Sunday, March 8, 2015

Echo chamber

Today during Ward Council we learned a ward member recently went inactive in part because they disagree with the church's stance on gay marriage. One council member pointed out that the Lord's standards are the same for homosexuals as for everyone else: sex is permitted only between a man and a woman properly married. If you're not married, no sex whether you are homosexual or heterosexual.

Another person explained how they tried to "help" this person by sending an email that explains that while we love people who expeience "same-sex attraction" the Lord's standards of chastity will never change and homosexuality is considered wrong in God's eyes. It is contrary to the plan of happiness that Heavenly Father has prepared for us. (The "helping" not surprisingly has not translated in increased activity.)

Then a third person chimed in and repeated essentially the same arguments as the first two, though added that sometimes people say they have doubt's because they don't want to give up their sins. I see this now for the echo chamber that it is.

As I reflect on this experience I sorrow because of my own personal lack of spine. If I could get a redo, I hope I would say something like, "If someone expresses a doubt about a particular doctrine, perhaps the best way to persuade them to stay with the church isn't to keep reiterating the doctrine they disagree with. This only reinforces the fact that we think they are wrong. Perhaps instead we should just say, 'There are things I don't agree with, doctrines I don't understand. Keep coming to church to invite the Lord into your life. Keep taking the sacrament to renew the commitments you made at baptism. That's all God asks. Feel free to disagree with points of doctrine if you believe strongly about an issue.'"

The problem is really that last bit. How can you disagree with a doctrine the Church is SO vocal about and stay active? If you made your opinion known vocally every time gay marriage came up in church, you would quickly be labeled the ward apostate.

1 comment:

  1. How can you stay active while disagreeing with Church doctrine? It is very, very difficult. The average ward is not a welcoming place for anyone who might have an unorthodox viewpoint, so hard to blame people for leaving if they feel their views no longer make them welcome.

    Next time someone claims the standards are the same for both gay and straight, I hope you will have the courage to point out to them the fundamental differences. A straight person always has the hope and chance that they will find someone they can love in every sense of that word - including physically - and marry them to express that love in a Church sanctioned way. Even if a straight person happens to choose the wrong person to marry, and then divorces and marries again when they find the right person, their standing in the Church is is not in any danger as long as there is no adultery involved. A straight LDS member could even marry a non member and still remain a member in good standing. Straight members have so many options that gay members do not.

    Gay people may never marry someone who is the same sex, even if they deeply love them and are committed to them, without putting their membership in danger. They must either be celibate and alone their whole lives, or enter into a mixed orientation marriage (which, to be honest, is not a realistic option for many.)

    To pretend that these two situations are exactly the same is quite frankly insulting and shows a shocking lack of empathy about what gay members face.