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October 29, 2008


Chris Lewis

Interesting idea and presentation. I have a similar religious story to you, in my case being brought up in a Christian Science family, and in fact I worked at the Mother Church in Boston for two summers during college.

I completely agree that legislating against your neighbor is very un-Christlike. But I found the 11 arguments to be oddly unconvincing. The reasoning is internally consistent but is based on the idea that all people are equal in the eyes of God -- whereas a gay marriage opponent may think that gay people's "choice" has basically made them fair game for persecution and damnation. (But this fire-and-brimstone type may well be a caricature I've picked up from reading too many flamewars on Slashdot.)

I don't mean to knock the piece -- any attempt at reconciliation and understanding between differing opinions or worldviews is a welcome sight, and all too rare these days.

Please forgive my poorly formed thoughts. I'm extremely bad at enunciating political and emotional opinions!


P.S. on a tangentially related topic, I was surprised to learn just the other day that Hank Paulson is a Christian Scientist. Even more tangential, when I was working at the Mother Church in Boston, in a marketing department, I had a Bitstream fonts poster on my cubicle wall -- one year before I returned to Boston to work for the newborn MyFonts just across the river.

Brian Watts

Thanks for sharing this.

I hope that other families are pursuing such a thoughtful dialogue on this topic. Regardless of the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8, I believe the Church has crossed a threshold here. The call-to-arms from Church leaders and the very public and active role that the Church has decided to take on this issue will, in my view, haunt the Church for decades to come. The best thing that we can do is be honest and open about our own views and concerns.

Thy Tran

Thank you for a thoughtful discussion of the issues, one that inhabits that uncomfortable yet vital space where the personal and political and spiritual, the family and the community all overlap.


you forgot, "Follow the Prophet"

Jeremy Mathews

Great post, Stewf. I know how you feel—as former Catholics, my sister and I sometimes end up defending the church to which we no longer belong.

Obviously you have the best view of the tactics from California, and some of the messaging could very well be wrong in tone. But I don't necessarily see a problem with calling bigotry bigotry. Whether the people who support prop 8 consider themselves bigots or not, they consider their beliefs and lifestyle superior to those of homosexuals, and wish to pass laws preventing people in committed, monogamist same-sex relationships from marrying in order to enforce their worldview. This is, by definition, bigotry, and the many churches that have endorsed it are behaving in a most un-Christlike and, frankly, reprehensible manner. The Mormons come off particularly bad because two percent of California is Mormon, yet the church and its members have put a remarkable amount of money and resources into the campaign.

I don't mean to generalize and assign a set of beliefs to all members of the LDS faith—I know many Mormons who are relaxed and groovy—but I think it's fair to say that Mormons as a voting block traditionally favor small government. The church runs its own charitable programs, and prefers government stay out of the way. Yet, in the case of prop 8, the church takes the opposite stance and urges the government to interfere with people's private relationships.

The US and California constitutions do not force religions that oppose gay marriage to accept and conduct such marriages. No one can force Catholics and Mormons and Baptists to believe that gay marriage is OK. But if prop 8 passed, a religion that allowed gay marriage would see its ceremony overridden on a government level.

Althouse sums up the prop 8 argument well:
"Let me see if I can make Broyles's point. I think he means to say that if same-sex marriage remains a legal right, enshrined in state constitutional law, then homosexual relationships will come to be regarded normal and good, and, consequently, anyone who objects to them will start to look like a bigot who should not be permitted to have his way. Thus, in order to preserve the right to discriminate against gay people and to keep schools from teaching children that gay couples are perfectly nice and so forth -- all things Broyles wants -- it's important to outlaw gay marriage, because it will be a powerful force in changing perceptions about gay people and those who think gay people are doing something terribly wrong."

Kent Hamson


Thanks for posting this. This really made my evening. You may not know that I was "kicked out" of the LDS church many years ago because I was in love with another man. I spent 8 loving years with him and had to work through the issues of my religious upbringing and who I was. I am glad to see that there are people within the LDS church that are open-minded to committed same gender relationships.


Jeremy Mathews

On another note, my friend Naresh just told me that Utah hosted the largest out-of-state phone bank for No on Prop 8. It just goes to show that the church leaders don't speak for all the members.


Good stuff. I wish my family had open dialogue like this. Instead we are separated into two mailing lists on most issues, members and non, with only the parental units and a few 'tweeners on both sides.

As the prop 8 debate raged on, I quietly wondered what Matthew's take on all this was. The Church was going out of its way to make its position felt, one which I suspected was against his personal beliefs and experience. I figured questioning the Church's leadership was reserved for heathens like me.

But I wasn't very surprised to find a brochure at the office entitled "Why Latter-day Saints Should Oppose Proposition 8". I knew immediately that it wasn't there because Matt needed the convincing, but because it was a cause he believed in and was supporting. Reading his comments here only strengthen my already great respect for him.


I too have a lot of unsettled feelings regarding this issue. The way I understand it is that any sexual intercourse outside the bonds of marriage is a sin. (Including for heterosexuals who may remain single throughout life.) Certainly my heart goes out to people who have same-sex tendencies, but I think we have to remember the sacredness and purpose of sex as not only an expression of love and commitment, but a matter of creation and bringing souls to earth, which can never happen in a homosexual relationship. Regardless, I believe that anyone, regardless of sexual preference, can enjoy the blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints if they are willing to keep His commandments, including celibacy outside of marriage.


I loved your article! I thought all mormon people wanted to donate money to take away my rights and thought I was an "abominiation".. the church behaving in this way is not the mormon chuch I know that had helped me and my family during hard times


Whew, this posting is such a relief. I love how plain and articulate James and Matt and Marilee's comments are. I am so proud of their loving and clear hearts. (Brought me back to the Logan Square Ward adoration of James, our very own good man). I was shocked to the core when I found out what the church was doing and it just was flat out broke my heart. As an inactive member of the church, I felt totally betrayed that the presidency would take away member's free agency and actively stir up hate in the world. I wrote a very strong letter to the church presidency but it was very painful to do. I spent a lot of time thinking and crying about it - weighing my words and making sure I was doing the right thing. I still consider myself a mormon and I cherish what I've learned from my own study of the gospel, from my teachers growing up, and from all the church members I've learned from in classes or in conversation. The action the presidency took on this issue is abominable. I sincerely hope that active members of the church express their views to the presidency of the church. I think my views can be dismissed because I am inactive.
On a brighter note, I feel so excited! I think people are finally waking up to the reality of this hatred. I think we are realizing that even if we are straight, our rights are in jeopardy if we destroy the rights of anyone else. We are still striving for "liberty and justice for all". I think every American should oppose any attempt to alter the Constitution. Obviously, taking someone's civil rights away while keeping them for yourself is wrong. I feel excited that this issue is becoming real for more people because I know with all my heart that Americans will eventually - maybe soon - vote for equal rights for all. I know we can be a more free and loving society and I'm thankful that I am in a position to really feel the strength of my love for all of my brothers and sisters. I'm excited to fight for what I believe and I hope we will all do our best to protect all of our civil rights.
holly (jen's sister-friend)

Kent Hamson

"On another note, my friend Naresh just told me that Utah hosted the largest out-of-state phone bank for No on Prop 8. It just goes to show that the church leaders don't speak for all the members.

Posted by: Jeremy Mathews at Oct 30, 2008 12:40:48 AM"

How would I get in contact with this group of people that ran this phone bank? I am interested in speaking with them.


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