The Debate Isn’t Over

Today, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear several appeals regarding same-sex marriage, allowing the decisions of lower courts (who overturned same-sex marriage bans) to become the de facto law of the land in several U.S. states. This is troubling to many of us — but we want to reassure our readers that the fight is far, far from over.

Not only did the Supreme Court decline to rule on the matter, but the debate is alive and well in many U.S. states and in many countries. Further, if the Sixth Circuit upholds traditional marriage, the Supreme Court will likely revisit these cases. Nothing is locked in stone (or will ever be).

Further, did the fight over abortion (and its societal consequences) end, simply because the Supreme Court declared it legal? Not at all — rather, the fight against abortion has picked up steam in recent decades, and public opinion has shifted towards the pro-life movement.

Do not stop standing up for your beliefs about marriage, civilly and respectfully. We won’t. People will tell you that the debate is over, and that you should stop opposing the inevitable. However, while same-sex marriage may indeed be formalized in many (or all) U.S. states, this does not change the essential nature of marriage as a *procreative* institution, nor does it change the societal consequences of abandoning this understanding of marriage.

Check out the Objection from Bandwagon at Discussing Marriage for more.

Even if the Supreme Court heard the case, the issue would not be over — not now or ever.

If the Supreme Court ruled against traditional marriage laws, we would still fight to preserve marriage culture and help people understand its purposes as a civil institution. If the Supreme Court ruled in favor of traditional marriage laws, we would still need to help people understand and support such laws through the democratic processes. In other words, in either case, the conversation would continue, and our voices will still be needed.

I think people are tired of the issue; they want to lay it aside, and move on. They are tired of having to defend their beliefs, and want the Supreme Court to decide for them. But we cannot lay the issue aside, no matter what the Supreme Court does, because the most important battle is not in the courtrooms, but in the hearts of people.

The reason people have flocked to support same-sex marriage is because we have — as a people — forgotten (or never learned) what civil marriage really is, and what it is for. We think marriage is primarily about adult romance and domestic partnerships, and do not realize the vital role it serves in connecting generations and preserving parent-child relationships. We do not realize why norms of permanence, fidelity, exclusivity are important to marriage beyond matters of personal preference (hint: potential for procreation, and the weighty responsibilities and obligations that potential bestows upon marriage partners). Regardless of what the Supreme Court does, we must still undertake the monumental (but doable) task of correcting this, and that will require decades of dedicated, committed effort.

50 thoughts on “The Debate Isn’t Over

  1. The very real difficulty this presents is the increasing difficulty of unringing the bell. Why do you think so many gay couples rushed to get licenses when the ban in Utah was initially overturned. It wasn’t because they JUST. COULDN’T. WAIT! It was because they knew that the window for doing so could be short and they wanted to be able to pump up the numbers of people who would be affected by a reversion in the law so as to make it more difficult for the law to be reinstated. It’s one thing to not give benefits to people in the first place, it’s another to take them away once granted.

    You are right that the debate is not over, and there is still a lot we can do, but this is a very real setback and it will be nigh unto impossible to undo, your allusion to abortion notwithstanding. The difference between the two is someone could abort their child while such a thing is legal, but an abortion is not a continuing event. Once someone is married to another person, it will be very difficult for the state to come back five, or ten or twenty years later and say, “I know we’ve recognized your union for a couple of decades, but sorry … you’re no longer married.”

  2. I don’t disagree with LDSP’s original post, but I would like to point out that the federal courts should never have interfered in this issue in the first place. The Constitution is silent on marriage, and marriage law has always been left to the states. The 14th amendment has absolutely nothing to do with same-sex marriage.

    This is a classic case of unnecessary federal government overreach. When liberals ask why more and more people hate the government these days they might want to look at cases like this and many others where government busy-bodies interfere in issues that should have been left to the states or individuals or churches.

  3. I was unenthusiastic about last week’s re-post of the complaint from the divorced woman that her ex-husband’s new spouse was a demon from hell (my paraphrase) because it is so similar to rhetoric those of us who know divorced people have heard for years, regardless of the gender of the former spouse’s new spouse.

