The Standard of Truth Still Stands Strong

I haven’t written much on the topic of gay marriage in recent months because I felt that pretty much everything on the legal merits had been said ad nauseum. I also had little pretension or doubt as to what the outcome of the Supreme Court case would be, though I was eager to see what rationale the Court would use as it created a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

This morning, knowing that the decision was pending, I spent time in the temple praying for peace and clarity regarding the opinion. As I did so, I again received a reassurance that I have received frequently over the past several months. Ultimately, while there are reasons to despair over the changes that have swept the nation, we should be filled with hope because the Lord is in charge.

While many are celebrating today, I know that many others are afraid of the impact this decision will have on the Church and the cause of religious freedom.  And many are wondering how to respond as our views increasingly become a minority position. While these thoughts are purely my own, I hope that some of what I express in this post will provide comfort and consolation for those who are anxious as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have frequently warned that when the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage (which it did today), it will be this generation’s Roe v. Wade and lead to a never ending cultural war on the topic. I sincerely hope not. Though I have frequently and strongly spoken up against the legalization of same-sex marriage, I hope that the fighting will recede and that those who see the urgent need to defend the family from decay and destruction will be able to move on to fighting for other pro-family measures.

I have long believed that the fight over same-sex marriage is a symptom and not a cause of the decay of respect for marriage. It started decades ago with no-fault divorce, rampant birth control etc., and the legalization of same-sex marriage is the natural and foreseeable consequence of those changes. When large portions of my generation no longer see marriage as something sacred or special, is it any wonder that there would be no principled reason to preserve the traditional understanding of marriage? We have been fighting a vanguard battle against the forces of Satan even though he has long overrun our defenses.

Is all lost? No! Just as God has done time and time again throughout history, he will turn Satan’s advances into victory. Just as Satan thought he would frustrate Gods plan by precipitating the fall, Satan always believes victory is in his grasp. Satan is always wrong. God will turn this defeat into a victory for the Gospel. I don’t know exactly how, but I am certain this will happen. It could be through newfound opportunities to partner with those we have fought with, or it might come in some yet unforeseeable opportunity to pass meaningful legislation to help and sustain all families.   And it is even possible that good will come directly from the decision, in the form of a new wave of interest in marriage and new opportunities to preach regarding eternal families. Or it might come in some completely unexpected fashion. Regardless, it will come.

We have as a church fought valiantly over the topic of same-sex marriage. This was a necessary fight even though it was a losing fight. We can’t simply retreat, but must fight where the culture and the society stands. And I believe that our efforts and great sacrifices have been accepted by the Lord and will be consecrated for our good and for the good of society. Given the growing hostility to traditional views on marriage, there is no doubt that there will yet be members asked to sacrifice jobs, opportunities or friends in the battle. We must never be afraid to stand up for what God and for the truth. Our core doctrines are unlikely to change absent an unexpected but never impossible revelatory shift. We must defend and proclaim them.Yet, in light of the Church’s conciliatory efforts in Utah and elsewhere I do see the Church moving beyond the issue and finding new ways to stand up for the family.

I don’t see any of this as a retreat or betrayal of values. I don’t think the church is merely acceding to pressure. But the Lord has yet greater plans for his church. Our church is one that will stand when necessary, but will not sacrifice it all on a last stand– until that is the last stand against Satan at the Savior’s coming. For some who believe that we must all be martyrs for our opposition to same-sex marriage, this will come as a disappointment perhaps. But no single issue will prevent the spread of the gospel throughout the world. Calumny may defame, but the church will continue to spread to every clime and sound in every ear. The standard of truth still stands strong. Despite temporary setbacks and defeats I am optimistic that the future will be much more glorious than the past.

18 thoughts on “The Standard of Truth Still Stands Strong

  1. This won’t be Roe v. Wade if only because it was already normative for most people under 40. The demographics more or less made SSM inevitable. Support for gay marriage has been rapidly increasing for 20 years until last year it was 54% of the population supported it (as of 2/23/14)

    When you look at the statistics by age the support is even more abrupt. 73% of those born in 1981 or later support SSM. That’s overwhelming. Even among Gen-X 59% do. Even among self-identified Republicans the younger generations overwhelmingly support SSM. In 2014 61% of Republicans under 30 favored SSM. 43% of Republicans 30 – 50 did. For Democrats the figures are even more overwhelming. 77% of those 18-29 support SSM and 71% of those 30-49 do.

    This is no divide like with abortion. First people are much more conflicted about abortion than SSM with many more gradations. In 2013 Pew found that 49% of the public felt it was morally wrong to have an abortion. Further the figure was massively different views. 64% of GOP and 67% of conservatives felt it was morally wrong. 38% of Democrats and 31% of liberals did. That’s a big difference. Also since the initial success of the pro-life movement in the 80’s through the mid-90’s the split on abortion has been remarkably consistent. It jumps up and down somewhat depending upon the poll and likely what news is going on at the time. Also there isn’t the split by age that we see with SSM.

