January 15th, 2013

State Sanctioned Marriage: Rendering Unto Caesar That Which Is God’s

Just a century ago, a majority of the states which comprise this country had laws in place which prohibited white persons from marrying blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Mongolians, or Filipinos without a state-granted license—a government permission slip.

Laws in many of the states had long been in place to outright prohibit such mixing of the races. Maryland was the first, enacting prohibitions in 1664. In Virginia, interracial marriage was banned in 1691. As time progressed, such marriages were allowed so long as a license was given, but licenses were not always easy to get. For example, Dr. Walter Plecker of the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics strongly enforced that state’s laws, which by the early 1900s had been modified to allow white people to marry a person of another race (provided that the non-caucasian genetic makeup comprised less than 1/16 of the individual’s genome) by demanding that his subordinates refuse to offer licenses to any mixed marriage.

North Carolina’s law in 1715 sought to “prevent illegal and unlawful marriages” and required that the betrothed couple seek a government license to sanction their union. A followup law in 1749 similarly sought to “prevent clandestine and unlawful Marriages” and also prohibited interracial marriages.

Because of a desire by the state to control procreation and keep the white race pure, licenses were increasingly required throughout the 19th century, and by the early 20th century every state in the Union had adopted license requirements to allow a couple to marry, even if both parties were white.

What had historically been a sacred institution regulated by families and churches became, over time, a function of the state. It cannot be understated that licensure is inherently exclusionary; licenses exist so that they can be denied to some people.
The state gives drivers licenses to some citizens so it can prohibit others from driving on its roads. The state gives licenses to certain food establishments so it can deny others from offering their culinary services. It requires licenses for marriage so that it can deny marriage to certain individuals.

The early decades of marriage licensure entailed such denials to couples of mixed race. Although, this isn’t entirely relegated to history; one interracial couple in Louisiana was denied permission to marry just two years ago. “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” the license-denying judge said.

Through the licensure power, bigamy laws were later enacted to prohibit multiple marriages (polygamy) among consenting adults. And recently, licenses have been used by the government in many jurisdictions to deny same-sex couples from seeking state sanction for their union.

Any advocate of liberty must pause to consider the implications of empowering the state to regulate a private institution. Marriage is, properly, a sacred joining of two individuals into a committed companionship. It is an enterprise between two families (or multiple families in the case of polygamy). If the couple is religious, then their union is likely a sacred sacrament performed by an ecclesiastical leader. The state has absolutely no justification for any interference whatsoever.

Jesus Christ once told his disciples, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Does marriage belong to God, or the government? Must a committed, consenting couple bow down before the state to seek its blessing, or should they instead only kneel upon God’s altar for his?

On another occasion, Christ taught, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” In other words, what God brings together, the people should not seek to separate. A couple who seeks to marry, or who in fact does marry, should not be separated—legislatively, judicially, or physically—by the Caesar which rules over them.

Unfortunately, the masses mostly accept or actively support Caesar’s domination of an institution that falls under God’s sole jurisdiction. Latter-day Saints whose ancestors defied the federal government’s attack on plural marriages now support the state’s prohibition and persecution of other unions with which they disagree.

A fundamental rule when dealing with government is that you should never empower a friend to do something you wouldn’t want a foe to also do. Supporting the state’s involvement in an action with which we agree can quickly turn on us when we become the targeted minority, with the same power we once cheered being used to punish us. In most cases, the solution is to not delegate the power in the first place (or tolerate its arrogation). So, too, with marriage.

The sacred union between consenting adults must be extricated from the sticky tentacles of the state and returned to churches and families to whom it properly belongs. It is not our business to dictate to our neighbors with whom they may live and under what terms they may consider their relationship a marriage. We therefore cannot legitimately delegate such a non-existent authority to the state. We are our brother’s keeper, but we are not his legal guardian.

79 Responses to “State Sanctioned Marriage: Rendering Unto Caesar That Which Is God’s”

  1. Bob Clayson
    January 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I have often given baptism as a similar example. What if baptism (a religious private function) was attached to the state and included legal ramifications? Baptism would need to be defined and regulated. Then there would be a dispute of sprinkling, immersion, wording of baptismal ordinance, etc. It would be ridiculous. It’s the same with baptism.

    Following a religious marriage that is neither defined nor regulated by the state, couples could still write up legally binding contracts related to mutual property ownship and so on.

  2. Michael
    January 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Well stated, Connor. I could not have said this better.

  3. Michael Nielsen
    January 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I understand the principle discussed here, but have questions about some of the more murky legal issues that would arise if the government were not at all involved in marriage. For example, without “Caesar’s” involvement in marriage, there could be no court assistance for divorced persons who once had co-ownership of the couples property, to claim any portion following the termination of the marital agreement. Alimony and some cases of child support could not be enforced without clear legal definitions of marriage.
    I am not necessarily saying that these would be bad things, I am just curious as to how you would address the many financial issues that are inherent in marriage relationships that could not be resolved through legal action if the state was not involved at all.

  4. Connor
    January 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Businesses frequently dissolve and their assets are distributed. Where conflict arises, one party may sue. In most cases, a contract exists that specifies how such arrangements would be handled. Marriage would, ideally, be legally treated the same. Contracts could specify how each couple wished to handle their affairs, and where a wrong was committed, one party may pursue arbitration or legal action against the other.

    My article wasn’t meant to claim that the government may have nothing to do with married couples. Certainly if a contractual relationship is terminated or violated, then there is room to impose justice after the fact. What is not justified is the creation and enforcement of a licensure apparatus that gives permission before the fact.

  5. Peter
    January 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    “We are our brother’s keeper, but we are not his legal guardian.” …Beautiful!! That was a well written essay that I can whole heartedly agree with, even if you are a Mormon. ;-)

  6. jpv
    January 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Latter-day Saints whose ancestors defied the federal government’s attack on plural marriages now support the state’s prohibition and persecution of other unions with which they disagree.

    Have your opinions changed since you wrote these? Curious to hear why.

    http://www.connorboyack.com/blog/increased-polarization-choose-ye-this-day-whom-ye-will-serve

    http://www.connorboyack.com/blog/a-saints-lament-not-all-mormons-follow-the-prophet

    http://www.connorboyack.com/blog/the-protected-class-of-sexuality

  7. David
    January 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    What about tax breaks for married individuals? How would you handle that? (I know I may be opening a can of worms about taxes).

  8. Connor
    January 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    What about tax breaks for married individuals?

    The government should not be in the business of subsidizing and/or encouraging private behavior by preferential treatment of its services and mandates.

    In other words, taxes should be consistent for all persons, whether they are single, married, or whatever. Taxes should be used only to fund necessary and justified services—not to manipulate or subsidize private behavior.

