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Thursday, April 4, 2013


I know that this post isn't really the kind of thing I usually write about, but the thoughts in my mind and heart have been so insistent lately and I just wanted to get them down on paper, so to speak.

On Gay Marriage

By Kristen Walton

For weeks, months, and years, I have been searching my heart about the issue of gay marriage. I have finally formulated my opinion on this hot topic and I feel ready to share it with anyone who is interested. Please take the time to read this note in its entirety.

First of all, I do not support gay marriage. I have my reasons for that. They are personal. T...hey are deep-rooted. And, yes, they are based in church doctrine. That being said, I am not naïve enough to suppose that gay marriage will not become legal in the coming years. I think that it will. And soon.

I believe that many gay people are good, loyal, loving, compassionate people, just like many Christians, (but not all) are good, loyal, loving, compassionate people. I believe that they, as I am, are entitled to their agency, their own opinions, and their own convictions.

I believe that as a Christian, a Mormon, it is not my job or calling in life to judge or condemn others based on their beliefs. If gay marriage is legalized, or if it isn’t, my only job on Earth is to love others as Christ would love them. And I’m pretty sure that Christ wasn’t a Bible-thumping, house-burning, propaganda-posting kind of guy. I’m pretty sure that He was the kind of gentle man who reminded us to look within ourselves for the beams in our own eyes.

The way I see it, it’s time to stop seeing the ways in which we differ, and time to look for commonalities. I have a good friend who is covered with tattoos and piercings, physical attributes which I would never choose for my own body. But she is my friend, because we have things in common. I am grateful for her friendship. I am enriched by the stories of her life and the adversity she has overcome.

My church does teach that only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. And I believe that. But the Church of Latter Day Saints teaches that doctrine gently. It has never, never taught its members to hate, condemn, or judge those who choose a different set of beliefs, no matter what. In fact, the church teaches:

“I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Why We Do What We Do”, General Conference, October 1999).

President Dieter F. Uchdorf also taught:

“Be kind and be glad that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.”

As a member of the LDS faith, I have been taught to be even as Paul: loving, joyful, peaceful, longsuffering, gentle, good, faithful, meek, [and] temperate, (Galatians 5).

If you have met a member of the LDS church who you have felt to be hateful towards gays, please rest assured that they are not living in the way they have been encouraged to live by church leaders.

It troubles me greatly to see two things happening: 1) That I am increasingly discouraged to share my own opinion on gay marriage and 2) that society, as a whole, is unable to discuss matters such as gay marriage with respect and decency. I recently was reading about Joseph Smith’s experiences when he was searching for a church to join in the early 1800’s. He wrote:

“All their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions” (Joseph Smith History, 1:6).

I’m ok with someone else having a different opinion from my own. I’m not personally threatened by that because I do have my own convictions. I try to live what I believe and I allow others the privilege of living what they believe. In fact, our church teaches that men ought to be allowed to worship according to “the dictates of our own conscience” I teach my children what I believe and they teach their children what they believe. (Article of Faith 11). Frankly, it’s not my business what others do in their own bedrooms.

As for all the “hellfire and damnation” talk that is aimed at homosexuals, that’s not really any of my business either. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a one-on-one, case-by-case application. The plan of salvation is big. It is perfect. It is based in and centered around the precept of love and created by the most loving Being there is. Our Heavenly Father and His Son look on the heart. They know the whole story. They understand desires, intentions, heartaches, aspirations, and disappointments. They desire to bless and reward to the fullest extent possible. I do not see the whole picture. I cannot. They can. There is no absolute mathematical equation leading to heaven. There are simply too many variables. It is not my call to judge others on issues which I do not understand.

Some attribute my beliefs to “blind faith”. I disagree. I have spent my entire life experimenting with my faith. I have paid tithing and have been blessed for it. I have kept the Word of Wisdom and have been blessed for it. I have prayed and my prayers have been answered. I have tried and tried, sometimes quite imperfectly to follow the counsels of the Lord and I have been blessed time and time again. It’s not blind faith. It’s irrefutable and undeniable evidence.

So for me, it comes down to this. Do I believe in gay marriage? No. Do I support it? No. Do I try to love and respect all men, regardless of their personal convictions? Absolutely. Do I hope to be allowed my own beliefs? Yes, please. And in the mean time, I will have gay neighbors, coworkers, and friends. And I hope to be able to associate with them. I hope that I will look for the similarities we share, not for the ways in which we differ. I will teach my children that the fire hose of bigotry has no place in society. I will teach my children the fading art of common decency.


Anonymous said...

Well said! Thank you