Gay Marriage - Still an issue!

This letter was originally written to The Salt Lake Tribune OP-ED section in response to local agitation over the Mormon (LDS) Church's overt (and successful) attempts to manipulate California politics against homosexual union. Then again in 2004 Utah attempted to amend the Utah State Constitution (Amendment 3) to prohibit equality under the law in relation to marriage - especially as it affects homosexuals - but also practitioners of other alternative forms of marriage.
I'm not gay and don’t want to be. I do believe I (and everyone else including you) should retain the right to choose who and what we will be and believe and practice and that our personal rights only end "where the other guys rights begin".
The Tribune for unspecified reasons (length - truth) failed to publish or follow up on this letter. I don't think the issue has changed enough to require a re-write or update except to say that I am personally scandalized by the Utah/Mormon bigotry and hypocrisy especially in this matter.
At the time I wrote this letter I was a devout Mormon. Now, as a non-Mormon and having looked at some of my old Mormon beliefs from a bit of a distance, I see how bigoted the basic Mormon Theological Perspective is and appreciate how difficult and emotionally challenging it is for "devotees" to "clear the fog" of theocratic social programming sufficiently to even perceive the issue or find remedy to it. To me, the Mormon Dilemma is a huge one. Admitting to your own blind or overt hypocrisy and self-delusion is awkward, painful and embarrassing to an unbelievable degree.
The whole "Chosen People" doctrine is basic to both Mormonism and their anti-Christian postures. So please recognize that my "us and them" - ism is a reflection of my "then-held" acceptance of basic doctrine and the theological requirement to "bend" my perspective to match what was represented (by scripture and a "living prophet") to be "God's" perspective.
To muster the courage to challenge "God" essentially, is rare and frightening and there really is no one to help pick up the pieces or (in Utah at least) smooth over the social rejection.
Truth does indeed have a price - the false sense of security we all chase endlessly.
Do Homosexuals Have the Right to Marriage
Subject: Who’s being Unfair?
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 1999 22:02:34 -0700
From: Dr. Gregor Lowrey,
To: Editor, Salt Lake Tribune
Regarding the letter from STEVE INMAN of Salt Lake City who feels people have been too harsh on the LDS church for it’s political maneuverings to deny homosexuals the same “legal” rights and benefits as heterosexuals in contracting relationships.
We might remember the LDS Articles of Faith, number 11.
11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
Is denying civil or religious rights to others part of our faith?
When Steve says
“I know the church considers homosexual activity as a sin, but for as long as I have been acquainted with the church I have heard its leaders time and time again say, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”
Yet it seems he is suggesting that because the church leaders consider such activity as sinful, that others who may or may not be LDS or even Christian at all, must lay aside their right to free exercise of conscience and accept our view that their “legal” behavior is sinful and that we would force our religious views on them by an act of law! What ever happened to free agency?
The Lord (for us Mormons) has declared His law regarding marriage and marriage type relationships, these being authorized by the parties involved or government (or other authorizing agency) or God.
D&C 132: Verse 7
7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows; performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
D&C 132: Verse 8
8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.
The Lord does in no way limit the type or kind of contract that may be entered into, actually going to great lengths to show that the law was inclusive to any and all agreements without qualification. The fact that these verses declare all unsanctified unions or contracts to “have an end when men are dead”, by implication also declares that ALL contracts willingly entered into by responsible parties are legitimate and binding according to the Lord for the duration of earth life or until “men are dead” with the exception of “eternal marriage” which traverses death.
D&C 132:Verse 15
15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
Here we see that even a contract between only the two contracting/covenanting parties (in this case a man and woman) not even involving government sanction is considered valid and is honored by God until the death of the contractors. It is “Legal” to God, according to “earthly” law.
The intention of the Mormon marriage relationship is, to my understanding, twofold:
a) To form a “whole” human unit necessary to qualify for celestial exaltation
b) To “multiply and replenish”, that is providing bodies for premortal spirits with which they experience earth life.
If a person chooses to not seek exaltation and does not seek to “multiply and replenish the earth” with their DNA, then the fact that their marriage intentions are contrary to “God’s ‘Celestial’ Plan” is essentially irrelevant.
For those who seek to pursue “God’s Plan for Men and Women” (exaltation) the nature of the marriage relationship is decidedly all-important, but to those who are not inclined to exaltation it makes little difference.