  9. Connor
    January 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    jpv,

    No, my position hasn’t really changed. Assuming the government is or should be involved in marriage, then I support prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. I believe the government should not (and morally cannot) alter the nature of what a marriage is by simply decreeing a law, and so I therefore oppose such a proposal.

    That being said, I also support removing all incentives associated with government marriage, including tax benefits, visitation rights, etc.

  10. outside the corridor
    January 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    You hit the nail on the had, as usual, Connor.

  11. iimx
    January 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Connor, About post #8, taxes are used to regulate a number of things, Alcohol,tobacco are the first to come to mind. Subsidies exist to stabilize the price and production of many agricultural products. Some very outdated subsidies make some very unhealthy food much more affordable and widely consumed. Are you opposed to these as well?

    #9 That response sounds unconstitutional if its used to establish religion. The very nature of the article suggests that the perception of what a marriage is can and does change. Earlier in history many people thought that mixed races marriages should not exist. This response is counter to the rest of your article, in that the attitude and nature about appropriate marriage have changed. In addition, I don’t think the law protects or denies a religion based on date of establishment. A Religion with a more recent understanding of marriage might produce a bit of a conundrum.

    What the judge said about mixed races, “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Sort of sounds like what Spencer W. Kimball advocated when he advised against mixed race marriages. He claimed it was cultural differences that could pose a problem, not really race. He also believed that people should overcome prejudices but not encourage intermarriage. The problem is that culture and race are so closely related. So consider how his concluding remarks sound:

    “We are unanimous, all of the Brethren, in feeling and recommending that Indians marry Indians, and Mexicans marry Mexicans; the Chinese marry Chinese and the Japanese marry Japanese; that the Caucasians marry the Caucasians, and the Arabs marry Arabs.”

    Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 303.)

    At present secular marriages may be performed for atheists and that is recognized by the state. Thats an addition to the institution you claim was the function of families and churches. Thats a bit of a change.

  12. Rock Waterman
    January 16, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Nicely done as always, Connor.

    I support the right of anyone to voice objection to gay marriage on religious grounds, if such is their inclination. The recourse in such instances is that particular religions have the right not to perform or condone such marriages for members of their congregations. But marriage is ultimately a private contract between two people, so no church and no government has the right to interfere with a contract to which private persons have engaged.

  13. iimx
    January 16, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I was just curious, I looked up what a Tiberius’ denarii looked like. And compared it to a Kirland safety society $3 bill. The photo is not great, but it looks like it has roman soldiers on it. That is very interesting, certainly sure to generate some interesting discussion as to why the bill was designed that way. Maybe its something else entirely. Does anyone know who designed the bill?

  14. David Loper
    January 16, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I disagree with this statement: “Latter-day Saints whose ancestors defied the federal government’s attack on plural marriages now support the state’s prohibition and persecution of other unions with which they disagree.”

    Do you think that the question of marriage is FURTHER made advantageous by making the state SANCTION gay marriage? Rather than abolishing marriage as a licensure of the state do you suppose that attacking the LDS church’s position on opposing state-sanction marriage is the right way to go?

    Abolish the state from being the arbiter of marriage…sure, I’m all for that. But enjoining the decision of the LDS church to prohibit the expansion of state power to sanction additional ‘types’ of marriage is disingenuous to the proposition of abolishing state involvement.

  15. Connor
    January 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Do you think that the question of marriage is FURTHER made advantageous by making the state SANCTION gay marriage?

    This question doesn’t have anything to do with my statement you disagree with. It is a fact that Latter-day Saints’ ancestors were in martial unions that many Americans wanted to see terminated. It is a fact that Latter-day Saints today generally want to prohibit same-sex marriage.

    This doesn’t mean that the government should sanction same sex marriage. I have nowhere claimed that marriage is “made advantageous” by having the government sanction gay marriage. I don’t believe that at all.

    What I have argued is that government should not be in the business of sanctioning any marriage. These are private relationships and should remain as such.

    Further, I am not attacking the LDS Church’s position on opposing the state’s sanctioning of same-sex marriage. If you would have read the comments, you would have learned that I actually supported (with conditions) Proposition 8.

  16. iimx
    January 17, 2013 at 5:46 am #

    Connor,
    Your arguement against government regulation of marriage is completely meaningless as long as people accept this regulation. I don’t see the LDS church body volunteering to make their marriages just a private matter between the couple and the church.

  17. AV
    January 18, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    I believe that ‘Marriage’ is between the couple and God. Not even a Church need be involved in the marriage, for God does not recognize any Church’s authority (if they are all false) anymore than he recognizes a government’s authority to allow or deny marriage between persons.

    If a couple wants to have their religious leader conduct their ceremony they can, but it doesn’t really mean anything, it is just a nice custom for them. For the couple could just as legitimately go off alone together and say vows to each other in the forest and still be just as married in God’s eyes. (Though I believe God likes marriage to be a celebrated occasion for friends and loved ones to join in the celebration with the couple.)

    But marriage, is bottom line, a man and a woman promising exclusive unconditional true love & commitment to each other forever, at least for their whole mortal lives.

    God commanded that no one, in Church or government, try to dissolve what God joined together. If a marriage will ever be dissolved, God will decide and do that in the next life, but here on earth all leaders are commanded to promote and protect the sacredness of lifelong marriage vows.

    Marriage is not like baptism, for baptism requires true authority to be valid with God. If marriage really required true authority in order to be valid, than 99.9% or more of the marriages in this world would have been just adulterous shack ups, since almost all were done by differing religions, and thus God wouldn’t have recognized the marriage cause no one with true authority officiated the ceremony, since true Priesthood authority has been so rarely accessible in human history.

    It is also hypocrisy for the Church to speak out against SSM while it says the government was wrong to not allow them to practice polygamy, something much worse. For God has always said that polygamy is just another adulterous abomination.

    The Government has every right and responsibility to protect people, especially women, from abusive adulterous unconstitutional forms of marriage, which are not sanctioned by God, like polygamy, which does not respect women’s equal rights and happiness.

    Christ, ancient Prophets, Joseph Smith and the scriptures continually taught, that only one form of marriage, ‘monogamy’, has ever been sanctioned by God as righteous and valid in his eyes.

    And since government, or churches, have no authority ‘to wed’ a couple in righteous marriage, they also have no authority ‘to dissolve’ a marriage by a divorce decree, and thus as Christ also taught, a couple is still completely 100% married, even after a divorce, no matter what a court or church says, except in cases of fornication (which is rare). Thus the divorced man or woman is only committing adultery if they date or remarry someone else while their real spouse still lives.

    It appears that most Christian Churches today, including the LDS Church, have fallen to support and allow evil, by ignoring and violating Christ’s eternal laws on marriage and divorce, by allowing their members to divorce and remarry without the charge and consequences of adultery.

