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Sinning Wizards
March 24, 2011 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Mormon Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson of the "Mistborn" and "Wheel of Time" fame got some flak for his stance against gay wizards- (and marriage). After a reddit user posted his essay, Sanderson joined the discussion to defend the position of his church and to explain exactly how sinful engaging in homosexual acts is.
posted by ts;dr (256 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
You write what you know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:58 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


One large part of the church's worry about gay marriage (perhaps even the primary part of it) is a worry that without action, the state will be able to declare whom the church can or cannot marry, as marriage is the central religious ordinance in the church. This is as scary to us as the lack of gay marriage is to you, and I do wonder if maybe our knee-jerk reaction was hasty.

Yes, but our fear is of something real.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:00 PM on March 24, 2011 [44 favorites]


When I say sin, I mean one thing only: It impedes spiritual growth. And it's not my job to do an assessment of your personal spiritual growth or goals.

That seems pretty self-refuting.
posted by phaedon at 3:00 PM on March 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah, he seems pretty reasonable for a Mormon as far as Mormons go. As for the state dictating who the church can marry, in fairness, the state has already told Mormons they can't have 5 wives, so his concerns has some precedents.
posted by GuyZero at 3:03 PM on March 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


The Mormon church is free to marry as many people as they want, they just don't get legal recognition of it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:04 PM on March 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Uh, that essay is a long defense of Rowlings (and Dumbledore.) Yeah, it's from an LDS point of view (and therefore sort of in the "please stop being on my side" camp) but his stance is not against gay wizards and it's flat-out untrue to frame it that way.

The "sinful" link specifically says he's changed his stance on gay marriage, too. I'm not going to defend the positions Sanderson takes, but it behooves us to at least represent them honestly.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:05 PM on March 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


"might I suggest that when someone on my side of this particular issue takes a step toward your side and says "Okay, maybe we're being too harsh, maybe we need to listen and perhaps change what we're saying and doing," your first response should not be to flip out, call us bigoted hatemongers,"

one might add at the end "or sarcastically dismiss us as having illegitimate concerns."
posted by oddman at 3:06 PM on March 24, 2011


Of course the Wheel of Time series does feature polygamy somewhat prominently....
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:06 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was reading this thread not logged in, and was very pleased to see that the inline ad was for a gay dating site called "Maleforce."
posted by arcticwoman at 3:06 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


one might add at the end "or sarcastically dismiss us as having illegitimate concerns."

And what exactly are these legitimate concerns?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 3:07 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is as scary to us as the lack of gay marriage is to you

No, it's not. I can't get married. I can't get married now, today, or in the foreseeable future. I can't get married AND people keep telling me that the God I follow thinks I'm either icky, evil or weak. Probably all three.

It is not the same.
posted by harperpitt at 3:09 PM on March 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


When I say sin, I mean one thing only: It impedes spiritual growth. And it's not my job to do an assessment of your personal spiritual growth or goals.

Hrm. That's an interesting interpretation of sin. When I was growing up as a rather evangelical Presbyterian, I was taught that sin is the thing which keeps you from being able to approach God, because he is pure and can only have other pure entities in his presence, and so any sin you carry will keep you from being able to truly approach him, and will ultimately stain you so badly that once you die you will be unable to enter heaven because of the blots on your soul.

Is the definition of "sin" being something which impedes spiritual growth something inherent in Mormon beliefs, or is he really unclear on Christian and Christian-derived doctrine?
posted by hippybear at 3:10 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


OH sigh. Why did he have to turn out to be an asshole too? What is it with nearly all my favorite authors being religious bigots?
posted by strixus at 3:11 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The simple reason is this: I honestly and sincerely believe that in voting against such legislation, I would act in the best interests of those who are gay. (I realize that this probably sounds ridiculous to gay people reading this. You likely don't want me acting in your best interests against you expressed will, and I can understand that. However, please try to understand me. My conscience will not allow me to do something—even at your request—that I feel will bring you a great deal of pain and suffering at a later date.)

This argument hurts my brain. I'm going to vote to deny your civil rights because it's ultimately good for you to be denied them, because . . . I don't know, maybe if we oppress you enough you'll eventually decide being gay isn't worth the trouble? If anyone can parse this in a more charitable light, I'll reconsider but on the face of it . . . what an asshole.
posted by chaff at 3:11 PM on March 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Everyone knows the best wizards are gay.
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 3:11 PM on March 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


Mormon Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson Joseph Smith

FTFY.

Ooh, boo, yeah I know.
posted by phunniemee at 3:12 PM on March 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


I didn't know Tracy Hickman was Mormon. Really puts this book of his in a different light for me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:12 PM on March 24, 2011


So as long as we're talking about loaded words, he can call my homosexual activity a "sin" as long as I can continue to call him a "bigot" -- that way we're Adam and Steven Even. Fair?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:13 PM on March 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


Mistborn is quite thoughtful and self-reflective about religious questions. I really like that Sanderson's characters are religious not because the gods are self-evidently real or because they're superstitious idiots or because the writer wants to make some kind of faux-radical point about religion and social control. The fact that he himself is religious and has clearly done a lot of thinking about the issue makes it ring true. (Also, the whole paper-susceptible-to-evil-so-write-only-on-metal thing? Apparently based on not entirely unreasonable Mormon beliefs.)

---

I now return you to your regularly-scheduled choir-preaching and handwringing.
posted by nasreddin at 3:14 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My conscience will not allow me to do something—even at your request—that I feel will bring you a great deal of pain and suffering at a later date.

This is the same logic that justified such atrocities as the Inquisition and child removal.
posted by jedicus at 3:15 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am a practicing member of the LDS (aka Mormon) church. I am up front about this, and feel that it does influence my work and perspective on writing.
Ken Jennings is a big Mormon and he's said he's "All about the gays". On Reddit no less. So it's obviously not a prerequisite.
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on March 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm going to vote to deny your civil rights because it's ultimately good for you to be denied them, because . . . I don't know, maybe if we oppress you enough you'll eventually decide being gay isn't worth the trouble?

I assume with this statement, he's talking about punishment in the afterlife.

You know... like how you deny a woman an abortion because otherwise the death of her fetus will be on her soul. Or how you scold and lecture drug addicts about how bad they are because unless they clean up they will go to hell for polluting their bodies.

Honestly... I think one of the big stepping stones for me out of the whole Jebus-As-Lord mindset was when I realized that the words in red in my New Testament never involved lecturing someone about their current state (unless that person was convinced they were religiously in the right). Instead, they nearly always dealt with meeting people in the context of where they were, and finding a way to meet their needs as they were, tempered with lessons being taught in the context of as open as they could be within their current situation.

The whole "punish the sinner to save them from the sin" mentality was never a part of Jesus' teaching, and it's disgusting when those who claim to follow him use it as their primary method of interaction with those who don't fit their preconceived worldview.
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on March 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


As a ghey, I actually find his stance refreshingly reasonable. Which is a relief, because I like his books, and I really didn't want to be Orson Scott Carded again.

I don't agree, but there's some room for compromise there. When he talks about wanting civil unions for everyone, I completely agree. Government and religion should absolutely not be mixed, because it does a disservice to both.

However, I really doubt the majority of heterosexual people in this country would vote for that (even though some of you guys totally would, because you're awesome!), and as long as marriage is NOT considered a religious contract, but a legal/governmental recognition with exclusive rights not allowed to those of the LGBT community who would like to get married, then it's only justice to allow us to enter into these contracts.

I suspect he's not too far away from coming to that conclusion himself, with the way his argument has progressed.

I don't need anyone to agree with how I live my life -- you can think I'm going to burn in the depths of hell all you want -- I just want my rights.
posted by jnaps at 3:17 PM on March 24, 2011 [23 favorites]


One large part of the church's worry about gay marriage (perhaps even the primary part of it) is a worry that without action, the state will be able to declare whom the church can or cannot marry
Okay first of all, the state already decided you guys couldn't do multiple marriages. It's already interfered. And the result was that you totally changed a fundamental part of your religion to comply with the law and now you think polygamy is totally wrong.

Secondly, gay marriage advocates actually want to prevent the government from deciding who you can't marry. Their goal is actually the same as yours is, supposedly.
posted by delmoi at 3:18 PM on March 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't practicing magic impede your spiritual growth?
posted by lumpenprole at 3:18 PM on March 24, 2011


Wouldn't practicing magic impede your spiritual growth?

Last guy that turned water into wine, walked on water, cured serious wounds and fed a huge crowd with a few loaves of bread came back from the dead and then ascended to sit next to God.

So I'd say magic has a pretty good track record, spiritually.
posted by GuyZero at 3:19 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


delmoi: if I remember right, Ken is pro gay marriage but he was also quite defensive about the church's actions in re Prop 8. I remember being quite saddened by some of the blog posts and forum threads at the time.
posted by kmz at 3:23 PM on March 24, 2011


This seems like a mountain out of a molehill, tbh.
posted by empath at 3:24 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


One large part of the church's worry about gay marriage (perhaps even the primary part of it) is a worry that without action, the state will be able to declare whom the church can or cannot marry, as marriage is the central religious ordinance in the church.

The funny thing is, the state already is doing this. If, as God is wont to do, he changed his mind and told the Mormon church patriarch tomorrow that same-sex marriage is no longer a sin, the church would be legally forbidden from marrying people of the same sex by the state.
posted by mullingitover at 3:24 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What are the statistical chances of two Mormon sci-fi fantasy authors being so deeply and profoundly closeted obsessed with the private lives of gay men? The odds must be astronomical, like billions to one. If it isn't proof that God exists, that has to be worth five or six thetans, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 PM on March 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


The funny thing is, the state already is doing this. If, as God is wont to do, he changed his mind and told the Mormon church patriarch tomorrow that same-sex marriage is no longer a sin, the church would be legally forbidden from marrying people of the same sex by the state.
I doubt Utah's state laws would stay out of synch with the Mormon church for long. Of course it would be different in other states.
posted by delmoi at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2011


Thank goodness someone has taken the time and energy to stand up against the overwhelming moral menace of gay fantasy creatures.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Er, is anyone actually reading the first essay instead of just a few out-of-context pull quotes?

Sanderson spends the bulk of it pleading for tolerance and understanding for gay people with people whom he believes can and will ostracise their own children if they turn out to be gay, and who deny the right of gay people to exist. He defends Rowling's decision to put a prominent, positive gay character in her work, and the value of the work for teaching understanding of gay people to its readers. He's extremely liberal by Mormon standards, and uses language far more likely to convince other Mormons to tolerate and accept gay people's existence, let alone form civil unions or get married or whatever.

Sure, he's not as liberal as we are, but he's being treated like he's some right-wing gaybashing trog, when really, when you look at the baseline and the host population he came from, he's already come a lot further towards our views than many of the others.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 3:31 PM on March 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


Government and religion should absolutely not be mixed, because it does a disservice to both.

Well, in the case of marriage as it currently stands, it's already not mixed. There's no requirement that you be married in a church before the government will recognize you as married. We already have, in effect, civil unions. It's just that only heterosexual couples are recognized as Official by the federal government.
posted by rtha at 3:33 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Moderates give extremists their footing. Just because he's not the worst example doesn't mean his views shouldn't be criticized when they're wrong.
posted by mullingitover at 3:34 PM on March 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


He defends Rowling's decision to put a prominent, positive gay character in her work

He wasn't a prominent positive gay character - a prominent positive asexual character, perhaps, or just straight up old. But announcing post facto that a character "was gay" does not actually seem to mean anything.

If Dumbledore was actually a prominent, positive gay character, Rowling wouldn't have to make a bullshit announcement. Dumbledore could just straight up say, "Slytherins don't want me to be headmaster because they think I'm a bad influence. They think I'll infect the kids with teh gay."
posted by muddgirl at 3:35 PM on March 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


Sanderson doesn't seem nearly as virulent as OSC (*spit*), but that's like saying somebody is less bloody than Mao.
posted by kmz at 3:35 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is it with nearly all my favorite authors being religious bigots?

There is a moral to this story; don't examine your literary heroes to closely unless you want to discover that they are fallible, ignorant and prone to believe in foolish things, just like the rest of us.

Except Pratchett.

He's pretty much perfect.
posted by quin at 3:35 PM on March 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "The Mormon church is free to marry as many people as they want, they just don't get legal recognition of it."

In all 50 US states, bigamy and polygamy are illegal. So no, I really don't think the LDS is free to marry as many people as they want.
posted by zarq at 3:37 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


That the government shouldn't be marrying anybody, and marriage is a religious right. It doesn't make sense for there to be government sanctioned baptisms, nor does it make sense for there to be government sanctioned marriages.

What.
posted by notmydesk at 3:39 PM on March 24, 2011


Moderates give extremists their footing.

This is complete bullshit. Moderates are moderate, and radicals don't give a shit what they think.

As a side issue to this, I wish people would stop accusing 'moderates' of merely splitting the difference and not coming by their opinions honestly. It may in fact be that they believe what they believe because they feel it's the correct position to take. It doesn't necessarily need to be the case the some maximalist position on every issue is the right one.
posted by empath at 3:39 PM on March 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


That the government shouldn't be marrying anybody, and marriage is a religious right. It doesn't make sense for there to be government sanctioned baptisms, nor does it make sense for there to be government sanctioned marriages.

What.


This is exactly my position. Government should treat marriages as a contract law issue and nothing else.
posted by empath at 3:39 PM on March 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


An eloquent, articulate bigot is still a bigot.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:40 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


That essay about Dumbledore was great, actually, and I wish more religious or right-wing people would speak like that about how the existence of respectable, real-seeming gay characters shouldn't threaten anyone.
posted by ignignokt at 3:40 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mormon Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson ...

Mormon = Fantasy. So, true. So, true.
posted by ericb at 3:40 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


In all 50 US states, bigamy and polygamy are illegal. So no, I really don't think the LDS is free to marry as many people as they want.

Well, they're as free to have plural marriage as homosexuals are in the majority of the states in the US.

That is, they can do it, but it won't be recognized by most jurisdictions, and may even be prosecuted for it in some places.
posted by hippybear at 3:41 PM on March 24, 2011


grrr. "as homosexuals are to marry"
posted by hippybear at 3:41 PM on March 24, 2011


Having said that, this:

That the government shouldn't be marrying anybody, and marriage is a religious right. It doesn't make sense for there to be government sanctioned baptisms, nor does it make sense for there to be government sanctioned marriages.

...is the most reasoned position that I have ever seen from a person who thinks gay people will burn in hell.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:42 PM on March 24, 2011


In all 50 US states, bigamy and polygamy are illegal. So no, I really don't think the LDS is free to marry as many people as they want.

