Friday, January 28, 2011

What is really reasonable? I don't know. I may never know.

The following is a Facebook conversation that I think might be valuable to save... I actually really hate, hate, hate debates because people inevitably end by insulting me for my beliefs in God, no matter how reasonable and kind I try to be. They invariably lead to tears on my end. I wouldn't be surprised if the angry words directed at me are masked tears on the other end.

It started when my friend Allison posted a link about Mormons ( Frankie, one of her Facebook friends (who is openly homosexual), says: Mormons hate gays. :(

Jacqueline: ‎....Frankie- read this book: Mormons & Homosexuality by A. Dean Byrd

Glenn: Frankie's just trying to cause trouble. And I don't think a book your own culture is divided on is going to help. =P

Jacqueline: LOL Thank you Glenn....I think...;P

Frankie: i know a little about the book.

i know it say how the same behavior is expected between homosexuals and heterosexuals. not engaging in sexual activity until married.

but it also clearly says "The LDS church is currently very strongly opposed to equal rights for gays and lesbians. They maintain that their position has remained unchanged through their history."

so there is a dislike/hate towards the gays.

Kira: Actually, all of the LDS people I've met who are around my age or younger all like gay and lesbian people just fine. A lot of them are friends with someone who is gay or a lesbian, in fact. I myself am acquainted with a few, and I like them, but I don't know them well enough to call them my friends. So I think saying that we dislike or even hate gays is the wrong thing to say. We disapprove of their choices, yes, but definitely don't hate them as a person.

Frankie: i didn't mean that you hate them as a person. how can you disapprove of our choices if i didn't chose. did you chose to be straight? no you just chose to carry out your attraction to the opposite sex.

but if the lds church and followers had no ill feelings towards gays then they would not oppose equal rights no matter if they believe personally if it is immortal.

i highly doubt someone of the lds church would ever vote in favor for equal rights.
what would you vote on equal rights for gays?

Glenn: Sorry Allison. I couldn't stop the inevitable debate on your status of an entirely different topic. ^_^;

Frankie: inevitable? then why try to stop it? lol i cant.

Allison: Frankie- "no you just chose to carry out your attraction to the opposite sex" is exactly what I believe. I struggled with this idea for a while, trying to understand all the conflicting things out there about choice vs. "born with it" and what I've come to understand is that there is a choice in everything. I have desires of my own, but I choose not to act on them. Guess what? I want to have sex. It's a physical desire. But I choose not to act on that desire, and that is the distinction.

All that being said, I want to emphasize the fact that the church does in fact support equal rights for gays. The only thing that we oppose politically is marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman, because we believe that marriage is an institution given by God to unite a man and a woman. That part goes down to our very core beliefs. But I really like this statement given by a church spokesman because it talks a lot about how members should remember to love their neighbors as themselves and NOT have that attitude of dislike/hate toward our brothers and sisters on this earth. Also, it talks about the fact that the church has supported
"rights for gays and lesbians such as protections in housing or employment."

P.S. I certainly wasn't expecting a debate on this link, lol, but it's okay. I just want to say that I have lots of gay friends and I love them just as much as my straight friends. I also have lots of friends who have sex outside of marriage, and I love them too. I try not to judge because I know everybody is different and everybody has their own circumstances and even their own personal struggles that have nothing to do with circumstance. In the end I believe that we are ALL sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, and we should treat those around us accordingly. That doesn't mean that all people follow that, and it certainly doesn't mean that there aren't members of the church who absolutely judge others, including gays, but that reflects on the individual who chooses to be judgmental, not the church that preaches love for all mankind.

Felipe: I agree - and I think Frankie meant immoral, but the point is valid... If it boils down to whether or not homosexuality and heterosexuality are choices versus being born a certain way, then it comes down to how you interpret the Book of Mormon and also how you feel about general human rights... essentially being in favor of unequal rights is asserting that gays are less human, similar to the law in the past that delegated Blacks to be less than a whole White person.

Allison: I think Nick (or "Felipe") makes an excellent point. We absolutely support equal rights for gays. The thing that gets confusing for some people is the marriage issue, but since we believe that marriage is specifically a union between a man and a woman, we oppose the changing of the institution on marriage in general.

