A discussion of politics, society, and laws of the land, from an LDS or Mormon perspective.
I don't concur with the response article. Anyone with a brain knows that Elder Packer was implying the gay community when he made the statement about people can change if they want to. It was insensitive.
Why do you call it insensitive to imply that human beings posses within themselves the power to change their behaviour? It is really getting old having to hear that calling homosexuality a sin is hateful or insensitive or whatever else. It leaves no room for people who feel that it is indeed a sin. Why should people demand that believer in God be quiet about their dislike of homosexuality? That does not imply hate of people, and to confuse the two is small mindedness.
Welcome back Javelin. It has been sometime since we have heard from you. Perhaps defending Barack Obama has lost merit. Picking back up with the issue of Homosexuality because you have a new batch of pundits giving you talking points?"anyone with a brain?" Seriously? Since when did you feel that you are the source of all knowledge about what Elder Packer "meant" with what he communicated? I spent some time at LDS family services and had the opportunity to meet with people in all the categories that Elder Packer spoke of. Some are able to embrace and see and testify that what Elder Packer said is true. They not only have a brain, but they have a heart.There is nothing insensitive about what he wrote. You may disagree with it, but there was nothing insensitive about it. Insensitive is telling people that they don't have a brain.
James, Elder Packer named gays as one of the three enemies of the church. Nice try!
Where do you come up with this stuff? Elder Packer didn't say such a thing to my knowledge. And even if he said something you can misinterpret that way, any reference to such would probably be saying that sexual immorality is an enemy to the church, not the people who practice themselves.Your inability to separate the sin fro the sinner shows a great deal of hatred on your part Javelin. Who is the more condemning at this point, Mormon's who disagree with acting on same sex attraction while simultaneously expressing our love for those that struggle with it? Or the one who spends their time seeking to tear down and insult us for having our opinion - Who seeks to insult us for our beliefs?Mormon's can't say that they disagree agree with a lifestyle without being jerks, but you can hate us for having an opinion and are completely justified? Reconcile that....Let me ask you then Javelin, are you gay? Are you mormon? I doubt both to be in the affirmative. Therefore, you have no authority to speak from either vantage point
Not gay. Am very active as a Mormon. I'm surprised that you are ignorant on Packer's talk back in the 80s. He said the three enemies of the church are feminists, gays, and intellectuals. There is no hate from me since I stand on principles of truth and fairness.
From a completely different perspective, that of an outsider, let me say that no one need care what Elder Packer said, what he really meant, whether his opinion on the subject is better than anyone else's, or whether he was right or wrong about homosexuality. Religious belief is a choice and people are free to believe or not. The only concern those outside the LDS community have are about actions the church or groups within the church, may take toward gay people based on the ideas that the church leadership is teaching the faithful.If these ideas are used to govern one's own life or as a guide for church members, then no one outside the faith should have an objection. If however, the LDS Church as an organization inserts itself, directly or indirectly, into the political sphere with a view toward denying their fellow citizens equal rights because of their sexual orientation, then we have a very different problem. It's sort of like the difference between having the sin of homophobia and acting on it.
Very good, Charles
I'd be interested in your reactions to this article by Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson that refers to Elder Packer's speech.
Elder Packeris a citizen entitled to his opinion. I am a citizen entitled to my opinion. We are both members of the same church and we share opinions on many issues. So in that, you find no fault, Charles.But you hold problem with the church making statements on moral issues in society- in this case, homosexuality and gay marriage. If I understand you right, why is this different than the statements churches make against drinking, or smoking, or stealing, or other moral issues?The beer companies aren't upset about the church's anti-alcohol stance, at least no anywhere near the reaction of homosexuals and "gay sympathizers." Why is this issue so unique and has been such a lightning rod? Additionally, this stance is not new, nor is this the first time the church has made any statements regarding the issue, why this virulent reaction now?