They're illegal if what you want is government recognition of your relationship. They're not if you don't. There's no law that prevents six people from living together and considering themselves married, and all sleeping in a big dogpile together, and raising kids and doing dishes and whathaveyou. They just don't get to...I dunno, designate each other as Social Security beneficiaries. Likewise, if the [whoever] Church of Etc. wants to marry three men to each other because their religion says that's what married is, they can do that and consider them married, as long as the Official Paperwork saying "Hey, these dudes are married" isn't filed with the county clerk.
posted by rtha at 3:43 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pseudoephedrine: Er, is anyone actually reading the first essay instead of just a few out-of-context pull quotes?

I did, and I actually like him more for it. I don't agree with his religion of choice, or his choice to follow his church's view on homosexuality, but he's thinking about gays in a more nuanced way than is portrayed in the pullquotes and the OP. For example:
The fact of the matter is that gay people exist. They're a part of the world, and regardless of what you think of their sexual orientation, they are no more likely to be "good" or "bad" than any of the rest of us. Putting a gay person into a story isn't an attempt to say "Look, you should all be gay." It isn't even, necessarily, an attempt to say "Being gay is all right." It's simply being true to life.
Emphasis mine. He goes on to equate homosexuality with "drink recreationally without repercussions" -- such things exist in the real world, even if his church doesn't support them. And if people write about those things in stories, they're just being truthful to the real world.

But then he goes on to equate homosexuality with adultery - something people do, but shouldn't, and should do their best to avoid. At that point, I'll ignore his views.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:43 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying his views aren't, you know, nuanced, but saying that homosexuality will impede your spiritual growth is pretty much the same as saying you can't be a really, really good person as long as you're gay, isn't it? At least, you know...not as good as me?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, they're as free to have plural marriage as homosexuals are in the majority of the states in the US.

I've suspect that the concern of Mormon leadership isn't so much about gay marriage as it is about keeping the polygamy genie in the bottle.
posted by empath at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2011


::bites tongue until it bleeds::
posted by Splunge at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2011


Or what hippybear said, because he types faster than I do.
posted by rtha at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2011


The Gay Wizards is the name of my new band.
posted by Decani at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is exactly my position. Government should treat marriages as a contract law issue and nothing else.

But what about protections against marital status discrimination? That's pretty far outside the realm of contract law; should it be done away with?

from a person who thinks gay people will burn in hell.

Is that what you think Mormons believe?
posted by The World Famous at 3:44 PM on March 24, 2011


Wow, Metafilter (as expressing in this thread) is disappointing me today.

Sanderson has a belief system that -- honestly -- I think is pretty much intellectually bankrupt. But, as a select few above have noted, he's closer to the sane mainstream than many of his fellow travelers. Instead of lambasting him for the ways he diverges from what you believe, how about noting the common ground?
posted by ChrisR at 3:45 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, His thoughts, that is exactly the same compromise I and a well-educated LDS/Mormon guy came to while we were in graduate school. No reason any church rank = right to do a legal ceremony, unless the state says anyone can do it (eg, those states that require any number of witnesses.)

That being said, my partner has some of his books out from the library right now, so it's gonna be an awkward night.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 3:46 PM on March 24, 2011


Moderates give extremists their footing.
posted by mullingitover at 11:34 PM on March 24


This times 100. "Moderate" bullshit helps normalise bullshit. That helps the bullshit fester.
posted by Decani at 3:46 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


but saying that homosexuality will impede your spiritual growth is pretty much the same as saying you can't be a really, really good person as long as you're gay, isn't it?

Sure, but I suspect he thinks the same thing about not believing in God (as do many Christians). I don't get offended because people think I'm "impeding my spiritual growth" as long as they don't fuck with me.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:46 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bummer, Decani.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:47 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


But what about protections against marital status discrimination? That's pretty far outside the realm of contract law; should it be done away with?

Well, there's a whole set of rights and privileges that go along with 'marriage', and they're pretty well defined at this point. It's a relatively simple thing to define it as a specific legal arrangement and keep all of the laws around it without getting into who or what or why people can get married. If some person or group of people want to define themselves as 'married', then they should be able to draw up a contract and be done with it.
posted by empath at 3:47 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Instead of lambasting him for the ways he diverges from what you believe, how about noting the common ground?
posted by ChrisR at 11:45 PM on March 24


Because, err, we're okay with the common ground and not with the divergence?
posted by Decani at 3:48 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for the state dictating who the church can marry, in fairness, the state has already told Mormons they can't have 5 wives, so his concerns has some precedents.

I went to St Ives yesterday (really, the Tate and the Hepworth garden, I recommend the latter) and to my knowledge, did not meet anyone with 5 or even 7 wives, so that all seems to be working out locally anyway. I did meet a guy with a sackful of cats, but that's just Cornwall.
posted by biffa at 3:48 PM on March 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sorry about misrepresenting the Dumbledore case, I read and remembered it differently and mingled his arguments.
posted by ts;dr at 3:49 PM on March 24, 2011


kittens>Based on the essay, Sanderson seems to hold the position that gays ought to be celibate. Same-sex attraction is not sinful in his eyes, but consummating it is. As I understand it, that's a comparable position to liberal Anglicanism.

Once again, I don't share Sanderson's beliefs (I'm an atheist living in a country where gay marriage is legal) but I think understanding this essay requires understanding the audiences he's writing to and the context they're already operating in.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 3:49 PM on March 24, 2011


Bummer, Decani.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:47 PM on March 24


Goddammit! The Homosexual Sorcerers just doesn't have the same ring!
posted by Decani at 3:49 PM on March 24, 2011


Instead of lambasting him for the ways he diverges from what you believe, how about noting the common ground?

Focusing on common ground makes sense in many situations: discussing musical taste, for example, or deciding on pizza toppings. It even makes sense in many political discussions, for example allocating money in a budget. It makes absolutely no sense when talking about fundamental human rights.
posted by jedicus at 3:50 PM on March 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Weighted Companion Cube: That being said, my partner has some of his books out from the library right now, so it's gonna be an awkward night.

If you can ignore his personal views on homosexuality (which he's copying form his church), the books are a lot of fun. I thought the characters were pretty good, and the magic systems were creative.


ChrisR: Instead of lambasting him for the ways he diverges from what you believe, how about noting the common ground?

Common ground agreed upon, back to the wrath!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:50 PM on March 24, 2011


Goddammit! The Homosexual Sorcerers just doesn't have the same ring!

Rule 35: If there is any possible string of alphanumeric characters, it is already taken as a band name.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:50 PM on March 24, 2011


but saying that homosexuality will impede your spiritual growth is pretty much the same as saying you can't be a really, really good person as long as you're gay, isn't it?

I think it just means they think you can't be the best person you can be, but that doesn't preclude you from being a good person -- even a really, really good person.

Even relatively milktoast disapproval like that can still be devastating to gay kids in the kind of communities where it's a commonly held belief, I think, though, and should be done away with, but still, it's far from the most homophobic position one could take.
posted by empath at 3:51 PM on March 24, 2011


It's common knowledge Brandon Sanderson is a right wing southern conservative. His views on homosexuality are unsurprising, as probably are his views on abortion, foreign policy, multiculturalism and everything else.
posted by stbalbach at 3:52 PM on March 24, 2011


Dammit.

Rule 36: All of the good rules are taken already.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:53 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


oops I got Brandon Sanderson mixed up with Robert Jordan.
posted by stbalbach at 3:53 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The common ground is pretty obvious at this point.

93 percent of Americans claim to belong to a religious denomination, 70 percent claim to attend services nearly every week or more, and 88 percent claim to pray at least weekly.

Yet a majority of Americans support gay marriage with friggin Catholics apparently in the lead. The momentum is in the right direction, if you've been screaming "bigot!" keep doing it and if you take a kinder approach keep doing that because whatever is being done is working.

That religion and support for gay rights can coexist is no longer a novel position that should earn someone any special respect.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:55 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is that what you think Mormons believe?

What do you believe?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:56 PM on March 24, 2011


I think it just means they think you can't be the best person you can be, but that doesn't preclude you from being a good person -- even a really, really good person.

Even relatively milktoast disapproval like that can still be devastating to gay kids in the kind of communities where it's a commonly held belief, I think, though, and should be done away with, but still, it's far from the most homophobic position one could take.


The phrase "smiler with the knife" leaps to mind for some reason. I mean, this is clearly better than actually physically gay-bashing someone, but it's much more insidious in its less obvious horribleness. And its condescension! At least a person who beats someone up respects them enough to consider them a real threat. Just talking down to someone is worse, in a way.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:56 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If gay marriage is ever going to happen, you need the support of people like him, and the argument he makes about getting government out of the marriage business is an important and useful one when dealing with religious people. It's seems transparently obvious that it would be easier to convince a moderate religious person that government shouldn't involve itself in religious ceremonies than it is to convince them that their religion is wrong.

Although, a recent poll of catholics seems to show that lay catholics are rejecting their own church doctrines on homosexuality by large margins.
posted by empath at 3:59 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was afraid of this day. I really liked Elantris and I was hoping Sanderons wouldn't go all Orson Scott Card on us.
posted by zzazazz at 4:00 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


LDS desire to seperate their practice from the state has a long history, and is a genuine concern. It works differently from the Evangelical Protestant desire to police bodies, and to end queer sexuality. Whether he is correct or not, the church being worried about being told what to do or what not to do by the government comes from a tradition that includes the state ending polygamy for them, for the federal government ordering death to its members, and for the Jacksonian banking mess.

It also kind of explains Kimball's recalcitrance around African Americans. I would really really prefer that Sanderson, et. al would recognize that the uniquely American mormon voice is being co-opted by some pretty dangerous assholes, but when the Birch wing of the churches polity is winning (cf Beck), its hard not to be swept up.

(now Card conflates evangelical practice with LDS thot on the matter and becomes quite a bit scarier--but i don't know Sanderson's rship with Card, or frankly Sanderson's writing outside thi essay)
posted by PinkMoose at 4:00 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sanderson, duh.
posted by zzazazz at 4:00 PM on March 24, 2011


So around the time of the No On 8 campaign in CA, I hung out briefly on a Mormon discussion board (it was possibly linked to from here) to try and see if younger LDS members really shared the organization's public stance. Without going on forever about it, the most interesting takeaway was that the rank-and-file forum members were interested, when asked, in the idea of bifurcating marriage proper from the state: 'legal' marriage (the part of it recognized by the state and conferring rights etc.) becomes a 'domestic union' for everyone, and those who want a "marriage" can get one from whatever religious or cultural institution is willing to be inclusive of who they are. (Probably resulting in schism for groups like LDS.) Churches/members would get to protect their marriage/family ideology and the integrity of their religious belief system (even if others find it bigoted, and even though the church may split), and every citizen would still get the rights they deserve. (The church and its believers care about the label 'marriage,' whereas the label isn't essential to its legal function. Under the current regime, with the word being so loaded, separate terminology can't be equal. But if even heterosexual unions are no longer "marriage" except for in the language of the church, then there is equality in the public sphere.)

However, once a thread started showing some nascent consensus on that point, the mods would show up and lock it. Eventually they banned me for not being an expectant Mormon parent (the intended users of the forum.)

Which left me with two related impressions: everyday LDS members (at least the ones on those boards) were not nearly as committed to the Prop 8 rhetoric as were their minders, but for those who do care (members, minders and masters alike) the fight isn't really about restricting the recognition of valid marriages, but about restricting recognition of valid families. Which, in my mind, is even more sinister.

Especially given all the creepy "FAMILY—ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME?" PSAs my college radio station used to get from the LDS.


Note: I know that the bifurcation thing is an unacceptable compromise for a lot of rights advocates, not looking to rehash that or related debates.

posted by snuffleupagus at 4:05 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The World Famous:

Sanderson states, in the 'how sinful' link:

I believe that engaging in homosexual acts is sinful.

I know very little about Mormon theology, but I understand that there is a concept of hell. I assumed that (unrepentant) sinners would go there.

My apologies if I am mis-stating Mormon belief (which, based on your comment, I probably am).

I should have said "from a person who thinks gay people will burn in hell are sinners".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:08 PM on March 24, 2011


I am rigid, some would say tumescent, in my hatred of gay wizards and their soft, beautiful felt hats.
posted by benzenedream at 4:09 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is it with nearly all my favorite authors being religious bigots?

Maybe it's you?
posted by doctor_negative at 4:09 PM on March 24, 2011


His thoughts were red thoughts: from a person who thinks gay people will burn in hell.

Me: Is that what you think Mormons believe?

Blazecock Pileon: What do you believe?

Regarding what? Regarding the existence of "hell," the theological purpose of "hell" or equivalent, the nature and structure of the afterlife, the appropriateness or lack thereof of someone other than God declaring what some particular person's afterlife will be like, the history of doctrinal interpretation of the afterlife in Mormonism, or something else?

Mormonism doesn't believe in a heaven/hell dichotomy and, strictly speaking, doesn't believe in "hell" at all as it is generally understood in western culture. There are some great chapters about the topic in Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling if you're interested in more detail. I'm not about to expound on the finer points of the Mormon concept of the afterlife here, except to say that "burn in hell" is a distinctly non-Mormon thing to say and that HTWRT's characterization reflects the misguided assumption on his or her part that Mormonism is the same thing as Evangelical Christianity.

Now, that said, are you asking me if I believe that gay people will "burn in hell?" No, I don't believe that gay people will burn in hell or suffer any adverse spiritual consequences in this life or the next as a result of being gay people. Does that answer your question?
posted by The World Famous at 4:14 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read this essay when he originally posted it, and it disappointed the shit out of me. Just because he dresses up his discrimination in a fancy suit doesn't make it any less a punch in the guts for people who face exactly this kind of discrimination - that they are 'lesser' people, that they have an inherent moral or character failing, that they can't understand why they choose something, nor what its consequences are, that they are a form of danger to society and wellbeing - every day.

His bullshit argument about the state interfering in Mormon marriage ignores that a) it already does, and b) by banning same-sex marriages that is as much interfering as allowing them is. Banning them is not some neutral position, it is an active position, and it wasn't so long ago a lot of Mormons were facing tonnes of structural discrimination. It's saddening and unsurprising to see how quickly this period of the religion's history as been repurposed. When Mormons are repressed it's fucking heroism, see.

So yeah, just because he's polite about is no free pass from me, and it's absolutely guaranteed I will _never_ buy one of his books - I don't want to support anybody with those kind of views.

Brandon, I don't give a fuck about what you do in your bedroom, or who you want to get your life insurance; why do you care so much about what others are doing?
posted by smoke at 4:15 PM on March 24, 2011


Well, there's a whole set of rights and privileges that go along with 'marriage', and they're pretty well defined at this point. It's a relatively simple thing to define it as a specific legal arrangement and keep all of the laws around it without getting into who or what or why people can get married. If some person or group of people want to define themselves as 'married', then they should be able to draw up a contract and be done with it.

