DOMA

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Few topics are as emotionally charged or require more sensitivity than same-sex attraction. This complex matter touches on the things we care about most: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as children of God, how we treat each other, and what it means to be disciples of Christ.

Big news hit the world today. The Supreme Court striked down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that denied benefits to gay couples.

This is a big deal, and my first thought was, “How do I feel about this?”

The issue of homosexuality is sensitive, highly debated and emotionally charged.

My intent of this post is not to cause a big rise, but to illustrate a collection of things I found, and how I feel about the subject.

I want to know what I believe, so when I need to teach my children about homosexuality, I will know what to say.

So, here we go.

A collection of what I will teach my children about homosexuality.

DOMA

You Are a Daughter of God

I will teach my daughter what it means to be a woman.

“You are not simply a child of God. You are a son or a daughter of God, with all the masculine or feminine connotations of those words.  That is your true, eternal identity.” source

I will tell them to seek a testimony, even a personal vision, of that identity.  You will have come to love being a woman with the gifts, talents, and sexuality you have been given. You are destined to be great, to love and nurture a family and become more like God and Jesus Christ.

You are blessed with gifts and talents, and a capacity to love. Remember, you are a daughter of God. I will tell them that the most powerful tool is not what I TELL THEM, but what GOD TELLS THEM. Pray for answers and seek guidance from HE who knows all.

You Can Love without Approving

I will tell them that one of the most difficult parts of life is trying to love all of God’s children.

People will hurt you. You may get discouraged. Don’t be cynical about the world. There are great people out there.

At the same time, you cannot accept everything. We are living in a world where if you don’t accept someone, you are hateful. This is called moral relativism. You must take a stand for what is right and what is wrong. The world needs your voice, and it’s ok to have an opinion.

Because some people make choices, doesn’t mean we don’t love them. We may not approve of their choices, but we must try our best to treat them with the charity and respect every human deserves.

I will tell her that homosexual relations have been moved from being prohibited to being permitted. However, we can tolerate or permit that behavior without also endorsing it.

There’s a Difference Between Attraction & Behavior & Marriage

There are many things in your life that you may feel inclined to do. You may have struggles with depression, alcohol, being judgmental, faith or other areas of life. These are real.

I will tell my daughters that those who have same-gender feelings need to stay morally clean just as you do.

In my faith we remain celibate until marriage. This means no sexual relations outside of marriage.

And in our faith, we believe marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and therefore do not approve of same-gender marriages.

So, for those who are gay, whether they believe it is due to nature, nurture or choice… No matter the REASON, they can accept all of God’s blessings and opportunities in the church if they do not act on their orientation. This may sound ruthless, but it is what I believe. I believe that it is something that is part of who they are, but not completely. There are a number of things about their personality, interests and other elements that aren’t defined by their sexual orientation.

There is so much we don’t understand about this subject, that we’d do well to stay close to what we know from the revealed word of God. What we do know is that the doctrine of the church, that sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married, has not changed and is not changing. But what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same gender attraction. source

I think it’s important for my girls to know that homosexuality, is not a noun that describes a condition. It’s an adjective that describes feelings or behavior and one that should not be openly acted upon.

You’re not Homophobic

I will tell my daughters that just because you have an opinion against gays, you are not a hater. You love them, and you prove that love through your actions. Embrace them, love them and remember, it’s ok to stand up for what you believe.

We have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of [the homosexual] lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree with them as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable.  Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like ‘homophobic.’… This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach.” source

You’re Not Alone

The third misconception is that most Americans favor same-gender marriage, which means the Church is outside the mainstream in opposing it. There are many out there who do not support same-gender marriage.

For example, last June Time magazine carried a story that described the aftermath of California’s Proposition 8 campaign as a “vicious backlash from gay-rights activists, some of whom accused Mormons of bigotry and blind religious obedience.”

All Children Deserve a Mom & Dad

I will teach my daughters that there is nothing more special than the love between a husband and wife.

They will have friends with divorced parents, broken families, and unstable situations. We’ve been shifting from a culture of marriage towards a culture of divorce with a doubling divorce rate, the highest in the world and quintupled the rate of unwed births since the 1960s, and 40% of children born out of wedlock. WOW. Can’t imagine what it will be like for my girls.

They may even come home from school and talk about a friend who has two dads or two moms.

This is the crossroads for a parent. What would you say?

I know many  homosexual couples  love each other, remain faithful, and have an extraordinary relationship that they feel they could offer to a child.

But, I know that this is not God’s way. For some reason, our bodies are not able to reproduce with people of the same gender, and for that purpose, I don’t believe homosexuals should be provided children. But why not? I believe that a child deserves a mother and a father. We are born with instinctive talents for the raising of children, and research supports the premise that a child does best in a home with a mom and a dad.