    The LDS Church doesn’t even follow and enforce it’s own prophet’s teachings on marriage & divorce, let alone Christ’s:

    “I think I can say here safely & truthfully that NO JUDGE IN THIS WORLD IN ANY COURT OF THE LAND CAN ANNUL A MARRIAGE FOR TIME & ALL ETERNITY. He may separate the husband & wife by legal enactments so far as this world is concerned, but he cannot separate that husband & wife so far as the next world is concerned. When the man & his wife lose their faith & go to the courts & get a separation, & then go out & marry according to the laws of the land, they are not culpable (guilty) before the law of the land, but they are before the kingdom of God & what the Savior says here in THIS REVELATION IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE: … “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, & shall marry another, committeth adultery, & whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matt.19:9 Joseph Fielding Smith, CR Apr. 1961, 49-50

    “I would like to say much about Divorce. When you go home, you pick up your Bible & turn to the 19th chapter of Matthew, read the first 9 verses. I get letters sometimes from people who say, “What are we going to do?” In Matthew it reads so & so & yet the Church is not following it strictly.” Well, I write back & say “I have no authority to change the word of the Lord. Read it.”
    Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 4 p. 196.

    “Do you think you have obtained a Bill of Divorce? No, nor ever can. It takes a higher power than a Bill of Divorce to take a woman from a man who is good and honors his Priesthood…, else the spouse is bound to their spouse and will be forever and ever. You might as well ask me for a piece of blank paper for a divorce, as tho have a little writing on it… it is all nonsense and folly; There is no such thing in the ordinances of the House of God, you cannot find any such law.”
    Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, VOL. 17

    “You may just as well tear off a piece of your shirt tail and lay it by, and call it a divorce so far as any good that piece of paper called divorce will do you.” Brigham Young, A Few Words of Doctrine, Oct. 8, 1891.

    “You can divorce and agree to stay away form each other but it is all foolishness and folly.” Brigham Young

  18. iimx
    January 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Av,
    “Marriage is not like baptism, for baptism requires true authority to be valid with God. ” Thats not quite my understanding of LDS doctrine, as far as eternal marriage is concerned. As far as I know at least three rituals are performed by proxy for the dead in LDS temples. These are baptism, endowments and marriage sealings for the dead. That must mean something as far as LDS theology goes.

    Whatever anyones belief is however, it is an aside as far as the law goes, when it comes to legal recognition of marriage. Many different people of different cultures and religions, and lack of religion get married with different expectations and understandings.

  19. AV
    January 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    iimx,

    Yes, whether we get married in a religion or no religion at all, our marriage is still valid and God expects us to keep our vows for our entire life, no matter what.

    Though that does not mean we must put up with abuse or adultery, etc. from a spouse, we can always protect ourselves and separate if need be for safety reasons, while still loving and serving our spouse from a safe distance until they repent, yet still stay totally faithful and married to them.

    For all errant spouses will eventually repent fully and make restitution to the abused spouse in the next life and then the couple can continue their marriage forever, as long as the other spouse waited faithfully for their partner to repent.

    From all the study I have done, I believe that endowments and marriage sealings (& polygamy) were something that Brigham Young came up with, I have found no proof that Joseph ever heard of, let alone practiced or believed in such things, contrary to popular belief and hearsay.

    Joseph always taught that public ”monogamous’ marriages were the only type of marriage in the Church. He even put it in the D&C (101, 1835 edition)

    The temple Joseph seemed to envision was meant to be more of a public gathering place, for men, women and children and Sunday services, etc. Much like the Kirtland Temple was used for. But Brigham Young seemed to have other plans for the temple.

    BY took out that section of the D&C on marriage many years after Joseph died so it wouldn’t conflict with his new way of marriage and sealings and polygamy in the temple. He then added section 132.

    It is ‘true exclusive everlasting love’ by at least one spouse here on earth, that makes a marriage eternal, no matter what religion the couple is or no religion at all.

    When we pass this test of ‘true charity’, ‘true love’, especially for our spouse, our marriage& exaltation is assured, even if we don’t have the whole Gospel yet.

  20. iimx
    January 19, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    AV,
    Whatever is your personal understanding of theology as it intersects with marriage, other people may have different understandings. Legally there is a difference, as others may have a different understanding. How well do you seperate your understanding from what other people do and expect.

    I read a little about handfasting cermemonies. Very interesting, some could be made for a lifetime, others for temporary arrangement, and yes it was considered a deal or a contract. Some traditions considered a man to have a wife for a period of time, without being married. Thats pretty interesting the idea of having spouce to which one isn’t really married to yet. Its sort of a trial period to see if its going to work out.

    Another tradition set the actual marriage for a period of time, and at the end of that time the couple would review their experience, and renew the marriage contract or part as they saw fit.

  21. Gary Hunt
    January 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Connor,

    I really liked your article. By the way, I wandered over here from Rock Waterman’s “Pure Mormonism” blog.

    I remember either hearing or reading something about slavery as it related to marriage. Abolitionists were smuggling slaves out of slave states and then marrying them so that the government could not return the slaves to slavery. Finally the slave owners made agreements with the free states to have legislation created so that a person could not marry a slave. This was so they couldn’t use marriage as a loophole. Since then I have tried to find the source, but have been unsuccessful. It may have been part of the Fugitive Slave Act. Did you run into anything like this in you research?

    I believe that marriage is an example of voluntary association. No one should be able to dictate the structure of any voluntary association. It is just between the parties involved. The state should not interfere with it. As far as what happens if the parties involved should want to dissolve their association it is up to them to decide how to structure the logistics of their separation. My wife said to me after reading some of the comments. “Maybe everyone would be more careful with who they marry”.

    I think my wife’s comment is very profound. Individual responsibility, what a concept! We have a problem with this concept in the world today. We have, as a people, turned to government and other institutions for our temporal salvation instead of to ourselves and God.

    In the last sentence you stated, “We are our brother’s keeper, but we are not his legal guardian.” The definition of keeper, means “warden”. A prisoner is kept, an animal is kept in a zoo by a zoo keeper. I know it sounds picky, but I have met people who know the correct definition of the word keeper and use it to justify forcing people to do what the person doing the forcing (keeper) believes is best for the person being forced (kept).

    I believe many intend it to mean that we should have love, charity and compassion for our brothers and sisters, because Christ said to “love one another. The following is a quote from Neal A. Maxwell’s book, “Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward.”

    Am I My Brother’s “Keeper”? pages 87-88.

    “Perhaps a reason for not pressing forward in developing our capacity to love is that we have come to think of being responsible for our brothers and sisters in the wrong way.

    Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9.) Presumably he responded to the Lord’s inquiry either in sarcasm or defensiveness (or both). Cain’s rhetorical question causes many of us to assume automatically that we are our brother’s keeper. Presumably this happens because we link up the assumed answer to the rhetorical question with the gospel view of mankind in which we are truly brothers and sisters, not, as some say, just stranded mutants on a planet that is a pointless point in space.

    First, let us examine the circumstances. Cain was not Abel’s keeper, but he was his brother. Brother and keeper relationships are very different. The former emphasizes concern, the latter control.

    Cain slew Abel and even “glorified in that which he had done,” saying, “I am free….” (Moses 5:33.) Cain also coveted Abel’s flocks. Thus, we should distinguish between our need for brotherly love and being our brother’s keeper. Cain not only failed to love Abel, he didn’t even care enough about his relationship with Abel to want to improve their relationship.”

  22. Nick
    January 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Assuming the government is or should be involved in marriage, then I support prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. I believe the government should not (and morally cannot) alter the nature of what a marriage is by simply decreeing a law, and so I therefore oppose such a proposal.
    The government has always altered the nature of things by decreeing law, and rightfully so, be it the definition of a voter, a landowner, etc. Women were not traditional voters, but the government changed that. Why, then, should the government not change what some believe the definition of marriage to be?

  23. AV
    January 20, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Thanks for sharing all that about thinking ‘we our brother’s keeper’ Gary, it was very enlightening.

    I agree with you that marriage is a voluntary association, where both parties have equal rights to decide what happens in the marriage, there is no ‘men rule over women’, that was men’s interpretation.

    But the problem is that when one or both parties decide they want to end the marriage and divorce, (which is not even possible in God’s if it was entered into with mutual consent), they usually don’t agree on much and one or both spouses have become abusive in some form, & that is why the marriage is ending.

    So usually it takes a higher power, like God & his laws, to determine how the separation will be handled, so the more innocent spouse is not further abused. But since there is no divorce in God’s eyes, except in rare situations like fornication or forced marriage, even if the couple decides to divorce they still would be married and just committing adultery by dating or remarriage.

    God’s laws would (and righteous leaders would) apply consequences on the abusive spouse and favor the abused spouse in a divorce. But today government & church leaders usually support abusive spouses and do not usually favor and try to protect abused spouses, so the abusive spouse usually easily gets away with leaving and more abuse. Thus why we have so much acceptance & occurence of divorce today, cause government & church leaders are not doing their duty to protect marriage vows and the innocent.

  24. AV
    January 20, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Nick,

    The government is not the inventor of ‘marriage’, God is, thus it’s all by God’s laws, which can’t be changed, no matter what government may try to change about it all, as of course government will almost always try to do.

    But what ever government may change about marriage, it’s all in vain & still illegal in God’s eyes, no matter how many people go along with it, for it’s not according to God’s laws.

    Also, God has always given women the right to vote, and to have equal rights in all things and places as men do, in the home, church or society.

    It is only men who have not wanted to honor women’s equal voice, vote and rights and thus they have translated, interpreted or invented scripture or laws to say that women don’t have those rights.

  25. iimx
    January 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Gary Hunt,
    There has been many interpretations as to what the story of Cain and Able means. Its interesting that Able means ‘vapor’ suggesting that his life would be very short. Cain is thought to mean ‘spear’. Seth was the third born, and according to many traditions the only one of the three to have decendents after the flood. The meaning of the name is something interesting, to put or set. The word can also refer to the buttocks or seat of the body. I’m not exactly sure what any part of this story has to do with marriage.

  26. Nick
    January 20, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    AV,
    The government is not at liberty to declare God the inventor of marriage, to respect one religion over another. In the name of fairness and equality, the government does not take a side. On the subject of government and marriage, God does not enter the equation. Again, why not change the definition of what some believe the definition of marriage to be?

  27. Rock Waterman
    January 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    AV, I think the legal theory regarding the government’s role in a divorce is that a divorce represents a breach of contract.

    Just as in any agreement between two parties, the government has no business inserting itself into a private contract between two parties. But when one partner breaches the terms of the contract, a neutral arbitrator steps in to referee the disbursement of property.

    The problem today is that government thinks of itself as a party to the contract, and has over reached it’s bounds both in the marriage and divorce arena.

  28. Charles D
    January 21, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    It seems a simple matter. The state provides certain legal and, in some cases, financial benefits to individuals who enter into the legal contractual relationship usually called marriage. As a result, it has some obligation to insure that the applicants for that license are of legal age, sound mind, and are making their application voluntarily without coercion. Clearly the state has no legitimate power over and no interest in the religious institution of marriage and the use of the same term for both is misleading.

    I would propose that states should stop using the term marriage and leave that to its religious context, perhaps substituting a less loaded terminology like marital contract. Second, states should not permit religious leaders to officiate over their marital licensing procedure, perhaps by eliminating the requirement that some sort of ceremony be required other than the applicants signing the license.

    Lastly, I would argue that governments should not make determinations about who can and cannot be married. For the legal requirement, it is immaterial whether the individuals are of the same or different sex, or whether the number of participants in the marital contract is 2 or some larger number – as long as they are all responsible adults acting without coercion of any kind. Let the churches determine which of these martial contracts they choose to recognize and bless.

  29. outside the corridor
    January 21, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    One of the things that hasn’t been said (unless I haven’t read as carefully as I have thought) is that ‘freedom’ hasn’t been around for a very long time.

    Not only has ‘marriage’ been manipulated politically, but so has education–for over a century.

    When did America think *she* was free?

    *would laugh if it weren’t sad*

  30. iimx
    January 21, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Av & Rock,
    Certain handfasting ceremonies allowed for temporary arrangements. Divorce would not be necessary for contracts that were intented to be temporary from the very start.

    The fact that marriage is understood as being for a lifetime is probably a Christian bias in laws around marriage. The contitution would not favor that as being a universal requirement for a marriage.

    As stated by connor the definition of the ‘nature of marriage’ is purely an LDS or perhaps christian understanding, or maybe just his own. These are not necessarily restrictive in defining a marriage by the constitution. I can only imagine that the concept of temporary marriage might also be a threat to people who wish to ‘defend marriage’. Yet, temporary marriage as a concept is traditional, it was practiced before the middle ages, its just not a christian concept.

  31. AV
    January 22, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    iimx,

    I don’t know what religion you speak of that allows for ‘temporary’ marriage, but I don’t believe in it.

    I also believe the Constitution is based on the Christian God in the Bible and his laws, which don’t allow for temporary marriage or most divorce & remarriages.

    Just because something has been practiced for even 6000 years and accepted by most people, doesn’t mean it’s right or divinely sanctioned. Righteous men and women who live according to God’s laws have always been very rare in most societies throughout history.

  32. iimx
    January 22, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Av,
    Temporary marriage came from european paganism. I brought this point up exactly because you don’t believe in it. Is marriage mentioned in the constitution? I am not talking about any ammendment. The first ammendement established that the government cannot establish any religion as a state religion.

