Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gay Marriage

This is a message I wrote to a friend of mine with whom I had been debating prop 8.

Hey [name], sorry for the delay, I spent the weekend at my fiancee’s grandparents’ cabin with no internet or cell coverage… glorious. I actually spent a lot of time thinking about the facebook thread we had going and realized something: my goal should be to understand your point of view. We are not going to convince each other of anything, but we can try to understand each other. So, in that light, I’d like to share my point of view with you, just for your understanding.

First, I believe in God. In fact, I know God is real, and he is my father. I know that he loves all His children. He doesn’t pick favorites, but he has particular compassion for those who are ridiculed, abused, misunderstood, etc., because his only “begotten son” was treated that way. Jesus Christ suffered not only for our sins, but also, in a very personal way, he felt our heartaches, loneliness, depression, and isolation.

Because God loves us, he has given us guidelines that will lead us to the greatest happiness, and his plan for us centers on families. In fact, He intends for our family relationships to last forever, even after this life. In short, the purpose of life is family. Understandably then, many of the guidelines He has given us revolve around the formation of families and the rearing of children. One of these guidelines is that marriage is between a man and a woman. Others include the sacred nature of the sexual experience, which is to be reserved for expression between a husband and wife who are completely committed to each other. Additionally, children have a right to be born within the bonds of matrimony and to be reared by a father and mother who love each other, and love their children. Of course, these ideals are unrealized for many families, even many of those who believe in them, but that does not diminish their value or validity.

I’m trying not to be too long winded, so I think I’ll skip to the thought that might have come to your mind two paragraphs ago… “This guy is a dyed-in-the-wool product of his religion.” The fact is, I know of God’s existence, his love, and his plan through personal communication with Him – my own, independent experience. I pray, and He answers. He speaks to my spirit in a way that is difficult to describe, but impossible to truthfully deny. Sometimes it has been with specific words, but usually it’s with feelings and promptings that I have come to recognize. To borrow an analogy, it’s like trying to explain the taste of salt. When you taste salt, you know it is salt. You don’t “think” it is salt, or want it so badly that you convince yourself that it is salt, you just know it is salt, even though you can’t quite describe it to someone who has never tasted it. God is real; he cares about us, and he has a plan for us. I know it because, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt… and I taste it often.

That’s pretty much it, but I want you to understand how this translates into the topic at hand. Again, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just explaining my point of view.

Given the framework above, here are some of the “societal” reasons why I believe Mormons supported prop 8.

- Schools/Children. If same-sex marriage is legalized, then schools will undoubtedly be obligated to contain curriculum about homosexuality. At what age do we introduce stories with same-sex parents? Immediately, of course, because all marriages are equally valid. So now Goldilocks will encounter Mama Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. Instantly parents are obligated to start some degree of sex education long before it would be appropriate (except, sadly, for a “good touch/bad touch” lesson for the kid’s protection). So then what happens to the kid who blurts out, “My mom said it’s not good for two boys to get married.” It will be handled the same as if the kid said, “My mom said it’s not good to be Mexican.” It becomes unacceptable to believe in a particular theology, and freedom of religion is restrained in the area of sexuality.

- Churches. Will churches be obligated to perform same-sex marriages? This seems unlikely, but certainly conceivable. You can see why this thought would spread quickly and strengthen pro-8 opinions, despite its unlikelihood.

- Pandora’s Box. If we redefine “marriage,” and thus, “family,” then the new definitions are not final. What about three people who fall in love? It would be unconstitutional to deny them marriage because their love does not follow the “traditional” 1:1 ratio.

Anyway, I hope this helps you understand how Mormons can support prop 8 and still claim not to be haters. We believe that everyone in the world is a beloved child of a compassionate Father. Countless gays (and their loved ones) have suffered at the hands of uncompassionate tormentors. That is not right, and I firmly believe that 1) Jesus Christ has felt their pain, and 2) Abusers and tormentors will stand accountable to God for their mistreatment of His children. I also believe that God has given us guidelines that will lead us to eternal happiness in eternal families if we follow them, and sometimes (often) those guidelines go against our natural inclinations and desires. Nevertheless, I trust and follow God to the best of my ability, and I personally believe in the principles taught in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

I was going to reread your posts, and anything else you’d like to post, but I see the original post is gone. I’d love to read a message explaining your “personal framework” and point of view, if you want to write one. If it’s easier to explain your point of view by referring to mine, that’s fine, but I’m more interested in your personal thoughts than your reaction to mine, because I know we disagree.

~ Brett

p.s. responses to posts that I remember:

From you: I would be interested in knowing where you found those quotes, and the one you posted originally. There are thousands of anti-Mormon websites, and many of them seem to care little for honest research. Perhaps you already know, most the men you named were born in the 1800s. You named one person who is alive, but the quote you attributed to him actually came from Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008). I am not totally discounting your quotes. Maybe they are all real. I’m just pointing out why I ask for references, especially when LDS leaders are quoted, and double especially when the quotes are short and unfamiliar. If you have references (titles/dates of addresses, etc.), you can check them at lds.org.

