(A little overdue. Started writing this back in July, but got distracted with being mommy/moving/a million other things, & never got around to posting it. I figure it’s about time.)
The purpose of this post is to promote understanding. I’ve heard some express how they just can’t understand why anyone would oppose same-sex marriage. I know that there are good people on both sides of the marriage debate, so I’d just like to take a few minutes to help you understand my perspective. It’s OK if you don’t agree with it, I just invite you hear me out with an open-mind, if only for the reason to come to a greater understanding of a perspective other than your own.
I hope this will help you understand where I’m coming from. Because truly, the only way that “love wins” is if we can all love and understand one another, despite our differences.
In order to understand where I am coming from you’ve got to understand a few things I sincerely believe:
1. I Believe in God
I believe that God is our literal father in Heaven and that we all lived with Him as spirits before this life. We wanted to become like Him. He created this Earth so that we could be separated from His presence for a time in order to learn and grow and prove ourselves, and eventually return to live with Him and inherit His glory, if we pass the test.
2. The Purpose of Life
One of the main purposes why God sent us to earth was to gain a physical body, like God has. We would be tempted to choose between following the wills of the flesh or following the commandments of God. Many temptations would focus on improper use of our bodies. We’re here to learn self-mastery– to put mind over body, or spirit over body, if that makes sense. So of course there are those who struggle with same sex attraction. This just happens to be their test in life. Other people may have a natural inclination towards doing something else that is against God’s commandments, like drugs or infidelity or selfishness or pride. We will all have tests that tug at our heartstrings, some less visible than others. Life was never meant to be easy. That’s not what life is about. It’s about “putting off the natural man.”
God knew we would make a mistake here and there, so he provided a Savior for us – Jesus Christ – who paid the penalty for our sins so that if we would repent and do all within our power to correct our mistakes, we could still pass the test and return home to His presence. (click here for more on this).
The purpose of life is not to find out who you are and then to insist on staying that way. The purpose of life is to find out what God would have you become, and strive to change. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. It can be a lifelong struggle. Many who deal with same-sex attraction feel that this is truly who they are. That specific temptation for them may indeed last throughout their entire lifetime.
Not to dismiss/minimize these earth-life trials, but I do think it’s important to realize that in the eternal scheme of things, this life is so, so short. A short moment to prove ourselves, that we are truly masters over our bodies and that we won’t misuse or abuse them contrary to God’s laws. Just because the temptation never goes away, does not mean that we have to give in and act on it. If we prove our self-mastery, then we pass the test! And Eternal Life (with a glorified perfected body, like God’s) is our reward.
Doesn’t that make trials and challenges seem so much less significant? But yet it is a crucial moment where eternity hangs in the balance.
I love this quote:
“What will it matter what we have suffered here, if in the end, those trials are the very things which qualify us for eternal life and exaltation in the kingdom of God?” (Linda S. Reeves)
We may not understand why everything is the way it is in this life, but one day we will. All of our questions and confusions and heartaches will someday be completely straightened out and everything will make perfect sense. It wouldn’t be a test if we didn’t need to exercise any faith.
(See “Your Four Minutes” – a motivational talk I highly recommend that goes right along with this concept!)
3. I believe Satan is real
Satan is a spirit son of our Heavenly Father who chose not to follow God’s plan. He is a great deceiver; in the scriptures he is called “the father of lies.” He wants us to be miserable, like he is. As an enemy of God, he tempts us to turn away from God’s plan or to misunderstand it. He is exceptionally cunning because he’s been doing this for thousands of years. I’m sure he’s got it down to a science. He knows how important this life is for all of God’s children and he doesn’t want them to pass the test so they can return to God’s presence (see 2 Nephi 2:27). So he tries to distort and confuse every good thing. That’s why all this talk of homosexuality has turned into a “civil rights” issue and a “love” issue, rather than a moral issue. Satan wants us to see wrong as right and right as wrong and he will tell us all sorts of lies and half-truths to achieve this end. Prophets have long taught and foretold that there would come a day in the earth’s history when men would not endure sound doctrine and when evil would be called good and good would be called evil. We are living in that day now. In the scriptures, God makes it clear that the only way to avoid being deceived by Satan’s lies is by holding fast to the word of God.