    You made a great point about what is accepted and practiced. Slavery for example was not exactly spelled out in the constitution,but it was practiced.

  33. AV
    January 22, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    When the Constitution was written, it’s founders based it on Christian laws by their Christian God. They weren’t able to get everything they wanted written into the Constitution, like equal rights for blacks & women, for the people weren’t ready to accept it, but eventually those things were done. If all men were righteous then even more of God’s laws would be spelled out in the Constitution even more.

    Though there is no ‘state’ religion, it is generally understood that nature’s God and his laws are supreme throughout the whole world, not just in the U.S., even above the imperfect Constitution, and any law that is not according to God’s laws it really invalid and unconstitutional.

    When Christ returns he will establish righteous laws for the whole world that go way beyond even the Constitution. If we were all righteous we would already do so today and not wait for him to have to do it.

  34. iimx
    January 22, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Av,
    My understanding is that the writers of the constitution were largely Deists, not theists. It would be a mistake to project a theistic mind set to the document.

  35. Charles D
    January 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Excellent point, iimx! In addition we should not assume the founders were anti-slavery – some were, some weren’t and the resulting document is a compromise. It also is not based on what we now would call “Christian laws”, but on enlightenment ideals and the foundations of English law.

    I think we make a mistake also to attribute any sort of Divine guidance to the men who met in Philadelphia in 1789, or to put the results of their labors on a pedestal as an “inspired” work. The Constitution is a document created by men and like all such works, contains within in it positive and negative aspects. We should admire and celebrate the positive and continue the work of the last two centuries to remove the negative.

  36. Gary Hunt
    January 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    If you want to read a good, behind the scenes, history of the founding of the USA there is a 4 volume history entitled “Conceived In Liberty” by Murray Rothbard. You can find PDF copies to read or audio files to listen to. Of all the histories I have read this is, by far, the best history of the events leading up to the beginning of this nation. It’s easy to read so don’t be afraid of it’s length.

  37. matt
    February 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Whats the difference between God and State to a libertarian? A true libertarian would reject both, No?

  38. M
    February 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    Why would a “true” libertarian be “required” to reject God and the state? An anarchist would/could reject all aspects of the state wholesale. Nevertheless their is nothing to require a “true” anarchist or libertarian to also be an atheist. Nor are all atheists libertarian.

    God is God and he has endowed all with free will.

    The state is the state and as government it is an instrument of force.

    So the answer is no

  39. w
    February 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    M, There is a possibility that there is no god, and also no free will. Sam Harris has an excellent book published about how free will is an illusion. Check it out sometime.

  40. M
    February 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    @w, is it possible that there is a god and also free will?

  41. w
    February 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    what is the evidence for that?

  42. outside the corridor
    February 16, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    w, there is no evidence for anything–

    The words “free” and “will” put together are ludicrous.

    Sometimes all a human being can do is have control over his/her own thoughts/perspective and nothing else–

    This quote:

    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    ? Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

    by one well-known man parallels my own belief.

    Of course humans aren’t free; there is no place left in the world where humans aren’t enslaved or in bondage of some kind or another–

    more than most of *us* realize–

    You can claim, w, that everything is an illusion–

    but at some point you have to deal with the illusions–

    either that or turn your face to the wall and . . .

    go out–

    The idea that anarchists and libertarians must be atheists is incorrect.

    I can believe whatever I choose to believe, and Victor Frankl believed the same–

  43. M
    February 17, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    I prefer the terms “agency ” or “freedom of conscience”, but have gotten into the habit of using the phase “free will” (its not ludicrous in my opinion and I can understand why people like/use that phrase) because of debate with those who relate better with that term.

  44. Gary Hunt
    February 24, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    M,

    The word agency is a neutral term which means actor. When you add a description of what kind of agency you are talking about, such as real estate agency (acting for another person) or free agency (acting for your self) you get a better understanding of it’s context.

    I agree that “free will” is a proper way to describe the concept of being free to act for one’s self. I also believe that our free will is limited by our knowledge and understanding.

  45. Gary Hunt
    February 24, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    W,

    Mr. Harris is just bringing up the old determinist vs. free will arguments. He comes from an atheist perspective which does not allow him to think that there could be a God or that we could have a soul or spirit. May I suggest you read a couple of other authors who don’t believe in God but do believe in free will. Their names are Thomas Szasz and Butler Shaffer. Both are clear thinkers who logic and writings actually make sense.

  46. M
    February 25, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Gary, you are correct. Sorry for the typo. I need to proof read better.

  47. w
    February 25, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Gary Hunt,
    Is there a link you can recommend for the authors you mention? I did a topical search using both names, and didn’t come up with anything that was on target for the topic. Especially not Butler Shaffer.

    The idea of god and agency are not necessarily linked. As you pointed out. Calvinism minimizes the idea of free will, and instead advances predestination. I am not certain, but I think Hinduism is more inclined to think of things as all being connected, and anyones particular actions cannot be seperated from any other aspect of reality. The other day I really got a glimpse behind the idea of karma, and I see a little bit of how everything and everyone are all connected. I do not endorse free will if it means one can act and make choices as if in a void seperate from anything and everyone else.

  48. Gary Hunt
    February 25, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    W,

    Thomas Szasz passed away last September. Here is his website. His books are available on Amazon. I have not read all of them but the ones I have read are excellant.

    http://www.szasz.com/

    Butler Shaffer is a regular columnist at Lew Rockwells’ website. You can get his books on Amazon also. All of his books are excellant, but my fravorite is “Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival”.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer-arch.html

    From what I understand about Calvinism and Hinduism I believe you are correct. As far as free will goes there are always consequences for our actions. No void.

  49. Gary Hunt
    February 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    M,

    I think the problem has been that the last couple of decades it has been politically incorrect (in the LDS Church)to put that four letter word (free) in front of agency.

  50. M
    February 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    I’ve been pondering and I’ve changed my mind. Although I had intended to use the word “free” as a qualifier to agency, I no longer believe that it is all that big of a mistake to make in terms of causing readers confusion. Perhaps I was trying too hard to be congenially. If one considers the definition of agency as the means or state of exerting influence or force, of being in action, then the term agency by itself to me seems sufficient and has no need of qualifiers like “free” or “moral”, etc.

    I let myself get confused over the definitions of agent and agency.

  51. M
    February 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    I like what modern physics has to say about free will…

    http://bigthink.com/dr-kakus-universe/why-quantum-physics-ends-the-free-will-debate

    This post is not intended to “end the debate” for anybody, but rather it is intended to prompt further study. I like how Dr. Kaku spins the famous Einstein quote, “God does roll dice.”

    Enjoy the video.