But part of the point of marriage is that it is a preset contract -- with minor variations, marriage offers pretty much the same set of rights and obligations anywhere in the US and very similar rights in most parts of the world. Once you add more than two partners, you get into all sorts of issues -- divorces are already messy; imagine if one of four people wanted to be divorced? Who gets the kids? Who gets visitation rights? How is property divided? Yes, this could be spelled out in a contract, but the complex set of rules, duties, benefits, and protections we have set u are pretty likely to be thrown out with the bathwater in the process.

In short, gay marriage and polygamy are two really different issues with little overlap.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:21 PM on March 24, 2011


Perhaps someone will take the time and energy to create parody of Wheel of Time that features homosexuality, much like Joe Haldeman did with Forever War... nah, nobody is going to waste their time on this.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:21 PM on March 24, 2011


I know very little about Mormon theology, but I understand that there is a concept of hell. I assumed that (unrepentant) sinners would go there.

What little I know about Mormon eschatology leads me to believe it is deeply weird from a Christian perspective (and even weirder from an atheist perspective), so its hard to draw a comparison with Christian ideas of heaven and hell.
posted by empath at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Northeastern MeFites: Perhaps this is a sign we need a meetup at one of the showings of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's new play?

I can't afford Broadway.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:26 PM on March 24, 2011


His bullshit argument about the state interfering in Mormon marriage ignores that a) it already does, and b) by banning same-sex marriages that is as much interfering as allowing them is.

The fact that the state already interferes in Mormon marriage (it doesn't, actually, but whatever) actually validates the fear that it might interfere more. Now, I don't think that's a valid argument against civil rights, but I don't think your complaint about the logic of the argument is well-taken. Moreover, banning same-sex marriage is not interfering in Mormon marriage at all, actually. Which, again, is not a valid argument against civil rights, but just a criticism of your logic.

The Mormon church's policy with regard to the legal status of same-sex marriage is a tough thing for a lot of us (Mormons). The real epiphany for those of us who are uncomfortable with that policy comes when we realize that there are, as far as I can tell, no adverse consequences, doctrinally or in any practical sense, associated with disagreeing with that policy. Or at least there have not been for me.

The notion of current marriage law interfering with Mormon marriage is an interesting one, though, since it assumes that, absent current law with regard to polygamy, the Mormon church would reinstate plural marriage as a doctrinal mandate for some of its members. I'm not sure how safe that assumption is. It's one that I'm not terribly comfortable with, and I know that it's the wedge issue for several high-profile ex-Mormons who I greatly respect and admire.
posted by The World Famous at 4:26 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mormons are so friendly, though.
posted by clarknova at 4:34 PM on March 24, 2011


The World Famous: Thank you. I apologise for posting in ignorance and have already moderated my statement.

According to the last two links:

So, I favor legislation that moves EVERYONE toward getting only civil unions, and allow different churches to define marriage how they will.

The church supports civil unions. It supports equality in all legal regards for gay unions. It believes that marriage is a religious ordinance, not a civil one. To agree to them would be to condone a sinful lifestyle.


Isn't this how we want religious groups to behave? Believe what you want, but don't try to disenfranchise those who disagree?

The LDS position is still a problem for gay Mormons, but that's a whole other thing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:34 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now, that said, are you asking me if I believe that gay people will "burn in hell?" No, I don't believe that gay people will burn in hell or suffer any adverse spiritual consequences in this life or the next as a result of being gay people.

Based on this, it would appear that pretty much everyone eventually goes to heaven except people who reject Christ in this life AND the next. I don't know the specifics on where gays are supposed to go, but an absolutely worst case scenario is that they have to hang out in Spirit Prison for 1000 years, and then get to go to Telestial Heaven, which seems to be the most fun of the 3 heavens, to me.
According to the LDS scripture, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76, those who will inhabit the telestial kingdom include those "who received not the gospel of Christ, nor the testimony of Jesus."[22] It also includes "liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie."[23] Because of their refusal to accept Jesus as their Savior, these individuals will remain in Spirit prison[24] for 1000 years during the millennial reign of Christ.[25] After the 1000 years, the individuals will be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body and be assigned to the telestial kingdom.[26]
Joseph Smith taught that individuals in the telestial kingdom will be servants of God, but "where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end";[27] however, they will receive the ministration of the Holy Ghost and beings from the terrestrial kingdom.[28] Despite these limitations, in LDS theology being resident in the telestial kingdom is not an unpleasant experience: "the glory of the telestial ... surpasses all understanding".[29]
Joseph Smith also taught that just as there are different degrees of glory within the celestial kingdom (D&C 131:1-4), there are different degrees of glory within the telestial kingdom. He stated that "as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in the telestial world."[30] Each person's glory will vary depending on their works while on the earth.[31]
Smith and Rigdon stated "we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore".[32] One Latter-day Saint commentator has suggested that by implication this means that "most of the adult people who have lived from the day of Adam to the present time will go to the telestial kingdom."[33]
If homosexuality is equivalent to adultery, as was said up thread, I think we can safely state that no, mormons don't believe that gays will go to hell.
posted by empath at 4:37 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing that always squicked me about Mormonism is how it institutionally requires its believers to be nice. This sounds like a good thing, right? Be nice to people, even if you think they're disgusting and sinful. That's what Sanderson is getting at, here - Mormons should be nice to gay folks, because being nice is what good Mormons do. Sanderson's conception of nice may be slightly broader than his brethren, but that's about it.

But it just feels weird that they're being nice to me because they think it'll get them more pregnant chicks (or will let them be a pregnant wife) in the afterlife.

The LDS position is still a problem for gay Mormons, but that's a whole other thing.

Yeah, not really. It's sad that we get to throw religious LGBT folks under the bus because Mormons are just so darned nice!
posted by muddgirl at 4:38 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


But it just feels weird that they're being nice to me because they think it'll get them more pregnant chicks (or will let them be a pregnant wife) in the afterlife.

There's weirder.
posted by clarknova at 4:40 PM on March 24, 2011


No, I don't believe that gay people will burn in hell or suffer any adverse spiritual consequences in this life or the next as a result of being gay people. Does that answer your question?

Yes, it does. Thank you for answering.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:42 PM on March 24, 2011


But it just feels weird that they're being nice to me because they think it'll get them more pregnant chicks (or will let them be a pregnant wife) in the afterlife.

Bizarre distortions (or maybe misinterpretations?) of Mormonism like that make me question pretty much everything anyone has ever told me about every other religion's beliefs. If people characterize Mormonism as people doing things "because they think it'll get them more pregnant chicks . . . in the afterlife," is everything I've heard people say about Islam equally inaccurate?
posted by The World Famous at 4:42 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Almost definitely. I feel the same way every time I hear people talk about Catholics, even though I'm a very-lapsed Catholic/atheist.
posted by empath at 4:44 PM on March 24, 2011


And remember, when we're talking about the LDS position on gay marriage for other Mormons, we're not talking about their eternal soul, exactly. We're talking about the fact that they are institutionally enouraged to get what they called "eternally married". They call it the "highest blessing that God bestows".

If a Mormon gets married to a non-Mormon or marries anyone outside the temple, that's a Temporal marriage:
Marriage between believers and unbelievers is defective; as it continues only “until death do you part.” A betrothal confers the general rights and obligations of marriage; but, the marriage celebration should be held at the earliest opportunity. Only marriage between believers, by one holding proper divine authority, is for time and eternity.
I assume the same would apply to gay marriages.

Bizarre distortions (or maybe misinterpretations?) of Mormonism like that make me question pretty much everything anyone has ever told me about every other religion's beliefs. If people characterize Mormonism as people doing things "because they think it'll get them more pregnant chicks . . . in the afterlife," is everything I've heard people say about Islam equally inaccurate?

Probably. I'd be interested in your insider interpretation of the various levels of the Mormon afterlife.
posted by muddgirl at 4:46 PM on March 24, 2011


I'm a Canadian. When I arrived in Japan in 1994, I initially worked for a language school run by Americans. I would say "Mormons" but I learned that the proper, polite way to refer to these people is "LDS". The teachers were all recruited from BYU. Everyone dressed in mail-order clothes from Land's End. The women all wore long denim dresses and shaker-knit cardigans in primary colours. The men kissed each other on the mouth occasionally. The whole show was run by Mr. XYZ, a probable psychopath from Boston who ruthlessly manipulated the sheeplike qualities of his teaching recruits from Provo. I was taking over from an LDS guy from LA whose wife had run afoul of Mr. XYZ somehow, and was forced to leave Japan. My predecessor, naturally, was going back to the States to be with her. After he went home, there was a lot of paperwork in his office, including some sort of schedule that read "Mow Mr. XYZ's lawn".

I always figure that Mormon folk kind of represent the ultimate in American being. They are clean, well-scrubbed and patriotic. They do not question authority. Nice people, but god help you if you're on the other end of a gun from one of them.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:48 PM on March 24, 2011


Note, by the way, that we do not and can not require the LDS to marry non-Mormons inside their temples, just as we can not force Catholics to marry non-Catholics in their temples. How or why could we force Mormons to marry gay couples?
posted by muddgirl at 4:49 PM on March 24, 2011


Ken Jennings is a big Mormon

Funny you mention Jennings. He and Brandon Sanderson were roommates!
posted by zsazsa at 4:50 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're talking about the fact that they are institutionally enouraged to get what they called "eternally married". They call it the "highest blessing that God bestows".

But merely getting married in the LDS Temple in a temple sealing ceremony does not mean that a couple is "eternally married," either. Life-long cooperation and growth as a couple on pretty much every level is required, and "eternal marriage" is seen as an ongoing process that continues after mortal life. A pro-forma marriage between people who are not actually attracted to each other does not, in my opinion, qualify for Mormon "eternal marriage," regardless of the religious authority that officiates in its solemnization.

The men kissed each other on the mouth occasionally.

What in the hell?
posted by The World Famous at 4:51 PM on March 24, 2011


Again: Let marriage be a civil affair. If a church does not want to hold Gay Weddings, that's their right. But marriage, as a legal thang, should be a civil matter.
posted by GilloD at 4:54 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The World Famous, my point stands: his argument is a slippery slope one based - in that para at any rate - not on the results of gay marriage itself, but what else may happen if that's allowed. It implies that the current state of affairs represents a base or neutral, which ignores the role of marriage as a dynamic institution that has changed a lot over time. And, like most slippery slope arguments, it's bullshit.
posted by smoke at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2011


How or why could we force Mormons to marry gay couples?

I don't think anyone in this thread is arguing that the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints should be required by law, be it federal or state, to perform wedding rites on anyone, be they same-sex or not.

I also don't think that anyone is arguing that we should be kidnapping Mormon men from Utah and whisking them away to Iowa for a quickie gay wedding.

What are you arguing?
posted by hippybear at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


They are clean, well-scrubbed and patriotic. They do not question authority. Nice people, but god help you if you're on the other end of a gun from one of them.

Hi! I'm "one of them!" Stop stereotyping, please! Imagine, as you write something like that, that you are referring to some other religious or ethnic group and then consider whether what you're writing is offensive! Replace the word "they" with, for example, "Jews," "Catholics," "Asians," "Gays," or "Muslims" and consider whether what you're writing is a good idea or whether, just maybe, you're suspending your usual rules for stereotyping people because you think Mormons are somehow exempt!
posted by The World Famous at 4:56 PM on March 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, that whole disband civil marriage and institute domestic partnerships for all thing, I've heard that a lot. Mostly from libertarians who are anti-gay, but 'friendly'. Thing is, that plan is never going to happen. Who is going to start that up? If gay people tried that they would literally be attacking the institution of marriage. Straight people who don't like gay marriage haven't started anything, though it's been a decade since I started heard this plan.

For me, this tactic always seems like someone saying, look! I have this eminently reasonable position, you can't criticize me. And as a bonus, I'll still fight against your rights.
posted by Garm at 4:58 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always figure that Mormon folk...

Geez, the anecdotes and generalization around here...I'm chortling in my shaker-knit pants.
posted by circular at 4:59 PM on March 24, 2011


What are you arguing?

I think she's saying Sanderson/the church's fears are unfounded.
posted by kmz at 5:06 PM on March 24, 2011


If gay people tried that they would literally be attacking the institution of marriage.

How so? It just puts marriage in the realm of religion where it belongs.
posted by empath at 5:07 PM on March 24, 2011


Of course now that I say that, it does seem like kind of a silly thing for an atheist to say, since I've just ruled myself out from ever getting married if they do that.
posted by empath at 5:08 PM on March 24, 2011


I think she's saying Sanderson/the church's fears are unfounded.

You know, I have not yet been able to figure out which of the Church's "fears" are actual fears or doctrinal points and which ones are just part of the litany of half-baked legal arguments and/or theories that have been tossed around. There tends to be a lot of eye rolling by us Mormon attorneys whenever we hear about the various "fears" about same-sex marriage. One frustrating thing is that people like Sanderson have no way of knowing what is an actual religious position and what is just a legal argument, while people like me just throw our hands up and toss it all out as legal argument.
posted by The World Famous at 5:16 PM on March 24, 2011


(and when I say "toss it all out," I mean discard it.)
posted by The World Famous at 5:17 PM on March 24, 2011


I also don't think that anyone is arguing that we should be kidnapping Mormon men from Utah and whisking them away to Iowa for a quickie gay wedding.

Mormon Fantasy?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:19 PM on March 24, 2011


I feel compelled to share the Ted Alexandro bit:

Dumbledore, it turns out, is a gay. The author, J. K. Rowling, sent out a press release saying that the character, Dumbledore, in Harry Potter is homosexual. Some people lost their minds. “I can’t believe he’s gay.” I’m like, “Really? You can’t believe he’s gay, but you can believe he’s a wizard? Gay people actually exist.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:29 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Moderate" bullshit helps normalise bullshit. That helps the bullshit fester.

The difference between moderate bullshit and extreme bullshit is that the purveyor of moderate bullshit can often be reasoned with. Fifty years ago, almost every straight person in America thought homosexuality was either a sin or a mental disorder. Changing that as much as it has changed has required a lot of reasoned discussion with a lot of moderate bullshitters.
posted by steambadger at 5:39 PM on March 24, 2011


But Dumbledore is a wizard. His soul already belongs to Satan. Does it really make a difference that he consorts with incubi rather than succubi?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:42 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


About the Heaven thing...

The difficult bit is that people who reject the Church (who knew the truth and turned their back on it, in the words of one of my sunday school teachers), are those sent to outer darkness--or the place that is a total absence of god (actually fairly close to Sheal(sp) in Jewish thought and some writing of hte last pope).

So Lust will get you sent to spirit prision, where you can think, and pray, and reconsider, and maybe be sprung to the lower level (a place that Smith said if you saw it you would kill yrself to go there). But for some glbtq folks because they have been excommed, they have rejected God, and risk being sent to outer darkness.

What I wonder about, is the emerging dissent from faithful mormons about issues of gender and sexuality, esp. in terms of the proclaimaiton of the family, means that rejecting that proclamtion is rejecting the church.

i dont know for sure--though there are some apostles who have gotten v. close to making that arguement, and it might be one that Sanderson is tlaking about.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:45 PM on March 24, 2011


Because, err, we're okay with the common ground and not with the divergence?