Frankie: you can not sit there and say you support equal rights for gays but do not want to allow them the right to marry! if you can not see how hypocritical that is the i dont what to tell you.

you are not in support or in favor of gays if you deny us the right to marry.
the lds church obviously has an issue with gay marriage. but who is the lds church to define what marriage is? who granted the lds church the right to say what marriage is. go head and practice what you believe marriage is with in your coummuntiy and church but when the lds church sat there raising over 25 million dollars in support of prop 8 (aslo lying at first and saying only $2,078 was raised for the ban on same-sex marriage) then that becomes a issue. so saying the church supports gay rights is a big lie. so the lds church obviously feels threatened by it.

who i decide to marry is no ones business but mine, and the fact that the church raised over 25mil. to deny that right to gays in California. hummm says something there....

Frankie: the fact the people are allow to vote and dictate over my rights still baffles me.

Frankie (presenting quotes... out of context, of course):"how will these be stopped? only by the destruction of those who prctice themself. the only way is...for the lord to wipe them out." --George Q. Cannon, Mormon Apostle.

"Homosexuality is an ugly sin. Repugnant, like adultery and incest and bestiality. they carry the death penalty under the mosaic law." --Spencer W. Kimball, Mormon Prophet

"Homosexual abominations are fast becoming the way of life among the wicked and the ungodly" --Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Apostle

"Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie stated he supported the death penalty for all illicit sex including homosexuality" [no source here]

"Homosexuality is not pure love" --Harold B. Lee, Mormon Prophet

"Gays have a problem." --Gordon B. hinckley, Mormon Prophet.

so you cant sit there and say the lds supports gay rights when they obviously have a dislike towards gays to begin with.

Jacqueline: Taking out your frustrations however on a beautiful young woman who loves you and would never judge you...solves nothing. Allison has not nor do I think she would ever belittle you for your beliefs. I do believe she deserves the same courtesy. You are entitled to your opinions and your own deep feelings on the matter, she did not bring them up and deserves to have her most sacred faith celebrated on her facebook page. Not torn down. She deserves to be respected in the way you are demanding for yourself.

I wish you nothing but joy as a *mormon*. You are a child of God and I hope you find happiness in your life even as I seek out the same for mine. There is not a single bad thought or feeling I have towards you no matter what or who you are or how the world would have you be classified. Remember that every person in this world no matter what religion they adhere to or counsel they follow is a person willing and able to love and be loved. We may not agree, we may never agree, but the love is there regardless. Do with that what you will.

Frankie: i am not taking my frustrations on Allison, i like Allison. reading back on it i can see how it sounds forceful, and that was not my intent.

yeah i brought up the whole issue of the lds church doesn't like gay. maybe wasnt my place. but did i lie?

Me: Sigh. You know, Frankie, your claim a few posts ago still irks me a little bit even though you've been defending it. (Summarized as "Mormons hate gays because they don't let them get married.") I'm not sure if you're entirely incorrect in your assumption that Mormons don't like gays. I'll admit I know some Mormon homophobes, but this is certainly not true for most of us, including myself.

I have three points to make.

First, I don't think there is such a thing as "the right to marry". Just gonna put that out there.

Second, you have to understand the difference between anti-homosexuality (the acts) versus anti-homosexual (the people). LDS are not against gay people, just gay actions. Your argument is a classic "straw man" fallacy.

Third, you have to understand why we Mormons are all voting against making same-sex marriage legal. Here are our assumptions:
1) God and the leaders of the church are in communication with one another.
2) God is the author of all that is good.
If you assume that those two assumptions are true, as Mormons do, then obviously the most correct and most ethical thing to do when the church leaders say, "Vote against gay marriage. Thus saith the Lord," is to vote against it.

And honestly, the church leaders haven't really given us many reasons that stand up in an ethical or political debate. They did say that it would result in bad things for the church someday. We can't prove that in a debate. You just *can't* prove prophecy in a logical debate.

You'll hear a lot of Mormons trying to come up with reasons that homosexuality is wrong. (You hear some saying "It isn't natural, so it's wrong." But neither are antibiotics and those are good. And you see other animals exhibiting homosexual behavior. You also hear "People choose to be homosexual." As a student seeking her PhD in neuroscience, I can testify that there are biological causes for it... meaning it wasn't their choice to have homosexual tendencies. It is, however, their choice to act on it. All the explanations people come up with fail.) The truth is, we don't know why except that God said it was.

