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Everything posted by smac97

  1. That's quite a stretch from this example. No one is being excluded for being white or heteronormative. Nobody is being excluded from BYU for "being" gay. Do you agree? Thanks, -Smac
  2. This is an unserious question. Surely you see that. Yes. Hence the need to differentiate doctrine from personal opinion. Hence God telling us that "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38). If we were speaking of some speculative or peripheral or obscure point of doctrine, or a topic about which we lack much in the way of revealed knowledge, I think you would have a stronger point. But the Law of Chastity is really well-established doctrine. I don't think we can disregard its prohibition against adultery / fornication / homosexual behavior. If we can, then pretty much every doctrine is up for grabs, can be tossed out at a whim. Ephesians 4 comes to mind: And this counsel from Elder Andersen: The Law of Chastity is not difficult to find. It's not tucked away in an 1856 talk by Brigham Young to the members of the Church in Tooele. Your remarks evince a strong sense of "wishful thinking." Why? "Before now?" Has something changed? I'd like to see data on this. However, this doesn't change anything from a Restored Gospel perspective. Thanks, -Smac
  3. That only works if we massively decontextualize the issue. If we play dumb. If we pretend to be ignorant of the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity. So . . . it doesn't work. Thanks, -Smac
  4. Yes, I think they do. I think the motives are far different, though. Thanks, -Smac
  5. Here: Yep. 'Cuz nothing hews closer to the academic and scientific study of geophysics/geology than . . . a religious school requiring its students to adhere to a code of conduct. Gotta love the tolerance of these "LGBT activists." But wait! It's gets better! So a scientific society claims to encourage and foster "diversity" by . . . punishing a religious institution for having a divergent point of view on a social/moral issue that has nothing to do with the society's scientific discipline. There is no discrimination by BYU. Read on... Yep. This position also applies across the board. There is no discrimination based on sexual orientation. Nobody, regardless of sexual orientation, is allowed to engage in same-sex behavior. Similarly, nobody is allowed to drink, smoke, or do drugs. And so on. She wants minorities to get jobs, so of course it stands to reason that the best way to achieve that is . . . to censor job opportunities. Some BYU professors responded well: Wow. The last two paragaraphs are perhaps the most polite zinger I have ever seen. And the parade of "tolerance" and "diversity" continues... SMH. Thoughts? -Smac
  6. I think you might be right. Alimony, child support, custody, visition, divison of assets, etc. are already quite difficult to address in a one-man-one-woman divorce. Handling such things in a polygamous scenario will, I think be a nightmare. And then there are insurance issues, housing issues, and on and on and on. Thanks, -Smac
  7. As many times as it is brought up, I suppose. How many times do leaders need to encourage us to exercise faith? Serve missions? Perform service for others? Pay tithing? Keep the Word of Wisdom? Avoid pornography? This and other topics are addressed and re-addressed over and over and over. Because they continue to be points on which the members need continuing guidance. Actually, I think there are plenty of members who are in a "wishful thinking" kind of space, where they think that the Church's teachings on this point are merely "policy," or that they can be changed through political-esque pressure tactics. But I think there are quite a few who think they can push the Church into changing its position. Oh, I'm right there with you. The fixation on this issue is annoying. We don't (or shouldn't) need to re-litigate the legitimacy of the Law of Chastity. But the fixation is coming from critics and dissidents, and even from well-intentioned-but-angst-filled members. What "more balanced" measures do you have in mind? Okay. What is it that you think the Church should do that it is not currently doing? Can you point me to your response that includes what you would like to see more of? We're at nearly 400 posts in this thread. Thanks, -Smac
  8. Yes. There is a difference between decriminalization and legalization. The former removes criminal penalties, but but does not mean that polygamous marriages are recognized as legally valid. I think that both will happen. Thanks, -Smac
  9. For the record, I think there is a massive asymmetry in this "cross-fire." The Church, which is to say its leaders, are working very hard at teaching the Law of Chastity while being kind, compassionate, understanding, civil, and so on. Meanwhile, there is all sorts of vitriol, spite, and hatreds being vented against the Church, its leaders, its members, etc. because of the Law of Chastity. I dispute this characterization. I dispute this, too. The counsel we are receiving is substantial and on-point and correct. Why "rather than"? What do you have in mind? Thanks, -Smac
  10. I think reasonable and principled decisions about such things can be made. Parents might not feel comfortable in attending a same-sex wedding, but may afterward welcome the couple to family functions. Parents might welcome their adult child and his/her same-sex partner to visit, but not stay the night in their home. And so on. Yep. But discomfort is not the end of the world. We can make things work. Or setting boundaries that alleviate or mitigate the issue. Thanks, -Smac