4. The Importance of Family (the way God designed it)
Satan attacks the family because He knows how important it is to God’s plan.
God loves us more than we can comprehend, and He knows what will ultimately make us truly happy. The guidelines He gives us will lead to lasting happiness. Going against those guidelines after our own ideas may bring momentary pleasure but will never lead to lasting joy.
I believe that God has taught us through both ancient and modern prophets that marriage between a man and a woman is, and always has been, the way it is supposed to be.
“ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
“THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
“The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth … is essential … and is the source of human happiness. Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness. . .Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires.”
Elder Russel M. Nelson also said, “Marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to the Lord’s doctrine and crucial to God’s eternal plan. Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s pattern for a fulness of life on earth and in heaven. God’s marriage pattern cannot be abused, misunderstood, or misconstrued. Not if you want true joy. God’s marriage pattern protects the sacred power of procreation and the joy of true marital intimacy. . .Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord regarding marriage and morality cannot be changed.”
Through studying, pondering, and personal prayer I have learned for myself that there is a God and that He does reveal His will to His children here on Earth. The heavens are not silent. He answers our personal prayers. And He speaks through prophets, just as he always has throughout human history. He has provided a way for us to know Him and learn of His plan for us. There is an absolute right and wrong – it’s not just ‘do whatever is right for you’ (aka moral relativism, a mindset which is becoming more and more accepted in society). We must find out what the right thing is/what God’s law is, and then do it.
6. The Book of Mormon!
While I’m on the subject, I want you to know that I believe in all of these truths, largely, because I have read the Book of Mormon.
If you want to fully understand my stance/belief in God, revelation, prophets, & a devil who is trying to deceive the world, you’ve got to go where I have gone. If you haven’t read the Book of Mormon, read it. It is life-changing. Get your own copy (you can order one for FREE). Read it, study it, pray about it. Don’t put it down until you have let its message really sink into your heart. Then ask God for yourself if the book is true. I promise that if you do your part and ask sincerely you’ll get an answer. I have gained my own personal witness that it is true and comes from God.
OK. Now, with that foundation of understanding in place, let me respond to a few of the same-sex marriage arguments I hear over and over. I’ve heard a lot of discussion on both sides of the marriage debate, and I’ve noticed that some of the same misunderstandings keep popping up over & over, from those who have a difficult time understanding why anyone would oppose same-sex marriage. To more fully understand my position, I encourage you to explore the following articles with an open mind.
Something I hear a lot:
It doesn’t affect you.
“If you’re not gay, then same sex marriage doesn’t affect you. Just let people live their lives.”
Actually, it DOES affect me.
The SCOTUS ruling was a huge blow to religious freedom. I believe that everyone has the right to express and act on our religious beliefs in the public square. Religious freedom is not religious freedom if you are only allowed to live according to your deeply-held beliefs in private. That’s ridiculous. There are already countless examples of how the recent ruling has affected people’s ability to live their religious beliefs in the public square. Think of wedding photographers who are fined because they feel uncomfortable participating in a gay marriage ceremony. Or a baker who just doesn’t feel right about writing “Support gay marriage” on a cake. They should not be forced to go against their beliefs.
It’s worth noting that the dissenting Supreme Court judges themselves have also expressed great concern over this.
When you sanction same-sex marriage and put it into the law, it makes it become the “new normal.” And if I refuse to accept this new normal or if I come out into the public square and call it “wrong,” or if I don’t want it to be taught to my children, or if refuse to teach it in a classroom setting as a teacher, I could now be sharply reprimanded or even penalized in some cases, since it’s now “the law.”
When I try to defend traditional marriage, I am accused of trying toimpose my beliefs on others or trying to force everyone to live according to my own moral code. The irony is this: I feel like it is actually the other way around. By redefining the definition of marriage, the law demands that I bow to this new definition and that I recognize it and be politically correct about it, even if I deeply disagree with it.
Who wouldn’t be concerned about this? It threatens democracy.
This could be the beginning of the eventual end of First Amendment freedoms. I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen but time will surely tell. It may not seem like a huge deal just yet, but I believe it will be a huge issue in the near future.
So yes, it does affect me.
But more importantly, it affects children.
