September 19th, 2013

Marriage and the Church, Sitting in a Tree, playing D-E-F-E-N-S-E

The fight for Proposition 8 was a mess. The effort to uphold heterosexual marriage through law gave the LDS Church a political and cultural black eye. As a result of the political and financial capital exhausted in the unsuccessful effort, and given the continuing trend of increased support for same-sex marriage nationwide, the Church is evidently seeking to employ a new stratagem.

This new tactic is entirely a defensive one. Rather than investing time, money, and talents (in select locations only) to enforce a political definition of marriage that is in harmony with current church doctrine, Latter-day Saints are being asked to voice their views (whatever they may be) and in doing so seek exemptions for the Church.

Mormons in Hawaii, for example, have been asked to fight for “a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith” including protection for “religious organizations and officials from being required to support or perform same-sex marriages or from having to host same-sex marriages or celebrations in their facilities” and protection for “individuals and small businesses from being required to assist in promoting or celebrating same-sex marriages.”

These desired exemptions are defensive measures to counteract developments from New Mexico and elsewhere that punish individuals and businesses for not rendering services supportive of same-sex marriages.

Interestingly, just weeks ago a new effort was announced to promote a constitutional amendment in Utah that would seek something similar to the first exemption listed above. Focusing only on marriage and seeking only to protect churches (and not necessarily religious people at this point in time), the amendment (still being drafted) will say something like this: churches “shall not be required to solemnize, officiate in, or recognize any particular marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of its constitutional right of conscience or its free exercise of religion.” Such an amendment would pass overwhelmingly in Utah, and organizers have their eyes on other states in upcoming years as well.

The Church itself published a variety of materials last week about religious freedom, clearly positioning itself for further efforts in this regard. But again, the efforts have become defensive. As society marches on in a direction opposed by the Church, the Church has (at least for now) seen fit to fight for exemptions to the norm, rather than to fight in the trenches for what that norm should be.

I suggest that while playing defense at this point in time is understandable, given the history and current factors relating to fighting for “traditional” marriage, even “playing” at all is ultimately not ideal.

Athletes enjoy and excel at their craft because of stable and agreed upon rules. In contrast, there is nothing stable about the state. Laws and their enforcement are constantly in flux, and the changing tides of a society not grounded on any fixed political principles leads to chaos. It’s like asking a soccer player to score when the spectators keep rushing the field to move the goal.

To the extent that the definition of marriage is subjected to majority control, then the outcome and its consequences become determined through a popularity contest. Mormons should refuse to play this game, recognize that no stable rules exist, take off our jerseys, and walk off the field. In other words, something as sacred as marriage should be wrested from the state and returned to churches and individuals.

When the federal government marshaled its resources to dissolve the LDS Church, confiscate its assets, and incarcerate its leaders, defiant disciples of Christ played defense. Many went into hiding, some submitted to prison sentences, and almost all disagreed with the government’s attempt to define what to most Mormons was God’s definition of (and commandments regarding) marriage.

After flirting with some offensive maneuvers, the Church is back on the defense. Governments around the country—indeed, the world—are once again at odds with God’s covenant people and are attempting to alter definitions and, in some cases, compel behavior that supports these new trends. One can only wonder at what point the Church calls foul and refuses to play along.

54 Responses to “Marriage and the Church, Sitting in a Tree, playing D-E-F-E-N-S-E”

  1. Bonnie Stanfield
    September 19, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    YES! Please, can we stop playing the game? And on so many levels…
    I know Life is a game but The gospel of Jesus Christ is Not…
    STOP playing the game.
    Marriage is between 2 people and God. Why and How does the state/government have anything to do with that commitment/covenant?
    I know it’s always about money and control in every aspect of our lives not just marriage.
    I wish the church/churches would at least be a haven from the state run games…
    But at least we have God.

  2. Bonnie Stanfield
    September 19, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Love the new skirt length, lol.

  3. Jesse Harris
    September 19, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    The legal push is all about revenge. Laws against homosexuality were so harsh for so long that simply repealing them for a “live and let live” society wasn’t enough. Now it’s time for the sweet, sweet payback of making your opponents do things they find objectionable and repugnant (or, as Radley Balko defines it, “real winning”).

    There is no olive branch right now to stop that push, no argument that will temper the white hot anger. The blowback is coming and I don’t think anyone can do anything about it.

  4. Bonnie Stanfield
    September 19, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    True Jesse. It is going to one haille (southerners short for hell) of a ride. Many may not still be on that ride come the end of it.

  5. Patrick Holley
    September 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Maybe we can start referring to celestial marriages exclusively as “sealings” to differentiate them from worldly tampering of “marriage”, and ask for exempt status to perform sealings. At this time, I am doing my best to never use the phrase “gay marriage”, as it is incorrect, and instead say “gay union”, but I have a feeling that this will be a difficult battle.

  6. Beth
    September 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    This is an interesting article…thank you!

    Recently, a brother of one of our old bishops came out. It looks as though it’s been a very tender experience for the entire family. Many people connected to this family have changed their perspectives on gay marriage in general.

    There is a lot of momentum among members in the LDS Church in favor gay marriage. There is also a lot of support to show acceptance and love to gay members.

    The gay marriage issue is a complicated one and I agree with a comment above that:

    “There is no olive branch right now to stop that push, no argument that will temper the white hot anger. The blowback is coming and I don’t think anyone can do anything about it.”

    Gay marriage supporters are very adamant about gay marriage rights. There is a TON of political support for this as well.

