I watched The Return of the King last night instead of election coverage, because orcs eating people seemed cheerier to me than watching the Leftist media gloat. I will say, it's an exciting day for blacks in America and I hope Barack Obama's presidency will be the kind of change his followers hope for.
I was sent a disturbing email this morning about an anti-Mormon ad opposing Proposition 8 in California. Prop. 8 is a ballot measure in California, seeking to add wording to the state constitution clarifying that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. The battle has been heated, as you can imagine. If you want to watch "Mormon missionaries" ransacking the house of a lesbian couple and ripping up their marriage license, you can look it up the ad from 'Courage Campaign' on YouTube. I found it offensive in the extreme. It is always the case with liberal extremists that they say they want all views respected, when in reality, they have only respect for themselves. I can understand why people would oppose Proposition 8. But clearly, they do not extend the same courtesy as to why others might support it. The Church's response to this ad was characteristically classy.
Scott Trotter with the Church released this statement,
“The Church has joined a broad-based coalition in defense of traditional marriage. While we feel this is important to all of society, we have always emphasized that respect be given to those who feel differently on this issue. It is unfortunate that some who oppose this proposition have not given the Church this same courtesy.”
I remember when this was first a ballot measure in California several years ago while I was a student at BYU. I was surprised at how divided the campus--especially the professors--were on this issue. I remember one professor who I particularly admired being opposed to the Church's position mostly because of the extreme right groups it put us in camp with. Nobody likes to be thought of as intolerant. Heck, if the Church didn't have a position on gay marriage, I might not think it mattered. But I trust that the Prophet knows more. He is in the watch tower and it is his sacred responsibility to warn us when danger approaches, even if it doesn't look dangerous to us in the beginning. I think this issue and many others that members of the LDS faith may struggle with really boil down to whether or not you have a testimony of the divine call of the Prophet. If you don't believe he speaks for God, why would you care what he said? If he does, how can you possibly disregard it?
I'm including a link to a site supporting proposition 8. Read to the bottom and watch the video about how legalizing same-sex marriage has affected education in Massachusetts. It is disturbing, but not surprising.
I sometimes hear people suggest that the Church has no business in politics...I find this idea offensive. God makes laws...not the prophet, not the Church. If the laws of man run contrary to scriptural teachings, it is our responsibility to seek to change those laws. Man does not legislate morality. God already did that. We're just trying to keep in line with what he already taught. It is absurd to me that anyone would willingly compartmentalize or segregate the parts of their life in which they're willing to hear God...
"He can tell me how to eat, but not how to act out my sexuality...Our entire criminal justice system is based on the Ten Commandments, but we have no right to legislate morality....I'm willing to do what is already easy for me, but if His prophet asks something I'm uncomfortable with, I think it's none of His business." ????
Where gay marriage is concerned, this is plainly true. There is no discrimination against gay couples on the books in California. All the same rights are extended to them. Their relationship is just not called "marriage." By seeking that final title, they're not seeking equality in legal rights; they're forcing everyone else to acknowledge that their lifestyle is equally acceptable. They're seeking moral validation.
The Bishop will never ask you how you voted on an issue in a Temple recommend interview, and certainly it would not be appropriate. But if you are a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you have covenanted to follow God's prophet. And if the prophet says we should do something--like support Proposition 8--and we choose not to, we are ignoring our testimony and choosing to consider the Prophet simply an old man with some advice we are also free to ignore. Either God leads this Church through his prophet, or he doesn't.
You may struggle internally--I certainly have on this issue. You may not understand every bit of reasoning behind the Church's official position. But if the Church has an official position, you have a responsibility to make it your own. If you choose against the prophet, you've chosen the wrong side, folks. This is not blind obedience, it is conscientious faithfulness. Besides, if people like to think of us as sheep, at least we can take comfort in following the voice of our Shepherd.
I like an old quote from Elder Neal A Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It seems particularly pertinent here. "There didn't seem to be any problem with conformity the day the Red Sea parted."