One might wonder that the LDS wouldn’t be relieved that those who have a disposition toward what they consider “sin” are sticking together and no longer contributing to the gene pool. And they are wrong to assume that the homosexual world wields some magical, evil power to recruit and pervert these valiant souls, saved for the last days, a power so potent that their children are helpless of defense.
Again these LDS parents deny their own children now the right of free agency, claiming they are easy prey and helpless to choose for themselves. These same parents want to lay the blame on the evil homosexuals rather than accept the fact that they, the parents are the ones who have failed to teach, primarily because they do not practice what they preach.
Like Jesus said, “They do honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
At any rate, those individuals who do “accept the call to serve” are held to a different standard than those who fail or are unwilling to receive the “call” at all.
If we were all to be judged by the standard set by, say, Jesus, according to the “calling” he received and accepted, well - we’d be sunk!
I don’t think I have ever heard of a couple interested in seeking a “celestial homosexual marriage”.
If we are being “true” to our beliefs, what have we to fear from them being true to theirs?
Can we consider it Christian behavior to FORCE them to abandon their agency to choose not to participate in God’s great plan for the exaltation of man and operate by the standard of those who do choose that personal standard?
George Q. Cannon General Conference April, 1879
But suppose the Latter-day Saints had control; suppose their ideas were fulfilled, that is, that we, as it is destined we shall be, were the people who uphold Constitutional government upon this continent, who restored the government to its primitive condition when all the political parties shall have fallen into chaos; would we feel at liberty to say that none but the Latter-day Saints should be elected to offices of trust and responsibility? No. Joseph Smith set the pattern; he taught the brethren who were with him better ideas; you well-informed Latter-day Saints know that there are two powers which God has restored in these the last days. One is the Church of God , the other the Kingdom of God A man may belong to the Kingdom of God and yet not be a member of the Church of God . In the Kingdom of God, using it in a political sense, there may be heathens and Pagans and Mahommedans and Latter-day Saints and Presbyterians and Episcopalians and Catholics and men of every creed (Perhaps even Homosexuals) Will they legislate for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alone? Will the laws that they enact protect us alone and not protect others? No. Why? Because God is the Father of the Latter-day Saints as well as of every human being; God is the father of all, is the father of the Chinaman, the Hindoo, the African, the European, the American; is the Father of all the races of men and of every creed and nationality. (Even Homosexuals) When he establishes his kingdom it will protect all in their equal rights; I as a Latter-day Saint, will not have power to trample on my fellow-man who may not be orthodox in my opinion, because I am a Latter-day Saint; nor will my fellow-man to whom I am heterodox, have the power to trample upon me. Does not that look right? That is the kind of kingdom we have to contend for; that Is the kind of kingdom we have to establish, and it is already provided for in the Constitution given unto us by God~ and through the glorious labors of the fathers who aid the foundation of this government, who were inspired and raised by our Almighty Father for this express purpose. There Is no liberty that a human being can desire, neither is there a right that can be exercised properly, that we do not have under the Constitution of our land. It needs no amendment about it; it is broad enough, if interpreted in its true spirit, to cover the individual, the continent, and the entire globe and furnish freedom for all. (Even Homosexuals?)
Now, Latter-day Saints, lf you have had narrow views I will tell you to put them aside. I do not mean by this you must take everybody (or Homosexuals) into your houses. There is the difference.
If we allow equality under the law to homosexuals, it does not mean that YOU will have to enter into a homosexual marriage yourself, nor will your children be required to do so. But if you want to exercise your God given right to choose, you will be able to.
God, the Father of us all expressly states that He has given us ALL the right to choose and make any covenant that seems good to us personally. God has told us which covenants will have force after death, but He does not restrict us in making any temporal covenant. Satan, as I recall is the one who desired to restrict agency and make it against the law for us to choose contrary to God’s will.
President Brigham Young
Tabernacle Address
July 31, 1859
The Gospel covenants are for those who believe and obey; municipal laws are for both Saint and sinner.
Whoever lives to see the kingdom of God fully established upon the earth will see a government that will protect every person in his rights. If that government was now reigning upon this land of Joseph, you would see the Roman Catholic, the Greek Catholic, the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist, the Quaker, the Shaker, the Hindoo, the Mahometan, and every class of worshippers most strictly protected in all their municipal rights and in the privilege of worshipping who, what, and when they pleased, not infringing upon the rights of others. Does any candid person in his sound judgment desire any greater liberty?
So “every class”, even Homosexuals perhaps, are to be “most strictly protected” in both “Municipal Rights” AND “in the Privilege of Worshipping” Who, What, and When THEY pleased as long as they don’t FORCE YOU to THINK LIKE THEM.