    I absolutely don’t think the government should be involved in marriage at all. I also don’t think they should dictate to churches on how they should conduct marriages.

    But yes, I really do think there is a blowback coming too.

  7. iimx
    September 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Maybe LDS church members don’t live by correct principles? I had questioned some LDS motives for opposing same sex marriage by legal means, and nobody seemed to listen. To me it seemed to violate the principle of ‘free agency’. Opposition to ssm on legal grounds, isn’t that like someone jewish trying to remove pork from deli’s using the law?

    As for financial and cultural set backs, I think those are temporary for the LDS? Its a huge organization, and as far as I can tell has almost unlimited funds and political influence. I thought these weren’t primary concerns, but rather standing up for the cause, no matter what the cause?

  8. outside the corridor
    September 20, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Connor, a good one, as usual.

    Don’t I always say that or something similar to that? LOL!

    Lots of interesting comments here–

    @Patrick Holley–

    I understand what you are trying to say, and I believe that your intent is good, but ‘worldly’ marriages aren’t inferior–
    yes, government interference is wrong–
    but a sealing should be just that, a sealing of a marriage; it’s not a marriage–

    I don’t even know where to find the reference, but Joseph Smith believed in marriage (without government regulation) and taught that it should be public; sealings came later and were combined with marriage in the temple in order to facilitate plural marriage, which some of us LDS find repugnant–

    a mistake made along the way–which was rectified. I realize that that isn’t the mainstream view, but I can accept the fact that my ancestors made mistakes–

    The ‘vengeance’ spoken of is not just due to gender, but to all forms of marriage–

    plural marriage is on the rise, even though some of us don’t want to have anything to do with it.

    I predict that those two phenomena (same sex union and plural unions) are catalysts for each other, though strange bedfellows (no pun intended there)–

    one encourages the other–because both have been illegal–though practiced ‘underground’–

    All these television shows on plural marriage and fundamentalists are the other half of the marriage equality ‘revolution’, I believe.

    If there were no more regulation, there would be no reason for any vengeance or movement–

    people would simply be responsible for whatever choices they make–

    in the meantime, sorry; all of that was not for Patrick; it just started out to him–

    and will end to him (sorry, Patrick, for the rambling)–

    separating people out from each other according to the ‘level’ of marriage (temple versus civil or, if no government sanctions are followed, non-temple marriage)–

    that just gives the pious more opportunity to feel self-righteous–

    the idea that marrying in the temple will make marriages better in a world and church where at least half of all marriages (wherever they are performed) end in divorce–

    is no longer valid. Most of *us* LDS would like it to be, but the fact is that the state of the minds and hearts and characters of those making marriage vows matters more than where the marriage takes place–

    even though all faithful LDS really believe in the sealing of families together–

  9. outside the corridor
    September 20, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    My grandparents had three children–

    there have been divorces in every generation–

    out of 7 divorces, 5 were from temple marriages–

  10. iimx
    September 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    OTC,
    This general topic is very revealing to me. I discovered that handfasting rituals often were made to last for a particular agreed upon time. For example, five years, the couple could than at that time evaluate their experience and decided to make another vow for another 5 years or 10, or part ways. I think this could be part of the continuing ‘marriage’ revolution. This however is very traditional. Its not necessarily christian, but its very old. I see no reason why the law couldn’t fit this in. Or if marriage becomes regulated only by religion, then a handfasting ritual could be performed by a Neopagan priest/priestess.

    My ancestors practiced a sort of ‘open’ marriage. From a christian perspective it might be called adultery. However, the more ideal practice was with full knowledge and consent of all involved. And if no consent or agreement was granted by any member, then the deal was off. Perhaps this might be another type of revolution, but its not really. Very old tradition, but not necessarily christian.

  11. L3
    September 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Connor,

    Newly introduced to you by a friend. Nice to see a Mormon who understands Liberty.

    During the Prop 8 fight I wanted to print bumper stickers that said “Marriage is a Rite not a Right”.
    Separate State and Marriage and the issue goes away. Given our history, Mormons better than anyone should desire such a separation.

    It was God not government that married Adam and Eve. “Legally and Lawful” needs to go.

  12. Lilli
    September 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Beth,

    Your post brings up a reality that I think will change the Church’s stance on SSM. Member’s stance on SSM often softens when one of their own family members or close friends comes out.

    Thus, from what I see, soon the LDS Church will allow SSM because I believe the majority of the members and it’s leaders will want it, on behalf of themselves or their loved ones. And from what I see, most members are softening on SSM.

    The Church has seemed to often change it’s stand on things, because of either outside or inside pressure to change, things like polygamy, divorce and remarriage, priesthood for blacks, equality for women, slavery, etc. Often doing a 360 on things the Church once called an abomination, to now not even considing it a sin anymore, (like with polygamy and divorce and remarriage.)

    So I believe the Church will soon allow polygamy & SSM once they become legal and enough members & leaders want it or the government requires it. Which I don’t think is too far away.

  13. LLP
    September 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Lilli,

    I fear you are correct about a large number of the Saints will desire this. I have already seen a former Bishop who left the church because his son was excommunicated for engaging in SS relationship.

    However, it matters not how many Saints or Leaders seek to emulate Babylon, the church will not change on this and it will cause massive disruption in the church. Wheat and Tares will be separated on this issue I’m afraid.

  14. iimx
    September 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Let me get this right. The new strategy for the LDS church is to push to remove all marriage recognition by law, because its not in control of what is recognized?

