This was written to the Logan, Utah newspaper, and was printed, but not put online. The person who wrote it is someone I hold in high regard - we had great conversations about religion, politics and life in Utah, which can be quite unique at times.
I can no longer sit idly by and watch as the HJ Opinion page is turned into a fast and testimony meeting/anti-Mormon forum. I think it’s time for everybody to take a deep breath and recommit themselves to the realities of an ever changing world. Too many have unwittingly committed themselves to living lives of division. Neighborhood’s are divided into ‘members’ vs. ‘non-members’. Even within the LDS church members are constantly being divided into groups to be judged one against the other; ‘active’ vs. ‘inactive’, ‘temple worthy’ vs. ‘not temple worthy’. We even peak over our shoulder to see who is taking the sacrament so we can feel justified in our gossip during our ladies nights while we have Diet Coke chugging contests. The judgment being passed down only leads to resentment from those not outwardly behaving like the social majority expects.
When the early LDS converts were driven out of Missouri, Illinois and all parts of the east and midwest for being different than mainstream society and for practicing peculiar marriages, I wonder if they ever envisioned their great grandchildren establishing themselves only to turn around and become the persecutor of the peculiar minority? Joseph Smith’s early teachings were designed to be a voice of reason in a persecuting mob. When he issued the Articles of Faith, particularly the 11th, I think that was his way of saying ‘allow us to live our lives as we see fit’ or better yet ‘live and let live’. From what I can tell that is what the majority of homosexuals seek...to be left alone. Their in your face attitude is in response to years of the same in your face treatment from religious majorities. Should the saints disengage from this battle outside of the church walls, by adopting a ‘live and let live’ attitude, I believe we would all be able to live separate but equal lives...as dignified as we make them for ourselves.
Religion and government ought to operate as a two way street of respect. At one point in the LDS Church, in 1835 the leaders in Kirtland unanimously voted on, favored and believed it to be appropriate to live religious lifestyles “unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others” (D&C 134:4). I wonder if a similar vote were taken today by current church leaders if the vote would again be unanimous...only this time unanimously opposed to what the early church leaders believed!
The more I think about it the more I can’t think of any reason why a homosexual would make me feel threatened. I’m comfortable in my sexuality. My marriage is strong. Plenty of other ‘evils’ of the world pose legitimate threats to the sanctity of marriage. We can focus individually on those as real temptations come along. The strength or weakness of any marriage is solely determined by the 2 engaged in such a partnership. I do not feel as though any homosexual could force me to change my lifestyle/values/beliefs whether or not they live together or are recognized by the government as a legal couple in California or even down the block.
If the LDS Church truly believes in preserving the sanctity of marriage through legislation like Prop 8, they would also push for propositions on ballots to prohibit alcohol, strip clubs, pornography, and other vices that have led to the termination of more marriages than any homosexual has. The church can and should speak up against what it feels to be evil but the level of commitment, on a secular and political scale, with regards to fighting secular homosexual marriages has led me to believe that the church’s mission on this topic is misguided at best and bigoted at worst.