    However the interesting point of children of gay marriages bears examining. I was intrigued to hear of the mass protests in France against gay marriage because many such couples seek to add to their families using assistive reproductive technologies.

    Joining two individuals for the purpose of receiving social and societal benefits has traditionally been permitted for the express purpose of providing for the offspring of the union.

    With the recent trend towards same sex marriage, the rationale seems to be that it isn’t fair for two nice people who love one another to receive anything less than the benefit two other people who happen to be heterosexual can obtain. After all, increasing numbers of couples routinely employ technologies to reduce reproduction. A growing percentage have no intention of procreating. Thus has the heterosexual majority weakened the linkage between marriage and protection of children in the minds of society (the linkage between marriage and protection of children has never been more strong in reality–hence the qualification).

    Focusing on couples who are unable to procreate because they are not heterosexual, we have several sets:

    1) Those couples who do not care to have children.

    2) Those who have children from a prior hetero-sexual relationship.

    3) Those who have adopted children who did not have a suitable home.

    4) Those who wish to engender children of their own.

    This fourth category is the cause of the furor in France. In France it is illegal to employ reproductive technologies that produce a child that isn’t the biological get of both parents.

    I’m not sure how intense the opposition in France would be to a woman in a same-sex marriage getting herself pregnant with a man’s seed. The visceral objection appears to be men in a same-sex marriage using a woman to produce their child. Presuming this birth mother is also the biological mother of the child, she is being asked to give up her parental right to a child for money. Even if she isn’t the biological mother of the child she gestates, she is asked to rent her body for procreation. In a sense this is a prostitution of the procreative process.

    In America, we have no laws against a woman prostituting her uterus. Surrogacy, as it is termed, is a thriving and legitimate business. If you’ve got the cash, you can get a baby made for you, sourcing the seed, the egg, and the uterus separately as desired. Many heterosexual couples have availed themselves of surrogacy, so that it appears to be even a compassionate offering for which a woman can receive significant compensation.

    This is the objectifying of women that some have argued same sex marriage necessitates. Enduring pregnancy for pay, with no expectation of any link to the life you have gestated, is not something your average bright and gifted girl is raised to aspire to.

    Here in America, an objection to a same sex couple commissioning a child using the same mechanism currently used by heterosexual couples to obtain children would not be found to have merit. If reproductive technologies are OK to be used by heterosexual couples, then there should be no reason a same-sex couple could not also employ these same technologies.

    However in countries that have never officially consented to the renting of human wombs, it becomes more clear what happens when a couple unable to bear a child from their own bodies decides they wish to become biological parents.

  4. The Church’s response to the non-action by the SCOTUS:

    “The succession of federal court decisions in recent months, culminating in today’s announcement by the Supreme Court, will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God. In prizing freedom of conscience and Constitutional guarantees of the free exercise of religion, we will continue to teach that standard and uphold it in our religious practices.

    “Nevertheless, respectful coexistence is possible with those with differing values. As far as the civil law is concerned, the courts have spoken. Church leaders will continue to encourage our people to be persons of good will toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation.”

  5. The facts cannot be rationally disputed. Homosexual advocacy will bring nothing but ruinous judgement down upon the heads of the people. From the aspect of personal health risk to nurturing children in a wholesome environment, all the arguments for “marriage equality” are based on false premises.

    It is clearly arguable that though the Supreme Court decision to take no action is a disappointment, it is also true that they did not dismiss appeals or take any action that would prejudice future judgements. It may be that the Court will choose to consider these cases in the future. And actions from the homosexual community almost guarantee that ever more litigation will ensue regarding this issue.

    It remains to be seen today exactly how we should proceed from here, but rest assured, this battle against the encroachment of evil is not over, any more that the abortion fight ended with unrighteous judgement about Roe v. Wade. It will be a test of our faithfulness, whether we stay by the Iron Rod, or wander into forbidden paths.

  6. The Church position regarding marriage was made clear during conference, as was the admonition to respectfully coexist with others, rejecting persecution of any kind based on race, gender, religion (or lack), and sexual orientation.