  15. LLP
    September 22, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    @iimx
    What you described should have been the church’s strategy all along. What I think Connor is saying is that their new strategy is to create legal carve outs that will protect them from enforcement of the “civil rights” legislation being pushed by Pro- SSM activists. This is not new I think they did this with their support for Salt Lake City’s gay ordinance.
    http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13758070

  16. Lilli
    September 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    LLP,

    I wish you were right, but the Church has already changed it’s stance & accepted far worse things of Babylon than SSM, things like polygamy and divorce and remarriage are far worse sins than SSM will ever be, yet the Church changed it’s tune on those and not only allowed them but didn’t even call them sin anymore, when they used to call them adulterous abominations.

    The Church leaders seem far more concerned with being accepted by the world & caving into it’s members desires in order to keep from losing too many, no matter what they want, than standing for what’s right and for Christ’s teachings.

  17. LLP
    September 23, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    Lilli,

    How do you figure? The patriarchs practiced polygamy. Jacob stated the reasoning behind polygamy and the reasons for ceasing it.

    As for divorce, yes Christ is none to happy about people who divorce and re-marry. However, if you think about it, what happens in the eternities to a wife who is married to an unrighteous man? According to the D&C she is given to another. Sure sounds like divorce and re-marriage to me. Divorce in this life and re-marriage will be sorted out at the judgement seat. Those who did it for frivolous reasons will be judged accordingly there. The church has not changed its mind on these things. SSM though will never be accepted in the temple regardless of how many leaders or saints wish it. It is not the order of heaven, read the Proclamation on the Family if you doubt it.

    Though removed from the DSM-4 same sex attraction is a psychological disorder no matter how the world wants to pretend its genetic. There is also a subset of homosexuals who engage in it for sensual and devilish reasons as well.

    As for the church wanting to be accepted by the world. Yes, many saints don’t want to be the Lord’s peculiar people. As for the leaders read Connor’s post on making friends with Mammon as Christ commanded.

  18. Lilli
    September 23, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    LLP,

    You seem to not have studied the true history of the Church.

    Polygamy and divorce and remarriage are not the ‘order of heaven’ either, yet the Church has allowed such evils to go on.

    Some of the Patriarchs did practice polygamy but only because they fell for whoredoms and the pressure of weak wives and a wicked father in law to take more than one wife. God never commanded it and in Abraham’s case told him to send Hagar away.

    For even many Prophets have eventually fallen, usually for ‘sensual & devilish’ reasons. And they have lead astray many people along with them.

    Joseph Smith constantly warned & preached against polygamy all through his life, teaching that it was a vile evil and whoredom and that anyone who fell for even ‘prophets’ who preached or practiced polygamy would be damned. I do not believe he ever lived it as polygamists like to claim he did. There is no proof he was lying and was secretly living polygamy, just lots of vile accusations against him that most people seem to easily fall for without ‘proving all things’ 1st.

    I would encourage you to study Joseph’s own testimony and teachings on polygamy, that he published ‘during his lifetime when he could speak for himself’, and not just blindly believe what polygamists have said he said and did.

    I do not believe D&C 132 was written or even known by Joseph Smith, it was Brigham Young who wanted to live polygamy and added it to the D&C many years after Joseph died. Brigham took out Joseph’s scriptures ‘against’ polygamy and put in 132 in favor of it cause he wanted to live & justify it. Brigham only ‘said’ it was from Joseph to better justify his whoredoms.

    And Jacob in the Book of Mormon preached against polygamy in every case, telling how abusive and adulterous it always is. He never said it was ok in any circumstance.

    And yes, Christ did teach that there is no such thing as divorce and remarriage. That all divorce and remarriage is adultery if the 1st spouse is still living. Christ laws never change.

    It was Satan who came up with divorce and remarriage and everyone has fallen for it, except a few.

    An unrighteous husband or wife will have to repent in hell before they can return to a righteous spouse in heaven. There is no remarriage in heaven. All 1st marriages (and families) are eternal, even if they don’t end up in the same kingdoms. They will still love and care for and visit their family members or spouse throughout eternity. Spouses will have great remorse if they didn’t make it to the highest heaven together. But a righteous spouse can save a wicked spouse (after he/she repents) and take them to the Celestial Kingdom. But if neiher is righteous and stayed faithful to the other, then they will both be in lower kingdoms.

    There is no such thing as ‘sealing’, I believe that was one of Brigham’s ideas, along with his ‘endowments’, to further try to justify his secret and illegal and immoral marriages & teachings. Joseph seemed to have completely different intentions for temples than what Brigham used them for.

    Joseph believed and taught (and put it in the D&C) that all marriages should be ‘public’ where all could witness & join in the celebration. Of course though, Brigham took those scriptures out after Joseph died.

    So yes, since Brigham Young, the Church has caved to preach and practice vile evils that are completely contrary to the teachings of Christ and the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.

    Thus I believe that the Church will cave again, and soon allow SSM and once again polygamy, for it seems to love these things far more than Christ’s Gospel.

  19. LLP
    September 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Lilli,

    I am speaking from the perspective of mainstream LDS understanding of church history. I don’t know where you found this alternate history, let alone any supporting evidence. I wouldn’t mind engaging in a polemics exercise, but as this is Connor’s blog it is probably inappropriate to do so here.

  20. Lilli
    September 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    LLP,

    I would expect that you only know the ‘mainstream’ LDS history, that’s why I encourage you to study deeper into the real truth, that is rarely spoken of in the Church, the historical documented proven fact that Joseph Smith always preached & warned ‘against’ polygamy.