From [other name]: Lots of good info, especially about the medical situation. I’ll look into that. I would respond about one thing – when names of prop 8 contributors were published, their houses were attacked and jobs were lost. Some of my friends hired private security to protect their home. I think you can understand why they’d try to prevent that by un-publishing their names. But Mormons are not shy about the principles stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

p.p.s. [Name], you’re one of the very best. I mean that. I hope we can disagree and still respect each other’s views, and be friends. I’d still risk my life in the face of [high school bully] for you if I had the chance! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quick post

Yeah, it's called "Quick post," but for me it will be sllllloooowww due to my one-handedness.

Just thought I should write a little, since this is such an important part of my life and I haven't written any of it. It'll be choppy and business-like... takes too long to do more.

I should be working, but... see above. Important time!

I love Heidi. Last night we were playing Monopoly with her roommate, Jessica, when her other roommate, Kiley joined in our conversation. We were talking about relationships, about Heidi and I, about Kiley and her boyfriend, etc. Kiley's facing big decisions, and I gave my 2 cents. Kiley said, "You and Heidi are so alike!" I said, "Why, because I suggested a book you could read?" Kiley laughed and said, "EXACTLY!" :) I've been thinking about that (about similarities between me and Heidi), and I realized Kiley is right. We're really similar. I noticed a similarity today that made me laugh. It made me laugh because it was something that Heidi did that bothered me... and then it dawned on me - I DO THAT ALL THE TIME!!

Ready for it?

Heidi called me about numbers for the luncheon, and I couldn't give her a definite answer because we need to look over our list together and take care of some of the question marks. After a slight stall in the progress of the topic, she said "We'll just talk about it later" and then got off the phone pretty quickly. She was at work, just got there from school, has her shower tonight, plus she's not feeling well, and she simply couldn't spare the time just sitting there on the phone not making progress on anything. I felt annoyed for two seconds... then I realized how Brett-like that was of her, and laughed! And, in retrospect, she said "I love you" before we got off the phone, and I don't think I did, because I was playing the "shocked at your abruptness" role.

I remember one day when I must have given Heidi at least three "Okaythat'sfinegottagonowbye" conversation enders, and they were pretty dang rude. I was stressed, and the phone was just an obstacle to my next objective. Anyway, I hadn't really thought that much about how alike Heidi and I are, so I'm glad Kiley pointed it out. I look forward to finding more ways we are alike, especially when it's a mote and beam situation!

She is the greatest person in the world... haha... I don't mean for that to follow TOO closely after "ways we are alike," although I must say, if Heidi Evans has chosen to marry me, I must be doing something right. I can't do this topic justice right now with one hand... (so Igottagonowbye). :) I'll just mention a couple things. First, monopoly last night. I tried to veto the board game idea, but it was just my ploy to see if Heidi really wanted to play, or if she was just trying to make me happy. I asked if we could please watch a movie instead of playing the game, and she said no. Then she started fingering the plastic on the monopoly game (it was new), and said, "Am I going to get in trouble if I open this?" What a trickster! But we were both doing the same thing to each other (I think!). We were both pretending we wanted something else in order to get the other person to be a little more selfish. Haha, it sounds so funny writing this out! My point is this: I hate playing games with begrudging partners. If you're going to roll your eyes when I play competitively, because you actually don't care about the stupid game, then you should have told me you thought it was stupid/boring/whatever, and we wouldn't have played! But Heidi shot fire out of her eyes while she bid against me in property auctions, and I felt threatened! It was serious business between the laughs, and she wanted to win. THAT MAKES IT FUN!!! And I still don't know if she wanted to play in the first place! We didn't finish the game, but I look forward to the next one. She is a really, really fun game partner! :)

...and that was just one reason she's so wonderful. It also illuminated more similarities between us. I AM SO EXCITED TO BE MARRIED TO THIS WOMAN!!!

The other thing I wanted to write about was my trip to CA, and Heidi's visit. Since I can't seem to be brief, even with one hand, I'll make it a bullet list:

  • Dad drove with me to CA!
  • The week was stressful in many ways
  • Heidi got bumped to a later flight & got to visit Melissa with Kristy
  • I stayed at the hotel next door, and came back to an OCCUPIED room the second night! Got a free night out of that mix-up... $50 for two nights!
  • We went to Blue Nami twice! Discovered bbq albacore... oh yum
  • Went to the Sacramento Temple, ran into friends & made new ones. Such a great temple visit
  • Visited Casa Roble (my high school) and found Mr. Lange prepping his room for the new school year. He took lots of time to talk with us, showed us Student Government scrapbooks that I was in, opened the library so we could see my picture on the wall... what a great visit, and what a great man.
  • Drove by Woodbridge & Oak Cove Ct. houses
  • Visited Scott & Cherrie
  • Went to Woodbridge park, fed killer geese, walked around the pond (lake?), avoided the duck patrol, met the nicest, cutest kid walking his dog.
  • Rented Valkyrie, paused it to talk, and talked too long to start it again
  • Took Highway 50 through Tahoe on the way back
  • Renamed the days of the week
  • Made weird noises for each seam in the road
  • Played 20 questions - Heidi stumped me with "American Flag"
It was such a great trip, especially considering Heidi arrived late Friday night, and we started driving back on Sunday morning.

I love Heidi so much. 22 days til she's my wife!!

p.s. all the "one-handed" talk is due to my accidentally putting my hand through a window, severing a tendon and nerve, and nicking another tendon. Surgery and lots of physical therapy... it's healing and rehabilitating well.