General Conference and Same-Sex Marriage: a Personal Analysis

Introduction

I’ve decided to digest what I learned from General Conference that I believe is applicable to the ongoing conversations about same-sex marriage, same-sex activity, and the Church’s role in valuing and defending traditional marriage and family. It is hard (if not impossible) to argue that the leaders of the Church were silent on the matter this past weekend, or that their words are irrelevant to how we should feel and act concerning the matter.

I’m far from perfect at this, but I generally agree that we abuse the teachings of prophets when we use them as weapons to alienate those with whom we disagree. When teaching and sharing Gospel truth, it should never be done with a warring heart, and using the teachings of prophets and apostles as weapons is certainly the outgrowth of a heart at war. So that’s not what I intend to do in this post. If it comes across otherwise, at least know what my intent is. Remember that I don’t mean it that way.

So instead of sharing what others should have learned, I’ll share the important truths that I learned, and I sincerely hope that others will consider these truths as well. I’m going to try my very best to confine my entire analysis to specific quotes from this conference (with three deviations/exceptions only)—because I hope that by doing so, I can sidestep any criticisms that the messages I’m sharing are out-of-date (as if prophetic teachings have a built-in shelf life). Continue reading

Of Hope and Gethsemane

This is amazing. A voice of hope. Blake is an old acquaintance/friend of mine, and I love his remarks in this video. What I take from this is that hope comes not from a belief that SSA will someday disappear or become a non-issue in their desires to marry (for a great many, in never does), nor from a belief that the same-sex marriage or relations will one day be viewed as morally permissible by God (something that is unlikely, considering gour cherished doctrines taught in the Proclamation on the Family), but from a belief in Jesus Christ and His grace, mercy, and Atonement.

Grace is the enabling power of Jesus Christ, and He can grant us lasting peace and happiness, even as we experience the pain and loneliness of our own personal Gethsemanes. Christ has been through Gesthemane, and in that experience He was comforted by a messenger from God. Christ can and will be the angel that comforts us as we experience our own dark nights of despair, suffering, and loneliness. Continue reading

Critiquing Gospel Teaching

I have a curse. I’ve been doing graphic design on the side for a number of years now. I’ve studied principles of composition, and so I know better than I used to how to make things look good. For example, related information should be near each other—on a business card, the phone number shouldn’t be on the furthest corner from the email address. Their should be structure and order in the design. Fonts shouldn’t strain the eyes. Colors should be complimentary, and images should not distract from the text. It shouldn’t hurt to look at. The designer needs to pause and ask, “What do I want those who view the design to do? What information do they need the most?” He should make that information the first thing that people see. Etc. Etc. Continue reading

Templates for Responding to Tyranny

A friend of mine, fed up with the constant, gradual abandonment of freedom by American society and the encroachment of the Federal government on basic human rights, asked, “At what point is violent resistance to government ” Many people have commented something to the extent of, “Past that point already,” or “Getting there soon,” or “Can’t wait for this to happen.” It seems that many people are itching to get into a physical fight against our government in the name of preserving liberty.

I believe that armed resistance will eventually happen, and I believe that we would do best to steer clear of it. Based historical precedence, I suspect that in the event of armed resistance, the Lord’s spokesmen (the prophets and apostles) will ask us to decline to participate. Continue reading

“….and I, the Lord, would fight their battles.”

This is a guest post from my friend, Scott Stover. I really appreciate his message about how wrongly we romanticize war.


I’ve written on the topic of war before, but I’ve never felt like this before.  My rebellion was triggered by a simple program at our ward Christmas party, which reprised the 2001 Walter Cronkite presentation with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of the famous Christmas truce that occurred in 1914during World War I.  I’ve heard the story several times before, but this time was different.  This time I was struck at a gut level by the sheer evil that is war.  I think my reaction was prompted by the detail that a particular politician in England had the brainstorm to allow classmates and friends to all sign up together, in the same unit.  Enlistments shot up – the army quickly doubled in size, but the end result was that when a particular unit was wiped out, so was an entire generation of young men from that town.  I don’t know why it hit me like it did, but I suddenly felt revulsion at a deep spiritual level, as tears welled up inside me for the promised hope that flickered and then died with each individual death. Continue reading