    If you don’t study things out for yourself & ‘prove all things’ instead of just blindly believing whatever you’re told, then you will continue to be easily deceived by all the many falsehoods that are taught in the Church.

    Only those who are unafraid of the truth will find it.

  21. iimx
    September 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Lilli,
    The OT list of people who practiced polygamy was quite extensive. If it was an abomination, I think the OT would have said so. Does it in any place? I think examination of OT would prove that it was accepted.

    Exodus 21:10 details at least one rule, that of a sense of equality among wives. Deuteronomy 25:5-10 Details Laws Concerning Levirate Marriage. Commentary elsewhere about this states, ” No allowance is given for a man who already had a wife.” However, the verse does not state this, and leaves open the possibility of a plural marriage, or something similiar. There is a possibility that there is some clarification elsewhere.
    Leviticus 18:17 does detail that marriage or sexual relations with closely related wives is forbidden. Such as a woman and her daughter.

    So there are some rules, but in general it seems to have been an allowable practice for ancient hebrews. Why its not a general practice among modern jews, I don’t have the slightest idea.

  22. outside the corridor
    September 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    There is a lot of controversy about whether Joseph Smith actually ‘lived’ in polygamy or whether he was ‘framed’–especially since he was killed suddenly–

    the fact is that he ‘experimented’ with sealings; he was sealed to many people, men and women–

    what that meant it is hard to say.

    I don’t believe polygamy was ever ‘inspired’. I believe it is a cultural choice, and it always has been a cultural choice–

    should never have been ‘spiritual’ or religious–

    BUT, the church did not ‘cave’ on blacks and the priesthood. Joseph Smith gave it to blacks; Brigham Young took it away without any revelation; it was his opinion, which was strong; it was not revelation that caused him to announce that slavery (completely opposite to what Joseph Smith taught) should be legal in Utah and that blacks should not have the priesthood.

    Spencer W. Kimball restored what should never have been taken away.

    David O. McKay tried, but there were apostles with opinions as strong as Brigham’s–

    David O. McKay appointed a committee among the apostles to find scriptural (not just traditional) evidence for the blacks not holding the priesthood. They came back to him with the statement that there was no scriptural foundation for the blacks not having the priesthood, but there were still those apostles who balked–

    so it took another 15 to 20 years–

    it wasn’t a cave; yes, there were some blacks who petitioned for it, but they were certainly within their right, since it had been illegitimately taken away from them–

    As for same sex attraction, there are many biologists who believe that it is caused by chemical pollutions–

    chemicals affect hormones, and gender is affected by hormones–

    there is a biological cause for it; I know at least one LDS woman who worked with chemicals during her pregnancies; two of three sons have SSA–

    hormones are causing havoc in children, as well–

    when hormones begin to interfere with people who have been heretofore healthy, maybe “people” will begin to listen.

    More and more mothers are mad, because environmental chemicals are causing endocrine disorders in children–

    when people wake up and realize what huge chemical corporations have done to their children–

    maybe there will be some changes–

  23. outside the corridor
    September 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    in the meantime, it is very convenient to blame SSA on mothers, fathers and pretend that it comes from rebellion of some sort–

    so much easier than admitting that chemicals are destroying human beings and causing all sorts of things that humans can’t control–

  24. Lilli
    September 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    iimx,

    The people of the old testament, especially those under Moses, were a very wicked people. Of course they would want to live polygamy, for the carnal man usually desires mulitple wives or women.

    Moses was just trying to set some laws to try to protect women as best he could, trying to minimize the damage.

    Christ taught that polygamy was evil and adultery (Matt. 19:9), just like ancient prophets did and Joseph Smith did. And Christ’s laws are valid yesterday, today and forever, and Moses would have known that, but the people of his day would not be righteous and live Christ’s laws, just like today, so Moses did the best he could with a fallen people.

  25. iimx
    September 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Lilli,
    Matt. 19:9 sounds like its talking about abandoning(divorcing) a spouse for another. Doesn’t address the concept of having several wives. I’m not advocating plural marriage, after watching several episodes of ‘Big Love’ I find it rather weird. Even outdated, trying to recreate something which is out of context. I don’t know what cultural conditions existed back then.

    However, polygamy is practiced in some Islamic countries, I find that kind of strange also, especially with the burqas. However, it doesn’t seem as ‘off’ or contrived as the FLDS version. Perhaps because of context? The carnal man? I don’t quite see polygamy as necessarily having that quality. If its truely a marriage its still a commitment. I am not sure how many men would want the legal obligations attached to that. Wives probably would not want that either for legal and other reasons. But it happens.

  26. LLP
    September 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Lilli I feel no need to read your version. I’ve read enough anti-lit. A familiarity with the scriptures new and ancient tells me polygamy is not an abomination when the practice of it is commanded of The Lord.

    Psychological disorders can have multiple causes. Chemical exposure being one possibility. If it were the only cause of SSA explain please why the practice and acceptance increases in decadent societies prior to their collapse. No big bad chemical corporations in Babylonian, Sodom & Gomorrah, Persian, Greek, and Roman times?

    I’ll stick with choice and agency as the likely cause until the science becomes objective rather than pretentious. Correlation is not causation.

  27. iimx
    September 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    LLP,
    Where is the evidence for this?