Jacqueline: THAT is the best argument I have heard yet. Thank you Jenna for saying so clearly what we believe. I appreciate it, no matter how it is received.

Me: Jacqueline, you're welcome. I'm sure you've struggled with this issue just as much as I have. I've decided there's no way to defend the church's position except by bluntly saying that this is what God told us to do.

Frankie: i corrected myself in saying that the lds church is against gays and not just all Mormons in general.

i do understand the difference between anti homosexuality and anti homosexual. and i can easily say that they are both. considering the countless amount of people who are disowned by their Mormon family due to the fact that they are gay.

what do you mean there is no such thing as right to marry? how come you are entitled to the right to marry someone of the opposite sex and receive all of the legal benefits form it and i am not given the opportunities to marry the one i love and gain those same benefits.
thusssssssss making it unfair and unjust.

okay i respect that you believe your god is telling your pastors what to do and say. but when it comes down to it, religion has no play into the fact weather im allowed to marry or not. and the fact that the lds church raised over 25million dollars in support of prop 8 is the problem. because when it comes down to it. we have freedom of religion living the united states, so were all free to believe and think and we please. so since we are entitled to freedom of region, who is the lds church to put millions of dollars to a civil rights cause? to me it just seems like the church wants to gain control. so when im free to believe what i want, who is the lds church to come in and dictate what happens? because it clear the only reason prop 8 passes was cause of the lds church raising all that money. second what business does the lds church have donating 25million to prop 8 when we also have separation of church and state in the united states?

Me: Again, you are not entirely correct. Sadly, some Mormon families do disown homosexual children. A lot *don't*. You are again over-generalizing. These are Mormon individuals acting, NOT the church. The church itself, as an organization, is NOT NOT NOT anti-gay people. We are ashamed of Mormon individuals who act *against* doctrine and disown their homosexual children. You can't logically say that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hates gays. That's like saying the entire Democratic party is homophobic because you know a few homophobic Democrats.
I'm not entitled to marry. And neither are gay people. I am not entitled to ANY legal benefits for getting married. And unfair is NOT the same thing as wrong. It's unfair that I was born in the United States of America and not in the middle of Nigeria. Again, a logical fallacy.

You can't say religion has no say. You can't leave God out of this. If all these Mormons *really* believe God told them to vote against gay marriage without giving them a good, logical reason, and they do it, you can't just leave that fact out. The LDS church (as an organization) only donated a few thousand dollars. LDS church members (as individuals, independently of the church organization) collectively raised that $25 million. This is another straw man fallacy the anti-LDS media likes to do.

As for the separation of church and state... they still are separate. It is, however, *impossible* for religious people to entirely discard their religion when forming opinions. LDS people really do believe that making same-sex marriage legal in the United States will endanger the freedom of religion.

“[T]he informed opinions of religious people are as relevant as those of secularists. But all parties must be willing to submit their views to the tests and criteria of critical reasoning and evidence” (from Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases, Lewis Vaughn, Oxford University Press 2010, page 18). As you saw in my above post, I am just as critical of Mormon opinions on this matter. But religious opinions are JUST as valid.

Frankie: but i can logically say that the lds church has a dislike for gays! did you not read all my gay hating quotes made by lds church leaders?there is no way you can say that the church doesn't preach a dislike for homosexuals and homosexuality ashamed of parents who disown gay children? if that was true the church would ban them as quickly as they ban the gays form the church. lets not forget the incident that happed when the lds church acted irrational when 2 men hugged and kissed on the check. obviously not supportive of gay people or gay acts when they feel the need to slam them to the ground and handcuff them.

are you kidding me?! if you marry a man you are the granted a countless amount of rights. heres a list of what you get when a heterosexual couple marry.

its a endless battle with you when you believe that you do know have the right to marry when you obviously do! you can walk into any lds church or church or any city hall and get married. i cant! so that = unfair AND wrong.

i can to leave god out of this cause not every one believes what you believe, not everyone believes in a god. the lds church told the members to collect money. of course i knew that. i knew that the 25million came from the lds church members.
allowing gays to marry will not endanger freedom of religion.i guess you can say Freedom of religion is already endangered to those who do who religiously believe it is okay for same sex to marry. allowing same sex couples to marry do not interfear with your lives, believes and rights!

