Monday, October 6, 2014

The Supreme Court's Decision

P.S. (Prescript!) Before we begin, please don't hate me or be rude to me for what I've written. I know the saying haters gonna hate is applicable to so many life situations, and I shouldn't be phased by what other people think or say about me, but you must know that it took a huge amount of courage and stamina to write this blog post. Please let that thought settle into the empathetic area of your brain for a minute. Thanks.

By now, I'm sure you've all heard about the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the cases of five states that desired to uphold their same-sex marriage bans. In case you haven't heard this fascinating news, here are a couple of articles about it:
CNN: High court refuses to rule -- and gives tacit victory -- on same-sex marriage
Deseret News: Same-sex marriage now legal in Utah

Here is Utah's press conference:

Also, here is the official statement from Governor Gary Herbert's website,
I encourage all Utahns, regardless of their personal beliefs on this issue, to treat each other with respect.
– Gary R. Herbert 
Each state agency has been advised to begin today to recognize all legally performed same-sex marriages.
– Gary R. Herbert
It's no secret that I'm a supporter of traditional marriage. That said, before I continue, I must clarify that I hold no ill-will, bad feelings, prejudices, etc. to anyone in the LGBT community. I truly care about everyone! (Well, obviously, to the point that one person can care about another. There are only so many hours in a day to serve and very limited dollars in my bank account to share.) Thus, today's SCOTUS decision does affect my heart a little bit, just as I know it affects the hearts of everyone—to some degree, or another.

Please understand, I've thoroughly researched the topics of same-sex attraction and same-sex marriage: I've read articles galore and watched/listened to countless interviews of people sharing their life stories. I've also had a couple of deep, meaningful, and insightful conversations with those who are gay.

I know people do not choose the feelings of same-sex attraction. I've seen many same-sex-attracted individuals who are utterly happy with the way they are, others who wish they could change their feelings, and still others who choose not to act on their same-sex attractions. I feel badly for those who struggle.

Again, what I hope people absolutely know about me is that just because I don't support same-sex marriage, that doesn't mean I don't like the people of the LGBT community. It just means I don't agree with their lifestyle. Just like I'm sure there are many people who don't agree with my lifestyle: married to a man; a stay-at-home mother of three children; an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. *Yes, I know the comparison isn't exactly the same, but it's how I feel, and I'm allowed to have my feelings. :)

What I wish I could convey, is that my feelings of non-support for SSM have nothing to do with taking away rights or love. It's actually the complete opposite! What I've come to absolutely know is that the marital relationship between a man and a woman is the most sacred and potentially heavenly relationship a person can ever have. Potential, being the key word here—as a wonderful traditional marriage totally depends on our choices. (I'll be writing about this topic another day!)

As I've said before, I thoroughly believe that men and women are made for each other. :) Besides, it's pretty hard to disagree with how babies are conceived and created—even if people don't believe in what we're taught in the Holy Bible and other books of scripture (that marriage is between one man and one woman).

In regard to how all of us exist, God's rule in this world is such that babies can only be created through the physical joining of a woman and a man. Although, science has thrown that idea on its head with all of our medical advancements. I'm talking about the natural way babies were originally made. Modern science aside, our planet's population would literally cease to exist if men and women were to stop falling in love, getting married, and raising families together. And yes, I know that there are many hetero couples who never have the opportunity of conceiving/raising a child and witnessing their posterity grow over the years.

But as we are told in Psalms 127:3, "...children are an heritage to the lord..." If we pause and ponder that scripture for a minute, it's quite astounding to think of what that really means. We've also been told in Moses 1:39, "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Think about that! The Lord's greatest work and glory is to raise men and women up to His celestial status!

If we think about those two scriptures together, we see that our literal inheritance from our Heavenly Father (God) is our child(ren)!! He has entrusted us with the ultimate responsibility to conceive, create (in a mother's womb), and raise His cherished child(ren)—not only to adulthood, but into eternity! When a husband and wife become parents, i.e., co-creators with God, they intimately assist our Heavenly Father in His most important work, simultaneously sharing in His glory!

Sorry for all the exclamation points and large font. Can you tell I'm excited about marriage between a man and a woman?! In my mind, the most satisfying endeavor is that of a mother and a father bringing their children into the world and helping them achieve their greatest potential: eternal life! I am so passionate about it! Thus, it's hard for me when I see wonderful souls missing out on that heavenly gift of traditional marriage and creating/raising precious children together.