  28. Chris
    September 24, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    The best defense is a…
    This Utah amendment extended to other states has one non-defensive tactic. Opponents to traditional marriage will be required to reveal their intentions to society by their support or opposition to th amendment. Further, the law would then be required to interpret other laws within the context of that amendment, further strengthening religious liberty.

    I don’t know why you presume to stand on the watch tower and perceive a truth which the authorities cannot. I invite you to do the intellectually more taxing approach and seek to reconcile the principles you hold dear with the righteous conclusions made by those in authority. Can you do such a thing or does the position you’ve staked out take priority?

  29. LLP
    September 24, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Evidence? and History is subject to interpretation as I’m sure you are aware.

    Will Durant’s multi volume world history “The Story of Civilization” has multiple references I chose some of the more humorous “complaints”.

    (Volume 2 pg. 301) the importation of male sex slaves into Athens angered the female prostitutes who lost so much business.

    (Volume 3 pg. 89) increase of sexual licentiousness increased with the increasing wealth of the Roman Empire, complaint by Cato that a “young boy cost more than a farm.”

    If you accept Wikipedia you will find even more references to homosexual behavior and that it was practiced in all ancient cultures.

    Therefore I don’t think that chemical pollution is the cause. Personally I think it smacks too much of Philosophical Determinism of which biological/environmental determinism is an attempt to coat it with the veneer of Science.

    Back before the 1990s the gay activists pushed the idea as freedom of choice. Sometime in the 90s their narrative changed to “born this way, can’t help it.” How better to get payback than make it a civil rights issue and compel acceptance.

    Now you don’t dare suggest it is a choice for evidence look at the vilification of Cynthia Nixon that gayness was a choice. She has subsequently “clarified” her comment and has backpedalled.

  30. LLP
    September 24, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Getting back to the topic of Connor’s post. The church took the wrong approach and is now having to scramble to protect itself. I don’t think it will work very long for multiple reasons. Persuasion not Force is the only Christian approach to sins that don’t infringe others’ Life, Liberty, and Property. I’m afraid church and its members are going to learn a hard lesson.

  31. outside the corridor
    September 24, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    @LLP, I could provide links to some scientific research that has been done with regards to endocrine disruption, and, yes, SSA is on the rise–

    it has always existed, true, because humans are not biologically perfect; every human being has some kind of genetic imperfection–

    but I don’t think it would be worth my time; most people deny that chemicals can damage human beings. I am used to hearing that when I bring up the possibility.

    Even LDS don’t think chemicals (man-made, mostly derived from petroleum) have anything to do with the pollutions of the last days; the scriptures are there, but “that’s not what it means”–

    I really don’t care if you believe me or not; you close your mind to the possibilities by your own choice.

  32. outside the corridor
    September 24, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    and, actually, lead was a major pollutant in ancient civilizations–

    there have always been chemical problems, just not to the extent that they are now–

  33. iimx
    September 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    OTC,
    Some cultures cooked in lead. It apparently made food taste incredible, not that I have tried it. But that lead to unfortunate consequences. You are right on about poisons. We are living in an incredibly toxic time. Plastic bits that are everywhere, elevated CO2 in the atmosphere, pesticides, food ingredients that didn’t even exist even just 40 years ago. Electromagnetic pollution, artificial light, constant loud sound (in certain major cities) artificial radiation. The list could go on for a long, long time. I suppose I don’t need to go on.

    So LDS people discount all of this? How could anyone invoke ‘free will’ or ‘free agency’? I remember hearing something on the radio that was saying that violent crime is expected to go on the rise. I mean suddenly rise. This is do to all the pollutions, changes in the environment, increases in population, and shortages of food, water and other resources.

    I often wondered if climate change is in LDS scriptures. So far as I can tell its denied by most christians, is this true for the LDS faith?

  34. LLP
    September 25, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    So the world has “progressed” from the devil made me do it to the chemicals made me do it. Biochemical Determinism is a philosophical argument not a scientific argument. If you want to believe that some chemicals remove choice/will/agency then that very conclusion is suspect as it could be caused by other biochemical reactions. Certainty becomes impossible with Determinism…but how can I be certain of that? ????

  35. Lilli
    September 25, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    I believe that what Dr. Laura taught is true, that if you’re’ ‘with it’ enough to choose what cheese you want at the grocery store, you can choose the right.

    Deep down, everyone knows when they do wrong, that’s why everyone will stand accountable for their deeds and choices, no passing the buck.

  36. outside the corridor
    September 25, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    iimx, most LDS I have met (and I am active LDS, so I meet a lot of them–LOL!)

    don’t want to talk about the plagues and pollutions of the last days, even though they are in the scriptures–

    because it’s not politically correct for conservatives to discuss it–

    I don’t believe in ‘climate change’ as caused by man; I believe in pollutions as caused by man; whether or not that affects climate, I can’t say, but I don’t think it matters–

    the fact is that whoever causes whatever, we must deal with it–

    it’s ludicrous to pretend that environment doesn’t affect people–

    it’s as ludicrous as saying that germs don’t cause illness–

    and, Lilli and LLP, ‘deep down’ people may or may not have an understanding of what is or isn’t right for them to do, and I do NOT argue that there are evil forces working on everyone–

    especially those who are trying to do what is right–

    I am not arguing that–

    what I am arguing is that it is not *my* business to tell another person how to live–

    it just isn’t; nowhere in the scriptures am I told to tell others how to live–

    I believe powerfully in agency.

