As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is not a comfortable opinion to have. I often worry that other members will pigeon hole the rest of my beliefs into the fact that I’m not anti-gay marriage. So let me be absolutely clear.
I believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Savior of the world, who will one day ease the suffering in the world and fix what is broken in most of us and our relationships. I believe we can turn to Him now for peace. I love the church for its community, trust in volunteer members, and its deep and inspiring theology. Almost everything good in my life has come as a direct result of my membership in the church. I love the temple. I believe I have felt the influence of God there on more than one occasion. Despite his flaws, I believe God worked through Joseph Smith. I love the Book of Mormon. I know it is good and true as much as I know that I love my wife and son.
I have tried to remain as neutral as possible on the gay marriage debate. Most of the time I just passed it off with “well, I don’t live in California, so I don’t need to make a decision.” However, as the saying goes, “the personal is political.” For me to be against gay marriage is to be against family, against good friends. How can I tell them, “You know, I love you but I really hate this particular fundamental part of who you are.” I refuse to do that. People who are lesbian or gay who want to be married did not choose their sexuality any more than I chose to be straight. So it has become a personal issue for me. If I were in California on tomorrow, I would vote no on Prop 8, because I cannot discriminate against people I love. That is how I see it. I’m not saying you need to agree.
I don’t know what will happen in the future, or what the “effects” of Prop 8 passing or failing will be. I could be misguided. I will continue to support the church and President Monson in every way that I can, and I am also grateful that the most fundamental aspect of the gospel is that of agency. While it is not easy having an opinion that is different from that of our leaders, I have disagreed with prophets in the past on polygamy and the priesthood ban, both unarguably huge issues. I am not using that as an excuse, but rather an example of how I can be a faithful member and not hate homosexuality.
I hope that my friends and family outside the church will respect my religious beliefs. I hope that my friends and family inside the church who disagree with me will be understanding and not decide that I have lost my testimony or some other temptingly easy but untrue explanation. The very least we can do with all this is allow it to make us a little softer, a little more humble, a little more patient. A little more Christlike.
- My Prop 8. essay from the December 2008 issue of Sunstone
- Gay Marriage & Some Real Threats to “The Family”
- Mormon Matters: Celestial Marriage Amendment