Conversely, we should not think it a righteous act to try to FORCE THEM to THINK LIKE US!
Moses Thatcher General Conference October 1885
Whenever the Latter-day Saints shall have reached that high degree of excellence in the administration of the laws of God as to judge impartially between the Saint and sinner, when they shall be willing to give Satan his rights as quickly as a Saint or a brother, then will judgment and rule be placed within their reach...
Whether a man is a heathen or a Christian, when the kingdom of God is established, he will have his rights and liberties extended to him. There will be no bias, no prejudice, every thing will be done according to the laws of justice and equity.
Have we always, as a people, I may ask, manifested a disposition to act upon the basis of principle? You can answer the question for yourselves. Have you been willing, as Latter-day Saints to extend to the Gentile as readily his rights, under your municipal, your county or your Territorial government as you would extend them to a Latter-day Saint? If you have, then have we administered upon the basis of principle; but if we have not, then we have not come to an understanding of that which the Lord has revealed...
God will govern His kingdom as He governs throughout His universe, by the laws of justice and equity.
I repeat that the Constitution, laws, and institutions of our Government are as good as can be, with the intelligence now possessed by the people.
But they, as also the laws of other nations, are too often administered in unrighteousness; and we do not and cannot love and respect the acts of the administrators of our laws, unless they act justly in their officers.
Brigham Young
Tabernacle Address
July 31, 1859
The Lord has thus far protected and preserved the human family under their various forms and administrations of government, notwithstanding their wickedness, and is still preserving them; but if the kingdom of God, or a theocratic government, was established on the earth, many practices now prevalent would be abolished
One community would not be permitted to array itself in opposition to another to coerce them to their standard; one denomination would not be suffered to persecute another because they differed in religious belief and mode of worship. Every one would be fully protected In the enjoyment of all religious and social rights, and no state, no government, no community, no person would have the privilege of infringing on the rights of another: One Christian community would not rise up and persecute another.
I will here remark that we are generally looked upon as a dangerous people, and for the reason that there are thousands and millions of people who are afraid that justice will be meted out to them; and they say, to use Scripture language, that “if the Saints are let alone, they will take away our place and nation, and will measure to us what we have measured to them.” They conclude thus because they estimate others by themselves, realizing that if they had the power to deprive us of our rights, they would exercise It. “We will judge you Latter-day Saints by ourselves. If we had the power to destroy you, we would do It; and we are afraid that if you are let alone, you will have the power to destroy us and will do as we would under like circumstances.If this people had that power to-day, they would not infringe in the least upon the rights of any person; neither could they, without ceasing to be Saints.
And yet this is exactly what is being attempted. To my mind, it is not Saintly behavior.
Then, when a person or community says, "I do not want to believe your religion," they will enjoy liberty to believe as they please, as fully as we shall.
The Creator has given agency to every son and daughter of Adam, and he does not infringe upon our agency. We are at liberty to believe in him and in his son Jesus Christ, or to let it alone.
When the kingdom of God is established, we can believe in the principles of the eternal Priesthood or in something else, and be equally protected in our outward rights. My law, says Jehovah, is pure: it is the law by which the worlds are made, and by which all things are. Those laws tend to exaltation and power; but the world is observing rules that tend to death. You have the privilege of believing and practising a law that will bring to an end, if you wish, not only to the first death, but also to the second.
Jesus has taught us not to fear those wicked persons that are seeking our lives. Do not fear those who only have power to destroy the body, and after that can harm you no more; but fear God and observe the laws he has given and will give, that evil spirits may have not power over you after the body is left to rest.
Jehovah has decreed and plainly foretold the establishment of his kingdom upon this earth; and it will prove to be a shield to the ordinances of his house, in the endowments, and in all the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God with which the Priesthood, so to speak, is clothed. The municipal laws of that kingdom are designed for the protection of all classes of people in their legitimate rights; and were it now in its fulness upon the earth, and the New Jerusalem built upon this continent, which is the land of Zion, and Latter-day Saints would not alone enjoy Its blessings, but all denominations and communities would be alike protected in their rights, whether they worshipped the Supreme Author of our existence, or the sun, or the moon, or, as do some of our aborigines, a white dog; and none will be permitted to infringe upon their neighbours, though every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. The Hindoos would have the privilege of erecting their temples and of worshipping as they pleased; but they would not be permitted to compel other worshippers to conform to their mode of worship, nor to burn their companions upon the funeral pyre; for that would interfere with individual rights.