  11. It's still better known. Is it? The Short Creek raid happened 66 years ago. The YFZ Ranch raid happened 11 years ago, and received a ton of press coverage. I would have thought the latter would be much more widely known than the former. 66 years ago. I'm not sure Short Creek is really part of the public consciousness. Not many people know about it. I think you are correcton this point. In contrast, the YFZ Ranch raid broke the back of the FLDS Church, or started the process (although the UEP Trust has also had a major impact). The control/influence the FLDS folks exerted over governance and law enforcement in Hilldale and Colorado City has been eliminated or substantially diminished. The FLDS have largely left Hilldale (only 2.9% of the city are FLDS). Texas seized the YFZ Ranch in 2012. Warren Jeffs will spend the rest of his life in prison. 2016 saw 11 FLDS folks indicted for fraud and money laundering. Hard to say what the ripples will be. Thanks, -Smac
  12. This is an issue that keeps getting brought up by people in and out of the Church. Do you think it is incumbent on Pres. Oaks to ignore such an emphatic point of concern/distress? Thanks, -Smac
  13. From the article: Weird that the Trib references the Short Creek raid, which took place in 1953, rather than the YFZ Ranch raid in Texas, which was much more recent (2008). Thanks, -Smac
  14. Here: It seems like the criminal penalties for polygamy have already been removed, at least in a de facto way. I dislike de facto negation of a criminal statute. If we want to decriminalize polygamy, then let's have the legislatures do it, rather than the prosecutors (who do so by ignoring or refusing to apply the statute). I wonder if this will happen. That doesn't mean polygamous marriages become legally recognized, just that entering into one is not, in and of itself, a criminal act. Fornication and adultery statutes appear to be very much on the decline. See here: If we as a society can accommodate rampant out-of-wedlock sex and procreation, can we also accommodate sex and procreation in polygamous relationships? Back to the first article: Yes, that will almost certainly happen. Here's an interesting bit: Interesting stuff. I think this is the only feasible approach to this issue (short of decriminalizing polygamy). I'm not sure it should be legalized, but decriminalization is worth considering. Alas, alimony is one of the complicating factors in polygamy. Moreover, alimony seems to be an increasingly antiquated notion. In Utah, the policy is to not prosecute polygamy as a lone offense. However, I could understand that a person involved in a polygamous relationship would still be nervous about being prosecuted (since it's just a "policy" to not prosecute it as a lone offense, rather than an actual law). The entire article is worth a read. Thoughts? Thanks, -Smac
  15. Allow me to help. Take US immigration. On one extreme we have people who want to stop nearly all immigration, and send anyone here illegally no matter the circumstances back to their country of origin. On the other extreme we have people calling for open borders and benefits for everyone. Each position is extreme. The church has a moderate stance on the issue. I think that is a fair characterization. I'm less sure about this one, but I'll go with it for now. Let's take adultery. One extreme would say it is never appropriate under any circumstances. Well, no. That's not extreme. That's reasonable. That's moderate. Because adultery is "never appropriate under any circumstances." Similarly, it is not "extreme" to say that rape is "never appropriate under any circumstances." Nor is it "extreme" to say that murder is "never appropriate under any circumstances." And on and on and on. There are all sorts of behaviors in our society that are per se "never appropriate under any circumstances." My appeal to murder is highly relevant. The point under discussion is whether a "total and complete prohibition" is necessarily "extreme." It's not. There are all sorts of such prohibitions that exist in society, which prohibitions are not reasonably characterized as "extreme." Thanks, -Smac
  16. I understand and appreciate your perspective. I also don't dispute the potential adverse effects of such things. My concern pertains to the risk of, for lack of a better term, "sprawl" in the criminal justice system. I do not trust the government's ability to fairly and impartially adjudicate "hate crimes." Prosecutors already have way too much discretion and authority, and "hate crimes" legislation is, in some ways, tantamount to giving them carte blanche to overcharge. Overcharging crimes, then pleading out for a lesser charge or sentence, is the sine qua non of prosecutorial behavior. "Hate crimes" legislation gives prosecutors legal leeway to elevate a misdemeanor to a felony, based on nothing more than the prosecutor's subjective / politicized perspective. From this article again (emphases added): Yep. I denounce crimes motivated by hatred, whether against the victim's race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I simply do not think we as a society can meaningfully and fairly adjudicate such things. And yet, we still must rely on evidence and a presumption of innocence. For example, there are few phrases more cringe-inducing to me than "Believe All Women." Any sociopolitical pressure point that causes us to return to errors in our past need to be addressed. We cannot uncritically accept each and every claim of a "hate crime" simply because applying the normative legal standards to them might cause some agitation. Lots of people express frustration and irritation with legal safeguards, like the presumption of innocence, due process, standards of proof, competent evidence, and so on. However, our legal system exists to protect all of us. Those same frustrated/irritated people become decidely less so when they are the beneficiaries of those legal safeguards. Sounds good. Thanks, -Smac
