November 8th, 2006

Wally Chooses Sides

walmart

Just received this alert from the American Family Association:

In a show of support to help homosexuals legalize same-sex marriage, Wal-Mart has agreed to automatically donate 5% of online sales directly to the Washington DC Community Center for Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender People. The cash donation will come from online purchases made at Wal-Mart through the homosexual group’s Web site. This move follows Wal-Mart’s joining the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and agreeing to give generous financial help to that organization also.

Every purchase made online for books, music, videos, clothing and accessories, children’s clothing and toys, and electronics at the site will automatically send 5% of the sales to the CCBLBT People. The agreement is an indication that Wal-Mart is totally committed to supporting the homosexual movement.

Wal-Mart also gave a generous cash donation to the Northwest Arkansas Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, helping to provide a place where homosexuals can come together to “socialize.”

Many observers feel it would have been a wise business decision for Wal-Mart to remain neutral in the cultural battle over homosexual marriage. But this was an ideological decision by Wal-Mart – not a business decision.

Looks like WallyWorld is joining the likes of Ford in their campaign for promoting the homosexual agenda. Sorry, but I don’t want one penny of my money going to support such a cause, so I’ll be shopping online elsewhere.

53 Responses to “Wally Chooses Sides”

  1. fontor
    November 9, 2006 at 12:29 am #

    So wait, now I can support the homosexual agenda, but by shopping at Wal-Mart?

    I feel conflicted.

  2. Robert
    November 11, 2006 at 8:14 am #

    I have often wondered about the LDS position on homosexuality. I have heard many conflicing things over the years. We had a proposition in California several yaers ago that “outlawed” gay marriage. The LDS Church jumped behind it. When a gay returned missionary shot and killed himself on the steps of his Stake meeting house, the church issued compassionate statements about homosexuals being “welcome” but encouraged to refrain from living a gay life style. A mormon friend of mine commented that Stuart Matthison’s suicide was probably a “relief” to his family. Having buried a child myself, I can assure you that no death is ever a “relief” to a parent.

    Gay Mormons have been ihterviewed in California several times for mainstream papers. They tell painful stories of the church forcing their families to abandon them. They felt the church persecuted them.

    I have never understood why the church felt such a need to target this group. Sexual sin is sexual sin, and the gender of those involved is irrelevant. Domestic partnership laws also threaten traditional marriage. Christian marriage ahs been trivialized over the years by the increased divorce rates and failure of husbands and wives to remember view their vows were taken before God, not man. Why does the LDS church not campaign against domestic partnerships as well?

    The attitude among non-Mormons is that the LDS Church hates and persecutes gay people. I remember as a young boy hearing some of the statments made by LDS youth leaders on this topic that still chill me today. For example, we had a bishop that remarked it was “excusable” for a gay person to commit suicide, as he would be condeemned to the lower kingdom anyway. My priest told me he would be held accountable to God one day for that comment and that attitude.

    I know that Episcopal Social Services in Utah has a mental health outreach to gay and lesbian people. I’ve heard that our clergy who work with gays and lesbians in Utah are often appalled at what their clients endure. Also, during the gay marriage debate in California, I had a hatefilled Mormon call me and spew homophobic rhetoric. One issue he was adamant on was that all gay men were pedophiles. Is that an LDS teaching?

    We can not control what others do sexually. And recently we have seen a prominent evangelical minister with ties tot the white house defrocked. I always feel that is God’s intervention.

    I think Mormons are a compassionate and loving group of people. However, this one area still shocks me. However, I remember how, in the late 60s, the attitudes towards blacks was outdated. Now, of course, we see black mormons fully involved in the church. Will attitudes towards gays ever evolve to a point where they cease to be a target of discriminatin?

    Specifically, how would gay marriage threaten YOUR family?

  3. Robert
    November 11, 2006 at 8:20 am #

    Also, I wanted to add one more comment before I am banned. If I offended anyone, I apologize. However, I think the focus against homosexuality actually does great PR damage to your church.

    Recently, our esteemed president backed an amendment to the constitution “protecting” marriage. At the same time, we have an unpopular war, we admitted to torturing POWs, and spying on our own citizens. However, our nation needed an amendment assuring the Republicans gay people would not enjoy this legal protection we call “marriage”.

    It reminded me very much of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews.

  4. Connor
    November 11, 2006 at 11:15 am #

    Before I answer your comment, you may be interested in reading this interview with Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Wickman of the Seventy regarding the Church’s stance on homosexuality and homosexual marriage.

    We had a proposition in California several yaers ago that “outlawed” gay marriage. The LDS Church jumped behind it.

    Yup, Proposition 22. My mom played a large role in organizing the forces in our local community in San Diego.

    They tell painful stories of the church forcing their families to abandon them. They felt the church persecuted them.

    I’ve never heard of one leader in the church encouraging a family to abandon their homosexual child. This idea sounds absurd, and is most likely an isolated incident with no precedent.

    As per feeling that the church persecuted them, so might somebody feel that had a tattoo, a baby out of wedlock, smoked crack, or did any number of things that were against God’s commandments. Anytime somebody doesn’t measure up to a set standard that is expected of them, they feel like they are looked down upon and “persecuted”. Certainly it is the responsibility of the other members to offer a loving invitation of open arms into the fold, but the individual carries the burden of fixing his/her life to conform to God’s standards in order to receive the fullest blessings possible and membership in the kingdom.

    I have never understood why the church felt such a need to target this group. Sexual sin is sexual sin, and the gender of those involved is irrelevant.

    False. Homosexuality is completely antithetical to God’s plan for his children. Such a union impedes his purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Such a union is unable to bear children, to raise them up in a stable, healthy environment, and provide the emotional and psychological balance only a father and mother can offer. All sexual sin is bad, yes, but there are varying degrees. Certainly the sin of Sodom is one to be fiercely opposed and prevented.

    Domestic partnership laws also threaten traditional marriage. Christian marriage has been trivialized over the years by the increased divorce rates and failure of husbands and wives to remember view their vows were taken before God, not man. Why does the LDS church not campaign against domestic partnerships as well?

    They most certainly do. While such a campaign might not be seen so visibly in the media it definitely exists. Such couples are counseled through their leaders to progress towards marriage, since the union they are in allows them to attain that goal. I know of countless couples who have been in such situations and with a loving Bishop have become married and created a loving home where the Spirit can dwell.

    The attitude among non-Mormons is that the LDS Church hates and persecutes gay people.

    And the attitude among some Mormons is that non-Mormons think they’re weird, nerdy extremists with ten wives. I think you’ll agree that our society is saturated with misperceptions, misunderstandings, and misinformation. This case is certainly true with non-Mormon understanding of how a true Mormon really feels about the situation.

    For example, we had a bishop that remarked it was “excusable” for a gay person to commit suicide, as he would be condemned to the lower kingdom anyway.

    Another tragic, isolated incident. Hardly the stance of the Church, however.

    One issue he was adamant on was that all gay men were pedophiles. Is that an LDS teaching?

    No. However, one sexual sin often leads to another. I’ve known a few individuals who start with pornography, which leads them to masturbation, homosexual experimentation, and on to other self-satisfying, boundary-pushing activities such as pedophilia (or worse). Sexual sin is a very slippery slope.

    We can not control what others do sexually. And recently we have seen a prominent evangelical minister with ties tot the white house defrocked. I always feel that is God’s intervention.

    President Hinckley last year gave a talk on the prophetic nature of the Book of Mormon. Part of his statement was:

    The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.

    Will attitudes towards gays ever evolve to a point where they cease to be a target of discrimination?

    I can almost guarantee that such will never be the case. With the Blacks it was an issue of revelation. There was no persecution involved – they simply were not able to enjoy the fullest blessings that come with the Priesthood. Then, with a revelatory flip of the switch, they were. Never were they sinning because of it. Homosexuality is, in and of itself, a sin. As I said earlier, it is completely antithetical to God’s plan for His children. I think it’s a safe bet to say the Church’s (and hence God’s) stance will never change, no matter how much it upsets or disgusts those opposed to it.

    Specifically, how would gay marriage threaten YOUR family?

    Read this page for a good description of my stance on that question.

    However, I think the focus against homosexuality actually does great PR damage to your church.

    I actually find that statement a little funny. I don’t think that matters one iota. The Children of Israel were commanded to be a separate, peculiar people. They were persecuted for centuries for their monotheism and strange practices. They were outcasts for having such strict moral and dietary laws.

    Why should today be any different? Our day of political correctness is absurd! Everybody seeking to not offend everybody, and as a result we’ve become thin-skinned complainers who shout tolerance and equality at the expense of self-expression and moral virtue. Sad, indeed.