That doesn't strike me as a winning argument - intolerance of divergent spirituality is very similar to intolerance of divergent sexuality. I grew up Roman Catholic and now I'm an atheist, but arriving at that position required many years of thought and contemplation.

It's easy to dismiss religion as a fairy story based on the absence of angels flying about or regular public demonstrations of divine actuality, but without questioning the origin of mind or ethics then atheism isn't much different from or better than any received belief, and the unquestioning atheist is just as likely to be misled by a political or scientific fad as the unquestioning religious believer, which can just as easily lead to dogmatism or oppression of others.

Another vote for reading the original essay, in which Sanderson challenges conservatives who think they're entitled to some sort of social protection from teh ghey. Far from being a bigot, he argues instead that conservatives should engage with positive gay role models both for general civic bridge building and as a resource for kids whose sexual orientation turns out to be different from that of their parents'. He's miles away from Orson Scott Card.

The thing that always squicked me about Mormonism is how it institutionally requires its believers to be nice.

That strikes me as massively preferable to institutionally requiring them to be horrible.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:45 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I know those of you to the left are probably rolling your eyes at all of us on the right. This essay probably won't make you any more hopeful of our 'coming around.' I hope those of you who advocate gay rights will be bemused at our curmudgeonly ways, instead of ranting and yelling at us. One of the things that interests me most about this debate is that those who cry for open mindedness often seem to be as hateful and unwilling to look from someone else's perspective as the people on the far right. Rationally work to enlighten us through thoughtful nudging. Don't call us idiots and homophobes. It really doesn't help.)

I maybe shouldn't post this because it's really emotionally raw right now, but I'm really, really wondering about this--I mentioned in another thread today that a member of a writing group I'm in flamed out yesterday, in part because of a discussion on race. The other side of the coin was that I had passed on an article to our listserv about an author who was asked by an anthology editor to change the m/m couple in a short story she wrote to m/f because she thought "alternative sexualities" were inappropriate for YA.

So in our discussion, me (queer) and another writers (also queer) in our group somewhat casually said stuff like, "Homophobia! That makes me sad!" And this flame-out person, who had previously presented herself as a Christian ally--told us that we were being judgmental, making assumptions, that we had no right to call these attitudes homophobic, that it was hateful of us, that we needed to learn to respect the outlook of others.

(Later a lot more homophobia came out--but this was the crux of her argument, that we were being disrespectful by labeling certain actions homophobic, and that we needed to learn to respect the fact that lots of good Christians find our identities repugnant.)

I'm really, really struggling with that--in this experience and in Sanderson's article. If you strongly espouse arguments that exclude entire populations of people from having equal rights, or make decisions that erode equal representation, what should absolve you from being referred to (or having your actions referred to) as homophobic? For me, calling these kinds of attitudes homophobic is almost a kindness, because I'm likelier to assume that a whole bunch of institutional shit is at work rather than thinking that you, personally, hate me and think I'm terrible. What's so scary about being called a homophobe if your beliefs are genuinely homophobic?

Part of me wonders if it's just an attempt to police the speech of people who are being oppressed, to retain power over what sort of discourse is acceptable while really transparently seething through a false smile, slipping in subtle comments about how you find someone repugnant. But telling them not to loose their temper with you because, oh, it doesn't help! But am I wrong here? I don't know.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:46 PM on March 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Moreover, banning same-sex marriage is not interfering in Mormon marriage at all, actually.

I think the actual fear must be that the government might force Mormon churches to perform gay marriages. But, as far as I know, any church can refuse to marry any couple they wish, for whatever reason they wish.

I've never really thought about this before, but I don't think churches can be compelled to marry anyone. Even if they refused a couple based on their being interracial, I don't think the government would have a leg to stand on, Civil Rights Act notwithstanding.

It's not like, say, pharmacists, who are gatekeepers to controlled substances. The government has the ability to dictate to them who they must serve, because the gate belongs to the government, not the pharmacists. Their job is to admit or deny access based on the government's criteria, not their own.

Marriage isn't like that -- anyone can get a license to perform them with minimal hassle, and they can be done in most courthouses. There's not really a gate. Churches aren't gatekeepers to marriage, so there's no basis for the government to dictate terms of access.

tl;dr version: because he fears that someone, someday, might take away his rights, he's willing to actively deprive others of theirs in the present.
posted by Malor at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2011


(Helloo, typos.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2011


PhoBWanKenobi: sounds deadly accurate to me.
posted by Malor at 6:00 PM on March 24, 2011


Part of me wonders if it's just an attempt to police the speech of people who are being oppressed, to retain power over what sort of discourse is acceptable while really transparently seething through a false smile, slipping in subtle comments about how you find someone repugnant. But telling them not to loose their temper with you because, oh, it doesn't help! But am I wrong here? I don't know.


Or, he's just calling for civil discource instead of name calling. Because it seldom results in a dialog where people seek to find common ground. Yes, there's homophobia in the Mormon church, like any church with patriarchical roots. It's not Unique.

And to say that people with more moderate stances against gay marriage legitimize gay bashing is the kind of slippery slope argument that smacks of NRA logic. And, once again, does nothing to promote reasonable discourse that can dispell homophobia.

Mormons believe alot of crazy ass shit, like most adherents to any religion. Sure, they don't believe in hell perse, but there are 3 kingdoms instead, and if you're a good Mormon man, you'll become a god and get your own country to run one day (which of course, figures prominently in the mileu's created by Sanderson in several of his series). But, it's no more crazy than other religions.
posted by prodigalsun at 6:04 PM on March 24, 2011


The difficult bit is that people who reject the Church (who knew the truth and turned their back on it, in the words of one of my sunday school teachers), are those sent to outer darkness--or the place that is a total absence of god (actually fairly close to Sheal(sp) in Jewish thought and some writing of hte last pope).

No. "Outer darkness" is reserved not for those who reject the truth or who "knew the truth and turned their back on it," but for those who attain a perfect knowledge of God (i.e. who see Him face to face and no longer have to rely on faith to believe) and receive a guarantee of exaltation and who then, after reaching that level, not only abandon God but wholly deny that testimony. In order to get to "outer darkness," you have to first reach the highest possible level of human righteousness.

But for some glbtq folks because they have been excommed, they have rejected God, and risk being sent to outer darkness.

No. Not at all. Not even close.
posted by The World Famous at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I meant get your own world to run one day.
posted by prodigalsun at 6:06 PM on March 24, 2011


(Also, the whole paper-susceptible-to-evil-so-write-only-on-metal thing? Apparently based on not entirely unreasonable Mormon beliefs.)

Potential derail, but what are these not entirely unreasonable beliefs? They sound interesting.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:10 PM on March 24, 2011


Or, he's just calling for civil discource instead of name calling. Because it seldom results in a dialog where people seek to find common ground. Yes, there's homophobia in the Mormon church, like any church with patriarchical roots. It's not Unique.

But how is calling homophobic attitudes "homophobic" name calling if it's an accurate description? If you don't want gay people to have equivalent rights as you because you're terrified by the idea that your church might be forced to marry gay people, in what way is that not homophobic? Sounds to me like he just thinks that homophobic attitudes are correct or rational.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:11 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The World Famous: Thanks for being the LDS mythbuster. It's adding a lot to the thread. I hope it's not too annoying for you.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:17 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Potential derail, but what are these not entirely unreasonable beliefs? They sound interesting.

That a specific volume (actually several volumes) of alleged ancient religious writings, part of which forms a portion of canonized Mormon scripture, was engraved on metal sheets rather than written on paper.
posted by The World Famous at 6:17 PM on March 24, 2011


But how is calling homophobic attitudes "homophobic" name calling if it's an accurate description?

It's not, and I think it's a red herring to even bring LDS into this, personally. I don't care if all Mormons are supposed to believe this stuff or none of them are; a person is responsible for his beliefs, regardless of whether his church shares them. I think it's a distraction to even worry about where those beliefs might or not have come from. This is a grown man. He makes the choice to believe something. He has chosen to believe that gay people are spiritually stunted sinners, and we're meant to praise his moderate views. That's ridiculous. His views aren't moderate, and they are not mainstream. At best, he's implying there's kind of a spiritually talented tenth who are okay in spite of their gayness, but would be ever so much better off without it. That's not cool.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


The metal sheets of course, have dissapeared, as well well as the magic glasses that helped Joseph Smith decode them.
posted by prodigalsun at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2011


world famous--

sorry, its been decades since i left the church, so those were questions, and an attempt to unmurky.

how does the proclamation work with lds eschatology, though?

ase
posted by PinkMoose at 6:31 PM on March 24, 2011


But how is calling homophobic attitudes "homophobic" name calling if it's an accurate description?

It sounds like the old, "I'm not homophobic! I'm not afraid of gay people!" bit. I think if you believe you are not hateful and then you are called a name that means hateful, you almost by definition won't agree that it's an accurate description, so then the claim to accuracy just seems like the tautology of a name-caller. "Why shouldn't I call you a cootie-lover? You clearly love cooties, you love them so much."

I am not for one second suggesting that I agree that he shouldn't be called homophobic, just that I can find a vein of something resembling logic for why he wouldn't think it's fair. But I don't think barring gay marriage is fair, so I'm willing to trade: when he works to make gay marriage legal, I'll stop calling him homophobic.
posted by Errant at 6:33 PM on March 24, 2011


how does the proclamation work with lds eschatology, though?

I'm not sure what, exactly, you're asking. The Proclamation on the Family is not canonized, but it is probably as close as something gets to canon in the Mormon church without actually being canon. But one pretty important part of Mormon belief, particularly in the historical context, is the idea that no person is entitled to or can righteously say or determine what the afterlife of another person (or even themself) will be.

God is just and, in my own opinion, God's concept of justice transcends whatever dogmatic and ill-informed interpretation even well-meaning people might give to any given passage of scripture or other statement. Joseph Smith's concept of the afterlife included not only the idea of three separate "kingdoms," but infinite variation of afterlife experience based on an individual's mortal progression.

Yes, there are guidelines and principles that are presented and accepted by Mormons as revealed truth. But it is folly, I think, to try to fit every possible human experience into any person or group's absolutist interpretation of those principles. Speaking only for myself, but with the understanding that I am an active member of the Mormon church in good standing, I think God is a lot more interested in the way people treat their fellow beings than he is in whether or not they check off a series of rigid requirements.
posted by The World Famous at 6:53 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


And this flame-out person, who had previously presented herself as a Christian ally--told us that we were being judgmental, making assumptions, that we had no right to call these attitudes homophobic, that it was hateful of us, that we needed to learn to respect the outlook of others.

This is reminding me of what I heard on NPR's On The Media's segment from this past weekend, in a segment about whether or not NPR actually has a liberal bias or not.

This guy they were talking to was talking about how much he listens to NPR because he considers it one of the better news sources, but he feels it has a horrible liberal bias. As an example, he mentioned some hour-long interview show (not a news show) which had as a guest for the hour someone who was connected with some group which, while following the teachings of Jesus, denied his resurrection as a fact and saw it as a metaphor or something.

He went into this full-on THING about how this was OFFENSIVE and how there should have been equal time given to those who believe otherwise, etc etc etc.

Like, there was somehow an obligation in a talk show (I think it was a book promotional interview) to move away from the views of the person being interviewed and present alternate views, or something.

People who hold narrow views never believe that anyone could ever legitimately hold an opposing viewpoint about anything. And therefore, anyone speaking against their narrowness, even indirectly, is directly threatening them.

It'd be hilarious and easy to laugh at if it weren't so sad and if those with that worldview weren't striving to hard to make sure that no disagreeing views were ever expressed at all.
posted by hippybear at 7:10 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]




What about Patrick Rothfuss? Is he normal or religious?

I like Sanderson despite that he is Mormon. He did well to keep all of that out of his Mistborn books, and even had his religious character self-evaluate his religion.
posted by lundman at 7:17 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lundman, sorry, but the whole becoming a God thing is straight out of Mormon mythos.
posted by prodigalsun at 7:24 PM on March 24, 2011


In fairness, Sanderson is a priesthood holder, and thus a recipient of direct revelation. Unlike, say, a homo. Or a woman. Or a black man before 1978.
posted by orthogonality at 7:27 PM on March 24, 2011


prodigalsun: Odd, the whole "God is everything all around us" seemed a whole lot more New Age than Mormon to me.
posted by nightchrome at 7:31 PM on March 24, 2011


What about Patrick Rothfuss? Is he normal or religious?

I would be utterly shocked if Rothfuss were... well... crazy religious anyway. The guy sounds like a complete slacker bum who luckily has a real talent for writing. Or he'd be a complete slacker bum sitting around playing Xbox 360 all day.
posted by Justinian at 7:43 PM on March 24, 2011


In fairness, Sanderson is a priesthood holder, and thus a recipient of direct revelation.

Anyone can receive direct revelation - priesthood holder or not, Mormon or not. And, notwithstanding the church's shameful history of race discrimination, there is no rule that I know of against homosexuals holding the priesthood.
posted by The World Famous at 7:43 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The bible is a crazy piece of shit.

Mormons made up a new crazier piece of shit bible.

What do you expect?
posted by pianomover at 7:54 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, I don't believe that gay people will burn in hell or suffer any adverse spiritual consequences in this life or the next as a result of being gay people.

. And, notwithstanding the church's shameful history of race discrimination, there is no rule that I know of against homosexuals holding the priesthood.

I'm willing to acknowledge that it might the leftover Catholic in me that's seeing this, TWF, but it looks like you're bing kind of slippery here. Will gay people suffer adverse spiritual consequences as a result of having sex with people they're attracted to without apologizing for it? Can a gay person in a committed relationship (obviously we can't use the word "married" at this point) to someone of the same sex hold the priesthood?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 7:58 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Queer folks have been excommunicated for sexual practices, in the last few years---would that not suggest that they would be cut off from the priesthood.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:58 PM on March 24, 2011


And, notwithstanding the church's shameful history of race discrimination, there is no rule that I know of against homosexuals holding the priesthood.

I think I'll believe it when I see it happen. And I'm not talking about some "hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner" eunuch who was "once" gay and is now reprogrammed to be a "former homosexual", but some fully-open-I'm-not-ashamed-to-be-who-I-am practicing gay man-as-priest.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:05 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


there is no rule that I know of against homosexuals holding the priesthood.

Queer folks have been excommunicated for sexual practices, in the last few years---would that not suggest that they would be cut off from the priesthood.

For engaging in sexual practices - yes, they may be excommunicated. But, not for being merely homosexual.