  17. Okay. I'd still like to understand your perspective, though. You sure did give that impression. I said: "For the last many years, the Church has utilized a very moderate and compassionate approach to same-sex behavior. You responded: "Is that what we call labeling same-sex marriage 'apostacy'?" It sounded like you were saying (using sarcasm) that characterizing same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy falls outside of "a very moderate and compassionate approach to same-sex behavior." Now here you are saying you don't object to the Church defining same-sex marriage as apostasy. To clarify, I was not referring tot he 2015 policy specifically, but rather to the Church's overall approach. "For the last many years, the Church has utilized a very moderate and compassionate approach to same-sex behavior." Was the 2015 policy "moderate and compassionate"? In my view, yes. Very much so. As Elder Christofferson so aptly put it: This is all moderation and compassion. There is no vilification of gay people. No fire and brimstone denunciations. No advocacy of violence against or shunning of gay people. Instead, Elder Christofferson spekins of "love and sympathy and help and brotherhood and serving indoing all we can for anybody." He speeks of "the Savior's pattern." He speaks of the Savior's "compassion" as being "unexcelled," and yet the Savior "never excused or winked at sin" and "never redefined it." He speaks of "efforts to help people find what brings happiness." He speaks of not wanting "to mislead people," saying that "{t}here's no no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true." Fair enough. Yes. Yes. The Church also teaches that adultery is forbidden. A married man may not engage in leading-up-to-but-not-including-actually-penetrative-sex behavior with a woman other than his wife. This is not an extreme position. It is, instead, a reasonable one. A "moderate" one (as in "kept or keeping within reasonable or proper limits; not extreme, excessive, or intense"). Do you agree? I dispute this characterization. There was no delineated "civil right" to same-sex marriage until the bare majority of Supreme Court justices said so in the 2015 case, Obergefell v. Hodges. I also don't think it is the provice of the Supreme Court to fabricate civil rights out of thin air, but that's a discussion for another day. (And yes, notwithstanding my dispute, I nevertheless accept same-sex marriage as the law of the land.) The Church sought to preserve the institution of marriage, or more specifically, its innate quality as being a relationship between a man and a woman. This relationship was a core aspect of the very definition of "marriage" in virtually all societies throughout history, up until just the last few years. The attempt to preserve that definition was "moderate." The attempt to re-define marriage was radical. Extreme. Golly! Strangers imputing hateful motives onto her? Motives which she does not recognize in herself, and which she herself objects to and rejects? What's objectionable about that? Not sure what you are saying here. Thanks, -Smac
  18. Keep getting 403 errors, so I can't post the rest of my response. Oh, well. Perhaps Providence is stepping in with the 403 error as a way of stopping my from arguing with a person as good as you, Pogi. Thanks, -Smac
  19. I guess I'm confused as to what you are saying, then. And as we're not moving towards clarification, I'll retract my statements, apologize for the misunderstanding, and ask that we move past this point. So then you similarly characterize the Church's prohibition on sex outside of marriage as "extreme"? Or are you saying that some fornication/adultery is acceptable? What about the Church's teachings against pornography? Is that "extreme?" Or are you saying that some use of pornography is acceptable? What about the Church's teachings about the Word of Wisdom, and the "total and complete prohibition" of, say, recreational use of drugs? Is this "extreme"? I'm realy not understanding your position here. There are all sorts of "total and complete prohibition{s}" that not "extreme" by any reasonable use of the word. Fornication, adultery, murder, rape, and many, many more. I think it is a perfectly reasonable use of the word, and you don't get to tell me how to style my language. I'm not telling telling you how to do anything. I'm having a conversation with you. I am disagreeing with you in some respects, agreeing in others, and apparently misunderstanding in still others. You are characterizing a "total and complete prohibition" as "extreme." I disagree with that. "Extreme" is defined as: I totally and completely prohibit my children from taking the Lord's name in vain, using physical violence against siblings to get their way, using alcohol/drugs, and many, many, many other things. Are you suggesting that these prohibitions are "extreme"? That they are "farthest removed from the ordinary or average"? That they are "utmost or exceedingly grate in degree"? The Church totally and completely prohibits adultery. Are you suggesting that this is "extreme"? Soceity totally and completely prohibits many behaviors (murder, sexual assault, armed robbery, tax evasion, etc.). Are you suggesting that these prohibitions are "extreme"? But it's not tangential at all. It's not just an issue of semantics. Let me recap (in the next post).