  5. Steve M.
    November 11, 2006 at 2:27 pm #

    Such a union is unable to bear children, to raise them up in a stable, healthy environment, and provide the emotional and psychological balance only a father and mother can offer.

    A homosexual couple being biologically unable to bear children is an entirely infeffective argument against homosexual relationships, as many heterosexual couples are also biologically unable to have children. Should they also be denied the privelege of marriage?

    As for your claim that children raised by gay/lesbian parents do not enjoy a “stable, healthy environment” or the “psychological balance only a father and mother can offer,” what evidence do you have to support this conclusion?

    As this paper on the American Psychological Association website states, empirical studies have been unable to validate any such claims:

    http://www.apa.org/pi/parent.html

    I’ve known a few individual who start with pornography, which leads them to masturbation, homosexual experimentation, and on to other self-satisfying, boundary-pushing activities such as pedophilia (or worse).

    This is an absurd statement. Even if you know individuals who apparently went through these stages, I would suspect that they already had an inclination toward pedophilia to begin with. In any case, they are surely an unrepresentative smaple. To allege that pornography use and masturbation have a causal relationship with homosexual activity and pedophilia is unfounded and unscientific.

    I think it’s a safe bet to say the Church’s (and hence God’s) stance will never change, no matter how much it upsets or disgusts those opposed to it.

    The Church’s stance is evolving. Not so long ago, the Church was claiming that homosexuality was not and could not be an inborn or unchangeable orientation. The focus used to be turning homosexuals into heterosexuals. Yet the current leadership seems to have realized that this stance was unscientific, impractical, and even harmful. Current statements no longer claim that homosexuality is a chosen or changeable condition, and celibacy (rather than attempts at heterosexual marriage) is generally encouraged. The Church’s stance on homosexuality is not entirely static.

  6. Connor
    November 11, 2006 at 3:22 pm #

    A homosexual couple being biologically unable to bear children is an entirely infeffective argument against homosexual relationships, as many heterosexual couples are also biologically unable to have children. Should they also be denied the privelege of marriage?

    Sorry, but I’m of the opinion that yours is an “entirely ineffective argument”. See the comments on this post for clarification of why I think so.

    As for your claim that children raised by gay/lesbian parents do not enjoy a “stable, healthy environment” or the “psychological balance only a father and mother can offer,” what evidence do you have to support this conclusion?

    While there are several studies out there that are far from conclusive, some supporting opinions can be found here. I’ve seen studies and “scientific” reports stating that there is no difference between children, but I think rationality and common sense clearly dictate there would be a difference between such children.

    As this paper on the American Psychological Association website states, empirical studies have been unable to validate any such claims:

    Your paper also states at the end:

    It should be acknowledged that research on lesbian and gay parents and their children is still very new and relatively scarce. Less is known about children of gay fathers than about children of lesbian mothers. Little is known about development of the offspring of gay or lesbian parents during adolescence or adulthood. Sources of heterogeneity have yet to be systematically investigated. Longitudinal studies that follow lesbian and gay families over time are badly needed.

    Such statements in this study are therefore far from conclusive and proven. This subject can be argued from both sides with little “proof” since the field is quite new. You must also understand that a secular study will be far different from one that incorporates religious and moral understanding. This component, in my opinion, is crucial in tracking the child’s overall growth and development.

    This is an absurd statement.

    What a great argument.

    In any case, they are surely an unrepresentative smaple. To allege that pornography use and masturbation have a causal relationship with homosexual activity and pedophilia is unfounded and unscientific.

    I was hardly trying to be scientific or say that such people I know are a definitive microcosm for society at large. But since you brought science into it, would you care to show how it is unscientific?

    The Church’s stance is evolving. … The Church’s stance on homosexuality is not entirely static.

    This is an argument that people love to tout when hoping against hope that the Church will continue to “evolve” and soon accept such immoral behavior. The Church’s stance on the sinfulness of homosexual practice has not changed. The leaders’ understanding of its background, influences, and other contributing factors has changed as society at large has learned more about it. But that does not mean the practice is okay. We just go about handling it a little better with the new knowledge we’ve been given.

  7. Steve M.
    November 11, 2006 at 4:49 pm #

    Your reasoning in your other post on gay marriage rests on a vague semantic issue. While the semantic roots of ‘marriage’ hint at the intended outcome of having offspring, the social institution of marriage means much more than that. If we are to deny marriage to homosexuals on the grounds that they cannot reproduce, then I ask again, shall we also deny marriage to infertile heterosexuals? According to this logic, we should.

    Your link to the Family Research Report was overtly biased. It contained the following questionable statements, conclusions, and assertions:

    “Since homosexual parents tend to be deficient in character and more self-centered than most…”

    “We might speculate, though, that exposure to the rebellious homosexual lifestyle in the home and through any homosexual friends the parent(s) might bring around might make even fostering or an orphanage better for the child on average.”

    “Further, FRI would expect married parents to be the most devoted to their children, while homosexual parents ought to be the least devoted.”

    “This material from the Sarantakos study offers evidence that homosexuals’ children are well behaved in school — in this respect they did not differ from other children. However, they were less popular with their peers and more prone to isolation (as, for instance, in their approach to sport).”

    Apart from the anti-gay bias that saturates the report. the scholarship is questionable. The APA has the following to say about Sarantakos’ study: “The anomalous results reported by this study–which contradict the accumulated body of research findings in this field–are attributable to idiosyncrasies in its sample and methodologies and are therefore not reliable.” A more complete analysis of Sarantakos’ study can be found in the footnotes to this webpage: http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/lgpsummary.html

    As you pointed out, the APA admits that “It should be acknowledged that research on lesbian and gay parents and their children is still very new and relatively scarce.” More research needs to be done. But based on the accumulated evidence so far, one cannot conclusively say that children raised by homosexual parents suffer any negative developmental consequences (which you alleged).

    I’ve seen studies and “scientific” reports stating that there is no difference between children, but I think rationality and common sense clearly dictate there would be a difference between such children.

    There should be differences, just as there are differences between children raised in an Asian family versus a Black family, or a Christian family versus a Muslim family. But such differences in culture, worldview, etc., cannot objectively be considered negative.

    You must also understand that a secular study will be far different from one that incorporates religious and moral understanding. This component, in my opinion, is crucial in tracking the child’s overall growth and development.

    If the children of gay parents are found to have religious and moral beliefs that differ from your own, you’ve got to be prepared to state why that would be a bad thing. In social and political discourse, saying, “Because I think God said so,” doesn’t cut it.

    would you care to show how it [the allegation that pornography use and masturbation have a causal relationship with homosexual activity and pedophilia] is unscientific?

    You’re the one making the claim that there is a causal relationship; you’re the one responsible for validating this claim. An vague and unrepresentative sample of “a few individuals” you’ve known of doesn’t cut it.

    Scientists have been in agreement for decades that there are no adverse physical, mental, emotional, or psychological problems associated with the practice of masturbation (unless one has pre-conceived notions that the practice is sinful, in which case guilt will typically follow). These claims have been very well substantiated.

    I challenge you to produce evidence that suggests that there is a causal relationship between porn use or masturbation and the development of homosexuality and pedophilia.

  8. Connor
    November 11, 2006 at 6:34 pm #

    Your reasoning in your other post on gay marriage rests on a vague semantic issue. While the semantic roots of ‘marriage’ hint at the intended outcome of having offspring, the social institution of marriage means much more than that. If we are to deny marriage to homosexuals on the grounds that they cannot reproduce, then I ask again, shall we also deny marriage to infertile heterosexuals? According to this logic, we should.

    When I posted this link, I directed your attention to the comments, not the body. Specifically, comment #2 which has a citation from another webpage answering the question you’ve now asked twice.

    Your link to the Family Research Report was overtly biased.

    I’ll admit that it’s not the best I’ve come across. I’ve seen some studies from psychologists and family therapists before, but Google isn’t of much help right now so I have none other to offer.

    But based on the accumulated evidence so far, one cannot conclusively say that children raised by homosexual parents suffer any negative developmental consequences (which you alleged).

    My weak argument at this point could be a corollary of your same thought: “based on the accumulated evidence so far, one cannot conclusively say that children raised by homosexual parents don’t suffer any negative developmental consequences.” The jury is still out on this one, and in the mean time judgments on both sides of the argument will be filled with conjecture, opinion, and blanket statements.

    If the children of gay parents are found to have religious and moral beliefs that differ from your own, you’ve got to be prepared to state why that would be a bad thing. In social and political discourse, saying, “Because I think God said so,” doesn’t cut it.