  52. w
    February 26, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    Gary Hunt,
    Its the law of karma, cause and effect. No one is an island. Consequences to actions does not really address the idea of agency or not. If anything its more fitting with the law of karma, and dependent origination. I can only spectulate why ‘free’ could be dropped. It might not be for the reason anyone thinks. But it seems fitting that no one is really ‘free’ from everything that has happend before.

    Quantum physics, there may be randomness and unpredictablity on a certain level, but that doesn’t make us in ‘charge’ of what happens on that level. Events that occur that that level are so incredibly fast, it seems very, very unlikely that would make us ‘free’ or independent from any other event that has occurred.

  53. M
    February 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    w,

    Trying to brush off the physics argument only shows that you do not understand the physics argument. It is a strong argument on the side of free will. Are you or are you not a seeker of truth?

    To me it sounds like you might be confusing yourself. Let’s go back to simple.

    Premise:
    There are things that act and there are things that are acted upon.

    Things that act can also be acted upon. (This is where I believe you are confusing yourself)

    There is opposition in all things – (Mercy & Justice, Light & Dark, Good & Bad, etc.)

    There are laws (Ranging from the Law of Gravity [laws governing the physical] to The Law of the Harvest [laws governing the metaphysical])

    Conclusion:
    One can freely choose to think and feel the way one chooses in whatever situation one finds oneself. This is freedom of conscience.

    Moving beyound thinking, after one acts and sets in motion events, one cannot revoke one’s actions. This means that choices can be made, but the consequence of choices cannot be controlled after events are sent in motion. (You can choose to take a long walk off a short pier, but you cannot avoid the law of gravity.)

    Nevertheless, the fact that one cannot control the consequences of choices, does not negate the fact that one has the ability to make choices. (Simply choose not to walk off the pier or go in a boat if you want to get a certain distance from the shoreline.) The ability to choose can only be limited (not completely destroyed) in the following ways:
    1. Ignorance
    2. Vice (aka addiction)
    3. One actor oppressing another actor

    Generally speaking…
    If someone makes good choices, then he or she become freer (i.e. education, developing good habits, and seeks self-sufficiency or fights oppression). If someone makes bad choices, then he or she become less free (i.e. ignorance, acquiring bad habits, and apathetically accepts dependency or does not fight oppression).

    In summary, having agency does not not imply freedom from consequences (or events as you put it). Likewise, events that are outside your ability to control does not imply determinism. These events already set in motion are the results of previous actions.

    Question:
    Why is determinism appealing to you? In other words, what implications of determinism do you like best?

  54. w
    February 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    M,
    There is something which I don’t understand, why does ‘free’ have to always be part of the equation. And why does it work in only one direction? For example a ray going off in one direction, in the free will model of things consequences only go forwards. What I am not understanding is how ‘antecendent’ events get over looked.

    For example, the hymn, “…let the consequents follow’. Why isn’t there a hymn about ‘…for the antecendents preceding…”. Thats the other half that seems to be purposely ignored for whatever reason. I really don’t think anyone seeks poverty, ignorance, or addiction.

    I listened to the video, and I am still not moved to think quantum mechanics offers a realistic solution towards anyone being ‘free’. That is independent of any preceding event. The lack of predictability doesn’t prove that one has the ability to guide random events, events which are so small in scale, and so fast that we could not have any conscious control over them. From what I know conscious thought is generated from action potentials in the brain, these are far, far slower in the time it takes for them to happen than what happens on the quantum level. That level is also on the molecular level, not on the subatomic level.

  55. M
    February 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Let me guess, when you were a child playing t-ball and something didn’t go as you would have liked you enjoyed calling out “do-over”.

    So freedom to you is freedom from or rather independence of the present/future from the past? Wouldn’t that be a terribly confusing world in which to live? The entire concept of “cause and effect” would cease to exist. How would a person ever be able to learn from experience in that kind of world? There would be no way to correlate one’s actions with likely outcomes.

    Some people seek after bad things because they fail to perceive the consequences of their bad choices; few do it to get sympathy. Others make bad choices because they are deceived. We are forced to walk by faith as we are all forced to make decisions in the face of asymmetric information.

    Read more physics and probability theory, these are not the easiest subjects for most of us mortals to grasp. As I understand it, the movement of subatomic particles is independent of preceding events and that is why their movement is not predictable even in a statistical sense. (ie in math 2+2=4 and hence deterministic, while in statistics 2+2=4 only on average and hence is stochastic but yet predictable with a certain margin of error.). Given where you seem to be coming from I am surprised you are not moved by the physics argument. I think you are being stubborn or you don’t have enough background knowledge to make the logical connections. Enjoy beating up the ‘speed’ straw man you set up for yourself.

    Don’t worry about answering my questions about why determinism is appealing to you. I’ve lost interest.

    Good luck with whatever it is you are searching for.

  56. w
    February 27, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    M,

    “So freedom to you is freedom from or rather independence of the present/future from the past? Wouldn’t that be a terribly confusing world in which to live? The entire concept of “cause and effect” would cease to exist. How would a person ever be able to learn from experience in that kind of world? There would be no way to correlate one’s actions with likely outcomes.”

    Confusion and disconnection would come as a result of ‘free’ will. Cause & effect would be consistent with what you are calling deterministic. What happens as a consequence of my choices, that is consistent with a ‘deterministic’ view, why would it not be? Just as the choices one makes is a consequence of prior choices, and events that lead up to whatever choice one decides to make. Cause and effect are within a ‘deterministic’ view.

    I honestly don’t know what quantum mechanics has to do with conscious thought. Is there any evidence that the quantum level is the origin of decision making?

    What I am questioning is the idea of ‘free’ in ‘free will’. Its not a matter of appeal. Its just been my observation that everything and everyone is interconnected, and nobody exists as an island so to speak.

  57. M
    February 27, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    We are not using the same vocabulary.

    When I wrote about determinism, I was writing about pre-determinism (which I believe is false). Perhaps you do too. You appear to be writing about it in a broader sense, where one’s choices (an exercise of individual agency) do affect one’s future and future outcomes.

    In addition, with our definitions of free will we seem to differ where I was defining it more narrowly, within a religious context given how the conversation started with references to God, where God’s divine will and our individual wills appear to come into conflict. I like C.S. Lewis’ parent child explanation where the parent’s will is to have the child keep his or her room clean and simultaneously the parent desires the child to do it of his or her own accord. It is the same with God’s commandments; God desires for us to keep his commandments, but to do it of our own accord. You appear to be using a broader definition of free will.

    Maybe you changed definitions along the way or I just misunderstood. At this point, it does not matter.

    In any case, based on your definitions as best as I can discern them, you believe free will and determinism are incompatible, whereas I believe they are compatible.

