Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tolerance - A Mormon characteristic?

I read an interesting post at a blog I follow entitled Dissenting in Part regarding the issue of Mormon tolerance and what it means. I was going to add my comments but it got lengthy, so rather than post an essay there, I will just add it here.

Mormons are tolerant in their own minds and according to their definition. Somehow Mormons lump tolerance and acceptance into the same definition. In other words, I know plenty of Christians that consider homosexuality a sin and are not accepting of the practice yet are tolerant of this group of citizens and their Constitutional rights to equality in treatment. Tolerance is not equivalent to condoning.

This all trails back to the inability of the majority of Mormons (and evangelical Christians) to separate their religious convictions with civil policies. How do you convince someone who believes that when Christ returns religious law will become civil law that in the mean time we have a wide variety of religions and beliefs and one cannot dominate at the expense, or discrimination, of all the others? Regardless of how sure you are that your particular brand of religion is the one true path that you believe in with every fiber of your being...

Tolerance is allowing obnoxious 19-20+ year old kids to canvas neighborhoods across America knocking doors to spread their religious convictions. Tolerance is allowing non-profit religious groups to own for-profit companies. Tolerance is having government officials meet with Church leaders to discuss upcoming legislation. Tolerance is freedom of religion but it is also freedom from religion.

Mormons are also pretty adamantly against smoking and drinking but I don't see tens of millions of dollars being pumped into legislative policies seeking to prohibit the sale and use of those vices. Tolerance. Mormons are against abortion as birth control and highly in favor of family yet there was no memo encouraging funding and support of parental notification being required for underage females 48 hours prior to having an abortion in California Prop 4. Tolerance.

I would echo that Christ also taught us to stand up against ridiculous laws imposed by those who were allegedly in positions of moral superiority. Regarding an issue of sexual fornication, which the True Believing Mormon will say is the exact issue at hand in Prop 8, Jesus instructed: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..."

I will grant you that Jesus in no way "condoned" fornication (hetero or homo) but what He did do in issuing that damning challenge is to turn away those that would attempt to execute punishment of a religious code or moral infraction via societal civil legislation.

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” - John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th U.S. President


Anonymous said...


Glad to see you are a blogger. I love reading other people's point of views.

Warning: This is long!
I am going to leave this annonymous. Just to protect my sister's privacy. Since this is a public forum.

My Oldest sister is gay. She only will say, "Yes" if you ask her. She is the oldest of six kids. Let's call her, "Jane". Let's call my uncle, "Ty" just so I can give you the full picture.

Before prop 8 came along, Jane would be the first to tell anyone of her "community" that her family is LDS and they love her. She had a partner for eight years and her partner went to Family Picnics, Disneyland, etc. with tour whole family. We eached loved Jane's partner. Although, we did not believe that this was the way our Father in Heaven would want Jane to live, we did not feel that he would want us to abbandon her and treat her unlovingly. We love her and that would not have crossed our minds to do so.
Well, her partner left her. It was hard on Jane. We rallied around her. Listened to her sorrows until the wee hours of the early mornings sometimes. It was so hard to not be able to comfort her. It was so hard, the pain of not being able to help her not hurt was litterally painful.
Why do I say all this? Well, here is what happened just five months later. My Uncle Ty who lives in the same area of Jane was asked to be over the Protect Marriage Act, for his LDS region. My Uncle had felt this call was coming and in the few months before, decided to know what rights gay couples have ( I don't feel like calling them a gay couple is a bad thing. My sis taught me that term. So if it offends anyone. I apologize, but that is what I was taught by my Gay sister. Ty, is not a democrat or republican. Infact most of us are not either way. He wanted to make sure that if Jane ever did want to have a life partner that she would have the same legal rights. What he found was; Yes, they do. Now Jane is against marriage because of our parents. But as soon as Ty took on this Protect the Marriage Act. Jane went off on all of us. I thought, " Wait. We have been here for you 24/7. You know you come from a LDS family. You accept our path that we choose to walk. We are accepting your path that you are choosing to walk. What changed?" All of sudden Jane was picketing the Temple in LA. The same temple that my grandpa took his pretty wife & two kids to get sealed to him. Because this was his path that he chose to walk. She won't speak to my Uncle, she constantly puts down the church and I ask why?