    I never stated beliefs as a component of such a study. I was talking about religious and moral understanding being part of the study itself to accurately determine the effect upon the child. A secularist, atheist psychologist will more than likely have a different “scientific” finding in their study than would, say, a pro-family conservative Christian psychologist. With an eternal gospel perspective and understanding of who we all really are, I think any study I would be willing to give credence to would have to be taken from this approach which I deem crucial.

    The laughable thing about all of these so-called studies is the mutable science that “evolves” over time. When the Word of Wisdom was given, smoking and drinking was not only socially acceptable, but in the case of smoking was thought to be beneficial. Then as mutable science morphed and gained some truth, it was seen to be in harmony with the previously-given Word of Wisdom. Can the same not hold true with moral issues? Science may disagree, but in time all truth will be “circumscribed into one great whole” as Brigham said:

    Our religion embraces all truth and every fact in existence, no matter whether in heaven, earth, or hell. A fact is a fact, all truth issues forth from the Fountain of truth, and the sciences are facts as far as men have proved them.

    You’re the one making the claim that there is a causal relationship; you’re the one responsible for validating this claim. An vague and unrepresentative sample of “a few individuals” you’ve known of doesn’t cut it.

    Again, as I said previously, I was hardly trying to be scientific or say that such people I know are a definitive microcosm for society at large. You have tried to scientifically examine the subject, while I offered my opinion and observation. Your desire to bring science into the argument spawned my request for evidence one way or the other. Again, the jury is still out, so neither of us will be able to factually used science as a supporting argument. Opinion and observations will abound.

    I challenge you to produce evidence that suggests that there is a causal relationship between porn use or masturbation and the development of homosexuality and pedophilia.

    How like the mistletoe is immorality. The killer plant starts with a sticky sweet berry. Little indiscretions are the berries — indiscretions like sex thoughts sex discussions, passionate kissing, pornography. The leaves and little twigs are masturbation and necking and such, growing with every exercise. The full-grown plant is petting and sex looseness. It confounds, frustrates, and destroys like the parasite if it is not cut out and destroyed, for, in time it robs the tree, bleeds its life, and leaves it barren and dry; and, strangely enough, the parasite dies with its host.
    Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference Address, April 1, 1967.

    Sometimes masturbation is the introduction to the more serious sins of exhibitionism and the gross sin of homosexuality.
    “President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” New Era, Nov. 1980, 39

    “Though many outside the Church regard masturbation as normal. LDS leaders teach that the practice is wrong, one that feeds base appetites and may lead to other sinful conduct. Similarly, unmarried couples who engage in petting or fondling are breaking the law of chastity, and stimulating impulses that may lead to other sin.
    Bryce J. Christensen, “Chastity, Law of,” in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormoni.cm, vol. 1, 266

    While these quotes are not, as you will probably point out, “scientific” they certainly reinforce my observation that the slippery slope of sexual sin often leads to larger sins and more experimentation as the person becomes desensitized and hungers for more titillation.

    Geez, talk about hijacking a thread… :)

  9. John Anderson
    November 11, 2006 at 6:55 pm #

    Steve, so is homosexuality a good thing? A neutral thing?

    Or is it just something we shouldn’t legislate against?

  10. Steve M.
    November 12, 2006 at 1:29 am #

    My weak argument at this point could be a corollary of your same thought: “based on the accumulated evidence so far, one cannot conclusively say that children raised by homosexual parents don’t suffer any negative developmental consequences.”

    Actually, the accumulating evidence seems to be slowly disproving the claim that children raised by homosexual parents suffer negative psychological effects. You made that claim, but the evidence seems contrary to it. But granted, the body of research is still relatively young, so at the very least, we should suspend judgment on the psychological effects of being raised by same gender parents. But the recent studies are compelling, at least, and ought to cause us to reconsider previously held notions about gay couples’ suitability as parents.

    The laughable thing about all of these so-called studies is the mutable science that “evolves” over time. When the Word of Wisdom was given, smoking and drinking was not only socially acceptable, but in the case of smoking was thought to be beneficial.

    I don’t want to pursue this tangent in this thread, but it’s worth noting that a considerable temperence movement was gaining momentum at the time the Word of Wisdom was revealed. The movement was not just concerned with alcohol, but with tea, coffee, and tobacco as well. In fact, just a few weeks before the WoW was given, the Kirtland Temperance Society had succeeded in shutting down a distillery in Kirtland.

    I knew you were going to pull out the Kimball quotes on masturbation. Unfortunately, just like earlier church authorities’ claims that the practice led to insanity and premature death, President Kimball’s claims have never been substantiated. Simply saying that masturbation leads to such-and-such consequence doesn’t make it so.

    Anyway, I’m thinking it’s about time I ban myself from your blog. I’m sorry for the thread jack.

    John,

    In my own personal opinion, homosexuality is not immoral and should not be legislated against. I have no problems with it whatsoever.

  11. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 10:21 am #

    In my own personal opinion, homosexuality is not immoral and should not be legislated against. I have no problems with it whatsoever.

    Yeah, there’s where we’re going to disagree. You’ve put yourself at odds w/ 99.9% of the Church membership and General Authorities. Not a good side to be on, imho…

  12. John Anderson
    November 12, 2006 at 10:37 am #

    Yeah… that’s why I asked.

    I agree with you in that homosexuality shouldn’t be outlawed: I think having the government dictate what can and can’t happen in the bedrooms of America isn’t a good direction to move in. Besides, we can’t force people to do what we think is good. We let people smoke and be rude, both of which aren’t good for anyone either.

    That said, I can’t overstate how immoral I think homosexuality is, and how much I think we need to reach out and be as understanding as we possibly can to those struggling with the issue.

    I don’t see how you can view homosexuality as good (or even ‘not bad’), because once you’ve given the okay for one type of sexual abnormality, there is really no grounds to discount other types of sexual abnormalities.

    If your argument is that is doesn’t hurt anyone, that’s a fine reason for refusing to legislate against it (at least for now, while the jury is out as to whether the social impact this movement has is negative or positive), but that’s no justification for morality.

    My own personal gut feeling is that 20 years down the road, society will see the negative effects that stem from this sort of behavior.

    This thread is pretty hijacked. I wonder if this discussion might be moved to one of our blogs, or another post on Connor’s.

  13. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 10:43 am #

    Just to be clear, I’ve never argued that the practice of homosexuality should be outlawed either. I am, however against homosexual marriages being recognized by the government.

    Whether society is able, in 20 years, to see the negative effects or not, I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that when all is said and done and we’re all at the judgment bar, we will most certainly be able to see such effects.

    The threadjack stems from Robert’s question on the LDS stance towards homosexuality. Such a stance, as I’ve attempted to explain in the comments, is my reason for not supporting businesses that support those who advocate and promote these lifestyles. I’ll miss Wal-Mart’s low prices, but I’d rather have a clear conscience and have a few less pennies in my pocket than the opposite.

  14. Steve M.
    November 12, 2006 at 9:59 pm #

    You’ve put yourself at odds w/ 99.9% of the Church membership

    I doubt that’s a very accurate figure.

  15. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 10:06 pm #

    I doubt that’s a very accurate figure.

    What’s a figure you’d consider more accurate? And you obviously left out the “General Authorities” part, thus indicating you do believe that all General Authorities consider homosexuality an immoral act and sin. Am I right?

  16. Steve M.
    November 12, 2006 at 10:27 pm #

    Since the majority of church membership 1) lives outside of the US, and 2) is either semi-active or inactive, and there are a good number of liberal Mormons, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect that we could find more than 12,000 Mormons (0.01% of church membership) that don’t agree with you on this issue, Connor. I really can’t believe you’re trying to defend some bogus figure you obviously pulled out of a hat.

    But you’re right, I would suspect that the vast, vast majority of GAs, if not all, are opposed to gay marriage.

    (Here comes another guilt trip/tyrade from Connor about unquestioning obedience to “the Lord’s think tank”)

  17. Jeff
    November 12, 2006 at 10:29 pm #

    First, I’m pretty sure this is a typo, or it represents a complete reversal in thinking for Connor. This is from comment 13:

    I am, however in support of homosexual marriages being recognized by the government.

    Second, I don’t mind this debate; in fact, I think that it’s a good debate to have in LDS circles. That being said, I start to mind the debate when someone starts condemning another person for his/her views.

    When Connor says,

    Yeah, there’s where we’re going to disagree. You’ve put yourself at odds w/ 99.9% of the Church membership and General Authorities. Not a good side to be on, imho…

    AND…

    Whether society is able, in 20 years, to see the negative effects or not, I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that when all is said and done and we’re all at the judgment bar, we will most certainly be able to see such effects.