What you believe due to your religion or just your opinion does not make it factual. i do now have to believe what you believe. so when all those lds members donated money and voted against it, that infringed on my right of freedom of religion.
its seriously a endless battle when you come with info of what your god told you. i came with factual information. check my receipts.

Frankie: Ok but how is it fair for their god and their belief to dictate laws for a powerless minority in an act that does not involve them? What about people who have other gods and religions? Its not lawful and a direct contradiction to what the country was founded on and what the constitution and bill of rights is for and says. Providing gays with there equal rights does not take away that they may still not approve but its not fair for that to determine law. Freedom of religio and separation of church and state ensures that no one religion can say what can be put into law on the basis of a personal religious choice and belief. We live in a world and country where people of all walks of life live together. So is it fair for a certain group to not have certain rights when they face discrimination under the law when its contradictory to what is right and what the country stands for? What about if the tables were turned? What about other groups rights that do not coincide with mormon beliefs if its not negatively effectin their rights.

Me: Show me one of those quotes that says gay people are evil. They all refer to homosexuality and the *action* thereof. I'm sorry you're angry. But DON'T tell me what the doctrine is. I will win in an argument of what the doctrine is. I've been studying it for my entire life. My guess is, you've only heard rumors of LDS doctrine from the media. That link you posted? It was their *actions* the LDS security guards asked them to leave for. They weren't asked to leave just for *being* gay people. As quoted in your article, "It doesn't matter what they were asked to leave for," Snyder said. "If they are asked to leave and don't they are ... trespassing." I'm pretty sure they would have been asked to leave if they had started swearing, too. It was just disrespectful.

And gays are NOT banned from the church. There *are* gay LDS people. Don't tell me there aren't. Gay people usually leave of their own volition. People who act on their homosexual impulses though, can be disfellowshipped and excommunicated.
Yes, I get rights for marrying a man. But SHOULD I? Am I ENTITLED to them? No. I don't need the list. If gays can't have those rights, neither should I. Fine.
You can't prove allowing gays to marry won't endanger the freedom of religion. Just so you know. You can't prove the prophecy that it WILL is bogus either. And you can't ethically prevent people from acting on the belief that the prophecy is true.
And you're right, just because I believe God exists doesn't mean He does. But using that same idea... just because you believe He didn't didn't actually tell our apostles anything, doesn't mean He didn't.

Anyway, I'm done with this thread. My goal* has been fulfilled. I've clarified the "distortions" and "selective interpretations" you presented.

We will never agree. I just wanted to you actually understand what the LDS people actually believe. There are a lot of falsehoods circulating about the LDS stance on homosexuality.

Thanks for your time, Frankie.

*"Obviously, some will disagree with us. We hope that any disagreement will be based
on a full understanding of our position, and not on distortion or selective interpretation. The church will continue to speak out to ensure its position is accurately understood." --Michael Otterson, representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Frankie: You're hopeless. I hope that one day you can become open minded enough to have your personal religious beliefs, that not everyone shares and lives their lives by, restrict a under-represented, oppressed, and almost powerless minority. I hope that you can accurately understand the position of the gay community without your distortion, selective interpretation, and mis-information, and without speaking of them like you know more about being gay than actual gay people. I hope you can understand you are entitled to your opinion but your opinion is not superior to others beliefs on a matter where your rights actually aren't restricted.

Allison:After some debate I've decided to leave this post up because I think the discussion is important. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
HOWEVER. If I see one more post where someone is directly attacking someone else, it will be deleted without comment. This is my wall and I won't stand for anyone belittling anyone else because of what they believe. We don't have to agree, but I'm not okay with name-calling or other destructive and rude behavior.

The end.

Any LDS person will understand what a STRUGGLE it is to defend the church in the public sphere, ESPECIALLY in this debate. To be honest, I wanted to save the above conversation (even if it did turn nasty...) because other LDS people are struggling with the concept. Nothing any of the LDS contributors above said anything that really meant anything to Frankie or people like him. However, it is valuable to us as LDS people, and trying to make sense of how to reconcile this issue in our own minds.

I'm certain I'm not the only LDS person who, had it not been for the church leadership advising us to vote against it, would have voted in favor of same sex "marriage".


I am not allowing comments on this post; I feel that all that needs to be said has been said... on both sides. That isn't to say there aren't better ways to bring up a certain point. It's just that there is no way to get beyond the God card until the second coming.