  20. Mama Dragons? The same folks who were corrupt enough to fabricate suicide statistics in order to make the Church look horrible? And then never retract those claims, even after they were falsified? Even after they were noted as being conducive to "suicide contagion?" (See here for more information.) Not really the best source for a reasoned or reasonable perspective on General Conference talks. Instead, we should examine the talks themselves and see if they can be reasonably characterized as "harmful rhetoric." I don't think they can. Thanks, -Smac
  21. Ah, well. Reasonable minds can disagree about such things. May want to read my post again. Well, let's recap: 1. I asked: 2. You responded: 3. I responded: 4. You responded: I'm not seeing an explanation as to how you differentiate between characterizing entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy (which you do not find to be objectionable) and characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy (which you do find to be objectionable). What am I missing/misunderstanding? Thanks, -Smac
  22. I have some reservations/concerns about hate crimes, and about statistics about them. "Hate crime" is an enormously subjective term. See, e.g., here: And there are all sorts of social/political pressures on examining the verity/legitimacy of alleged hate crimes. We see similar pressures pertaining to sexual assault allegations, hence the "Believe All Women" thing. Again, there are some serious problems with the very notion of "hate crimes." Meanwhile, regarding the prevalence of hate crime "hoaxes," it is interesting that you have one figure (less than 1%), while this article comes up with a very different number: Fewer than 1 in 3 was genuine. That would mean that more than 66% of such allegations were hoaxes/questionable. Thanks, -Smac
  23. Right, but the policy was one of the most significant changes with regard to homosexual behavior in past years. It was responsive to the innovation that is same-sex marriage. See here: So the policy was clarifying and informative in a number of ways: Welfare of children ("We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different."); Triggering events stemming from baby blessings, which events might cause consternation or acrimony in the home of a same-sex couple (assignment of home/visiting teachers, etc.); Clarifying to members of the Church the serious transgressive nature of same-sex marriage (“We recognize that same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States and some other countries and that people have the right, if they choose, to enter into those, and we understand that. But that is not a right that exists in the Church. That’s the clarification.”); Clarifying distinctions between what is allowed under church law versus civil law ("Further, he said, in the United States and in other countries around the world there needed to be some distinction between "what may be legal and what may be the law of the Church and the law of the Lord.'"); Alleviating confusion and doubt regarding the Church's teachings on same-sex marriage (“It’s a matter of being clear; it’s a matter of understanding right and wrong; it’s a matter of a firm policy that doesn’t allow for question or doubt...That was the Savior’s pattern. He always was firm in what was right and wrong. He never excused or winked at sin. He never redefined it. He never changed His mind. It was what it was and is what it is and that’s where we are...”); Providing guidance to members of the Church who think that same-sex marriage is somehow compatible with the Restored Gospel ("Elder Christofferson said Church leaders will not yield on their efforts to help all people find what brings happiness, 'but we know sin does not." ... 'There’s no kindness in misdirecting people and leading them into any misunderstanding about what is true, what is right, what is wrong, what leads to Christ and what leads away from Christ,' he said."); and Reiterating and protecting the Church's First Amendment rights and protections ("The new policy is 'really two sides of the same coin,' Elder Christofferson said. 'On the one hand, we have worked with others and will continue to do so to protect rights and employment and housing and that sort of thing for all. And on the other hand, there needs to be respect and acknowledgment of the rights of the religious community to set its standards and to live according to them and to teach and abide by its own doctrines, such as regards marriage in this case.'"). I would not. Otherwise the prophet would be in apostasy. So you do not object to characterize entering into a polygamous marriage as a form of apostasy, but you do object to characterizing entering into a same-sex marriage as a form of apostasy? How you you differentiate between the two? Thanks, -Smac