    He seems to be saying that someone who holds the view of homosexuality that is different from his will be damned to Hell for holding that view. What happened to the counsel not to judge others that we are given from when we are kids? You may believe that those views will lead to problems on Judgment day, but it is far from your place to tell that to someone else.

    Aside from that, this was an interesting discussion to read. I don’t think it was “thread-jacking” at all. Blogs are here to have this type of discussion imo.

  18. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 10:35 pm #

    I really can’t believe you’re trying to defend some bogus figure you obviously pulled out of a hat.

    I hope you don’t think I literally meant 99.9% of all members. That’s like the statement “84.6% of all statistics are made up”. That number was my way of indicating the “vast, vast majority” of members. And yes, I should have also clarified that I was speaking of active, practicing members.

    But you’re right, I would suspect that the vast, vast majority of GAs, if not all, are opposed to gay marriage.

    (Here comes another guilt trip/tyrade from Connor about unquestioning obedience to “the Lord’s think tank”)

    You said it, not me… :)

    First, I’m pretty sure this is a typo, or it represents a complete reversal in thinking for Connor.

    Ha! Whoops – that was most certainly a typo, not a reversal in opinion! :) It’s fixed now.

    He seems to be saying that someone who holds the view of homosexuality that is different from his will be damned to Hell for holding that view.

    It’s not my view I’m comparing Steve’s against—it’s the view set forth by “the vast, vast majority”, if not all, of the General Authorities.

    What happened to the counsel not to judge others that we are given from when we are kids?

    We are counseled not to judge (errantly) only so as to prevent the same judgment from coming upon us. We are also, however, encouraged and counseled to judge righteously. My judging others of their views in opposition to the Church’s stance on homosexuality, is, in my opinion, judging righteously.

    You may believe that those views will lead to problems on Judgment day, but it is far from your place to tell that to someone else.

    Again, I’ve got the General Authorities on my side. Once Steve (or anybody) comes up with a quote from a sustained leader in the Church supporting their views, then I’ll lend that voice some credence.

  19. jeff
    November 12, 2006 at 10:47 pm #

    “It’s not my view I’m comparing Steve’s against—it’s the view set forth by “the vast, vast majority”, if not all, of the General Authorities.”

    Then let them be the judges in Israel since that is their calling and not yours. My point wasn’t to debate the merits of what you said. My point is that, to my knowledge, you don’t have any ecclesiastical or priesthood authority to make the statement you made about Judgment Day and Steve’s worthiness on that day. You are not his Bishop, and you are not a GA. The “judge righteously” idea from what I understand is within your sphere of influence, which–I’m quite sure–doesn’t extend to blog owners and the bloggers that visit them.

    Just a thought.

    I really did enjoy the discussion. I just believe that we need to be careful when we start talking about the eternal damnation of people who don’t fall within our Priesthood leadership sphere of influence.

  20. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 10:52 pm #

    My point is that, to my knowledge, you don’t have any ecclesiastical or priesthood authority to make the statement you made about Judgment Day and Steve’s worthiness on that day.

    I most certainly agree that I don’t have any authority over Steve, and have never advocated that. In fact, my reference to the judgment bar had nothing to do with Steve or his specific views—it had to do with John’s suggestion that in 20 years society would be able to compare and contrast the effects of homosexual lifestyles permeating our culture and legislation.

    That being said, do you honestly think it’s that farfetched of a statement to make, for me to say that something will be judged a certain way at the judgment bar when that stance is in harmony with every single General Authority? That’s like saying that I shouldn’t make such statements as “Those who endure to the end will be able to hear the Master say to them ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant'” when such a stance is also supported by scripture and modern revelation. I see no reason not to be able to say what I’ve said about the verdict at the judgment bar about the negative effects of homosexuality and other sexual sins.

    My 2¢.

  21. jeff
    November 12, 2006 at 11:04 pm #

    That being said, do you honestly think it’s that farfetched of a statement to make, for me to say that something will be judged a certain way at the judgment bar when that stance is in harmony with every single General Authority? That’s like saying that I shouldn’t make such statements as “Those who endure to the end will be able to hear the Master say to them ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant’” when such a stance is also supported by scripture and modern revelation. I see no reason not to be able to say what I’ve said about the verdict at the judgment bar about the negative effects of homosexuality and other sexual sins.

    The difference between your example and what happened here was that, at least the way I read it, your statement was directed toward one person. I might have read it wrong, but when the two quotes that I cited in my first comment are read in the context of the discussion, they sure sound like a condemnation of Steve for his views, which isn’t your decision to make. However, if you really did mean it as a general statement, I don’t have much problem with it. That’s just not how I read it.

    Now, I’ll give my brief two cents on the discussion you’ve had. The problem is that you and Steve are arguing apples and oranges. He is looking at the issue from a legal/political perspective, and in that case, he’s right. I believe that it is unconstitutional to ban gay marriage right now with the way the Constitution is written. The only arguments against it are religious, and those certainly won’t hold up at a judicial challenge of the law. Connor, you are looking at it from a religious perspective, and you’re right. According to our religion, homosexuality is a sin and should not be given a legal approval because of that. The problem with this debate for you, Connor, is that you can’t win it. Since we live in a secular nation with a secular constitution, the pro-gay marriage side is going to win the debate. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m withholding judgment still because I’m really torn on this issue.

  22. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 11:11 pm #

    The problem with this debate for you, Connor, is that you can’t win it. Since we live in a secular nation with a secular constitution, the pro-gay marriage side is going to win the debate.

    A secular nation? Secular constitution? I’ll disagree on both statements. Yes, our nation is becoming more secular. Yes, our constitution is being interpreted more secularly. But neither was intended to be this way. National strength, prosperity, and independence largely hinges on the righteousness of the citizens, as we learn from the Book of Mormon.

    Permitting such sins to invade our culture and standards will bring about the same fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Pres. Kimball agreed:

    The growing permissiveness in modern society gravely concerns us. Certainly our Heavenly Father is distressed with the increasing inroads among his children of such insidious sins as adultery and fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, abortions, pornography, population control, alcoholism, cruelty expressed in wife-beating and child-abuse, dishonesty, vandalism, violence, and crime generally, including the sin of living together without marriage. [that last sentence answers Robert’s question in the 3rd paragraph of his comment]

    Important as it is, building stronger homes is not enough in the fight against rising permissiveness. We therefore urge Church members as citizens to lift their voices, to join others in unceasingly combatting, in their communities and beyond, the inroads of pornography and the general flaunting of permissiveness. Let us vigorously oppose the shocking developments which encourage the old sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, and which defile the human body as the temple of God.

    To our beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, as well as to all peoples of the world who love the Lord and desire to live in harmony with the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we say no people can remain strong and happy who condone these loose standards of morality.

    Looks like President Kimball would have supported my strong stance against homosexuality and “righteous judging” in relation thereto…

  23. jeff
    November 12, 2006 at 11:29 pm #

    “A secular nation? Secular constitution? I’ll disagree on both statements. Yes, our nation is becoming more secular. Yes, our constitution is being interpreted more secularly. But neither was intended to be this way.”

    You say this as a political/historical fact and then quote the BofM as evidence. That doesn’t quite work for me, sorry. The fact is that the founding fathers were primarily Deists (People who say God as the great clock maker, who stepped back after creating the world to let us do with it what we pleased), and were far less concerned with protecting religious beliefs than they were in maintaining a society where one set of religious beliefs wouldn’t be foisted on others. They came to escape persecution from religious ideologues, not to start a society that would encourage it. That’s why the establishment clause is in the Constitution.

    By the way, Joseph Smith agrees with me:

    We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied. (D&C 134:9)

    The only way to not “mingle religious influence with civil government” is to have a secular government, which is what we have. And, of all the people in this nation who should understand why that’s necessary, it’s the Mormons who were driven across the country at the point of a gun because politicians allowed the idea of religion to enter in to the decision making process.

    Where do you get the idea that we don’t live in a secular democracy with a secular constitution? I’ve heard that point of view before and always wondered where it really comes from.

  24. Connor
    November 12, 2006 at 11:46 pm #

    You say this as a political/historical fact and then quote the BofM as evidence. That doesn’t quite work for me, sorry.

    I guess you don’t agree that the Book of Mormon was explicitly written for our day. Without that common belief than I can see how my statement wouldn’t hold any water for you.

    They came to escape persecution from religious ideologues, not to start a society that would encourage it.

