Gay Marriage and Good, Better, Best
Since I made my recent post on Gay Marriage I have already been criticized for my sense that heterosexual marriage is more ideal than homosexual relationships on two different blogs. I want to write a post elaborating on my feelings on homosexuality. I don’t know that this post is any less deserving of criticism, but it is a candid exploration of my current thoughts and speculations.
If the only thing that will satisfy you is absolute equality not only in the law, but in the realm of spiritual thoughts, then I can not give that to you. The church is clear that marriage between a man and a woman is God’s ideal. Since I went through the temple for the first time last month, this spiritual principle has taken deep root within me. Performing proxy sealings and being able to hear the promised blessings has made it clear to me that this is the ideal sanctioned by the Lord. I don’t see this ideal changing without direct revelation granted to the leadership of the church. If that happens I would certainly be open to changing my spiritual lens on this matter.
This does NOT mean that I view homosexuality as sinful or deprived in the traditional sense of those words. Members of the church that enter into priesthood or temple covenants are held to a much higher standard and for them sexual transgression outside of wedlock to someone of the opposite gender is one of the worst sins possible because it violates covenants entered into in the house of the lord. This is explicitly because we learn in the temple that the law of Chastity is directly linked to the Melchizedick Priesthood. This is a particular covenant that LDS members make which is equally true for homosexual relationships, adultery and any lack of full and total fidelity and dedication.
This all goes back at its core to my definition of a ‘sin.’ A sin for me is anything that holds us back from achieving our absolute ideal state of perfection in the resurrection. Homosexual relationships are good because they can give one many of the blessings of marriage, but they are not the BEST because in some critical eternal ways, in so far as our current understanding reveals to us, they fall short of perfection.
It is also possible that our focus on exaltation as the only ideal is misguided. I don’t know that being a ministering angel would be a bad thing. I have often wondered if the celestial kingdom needs ministering angels. It seems likely that ministering angels can have loving relationships with each other. Perhaps just as Paul suggests that some will be Eunuchs for the Kingdom of God on Earth’s sake, some will be Eunuchs in eternity for the Kingdom of God. There is a lot we do not know and a lot that is not visible to our understanding. To the best of my knowledge, however, there is a theological emphasis on Heterosexual couples joining together and becoming one eternally. My faith necessitates that I view this as ‘BEST.’
Non-members must act upon their personal conscience and if they are believers in the bible then in the text therein. I have found textual arguments that homosexuality as we know it today would not have been understood by Paul fairly reasonable. Moreover, no restoration text explicitly speaks of homosexuality. At the very least, the very chapters in Romans most often cited against homosexuality are more obviously a critique against those that would judge others and yet fall short of their own moral standards. Paul would not recognize committed homosexual relationships as they were out of the scope of his world. The relationships you enter into are a matter of your own personal conscience and sense of right and wrong. I am not the one to judge you and I in every way respect your decision making.
Moreover, for those that are not under special covenant and that have same gender attractions it may be better for you to enter into a relationship than to remain lonely apart. You are not bound by my standard of a relationship. Ideally, I would hope that you will also appreciate the value of monogamy and strive to enter into longer term and committed relationships. I appreciate your heartfelt desires for the security that comes from civic recognition of your union. You deserve all of the legal protections that society currently accords to heterosexual couples. I’d certainly rather have you adopt a child than a single mother that can hardly afford to support a child, for instance. My desire is for the title of marriage to only be accorded to what I view as best, but I also realize that this may violate equal protection and that there may be no way to do this without discrimination.
I do think that granting gay marriage continues an already existing change in our societal perception of what a marriage is. I worry that marriage has become all about self gratification rather than a desire to come together to support a family. It saddens me to see the self-centered focus of modern marriage. Gay and Lesbian couples are not responsible for this and denying them benefits will do little to change things. Conservatives have decided to make a stand here in part because they have already lost the battles over things like no-fault divorce that have significantly weakened the institution of marriage. I sympathize with their fear while feeling their chosen battleground is futile and pointless.
I also want to copy and paste my answer from my Mormon.Org profile on Mormons and homosexuality. I was encouraged that this answer was approved:
What is the Church’s attitude on homosexuality? Why is homosexuality and same-sex marriage important to the Mormon Church?
Sexual relations are incredibly sacred and are ordained only within the covenant of marriage between man and woman. As we are baptized we covenant to observe the law of Chastity which requires abstinence before marriage and full fidelity in marriage.
Marriage is one of the building blocks of eternity. We will be with our family and loved ones in the eternity. Temple marriages bind people for time and eternity. Therefore, it is vital for the church to encourage the sanctity of marriage and to act to protect the institution.
No one knows exactly what are the causes of same sex attraction. There is some evidence of a complicated mix of biological, social and environmental factors. However, we do not believe that attractions are what define who we are. Instead, as Christians our goal is to “putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” Mosiah 3:19. We may always struggle with temptations and desires and those temptations are not in and of themselves sinful. However, through faith we can eventually become purified and sanctified.
Life is full of difficult challenges for all of us, and my heart goes out to those members that are tempted with this particularly challenging temptation. Members that are suffering with these temptations may be unable to marry and may have to abstain from physical pleasure throughout this life. Yet, God promises that those that endure to the end in faith will be rewarded. They are not defective and God loves them as a son or daughter. Do not hesitate to learn the beauty of the restored gospel because of these feelings or temptations Members are asked to show love and compassion and unfortunately we are imperfect in this regard. We must strive to be more Christ like in that regard.
In regard to Gay Marriage, the church has found it important to speak out against the granting of the title of Marriage to Unions between gay couples. Yet, the church is not anti-gay. The Church has spoken out in favor of a non-discrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City. Members of the church are divided on the issue of Civil Unions though many members in Good Standing including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are ardent supporters. It is my belief that Gay Couples should have all of the same rights as straight couples, but that the title of marriage is something sacred that should be guarded and protected.