Saturday, February 14, 2009

Politics Corrections

Master FOB responded to my post about Prop 8. I filter my responses, but allowed his for 2 reasons. One, I like and respect him. Two, he is right. The Church did indeed spend much time and money to pass Prop 8 in California.

It has been a while since Ben made this comment. He also sent some links. Not all of them worked, but I investigated a lot more anyway. I found a few interesting things. First of all, as the end of days gets closer, moral issues are getting more political, not just societal. And as I said before, the Church does not involved in political issues, per se, but it does get involved in moral issues.

This is a moral issue for the Church. NOT that it is trying to squelch, alienate, combat, or even confront homosexuals. For the Church, it is all about marriage and the family. This is certainly a hot issue and one that can be debated for ages. That is not my intent and I will not allow that here. And there are other LEGAL issues involved here, looking to future conflict and persecutions for the Church.

I think this kind of marks a turning point for the Church in that it is now really getting out there and making a greater effort, even greater financial efforts, to uphold its stance on moral issues. This may be the biggest instance so far, but it will not be the last or the biggest ever. I know things will get worse. And it won't just be homosexual issues.

But the Church did spend a lot of money, make a lot of effort, and ask its members to do what they could to promote a positive vote on Proposition 8 in California. It's true. SO WHAT?!?!?

It does not mean that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not true. It does not mean that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not the true church of God. It does not mean that the Church and/or its members hate homosexuals. Some people do, and some of those people are members of the Church. there are also church members that are racist, or that molest children, or that steal, or that lie. Members of the Church are no more perfect than homosexuals. But, generally, many of them tend to be more closed-minded and ignorant when it comes the issue of sexuality.

Recently, the legislature of the state where I live considered a bill that which, if passed, would mean that our state would not recognize marriages performed in other states or countries for homosexual couples. That means if a gay couple was married, then moved to this state, they would not be considered married here.

This bill was, fortunately, defeated by a good majority. It is very sad to me that this issue has to be a battle. I believe firmly that sanctified marriage is for and between man and woman. But I also love my SSA friends and do not want to alienate or offend them.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The End of a Chapter

A couple weeks ago, Samantha and I had a visit from Maurice (Sam's father and our Stake President.) We talked about how I would soon be released as Bishop. This is actually the second time he and I talked about it. He had already explained to me that there are big changes coming in our stake and that Salt Lake said, since I would be released in just a couple more months anyway, to go ahead and do it sooner with all the other changes.

But there are two big things for me here. First, I do not want to be released. I love my YSA ward. I do not know anyone in my family ward. Three years ago, Maurice came to visit us one night and issued this calling to me. I bawled. I already had fallen in love with this YSA ward. The bishop at that time had been a long time friend whom I loved and respected. And I had already had some interaction with this ward. I cried because I knew that I would one day be released. I cannot believe the time is already here. That totally sucks. (Yes, some bishops say "suck.")

I will try to hang out at the Institute building where the members of our YSA wards meet and hang out. Thanks to them, I have a couple hundred young, beautiful Facebook friends.

The second thing is new callings. Maurice mentioned to me that my family ward Bishop already had a calling for me. That really bummed me out. I don't want to work in our family. (Yeah, bad attitude, not exactly the "I'll go where you want to go" type of thing.) He told me this the first time when he said I would be released soon. But this night when he came to talk to Sam and me, he mentioned he had another calling, for both of us. I guess I shouldn't say too much about it or exactly what it is. But i will say that we will get to work together, work with various church leaders, and work with the SSA issue in the church. I AM TOTALLY PSYCHED!!! This could be big. I think we are the first ones in the church with such a responsibility. Hopefully, we will help a lot of people, dispose of a lot of ignorance, and educate a lot of members. More later ...

I guess when one chapter ends, sometimes another one begins.

Modern Gay Politics: Part 2

I apologize for the delay of this post. Actually, I was going to write about something else, but noticed I never finished my thoughts on this topic. So here it is ...

There are some ideas out there that should be dispelled. 1. The Church does NOT get involved in politics. It does not say what political candidates should be supported and who should not. However, it does take a strong stance on some political, or rather SOCIAL issues, such as gambling, abortion, and gay marriage. It is the nature of the Church to influense others, and even push their beliefs on others. We call that missionary work. We want everyone to believe as we do and we want our society to reflect our beliefs.

2. The Church did NOT finance any campaigning or efforts to promote Prop 8 or oppose gay marriage. The Church also does not tell members to spend their money on this. Being a Bishop, I receive all correspondence that the First Presidency sends out when they want to communicate to the members about issues. They ask that their letters be read from the pulpit, which simply state the church's position regarding the issues.

I lived in California when the state was considering starting a lottery. The letter out stating that lotteries are a form of gambling and the Church/Gospel is strictly opposed to gambling. That's basically about it. Sometimes members take it upon themselves to finance certain efforts to promote or oppose certain points of view. The efforts of those members should not be confused with those of the Church. I have heard people say that the CHURCH financed advertising and other efforts to promote Prop 8 and oppose gay marriage. It did not. It did not finance any such efforts, nor did it tell the members to spend their money to do so.

3. I agree that most members of the church are still pretty ignorant and do not understand anything about SSA. And I believe that a lot of their support for Prop 8 was done out of ignorance and misunderstanding. I think that the issue blew up to look like many people showing their outward hatred of gays. I think that was wrong.

4. If given the chance, I would vote to outlaw tobacco, alcohol, stores being open on Sunday, etc. And yet, I love my smoking relatives, my alcoholic friends, my sabbath-breaking co-workers, and I love my gay friends. I kind of wish Prop 8 never happened.