  7. Meg, I expect what does, and does not, constitute “persecution” will vary depending on the audience. There are some who think that the Church’s refusal to recognize their homosexual union is persecution. This is one extreme of the spectrum, for sure, but there is a lot of middle ground between that and burning them at the stake. Clearly it goes without saying that physical violence is out. The Church has come out against employment and housing discrimination. But I wonder where conduct goes from simply not accepting a practice we view as destructive to society on the one hand, and persecution on the other.

  8. Viewed from a wider perspective, nothing very dramatic actually comes with this disappointing development. The homosexual players have become emboldened by their accomplishment, which will result in inevitable greater sense of entitlement. Predictibly, they cannot be satisfied with this concession, but will continue pressing to “normalize” their deviance in other ways. I intend no antipathy – their demands have been met. I predict that their sense of vindication will prove to be pyrhic and ephemeral, as are the rewards of all of Satan’s enticements.

    We will continue to decry and oppose the tide of evil, as with legalized abortion and other such offensive abominations. Life in the world continues…

  9. When it comes to persecution, the people who have been persecuted lately have been the people who dare to speak up for their religious beliefs and against same-sex marriage. That persecution will certainly increase in the coming months and years.

  10. Bruce,

    Certification of a case is not voted upon by all the justices. If four of them vote “yes” then certification of the case is granted.

    I was actually shocked by the SCOTUS’s decision as both the plaintiffs and defendants had asked the court to take up the issue. Basically, SCOTUS decided to wait and see if the the sixth circuit produces a conflicting opinion at which point it has to accept the case. I think this is a move toward normalization of “same sex marriage” by the court as they will be perfectly happy to let the current appellate court rulings stand. The fact that the court could not must just four votes to get the case on the calendar indicates, at least to me, that even when the case comes to bar defenders of traditional marriage will be sorely disappointed.

  11. Now, does the Church remove the ability of Bishops to perform marriages? Prior court decisions have held that those who offer their services to the public cannot refuse to provide that service based on all named protected classes (sexual orientation being one of them). So I can foresee a scenario in Utah where a homosexual couple requests that their bishop perform a wedding, the bishop refuses, and the Church ends up with a very public black eye on the national stage. Yank the authority to perform weddings and you forestall such a scenario.

  12. Last week, Justice Scalia told an audience at the University of Colorado that SCOTUS would take up the matter “soon”. Either something changed in the interim; or even the Court’s conservative justices think that one of the cases that hasn’t been ruled on yet has a better fact pattern than the ones for which it just denied cert.

    Knowing Scalia–if the other justices pulled the rug out from under him out of the U. Colo. speech; I suspect we’ll be hearing about it soon.

  13. For now, I think LDS bishops are still good. They would almost certainly be protected under the Hobby Lobby decision from earlier this year.

  14. I’m not sure of how authority to perform marriages works in other parts of the world, but when I was serving in Italy, one had to get the marriage solemnized civilly at the magistrates’ location. Temple marriages (at the time in another country) and Mormon clergy were not authorized to perform state-recognized marriage ceremonies.

    At the very least we have the temple ceremonies, which are specifically religious in nature. We can give up the ability of clergy to perform state-recognized marriages with relatively little impact. Other religions that object to non-traditional marriage will have a harder time justifying their refusal to solemnize smae-sex marriages.

  15. Paul M – I’m not aware of any court (in the USA) that has required a private, religious minister to perform a SSM. And in fact, advocates of SSM have long maintained that ministers would not be required to perform SSM’s. However, I do foresee the day where the state (or a SS couple) will argue thus: The ability to perform marriages is a state sanctioned “privilege” given to ministers, requiring ministers to go to their local clerk’s office to register. As such, they are representing “the state” when they do a marriage Therefore, if they want to continue representing “the state,” they will have have to abide by state laws allowing SSM, and therefore will either have to do SSM’s or they can strictly do them as a ceremonial, religious rite. Like I said, I’m not aware of any state that “requires” ministers to perform SSM’s.