    Now, I CAN share my testimony of Jesus Christ. I have a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ, but my understanding of what Christianity means and the understanding of another person (LDS or not) about what it means, may not agree–

    for me it means that I pray for others, but I do not even attempt to coerce them or push my beliefs on them–

    whether or not the physical challenges that people experience are influenced heavily by the environment–

    I don’t think it is my business to tell others how to live or to make blanket judgements on the choices others are making–

    not with regards to something as personal as genetics or birth defects of ANY kind (and believe me, there are many more birth defects that most people will acknowledge, of ALL different kinds)–

    I do believe that there are evil and conspiring men who make life more difficult for everyone–

    I have not told them how to live; if they choose to exploit other human beings for gain, etc.–

    I can’t change that, but I can be aware of their evil–

    I can be aware that there are people who exploit human beings in every possible way–

    without making an attempt to legislate against them–

    I am not a neo-conservative; I might have some paleo-conservative *in me*–

    but I am a libertarian most of all, which is why I am on here–

    I don’t believe in legislating morality or in becoming enraged about social issues–

    unless children are being hurt–

    I speak out about things like this:

    http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-in-the-chocolate-industry/

    But mostly I refuse to buy any chocolate products that aren’t fair trade–

    *we* LDS are hooked on hersheys kisses, and those are some of the worst–

    go ahead and tell me that there is no basis in chemicals changing peoples’ bodies and causing all sorts of heartaches–

    but if you buy not fair traded chocolate you are a hypocrite–

    you don’t have to tell me if you do or not; that is just the way it is–

    people are fighting back against all kinds of child abuse–

    http://www.fdfi.org/donation.html

    These are just two examples–

    This is where I focus my attention and what little money I have–

    plus, of course:

    http://liahonachildren.org/#/home

    Connor works with some of this–

    I don’t have time to fuss at ADULTS about whether or not they are making the right choices–

    as long as children aren’t being hurt, I leave them alone–

    their business; their agency–

    and I know it won’t do any good to link any scientific studies about gender/SSA and chemicals–

    but the fact is that I KNOW that chemicals are wreaking havoc in a lot of different ways, not just increasing the incidence of children born with ‘different’ tendencies–

    so many things–

    I know it; I am so confident of it that I don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks–

    endocrine disrupters may, if there is not intervention, spell the end of the human race–

    but I don’t believe there will be any intervention, but divine–

    and on that I count–

    the Divine–

    *end of libertarian rant*

  37. outside the corridor
    September 25, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    LLP, your perspective is so influenced by social conservatism–

    people can be righteous and make right choices without being socially conservative–

    social conservatives love to talk about how external influences don’t matter–

    but, generally speaking. those who believe this way have had all the influences which tend towards choosing those things which social conservatives value–

    for example, social conservatives are very careful to support legislation supporting morality–

    but they seldom care about how their purchases may affect people in distant lands–

    and they don’t worry very much about whether or not their investments might be exploiting people (children)–

    very Rameumptom–

    “look at me; I am against ______________, but I have plenty of money, because the people I exploit, even if I’m not thinking about it, aren’t as blessed as I am, so it’s all right to exploit them; they live in other countries, after all, and they don’t know that __________ is wrong, and I do”–

    people who donate to push social legislation against something they find abhorrent–

    but make sure they are getting the best deals at WalMart–

  38. outside the corridor
    September 25, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    –forgive me if I offend–

    I mean that–

    I have just heard this from so many socially conservative LDS–

    almost the exact words–

    and *we* LDS libertarians are vastly outnumbered–

    these things are mentioned openly at church, even if they are not scriptural–

    so–

    you’re getting the perspective of someone who doesn’t accept the same foundational premises–

    but no offense is intended, and if I offended, please accept my apology–

  39. LLP
    September 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Not offended. How could I be? I didn’t say the things you said I said. You set up a straw man and knocked him down. The argument against philosophical/biological determinism is a philosophical debt I owe to the atheist philosopher Ayn Rand who I read as a teen. If you have read her then you know she is anything but a social conservative. If I were a social conservative why would I read and agree with Connor who I doubt would label himself a social conservative either.

    My criticism of bio-chemical determinism still stands. If you would like to critique my argument feel free.

  40. iimx
    September 25, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    LLP & OTC,
    There are a number of phenomena which I find interesting. In one metaphysical video, someone claimed that what other people are thinking, especially emotionally can influence other people. Sometimes at a great distance. This can actually increase test scores of someone else taking a test from miles and miles away.

    I recently experienced some interesting things related to this. Either it worked, or it was an amazing coincidence. Recently I took three very important tests. Two exit exams, and a board. My partner thought of some numbers with some personal emotional significance, and he actually predicted and possibly influenced the results on all three tests! Simply by concentrating on the numbers while I was taking the tests. They were great scores, and that was the idea. Subjective, but interesting.

    Meditators in a particular location can influence a neighborhood, reduce crime, pollution, stress, not just among themselves, but for people around them that do not meditate. These are less tangible things that people have observed that question the idea that we have ‘free will’.

    On the negative side, there is a thing called ‘genetically significan dose’. This pertains to medical radiation. What it means is that eventually the choices that other people make may impact your progeny. The dosing becomes part of a collective pooled dose exposure. So, even if you object to radiation, you will eventually have descendants with exposure if you have children, and they have children etc….

    I used to believe that whatever choices someone makes does not impact me. But I recently discovered the unfortunate truth that ‘what comes around, goes around’. Someone elses problem became an issue for me to deal with. Although I didn’t have anything to do with someones poor choice, it impacted me. I think there is something in the Bible about that, but it seems to be overlooked by advocates of ‘free will’.

