Saturday, November 01, 2008

steve young, prop 8, and the divisive nature of 'protecting families'

in case you haven't heard, steve young is openly opposed to prop 8. not only does he have 'no on prop 8' signs on his windows, but he also has several halloween decorations on his yard which also carry an opposition to prop 8 theme.

i don't say this because his opposing lends any authority to the opposition, but rather because he is perhaps the most high profile mormon to oppose prop 8 and he will most likely suffer a lot of backlash for his choosing to openly do so.

a week ago, a good friend of mine, joe vogel, wrote an article for the huffington post about his feelings concerning prop 8. after writing "a mormon's lament," joe received a lot of harsh criticism and unfair judgments by his friends and family. so many mormons, like the pharisaic conner coyback, lashed out criticisms in the name of self-righteousness even though they know nothing of joe. if they knew the joe i know, they would take these accusations back in a heart beat. there are few people i know who have a christlike care for the other as joe does.

recently, elder whitney clayton of the seventy said that "Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction." but yet that hardly seems to be the truth of it in mormon culture. perhaps it is only that latter-day saints are free to disagree as long as they don't say anything about it. i have been told of several accounts where members have had their temple recommends taken for openly opposing the ban on same-sex marriage. even if there is no official discipline, the culture has too often taken discipline into their own hands by accusing those who oppose the amendment of apostasy, immorality, rejecting the prophets, and worldliness - all the while not accepting that those who oppose the amendment do so because of a sincere belief that that is what christ would have them do.

as joe told me tonight, isn't it ironic that the proposition which is supposed to be protecting the family is instead dividing so many families instead.

earlier today i somehow managed to get in a discussion on facebook with my friend's grandmother (yes. his grandma facebooks). here is a message i sent to her tonight:


i understand your desire to follow the prophet. i feel that same desire, which is what has made my decision to vote against prop 8 difficult to do. (on the other hand, voting for obama has been very easy). brigham young taught that we shouldn't just blindly follow our church leaders, but that we should study things out, pray earnestly, and seek the guidance of the spirit. for the last couple months i have been reading all of the arguments back and forth about prop 8. i have fasted and prayed. and in doing so, i strongly feel that i must disagree with some of those church leaders who have been pushing for prop 8.

i still hear the voice of god in what our leaders our doing. i hear a call that we need to take stands to protect our families who have been coming under attack lately. i just do not believe that the threat is coming from people who just want to be able to strengthen their loving relationships that you have been able to (and i hope to do this summer with my beautiful girlfriend).

in the book of mormon (which was written for our day), the most condemned of sins is the disparity between the rich and the poor. on almost every page we can find a condemnation of the nephites for not taking care of the poor, and it is this neglect of the poor that hurts god's children the most in the scriptures. not once is homosexuality mentioned in the book of mormon (even though it has existed in every civilization and culture).

in the end of matthew 25, jesus himself shows what it is that separates the sheep from the goats. it isn't about 'traditional' marriages verses same-sex marriages, it is about those who helped out the naked, hungry, sick, and imprisoned.

today, perhaps more than ever in the last several decades, the economic struggles that are hitting our country are hurting and destroying our families. foreclosures are kicking families out of their homes. massive lay-offs and failed businesses are making families hungry and destitute. the lack of proper health insurance is leaving our children and parents sick and injured, and are bankrupting families (30% of bankruptcies in the country are from medical costs). problems surrounding finances are a top cause of divorce today.

the culmination of our scriptures, the words of christ, and the majority of the teachings of our latter-day prophets have all shown that this is where the threat to our families is occuring.

when the rich young man asked christ what it was that he needed to do to have eternal life, christ didn't tell him to sell all he had and use it to fight homosexuality (which was quite common even then), but told him to use sell what he had and give it to the poor. christ then told his disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. it was because by accumulating wealth, the rich young man was ignoring the poor and violating christ's commandment to love one another.

as i mentioned in my comment, the primary thought that has come to my mind repeatedly when struggling over my decision about prop 8 was to really ask myself, what would christ be doing in this situation. i believe he tells me to render to caesar what is caesar and to god what is god's.

just recently the church came out in salt lake and said it supported legislation in utah to allow more free agency in its alcohol laws. as covenant people we hold ourselves to a higher standard. that is our religious standard and we don't need to (nor should we in our pluralistic society) demand that others abide by our religious standard. we certainly wouldn't want others telling us that we could not marry as we pleased because it went against their religious beliefs.

one more personal note. a little over 30 years, my dad decided he wanted to marry my mother who he met while serving a mission in japan. many of his friends and family tried to talk him out of it using arguments almost identical to those being used against homosexuals who want to marry. it's hard to believe, but even high church leaders were speaking against any interracial marriages, not just with african-americans. i am glad my father went against their wishes and desires. i am glad my father did not have a 'traditional' marriage and instead decided to marry my beautiful japanese mother.



if prop 8 passes on tuesday, there is going to be a lot of division that will need mending in the church. perhaps when passions have settled over time more discussion and understanding will be able to occur.

but still... i hope and pray that it fails.



  1. i am so proud to say that i am his girlfriend. :) how sad that we who are told to love each other, and have an article of faith devoted to respecting others religious beliefs, so do not do it!

  2. Steve Young actually came out and said that his name was inappropriately used in support of the "no on prop 8" group. His wife supports it, not him. Not that it makes it right either way, just sad that he was misrepresented. He says he hasn't endorsed either side.

  3. i don't know much about how his name was used in by the no on prop 8 group. however that they assumed that he was against it is understandable and hardly inappropriate. his wife emailed the no on prop 8 group and told them that her family was against prop 8. it is quite understandable to see how the no on prop 8 group would have thought steve was included when she said her family... especially when steve's house has a couple 'no on prop 8' signs on his window and several halloween decorations explicitly opposing prop 8.

  4. Hi, thanks for your thoughtful comments.
    And to confirm a rumor...My husband and I had our callings and temple recommends removed for speaking out against prop 8.
    The whole business stinks.
    But I'm glad to have found your blog!


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