    As for the writ denial, I am disappointed. Win or lose, I wanted the S.Ct. to take up the cases currently pending, hear arguments, and then issue a decision and put some finality to this whole mess. While I agree there will continue to be fights over the nuances of SSM, a S.Ct. decision would have at least avoided all the conflicting opinions floating around state and federal district and appeal courts.

  16. Just yesterday, I heard a news story about this case. The next news story was about people wanting Pluto to be considered a planet like the others in our solar system. I thought it was ironic. It seemed like a similar problem. If Pluto is a planet, is Ceres or Eris?

    People wanting to redefine words to include things unlike the others .

  17. And in fact, advocates of SSM have long maintained that ministers would not be required to perform SSM’s.

    You’re forgetting something:

    SSM advocates lie.

    In this vein, see Justice Scalia’s dissent to Windsor:

    The penultimate sentence of the majority’s opinion is a naked declaration that “[t]his opinion and its holding are confined” to those couples “joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State.” Ante, at 26, 25. I have heard such “bald, unreasoned disclaimer[s]” before. Lawrence, 539 U. S., at 604. When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with “whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.” Id., at 578. Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it “demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,” ante, at 23—with an accompanying citation of Lawrence. It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will “confine” the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.

  18. Lance/Richard:

    Hobby Lobby will not protect bishops from being required to marry SS couples as that decision is too narrow to provide protection outside of the bounds of the ACA. Bishops are likely to be required to provide services based on various court decisions requiring bakers (AZ), photographers (CO, LA), and florists (NM, CA) to provide services for weddings despite having religious objections to “SS marriage”. Temple ceremonies are likely to resemble those in other countries (as mentioned above by Meg) where there is a religious ceremony either preceded or followed by a civil, state-sanctioned ceremony. All I am saying is that if the “SS marriage” crowd wants to make an example of the Church it will have a legal basis by which to do so. I just hope they preemptively shut down that possibility.

  19. “In America, we have no laws against a woman prostituting her uterus. Surrogacy, as it is termed, is a thriving and legitimate business.”

    The prevalence of and legal/economic leverage of DINK SS couples in prosperous societies will likely lead to the economic subjugation of single, economically disadvantaged fertile females to become breeding chattel. I wish I felt like I was exaggerating.

  20. You guys are making it out to be way worse than it is. While younger generations of *the world* are in many ways moving toward greater compassion, sensitivity, and love, we’re caught up in our pride and foolish traditions of our fathers. The Book of Mormon was right. We need to wake up from our awful state and become true disciples of Christ, extending love and mercy to all God’s children. Yes, even to gay people with kids.

  21. I think what we have from the younger generation is largely not compassion, sensitivity, or love. Instead what we have from us (as I am part of the younger generation) is apathy. We don’t condemn anyone because we ourselves don’t want to be condemned. We want to be free to live our lives however we want, without restriction, and so we extend this same carefree attitude towards others. It is not love to be unconcerned with others’ actions and their eternal questions, it is apathy.

    It is also important to remember that we as a people must always be cautious of following after a sliding younger generation: “And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation.” (3 Nephi 1:30)

    I think it is important to remember, as Elder Oaks taught this last weekend:
    “Like the Savior, His followers are sometimes confronted by sinful behavior, and today when they hold out for right and wrong as they understand it, they are sometimes called “bigots” or “fanatics.” Many worldly values and practices pose such challenges to Latter-day Saints. Prominent among these today is the strong tide that is legalizing same-sex marriage in many states and provinces in the United States and Canada and many other countries in the world […]

    “On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).”

    It is clear that we need to raise our voices against the evils in our world. We oppose incorrect behavior (including SSM) because we know (as revealed by the Lord’s servants the prophets) that it destroys lives and happiness.

    Ultimately, we can not say we love our neighbors if we see them doing something that we know will destroy their souls and just ignore it. Once again, this isn’t love, but apathy. We must exhort all men to come unto Christ and to follow His commandments. We do so with civility and love, but we still do so. This is true love.

  22. we’re caught up in our pride and foolish traditions of our fathers.

    Interesting choice of words, considering that one of the “foolish traditions” you’re apparently alluding to is the right of a child to have both a mother and a father.