    There is a wonderful writer who wrote about poets knowing about seeing everything as interwoven. For instance, seeing a cloud in a sheet of paper. See a cloud passed by, and it rained, the water went into the soil, the tree took it up to make fiber. This of course took energy…and thus the sun is also in the sheet of paper. The forester planted the seed, The woodsmen cut the tree. The pulp mill workers processed it. The store manager bought it from a middle man who sold it to you. Until finally you hold the sheet of paper which has all these elements before it.

  41. outside the corridor
    September 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    @iimx–

    VERY interesting–things to think about–

    LLP–

    straw man/men? I don’t think so. Perhaps I used the wrong label; I just know many social conservatives who reject the idea that commerical/synthetic chemicals can poison people–

    There are quite a few people on CC who are social conservatives; there were many a year ago who argued for Mitt Romney–

    I call myself a pro-life libertarian, but I do not agree with or respect Ayn Rand; I know that most libertarians adore her, but I couldn’t admire either her personal life or most/many of her ideas.

    Ayn’s brand of libertarianism and mine have little in common–

    And I have no critique for your argument; I just don’t agree with you, and I have sound evidence for not agreeing with you, but it’s too personal to post on here–

    we’ll have to agree to disrespect each other’s ideas while, hopefully, not being disrespectful to each other–

    ?

    :)

    peace–

    @iimx–

    I’m thinking, as a Mormon, of the power of prayer–

    wow; I’m still amazed at what you wrote–

    so much to think about–

    :)

  42. LLP
    October 1, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    @ outside

    Yes, Straw man was the appropriate designation for your “argument”. After directing your comments at me (LLP, your perspective is so influenced by social conservatism–) you call me a social conservative an ad hominem attack I believe or was it simple name calling, but I digress.

    You then proceed to say I claim that external influences don’t matter. In reviewing my posts I fail to see where I said that. (They do matter, only they aren’t chemicals and they only influence they don’t compel.). You then proceed to attack this point I have never made by NOT providing evidence that external influences (chemicals) are in fact causal in removing agency and free will. Rather you assert that all “social conservatives” are what they are because of “social conservative influences”, as if they had no free will in choosing their political opinion.

    Next you proceed to call them all hypocrites “rameumptonites” for “exploiting” children in foreign lands. According to your own premises and conclusions you’ve begged, I must ask you. How can you pass moral judgement on individuals of the social conservative group who had no more choice in their actions and beliefs than homosexuals who are homosexuals because of “bad chemicals”?

    As for the evidence. Chemicals interfere biochemically in many ways. Chemicals can effect mutations and epigenetics that can affect future offspring. Chemicals affecting translation of protein and their structures as well as the functioning of enzymes have also been observed. The poison you speak of however, is when the amount of chemical is too high for the liver to clear it or is absorbed in a fashion that bypasses the liver and effects its changes. As Paracelsus noted the dose is the poison and any chemical can be a poison including water, carbs, and protein.

    Actions at the molecular level can exert many changes to the body that are undesirable. However, no where in the medical literature will you find a study wherein a chemical robbed a person of their agency and free will.

    Philosophically/religiously speaking to assert otherwise is to give to inanimate objects what God the Father denied to the Father of all Lies. I believe that the assertion that chemicals can rob someone of their agency is one of his lies.

  43. iimx
    October 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    LLP,
    Of possible interest to you on the topic of free will. The topic has largely been a philosophical one, and rather untestable for the most part. A discussion or debate has been going on for centuries.

    However, there are people that are trying to make it something that can be tested with measurable results.
    http://io9.com/5975778/scientific-evidence-that-you-probably-dont-have-free-will

    The results to me seem to be in favor against free will, but there are skeptics that look at the data in a different light. The chemicals that you are talking about have little to do with the discussion. The chemicals can’t rob anyone of free will, if they never had it in the first place, so that doesn’t answer the question. I am not aware of any scientific statement that confirms free will either. Is there one that you know of?

  44. LLP
    October 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    You are correct that free will is a philosophical concept. It is axiomatic and only a philosopher would question it’s existence. The very idea of questioning it’s existence presupposes its existence. I made this point earlier that determinism is contradictory. As for the chemicals I was addressing the person who suggested that chemicals made people gay.

    Science presupposes free will, hence it’s axiomatic nature in man. Man qua man as Rand liked to say.

  45. outside the corridor
    October 2, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    @LLP, I’m not as good at arguing as you are–

    wow–

    did that exhaust you or make you feel better?

    I only express my opinions, and I do respond to what I sense the political/social beliefs of others are–

    Here:

    http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/

    and here:

    http://www.foxriverwatch.com/reproductive_pcb_pcbs.html

    http://gendertree.com/When%20Does%20it%20Happen.htm

    Yes, people can choose celibacy, whatever their ‘orientation’–

    I didn’t say that they couldn’t–

    I said that chemicals can affect orientation. They can also sterilize people–

    I don’t want to get personal, but I know that this happens.

    I am sorry that I applied my observations with regards to social conservatives and their (generally) refusal to accept the danger of environmental chemicals–

    with your political inclinations, LLP

    Now–

    peace

    I am quite confident that someday all of this will be known, so I’m not really worried about it.

    I merely share my observations, and some of them are, because of their personal nature, undeniable by me.

    If others choose to deny, that is their use of ‘free will’–

    I’m amused that I am so good at using straw men, when I didn’t even know what they were–

    LOL!

