing. Too many try to fit their square peg in a round hole (forgive a bad analogy) and live unhappily ever after.

And who the hell would want to live like that? I wouldn't.

Now they see a light; society is slowly beginning to accept them. Ellen. Will and Grace. Queer Eye. Domestic Partnerships. San Francisco. Some straight people are okay with them getting married. A law might make it legal. They can live as they feel is right and be happy.

But laws can't change stubborn, prejudiced minds - and that's the problem.

That's where we really need to start. Then again, maybe this is a step to get there.

This is what it's about.

I just read How has the Yes on 8 campaign affected Mormons? and thought "Exactly."


Here's an excerpt:

I have wondered how the “Yes on 8” campaign connects with the core principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ—love the Lord with all thy heart, love thy neighbor as thyself. I have wondered how it relates to the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and laying on the hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? Does it contribute to any of the three missions of the Church: to proclaim the gospel, to perfect the saints, or to redeem the dead? I understand that according to Mormon doctrine temple marriage is an ordinance necessary to exaltation. Still, I do not understand how the elimination of civil marriage rights for gays and lesbians in the state of California will do anything to bring more souls to Christ.

This blogger also talks about how it dominates Church meetings, discussions, how much we are being asked to contribute to a political campaign.

Listen, I understand. "Gay couples cannot marry in the temple."

But they still should be able to marry outside the temple. People of other faiths aren't able to marry inside the temple. Some LDS people aren't allowed to marry inside the temple.

You can bring the dang horses to water, but you cannot make them drink. You can show them, hope they agree, and change their life accordingly if they so desire to.

So just what is it that we're so afraid of?

Some say its condoning sinful action, but we aren't talking murder and mayhem here. This is the United States where people are free to believe as they will. Not everyone agrees, and that is the blessing that is living in the United States. We can believe how we want - we can act according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Let me reiterate:

Over a hundred years ago, the government and the people of the United States shoved their morals and views on marriage down your ancestors' throats, using much of the same arguments you are using today.

What say you to that?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debunking Gay Marriage Myths

The amount of false claims and fear mongering absolutely astounds me. People continue to buy into it. Organizations continue to perpetuate myths and half truths. Smart people continue to eat it all up without stopping to see what it is, and it’s driving me to the crazy house.

Aren't we smarter than this?

Something doesn’t smell right when proponents of anything, anything, have to qualify purported truth with fragile arguments.

I know I've brought out the horse again, but I said I probably would up to November 4th. This topic deserves serious, intelligent conversation. In fact, I'm starving to death for it. Proponents of this proposition are making points that are misleading and are half-truths at best. While I discussed some of them in my article, California's Proposition 8, I want to discuss more here, arguments I continue to see people push.

I hate to see smart people allow others to pull the wool over their eyes. It happens to us all. I know it happens to me. This is on such a massive scale, though, I have to say something.

I hope at least one person who is Pro-8 listens. I'm not asking for a "no" vote, just serious thought and perhaps a commitment to stop regurgitating crap arguments. Trust me, I've heard them all.

If you think I'm wrong, I only ask you to read this entry in its entirety, then prove me wrong. Please.

And I mean that not as a challenge, but as a plea. I want to understand. Give me something of substance to chew on.

Argument 1:

If Proposition 8 fails, it will threaten our (the LDS or other churches) faith.


One of the assertions that fall under this category is that all church buildings will be forced to allow same-sex marriage to occur within their buildings.

First of all: That doesn't happen now. A church, a pastor, a bishop, priest, etc, can and have turned down couples before. The Catholic Church does it all the time (they won't recognize some marriages - and some divorces, for that matter). Other mainstream churches are the same way. Some pastors won't marry a couple if they don't agree to marriage counseling beforehand.

Secondly, for the LDS out there worried the government might force or people may sue to allow gay couples to marry in the temple - people can sue all they want. They will not win. As it is now, the Church discriminates in its own way who can enter and marry in the temple. It is not a public building. Have we forgotten that there are non-member couples who cannot marry in the church? Straight LDS couples who are not allowed to marry in the temple?

If anything, some courts may hold that, when money is exchanged, there should be no discrimination, so this may prove to be a problem for those churches who charge for wedding services. It won't be a problem for churches with a lay clergy and that do not rely on income from weddings.