  23. The church’s recent statement on the Supreme Court decision was notable for its lack of judgement, with no attempt to exercise political influence. Gone were the phrases “we hope,” “we were disappointed,” “we encourage.” Replacing it was a respectful acknowledgement of the authority of the courts, and an appeal to the free expression of our own religious beliefs.

    “Respectful coexistence is possible with those with differing values. As far as the civil law is concerned, the courts have spoken.”

    I address the topic in “The Crusade Against SSM is Officially Over”

  24. I’m far from certain that crusading for truth is ever put on hiatus. Two married women, or two married men, is not the same thing as a man and a woman married. “Equality” is essentially meaningless if you can call two women the same thing as a man and a woman. This is a *truth* that society will have to relearn the hard way.

    What disappoints me the most is how many LDS have fallen for the SSM rhetoric, hook line and sinker. Many do it because it is easier to go along to get along with their secularist associates.

    Reminds of the time when the 1897 Indiana legislature tried to pass a bill changing the value of Pi.

    Legislatures, courts, and politicians actually don’t have the power to change reality. All they can do is posture and feign enlightenment.

  25. Nate, I read your post. I confess I find it quite interesting how you go about positioning the whole debate of the last 20 years. You basically start with the assumption that gay marriage is a right — hey, it is now given the court rulings — then based on that assumption applied retroactively back in time, you conclude that the LDS Church was therefore trying to impose its standards on the rest of the world all this time by taking away a right.

    By doing this you change the last two decades of fight over *whether or not gay marriage is a right* into a fight to take away rights. It’s absurd beyond reason, of course, but it’s precisely how the world is going to look at it. This is a perfect example of how history is written by the victors. Even if SSM turns out to be a good thing — it was never obvious if it would or wouldn’t if for no other reason that nothing is obvious until tried long term — it won’t change the fact that you, as a victor, just rewrote history to make the Church look like it did something horrific that it never actually did.

    I have no doubt this is a sign of things to come. It’s also a pretty good example of what was really being fought over for the last 20 years. Hint: it wasn’t gay marriage. And it certainly was a fight over an existing right, just not the ‘right to marry.’ It wasn’t even a battle over ‘religious freedom’ per se.

    And the idea that the Church opposed gay marriage as nothing more than some simple ecumenical movement suggests you don’t know that much about the LDS Church’s actual intents on this subject. Have you actually read the Proclamation to the world on the family?

    I also think you make another mistake in your analysis, namely that the only thing that is now going to cause ‘the gentiles’ to go after the Church legally is that up to this point the Church was ‘trying to take away people’s rights.’ Your implication being that had the Church been prophetic it would have known that if they just allow gay marriage then they’d be left alone too.

    Why would you even believe this? What possible evidence do you have that even suggests Mormons would have been left alone had they backed (or at least didn’t oppose) gay marriage? It seems so much more likely that no matter what the Church did, once homosexuality became normalized, liberals were going to start to try to use the law to go after any religion that didn’t accept homosexuality. That is certainly the past history of similar issues — as liberals themselves consistently point out with their comparison to civil rights and pushing those that disagree to the margins of society. Long before the Supreme Court ‘pre-ruled’ that gay marriage was a right – and before Prop 8 even passed — we already had Matt Thurston in Sunstone assuring us that society would marginalize Mormons until they accepted homosexuality was not a sin and they would have to accept gay marriage. ( It seems to me that this undermines your argument entirely on a factual basis. There was always an intent to go after the LDS Church for teaching homosexuality was a sin.

    I suppose it depends on what you think the ultimate outcome will be. If the Church does eventually do exactly what Matt Thurston says, then the Church is ultimately probably the least prophetic organization on the earth — as you seem to be claiming as well, though for other reasons. If the Church never caves on this subject and dies, the same could be said.

    But if the Church never caves and survives, then the Church’s fight bought them an extra 20 years of not having the law go after them and to dig in for the coming wave of severe persecution Matt Thurston implicitly predicts (and advocates) is coming their way. The Church, under this scenario, is undoubted the most prophetic organization in the world on this issue. It’s an almost pure litmus test of the actual prophetic nature of the Church. I sincerely hope you are wrong in your judgment on the Church on this, Nate.