I was amazed to see the French does not support adoption by same-gender parents. I was amazed. France? They are largely irreligious? Why? France, which is not exactly the most conservative country in the world, rejected gay marriage in 2006, because its parliament concluded that these marriages run counter to the best interests of children and the future society.

The report focused on children’s need for identity and stability. Insofar as possible, it said, each child has the right to know and be cared for by — and be bonded to — his or her biological parents.  Biological bonding combined with legal bonding inherently creates the most lasting and stable adult-child relationships, which provides the emotional and legal security required for optimal child development. Occasional adoptions may be necessary in exceptional cases, but there are plenty of stable heterosexual married couples who wish to adopt all available adoptive children.   The French report said that to accept a public policy that consciously places children with homosexual adults increases the risks to children who are already at risk because they feel identity confusion and abandonment by their biological parents. To ignore this need is to discriminate against these children.  Adoption is about a child’s right to a regular family, not merely about an adult’s right to a child.  source

Marriage isn’t about the Benefits

Getting married or wanting to be married is not about the benefits.

I will tell my daughters, don’t get married so you can get ______. That’s not what it’s about. It’s not what you GET. It’s what you GIVE.

That’s a selfish mindset that is destroying society. It’s not about the tax breaks, the life insurance or anything else.

I find it so ironic that as the world rejects marriage, with evidence of the high divorce rates, the gays think marriage is so wonderful and seek the approval and justification in it.

Society, marriage is a big deal!!

Gay people realize this, let’s have everyone understand this. The homosexual community want to be married so they will be recognized with the same RIGHTS or FREEDOMS that others enjoy. Others, who may take these “rights” for granted.

All Are Entitled to the Blessings of the Atonement

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a blessing to you.

It gives you power over weakness, opportunity to change, forgiveness for wrong doings, and ability to overcome death.

It means just what the word says: at-one-ment.  Its purpose is to make us “at one” with God, or bring us into harmony with Him, after being separated from him by death, by sin, or any other force.  In that sense, the Atonement can heal us not only from sin, but also from carelessness, imperfection, and all mortal bitterness — intended and unintended.

“Even though same-gender attraction is by itself not a sin, its presence can make us feel estranged from God.  That sense of separation arises from our knowing that this attraction runs counter to our eternal nature as a son or daughter of god.  These feelings can terribly damage a conscientious person’s sense of both worth and worthiness in God’s sight.

The blessings of the Atonement include its healing and compensating power when one has been separated from God by sin, by unintentional mistakes, or simply by adversity.  I classify same-gender attraction within the category of “adversity,” because typically you haven’t brought it upon yourselves.  It has consequences similar to being harmed by the sins of others, such as the separation from God felt so commonly by the victims of childhood sexual abuse.” source

It Hasn’t Always Been This Way

It’s important to know that just because you believe in traditional values, you are not outdated. You don’t need to change with the world, or adapt to it’s teachings.

Back in the 1970s,  almost no one considered people with homosexual attraction as a distinctive demographic group (like race or gender) who were the victims of discrimination.  The main legal goal of gay activists then was to eliminate criminal penalties against homosexual acts, as a first step toward their goal of greater public acceptance.

Even though criminal laws against homosexual acts were seldom enforced, the Supreme Court considered those laws constitutional as recently as 2003.  In the early 1970s, the public and most lawyers, doctors, and therapists saw homosexuality not as normal adult behavior but as a psychological disorder.  As recently as 1982, the mayor of San Francisco vetoed a proposal to grant spousal-type benefits to both straight and gay unmarried couples.  An editorial in a major San Francisco newspaper agreed with the mayor, saying: “The notion that an unmarried relationship is the equivalent of marriage is an attack upon social norms, the destruction of which concerns a great many people in the nation and … in San Francisco.”[xi]

Sounds pretty long ago now, doesn’t it? No country anywhere in the world recognized gay marriage until 2001, eight years ago.  Since then, a few countries and six U.S. states now recognize same-gender marriages. source

Check out this insightful article: The Long Road to Marriage Equality by the NY Times

Or these descriptive images of gay marriage chronology: LA Times, Gay Marriage Chronology 

Check out this shift in recent years:

January, 2000

2000

Today, June 26, 2013

2013

Marriage is Ordained of God, Always been so, Always will be so

I’ll tell my girls marriage is neither a matter of politics, nor is it a matter of social policy.

Marriage is defined by the Lord Himself.