No, my traditional-marriage stance is most certainly not about restrictions or discrimination. Rather, my feelings have everything to do with inclusion and expansion of our Heavenly Father's supreme gifts that He wants to bestow on every single one of His glorious children! Even though I see now that marriage bans didn't discourage those who were vying for SSM—not in the least! People are going to do what they want to do, regardless of potential generational and eternal benefits that could come to them through traditional marriage.

That said, I still have a hard time when thinking of all of the children who are missing out on having both a mother and a father because of SSM. Yet, I totally know (I don't want any readers getting cranky on me!) that that's not the only argument in SSM cases. I know there are children everywhere who have nothing to do with SSM, yet they are also missing out on vital/beautiful relationships with either their mothers or fathers. Regardless of the cause, those parentless children's situations break my heart whenever I think of them. :'(

*If you'd like to read more about my feelings on parenting, check out my previous posts:
*Reader beware: I'm opinionated in those posts! (Okay, when am I not opinionated?! Ha ha. Here's my post about that too: Opinions.) Again, it's just because I'm so passionate about parents taking good care of their children! :)

In light of this Supreme Court decision, I must point out that Elder Dallin H. Oaks was so right. You see, on Saturday afternoon's General Conference session for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Elder Oaks gave a groundbreaking (in my mind) talk, Loving Others and Living with Differences. To explore his marvelous words, please click the previous link. I wholeheartedly believe Elder Oaks was inspired by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what to speak about. I think Elder Oaks was preparing The Church's membership on Saturday, October 4th, for what the Supreme Court's decision would be a mere two days later on Monday, October 6th.

Seriously, based on the way things in the government run, no one could have predicted this outcome! And in many media interviews I watched/listened to, people were genuinely surprised at the Supreme Court's decision. But a prophet of God could foresee what was coming! Elder Oaks was most definitely the messenger to his brothers and sisters of how to handle today's news. Again, I'm guessing some readers think my views are extreme, but it's how I feel! :)
Elder Oaks' entire talk was fabulous—and by no means was it entirely focused on the SSM issue—there are so many gems of jewels in his talk! Below is the portion that totally jumped out at me when I first heard it (beginning at 8:33, emphasis added). FYI, I listened to it again today and wrote down his exact words!
"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.' 
"When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously, and practice civility with our adversaries. In any event, we should be persons of goodwill toward all. Rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on: race; ethnicity; religious belief or non-belief; and differences in sexual orientation."
Yes, as soon as he said those words, I instantly thought of the SSM issue waiting at the Supreme Court's door. And based on what I read online late last night, many other people (on both sides of the issue) in the social media world came to the very same conclusion.

*I forgot to mention that when the SSM issue first came about, one of my biggest concerns was for the way my church might be persecuted for not allowing SSM in our temples or church buildings. I was very worried that same-sex couples would sue The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and that the US government would somehow punish The Church's members for holding true to our beliefs. I sincerely hope people will not go to those extremes, for The Church has already suffered enough persecution in the 184 years since it was organized.

Since 9:00 a.m. this morning, I've been researching the SSM news and writing this blog post—except for when I picked up my kids from school and we ate pumpkin pie together! Thus, I'm happy to report that late this afternoon, The Church's Newsroom finally issued their statement in response to the Supreme Court's decision (it was hard for me to wait!):

Church Responds to Supreme Court Announcement
Court Chooses Not to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases
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.
In the end, I honestly feel peace in the way this has been resolved—even though I know that's not the consensus between many conservative folks. And I must clarify that my heart was softened toward this issue over this past week, so it made today's announcement a little bit easier for me to digest. While I don't agree with SSM, the fact is, it's legal in my state. Wow, I'll have to say that a few more times before I get used to it!

I support the United States' legal system, even if I don't agree with the outcome of every legal action. I sincerely hope and pray that all of America's citizens will choose to get along with each other because I know we can do it! I want everyone to stop bickering and treat each other with respect and kindness. :)

Whew! Today wore me out! Yet I'm really glad I documented my feelings, as this is an important day in our history. Off to Family Home Evening I go!

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