    Further I just can’t see SSM having quite the visceral impact to people that abortion does. In one case you’re letting people do something you don’t approve of. In the other one side honestly feels like violence is being done to a human being (or for the other side a basic human right taken away). I’d lay good odds that demographics alone means this will be accepted the way interracial marriage was decades ago. It obviously won’t be quite as normative simply because there are religious objections that weren’t there for racial marriage issues.

    The one reason things might change is if the left starts to try pressuring churches into accepting SSM or even marrying people. I doubt that will happen, but there is a chance some might overreach.

  2. Gay people seeking marriage see it as sacred and special. It seems like you still haven’t gotten your mind around that. This further validates marriage, and it strengthens families, particularly the families and the children of gay people.

  3. “This further validates marriage”

    How so? We’ve been told multiple times in the scriptures and over the pulpit that we are to look at the Earth around us and the heavens above to see types and shadows as a means of helping us better understand the Gospel and the mission of our Savior. He is our great Exemplar and by learning of the world and its environs, we better learn how to approach Him and our Heavenly Parents.

    In mathematical terms if A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C. Replacing “equals” with “similar” or “related to” and you get the types and shadows principle. Case 1: If a man (A) or woman refuses to form an eternal relationship through the power of the Priesthood, they cannot get to (B). Because (B) is a prerequisite to getting to (C), (A) by definition cannot to (C) because (A) is not equal to (B). Case 2: If a man and woman (A) form a relationship (B) that is not sanctified by the Holy Spirit as a result of it being a temple sealing, they also cannot get to (C) because in this case, (B) does not equal (C). Case 3: If the same relationship is sealed by the Priesthood and the Holy Spirit, (A) does progress to (C) by definition. Case 4: If two people of the same gender are married, the relationship also cannot progress to (C). Whereas Case 2 was an approximation of the eternal ideal, Case 4 is a counterfeit. Unless you’re going to tell me that somehow two men or two women will have spirit progeny in eternity.

    Remind me again how this validates marriage and helps us understand the relationship between our Heavenly Parents and our relationship to them.

  4. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Deleted the rest of what I had written, as I’m sure those who are dedicated to traditional marriage would find my comments unsettling and those who are dedicated to marriage equality would find my comments objectionable.

  5. Interesting “middle way” admission, Meg. I think that there are a lot of us in the Church who recognize the legitimate tension between maintaining a traditional definition of marriage, and bedrock principles of equal protection and due process.

    I agree, that it will be interesting to see how this plays out. All is not lost, far from it.

  6. “All things work together for good to them that love God” Romans 8:28 Doctrine and Covenants 100:15-16 gives a more complete rendering which includes the sanctification of the Church. All indications are that the Church will not retreat from the ‘Family Proclamation’ which had opponents even when first released for various reasons. In my Book of Mormon reading I am once again in Alma where the converted Lamanites are added to by those who witness their willingness to die for righteousness’ sake.
    Some may view this as an extreme comparison, but in the current situation where abortion, euthanasia and family destruction are seen as virtuous by many, I see the prongs of Satan’s trident meant to undermine and diminish Gospel truth. I find it ironic that the term ‘millenials’ is used for the upcoming generation because I strongly suspect they will witness the Second Coming.

  7. I’ll chime in with my normal gloom-and-doom comments regarding SSM.

    This is going to (and already has in states that legalized it years ago) open a Pandora’s box among the rising generation, because it will effectively normalize (de-stigmatize) same-sex sex acts.

    Young people who will have spent all their formative years exposed (via school and via media) to messages that sex between two people of the same sex is just hunky-dory will see homosexual sex as a valid option for them as they reach the age of sexual experimentation, ___regardless___ of whether their inborn orientation is gay or straight.

    What has been left entirely out of the public discourse is that sexual _activity_ is not always tied to sexual _orientation_. Prison sex is an example of this. I’ve heard estimates by prison workers that about 80% of inmates willingly engage in homosexual sex in prison.

    You’ve heard the phrase: if you reward something, you get more of it. A corrollary is : If you remove the barriers to something, you also get more of it.

    There are more reasons than just same-sex attraction for why teens do and would experiment with homosexual sex. An inborn hard-coded same-sex attraction does not explain all circumstances. Sexual abuse at an early age, confusion, soft-coded versus hard-coded orientation (orientation is not always binary gay versus straight), grooming/programming/seduction, family dynamics, availability of opposite sex partners, can all play a factor.