    This depends upon what you’re talking about. Sure, they didn’t want government to encourage religion or “church and state” to be intertwined (though such a principle was not ingrained in society until nearly a century later when the statement of “separation of church and state” was discovered in one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters..) But that does not mean they wished such principles and practices to be common and widespread among the citizens of the nation. It’s just as Alma did in renouncing the judgment seat to be a missionary. He knew that national righteousness was composed of individuals righteousness, and therefore you must work on a personal level to encourage such living among each person and group. George Washington agrees with the need for religion and morality:

    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

    We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government…

    Your use of this scripture doesn’t support your stance. This scripture talks about religious influence, meaning the support or condemnation by an organized church towards government. Using religious principle as a reason for and support of government affairs is another thing entirely. Church and state should be separated, but not religion and politics. Both govern the affairs of men, and therefore are often (and should be) connected and mutually compatible.

    The only way to not “mingle religious influence with civil government” is to have a secular government, which is what we have.

    Was our country founded this way? As a secular nation? Was our country founded as a democracy, or a republic? The answer to such questions should show how much we have deviated from the intent of the Founders.

    And, of all the people in this nation who should understand why that’s necessary, it’s the Mormons who were driven across the country at the point of a gun because politicians allowed the idea of religion to enter in to the decision making process.

    I don’t think your example works here. The persecutions hurled at the Saints (and Joseph primarily) were unconstitutional, unsupported (Joseph was acquitted nearly every time), and unlawful. Sure, there was religious bigotry, but the law had nothing to do with such affairs, and that’s why the Saints still supported the law as it was intended. Such is the case today when socialism creeps all around us and our constitutional rights are being infringed—we still support and uphold the constitutional laws.

  25. jeff
    November 13, 2006 at 12:28 am #

    I guess you don’t agree that the Book of Mormon was explicitly written for our day. Without that common belief than I can see how my statement wouldn’t hold any water for you.

    My belief in the BofM is not the question here. It’s your use of the BofM to “prove” something historical that’s the problem. The Book of Mormon was written for our day; however, that does not make it a suitable source for proving that we don’t live in a secular country as per the founder’s intentions. The founders hadn’t read the BofM when they wrote the Constitution, even if it was written for our day. The reason it doesn’t work for me isn’t that I don’t believe in the BofM, I do; or that I don’t believe that the BofM was written for our day, I do; it is that the BofM doesn’t “historically” prove your point as you said it did.

    As for the rest of your response, we’re arguing apples and oranges. You are saying that people’s personal religious beliefs should dictate how they vote and what side they take in government. I agree. People’s values should dictate how they vote. What I don’t agree with, however, is passing laws that are based on solely religious grounds, like a ban on gay marriage. To me, that is obviously “mingl[ing] religious influence with civil government,” taking rights from one group of people simply because they do not share the same religious belief (homosexuality is a sin) as another. You can make the case using religion; you can’t make the case using the Constitution.

    I don’t think your example works here. The persecutions hurled at the Saints (and Joseph primarily) were unconstitutional, unsupported (Joseph was acquitted nearly every time), and unlawful. Sure, there was religious bigotry, but the law had nothing to do with such affairs, and that’s why the Saints still supported the law as it was intended. Such is the case today when socialism creeps all around us and our constitutional rights are being infringed—we still support and uphold the constitutional laws.

    “The law had nothing to do with these affairs”?? You’re kidding right? The Extermination Order leveled against the Saints by governor Boggs is a very extreme form of the intermingling of religion and law. And, remember, many, many, many elected officials in Missouri and Illinois failed in their duties to protect the Saints because they were clouded by a religious judgment. I worry that the same will happen with the homosexual community if we allow religion to dictate policy. That Joseph was acquitted nearly every time simply shows that we have a responsible judiciary even though the lawmakers weren’t so responsible at the time, which is also why gay marriage bans haven’t held up in court btw.

    As for your “socialism” argument, that has nothing to do with what we’re discussing here. At least, I don’t see the connection.

  26. Steve M.
    November 13, 2006 at 10:09 am #

    Good comments all around, Jeff.

  27. Robert
    November 13, 2006 at 10:20 pm #

    I think Connor’s moralizing may just be disguised homophobia. If Walmart was using the money for an AIDS hospice, would you still be so angry? Connor, you realize that 100 years ago, your church advocated polygamy? And you must realize that it was against the law? In other words, people who participated in this practice were committing adultry AND violating the law. And now, 100 years later, the same group wants to dictate to the rest of the nation their definition of marriage? No, my wife and I don’t want you defining marriage for us. Nor do we appreciate your leadership in Salt Lake involving itself in California politics. Unless, of course, they are wiling to pay property taxes on all their buildings.

    There is always such a focus on “sin” when Mormons discuss anyting dealing with gay people. And, to many people, polygamy is nothing more than sexual explotation of women, often underaged girls. And you always hide behind the “familY”. Hate was never a family value.

  28. Connor
    November 13, 2006 at 11:07 pm #

    It’s your use of the BofM to “prove” something historical that’s the problem. The Book of Mormon was written for our day; however, that does not make it a suitable source for proving that we don’t live in a secular country as per the founder’s intentions.

    I think you’re misreading what I wrote, or imagining something altogether different. Here is what I said about the Book of Mormon:

    National strength, prosperity, and independence largely hinges on the righteousness of the citizens, as we learn from the Book of Mormon.

    Now, are you disagreeing that such is the case? The Book of Mormon does in fact teach us repeatedly of national righteousness and the conditional protection provided by the Lord when that nation was a righteous one. I made no reference to the Book of Mormon proving that we don’t live in a secular nation today.

    What I don’t agree with, however, is passing laws that are based on solely religious grounds, like a ban on gay marriage.

    Ah, but you see, the issue is not one of passing a law to ban gay marriage. It’s simply a law (well, the one I agree with) of protecting so-called “traditional” marriage as it has always been understood, and not changing it at the whim of society’s sexual diversions. I’m not only using religion, I’m using historical precedence.

    I think Connor’s moralizing may just be disguised homophobia.

    Haha! Sorry, but I like to think of my moralizing as.. uh… having morals.

    If Walmart was using the money for an AIDS hospice, would you still be so angry?

    Heavens no.

    Connor, you realize that 100 years ago, your church advocated polygamy? And you must realize that it was against the law? In other words, people who participated in this practice were committing adultery AND violating the law.

    Yes, our Church practiced polygamy. No, it was not against the law. Yes, there were laws created to ban the practice as part of Utah’s admissions process (with other involved factors), and when such laws were passed, what happened? The Church renounced the practice so as to obey the law of the land. So no, church members were neither committing adultery nor violating the law.

    No, my wife and I don’t want you defining marriage for us.

    That’s just the point. It’s all about retaining and protecting the current definition so that anybody else can’t just come in and define it as they place, supplementing the definition to suit their whims and desires.

    Nor do we appreciate your leadership in Salt Lake involving itself in California politics.

    You may dislike it, but I love it. The Church is a worldwide organization, and as such is involved in the lives of its members across the globe. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

    There is always such a focus on “sin” when Mormons discuss anything dealing with gay people.

    Indeed. That’s because it is a sin. :)

    And, to many people, polygamy is nothing more than sexual explotation of women, often underaged girls.

    When handled and arranged by men without the Spirit and direct revelation to enter the practice, yes, this most certainly is the case, as we’ve seen from recent examples.

    And you always hide behind the “family”.

    Who’s hiding? And from what?

    Hate was never a family value.

    Huh? Whom are you saying that I hate? I don’t hate anybody. Well, I could name a few politicians that have come close, but no, I can’t say that I hate anybody. The old maxim “hate the sin, love the sinner” is one I try to practice. Just because somebody isn’t gay doesn’t mean I can’t love/like them as my brother/sister and friend. Please don’t accuse me of hate, because such an accusation is unwarranted and unfounded.

  29. Robert
    November 14, 2006 at 3:44 pm #

    You are not to blame for this irrational hatred and desire to persecute gay people. You were programmed at an early age to victimize this group. You jump to the bandwagon to prevent them from enjoying the same protections under the law as you do. You are unable to leave them alone. Why the Mormons hate gay people so much is a mystery.

    Hate was never a family value. My suggestion would be to focus on polygamists in your own state (who rape children), and leave California politics to those of us who live and pay taxes in this state.

  30. Connor
    November 14, 2006 at 4:47 pm #

    You are not to blame for this irrational hatred and desire to persecute gay people.

    Again, Robert, you seem to be accusing me of something that is blatantly false. I do not hate gay people. I do not persecute them for their choices. I simply am opposed to such a lifestyle and think it is wrong. How is that irrational hatred?

