Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Great Debate


This is going to be harsh. Just warning you. I’m about to get all political and controversial up in here. But it’s my blog and this is something that has been bothering me for a while now and I want to share my opinion. I realize I may offend some people or infuriate people but I’ve been offended and infuriated myself about it so whatev.

Anyway….gay marriage. Yikes. A hot topic for sure, especially these days.

Here is what I believe in a nutshell: Marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. Acting on homosexual feelings is wrong (as is acting on heterosexual feelings before marriage).

I have an unwavering testimony of the gospel and I 100% support my church and their stance on this topic. I do not pick and choose the things about my religion that I want to support. I believe it’s all or nothing. Obviously I have a lot of faults and things to work on, but I fully support my church and every single thing that my leaders (speaking on behalf of God) stand for. This is not to assume that all leaders are perfect and I realize that there are many in the church who make mistakes. That is not what I’m talking about here. You cannot be a faithful member of this church and choose which parts you like and which parts you don’t. It doesn’t work that way. We are a church that requires commitment and dedication and we believe that the Lord will bless us immensely for following Him and dedicating ourselves to His work.

Now here is the kicker: I think that members of the church who do not support the church’s stance on gay marriage should not be able to hold a temple recommend. During the recommend interview, we are explicitly asked if we support and sustain the leaders of our church. Luckily it is not my decision to make that judgment and the church leaders and the Lord will make the ultimate decision, not me. But the fact that people are actively going against the church is preposterous and outrageous and it breaks my heart. It shocks me to my core that these same people continue to go to church, bear their testimony, etc., but then they publicly support gay marriage and blatantly state that the church is wrong! That is total and complete hypocrisy.

My very dearest and best friend throughout my entire childhood is gay. He was basically family and we spent every waking moment together. We had so much fun growing up and we stayed close throughout high school as well. I never doubted that something was different about him. I always knew he was different but didn’t understand how until later in high school. I was absolutely not surprised when he told me he was gay. He was still the same sweetheart boy that I knew and grew up with. He wasn’t any different than he had always been and he is still a wonderful person that I love being around. I still see him whenever I can and although he knows exactly where I stand, he also knows that I love him and care about him.

Many gay people that I have met and interacted with are great and some are so flamboyant and hysterical and I absolutely love it. I still disagree with their lifestyle but I have nothing against them and enjoying their company. It’s no different than being friends with people who drink, sleep around or don’t believe in God. I can still enjoy their company and respect our differences. I love that people are different and we can all learn from each other. I don’t want to live a life where everyone is exactly like me because how boring is that? And how would I really appreciate the things that I believe are important? They would be meaningless if everyone agreed with me right? So I appreciate the differences in the world and it’s something I have always wanted to experience.

When I lived in Holland, I became much more open to a lot of things. I was forced to question things that I had never questioned before-why don’t I drink or have sex or do drugs? Why do I go to church every week and read my scriptures? What do I think about abortion and homosexuality? Why do I think that? Holland is an extremely open minded place. The Netherlands (aka Holland) was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage. They have also legalized prostitution and soft drugs (like marijuana). It all sounds so awful and crazy but that place was amazing. It was beautiful and the people were wonderful and kind and welcoming to everyone. I loved my time there and it is something I will forever hold dear. I talked to people who had drastically different ideas and beliefs than me and we shared our opinions over coffee (hot chocolate for me) almost every day! That experience changed me for the better but also cemented in me the truths and values that I have. I don’t think I would feel as strongly as I do if I hadn’t spent time living in the Netherlands and traveling around Europe.

I hope that in writing this, people will have no doubt where I stand and what I believe. I also hope they know that even if I disagree with them on this, I don’t hate or dislike them. Not at all! I definitely have lost a lot of respect for the “faithful” members of the church who are blatantly and purposefully going against what the church teaches. With that said, I am not going to treat people differently just because I feel that way. If you know me at all, you know I love a good discussion and I don’t get upset or offended easily, but I also don’t back down and don’t hesitate to say exactly what I think. I just wish the rest of the country could agree to disagree instead of attacking and harassing the other side. It is unfortunate that it is happening. And as a side note, I don't understand how this managed to be at the forefront of the political scene. What about the state of the economy? Our disgusting national debt? The fact that Congress has not passed a budget since 2009? What about the housing and job markets? And gay marriage has managed to be the only thing people are talking about. Tragic.

But I feel a lot better getting that off my chest. I feel like the other side of the debate gets so much publicity and they make those of us who disagree with them out to be hateful and backwards. It doesn’t make sense to me how they cannot understand that I feel just as strongly as they do about this issue. We simply disagree and that will not change. I am not trying to hurt anyone or cause pain, but my feelings will never change. I believe God has spoken on this issue and I have no questions or doubts in my mind about it. Now I can rest easy knowing that at least those who read this know exactly where I stand.