(as I understand it)
posted by Sassyfras at 8:10 PM on March 24, 2011


The Book of Mormon is just the wackiest biblical fan fiction evar. To be Mormon and not question it's origin story takes a great deal of cognitive dissonance, which they rebrand as "faith". I was raised in that church and saw much hypocrisy in my time there. None quite as disturbing as the recent trend towards homophobia. But as the Elders say, "We want negative buzz!"
posted by Catblack at 8:10 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


you cant be a homosexual without fucking.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:16 PM on March 24, 2011


If your favorite fantasy author is Brandon Sanderson, you need better taste in books.
posted by yifes at 8:41 PM on March 24, 2011


you cant be a homosexual without fucking.

As a constant state or with some particular level of frequency?
posted by The World Famous at 8:45 PM on March 24, 2011


at least once
posted by PinkMoose at 8:51 PM on March 24, 2011


at least once

Huh. Interesting.
posted by The World Famous at 8:57 PM on March 24, 2011


i think that the church does split theory and practice.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:17 PM on March 24, 2011


What do you mean?
posted by The World Famous at 9:19 PM on March 24, 2011


i think that the church does split theory and practice.

Most of them do.
posted by hippybear at 9:28 PM on March 24, 2011


this is v. true hippybear. when i was in church, it was the split between ideation to temptation and masturbating to the temptation to the practicing of the temptation with other people--figuring out the complicaitons b/w signified and signifers.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:32 PM on March 24, 2011


I was more thinking about the whole "sell everything you own and follow me" admonition, or the "all should remain single for Christ", or even the whole 1 Corinthians screed about Love which seems to be widely ignored by many denominations while being preached from the pulpit at least once a year.

But yeah, there's a dual-mind thing going on about sex, too.
posted by hippybear at 9:37 PM on March 24, 2011


I'm a practicing Mormon but I don't accept the church's position on homosexuality. And now I'm about to get a little religious so skip ahead if you don't want to hear it.

Let me tell you something about doctrine vs. dogma in the church:

It's actually true (though often overlooked) that the only official doctrines we espouse are found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

And it's also true that one of those doctrines is the doctrine of "common consent," which is explained here in the Doctrine and Covenants. Basically what this is saying is that no new doctrine (or church-affecting decision) can be confirmed unless common consent is first given. In our local congregations we do this whenever we get a new bishop, for example. The new bishop is presented before the congregation and we all vote (by raising our hands) to accept him as our new spiritual leader. And if anyone objects they are given the right to air their objections with higher authorities in the church. Of course no one ever ojbects, but that's an entirely different problem.

Now for new doctrine, the pattern is that the new doctrine must be presented and voted on by the entire church worldwide before it can be canonized. This is essentially what happened with the 1978 proclamation on blacks and the priesthood, though even that is questionable as it doesn't declare itself as new revelation but rather as a policy change. But that's the closest we've come to adding new doctrine to the church canon.

The Proclamation on the Family is not doctrine. It references some doctrinal points found in the scriptures, but it is merely an interpretation of those primary sources. The fact that we members give it so much credence is sad testament to the fact that most folks in the church aren't in the habit of actively questioning the proclamations of their leaders. There's a general impression in the Mormon culture that questioning our leaders is evil or unfaithful.

This is unfortunate because it simply isn't true. Joseph Smith's tale, as unlikely as it may be, definitely has two major themes running through it: questioning and experimentation. But the church steers us away from these ideas and all we like sheep seem to just accept it.

I never supported the church's position on Proposition 8. Personally I can't find enough scriptural evidence to back the idea that homosexuality is a sin. I think the few quotes and reference made to the Law of Moses and Sodom and Gomorrah et al are reaching for connections that aren't there.

I could go on but suffice it to say that a large portion of what current Mormons "believe" is actually dogma and not doctrine and has nothing to do with the true message of Mormonism, which is really about inclusion:

Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye bends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
posted by jnrussell at 10:21 PM on March 24, 2011 [11 favorites]


Thank you for that comment, jnrussell.
posted by The World Famous at 10:24 PM on March 24, 2011


when the proclamation came out, in our ward, we sustained it, like we would have sustained a bishop--and Kimball said it should be hung in each ward and in each home....it's not quite a doctorine yet, but it is deutrocannonical, and i can imagine it being included in the d and c.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:30 PM on March 24, 2011


obv not Kimball, Hinkley
posted by PinkMoose at 10:37 PM on March 24, 2011


If your ward sustained it, what exactly did they sustain it to? I'm pretty sure our ward didn't sustain it, and I'm certain no one was supposed to sustain it.

But hey, if they want to add it to the D&C they sure as hell better ask all the members and take an actual vote. And there's a good chance I'll object.
posted by jnrussell at 10:40 PM on March 24, 2011


It's not hell, it's the "outer darkness". Sheesh, get it right!
posted by Brocktoon at 11:10 PM on March 24, 2011


The anthropologist in me can't help but be fascinated by a syncretic form of eschatological Christianity in which the laiety throw around terms like "deutrocannonical" and discuss the semantic/procedural complications of "sustaining" doctrine without it having personhood. The social positions LDS pushes really bother me, but those aspects are interesting.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:06 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: If you strongly espouse arguments that exclude entire populations of people from having equal rights, or make decisions that erode equal representation, what should absolve you from being referred to (or having your actions referred to) as homophobic?


I think the term for this is the tone argument, right? That the listener would sympathize with the arguments being advanced, but the way they are being expressed is preventing them from listening to them. Like when Bradley Sanderson says:

Rationally work to enlighten us through thoughtful nudging. Don't call us idiots and homophobes. It really doesn't help..

Problem being, I guess, that advocates for same-sex marriage are likely to be quite annoyed going into a conversation with people who can already get married and want to stop gay people from being able to do likewise. And opponents of same-sex marriage often find its advocates terrifying before they even say anything, so whatever they do say is going to sound aggressive and frightening.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:33 AM on March 25, 2011


Furiousxgeorge: The Mormon church is free to marry as many people as they want, they just don't get legal recognition of it.

Careful now, there is an easy counter-argument to that. Any church that supports gay marriage is free to marry anyone it wants, they just don't get legal recognition of it.
posted by VTX at 6:09 AM on March 25, 2011


Except that marriage is identified in US law as between two people. The question is whether those two people have to be a man and a woman. The argument is that gay men and lesbians are being denied a freedom straight people have (to form a pair-bond legally recognised as marriage). Nobody has the right to form polygynous relationships legally recognised as group marriage, so it's not a question of inequality. Whether a church declares two or six people of any gender or gender combination married is irrelevant to the question of the legal right of two people in a relationship to be legally recognised as married. Sympathetic Episcopalian priests have been blessing gay relationships in a ceremony that looks a lot like marriage for a good while, but those marriages aren't usually legally recognised.

On the importance of thoughtful nudging, this very sweary post to reddit is identified by Sanderson as precisely the kind of response that he doesn't think is helpful at all. But it's oddly exhilarating to read.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:31 AM on March 25, 2011


I think the term for this is the tone argument, right? That the listener would sympathize with the arguments being advanced, but the way they are being expressed is preventing them from listening to them.

Well, to me the tone argument is really about who you are trying to convince of what.

If you just want to convince other people that the guy you are talking to is an asshole, than fire away. But if you want to convince the guy to not be such an asshole, it might be better to not just call them an asshole, especially if they don't think they're being one.
posted by empath at 6:41 AM on March 25, 2011


jnrussell: "Now for new doctrine, the pattern is that the new doctrine must be presented and voted on by the entire church worldwide before it can be canonized. This is essentially what happened with the 1978 proclamation on blacks and the priesthood, though even that is questionable as it doesn't declare itself as new revelation but rather as a policy change. But that's the closest we've come to adding new doctrine to the church canon.

The Proclamation on the Family is not doctrine. It references some doctrinal points found in the scriptures, but it is merely an interpretation of those primary sources. The fact that we members give it so much credence is sad testament to the fact that most folks in the church aren't in the habit of actively questioning the proclamations of their leaders. There's a general impression in the Mormon culture that questioning our leaders is evil or unfaithful
"

As a theologically liberal Catholic in an increasingly conservative Church, let me give some unsolicited advice. KEEP UP THAT TRADITION OF QUESTIONING YOUR LEADERS, YOU DON'T WANT TO BE COME US! We need folks like Karl Rahner doing intellectual gymnastics to excuse disagreeing with the all-mighty magisterium. You guys get to VOTE. Oh what we wouldn't fucking give in our church to give a big old thumbs down to Pope Palpatine and Bishop Pee-Wee. Fight it, man, fight it! Don't become us.
posted by charred husk at 7:03 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Careful now, there is an easy counter-argument to that. Any church that supports gay marriage is free to marry anyone it wants, they just don't get legal recognition of it.

Well, for the record, churches such as Metropolitan Community Church have been doing gay wedding ceremonies for decades. The marriages haven't been recognized as legal binding entities under the law, but yes. A church can perform a marriage ceremony for anyone it wants.
posted by hippybear at 7:35 AM on March 25, 2011


Well, to me the tone argument is really about who you are trying to convince of what.


Sure, but it's almost always retroactive - "I would have listened to you, but your tone was too aggressive". You're specifying the terms under which you might be prepared to listen to the next guy, but also making it clear that you're not going to listen to this guy.

In this case, Sanderson is certainly not the most intemperate even within the set of LDS science fiction writers, and his broad position (that all legal partnerships, gay and straight, should be secular, and marriage should then be a term reserved for religious and cultural acknowledgements of that union with no legal force) is one that I think a lot of liberals would absolutely agree with.

However. If you say:
One large part of the church's worry about gay marriage (perhaps even the primary part of it) is a worry that without action, the state will be able to declare whom the church can or cannot marry, as marriage is the central religious ordinance in the church. This is as scary to us as the lack of gay marriage is to you [emphasis mine], and I do wonder if maybe our knee-jerk reaction was hasty.
You are comparing the fear that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage will result in the C of the LDS being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies - a situation so unlikely as to be on a par with the fear that, e.g., President Obama, if elected to a second term, will replace the laws of the United States with Sharia law - with the actual, current, real-life condition of same-sex couples whose relationship cannot be legally recognized as marriage.

And if you then agree that this consequence is very unlikely, and maybe it was a bad idea to campaign so hard against same-sex marriage, but it's so scary that the onus is on people to be considerate of that fear by being nice and polite as they are kept from their partner's health insurance benefits, say, rather than on the Church to confront the illusory nature of its fears ... well, I don't like harsh language, but I can see why it might inspire some.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:51 AM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


God, speaking of Mormon SF writers and homosexuality, does anyone remember Orson Scott Card's Songbird?
posted by prefpara at 8:28 AM on March 25, 2011


OH sigh. Why did he have to turn out to be an asshole too? What is it with nearly all my favorite authors being religious bigots?

I wonder if there's a correlation between being a religious bigot and being really involved in make-believe?

altho i may have no place to talk, my DnD campaign ended with an ascent to godhood, so maybe i'm a secret mormon too
posted by FatherDagon at 9:16 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Careful now, there is an easy counter-argument to that. Any church that supports gay marriage is free to marry anyone it wants, they just don't get legal recognition of it.

How is that a counter-argument? We're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions; we're asking for legal recognition of them. At this point in time, churches and other religious organizations can't grant that. Simply having a ceremony in a church doesn't make you married in the eyes of the law, though it may in the eyes of that particular tradition.
posted by rtha at 10:50 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions

Really? I think some people are. At least I've noticed - even in this thread - criticism not only of the Mormon church's endorsement of Prop 8 but also criticism of its doctrines with respect to chastity. It seems to me that at least some people in this thread and elsewhere have a problem with the Mormon church's belief that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions and that same-sex marriage is not ordained of God. Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?
posted by The World Famous at 10:54 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?

You are not the victim in this equation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:03 AM on March 25, 2011


We're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions

Really? I think some people are.


I think that's more of a long term goal that hardly anyone expects much success at, but that's got to be something done on a separate track from the political push for state-sanctioned gay marriage.
posted by empath at 11:06 AM on March 25, 2011


Yes, I disagree with the decision of your church on gay marriage. No, that doesn't mean I want the government to make you agree with me. I don't think anyone does?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:08 AM on March 25, 2011


You are not the victim in this equation.

I never claimed to be, Blazecock Pileon.
posted by The World Famous at 11:09 AM on March 25, 2011


By the words you use, I think you, and by extension, your church, make yourselves out to be victims of a gay agenda to take away your ability to marry who you like. Your victimhood is predicated on a lie.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on March 25, 2011


How is that a counter-argument?

Because the government has already taken steps to define marriage. The argument could be made that any union that isn't between one man and one woman is a religious matter.

It gets into this murky area where we're saying that homosexuals have a right to marry each other and have that union legally recognized by the state but polygamists don't.

I find polygamy repugnant and I don't think its a good idea but do I think that means other people don't have the right to marry more than one person? Does that argument sound familiar?

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of making a civil union a state/legal matter between any two (or more?) people that want one and leaving marriage as a religious matter.
posted by VTX at 11:19 AM on March 25, 2011


Yeah, and we are only a slip down the slope away from man and box turtle.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:20 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the words you use, I think you, and by extension, your church, make yourselves out to be victims of a gay agenda to take away your ability to marry who you like. Your victimhood is predicated on a lie.

What words have I used that you think indicate I think there's a gay agenda to take away my ability to marry who I like? I think there are people who disagree with my beliefs and I think you're one of them, Blazecock Pileon. Is that not the case?

But I don't think I'm a victim. Am I supposed to pretend you don't disagree with me or something?
posted by The World Famous at 11:27 AM on March 25, 2011


Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?

I don't care if your church recognizes my marriage. What I care about is that your church spends tens of millions to ensure that law is enacted which forces the state not to recognize it.
posted by blucevalo at 11:31 AM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Really? I think some people are. At least I've noticed - even in this thread - criticism not only of the Mormon church's endorsement of Prop 8 but also criticism of its doctrines with respect to chastity. It seems to me that at least some people in this thread and elsewhere have a problem with the Mormon church's belief that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions and that same-sex marriage is not ordained of God.

I only have a problem with it if they expect me to live my life by their doctrine. I have no desire (except in the fantasy universe of which I am emperor) to require them to live as I do or believe what I do, certainly not as an enforceable law.

Criticising the rules they have for themselves about how to set up a family or whatever is not the same as declaring that the way they want to do things should be illegal because it's not the way I would do things. I have a problem with anyone who believes I should be a second-class citizen, or that I am somehow less deserving of rights, and I'll argue about that till the cows come home. But I'm not going to propose legislation that would make it illegal for them to think that.
posted by rtha at 11:33 AM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I supposed to pretend you don't disagree with me or something?

Everyone disagrees with everyone. Believing in a Higher Power isn't a "get out of disagreement" card, and it doesn't give you a pass on people challenging your beliefs and your actions.

"That's just what my religion believes" is bullshit, pure and simple. Doctrine is set by human beings, as the LDS church has demonstrated over and over again. It can be changed, and as long as it is harming fellow Mormons, there will be people advocating such a change.
posted by muddgirl at 11:33 AM on March 25, 2011


Everyone disagrees with everyone. Believing in a Higher Power isn't a "get out of disagreement" card, and it doesn't give you a pass on people challenging your beliefs and your actions.

