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Morality and gay marriage

February 20th, 2004 · 1 Comment

I am 46% liberal, 54% conservative.

I actually thought I’d be farther to the conservative side, but that’s good, I guess. Pretty much middle-of-the-road for me. Yay.

I’ve been wanting to talk about the gay marriage thing for a while now, and this is as good a time as any. So, reader beware, political and moral musings ahead:

First of all, you know that I believe homosexuality is immoral. Note that I am referring to homosexual acts, not necessarily feelings. Our feelings are much harder to quantify and control, and only God can judge if a particular feeling is a sin or not. But acts are different. The Bible is very clear on the subject, and in addition, we Mormons believe that marriage between a man and a woman is absolutely essential to God’s plan for his children, and when done by the proper authority, can be eternal. A person must be married in order to be truly saved. We also believe that gender is an essential characteristic of Heavenly Father’s children, and that our gender was determined in the pre-earth life and will continue in the afterlife. Homosexuality is therefore outside the Plan of Salvation, and as with any sexual contact outside the bonds of marriage, is a sin.

I don’t know if homosexuals are “born that way” or not. In the end it doesn’t really matter. All humans are born with a predeliction to sin. It’s a consequence of the Fall of Adam. A scripture in the book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:19, states: “for the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” We know for a fact that some people are born with a predeliction for alchoholism, others with kleptomania, sexual perversions, or even the desire to kill. It doesn’t make it any less of a sin to give into these temptations. Our aim in this life is not necessarily to accept who we are; it is to recognize who we are, determine what needs to be changed and become who we can be. Another scripture from the BoM says “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

God has promised us that if we come to Him, He will help us to do what He wants us to do, and in fact, without God’s help and the grace of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we could never be righteous. One of the most comforting scriptures in the Book of Mormon comes very early, in 1 Nephi 3:7: “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” If God gives the commandment, it is possible to obey it. God has commanded us not to engage in homosexual acts, and he will helps us to obey that commandment. It may not be easy– obedience seldom is– but it is possible.

That being said, I am split on the gay marriage issue. While it is true that many laws reflect moral principles, not all do so. In addition, we believe that moral agency–the right to choose– is, next to the Atonement, God’s greatest gift to man. In the pre-earth life a war was fought in heaven on that principle, and Satan was cast out because he wished to take it away from God’s children. It is a sacred right. I cannot force anyone to live by the principles I hold sacred anymore than you can force me to abandon them.

If homosexuals want to practice, that is their right. If they want to pledge themselves to each other for life, well, that’s their right, too. I believe that legal civil unions may be warranted, but I hesitate to call those unions marriages. It’s redefining a word that has meant the same thing for centuries on end. If we start tinkering with the idea of marriage, then we’re opening up a whole can of worms that can all too easily get out of hand.

In the history of my Church, we were persecuted, arrested, and even killed for the practice of polygamy. Laws were passed in Congress that made it legal for children to be removed from polygamist homes and for the fathers to be sent to prison and work camps. The Republican party charter included the goal of ridding the world of the twin evils of slavery and polygamy (a fact which my AP US History teacher delighted in pointing out, since most Mormons are now Republicans). The federal government was ready to confiscate all of our church property unless we discontinued the practice. It was a condition of Utah’s admission to the union that polygamy be outlawed in our state constitution. Now, we don’t practice polygamy anymore, and if it was ever legalized we would not do so again. The commandment has been rescinded, the time and the need for it has passed. But there are many who disagreed with the revelation given in 1893, and who left the church and continue to practice it. If gay marriages are allowed, bigamy and polygamy are the next logical step. They do, after all, love each other. Who are we to tell men they can’t have 6 wives, or to tell the wives that they shouldn’t share their husbands? We could even have polygamy where a woman has more than one husband. If they love each other and all parties consent, why not? Isn’t marriage love?

The problem is that it’s not love. Love is a part of marriage, but not the whole, and in some ways it’s not even the most important part. It’s as much a social construct as a moral one, and a fundamental one at that. Who knows but that changing one of the basic building blocks of society will cause the whole structure to crumble?

I just don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I do know that it’s not a black and white issue, and that there is no simple solution. Like with everything, I suppose.

Hmm. In looking at that, I find myself wondering what my point was.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Sarah wilkes // Dec 5, 2005 at 11:39 am

    Go Cougars! I graduated from BYU in 2002 with a theatre arts (stage management) degree. I really enjoyed your “musings” on marriage, homosexuality, and free agency. I found your blog through Melissa Anelli’s….I’m a fairly new support staff member on her TLC website. Cheers!

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