    SSM is not going to “turn people gay”, at least not people who are already adults. But an absence of all social stigma against homosexual sex acts _will_ affect some portion of the _next_ generation as they grow up and form their sexual identities and preferences and choices of who to have sex with.

    Society has already lost the stigma against sex outside of marriage. In fact, if you don’t have sex before marriage “something is wrong with you”.
    To be a virgin at age 21 or even 18 is seen as a bad thing.

    Society has already told youth _you have to have sex_.

    Now, it is telling youth “it doesn’t really matter if you have sex with boys or with girls.”

    So what is going to be the take-away message to the youth who can’t find an opposite-sex sex partner, or whose regular opposite-sex partner is not available?

    Gays used the following line to “prove” that all homosexuality was inborn: “why would anyone choose to be gay when there is so much homophobia?”

    Ok, so homophobia is in the process of being removed, as SSM gives government sanction, and protection, not just to homosexual _orientation_ but the slightly different thing of homosexual _sex acts_”.

    The answer to the question is implied in the question itself: without homophobia(social stigma) people can freely _choose_ to engage in homosexual acts. To “do” gay (an outward act) , even if they aren’t “being” gay (innate preference).

    This rising generation will then be able to openly say and believe that “doing gay” isn’t the same thing as “being gay”. And then the “secret” about prison sex will be totally in the open, namely, you can be straight and have same-sex sex at the same time.

    Call it what you will, bisexuality, or whatever, but I don’t think you can escape the logical extension of the gays’ question (“why would anyone choose to be gay when there is so much homophobia?”) is that ….. Without some degree of social stigma (“homophobia” if you will), people will be free to __choose__ same-sex sex acts _regardless_ of their inborn orientation.

    So the first people to cross that line will be those with soft-coded orientations, or with other psych/social/family factors that tend to lead people to homosexual experimentation.

    But then the youth “explorers” and “boundary pusher” type personalities will also experiment as they reach the age of sexual experimentation.

    Does anyone remember the sexual revolution’s catch-phrases from the 60’s and 70’s? “If it feels good, do it.” And “Don’t knock it until ya try it.”

    One’s first sexual experience has an imprinting effect. And all sex has a bonding tendency. (These are some reasons why sex at an early age, and sex before marriage are harmful).

    Heaven help those youth whose first experimentation is homosexual.

  8. Um – people have been performing same sex acts for quite a while.

    A large part of the recent acceptance of “marriage equality” is that so many have, in fact, kissed and fondled and otherwise touched (at least in their minds) someone of the same gender.

    To be polyamorous (meaning not just many partners, but partners of both genders) is the celebrated lifestyle of the thought leaders of our new age. A colleague of mine was celebrated for a recent play, where the actors engaged in polyamorous acts on stage night after night. This colleague recently announced a gig as a regular columnist for a leading magazine, where this individual explicitly plans to promote the various things consistent with a polyamorous lifestyle.

    The adolescent mind is highly plastic, in part due to the large number of neurons that get deleted around age 11. Sexuality solidifies in the mid-twenties, along with other attributes of social responsibility. So individuals can more easily become committed to alternate lifestyles during that time, and then the mold is set and they continue in alternate lifestyles thereafter.

    For those who have engaged in same gender sexual behavior, it can become anathema to associated with the childhood religion that condemned such behavior. I know of cases where same gender sexuality has been the wedge that se[arated the young person from the Church. In other cases, I am not certain that actual same gender sexuality occurred, but it is clear that respect for alternate lifestyles was a part of the wedge that has driven the person from the Church.

    I agree that it becomes entirely difficult for the person, who has love same gender partners and built a life in the same gender community to embrace a religion that teaches as part of the doctrine that opposite-gendered relationships are the only ones that can be perpetuated into eternity.

  9. I have the same worry as bookslinger. I have already seen the experimentation play out during the last 10 – 15 years as my children passed through their teens. It was definitely deemed progressive, especially among girls, to give same sex a try.

  10. Meg, could you post the deleted section? “Deleted the rest of what I had written, as I’m sure those who are dedicated to traditional marriage would find my comments unsettling and those who are dedicated to marriage equality would find my comments objectionable.” The question you bring up, is what is “traditional marriage in God’s world.

  11. “I have long believed that the fight over same-sex marriage is a symptom and not a cause of the decay of respect for marriage. It started decades ago with no-fault divorce, rampant birth control etc., and the legalization of same-sex marriage is the natural and foreseeable consequence of those changes.”


    I have received a solicitation to sign a petition for a constitutional amendment restoring “traditional” marriage. If the amendment will not also outlaw no-fault divorce, then what’s the point? Heterosexual marriage with easy divorce and no essential connection to childrearing due to the prevalent use of birth control, is not “traditional marriage”. That’s the whole problem.

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