Before you try to read into what I'm about to say, and boil my words down to a "HATEZ TEH GAYZ," I'm going to fully admit that my words are about the legal ratification of gay relationships (vis a vis gay marriage) BUT that they are about much, much more than that. Most of you who read this will call me a bigot, insist that my opinions come from hatred, and soon (once you have power to do so) you will probably physically revile and attack me and my family.
So be it. I hope that when the time comes, I will be able to face it with courage and kindness.
For a long time, I have been fairly silent on the subject of gay marriage/civil unions. I probably will be again, once I've posted this. The only chance I had to vote on it so far, I voted to support gay marriage/civil unions. But my opinions have changed since then, and I become more sadly convinced of them as time goes on. My opinions haven't changed because of gay marriage, or gays, or aversion to homosexual attraction. They have changed because I've been taught of a much larger picture of the role of religious beliefs in a public sphere, and it is that larger picture I wish to address.
If you do not believe that the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called of God, directed by Him, and work His will on the earth, you will not understand where I am coming from. I'm writing this more to you who believe that you DO sustain and believe them, but who consider your religious beliefs to have no place in the public sphere, who think that just because our beliefs dictate that marriage is only between a man and a woman doesn't mean we should support laws that enforce that view on everyone else, and those who believe love should be celebrated and families formed around that love, no matter where it is found, between whom, nor how it falls short of God's declared will.
The prophets have, unified, taught us that family (as defined to be a marriage between man and woman) is ordained of God and that the erosion of this definition of family will "bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."
Whether that erosion is creating families around a same-sex union, so-called "open" marriages, domestic violence, or merely being more focused on personal fulfillment than on familial support, accepting the developing definition of marriage will directly cause the calamities which are prophesied to occur before the coming of the Savior.
Matthew 24 is an account of Christ's own explanation of those calamities. "Nation shall rise against nation," there will be famines, pestilence and earthquakes. But, more telling, the disciples of the Lord will be delivered up to be "afflicted" and killed. Those who stand for His word will be "hated of all nations" for the sake of Christ's name.
The majority of the world will be offended, will betray each other, and hate each other.
I do not doubt that this will be a direct result of the disciples of God taking a public, moral stance for His will in the face of much more permissive and expansive moral definitions.
For so long, we have operated in a "live and let live" philosophy: that each should be left to their own personal morality. Increasingly, holding an unpopular (particularly religious) opinion and sharing that in public is perceived as distasteful and indecent. Your naked body can be displayed nearly at will, and even be artistic, but please don't display a religious opinion for all to see. Such things have no place in politics, government, or even in conducting your own business.
Those who profess belief in Christ will increasingly not be allowed to live according to that belief, unless it is behind closed doors.
I submit that this time is the sign of the fig tree. Fulfillment of these prophecies is far closer than we think. While not all of these signs are yet completed, like a wave they are mounting higher and higher.
We have the freedom to set aside our personal convictions in our public behavior. But if you do, you will lose those same convictions. Either you believe that the prophets are truly directed by God, or you do not. You are deceiving yourself if you think you can hold onto personal convictions while hiding them under a bushel. Your light will go out.
All that I say is by no means a reason to revile, condemn, vilify, or be nasty to people who don't hold those same convictions. It is not necessary to abandon convictions in order to operate with kindness, love, meekness, and patience. Rather, if the prophets are true, standing with courage and holding our convictions high is the only thing that can save the very people who will hate us for doing so. Done by the principles of divine power, preaching God's will in the public sphere is the only true expression of kindness and love.
God's will isn't just a commandment with equal moral weight to any other belief. It is not, in this matter especially, restricted only to those who believe in Him. Rather, His will regarding marriage between a man and woman is a warning. No matter how it looks now, supporting a relative view on marriage and families will not bring happiness to anyone. By supporting it now, we are helping people along a path that will not lead to eternal joy.
Frankly, I don't understand it. My first impression is to support love wherever it is found, and let those who wish form families around any two adults who love each other. And if God were to teach me that gay marriage was valid in eternity, and a true path to happiness, I would quickly change my opinion. But the more I pray and ponder, the more I am impressed that this view of love and marriage leads to joy that is ephemeral. It will not bring lasting happiness any more than my desire to remain single will bring me happiness (despite my current joy in it.)
Sift through what you believe. If you believe the prophets, then integrity requires that you live according to that belief both publicly and privately. If you do not, you will lose the faith you now believe you have.
If we celebrate with "the drunken" we will find that in the hour that the Lord comes, our enjoyment is finished. Exposed as hypocrites, our reward and theirs will be only weeping because we missed the chance to proclaim salvation, eternal life, and exaltation to our brothers and sisters.
When we were baptized, we covenanted to "stand as witnesses" publicly and privately. Are we going to live up to that covenant? Or will we selfishly hold our beliefs close to our chest, believing that God's eternal plan is only for those who currently believe as we do?
Note: I am happy to publish comments which present an alternative or opposing view of what I've said. However, any comment with the slightest hint of abuse, emotional violence, or denigration towards myself or any other person will be deleted without being fully read. Don't waste your time. If you want to spout hatred in the name of crushing hatred, do it in your own space. Here, you must spend some time trying to put yourself in others' shoes and in trying to speak with thoughtfulness, charity, and kindness. This will hold true no matter whether you agree with me or not.