Before I taint you with my opinion on the issue, please click HERE to go read Elder Oaks talk in its entirety. I guess I would have ignored it completely as I did the homophobic rant of Elder Bruce C Hafen nearly four weeks ago but there seems to be a FoxNews type of push (repeat something frequently enough and the masses will take it as truth) by the LDS hierarchy to solidify their position among their doubting flocks on how to justify their archaic "separate but equal" position targeted at yet another "less valiant" categorization of people.
Let me start off by saying that I really don't think I need to say anything about it (but I will). It speaks volumes by itself. Seeing as how the official position of the LDS Church is political neutrality, Elder Oaks must have been reading from some of those politically neutral books layering the shelves of the Church-owned Deseret Book stores by the most fair and balanced man on the planet, Glenn Beck. Elder Oaks utilizes Brother Beck's argument tactics to a tee.
I realize that disagreeing with Elder Oaks is sure-fire apostasy because it was, of course, Elder Oaks who counseled against criticizing Church leaders and even went so far as to say that "It does not matter that the criticism is true" (Ensign, Feb 1987, 68). Mormon dogma is such that once a leader joins the Quorum of the Twelve or The First Presidency, the herd will generally accept their words as infallible revelation from God's mouth.
Oaks begins under the premise that religious freedom is under attack and targets two main enemies as his oppressors. Gays, atheists...wow, wonderfully predictable. Not to mention that everything he states as a fear of what COULD happen to religious people by liberal gay legislation is exactly what religious people embrace as inspired laws which are currently discriminating AGAINST gay and lesbian citizens. The hypocrisy is astounding...
Another thing, I know I've already blogged on this before but Elder Oaks has brought it up yet again. Have you ever known people that couldn't live without drama and/or crisis in their lives? Well, modern Mormons have a persecution complex. Joseph Smith once said, "I should be like a fish out of water, if I were out of persecutions." I think modern Mormons seek out opportunities to be seen as a persecuted group. It lets them feel connected to their pioneer stories of yesteryear.
And so it is, even in the most obvious of situations, as Mormons again stand so clearly in the wrong, on yet another civil rights issue, we find Elder Oaks trying to convince the flock to see themselves as the oppressed and persecuted. Even funnier, knowing the historical treatment to blacks by the LDS organization, do we find Elder Oaks trying to strike comparisons of current Mormon suffering to "the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South."
The bulk of my frustration is a personal and continuing disappointment in the faith I grew up with. I've decided against going into a point by point dissection of why I disagree with Elder Oaks. Those who know me also know where I stand. To scrutinize his address seems a pointless endeavor, as I have learned from recent Facebook discussions. Most people's minds are already made up on the issues and have no intention of even entertaining new ideas. There are those who are incapable of recognizing any merit in my statements simply because they would refuse to see the content of my dissent and focus rather on my apostate actions in disagreeing with an apostle.
My greater disappointment is that nearly every time I take two steps closer to finding a way to co-exist as an active member and faithful dissident (to steal the name of one of my favorite semi-retired blogs), something like this happens to push me further away. I guess I've been holding to the Christian hope that things will reach resolution instead of reaffirming my doubts and fears about how to maintain good standing in the Church.
"The guarantee of the free exercise of religion..." is how Elder Oaks defines religious freedom. He makes the point frequently that the right to belief has been generally protected but that the right to exercise one's belief is what is being attacked.
I ask again for anyone to answer:
1. Can you give me an example of liberal and/or atheistic legislation that has impeded the conservative religious citizen's ability to exercise their religion?
2. How does allowing two consenting tax-paying citizens to get married affect your ability to exercise your religion?