It just will not happen.

There is no language in this amendment that states the Christian churches across California will be forced to change doctrine. We are a free nation, free to believe as we will. The Pilgrims came from England because they wanted to worship how they wanted to, and they wanted others to worship the way they wanted to. No one is going to challenge this.

This is not an anti-church proposition.

Argument 2:

In Boston, MA (where gay marriages are now legal) the Catholic Charities have closed their doors because the state has required them to allow adoptions to same sex couples, and they refused. They are a large and worthwhile charity with great power in the state and they were overruled.

Ahhh, this argument. It holds a lot of weight for the Pro-8 crowd - but it there is much more to the story here.We do not belong to a Theocracy, and the State is not the Church, or vice-versa. It is not the state's place to say what beliefs are right or wrong. The State is there to protect the people and their rights.

A Little Background

Massachusetts state law requires all adoption agencies to sign a contract with the Department of Social Services. This contract includes a anti-discrimination clause, a clause not present in every state law. Texas, for example, does not prohibit an adoption agency from referring same-sex couples to other agencies like Massachusetts and California might.

To avoid a lengthier entry than is necessary, I'll redirect you to the Boston Globe site and The Archdiocese of Boston website regarding the issue. I hope you'll read.

For proponents of the separation of church and state doctrine, the line seems blurred here - but as the church was running a state funded agency and had signed a contract with the state, they had to abide by state law.

So yes, this could happen - but it already is happening in California, even before the courts deemed gay marriage legal and constitutional. "Committed" gay couples are and have been adopting. Single parents adopt.

This is not a marriage issue.

Argument 3:

Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children. If gay marriage remains legal, public schools will put it on equal footing with traditional marriage. Children will likely receive “age appropriate” information about sexual relations within heterosexual and homosexual marriages.

How did you find out how gay people "do it"? Friends? Family? Should we really not tell our children? Is ignorance truly bliss?

Sex education is not marriage education. It's sex education. If you don't want the schools teaching your kids about gay people doing it, then all you have to do is sign or not sign (whatever it may be) that paper that allows you, as the parent, to exempt your child. Period. If someone overrules you, then you can and should raise a fuss.

Listen, you are the parents. You are the church. The world teaches as it will, the Church and family teaches as it will. When the child comes home, you can say whatever you want to that child. I would hope you would be loving about it rather than hateful, but you can say something like "That is what some people believe, but this is why we don't."

That easy.

Argument 4, Part 1:

When a man and a woman marry with the intention of forming a new family, their success in that endeavor depends on their willingness to renounce the single-minded pursuit of self-fulfillment and to sacrifice their time and means to the nurturing and rearing of their children--

So adopt. Infertile couples do. Some fertile couples do because they believe its best to help the children who don't have a family to have a family rather than create their own.

And, beyond that, many gay couples want to raise children too. It's why they seek to adopt. These people are not anymore a selfish people than heterosexuals are, and they are more than willing to sacrifice their time and means for the nurturing and rearing of children.

Gay people are just people who happen to be attracted to those of the same sex. Other than that, they're just like you and me (if you're straight, that is, haha).

Part 2:

--Marriage is fundamentally an unselfish act: legally protected because only a male and female together can create new life, and because the rearing of children requires a life-long commitment, which marriage is intended to provide. Societal recognition of same-sex marriage cannot be justified simply on the grounds that it provides self-fulfillment to its partners, for it is not the purpose of government to provide legal protection to every possible way in which individuals may pursue fulfillment--

Marriage for a homosexual couple is not a completely selfish endeavor any more than it may be for a heterosexual couple.

Part 3:

--By definition, all same-sex unions are infertile, and two individuals of the same gender, whatever their affections, can never form a marriage devoted to raising their own mutual offspring.

This brings me back to a comment made in my first entry here on this blog. To this astonishingly weak point I say (again): should it be made illegal for a straight couple to marry if the couple is infertile?

There’s something wrong when something people are said to hold so close to their hearts -values, morals, freedom - that they have nothing to defend it with but with things like this.

It makes me think, perhaps, some may want to use religion to distract from and validate their own homophobia, hatred, or downright disgust at the gay community.

If that's not it, then I have to think it's because I'm missing something entirely. I've yet to discover what that may be.

But the more people use fear to engage and motivate people, the more pause I am brought to.