    The answer to why determinism and free will are compatible is in quantum mechanics. As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

    From Wikipedia

    “… [Causal determinism] is the notion that the past and the present dictate the future entirely and necessarily by rigid natural laws, that every occurrence results inevitably from prior events. Quantum mechanics and various interpretations thereof pose a serious challenge to this view. ”

    I presented you a serious argument and provided you a high-level explanation. It is now up to you to do your own personal research. Whether you understand it is your issue.

  58. Gary Hunt
    February 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    M and W,

    Let’s throw Chaos Theory into the mix, just for fun.

  59. Gary Hunt
    March 1, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    M,

    Did you notice that you had to use qualifiers (such as pre- and causal) to define what kind of determinism you are talking about in your discussion with W?

    I believe the same is true for agent/ agency. My experience has shown that qualifiers are critical for a correct understanding of words and concepts. Especially words like free and agency. Most peole I know in the Church have a twisted understanding of “agency” because they have dropped the qualifiers.

    By the way thanks for the link. I really enjoyed the video and agree with Dr. Kakus.

  60. w
    March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Gary Hunt,
    I like Dr. Kakus, and I usually agree with his insights, but on this point I think hes wrong. I am not sure why he is advancing this point of view, but he must have his reasons. I do like him a lot in the CBC documentary “Alien Planet”. I give him credit for thinking that there could be life on other planets, and give his opinion on what that might look like, and speculate on how it developed.

  61. M
    March 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    I’ll concede. It became necessary to add qualifies because of the less than obviously, at least initially, differences in definitions being applied to the same term. Also, great comedic timing you had with the chaos theory comment.

    Was it not a form of determinism (removing all uncertainty) that Satan was trying to sell in the pre-mortal existence, in that he sought “to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:1-3)? I rejected it and kept my first estate. I don’t want to make the mistake of buying it now and risk losing my second estate (Abraham 3: 21-28).

    Glad you enjoyed the video.

  62. Nick
    March 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I wouldn’t devote a second’s thought to how concepts such as determinism are treated in the mistranslation of Egyptian papyri.

  63. w
    March 2, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    M,
    I am not sure how free will can be compatible with determinism. Here is a definition of determinism:

    “a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws.”

    Nowhere in there is the idea that events are always predictable. One doesn’t need to invoke quantum events to have unpredictability. Like playing the lottery, casting dice, or weather conditions. These are not quantum events, yet can they always be predictable? Yet, the events are dependent upon previous events.

  64. M
    March 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    And yet you took time to post a comment, Nick. Given your knowledge level it seems to me that you’ve given it and many other aspects of Mormonism not just a second thought, but also a third, a fourth and perhaps even a fifth thought.

    W,
    The only reason I can guess at as to why you are attracted to determinism and its implications is that it is a psychological release from feelings of responsibility for your actions, not just from god (atheism is sufficient for that), but also from your fellow beings. That is just speculation on my part and I don’t write that to imply that you are a bad person. You could be a very good person for all I know. Only you know or rather can know through introspection the real answer as to why you are attracted to determinism.

    You really need to read more about probability theory, chaos theory, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. You should seek understanding from experts in these fields. While I’ve studied these things off and on, I would still consider myself an amateur in these subjects. Please do your own research; it is not just me saying these things are strong arguments for free will. Personally, I’m not trying to convince you one way or the other. I believe all people are free to believe as they choose. I believe in Jesus Christ and that the sum of your life is not yet determined. I wish you the best in your personal search for truth.

  65. Nick
    March 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I said I wouldn’t give a second’s thought (second as in time, you missed that) to determinism in Egyptian papyri, not the papyri themselves. Get it right.

  66. w
    March 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    M,
    Thats really strange that you are starting to speculate on if I am a good person or not. What does this have to do with my doubts about ‘free will’? Ethics do NOT go out the window with an acceptance that everything is interconnected. Interconnected in time, and space and physically. Buddhists generally advance the concept of dependent origination and interconnectedness over free will, duality, multiplicity etc…

    I always thought of them as being very ethicially developed people. Sam Harris generally doesn’t attack the eastern philosophies. Buddhism is generally agnostic, and doubts any concept of a ‘fixed self’, and the existence of god. At least the historic buddha refused to answer questions about the existance of god or gods, or if a soul existed.

    As for science discoveries, probability theory, chaos theory, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. There are people that take these things in very different directions.

  67. M
    March 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    And Nick feels compelled to comment again.

    W, everything has its opposite. Darkness is in opposition to light. Wickedness is in opposition to righteousness. Free will is in opposition to ____ (you fill in the blank for yourself).

    I don’t really care if you choose to be a disciple of Sam Harris. I don’t believe he has the answers to the questions that are important to me in my search for truth. I see no reason to abandon my faith in Jesus Christ or the Atonement.

    You took it the wrong way. I was speculating again about why you’re into whatever it is you believe (determinism, etc.), not about your morals. I made that comment in an effort to not offend, but I guess it had the opposite effect from what I intended. Oh well…

    Lastly, thanks for sharing your views about siddhartha gautama’s religion.

  68. Nick
    March 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    I felt compelled because you got two things entirely wrong, just like your black-and-white thinking responding to W: entirely wrong.
    And as to your backpedaling away from what you said to him “You took it the wrong way. . . . “I made that comment in an effort to not offend” wow, how could anyone take it any other way?
    I doubt you were an effective missionary. (At least later I can say that you took the above comment in a way I didn’t intend.) :)

  69. M
    March 7, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Nick,

    And your black and white thinking is right? At least from the top of your soap box that’s what you’ve come to believe.

    You’ve devolved to searching for happiness by studying surveys that you misrepresent because you don’t understand them yourself.

    Lastly, you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong because of your belief in moral relativism. You might as well go to Yale to get yourself some beastiality sensitivity training with a viewpoint like that.

    As a missionary, I tried my best. How did you do on your mission?

    Good-bye O Mighty Defender of W.

  70. w
    March 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    M, I thought of an example to illustrate the interconnectedness of things. The movie “Its a wonderful life” with Jimmy Stewart. The movie is great in illustrating how the character intersects with his community. The film attempts to show his community with or without his presence. Its all theoretical, but I think it does a great job. It does not show the effects of him making one decision or another, simply how his presence made a difference.

    There is something I don’t understand. Say there is event x, decision Y, and conseqence Z. You are pretty good at seeing the results and connection between y and z, but less about event x and choice y. I dont understand why x and Y are ‘free’ from each other, yet Y and z are connected and z is a consequence of y. Why isn’t Y a consequence of X? Further more why doesn’t quantum mechanics or probability or chaos theory make Z disconnected or ‘free’ from choice Y?