Marriage has been distorted as something merely between two people – a simple contract. It’s the idea that the happiness of each person is the only reason for them to stay together. But the truth is, marriage is not just about love between two people. Nor does it affect only those two people. It is the very foundation of the family. It’s a sacred responsibility to the entire community. It’s about children and their futures.
There are quite a few articles written by children raised by same-sex parents. They are compelling. Social science studies are becoming more and more clear that it DOES matter that the parents are of different genders. No matter how you slice it, a mother and a father will lead to the most optimal outcomes for a child’s development. Each child has a right to a mother and a father.
It affects ALL of us:
“Young people may ask, “Well, we don’t believe we should live or behave in such and such a way, but why do we have to make other people do the same? Don’t they have their free agency? Aren’t we being self-righteous and judgmental, forcing our beliefs on others, demanding that they act in a certain way?”
. . . Some principles are defended and some sins opposed wherever they are found because the issues and the laws involved are not just social or political but eternal in their consequence. And while not wishing to offend those who believe differently from us, we are even more anxious not to offend God.
It is a little like a teenager saying, “Now that I can drive, I know I am supposed to stop at a red light, but do we really have to be judgmental and try to get everyone else to stop at red lights? Does everyone have to do what we do? Don’t others have their agency? Must they behave as we do?” You then have to explain why, yes, we do hope all will stop at a red light. And you have to do this without demeaning those who transgress or who believe differently than we believe because, yes, they do have their moral agency.
There is a wide variety of beliefs in this world, and there is moral agency for all, but no one is entitled to act as if God is mute on these subjects or as if commandments matter only if there is public agreement over them.” Elder Holland
“We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”
OK now for the 2nd misunderstanding:
Or the argument that the whole issue is just about “love” and that if you are on the other side of the marriage debate, then you must lack love & compassion. It’s interesting that the words we choose can greatly influence an entire society’s acceptance of something. For example. using emotionally-charged words that stir us up, like “compassion” and “tolerance” and “acceptance” etc.
In contrast, anything that defends traditional marriage or that speaks out against same-sex marriage is often labeled as “discriminatory” or “hate speech” even though they may be simply expressing their sincerely held religious beliefs.
I think the concept of love has been distorted. Love does not mean abandoning our convictions. It does not require us to accept and embrace things against our beliefs in order not to offend people. Let’s say my brother is gay. Standing up for traditional marriage is not equivalent with shunning him. If he chooses a different lifestyle I can still love him & reach out to him, while still holding to my belief that marriage should be between a man & a woman. It’s not an either-or thing.
Tolerance is another one of those words. Tolerance and Love are not the same thing! Tolerance demands that we acknowledge truth.
“Now may I offer an important note of caution. An erroneous assumption could be made that if a little of something is good, a lot must be better. Not so! Overdoses of needed medication can be toxic. Boundless mercy could oppose justice. So tolerance, without limit, could lead to spineless permissiveness. The Lord drew boundary lines to define acceptable limits of tolerance. Danger rises when those divine limits are disobeyed. Just as parents teach little children not to run and play in the street, the Savior taught us that we need not tolerate evil. “Jesus went into the temple of God, … and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers” (Matthew 21:12; see also Mark 11:15). Though He loves the sinner, the Lord said that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1:31). Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.” Russell M. Nelson
Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.
Lol, sorry I couldn’t help it 😉
Watch this awesome clip- Elder Holland on what true love really is:
I know that not everyone will agree with my thoughts on this. That’s okay. But I hope you will come to understand why I feel the way I do and that you’ll respect my right to express it. If you’ve chosen a gay lifestyle or if you are a firm believer in gay marriage, I still love you. I’ve heard many of your arguments and I can understand why you may feel the way you do. Thanks for reading this and trying to understand why I feel the way I do. I hope we can all get along and be friends so that #LoveWins!:)
Here are some links to some things that do an excellent job articulating what I have attempted to articulate. I highly recommend reading these. But mostly I recommend reading the Book of Mormon– another testament of the divinity of Jesus Christ that helps clarify what this life is really all about.
Hi, I'm Rebecca! I'm a mommy of 3, a BYU graduate, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love writing, running, cooking/making things from scratch, music, nutrition, learning new things, & anything to do with child development. My hope is that this can be a place where you can come to feel inspired & uplifted. I hope some of theses ideas/posts will be helpful for someone. Thanks for visiting!
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