Marriage IS between a Man & a Woman. I cannot say it is not, because I know with all my heart that this IS how it is suppose to be. A child needs a Mother. A child needs a father. (I should know.) Woman were designed to let their husband enter inside of them and then end result (aside from a good time.) a child. Someone who will need both parents. It sickens me to see a spouse walk away from a marriage, just because "they " are not happy. That IS SELFISH!!
Melissa Ethredge's partner said it best. and I quote from a Oprah interview "It would have been better to call it something else. Marriage is between a Man & Woman and we have something else. Why could we just not come up with a different name." AMEN SISTER!! Would you call a DOVE and EAGLE? No! They are different. Their flight in life is different, their meaning to us is different. Here is my problem. Homosexuals say their is nothing wrong with being different. So, I say be Different. Fine, walk your path. Love. Love is wonderful. It is a gift.
But I will not hold back when, as a Mormon I believe my Father in Heaven is Married and holds it so sacred, that we do not speak of a Heavenly Mother. Why? Because now that I am married, I know without a doubt that a man who loves his wife with do anything to protect her & her feelings. When my heart is broken, It pains my husband. He is a protector. So is our Heavenly Father. Marriage is sacred. I believe it has been around for eternities. What a blessing!
I have found out that it is not just hard to stand up in all times, and in all places for what I KNOW is true, but it is harder to do this with someone you love so very much. Jane is full of bitterness. I am sad for her. She has chosen to not be part of our lives. I miss her very much. Does she not remember all the times we supported her. Even when we thought it was wrong, we decided, Love is stronger then this. I believe Prop 8 was worth fighting for. We stood up for something, that is honestly more then we can comprehend. We think we know what marriage is, but I think the best is yet to come. It would have been nice for Jane to say, " I don't agree with this and although sister and sister are on opposite sides. I still love you, because you have shown me love and have always given me the benifit of the doubt." Yes, I wish Jane would give us the Benifit of the doubt. Afterall, is that not the greatest Charity? Is that not CHrislike.

And just a PS to anyone wh did not know what when on in those meetings. Because Yes, there were meetings held that were suppose to help both parties come to an agreement. Most Homosexual couples were willing to give it a different name out of respect. (Just like we don't call Easter, Passover) It was the Inbittered individuals, hetero and homo sexual people just wanting a fight.

But isn't that always Satan's way? Using those inbittered souls, he has gotten to, to not fine common ground.

I am proud that however hard it was, and for me personally the cost was high, I stood up for what I knew was right. I made good on the promises that I made as a Young Woman. These same principles gave me direction, helped me know that when I mess up, I am still unconditionally loved.. I made those promises to my Heavenly Father and he always gives so freely, so willingly, so sweetly. Sometimes as a parent, he can not give us what we want. I can't give my children everything they want. They would learn nothing and I would be crippling them in a sense. How thankful I am Heavenly Father did the most unthinkable thing and let his only begotten die, so that we might return to live with Father & Brother again. I am a mother and two years ago we were told our oldest son might have cancer and it is a rapid growing cancer, the chances of life were slim. I was devastated. I could not imagine my life without this amazing young man. I wept, prayed and pleaded for Heaven Father to let me keep my son. I knew he was his son too. But I wanted him here. The thought of watching my son suffer, made me weep uncontrollably. At this time, I gained a greater understanding of what our Father in Heaven did for us. He watched his son suffer, at the hands of his other children. I cannot imagine, how horrific that must have been. But there message is the same, "Go and do not sin no more." TJ, would we be sinning, if we were sitting back and not standing up for what we believe in? Tell me, knowing what you know about the savior, Would you have stood in the back and just watched from the sidelines as they made the savior carry his cross? Knowing you, I highly doubt that. You would have been lifting it for him, expressing your love and told all those who were against him they were wrong. Even if it was your friend, your boss, or your sister. Because Sacred is Sacred. Again, we do not call an Eagle a Dove. Both are beautiful, but both have a different purpose.

Just my thoughts.

T.J. Shelby said...

I had so much that I was going to say in excruciating detail, however, in my new spirit of May happiness I will simply say that I am glad you feel that you are doing what you should be doing.

My points of disagreement (briefly) are as follows:
1. Same sex couples do NOT share the same rights as their traditionally married counterparts. Every state is moving towards offering more and more benefits but their is no uniformity. Federal policy needs to come forth to bring that umbrella policy.
2. While I cannot speak directly to the relationship and attitudes between your family and your sister, but of those who I know going through this experience, their answer has always touched on the condescending "allowance" of loved ones to their "lifestyle choice" instead of recognizing them as who they were born to be.

Do you believe your sister was born gay or chose to be gay?

That may go some distance to understanding why this is such a big deal for her notwithstanding your allowance/acceptance in the past. She may be seeing your involvement as a direct attack on her. Just as you are saying "How could she do this to you", she is wondering "how you could do this to her".
3. Lastly, whether or not, I would stand by or help Christ carry his cross has ZERO to do with Prop 8 and gay marriage.

Matt Shelby said...

Wow.....what a story. My only questions would be, did your family sit your sister down and explain what exactly you would all be working on? Maybe explain that, YES, it would effect her but that it wasn't a direct attack on her individually? Maybe she would have taken it differently.

My personal stance is that wether your hetero or homo, it affects me none. If you call a homosexual union a "marriage", it affects my marriage none differently than a heterosexual marriage. The people it does affect are the bigots of the world that think their life or their religion is in some way, shape or form going to be changed based on the new found "acceptance" of a "certain class" of human beings. Notice I said human beings. Because that's what they are!

The Bill of Rights gives us the freedom of religion but also grants us the freedom FROM religion. The Constituion says that all men are created equal and granted "unalienable rights". Who are we as a people, a government or even a "Christian" congregation to trample on the rights of those that are different?

It seems to me that the people that have preached and continue to preach forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance and things of this nature are the ones that need to look in a mirror and preach them again. Maybe they won't convince anyone else but themselves this time.

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

Sometimes with secret pride I sigh
To think how tolerant am I;
Then wonder which is really mine;
Tolerance or a rubber spine?