    You were programmed at an early age to victimize this group.

    I’ve not been programmed by anybody. In fact, I have purged myself of all such indoctrination throughout various points in my life to assure myself that what I truly believe is my own. Sorry, but Mormons don’t “program” their children to victimize anybody. Simply being opposed to something does not amount to victimization. If I oppose a business for building their office on what used to be a nice community park, is that victimizing them? Clearly not. One can be opposed to somebody without resorting to petty hatred and related sentiments.

    You jump to the bandwagon to prevent them from enjoying the same protections under the law as you do.

    Since I’m not married, this statement is false. Also, I’ve not jumped on any bandwagon of kindred folk. My thoughts, opinions, and feelings are my own. I did not form them because of like-minded individuals or persuasive statements. Preventing gay couples from enjoying protection under the law is not a new thing. Protecting same-sex marriage is simply upholding traditional values practiced since the world was formed. We as a society must remain steadfast and slow to be tossed about like the waves of the sea with every new fad, sexual style, and popular practice.

    You are unable to leave them alone.

    In what way? This discussion has only been perpetuated when responding to others’ comments.

    Why the Mormons hate gay people so much is a mystery.

    Perhaps the mystery is due to the fact that Mormons don’t hate gay people.

    Hate was never a family value.

    You said this in your previous comment, so I’ll repeat my answer. Huh? Once again, you have falsely labeled my feelings and opinions in this matter as hatred. Such is not the case.

    My suggestion would be to focus on polygamists in your own state (who rape children), and leave California politics to those of us who live and pay taxes in this state.

    Perhaps you are unaware, Robert, or have since forgotten that I am from California. Am I unable to be opposed to laws in my home state? Am I restricted, as a citizen of this nation, from having opinions and feelings regarding laws in states other than my own? I don’t believe so. And your myopic suggestion of focusing on one single practice by one small group in one state is antithetical to the responsibility of American citizens. We should care about more than one thing in one state by one group.

  31. Robert
    November 14, 2006 at 6:09 pm #

    You really need to leave the subject of gay marriage alone, Connor. You won’t be happy until you bring back prison terms for gay people. However, there will be many of us who won’t allow you to persecute this group and remain silent. Again, it’s hypocrtical for you to talk about “tradtitional” values when, 100 years ago, polygamy was practiced by your church. And it was a violent, foul practice. That’s hardly traditional. And the fact it hasn’t been removed from the D&C only encourages whackos to continue the practice and harm more children. Before I take the LDS Church seriously on morality, I expect them to admit polygamy was wrong and to remove that section from your D&C. Too many generations of children were harmed as a result of that teaching.

    Times have changed for gay people. We now prosecute people on hate crimes. Matthew Shephard’s death shocked the entire world. I’m sure, however, you felt he somehow “had it coming”. I suppose your vengeful God had to smite down that poor boy based on Levitical law.

  32. Connor
    November 14, 2006 at 8:38 pm #

    You really need to leave the subject of gay marriage alone, Connor. You won’t be happy until you bring back prison terms for gay people.

    Prison terms? Robert, what has gotten into you? When you first started commenting on my blog it was very respectful and understanding. This subject comes up, and you’re accusing me of vilification and hatred, neither of which hold any water… Why in the world would gay people merit prison?

    However, there will be many of us who won’t allow you to persecute this group and remain silent.

    You have your free agency, and I have mine. You have your opinions, as do I. You are free to speak out as you wish, as am I. But I have not accused you of hating me, or vilifying me. You see my opposition as persecution. Understandable, though misguided. You have said you won’t remain silent. That’s fine. Perhaps you would care to start your own blog to speak your mind, rather than launching unfounded accusations on mine?

    Again, it’s hypocritcal for you to talk about “traditional” values when, 100 years ago, polygamy was practiced by your church. And it was a violent, foul practice. That’s hardly traditional.

    Ah, but this depends on how you define “tradition”. Certainly a bible-reading Christian such as yourself must admit that in times past God has commanded such a practice for His own reasons. Men of God in centuries past have lived under this law. Wouldn’t “tradition”, then, be in compliance with such behavior?

    As per being a violent, foul practice I think you are once again misguided. Perhaps you would care to read some of the journals of wives and/or children of such men as Brigham Young, who attested to his paternal love, kindhearted attitude towards all, and lack of any malicious intent, sexual or otherwise. Violent and foul? Hardly. Don’t judge men of the past by those you see flaunted in the news today living under this practice which the Church has long since renounced.

    And the fact it hasn’t been removed from the D&C only encourages whackos to continue the practice and harm more children.

    Perhaps you’d care to read the first Official Manifesto? Also, such splinter groups as the FLDS who maintain this practice don’t use or believe in our Doctrine and Covenants, so removing any mentions of polygamy would hardly serve to abate their desire to live this lifestyle.

    Before I take the LDS Church seriously on morality, I expect them to admit polygamy was wrong and to remove that section from your D&C.

    Don’t hold your breath. In the words of Joseph Smith:

    Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.

    You may disagree with the practice, but the fact (which some might dispute as a belief) remains that God commanded it. Having the Church announce it was wrong is one request that will never come to fruition.

    Too many generations of children were harmed as a result of that teaching.

    What evidence do you have to back up this claim?

    Times have changed for gay people. We now prosecute people on hate crimes.

    Any crime should be punished. I don’t care what sexual orientation, religion, or nationality the person claims to be, a crime is a crime, and should be punished as such.

    Matthew Shephard’s death shocked the entire world. I’m sure, however, you felt he somehow “had it coming”. I suppose your vengeful God had to smite down that poor boy based on Levitical law.

    Robert, such presumptions are almost laughable. Why in the world do you think I or other members of the Church feel this way? Yet again you’ve seen fit to accuse me of hating this people, and this time worse, you’ve accused me of being pleased to see somebody beaten and killed because they were homosexual. That is ludicrous, unwarranted, and I think you should apologize for making such an accusation.

  33. Steve M
    November 14, 2006 at 10:44 pm #

    Before I take the LDS Church seriously on morality, I expect them to admit polygamy was wrong and to remove that section from your D&C.

    Don’t hold your breath. In the words of Joseph Smith:

    Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.

    Of course, the ironic thing here is that this particular Joseph Smith quote is taken from a letter he wrote to Nancy Rigdon trying to convince her to become one of his plural wives.

    I’m not saying I disagree with the principle advanced in the quote, only that the use of that quote in this particular discussion is a tad ironic.

  34. Connor
    November 14, 2006 at 10:50 pm #

    How is it ironic? I offered the quote in support of polygamy (when God commands it), just as Joseph did. That’s not irony, it’s congruency.

  35. jeff
    November 14, 2006 at 11:08 pm #

    Robert, such presumptions are almost laughable. Why in the world do you think I or other members of the Church feel this way? Yet again you’ve seen fit to accuse me of hating this people, and this time worse, you’ve accused me of being pleased to see somebody beaten and killed because they were homosexual. That is ludicrous, unwarranted, and I think you should apologize for making such an accusation.

    I actually agree with you, Connor, that Robert’s criticism was unfair. This has been, for the most part, a civil discussion. I hope it will stay that way.

    As for my part in it, I think I’ve said my peace. This is one of a small handful of issues where my religion and my brain collide. I try not to dwell on such issues much since resolving the conflict is almost impossible.

  36. mother
    November 15, 2006 at 12:40 am #

    Fascinating reading. I have been very involved in this topic throughout my life (which I never EVER anticipated). I have been the spokesman for the Boy Scouts (and been vilified by the gay community as a result) and was the area leader in support of the Protection of Marriage Proposition in California.

    I will say this. Bottom line, I sustain the prophets and apostles. I do not view them as a “Mormon think tank.” I view them as spokesmen for God. Whether I completely understand things or not, I accept them and their statements as truths. You may call that “blind obedience” I’m sure. I call it obedience with eyes wide open. I am . . . shall we just say . . . a very intelligent woman. I am also very aware that the world has ways of making things that were once clear appear muddied.

    Nowhere is this more apparent than this issue. Within my lifetime, I have watched the gay community and its supporters work public opinion with mastery and finesse. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the rising generation of youth who so completely believe what they are being told by this impressive PR campaign. I find it amusing that you so readily accept all of the world’s PR on this matter and so firmly reject the statements of the Church . . . Interesting. Please be very careful not to just blindly accept the opinions and “studies” out there as truth.