Yes. I agree. How does any of that have anything to do with anything I wrote?

"That's just what my religion believes" is bullshit, pure and simple.

Yes. I agree. How does any of that have anything to do with anything I wrote?

Doctrine is set by human beings, as the LDS church has demonstrated over and over again.

Yes. I agree. How does any of that have anything to do with anything I wrote?

It can be changed, and as long as it is harming fellow Mormons, there will be people advocating such a change.

Yes. I agree. And that directly confirms and supports what I wrote.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here, folks. Did nobody actually read what I wrote, or did I not express myself well or something?
posted by The World Famous at 11:38 AM on March 25, 2011


Am I supposed to pretend you don't disagree with me or something?

It's a free country, so you can do as you please and think what you like, but I'll say again that you and the Mormon Church are not victims of a gay conspiracy to somehow change your mind, brainwash your church, or whatever, in order to force you and your church to marry gay people. This is a myth.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on March 25, 2011


It's a free country, so you can do as you please and think what you like, but I'll say again that you and the Mormon Church are not victims of a gay conspiracy to somehow change your mind, brainwash your church, or whatever, in order to force you and your church to marry gay people. This is a myth.

What the bloody hell are you talking about?
posted by The World Famous at 11:40 AM on March 25, 2011


Did nobody actually read what I wrote, or did I not express myself well or something?

No, I don't think you're expressing yourself well. You seem to be arguing that no one can tell the church not to privately discriminate against gay people. I get that from your comment here:
It seems to me that at least some people in this thread and elsewhere have a problem with the Mormon church's belief that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions and that same-sex marriage is not ordained of God. Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?
I am saying that I believe that gay Mormons have the responsibility to advocate for institutional changes within the church. You seem to be confused by the fact that some gay Mormons would want their marriages to be sanctified just as straight marriages are.
posted by muddgirl at 11:43 AM on March 25, 2011


"tell" is probably the wrong word in the second sentence. I meant something closer to "ask."
posted by muddgirl at 11:46 AM on March 25, 2011


The World Famous: I don't think anyone outside the LDS cares very much about whether the LDS acknowledges gay marriage in a religious sense, except gay LDS members who wish to marry their partners in both a civic and religious sense. That's a noble cause, but both a relatively small and a relatively doomed one, i would imagine.

What a large group of people want is for same-sex relationships to have the same legal entitlements as heterosexual relationships. For some, that means a civil union with the same legal status as marriage, for others it means the right to be married in the eyes of the state in exactly the same way that heterosexual couples get to be married.

The fact that millions of dollars was poured into depriving same-sex couples in California of that legal right, apparently for fear that these couples would then demand to be married by an LDS minister, against his will? And that the government would somehow enforce that? That's genuinely weird.

I realise that Utah had to crack down on polygyny to join the US, but that was a long time ago.
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:48 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


You seem to be arguing that no one can tell the church not to privately discriminate against gay people. I get that from your comment here:

How did you get that from my comment?

I'm arguing that there are, in fact, people who would like the Mormon church to change its beliefs regarding homosexual conduct.

I am saying that I believe that gay Mormons have the responsibility to advocate for institutional changes within the church. You seem to be confused by the fact that some gay Mormons would want their marriages to be sanctified just as straight marriages are.

Oh for crying out loud. You're literally not reading what I wrote. I am saying, as I said above, that there are, in fact, people who disagree with the Mormon church's doctrine and would like to see it change and who, indeed, advocate for institutional changes within the church.

Those people, clearly, include you.

But Blazecock Pileon insists that if I recognize that people do advocate for the institutional change that you think they should advocate for, I am somehow a conspiracy theorist and that I'm somehow playing the victim.

rtha said "We're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions." I was responding directly to that statement (I even quoted it) and pointing out that, in fact, there are people, including people in this very thread, who are asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions. And apparently you, muddgirl, are one of those people.

I don't think anyone outside the LDS cares very much about whether the LDS acknowledges gay marriage in a religious sense,

The statements of several people in this thread seem to indicate otherwise, unless they're Mormons and I didn't realize it.
posted by The World Famous at 11:52 AM on March 25, 2011


TWF: I think what was meant by that comment was "We're not asking the government to force religious recognition of same sex marriages." I really think this is just people talking past each other.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:55 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really think this is just people talking past each other.

You're probably right.
posted by The World Famous at 11:57 AM on March 25, 2011


Is it legal for churches to discriminate on the basis of race? I actually don't know the answer to this.
posted by empath at 11:58 AM on March 25, 2011


(in terms of who they marry)
posted by empath at 11:58 AM on March 25, 2011


The World Famous, you seem to be ignoring that the LDS has spent tons of money trying to inject its beliefs about what marriage is into the law, which is not a religious realm. I don't care how offensive or abominable me and my marriage are to the LDS, I should not have to clear my marriage with the LDS or suffer the consequences of laws that the LDS finances that deny me rights and benefits that marriage and/or constructs similar to marriage confer.

To his credit, Brandon Sanderson appears to support civil unions, but I wonder if he would support civil unions that have the same rights and benefits that marriages confer? He doesn't really indicate what he believes on that. I find it hard to believe that the LDS would support that type of civil union. Would it?
posted by blucevalo at 12:01 PM on March 25, 2011


that there are, in fact, people who disagree with the Mormon church's doctrine... Those people, clearly, include you.

Of course I disagree with the Mormon church's doctrine. I'm an atheist! I think it's just plain old discrimination wrapped up with a religious justification.

But Blazecock Pileon insists that if I recognize that people do advocate for the institutional change that you think they should advocate for, I am somehow a conspiracy theorist and that I'm somehow playing the victim.

I think BP's point was that I am a completely unserious threat to the LDS church. Yes, I hate your discriminatory doctrines, but I can't do anything to change it. Meanwhile, the LDS church can throw the full force of 10% tithes behind whatever the fuck they want. Yes, to focus on the fact that I don't like LDS doctrine and yet I can do nothing to affect it over the fact that LDS doctrine actively affects US politics in real, concrete, and scary ways, can be seen as playing the victim.
posted by muddgirl at 12:01 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm arguing that there are, in fact, people who would like the Mormon church to change its beliefs regarding homosexual conduct.

Well, count me in that group. I also want an endless supply of pecan bacon brittle that won't make me fat or wreck my teeth.

How does wanting this to be true equal "And therefore, the federal government should abolish the ability of religious organizations to set rules for who can get married in their buildings by their priests"?

Maybe someone else is saying this, but my feeling is explicitly this: Believe whatever the fuck you want, but if you try to legislate that I should believe that, too, you may well have a fight on your hands.

rtha said "We're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions." I was responding directly to that statement (I even quoted it) and pointing out that, in fact, there are people, including people in this very thread, who are asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions. And apparently you, muddgirl, are one of those people.

Can you point me to any comment in this thread in which someone has said the government should have the authority to tell religious groups who they can and can't marry? Because what I'm reading is that people are arguing that those within the tradition who want to change it should work to do so from within the tradition. Like the Unitarians did, or the Episcopalians, and so on. How is that unclear?
posted by rtha at 12:04 PM on March 25, 2011


The statements of several people in this thread seem to indicate otherwise, unless they're Mormons and I didn't realize it.

Cites? I think there are certainly people who would like to see the C of the LDS acknowledge same-sex marriage on a religious level, if only so gay members of the C of the LDS have a nicer time of it, but I'm pretty sure they are not holding their breath. I'd be right in assuming that the mainstream LDS is in no hurry to do this, I imagine.

However, that's a very different issue from seeking to prevent the legal existence of civil marriages for same-sex couples. When Bradley Sanderson said he would vote against equality in legal marriage, he was taking a political stand on a legal issue. He might have been doing it for religious reasons, but that's really only psychologically relevant.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:10 PM on March 25, 2011


Or Brandon Sanderson, even.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:11 PM on March 25, 2011


The World Famous, you seem to be ignoring that the LDS has spent tons of money trying to inject its beliefs about what marriage is into the law, which is not a religious realm.

No, I'm acknowledging it and specifically addressing and opposing it.

I don't care how offensive or abominable me and my marriage are to the LDS, I should not have to clear my marriage with the LDS or suffer the consequences of laws that the LDS finances that deny me rights and benefits that marriage and/or constructs similar to marriage confer.

I wholeheartedly agree.

How does wanting this to be true equal "And therefore, the federal government should abolish the ability of religious organizations to set rules for who can get married in their buildings by their priests"?

It doesn't.

How is that unclear?

It was unclear (to me) because you said "[w]e're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions" rather than "[w]e're not asking for government-mandated religious recognition of same-sex unions." We were talking past each other. I apologize.

Cites?

Seriously? I'm not trying to be glib or anything, but if you can read this thread and not find anyone who thinks the LDS Church should change its doctrine re: homosexuality, I just don't know that I can have a rational conversation with you. I wonder if we're just talking past each other.

However, that's a very different issue from seeking to prevent the legal existence of civil marriages for same-sex couples. When Bradley Sanderson said he would vote against equality in legal marriage, he was taking a political stand on a legal issue. He might have been doing it for religious reasons, but that's really only psychologically relevant.

I agree with you. For whatever it's worth, I disagree with Brandon Sanderson.

Meanwhile, the LDS church can throw the full force of 10% tithes behind whatever the fuck they want.

This might be a nit picky point, but I don't think there is any reason to believe that the LDS church has thrown anything even vaguely resembling "the full force of 10% tithes" behind, well, anything really. I'm not trying to argue about the monetary support that members of the church gave to Prop 8 or similar legislative efforts or the relationship between the church's activities and those individuals' contributions. That is undisputed. But if you have some evidence to suggest that "the full force of 10% tithes" has ever been thrown behind anti-same-sex-marriage legislation or really anything else, I'd love to see it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:20 PM on March 25, 2011


But if you have some evidence to suggest that "the full force of 10% tithes" has ever been thrown behind anti-same-sex-marriage legislation or really anything else, I'd love to see it.

If only the IRS would take your church to court, along with your thinly veiled front operations like NOM. The discovery process would be enlightening, as much as embarrassing, I imagine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:25 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW TWF, my read on the comment was the same as furiousxgeorge's.

I think there's clearly an argument that can be made that if any Mormon is an LDS member and supporting the Church monetarily, they are also helping to support the Church's political efforts. Which as we all know includes attempting to create a legislative ban on gay marriage for the wider population, some of whom are clearly not Mormons.

I'm arguing that there are, in fact, people who would like the Mormon church to change its beliefs regarding homosexual conduct.

I don't personally care how the Mormon Church treats its flock. But I strongly care that they have tried to interfere with the rights of non-Mormons and have tried to force their beliefs on the general population. That's nothing new, of course. I'm not accusing you personally of anything, WTF. Just pointing out that the Church has traditionally not had a 'hands-off' policy with regard to non-Mormons.

I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone here has said that they would like the Mormon Church to change its beliefs. On the other hand, I do think a few have said they would like the Church to leave them alone.
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on March 25, 2011


If only the IRS would take your church to court, along with your thinly veiled front operations like NOM. The discovery process would be enlightening, as much as embarrassing, I imagine.

Honestly, BP, even with the most sinister possible insinuations and assumptions that can come along with your statement, it is completely idiotic to suggest that anything approaching the "full force of" the tithes of the church is dedicated to opposing same-sex marriage or to any other single thing.

Since you made the assertion, rather than asking you for any substantiation, I'll just ask you this: What percentage of total global tithing funds do you think the LDS church spends on opposition to legalization of same-sex marriage? I'm just asking for a guess here. I'm trying to determine whether your unsubstantiated guess is even remotely plausible.
posted by The World Famous at 12:34 PM on March 25, 2011


Wait a minute. The National Organization for Marriage is an LDS front organization? I didn't realize.
posted by zarq at 12:35 PM on March 25, 2011


No, I'm acknowledging it and specifically addressing and opposing it.

Okay, I missed that and I apologize.
posted by blucevalo at 12:36 PM on March 25, 2011


What percentage of total global tithing funds do you think the LDS church spends on opposition to legalization of same-sex marriage? I'm just asking for a guess here. I'm trying to determine whether your unsubstantiated guess is even remotely plausible.

Somewhere in the non-zero percentage range, enough to bankroll NOM and similar front operations.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:43 PM on March 25, 2011


NOMExposed. Not just the LDS. The Catholic Church, Opus Dei, Focus on the Family and other groups have lined NOM's coffers.
posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on March 25, 2011


Somewhere in the non-zero percentage range, enough to bankroll NOM and similar front operations.

Huh. So, I'm confused. If that's the best ballpark estimate you can give me, do you even actually disagree with me that there is no reason to believe that the LDS church has thrown anything even vaguely resembling "the full force of 10% tithes" behind opposition to legal recognition of same-sex marriage?

Sure, it would be idiotic to disagree with me on that point, unless you are unaware of the other things that the church pays for with tithing funds. But I'm just trying to understand what it is you're asserting.

You're one of my favorite MetaFilter contributors, Blazecock Pileon, and I find myself enthusiastically agreeing with you almost all the time. So it's really weird that your comments here are so simultaneously hostile and illogical.
posted by The World Famous at 12:58 PM on March 25, 2011


It was unclear (to me) because you said "[w]e're not asking for religious recognition of same-sex unions" rather than "[w]e're not asking for government-mandated religious recognition of same-sex unions." We were talking past each other. I apologize.

Okay, glad we got that cleared up. Although your reading still puzzles me, because I'm not aware of anyone arguing in favor of (government-recognized) same-sex marriage who also argues that churches should be required to marry anyone who asks. I don't think I've ever seen that here on metafilter, and I know that out here in the rest of the world, I've seen same-sex marriage advocates be quite explicit in their belief that allowing (government-recognized) same-sex marriage would not require it of any church that didn't want to do it, and they don't think it should. I guess I'm just wondering how you made that leap, given that I know you've paid attention to this debate in the last few years.
posted by rtha at 1:00 PM on March 25, 2011



I could be wrong, but I don't think anyone here has said that they would like the Mormon Church to change its beliefs.


No, plenty of us have said that. The assertion that it hasn't been said is what TWF was disagreeing with earlier.

(Like them to, not force them to of course.)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:02 PM on March 25, 2011


My apologies, I think I WAS misinterpreting TWS for quite a bit of this thread. I stand by everything I've posted re:playing the victim, but I was confused about what exactly he was trying to say.

do you even actually disagree with me that there is no reason to believe that the LDS church has thrown anything even vaguely resembling "the full force of 10% tithes" behind opposition to legal recognition of same-sex marriage?