    To make this a little more concrete, I will give an example. Say you get thirsty from being dehydrated. (event x) So you seek out a beverage to drink (choice y). And you get rehydrated (consequence z). I see them as all connected, and ultimately z is a consequence of x and y. But in free will would z be just a conseqence of y? It seems like the free will model is only viewing 1/2 of the chain of events. But in actuality there would be events a,b,c,d,e,f,g….etc…potentially infinate, Z being a result of a. What would event A1 be? we may not be able to know ahead of time what that might be. But when event b1 or C1 occurs we would clearly see the connection between z and a1.

    On duality and nonduality
    Sometimes its difficult to see things as strictly one thing or another. For example visualize a cup resting on a table. To the passive observer its NOT in motion, and can be said to be resting. Thats whats immediately observed. However, its resting on the foundation of a home, which is resting on the earth, which is rotating. Furthermore the earth is in orbit around the sun. The sun is itself moving in the galaxy, which is also moving rapidly accross the universe. So, what is less obvious is that the cup is actually moving….

  71. M
    March 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    W,

    I stand by what I said to you. I had no intention of offending.

    Where I speculated about why you like determinism:
    “The only reason I can guess at as to why you are attracted to determinism and its implications is that it is a psychological release from feelings of responsibility for your actions, not just from god (atheism is sufficient for that), but also from your fellow beings.”

    Where I added a qualifying statement so as not to imply that wanting to escape responsibility means anything about your moral character because I don’t know you:
    “That is just speculation on my part and I don’t write that to imply that you are a bad person. You could be a very good person for all I know.”

    My concluding statement that you are the only person who really knows why you so staunchly defend determinism:
    “Only you know or rather can know through introspection the real answer as to why you are attracted to determinism.”

    Nothing strange from my vantage point, but I cannot really help what you choose to think.

    Yes, I meant to insult Nick in the last post I made, but you must admit that I did it in a very cleaver and witty way without the use of any vulgarities.

    A reference to a current event I heard about on the radio that illustrates moral decay (something Nick does not believe in and I do). A great pun (go to Yale, which was also a reference to the news item), and an attack against moral relativism because it puts Nick in the awkward position of defending beastiality (reference to the new item) or contradicting his espoused belief moral relativism. I did all of that in one sentence. Not bad…

    Once again good luck in your search for truth.

  72. Nick
    March 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Your inferences are frequently off the mark, and your black-and-white thinking is too prevalent, invading bounds where it doesn’t really apply. When it comes to the veracity of your church, however, by all means, I say unleash the black and white dogs.
    And you paint everything as a search for happiness . . . what about a search for truth? That’s my biggest motivator.
    And right and wrong is so arbitrary, nonexistent. Your own church has proven that, retreating from positions past and reassembling and shuffling dogmas. Watch out for that now and in the future.
    I wouldn’t touch a Mormon mission with a 10-foot Title of Liberty.
    I’ll be seeing you on here again, no doubt. Get your mental house in order, especially on gay marriage. It’s coming. Assemble some opinion or argument that isn’t based on old man ideologies.
    “Till we meet again . . . “

  73. w
    March 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    M, I wasn’t really offended, I just thought the comments were odd or strange, and yes kind of ‘off’. Its ok, really. There is something I do want to know however. In a recent post I mentioned x,y,z events and decisions. I am curious as to why x &Y are not causually related in a free will model, but y&z are. I could be totally misunderstanding free will, but thats how I understand it.

    M, I did a search for the Yale workshop on the topic you mentioned. It really did not defend anything if you really read the article. The article I found was trying to get people think, understand and have compassion for others and their experience. The workshop approached some taboo subjects, it really must have taken some brave person to take up those topics and to address them compassionately, professionally and in an adult manner. I don’t think the workshop was trying to advance or promote anything. There were also some additional related topics mentioned in the workshop.

    Is understanding and compassion something you value?

  74. w
    March 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Nick,
    Are you thinking that the LDS church might actually embrace gay marriage? I think that would be an excellent test to see if the lds membership would stay faithful, and continue to just accept what is taught by faith.

    Much like abraham being tested to sacrifice his own son, after being told to teach against human sacrifice. Like the challenge of polygamy for early lds members, and its later recanting. Also with the inclusion of all members into the lds priesthood.

    The Worldwide church of God faced probably the largest challenge. With the death of its founder Herbert W. Armstrong, the church recanted many major teachings, and then proclaimed that it was just any other church, and no longer claimed to be the exclusive church body of christ. I knew someone who was a church member of the WWCG, and after that event happened, I believe he was disillussioned with everything, and disinterested in christianity in general. I often speculate that the LDS church might be headed in the same direction. I think that it won’t suddenly shock its membership in that way however, but rather continue to gradually mainstream its way to the general christian body.

  75. Nick
    March 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    W,
    No, the LDS Church won’t ever embrace gay marriage. By that I mean no gay marriages will ever be performed in Mormon temples. (That’s their right.) But the LDS Church WILL back off from their anti- stance, in spite of people and leaders thinking their original opposition was inspired by God. A hundred years from now, Mormons will be calling present-day Mormons “men of their time.” I know this because they do it now when talking about controversial things and people from the past.
    And, yes, the LDS Church is headed more mainstream all the time. That’s how it has survived and weathered the criticisms. I don’t necessarily consider this a good thing for them, however, because often times they are doing total 180s on their past positions. So either they were wrong then or they are wrong now. Either way, at some point they were wrong.

  76. Mikey B
    June 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Mormon Scripture states

    “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”

    Non traditional marriage or any type of marriage should not be propped up by civil government. The early saints vehemently declared that polygamy was their constitutional right under the 1st amendment. if we want to amend the constitution to say that we no longer have freedom of religion, then and only then should government attempt to regulate a religious sacrament such as marriage.

    Boyd K Packer “The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God’s law of chastity.”

    I do not endorse homosexual marriage. but i would fight for anyone’s right to practice their freedom of religion. in short Religious freedom requires tolerance of belief systems that do not infringe on the rights of others. Polygamy should be legal, and so should homosexual marriage. the state should not regulate marriage to begin with. by doing so it prescribes rules of worship to bind the consciences of men.

    Gods laws are gods laws. the sate does not write gods laws nor does god write the law of the state.

    Jesus is the risen Christ.

    “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What Internet Taxes and Gay Marriage Have in Common—And Why Both Are a Bad Idea | Connor's Conundrums - March 27, 2013

    […] sales taxes, the state should not be enlarged in pursuit of equality in marriage licensure. Because the government has no business being involved in marriage, the discrimination inherent in existing marriage law is best remedied by removing it altogether, […]

  2. Marriage and the Church, Sitting in a Tree, playing D-E-F-E-N-S-E | Connor's Conundrums - September 19, 2013

    […] 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. […]

  3. Marriage and the Church, Sitting in a Tree, playing D-E-F-E-N-S-E – Latter-day Statesmen - September 19, 2013

    […] 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. […]

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