    I shall share a quote in closing:
    “Today I make you a promise. It’s a simple one, but it is true. If you will listen to the living prophet and the apostles and heed our counsel, you will not go astray.” – Boyd K. Packer, Apr. 2001 Ensign

    (Oh, I can just hear it now . . . “No WONDER Connor is the way he is! It’s all his mother’s indoctrination!!” Very amusing — you don’t know Connor very well . . . )

  37. Robert
    November 15, 2006 at 11:31 pm #

    Nowhere is this more apparent than this issue. Within my lifetime, I have watched the gay community and its supporters work public opinion with mastery and finesse. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the rising generation of youth who so completely believe what they are being told by this impressive PR campaign. I find it amusing that you so readily accept all of the world’s PR on this matter and so firmly reject the statements of the Church.

    I can see from that statement that you view homosexuals as evil with some design to take over the world.

    I think you should know that my son, who died 2 years ago in an automobile accident, was gay. When he came to my wife and me, and asked if we “could still love him”, we told him there was nothing he could ever do that would stop us from loving him. He was a bright, caring young man who never wavered from our faith. Of all of our children, he was the one who kept our traditions more faithfully. Our Episcopal Church is accepting of gay men and women, and they are full members of our community. It has been controversial, and our place in the Anglican Communion has been questioned.

    And Aaron was a Boy Scout as a young boy. . When the subject of the Boy Scouts of America would come up, and my wife expressed anger at the Scouts, he would tell us, “they have a right to be wrong, and I am still an Eagle Scout”. A day does not go by we don’t miss him. His sister can’t talk about him, and my wife died that day, too. God forgive me, I never could comfort her enough, nor help her grieve.

    When people fight against gay marriage, or see a gay conspiracy, or view them as “evil” or “immoral”, they never knew my son. Aaron did have many things to overcome in terms of people’s attitudes and bigotries. However, I know he is with Jesus.

    This was not an appropriate forum to express my feelings, and if I offended anyone, I am sorry. I am a father first, last and always.

  38. Connor
    November 16, 2006 at 6:58 am #

    …and if I offended anyone, I am sorry.

    The only potential for offense, Robert, is when you begin to level accusations at others (namely myself) without any substance or merit. Accusing me of hating gay people and being a homophobe is petty. I understand your feelings on the matter because of your son’s experience, but that does in no way diminish my own opinions and feelings. Many people have many sons who are gay. My thoughts remain the same. I feel empathy and love for these people who are my brothers and sisters, but in my mind, practicing homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of a loving Father in Heaven.

  39. Robert
    November 16, 2006 at 12:08 pm #

    You need to remember that when you speak of “homosexual movement” and other things, that you are also speaking about real people.

    Gay people currenly suffer more discrimination and violence against them than any other group. You are wrong about Walmart. I called their PR department today, and they have no position on gay marriage. They do, however, seem rather annoyed at this LDS Urban legend. The money contributed is going to charities that benefit gay people. I realize in Utah you wouldn’t have any charities that feed gay men dying of Aids, etc., but it other states these charities are pretty common, and many corporations have programs similar to Walmarts.

    However, I can understand how anything that might benefit a gay person would be viewed as a threat to your belief system. I am grateful that we raised our children to love and accept all people, and to leave judgement to God.

  40. Connor
    November 16, 2006 at 12:38 pm #

    You need to remember that when you speak of “homosexual movement” and other things, that you are also speaking about real people.

    Of course I’m talking about real people; I’ve never denied that fact. Does that prevent me from opposing their actions and lifestyles? Does that mean I can’t call what they’re doing a sin? Hardly, I think.

    Gay people currently suffer more discrimination and violence against them than any other group.

    Does that make their cause just?

    You are wrong about Walmart. I called their PR department today, and they have no position on gay marriage. They do, however, seem rather annoyed at this LDS Urban legend. The money contributed is going to charities that benefit gay people.

    Wrong about Wal-Mart? All I claimed is that they were promoting the homosexual agenda. Lending support to a cause through financial contributions is definitely a form of promotion. Think about politicians—you give your money to somebody you want to win, because you believe in their cause. If Wal-Mart gave money to a Breast Cancer Awareness organization, it would be because the company believed in that cause and wished to promote it.

    So, donating money to the Washington DC Community Center for Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender People (and other kindred organizations) is definitely a move by Wal-Mart to support the cause of these centers.

    Oh, and this is hardly an “LDS Urban Legend”. That statement is almost asinine in scope.

    However, I can understand how anything that might benefit a gay person would be viewed as a threat to your belief system.

    This depends what benefits you are talking about. Certain inalienable rights are guaranteed each citizen. Other rights (and even less so, “benefits”) are subject to the voice of those elected to create such positions.

    Gay people do not threaten my beliefs. My beliefs are my own and will remain so independent of action on the part of anybody else. However, my concern for our national righteousness and stance before God (stemming from the prophetic Book of Mormon) creates in my a concern for any sin (be it homosexuality or otherwise) practiced on a large scale and promoted as normal or accepted

    I am grateful that we raised our children to love and accept all people, and to leave judgement to God.

    Sorry, but tolerance when pushed to extremes is just as bad. I will not teach my kids tolerance. Yes, I will teach them to love others, but to “hate the sin and love the sinner”. Sin is sin. Sin is against God’s commandments. Again, I repeat the previously-cited quote of Spencer W. Kimball:

    We therefore urge Church members as citizens to lift their voices, to join others in unceasingly combatting, in their communities and beyond, the inroads of pornography and the general flaunting of permissiveness. Let us vigorously oppose the shocking developments which encourage the old sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, and which defile the human body as the temple of God.

    So, while I love those with whom I disagree and whose lifestyles I oppose, such feelings of brotherly kindness don’t preclude me from being opposed (fiercely, even) to their practices and lifestyles. If my child came home and said he had stolen a car, I wouldn’t love him any less, but I certainly would not “accept” his behavior. Acceptance is detrimental to the spiritual growth of an individual when misapplied. By “accepting” the lifestyle of a sinner you are capitulating to a side God has commanded against.

    It’s like Henry Ward Beecher said:

    It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults. So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship.

  41. Jeff
    November 16, 2006 at 2:10 pm #

    I just couldn’t stay out of this.

    Connor,

    “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” is merely a cliche that tries to validate your position. The problem with it is that the “sin” you are hating is ingrained in the people that practice it. Gay people identify themselves as “gay.” It is who they are. Much in the same way that you identify yourself as Mormon. Their gayness and their self as a person are inseparably connected. Ergo, hating one part–the sin–is akin to hating the person because they identify themselves that way.

    Your example of the child stealing a car is much different than a child telling you that he/she is gay. If your child came home and told you he/she were gay, how would you react? If you cannot tolerate the “sin” or the lifestyle that they are living, how will you continue to let that child in your life and at the same time repudiate their actions? You might have to face that one day, Connor, and your no tolerance policy will be severely tested.

    Robert,

    The story of your son touched me. Thanks for sharing. It explains why you are so passionate about this issue. Unfortunately, I think that the fight is just starting for promoting tolerance and acceptance.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

  42. Curtis
    November 16, 2006 at 2:19 pm #

    ‘Hate the sin and love the sinner’ is definitely a viable attitude to take. There are many sins that are ingrained into a person’s fiber. Doesn’t make the sin any more acceptable. Does make the sin harder to overcome. Compassion on the sinner then is requisite as we all have our weaknesses and I’m sure that God looks upon us all the same. Just because God has given one a different weakness than someone who identifies as ‘gay’, doesn’t mean that person is judged by a different standard in relation to that weakness.

  43. Robert
    November 16, 2006 at 8:44 pm #

    Jeff,

    Thank you for understanding why equal rights for gay people is so important to my family. I do not view my son as a “sinner” nor do I think equating his being with that of a car thief appropriate.

    And why the LDS Church takes this hostile position towards gay people is beyond me. I don’t really see them involved with other issues, i.e., abortion. Frankly, I don’t think they are mature enough to realize what other consenting adults do behind closed doors does not effect them. In other words, it’s none of their business. Let God make those judgments.

    They couldn’t wait to jump on the bandwagon with our president in an amendment to the constituion. You know, Orrin hatch’s quote about the FLDS as being “law abding people” was given good coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    And there you have it.

  44. Connor
    November 16, 2006 at 10:46 pm #

    “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” is merely a cliche that tries to validate your position.

    Calling it a cliché is merely an attempt to discredit its validity.

    The problem with it is that the “sin” you are hating is ingrained in the people that practice it. Gay people identify themselves as “gay.” It is who they are. Much in the same way that you identify yourself as Mormon.

    Can’t a Mormon become a non-Mormon? Can’t a heretosexual become a homosexual, or vice versa? Your label of “identity” is a transitory notion that changes based on circumstances, experiences, and environment.