Oh come on, I was being rhetorical. Of course they don't spend their entire operating budget on political special interest groups - after all, they "only" spent $190,000 on defeating Prop 8 (while Focus on the Family donated over $700,000). But I think it's undeniable that the political budget of the LDS church is larger my own.
posted by muddgirl at 1:29 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh come on, I was being rhetorical.

Fine. But when you're saying "the full force" of tithing funds and blucevalo claims "tens of millions" of dollars, it's easy to interpret that as actual factual assertions, rather than intentionally wild, unsupported, and plainly false hyperbole.
posted by The World Famous at 1:37 PM on March 25, 2011


Huh. So, I'm confused. If that's the best ballpark estimate you can give me, do you even actually disagree with me that there is no reason to believe that the LDS church has thrown anything even vaguely resembling "the full force of 10% tithes" behind opposition to legal recognition of same-sex marriage?

Playing games about what "full force" means does not interest me. It is illegal for a non-profit organization like the Mormon Church to commit funds to political activities, such as those performed by a front operation like the National Organization for Marriage. It matters not one iota whether the amount is one thousandth of one percent or a hundred percent.

That's not really the point, but I couldn't give you a specific dollar amount, anyway. The whole purpose of NOM and LDS hiding the sources of donations and generally being secretive about funding is specifically to obfuscate and confuse the pursuit of straight answers to these reasonable questions. Which is why I hope the IRS one day brings your church to a courtroom, to try to get to the bottom of where the money comes from and where it is spent.

And, most importantly, regardless of the actual amounts involved, and beyond the illegality of that, the effect of funding front operations has been sweeping legislative changes that take away rights from those I directly care about, as well as those with whom I share a common struggle for equality and acceptance.

If, in the discovery process, it is found that the Mormon leadership did not call for donations from its followers to this cause, and did not direct any tithed funds to front operations to the same end, then I would take everything I've said here back, and with apologies. But the LDS's financial involvement in taking away my rights is, by all appearances, an open secret at this juncture, even if the exact dollar amount remains uncertain.

So it's really weird that your comments here are so simultaneously hostile and illogical.

I'm content enough to shine a light on what is factually and logically questionable about your statements. I refuse to acquiesce to your claim of victimhood, but you are certainly free to interpret my comments as hostile and illogical, if you must.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:38 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Playing games about what "full force" means does not interest me.

Noting that "full force" and "non-zero percentage" are clearly not the same thing is not a "game." Were you disagreeing with me or not?

It is illegal for a non-profit organization like the Mormon Church to commit funds to political activities, such as those performed by a front operation like the National Organization for Marriage. It matters not one iota whether the amount is one thousandth of one percent or a hundred percent.

Well, that's not what was being discussed. If you want to talk about current jurisprudence regarding political participation by tax-exempt organizations, that's a different thing. I think your characterization of the law on the subject is somewhat inaccurate, particularly since I think it goes directly contrary to the plain language of the statute. But I agree with you in that I, too, am uncomfortable (to say the least) with my church's political advocacy where Prop 8 and similar legislation is concerned.

I don't actually disagree with you, for the most part, regarding the tax issue, aside from disagreeing with your interpretation of the law. I think you're right to be upset, and I think you're right to want the IRS to take the Mormon church to court over it. I agree with you, Blazecock Pileon.

I'm content enough to shine a light on what is factually and logically questionable about your statements.

But you weren't addressing my statements. You were jumping from them to completely different topics and accusing me of saying things I did not say.

I refuse to acquiesce to your claim of victimhood, but you are certainly free to interpret my comments as hostile and illogical, if you must.

I do not claim victimhood in any sense. I have directly told you as much more than once in this thread. Your repeated claim that I am claiming victimhood against my express, repeated statements directly to the contrary is openly hostile and illogical. I am not a victim.
posted by The World Famous at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2011


blucevalo claims "tens of millions" of dollars

I don't have access to LDS records, but tens of millions of dollars honestly wouldn't surprise me. In 1998 they donated $500,000 to pass a marriage discrimination amendment in Alaska. Alaska, which has less than 700,000 residents. Extrapolating that ratio to the population of the United states, that would be over 200 million dollars.

Since you are presumably an Elder of the church, do you have access to financial documents that would disprove my estimation? I certainly don't. Neither does bluecevalo or any federal regulatory agency that I know of.
posted by muddgirl at 1:57 PM on March 25, 2011


Since you are presumably an Elder of the church, do you have access to financial documents that would disprove my estimation?

I'm not an Elder (I'm currently a High Priest), and I don't have access to financial documents of the church, aside from the records of my own contributions in the form of tithing, fast offerings, etc. I think you're estimate, which appears to be based on the assumption that the church's donations are based on per capita population numbers per state, doesn't make much sense. But I also think that arguing about estimates is sort of pointless.

I would ask, though, when you say "In 1998 they donated $500,000," who is the "they" in that sentence? And where did you get that number? Are you saying that you have some reason to believe that the LDS church donated half a million dollars out of tithing funds to support a political cause?

Or are you conflating donations by members of the church with donations by the church itself? If you're considering donations by members of the church to be the same as donations by the church itself, are you taking into consideration donations by members of the church to the opposing side of the issue when calculating totals? Do you consider all donations by Catholics to pro-life organizations or causes to be contributions by the Roman Catholic Church?
posted by The World Famous at 2:07 PM on March 25, 2011


your. not you're. sorry.
posted by The World Famous at 2:08 PM on March 25, 2011


Are you saying that you have some reason to believe that the LDS church donated half a million dollars out of tithing funds to support a political cause?

Of course I don't know where the money came from - how would I? All I know is that the LDS donated the money - should I differentiate between money tithed to the church and direct donations that are appealed for by the church, collected by the church, and that are passed on to a different organization by the church? Why?

If you think per-capita is wrong, let's go per-state - they donated a similar amount for a similar amendment in Hawaii. $500,000 per state is $25 million.
posted by muddgirl at 2:19 PM on March 25, 2011


Do you consider all donations by Catholics to pro-life organizations or causes to be contributions by the Roman Catholic Church?

No, I consider all money collected by the Catholic Church and directed by the Catholic Church to be a donation by the Catholic Church.
posted by muddgirl at 2:20 PM on March 25, 2011


All I know is that the LDS donated the money

OK. That's what I was asking. Thanks!

If you think per-capita is wrong, let's go per-state - they donated a similar amount for a similar amendment in Hawaii. $500,000 per state is $25 million.

Why do you think they spent the same amount in each state? You said above that they spent $190k in California. Why change the number for your estimate?
posted by The World Famous at 2:37 PM on March 25, 2011


I thought that you didn't want to argue about estimates.
posted by muddgirl at 2:38 PM on March 25, 2011


I thought that you didn't want to argue about estimates.

Sorry, I'm not trying to argue. I'm trying to understand why you used the methodology you used in arriving at your estimate.

Like I said above, I agree with Blazecock Pileon regarding the church's political contributions (aside from what I think is just a difference of opinion regarding current application of tax law). I'm just trying to understand your assertions.
posted by The World Famous at 2:50 PM on March 25, 2011


aside from what I think is just a difference of opinion regarding current application of tax law

I'm all for getting this out in the open, in front of a federal judge, and on public record. If I'm wrong about tax law, how non-profits aren't supposed to perform political advocacy (with their funds or by directing their members to use their own funds), then so be it. Whatever. It won't be the first time I'm wrong about something.

Let's see the documentation from the church leadership to the followers. Let's see the books. Let's just see how the money was collected and where it ultimately went.

The lawyers will hash out their thing, while we can see how people rationalize the rest.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:00 PM on March 25, 2011


I agree, Blazecock Pileon. I think it's a little weird to make the Mormon church be the one to spend the attorneys fees on that sort of litigation when it's my impression at least that there are many other churches that spend a lot more on political advocacy. But if a lawsuit is what it would take to convince my church to stay out of politics, I'm right there with you.
posted by The World Famous at 3:14 PM on March 25, 2011


The church leadership doesn't divulge any significant financial information to the general membership. Bishops may have access to know how much tithing was paid from within their own congregation, but all the money goes directly to church HQ and is re-parceled back to the congregations based on how many people attend Sunday worship services. And anybody who's ever had to use a budget from a church program knows that the congregations get back far less tithing monies than they put in.

But we do know some things. According to this document provided by the church we know that for the last 14 years, 327.6 million dollars were donated to humanitarian causes supported by the church.

Let's do some basic math:

So that's about 23.4 million dollars a year in humanitarian aid. According to the official LDS news site there are 13.8 million members. Of course a lot of those are children, and they're spread out all over the world, so it's difficult to get an idea of exactly how much annual tithing money the church receives. So we'll use some other numbers culled from the same official website (and wikipedia) to come up with rough guesstimates for California and Utah only.

California has about 758,000 LDS and the median income for that state is about $58,000.

Utah has about 1.9 million LDS and the median income for Utah is about $55,000.

Now, considering the total membership includes people who can't pay tithing, like children, and people who simply don't pay tithing, let's cut that number down to a third, and for simplicity's sake let's combine everything:

Between Utah and California, about 800,000 people probably pay 10% annually of about $56,000 a year, which equals out to $44.8 million. Which is a little under double the annual humanitarian aid amount touted by the church.

Now just for fun let's assume that globally about 4.3 million Mormons pay about $2,000* in annual tithing, that still equals out to $8.6 billion a year in church revenues.

We don't have a paid clergy. The only thing we need to pay for is upkeep of our buildings, and of course building new buildings. And yet we use less than one percent of our money in humanitarian aid? Where does the rest go?

Well, even though we don't have paid clergy we certainly have paid people in the church. Seminary teachers, the programmers who work on the official websites of the church, actors who act in our religious movies, set designers, groundskeepers at our many temples, accountants, lawyers, marketing departments, translators, you name it. We've got a massive stable of FTEs hanging around downtown Salt Lake City. These people are paid competitive wages with incredible benefits directly out of tithing funds (and then, oddly, they are expected to pay tithing on their tithing-funded paychecks as well). They come up with programs and campaigns and lesson manuals and posters and musical extravaganzas and all manner of schemes, and I wouldn't be surprised if somehow at some point some of our tithing money makes its way to more political agendas, even though it clearly should not:

We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.

Personally I believe the leadership is completely in the wrong to promote this kind of legislation. As a church, it's none of our damned business.

Let me also note that it's very difficult to speak out against church policies. Those who do have a history of being shown the door. That may seem like an ok deal to some, but for many of us the church is such a huge part of our lives that it would be extremely difficult to leave the fold. And if you live in a place like Utah it can become very difficult indeed. Besides, if we live the church we will no influence at all. If we stay in the church, quietly dissenting when necessary, eventually the changes will come. And as hard as it is to believe right now, I do think the church will eventually change it's policies concerning gay couples. I know for a fact that at least one of the new apostles has a gay brother and nephew that he keeps in very close contact with and I'm sure he doesn't share all the same views that his fellow apostles do.

*According to this Boston Globe article the average global income is only $7,000 but I decided to go with the $20,000 because the church has lots of members in wealthy places like the US and Canada and Europe and really has no members in pesky places like most of Africa where people don't make any money (thank goodness!).
posted by jnrussell at 4:01 PM on March 25, 2011


Hmm, interesting. So the core doctrine of the church proscribes using the church's influence in civil matters, and the church leadership just went ahead and did it anyway. What's it like belonging to a religion with leaders in an open state of apostasy?
posted by mullingitover at 4:20 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, getting back to the original question:

It seems to me that at least some people in this thread and elsewhere have a problem with the Mormon church's belief that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions and that same-sex marriage is not ordained of God. Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?

I think this is worth unpacking. First up, you're baiting and switching the Mormon church and yourself, and also two different sets of stated beliefs. Second up, I think "have a problem" is an imprecise formulation. I think that a lot of people, almost inevitably, will "have a problem" with those statements, in the same way that many people outside the LDS faith had a problem with polygyny before the 1890 memorandum - the 1890 memorandum was at least in part a response to external factors, not a resolution that emerged entirely from within. Likewise, the 1978 revelation may have been affected in part by external factors - by people having a problem with the exclusion of black people from the priesthood.

And, I think, some people will indeed "have a problem" with the idea that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions and that same-sex marriage is not ordained of God, in the same way that they have problems with Pat Robertson or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making the same sort of statements.

So, yes, I think that even if you wholeheartedly support the legal recognition of same-sex marriage - which will no doubt go into the credit column for many - "people here" will still probably take issue with you expressing views which to you are an expression of your faith and to them are homophobic. Many people, here and elsewhere, see the assertion that homosexual relationships are undesirable and that homosexuals are not entitled to the same freedoms heterosexuals have (to marry in their faith, to have sexual intercourse, presumably to raise children) as part of a process of othering that helps to legitimize the harassment and persecution of LGBTQ people - including their exclusion from access to civil marriages. I realise this is a very long way from where you want to be, but it might be useful to be aware of it.

So, I don't think anyone will be startled by you not wanting the LDS to perform same-sex marriages - some people no doubt want this to change (although, again, cites would be good), just as some people want the Roman Catholic Church or the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe to be nicer to same-sex couples, but in each case that is at least in the short term a forlorn hope.

However, to assert that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions is going to read as homophobia, albeit acculturated homophobia, in a secular environment and will be approved of or disapproved of much as secular homophobia would be. You are free to hold those views, and you are free to express them, but the fact that you believe God agrees with you does not deny anyone else the freedom to read them as homophobic and respond accordingly. If you want to operate in an environment where sex between two men is recognized as undesirable and not challenged, there are many communities which will provide that - XBox Live springs immediately to mind, although you might find the language a little salty and the position on lesbians challenging.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:29 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can think of at least one group of mormons who are openly opposing the church's positions on homesexuality (and not just the legal aspect)

http://mormonsformarriage.com/
posted by jnrussell at 4:46 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


And anybody who's ever had to use a budget from a church program knows that the congregations get back far less tithing monies than they put in.

Anybody in a rich ward, you mean. All of the less-affluent church units I've been in and done budgeting for received far more than they put in.

Personally I believe the leadership is completely in the wrong to promote this kind of legislation. As a church, it's none of our damned business.

Hear hear.

Also, I think any estimate of how much it costs to run a world religion should take into account the huge expenses involved in physical facilities management, legal compliance, and other issues in countries other than the U.S. And I think you should be assuming a lot lower percentage of members of the church who pay a full 10% of their gross annual income as tithing.

"people here" will still probably take issue with you expressing views which to you are an expression of your faith and to them are homophobic.

Can't we all just agree that they are both?

However, to assert that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions is going to read as homophobia, albeit acculturated homophobia, in a secular environment and will be approved of or disapproved of much as secular homophobia would be.

I'm not denying that.

You are free to hold those views, and you are free to express them, but the fact that you believe God agrees with you does not deny anyone else the freedom to read them as homophobic and respond accordingly.

I agree.

If you want to operate in an environment where sex between two men is recognized as undesirable and not challenged, there are many communities which will provide that - XBox Live springs immediately to mind, although you might find the language a little salty and the position on lesbians challenging.

