Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still Some Open LDS Minds

Click here for an interesting point of view from a 28-year old software engineer from Provo, Utah. He discusses the recent broadcast by LDS church leaders on Proposition 8, pointing out the many examples of mendacity and fear-mongering engaged in by high level leaders of the church.

Money quote: "The circular logic surrounding modern-day prophets is mind-numbing. When one looks at racist statements by past leaders like Brigham Young or fallacious teachings of Bruce R. McConkie, people are quick to point out that prophets are imperfect. But then people readily immediately accept every word from present leaders of the church. Apparently, prophets only become fallible once they've passed on, how convenient. If prophets really are fallible (as has been shown, numerous times) then members of the church would be wise to not blindly accept, but really think things through thoroughly. Unfortunately, people are quick to follow the advice of N. Eldon Tanner, "When the prophet speaks, the debate is over." People's ability to accept leaders' fallibility at the same moment as denying their fallibility is stunning."


Anonymous said...

I hate to jump in but before you start ripping into the LDS church you should do your homework other then a few quotes!!! The things that you said were quotes but of course you don't even look at anything that we really believe. Yes we are tought to follow the teachings of gods prophets, but we are also taught to ask god first to see if it is true. We believe that God made marriage for man and woman. That is the bottom line so before you start ripping the LDS church and what we belive you should know that we all have a testimony that we recieved from God and that testimony is something that you or any liberals can never take from us!!

Tom said...

Anon -

I know a far sight more about the LDS church than you might think.

That said, you say you have a personal testimony of marriage being ordained of God. Great. I have a personal testimony, too. God says He's cool with what me and my husband have going on. Says he hasn't seen that kind of love and caring since Jonathan and King David.

These are theological arguments you are making. Matters of faith. We are debating CIVIL marriage equality here. If your sole argument is "God says so," we're not going to get very far.

If you have rational reasons for opposing civil marriage equality, you are welcome to make them.

Leah and Tyler Forester said...

This is foresterinc again. Let me ask you a question. What do you think of nature versus nurture?

Tom said...

Good morning, Foresterinc.

That's rather a broad question. Can you narrow it down a bit?

Michael Paul Bailey said...

I'm the blogger you have quoted above. I just wanted to thank you for your comment. I greatly appreciate the glowing praise. I'm intrigued as to how you stumbled upon my blog, so quickly after I wrote it too.

Also, I see that you are in California. I wish you the best of luck in the election next month. My hopes are with you guys.

Tom said...

Glad to have you visit, Michael. Thanks for your well-reasoned post.

I found you via a Google blog search for "same-sex marriage California."

Come back any time.


This is Jeremy- it's true that Mormons recognize that their prophets are human and make mistakes (James 5:17), but when the entire church leadership is teaching core church doctrine, I have a hard time considering that it is a mistake. The doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman is not a new thing and is not just an off-color quote.

Anonymous said...

The Lord would remove a prophet from leadership before he would let him teach great falasies to his people. God is not happy with they way you've chosen to live your life.

Niles said...

Tom -

I followed your comment from Foresterinc's blog (they're my cousins-in-law, and both very cool). I also followed your link to Michael Paul Bailey's blog, which was an interesting read. The most intriguing thing I found was one of the comments to his post, where a reader posed the question of how homosexuals would feel about polygamy. Bailey didn't even get what she was asking, and assumed she was alluding to the old "but then people will start marrying goats" argument, which is just absurd. But the question of polygamy lies at the heart of the debate between you and Foresterinc. For my part, I am in favor of gays/lesbians having the same marriage rights as anyone else, and it is primarily because I recognize that - historically - the state took away our marriage rights, and we didn't like it one bit; therefore, we shouldn't do it to you. So my question to you is: how do you feel about my polygamist forefathers? If the LDS church started making noise about bringing back polygamy (they won't, because we're trying very hard to become mainstream), would you support them, based on your experience?

Tom said...

Niles -

Thanks for visiting. Appreciate your well-reasoned comments.

I would NOT support a return to CIVIL polygamous marriages. Here's why: when you have civil marriage as an arrangement between couples only, you have full equality. However, if you extend marriage to polygamous families, you create INequity, because with multiple spouses, you have multiple beneficiaries for the benefits of civil marriage. Which wife gets the Social Security survivor benefits? Which gets health insurance or pension benefits? If more than one person is eligible for those benefits, it's not fair to people in two-person relationships. Does that make sense.

In addition, my sense is that the motivation for most polygamists is spiritual. And they have created their own temples in which they can seal those marriages. They aren't really looking for civil sanction of their relationships.

Niles said...

Tom -

First, let me point out that I'm not advocating the return of polygamy. You haven't accused me of as much, but I just thought I'd put that out there.

As for your argument against civil polygamous marriage: you make pretty good sense. It does seem fundamentally different - even inequal - in comparison to two-person marriages. However, what if arrangements could be made? Perhaps some sort of civil union legal status. As a real estate developer, I commonly deal with property ownership arrangements that include multiple business partners, family trusts, etc. I'm sure that if we put our minds to it, as a society, we could come up with equitable ways of dealing with social security, pension, and insurance issues.

The question that I would like you to answer is: how do you feel about polygamy from a moral point of view? Do you feel that it is a morally acceptable form of union?

When I discuss the gay marriage issue with my fellow Mormons (and I'm careful about whom I have that conversation with), I find that most of them base all of their arguments on their sense of morality. They have been raised to believe, or have chosen to believe, that homosexuality is morally wrong, and therefore they find gay marriage to be repugnant. All of their arguments about legal matters, school curriculum, societal influence, etc., stem from this visceral premise, so that no matter how logical and well reasoned your own arguments are, you can never get them to cross that bridge. They are arguing from emotion, and as Dostoyevsy said: "logic is the slave of passion."

I've found the same thing to be true of polygamy. Most people have a deep antipathy for it, because it is so far out of their ken.

So are you willing to live and let live? Are you willing to find ways of being inclusive, and to tolerate lifestyles that - to you - may seem like they are from the moon?

As a Mormon, I have always found it antithetical to everything I know about America that we were forced by the federal government, at gun point, to abandon polygamy over 100 years ago. And as a Mormon I find it profoundly, bitterly ironic that we are leading the charge against another community's marital rights.

As per your thoughts about the spiritually motivate nature of polygamy - your're right in a sense. Most polygamists argue that it is a spiritual law, and they just want the outside world to leave them alone so they can do as they please. But the fact is that there are real children in those "marriages," with just as much need for legal protection as any other child.

Tom said...

You're right -- I never thought you were advocating a return of polygamy.

But if folks want to live their lives that way, and they are adults making free decisions without constraint or coercion, I don't have a problem with it. As long as we are treated equally under the law.

I can't see how it affect me one way or another.