In response to your article Charles:It is often overlooked, but a good portion of Elder Packers talk and the subsequent statements from the church emphasize the idea that any disgreement on moral or political issues, specifically with homosexuality, is not an excuse for voliolence or anger towards those who are gay.I realize that sounds a little like a legal disclaimer, but the feeling is genuine. There is no excuse for abuse towards those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle. That means that the problem referenced in the article is solely the ownership of those who chose to abuse or those who chose to take their own life. Not the church. Many in this world are looking for scapegoats for the problems in the world. People sued cigarette companies over their health problems, but no one forced them to smoke. At some point, people need to start to accept the consequences for their choices and not blame faith, or government, for all that is wrong in this world. Faith did not kill those children, their choices and those who responded to then killed them.I have been mocked for being Mormon. I have been socially punished for not engaging in certain activities as a result of my beliefs. I was threatened on my mission in the south. I lived with my choices. I lived with those who disagreed with me, I never once even thought of killing myself. Why? Because I know that what I believe is right and true. In every conceivable way, I am who I am today because of my faith.So I ask, if there is nothing wrong with being gay, if in fact, being gay is part of who they are, why are the not able to filter trough the same?
James, First of all, as I hope I made clear, I don't have a problem with the church teaching its members whatever it wants. The issue is not with the teaching, it is with actions taken on the basis of that teaching, particularly actions taken by the church as an organization. For example, if LDS wants to teach its members that coffee drinking is wrong, so what? If the LDS church uses its funds to interfere with the coffee business or encourages its members to vote for anti-coffee political candidates or referenda, then I do have a problem because that would be political not religious.Your comparison of being Mormon and being gay is rather apt. Let's suppose that large religious groups in the country took the position that you could believe in LDS doctrine but would not accord your church the same tax advantages as other religious groups or permit you to build churches because your beliefs offended their moral values. Suppose they encouraged their members and spent their church funds to support a referendum that would remove tax-exempt status from the LDS church because they believed your heretical beliefs would threaten the sanctity of their religion?
I think it would do you well to study a bit of Mormon history charles d. The Mormons have been pressured in very much the same way you describe. Up until te late 1970's it was legal to kill a Mormon in the state of Missouri. In the mid 1800's, the president of the united states sent an army to kill Mormons in Utah. Mormons took flack for their polygamy stance and many were thrown in jail for their beliefs. In fact, when Josep Smith ran for president of the united states in 1844, many felt that "the prophet" (as he was referred to) would mix religion and politics. But anyone who is religious, or active Mormon, knows that there should be no way to separate te man from his beliefs. Therefore, your comments seem to lack an understanding that the mormons are not short of being persecuted for their beliefs, and that we make no apologies for them.We believe what we do because it is Gods word. And if it is Gods word, then it is good for all the world; all of His children. Therefore, we seem more good from our involvement than we do evil as many in opposition to the church do.The issue if homosexuality was a moral issue first. It didn't become a political one until the gays made it so. Therefore it is well withinthe rights, and duty of our faith to do what we can to teach and encourage good morals. Remember, the Mormon faith teaches on just about wlevery aspect of life. There will always be overlap beteen moral teachings and political issues. It is unreasonable to think that politics has a monopoly on these issues or that what becomes political supplants or supercedes that which is religious in the minds of the people. In fact, the constitution speaks to quite the opposite. No relion shall be trumped my the authority of the government. While cannot dictate the other, the do influence each other. According to the constitution there is no reason to think that any voice should be silenced simply on the basis if where it came from.
I am aware of Mormon history - at least to the extent you describe here. You forget however, that those who persecuted Mormons in the 19th century did so because they believed they were following God's word and that if God told them that polygamy was wrong, then that was the law for everyone and no one should be allowed to practice it. As I keep saying, teaching a particular moral stance to your church's faithful, regardless of whether it that is a popular or abhorrent teaching is perfectly within the rights of the church. There was nothing wrong with the established Christian groups of the 19th century teaching that only monogamy was morally acceptable to God, or that any doctrine that did not originate in the canonical Bible was heretical. The problem came when individuals and groups, encouraged by their religious leaders, acted to deprive Mormons of their right to practice their religion as they saw fit.Laws against polygamy were on the books in the 19th century, and had their origins in moral teachings of religious groups rather than any valid interests of the government. Now again government, having no interest whatever in the gender makeup of those seeking marriage contracts, is being used by those who want to enforce a religious belief on others.