Who said I want that? I said that there are people, including people here, who disagree with the Mormon church's position on homosexual conduct and who think the church should change that position. Now you're taking what I said and trying to tear it apart in order to manufacture something that I did not say and argue with that.
posted by The World Famous at 4:51 PM on March 25, 2011


What's it like belonging to a religion with leaders in an open state of apostasy?

It's extremely difficult, and probably explains why so many Mormons bend over backwards to avoid these kinds of thoughts. For myself, I don't believe the leaders are infallible and I don't believe it impacts my beliefs if leaders of the church happen to be totally incorrect from time to time. If anything it confirms to me the need to be ever diligent in my personal studies and not rely on, as it were, the "arm of flesh."
posted by jnrussell at 4:53 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


But if you have some evidence to suggest that "the full force of 10% tithes" has ever been thrown behind anti-same-sex-marriage legislation or really anything else, I'd love to see it.

Mormons Boost Antigay Marriage Effort
"The top leadership of the Mormon Church, known as the First Presidency, issued a letter in June calling on Mormons to 'do all you can do' to support Proposition 8....Some Mormons who declined to donate said their local church leaders had made highly charged appeals, such as saying that their souls would be in jeopardy if they didn't give. Church spokesmen said any such incident wouldn't reflect Mormon Church policy....The Mormon Church encouraged its members to send their donations to a separate post-office box set up by a church member, said Messrs. Schubert and L. Whitney Clayton, a senior Mormon Church official involved in the campaign. Mr. Clayton said the church didn't keep track of how much individual Mormons donated, just the cumulative total. He said members bundled the donations and forwarded them to the campaign....The prominence of Mormon donors in the Proposition 8 fight has also led to alliances with evangelical Protestant groups and other Christian religions, some of which have deep theological differences with Mormons."
__________

Californians Against Hate Has Released Figures Regarding the Amount of Money Mormons Have Donated to the Anti-Gay Marriage Efforts:
"Despite tough economic times, an amazing 59,000 Mormon families have succumbed to substantial pressure from church elders, and have given huge amounts of money to California's Yes on 8 campaign. These Mormon families have given a staggering $18.6 million since June 1st and the total grows daily. This represents 77% of all money raised and 88% of all individual money raised (not including funds from the big out of state organizations). In Arizona where a gay marriage ban is back on the ballot after losing just two years ago, Mormon families have contributed nearly all of the $6.9 million to the Yes on 102 campaign."
__________
"This measure [Prop. 8] was losing resoundingly just before the election.

Yet for the past decade, the Mormon Church has been planning to outlaw marriage equality. The church hoped to conceal its efforts in a broad-based coalition.

For the past six months, Mormon volunteers, directed by the Church, misled Californians about the effects of the Supreme Court ruling by tapping into a war chest of Mormon cash and contributing up to 70% of Prop 8 financing, in spite of being a mere 4% of the voting population."*
New York Times | November 14, 2008: Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage
"...the extraordinary role Mormons played in helping to pass [Prop 8] with money, institutional support and dedicated volunteers."
__________

Californians Against Hate: Mormongate
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) has been leading the national crusade against same-sex marriage since President Gordon B. Hinckley issued such a proclamation in 1988. The Church showed just how effective it could be beginning in Hawaii in the mid-nineties all the way through to California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. They were involved to some degree with all 30 state elections outlawing same-sex marriage.

The purpose of Mormongate.com is to tell the real truth about the Mormon Church’s massive involvement and cover-up of this issue. Nearly all of their activities are intended to be highly secretive. This strategy has served them well over the past 20 years; however, we have recently received documentation of just how they operate.

We will continually update Mormongate.com as we receive new information on Mormon involvement in leading the fight against equality throughout the U.S. We are constantly seeking the public’s help in providing us information on the Mormon Church’s activities around their opposition to same-sex marriage. All tips will be kept strictly confidential. Please help us to lift the Mormon Church‘s veil of secrecy."
View official church documents regarding the church's campaign against same-sex marriage.

__________
posted by ericb at 4:53 PM on March 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks, ericb. Which of those articles suggest that the amounts spent constitute anything approaching all of the tithing funds of the church? You know that the church funds the fourth-largest private university in the United States out of tithing, as well, right?
posted by The World Famous at 5:00 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who said I want that? I said that there are people, including people here, who disagree with the Mormon church's position on homosexual conduct and who think the church should change that position.

You actually said:

Really? I think some people are. At least I've noticed - even in this thread - criticism not only of the Mormon church's endorsement of Prop 8 but also criticism of its doctrines with respect to chastity. It seems to me that at least some people in this thread and elsewhere have a problem with the Mormon church's belief that homosexual sexual relations are transgressions and that same-sex marriage is not ordained of God. Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?

And other formulations elsewhere. You switch "have a problem with", "seek to change" and "expect to change", and switching "people in general" and "people within the C of the LDS".

If the argument you are trying to win is the argument that there are people on MetaFilter and on Earth generally who think LDS orthodoxy should in a perfect world be less homophobic, given the number of LDS people and the resources available to the LDS to make life less pleasant for gay men and lesbians... OK, no problem, happily conceded. Although that is not the same as saying that there are people here who have any expectation that they will change your mind (whether or not they call you names), or that the C of the LDS will change its orthodoxy - or that it will change its orthodoxy as a result of what people say on MetaFilter.

So, just to confirm - you agree that your views are homophobic? I think we're not accustomed over here in the liberal megalopoles to people actually agreeing they are expressing homophobic views when they express homophobic views. It's ... odd. Refreshing, certainly.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:07 PM on March 25, 2011


Wait a minute. The National Organization for Marriage is an LDS front organization? I didn't realize.

NOMExposed. Not just the LDS. The Catholic Church, Opus Dei, Focus on the Family and other groups have lined NOM's coffers.
"A new website dedicated to exposing the National Organization for Marriage shows the deep involvement of the LDS Church and Mormons in one of the country’s most notorious anti-equality groups.

Sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, NOMexposed.org lists at least five prominent Mormons in its 'Rogues Gallery' of NOM board members, former board members, and actors, from Matthew S. Holland to Orson Scott Card and from Lynn D. Wardle to Joseph 'Robb' and Robbie Wirthlin. The HRC’s website assigns each individual a nickname.

Matthew S. Holland (nickname: 'The Freshman') is the son of apostle Jeffrey R. Holland. Orson Scott Card (nickname: 'Scribe Card') is notorious for his hateful, homophobic writings. Lynn D. Wardle (nickname: 'Professor Anti-Equality') has been fighting equality with the sponsorship of BYU and the Mormon Church since at least 1997. Joseph 'Robb' and Robbie Wirthlin (nickname: 'Circus Barkers') are the grandson and grand-daughter-in-law of late Mormon apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin.

Another section of the website details NOM’s relationship to its three main sponsoring groups: The Mormon Church, The Catholic Church/Opus Dei, and far-right Christians.

'NOM was so closely identified with the Mormon Church that several newspapers throughout the 2008 Prop. 8 fight referred to NOM as a "Mormon group," the site explains. 'The Grand Rapids Press, The Sacramento Bee, and the Contra Costa Times all referred to NOM as a "Mormon group" or a "New Jersey-based Mormon group" during that volatile campaign.'"
posted by ericb at 5:10 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think it matters whether or not the full 10% of tithe went towards promoting prop 8. It's more noteworthy that the church spent millions upon millions promoting it, regardless of the amount left behind in the war chest.

I'm not angry with the church, in fact I only feel pity. It's going to go down in the history books for this. It's nothing on the order of the Spanish Inquisition or the ongoing child molestation cases in the Catholic church, but it's there nonetheless to reflect that this group of people chose to spend vast wealth on preventing people from forming families, rather than helping feed and care for the poor.
posted by mullingitover at 5:12 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who said I want that? I said that there are people, including people here, who disagree with the Mormon church's position on homosexual conduct and who think the church should change that position.

Yes, and no one here has said they think the government should force the Mormons or any other church to do that. I don't understand why you keep bringing this up as if it's something to fight about.
posted by rtha at 5:12 PM on March 25, 2011


I don't think it matters whether or not the full 10% of tithe went towards promoting prop 8. It's more noteworthy that the church spent millions upon millions promoting it, regardless of the amount left behind in the war chest.

I agree.

Yes, and no one here has said they think the government should force the Mormons or any other church to do that. I don't understand why you keep bringing this up as if it's something to fight about.

I'm not and I haven't. It's not something to fight about. It's an undisputable fact that no one here is disputing. Some people have pretended I said something other than what I said and tried to fight with me about what I didn't say.
posted by The World Famous at 5:16 PM on March 25, 2011


Which of those articles suggest that the amounts spent constitute anything approaching all of the tithing funds of the church?

This is not the point, and your continued pursuit of this reading is dishonest. I can't say it any plainer than that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:24 PM on March 25, 2011


If the argument you are trying to win is the argument that there are people on MetaFilter and on Earth generally who think LDS orthodoxy should in a perfect world be less homophobic, given the number of LDS people and the resources available to the LDS to make life less pleasant for gay men and lesbians... OK, no problem, happily conceded. Although that is not the same as saying that there are people here who have any expectation that they will change your mind (whether or not they call you names), or that the C of the LDS will change its orthodoxy - or that it will change its orthodoxy as a result of what people say on MetaFilter.
I would say the same applies to Roman Catholic orthodoxy and other orthodoxies - in fact I already did.

The World Famous: So, to clarify - are you OK with your beliefs about homosexuality being identified as homophobic? If so, I think that simplifies matters, because from my observation the set of homophobic statements and the set of things people disagree with on MetaFilter often overlap heavily.

(Although the set of deeply-held religious principles and the set of things people on MetaFilter expect to be able to talk people out of intersect quite a bit less.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:28 PM on March 25, 2011


This is not the point, and your continued pursuit of this reading is dishonest. I can't say it any plainer than that.

Actually, since it was my point, yes, that was exactly the point, which I made.

The World Famous: So, to clarify - are you OK with your beliefs about homosexuality being identified as homophobic?

I don't understand the question. Are you asking whether I disagree with the technical or culturally-applied definition of the term "homophobic?" The word means what it means.
posted by The World Famous at 5:35 PM on March 25, 2011


Actually, let me elaborate on that, running order squabble fest. To the extent that the term "homophobic" means "prejudiced against homosexual people," then no, I'm not OK with my own beliefs about homosexuality being identified as homophobic. On the other hand, if "homophobic," as a matter of definition, applies as well to beliefs about conduct, then I suppose it is what it is. In my experience, people on MetaFilter apply the latter, broader definition.
posted by The World Famous at 5:40 PM on March 25, 2011


It has been conceded that the full 10% was not brought to bear. People have a problem with the amounts that were, I'm not sure anyone is defending that spending at this point. There is no argument to have here.

To the extent that the term "homophobic" means "prejudiced against homosexual people," then no, I'm not OK with my own beliefs about homosexuality being identified as homophobic. On the other hand, if "homophobic," as a matter of definition, applies as well to beliefs about conduct, then I suppose it is what it is. In my experience, people on MetaFilter apply the latter, broader definition

I find this slightly unclear, could you offer your definition of homophobia rather than what it isn't?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:42 PM on March 25, 2011


I find this slightly unclear, could you offer your definition of homophobia rather than what it isn't?

My definition? I don't have my own personal definition of the term and I'm not sure I really use it much, if ever. I accept that people on MetaFilter apply a very broad definition that I think is often considerably broader than these.
posted by The World Famous at 5:47 PM on March 25, 2011


Well, I think we can all agree that the world would be a better place if the Internet thought a little more before rushing to judgment about people who just want to share their belief that same-sex relationships are wrong by divine decree. If there's one thing to come out of Proposition 22, Proposition 8 and any such future proposition, and indeed the conclusion of the Wheel of Time series, please let it be that.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:57 PM on March 25, 2011


Sorry for the interrogation.

When you said, "Is it not the case that, even if I wholeheartedly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, people here will still criticize me and try to change my mind (or even call me names) if I express a belief that my church should not recognize same-sex marriages?"

Was that a hypothetical or is it your position that the church should not change their view on that? If that is your view, I can't personally not describe that as, "prejudiced against homosexual people" even if based on spiritual belief.

If you have already clarified that, sorry, it's a long, weird thread.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:00 PM on March 25, 2011


Actually, since it was my point, yes, that was exactly the point, which I made.

The dollar amount that the Mormon Church has spent and has directed its followers to spend on political advocacy to take away rights from gays and lesbians simply does not matter.

The amount-as-percentage-of-tithed-revenue is a non-issue, as it is not a matter of real importance. You know full well that this is a red herring.

The issue is that putting money towards political activism is simply illegal — and, indeed, it violates your own church's guiding moral principles as stated by yourself and jnrussell — regardless of the final tally.

The evil your church has perpetrated is a serious matter to some of us. The silly word games are not helping matters.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:02 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was that a hypothetical or is it your position that the church should not change their view on that? If that is your view, I can't personally not describe that as, "prejudiced against homosexual people" even if based on spiritual belief.

That's actually a really complicated question, actually, since it has some very complicated and heavy theological and historic implications. I think the only answer I can give to it at the moment, without engaging in a really lengthy discussion that I'm sure would be misinterpreted and derailed, is to say that I don't know. But that's progress, right?

The dollar amount that the Mormon Church has spent and has directed its followers to spend on political advocacy to take away rights from gays and lesbians simply does not matter.

I agree.

The amount-as-percentage-of-tithed-revenue is a non-issue, as it is not a matter of real importance. You know full well that this is a red herring.

Look. This has been a long, weird thread. I'm not going to start over on that issue just so that I can rehash and try to explain what I already said. You either didn't read or didn't understand my comment above where I mentioned that the first time and I'm not re-pasting it here or discussing it further.

The issue is that putting money towards political activism is simply illegal


That's where I think you and I interpret the statute differently, actually. But I understand your position and I respect it.

and, indeed, it violates your own church's guiding moral principles as stated by yourself and jnrussell — regardless of the final tally.

I agree 100%

The evil your church has perpetrated is a serious matter to some of us. The silly word games are not helping matters.

I agree, BP. The evil my church has perpetrated is a serious matter to me, too. As I said above, I'm not playing silly word games and I'm not going to discuss further muddgirl's statement about the "full force of 10% tithes," since I think you and I are talking past each other on it.
posted by The World Famous at 6:23 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know if this has been posted yet, but the church's statement on their stance is an interesting read. The Divine Institution of Marriage. It at least sheds some light on their worries and perhaps why they are acting as they are. However, this is the church's stance and the members of the church may have differing views and interpretations.

This thread has been indeed weird. But in between the weirdness I've learned a lot from all of you.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:07 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In tangentially related news:'Priscilla' Star Will Swenson to Direct Film About Mormon Couple Dealing with Suicide of Gay Son.

Film's blog.
posted by ericb at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2011


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