  26. Bruce, thanks for reading my post.

    I understand that it’s a bit unfair to speak of the church imposing its morality on the Gentiles when the battle began with much different starting lines. Rather, I think the church has fallen into a trap.

    But regardless, my own personal belief is that the LDS church is a “strait and narrow way that few find,” a higher way, not a universal way. I believe this is the true doctrine of the church which it sometimes inadvertently departs from. The church had begun to identify with majority American values, and when those values became threatened, they naturally joined the fight. But this never would have happened in the polygamy period. Mormons understood correctly back then that majority US values were NOT LDS values, nor was there any idea that they SHOULD be.

    So my position is that regardless of how popular traditional marriage ever was, the Mormon church should never have entered the political arena. I believe that is the true Christian way, “My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.” I was uncomfortable with this from the very beginning.

    I know that these views contradict the whole idea of “a proclamation to the world,” where the LDS church asserts authority to condemn the world and seek to further its interests by any means, political or missionary.

    But that is my opinion. I don’t think the Proclamation on the Family represents the fullness of the spirit of the restoration. The spirit of the restoration is the call, “come follow me, let the dead bury the dead.” Let the Gentiles do what they do. We have a kingdom not of this world.

    My post cannot be understood without understanding my isolationist stance, which I believe is strongly supported by scripture. I know it contradicts various General Conference addresses. But we may see those addresses changing now with Elder Oaks recent talk.

    The church does not need to be perfect, nor prophetic, for me to bow to its authority. The church, like all of us, must learn from its mistakes. God will not prevent it from falling into traps like this. It will be good for us in the long run.

  27. Nate,

    You have been asked to stop peddling these ideas on this blog several times before. Your notion that our teachings on marriage are designed only for us, rather than the rest of the (gentile) world, has been refuted repeatedly here, using the words of prophets and apostles.

    Prophets and apostles have pleaded with us not to think that way about these teachings. There are real societal consequences for abandoning this understanding of marriage in our laws and our policies. There is real harm awaiting us on the horizon, which prophets and apostles have raised a warning about.

    If you are too cotton-eared to listen, go somewhere else to preach your alternative theology. Not here. We’ve asked you to stop here, because we’re tired of having to refute it over and over again.

  28. I’m sorry LDSP. I wanted to respond to Bruce’s comment on my post on W&T, but he did it here, so I responded here. I’d love to continue a discussion with Bruce on the topic, but hopefully at W&T if he feels so inclined.

  29. LDSP, I have been absent, so I apologize that I didn’t know what Nate has been asked. I think his reply was probably necessary given mine. Obviously I don’t agree with his interpretation of the restoration or scripture (nor do any of the current prophet leaders apparently) but it does explain his point of view in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to understand without the further explanation.

  30. Wow, whatever happened to “come, let us reason together”? Why isn’t Nate allowed to share his opinion? Are you afraid you’ll begin to see your error?

  31. Perpetual, Nate is allowed to share his opinion. But on this particular issue, Nate and others have been hashing over this point for several years now. It’s a stalemate. We’re tired of having to respond to him and refute him on this point *ad naseum,* because every time the issue comes up, he feels to need to make his claims yet again. He’s beating a dead horse on this blog.

    It’s not that we’re afraid of his ideas. It’s just that we’re tired of them, and there’s no reasoning with him on it. We’ve been through it a gazillion times now, and we don’t want this blog to be a platform for that particular perspective on that particular issue.

    He knows he’s not going to convince us, and we know we’re not going to convince him. So the only reason he keeps coming back is to use our posts as a platform to peddle his ideas to new readers. At this point, he’s not talking to us, he’s talking to our readers, hijacking our thread to do so.

    You are jumping into an ongoing conversation that’s been going on for years, the history of which you are not aware of. The “let’s reason together” happened — and ended — long ago with Nate on this issue.