James, your comparison of abuse for being a Mormon is weak. You were never considered immoral by you mother, Bishop, or Relief Society President because of the abuse you experienced as a missionary. Gays do.Gays did not make this a political issue since they had the right to marry in California. The Mormon leadership and lemmings(that would be you) made it political by putting money in the pot to take the marriage right away. Do you really lack common sense? C'mon, man! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out!
This conversation is gay.
People who post anonymously are gay.
Charles and Javelin, are you saying that freedom of religion and freedom of expression only applies to private conversation or expression to members of the church? Really?! What you are saying is there is no way for the Church, any church, to make a communication unless it is ONLY to its members? How is that possible without it being made public to a certain degree? Let's face it, this is a moral matter and has been long before it became a political one. Just because something becomes a matter of law or politics does not mean a church is somehow disowned of their right to freedom of expression on this issue or any other.Javelin, my comparison is appropriate so far as your claim was that I have never been persecuted for "who I am." But I have. I have had threats against me because of my beliefs, and gays have felt threatened because of theirs. Why is that not comparable to you?This was an issue before prop 8 came around. And if I am a lemming for following my church leaders, then I am guilty as charged. Living my religion is something I strive for. And please, you are far from an authority on common sense if you have convinced yourself that you are an active member of the church yet constantly find fault with its leadership. If the leadership is so wrong and so stupid, why are you a member? Who is the idiot for being a part of something you hold such contempt for? If we are such simpletons, such logic lepers, why would you want to be associate with us?
Let me clarify my position. The church can teach whatever it wants to its members, and it can issue press releases or have its leaders speak publicly on most any topic. What it cannot do (at least if it wants to continue enjoying tax-exempt status) is to use its resources including its leadership to attempt to influence an election. If we allow churches to involve themselves in political processes, then we are essentially forcing taxpayers to subsidize a political viewpoint with which they may not agree. Exempting a church from property taxes for example, especially one with large real estate holdings, forces everyone else's taxes to be raised to compensate.
I think the statement that was issued by the leadership of the LDS church on prop 8 if I remember correctly was to the tune of, "This church has a long history of not involving itself in political matters, however due to the nature of proposition 8 we encourage all members to participate in the electoral process which is one of the beneficial traits of a democratic system, and remind the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that homosexuality is incongruent with the gospel of Jesus Christ."That's not verbatim, but it was along those lines, which I would like to point out that, that is pretty far from coercing a group of people to vote a particular way. If you want to read some real "vitriol" that's the liberal word du jour - go read how the honorable Reverends Al "the pal" Sharpton, and Jesse the "my car got stripped in Detroit by white people I'm sure of it" Jackson and compare and contrast how they coerce their followers to vote on particular issues. -GWH-
GWH, Jackson and Sharpton lead very small organizations and their members are not taught to believe that their utterances are true revelations of Almighty God. Whether the LDS church thinks homosexuality is congruent with the gospel of Jesus Christ (who never once mentioned homosexuality) or not, is irrelevant to the question of whether gay couples should be permitted the same civil rights as heterosexual couples under the law. A married homosexual is no more or less "congruent with the gospel" than an unmarried one. It is reasonable to assume that the LDS leadership either wanted to demonstrate its political power, or they realized that extending full rights to homosexuals would threaten their authority over their California followers.
The church has been a very clear advocate of the rights for gay couples to have civil unions that would allow for the same benefits under the law as marriage. Plus, since there is nothing in the constitution about marriage, I am not sure how "rights" even come into the argument.
James, if civil unions entitled their members to the same privileges as married couples, which they usually don't, then there would still be a second-class stigma associated with it.Don't you find it rather curious that the LDS church, which after all, spent most of its formative years experiencing discrimination because of their form of marriage, would now discriminate against some other group over their form of marriage?
Charles D - To vote on Proposition 8, you had to live in California. According to published statistics the Church of Latter Day Saints accounts for approximately 2% of the population in California. Therefore we must conclude that a great many non-LDS people voted to pass Proposition 8. Your arguments that the LDS church passed it through political coercion are statistically impossible.
Welcome to the blog Jade. We hope you stick around and comment more on the blog.Good point to be made. Like Charles, many play the entire blame of things, or at least have made the Mormon church the target of retaliatory intolerance for their role in Prop. 8.Again, hope to have you back on our blog.
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