Joseph Smith
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Pg. 326-327
It is one of the first principles of my life, and one that I have cultivated from my childhood, having been taught it by my father, to allow every one the liberty of conscience. I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth. In my feelings I am always ready to die for the protection of the weak and oppressed in their just rights. The only fault I find with the Constitution is, it is not broad enough to cover the whole ground.
Although it provides that all men shall enjoy religious freedom, yet it does not provide the manner by which that freedom can be preserved, nor for the punishment of Government officers who refuse to protect the people in their religious rights, or punish those mobs, states, or communities who interfere with the rights of the people on account of their religion. Its sentiments are good, but it provides no means of enforcing them. It has but this one fault. Under its provision, a man or a people who are able to protect themselves can get along well enough; but those who have the misfortune to be weak or unpopular are left to the merciless rage of popular fury.
The constitution should contain a provision that every officer of the Government who should neglect or refuse to extend the protection guaranteed in the Constitution should be subject to capital punishment…
And when Steve or the church says
“It seems to me that families with homosexual loved ones are not being asked to sacrifice love for their children in support of this cause. The LDS Church I know is out to protect the family, not to tear it apart.”
Is he or are they suggesting that these children do not deserve the right to the same legal benefits, insurance and health benefits, inheritance etc. as the children of heterosexuals?
I do believe that the “marriage issue” for homosexuals does really and has always revolved around the social and legal rights and benefits of “government” sanctioned relationships.
So why shouldn’t these children be able to have the same rights and benefits as other children. Why shouldn’t partners who are living in relationships identical to accepted “marriage” relationships, enjoy the same legal and social privileges extended to other committed relationships. Aren’t the “legal” rights based on “commitment” and not on religion?
If we have the priesthood and are teaching our children the “values of heaven” as we see them, why should we fear and persecute Homosexuals? Why should (and how could) we deny them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
If we believe we are here on earth to enjoy the uninhibited exercise of “free agency” wouldn’t we consider it unrighteous dominion to deny such exercise of agency.
What about the word of the Lord,
D&C 121:Verse 37
… when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
I think “our pride” and “vain ambition” are certainly among the root causes in our efforts to force the world to bow to our view of what is and what is not a marriage. I think Webster’s definition of marriage as “an intimate or close union” certainly applies to the issue at hand.
Certainly, when we tell our homosexual children that they are unworthy of legitimized companionship, health benefits, property and inheritance rights and such rights for their natural or adopted children (our grandchildren), it would not be a stretch to think they would feel rejected and unloved and proclaimed to have less human value than say, Charlie Manson, who could get married today if he had an applicant.
I believe the Lord did not exclude Homosexuals when He declared “the Greatest Law” and the “second” which is “like unto it” upon which laws hang all that God is.
Lack of desire to participate in what “we” believe to be God’s plan should not deprive anyone of municipal rights. This proposal, to me begs infringement of the separation of church and state. There cannot be any other than religious ground to seek to deny homosexuals the same human and civil rights that the rest of us enjoy. To do so would be to use the government to “establish religion” and deny civil and religious freedom to legitimate citizens.
We should not blame our fears, resulting from our own lack of dedication to, and faith in God on the supposed “sin” of another.
The homosexuals are not our enemies but who could blame them for being grieved when fellow citizens, in the self righteous presumption of “representing God”, seek to have them declared less than human and deny an entire class of citizens basic rights on the basis of their sexual orientation.
John Taylor
Quoted in: The Last Pioneer John Taylor, a Mormon Prophet,
Samuel W. Taylor pg. 334, 361
It may suit others to violate the law, to trample upon human rights and desecrate the sacred term of liberty…in the name of justice. But we profess to be governed by higher, by nobler, and more exalted principles…
When men begin to tear down the barriers and tamper with the fundamental principles and institutions of our country, they are playing a very dangerous game, and are severing the bonds which hold society together.
What does it mean, to be like them (political oppressors)? It means that E pluribus unum is a fiction; it means that we tamper with and violate that grand palladium of human liberty, the Constitution of the United States, and substitute expediency, anarchy, fanaticism, intolerance, and religious bigotry for those glorious fundamental principles of liberty, equality, brotherhood, human freedom, and the rights of man…
We cannot do it.
As the cartoon character Pogo so aptly put it, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” (not them)
Know this that every soul is free, to choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is given, That God will force no man to heaven.
(Ids hymn #90)
Gregor Lowrey
Lehi , Utah