It’s the one institution that is ceremoniously performed by priesthood authority in the temple [and] transcends this world. It is of such profound importance… such a core doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the very purpose of the creation of this earth. One hardly can get past the first page of Genesis without seeing that very clearly. It is not an institution to be tampered with by mankind, and certainly not to be tampered with by those who are doing so simply for their own purposes. There is no such thing in the Lord’s eyes as something called same-gender marriage. Homosexual behavior is and will always remain before the Lord an abominable sin. Calling it something else by virtue of some political definition does not change that reality. source

Don’t Give Up on Anyone

God doesn’t shun someone who is gay, and neither should we.

I don’t believe being gay is a permanent condition, and something you can’t change.

This false assumption is linked to the first one: if you’re born gay, there is no need to change; and since you have a permanent condition, you can’t change anyway.  Evidence that people have indeed changed threatens the political agenda of the activists, because actual change disproves their claim that homosexuality is a fixed condition that deserves the same legal protections as those fixed conditions like race and gender.  So they don’t want you, or anyone else, to change, or even to believe that change is possible.

But as President Packer said, “The angels of the devil convince some that they are born to a life from which they cannot change and are compelled to live in sin.  The most wicked of lies is that they cannot change and repent and that they will not be forgiven.”[xxii]  If you believe no change is possible, you have only two options, neither of which is acceptable to a believing Latter-day Saint — you must either give in or give up.  Thankfully, you have other options. source

It Has an Effect on Everyone

What of those who might say, “Okay. Latter-day Saints are entitled to believe whatever they like. If you don’t believe in same-gender marriages, then it’s fine for you. But why try to regulate the behavior of other people who have nothing to do with your faith? Why not just say, ‘We don’t agree with it doctrinally for our own people’ and leave it at that?”

I have to teach my girls that a redefinition of the marriage institution redefines it for everyone — not just those who are seeking to have a  same gender marriage.

But it has a profound effect in a very secular way on everybody else. What happens in somebody’s house down the street does in very deed have an effect on what happens in my house and how it’s treated.

I will have to deal with this issue in MY house. With my peers, friends, coworkers or loved ones.

To suggest that in the face of these millennia of history and the revelations of God and the whole human pattern they have the right to redefine the whole institution for everyone is an extreme reality.

Be Educated, Keep Learning & Be Respectful

To my girls, decide for yourself.

Use your resources. Your friends, your brain, your hands, the Internet…but most of all use your personal line with God.

He will guide your path as you come to understand same-gender attraction.

For more info:

mormonsandgays.org

Supreme Court Blog

Same Gender Attraction

Candid Interview with Church Leaders

Detailed analysis by Burce Hafen

Church’s response to Supreme Court Marriage Rulings

Jill_Taylor_Words_Blog

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9 responses to “DOMA

  1. This is very interesting. I like to read different opinions on the topic
    As a French woman, this topic has recently been discussed a lot here and a change has been made in May : same gender marriage are now legal, even though many people disagreed and protested in the streets (many religious groups – mostly catholics).
    Concerning adoption, I do not think that we are there yet : notably due to the fact that adoption is very hard even for heterosexual couples.
    To understand why this law has not been passed earlier : I believe this is namely due to the catholic roots of the country. However I would not say that the country is irreligious (still 1/2 of the population is catholic ) but sceptic – religion is pretty taboo here and not often addressed.

    • Thank you for your reply and your insightful response! It is interesting to see the issue world-wide. Thanks for clarifying the background to France’s stance and appreciate your time and comment. I agree, adoption is hard for all parties involved. It will be interesting to see how it is managed over time. Sceptic is a better choice in words. I appreciate your comments and thanks again for reading! –Jill

  2. Jill, I just saw your blog from Amy Weston’s and apparently it was just in time because I have been thinking a lot and talking to a few other moms about how to teach my children about homosexuality.
    I am so impressed with the clarity and courage that you had while writing this. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and I think the format you chose with bullet points, your comments, and then citing sources really treated a multifaceted issue very well. Do you mind if I pass this along to some of the other mom’s in my ward?

    Thank you again, I hope you don’t mind that I read this. I’m Jill (used to be Shepard) by the way from Bass Lake ward back in High School.

    Sincerely,
    Jill

    • Jill!! It’s been so long!! Wow, how fun to think back on those days in high school!

      Of course you can share it. Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

      It’s a sensitive topic that I care deeply about! Hope it helps!

  3. Well Jill your subject on homosexuality was worded so well. I think it was very courageous of you, it was all the truth and no one really can dispute it. We all should have the courage to speak up about things that are against God’s laws, our Heavenly Father made laws simple as that. You are an incredible mum you seem very much like my daughters. I am from the Coomera Stake, Queensland, Australia. We are coming across members choosing to be gay in the church and it is so sad especially when they act upon it. Thanks for this article I have been enjoying reading your blog and will continue reading as I haven’t finished reading it all.

    Janet

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