  32. Nate, for what it is worth, you’re my favorite “Liberal Mormon” of all times. 🙂 Never a dull moment and your ideas are always entertaining for me at a minimum. Sometimes I even agree with your or change my mind based on what you say.

  33. That is nice of you to say Bruce. LDSP is right that we’ve been over this ground many times. I’ve already admitted that I have a bad habit of trolling here at M* and asked to be put on moderation, which Geoff refused to do. I’m low on self-discipline so I keep finding myself here on your doorstep.

    For what its worth LDSP, I’ve always thought this was one of the best LDS blogs, not so much for its ideas, which I often disagree with, but because of its sincerity, intelligence, and faithfulness. That is a rare combination, and might explain why I can’t seem to shake my addiction to you guys.

  34. Perpetual,

    Actually, you should probably check our comment policy. We’re pretty open about the fact that if a person wants to continually teach things different than the current teachings of the Church they will be nicely asked to do so elsewhere rather than driven out through public humiliation under the guise of moral indignation like the rest of the Bloggernacle does.

    People misunderstand. We’re not trying to be a public forum for debate — and failing! — like most supposed public forums of debate out there. We’re not even trying in the first place because there is no such thing.

    What we’re actually trying — and succeeding! — to be is a beachhead on what was once entirely conquered territory. We intentionally ignored or inverted all the supposed rules that were actually ways of guaranteeing non-believers a public advantage (and shut out believing voices). (See

    But there are also no moderators here per se, so each individual post gets to make their own rules. This is LDSP’s post, so his rules for the moment.

    Nate, on my posts — if I do more — you are free to pedal what you want so long as you keep me entertained. 😉 (Which I have no doubt you’ll be able to.)

  35. Since each perma at M* is different, my guess is that Bruce would probably never ask Nate to leave, whereas ldsp is tired of the same old same old.

    I rarely ban or delete comments on my own posts, but here at M* we tend to let permas set the rules for their own discussions, within the very general guidelines.

    And considering I’ve seen much worse banning and deleting at the supposedly more open minded and progressive ‘Nacle blogs, I find most complaints about M* are hypocritical at best.

  36. The big secret of the Bloggernacle (and all blogs or forums on the Internet, or even not on the Internet, that are about a specific moral ideology) is that when you’re comment policy is “we’ll only ban you if you’re a jerk, otherwise you can say whatever you want” (this is literally how I’ve heard BCC state their policy at times) that what constitutes ‘a jerk’ is someone that says things that are immoral. And if you disagree with a sites moral ideology then you are by definition — to the community at that site — immoral, and thus a jerk. So such comment policies really boil down to “we pretend to be open to all discussion but really we make sure we don’t offend our community too much.” And, of course, now that I’ve said it that way, doesn’t it sort of make sense to hold such a policy? In short, it’s not a bad policy at all — but its no where even close to fair either. Fairness is overrated (and impossible anyhow) for blogs. Just let sites cater to their community and that’s that.

  37. That’s great and I think I mostly agree, Bruce, but no one really admits it or is willing to admit it. If they admitted that, they would lose the satisfaction they get from pretending to be merely banning jerks.

  38. To be clear, it’s not that I’m asking Nate to leave, it’s just that I’m tired of the false monastic vs. pragmatic dichotomy that he brings up every. single. time. I post on this issue. The prophets and apostles have publicly declared, in unanimous voice, that our teachings on the family are pragmatic, not merely monastic. Elder Nelson this past conference has indicated that this unanimity is significant. But Nate continues to teach that they are only monastic. Nate’s welcome to stay so long as he doesn’t keep trying to open up that same debate over again.

  39. Nate, well played! You are putting the onus on me for your own lack of self control. That is really a good one! (You know I love you, Nate, but your logic is really funny sometimes). 🙂

    I would ask you as much as possible to refrain from repeating on M* that old canard about the Church’s advice only being for Mormons because it is simply not true and has, as LDSP points out, refuted by literally dozens of modern-day prophets and apostles. However, I gather that this is something you feel necessary to believe to build up your own faith, so please keep on believing whatever you need to believe as long as it gets you to Sacrament meeting. Just don’t blame your lack of self-control on me!

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