    I used to be a social conservative, even though I realize now that that label is offensive to you (for yourself)–

    I am now a libertarian (pro-life). I don’t believe that government has a right to interfere in any way with marriage–

    and I don’t believe that government can and will or has ever done anything to protect the human beings it is supposed to protect against chemical destruction–

    that isn’t government’s role either–

    but I do believe that ‘evil and conspiring’ men have done much, much more than produce alcohol and tobacco–

    and I believe that this will all be shouted from the rooftops at some future time, hopefully not too far in the future–

    again, peace–

  46. outside the corridor
    October 2, 2013 at 2:32 am #

    and LLP–

    if you want to discuss what LDS here in America can do to help children who are enslaved (here and elsewhere)–

    I’m ‘game’.

    Since you aren’t a social conservative . . .

  47. iimx
    October 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    LLP,
    I disagree, it was Philosophers who introduced the concept of free will. Aristotle is thought to be the first to advance some convincing statement about some degree of indeterminism. Although he even recognized a strong element of dependence of actions based on prior conditions.

    There are a number of religions that place emphasis on Karma, so there is no axiom or self evident truth for a number of religions.

    Zarathustra founded Zoroastrianism which was pretty revolutionary. I am not sure why he wasn’t given earlier credit for free will, along with a number of other concepts which didn’t exist prior to that. Its strongly dualistic in nature, perhaps the first philosophy to have this quality.

  48. LLP
    October 3, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    Axiomatic means that its existence is required to be able to deny or refute it. Existence, consciousness, and free will are axiomatic whether you “believe” they exist or not. To pursue an argument on axioms is futile if two parties cannot agree on those basic premises. TBC in the spirit world where it be apparent to all.

  49. iimx
    October 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    LLP,
    What does TBC mean? I didn’t know anything about ‘free will’ until I heard it in a Sunday school lesson. I didn’t agree with it then, and the instructor wasn’t particularly interested in listening to why I thought it was untrue. Think about it, when was the first time you ever heard of the term ‘free will’? Did you have a concept of it prior to that?

    Its easy to see existence, and consciousness as self evident. But the exact nature of each is a topic of discussion thousands of years long. However I don’t see free will being self evident at all, and not of necessity paired with these other topics.

  50. LLP
    October 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Free will is simply the ability to choose. If humans are nothing more than programmed automatons responding to external stimuli then they themselves can’t “know” the truth because they only “know” because external stimuli “made” them “know” it. Hence free will’s axiomatic nature, because it is a pre-requisite to denying its very existence and “knowing” that free will is a fallacy.

    Given our present scientific understanding of physics/chemistry inanimate objects can’t choose what they will or will not do. Dealing with living things the ability to choose seems to be present in the more complex animals, but not in bacteria, viruses, fungi, and plants. Some scientists maintain that even higher order mammals are nothing more than stimulus response automatons. However, they can’t prove it since they themselves are a higher order mammal and if they are “right” it is because they were compelled to come to their conclusion.

    The diabolical aspect of denying free will is this. If it doesn’t exist then there can be no culpability and no morality. A person’s heinous actions merit no punishment and another’s virtuous acts merit no praise. What Stalin, Mao, and Hitler did they were compelled to do so how can they be bad. What Schindler did he was compelled to do so why venerate him.

    This diabolical supposition has leant a philosophical basis for some of the worst atrocities committed in Western Civilization.

    As for when and where I was introduced to the concept is irrelevant. I wasn’t introduced to the laws of bio-chemistry until I was in College. That doesn’t mean they didn’t exist and were operating in my life.

  51. LLP
    October 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    Sorry, TBC to be confirmed

  52. iimx
    October 4, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    LLP,
    I found this from a source online, about ‘free agency’. “The term free agency… has traditionally been interpreted as meaning that individuals have the ability to choose their actions freely.” By free do they mean unaffected by events around them, and by events that precede a particular choice? I don’t know of any choice that anyone has made that is independent of any other phenomena.

    About agents that do not have free will, such as bacteria, fungi, lower animals. One can take protective action against such agents without attributing free will to bacteria, fungi, viruses. Or for that matter a shark or a bear. One could also take action to protect others, say a loved one against an animal attack. This appears like a foundation for some ethical behaviors without invoking free will. One could punish or reward agents which do not have free will.

    Ideally atrocities committed by dictators should be stopped while they are alive. Punishment could be carried out against them without invoking free will, much like one could attempt to stop a shark attack. I will say that human decision making is more complex. But then again I am not a shark or bacteria, so I don’t know how they make choices if they are making any. I don’t see how differences in human consciousness invokes free will. I don’t believe that a lack of free will lets anyone off the hook to commit atrocities.

    An interesting thing you point out is perhaps a series of grays between inert matter and fully conscious human beings. Is there a sharp point to which you can definately say that one agent has free will attributes, and another one does not? Where would you draw the line? Is it by species, by individuals?

  53. scraphappy
    December 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    outside the corridor I agree with you on the chemicals being a part of why our bodies do not work properly. I suffer from depression and really think it was because I lived next to a rice filed that got sprayed every year we lived there even before I was born. We were eating drinking and breathing those chemicals. Yes the do change our genes etc. It is a plague! I hope someone will do some research on how chemicals are changing us as a society. Most of the things wrong with us these days seem to stem from genetic changes. I also believe those who are “gay” “violent” have impulse control issues and even autism comes from the pesticides and other chemicals companies have used since the 60s or earlier. I admit I am not a scholar but looking logically with some science under my belt this makes sense to me.

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