    Their gayness and their self as a person are inseparably connected.

    False. That’s like saying that me loving my girlfriend is a notion that I am “inseparably connected” with. So… I can’t dump her this weekend?

    Ergo, hating one part–the sin–is akin to hating the person because they identify themselves that way.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

    If you cannot tolerate the “sin” or the lifestyle that they are living, how will you continue to let that child in your life and at the same time repudiate their actions? You might have to face that one day, Connor, and your no tolerance policy will be severely tested.

    That’s a very good question. I have no doubt that my own stance will be tested with time, just as yours and others’ will. I like Joseph Smith’s method.

    And why the LDS Church takes this hostile position towards gay people is beyond me.

    What in the world is hostile about it? Robert, you’ve accused me of hatred, vilification, and a desire to see gays beaten and killed. I, too, understand the background of your passion in this matter, but the only one with a hostile position during this conversation has been you. The Church neither promotes nor advocates hostility at all. Your unsubstantiated accusations seem to float by with the breeze, without you providing any firm examples of back up your claims.

    I don’t really see them involved with other issues, i.e., abortion.

    Then I guess you’re not looking hard enough.

    Frankly, I don’t think they are mature enough to realize what other consenting adults do behind closed doors does not effect them.

    Mature enough? Have you seen who’s at the helm of the Church? How can you get more mature than that?

    Let God make those judgments.

    He does. And He communicates them to His Prophet.

    And there you have it.

    :::cough, cough:::

  45. jeff
    November 16, 2006 at 11:53 pm #

    Can’t a heretosexual become a homosexual, or vice versa?

    I’m not so sure. That depends on whether homosexuality is something we’re born with or not, which is quite a hot debate. I know that I could never become homosexual; it’s just not me, but I imagine that most homosexuals feel the same way about becoming heterosexual. It’s certainly different than changing religion, which was a flaw in my metaphor.

    Calling it a cliché is merely an attempt to discredit its validity.

    No, calling it a cliche is calling it what it is. It is a trite, overused expression that means very little, if anything, in practice. We use cliches all the time because they make us feel comfortable, but the truth is that they don’t mean much. We can debate cliches all day. One man’s cliche is another man’s poetry, I guess.

  46. Connor
    November 16, 2006 at 11:58 pm #

    No, calling it a cliche is calling it what it is. It is a trite, overused expression that means very little, if anything, in practice. We use cliches all the time because they make us feel comfortable, but the truth is that they don’t mean much.

    Meaning is relative. It may mean nothing to you, but does that mean it can in no way mean anything to myself? Hardly, in my opinion. Regardless of the fact that you see the statement as trite and overused, it is a motto I try to live by as I deal with people whose lifestyles I (and God, for that matter) do not condone.

  47. fontor
    November 17, 2006 at 3:27 am #

    Post-Haggard, every time I hear someone saying homosexuality is wrong, I wonder if I’m not looking at… well, a closet case. Because who’d care about someone else’s sexual behaviour if they weren’t curious, or even secretly envious?

    Nice how you’re so certain about what God condones, as well. Is it a coincidence that it always syncs up with what you condone? Guess that’s called ‘being in tune’.

    Sorry, but this kind of baseless moral certainty just irks me.

  48. Connor
    November 17, 2006 at 9:22 am #

    Post-Haggard, every time I hear someone saying homosexuality is wrong, I wonder if I’m not looking at… well, a closet case.

    So if God says homosexuality is wrong, you’re saying he’s a “closet case”?

    Nice how you’re so certain about what God condones, as well. Is it a coincidence that it always syncs up with what you condone? Guess that’s called ‘being in tune’.

    No, it’s called “listening to the Prophet”.

  49. fontor
    November 17, 2006 at 10:16 am #

    So if God says homosexuality is wrong, you’re saying he’s a “closet case”?

    Hmm.

    Yes, I’m having strong feelings that this must be so. And because I have strong feelings, they must be true.

    See the problem?

    You’re basing your view on what someone says. This is very poor evidence because they could easily be wrong. But when your views are based on actual empirical evidence (instead of feelings), it’s a lot more solid.

  50. Connor
    November 17, 2006 at 10:34 am #

    Yes, I’m having strong feelings that this must be so. And because I have strong feelings, they must be true. See the problem?

    But your feelings are unsupported. Mine are not.

    You’re basing your view on what someone says. This is very poor evidence because they could easily be wrong. But when your views are based on actual empirical evidence (instead of feelings), it’s a lot more solid.

    Fontor, this depends entirely upon who that ‘someone’ is. I will always support and follow God’s Prophet, and when that man says that X is wrong, I will throw in my support and say that X is wrong as well, because it explicitly means that God thinks X is wrong too. So yes, I’m basing my view on what someone says, and that someone is God. Can’t go wrong there.

  51. fontor
    November 17, 2006 at 11:18 am #

    Please explain how my feelings that God is a latina lesbian living in LA are any more unsupported than your feelings that God is a white man who thinks that homosexuality is wrong.

  52. Robert
    November 17, 2006 at 11:27 am #

    Connor,

    This is the last time I will visit your blog and any other website. My 30+ year relationship with the LDS Church is now over. Eventhough I always had LDS friends, and I did compartmentalize many disturbing historical facts and beliefs, you helped me realize just how dangerous your church can be.

    You are what we have been advocating against. You have exactly the self-righteous attitudes that harmed my child and allowed Matthew Shephard to be murdered. And Matthew’s murderer used his LDS membership as part of his defense. Your view that your God expects you to campaign against gay people is hate filled.

    It’s good you do what your leaders tell you to do. If you didn’t, you’d be excommunicated. Now that’s a church with true American values.

    You and your church disgust me.

  53. Connor
    November 17, 2006 at 11:45 am #

    This is the last time I will visit your blog and any other website.

    You’re giving up the entire internet?! :)

    My 30+ year relationship with the LDS Church is now over. Even though I always had LDS friends, and I did compartmentalize many disturbing historical facts and beliefs, you helped me realize just how dangerous your church can be.

    Compartmentalization is never a good thing. If there were things that were issues for you before, your “realization” in discussing these things with me was due to these previous issues, not any light bulb moment you may have had with what you read here.

    I’m sorry you consider the Church dangerous. Such is truly not the case. Indeed, standing on a firm moral ground and advocating purity and righteousness is the responsibility and position of the true Church of Christ. Waivering morals and capitulating to society’s latest trend is the position of all other Churches who “accept” people so that their membership doesn’t end up in a schism.

    You are what we have been advocating against.

    As I’ve said elsewhere repeatedly, the War in Heaven is continuing today. One must find out for one’s self which side is the true one to be on. Indeed, that is the very purpose of our existence here, and once we find the true and correct side, we must staunchly defend and fight for that cause. I’m sorry that you and I have found ourselves on opposing sides.

    You have exactly the self-righteous attitudes that harmed my child and allowed Matthew Shephard to be murdered. And Matthew’s murderer used his LDS membership as part of his defense. Your view that your God expects you to campaign against gay people is hate filled.

    My position is not one of self-righteousness. It is of righteousness in and of itself. May I remind you of my Church’s 13th Article of Faith:

    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    We seek after righteousness. We shy away from sin. God doesn’t expect me to campaign against gay people. Far from it, he expects me to campaign against the sin itself: homosexuality… as well as pedophilia, pornography, profanity, thievery, adultery, and all other sins. Such a position does not require nor promote hate. Again, you say that I am filled with hatred, when in fact I am not. Please stop making such accusations.

    It’s good you do what your leaders tell you to do. If you didn’t, you’d be excommunicated. Now that’s a church with true American values.

    Haha! This comment strikes me as odd. Are you alleging that my position is one of fear of being excommunicated? That I blindly obey my leaders out of fear of retribution, and losing my membership in the kingdom? Let me reiterate the comment made by my mother in comment #36:

    Very amusing — you don’t know Connor very well…

    You and your church disgust me.

    I’m sorry that a firm moral position disgusts you. I understand that this one is of a personal nature for you because of your son’s experience. My brother has illegally smoked marijuana before. I am opposed to such an action. That doesn’t mean I love my brother less, nor does it mean that I should accept marijuana smoking and illegal behavior because he has accepted that lifestyle. I do not love him any less by telling him to his face that what he did was wrong.

    God is a loving Father. He doesn’t advocate hatred or cruel punishment. But he is a just God who repudiates sin and calls Prophets to warn the people of their wickedness, call them to repentance, and invite them to obey Christ and be baptized by the proper authority. Such has been the pattern throughout the ages. It is not any different today.