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.
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
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.
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.
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." It also includes "liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie." Because of their refusal to accept Jesus as their Savior, these individuals will remain in Spirit prison for 1000 years during the millennial reign of Christ. After the 1000 years, the individuals will be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body and be assigned to the telestial kingdom.
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"; however, they will receive the ministration of the Holy Ghost and beings from the terrestrial kingdom. 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".
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." Each person's glory will vary depending on their works while on the earth.
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". 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."
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.
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.
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?
"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."
"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."*
"...the extraordinary role Mormons played in helping to pass [Prop 8] with money, institutional support and dedicated volunteers."
"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."
"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.'"
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.
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