  24. Okay. I see what your saying. The challenge, though, is that we are being accused of not being "sensitive" for simply teaching the Law of Chastity, and by resisting - even using the most moderate of terms - societal shifts regarding same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage. Therefore what? We shouldn't cater our message to the many who are struggling? Therefore perhaps some introspection is in order. Perhaps some balancing of perspectives is in order. Perhaps some moderation of rhetoric is appropriate. You seemed to have been crafting a narrative that I have seen many times before. That narrative, in essence, says that the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable, and that the only way to find happiness is to turn away from the Law of Chastity. That narrative is being used as a wedge between gay Latter-day Saints and their community. It looked like you were advancing that narrative, or sympathizing with it. You have taken what I said out of context. I said family gatherings with spouse and children. Big difference! To suggest otherwise is being insensitive. Here is the context of your statement: "For them {LGBT members}, in their current perspective, the mortal and eternal outlook is bleak." And this: "At the very best, their son/daughter gets to look forward to a single life in mortality with no children, no grandchildren, no family gatherings on holidays with a spouse and offspring..." Again, you seemed to be characterizing the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable. Nobody has suggested that gay family members cannot gather with family on holidays. I agree, he is a good man. I would say great man. I love and respect President Oaks deeply. I just don't think he is the best man for this particular message. That is my personal opinion. You can disagree if you want. I am not offended. Again, Pres. Oaks is raked across the coals much less for the actual substance of what he has said, and much more because he is a convenient targeted by critics and dissidents. Also, I can't help but wonder if Pres. Oaks' remarks are vital on this point. Many folks seem to harbor some expectation that the Church will incrementally dismantle the Law of Chastity relative to same-sex behavior and same-sex marriage. If nothing else, Pres. Oaks' treatment of this issue provides some real clarity in the face of this wishful thinking. I agree. You seem to be treating him with respect. I appreciate that. I'm not. Again, I understood your comments as advancing what I think is a misleading narrative (that the life of a gay Latter-day Saint is necessarily horrible and miserable). Yes, I think I will disagree. Pres. Oaks is privy to all sorts of information that you and I are not. And again, given his legal background, and the legal dimension associated with the emergence of same-sex marriage and societal pressures regarding same-sex behavior generally, his attention to this issue (which I would not characterize as "fixation") is understandable. That's subjectivity for you. So then you similarly characterize the Church's prohibition on sex outside of marriage as "extreme"? Or are you saying that some fornication/adultery is acceptable? What about the Church's teachings against pornography? Is that "extreme?" Or are you saying that some use of pornography is acceptable? What about the Church's teachings about the Word of Wisdom, and the "total and complete prohibition" of, say, recreational use of drugs? Is this "extreme"? I'm realy not understanding your position here. There are all sorts of "total and complete prohibition{s}" that not "extreme" by any reasonable use of the word. Fornication, adultery, murder, rape, and many, many more. The controversy, which is of fairly recent vintage, is that same-sex behavior is "total{ly} and complete{ly} prohibit{ed}." Lots of people in and out of the Church really, really want that prohibition removed. This is, I think, wishful thinking. It just won't happen. One of the clearest indicators of that is . . . the reasoned and articulate statements of General Authorities, including that of Pres. Oaks. I disagree that the Church's teachings are "extreme." They are, instead, reasoned and reasonable. Thanks, -Smac
  25. I am not comfortable characterizing compliance with the Law of Chastity as a "wound." If the Restored Gospel is what it claims to be, then living the commandments is a blessing, even though a difficult one. I can't characterize it as a "wound." For some, yes. Perhaps even for many, yes. But certainly not for all. This bleak outlook is, in very large measure, a matter of perspective and choice. My wife has a dear friend who grew up in the Church. She served a mission. She never married. She has, I understand, essentially given up on the prospect of marriage in this life. She has a wonderful career, and many friends, and many skills and hobbies. She likes to travel. She loves to attend the theatre. She serves in the Church and attends the temple regularly. She has not had the opportunity to marry in this life, and likely never will. But she would scoff at the notion that her "mortal and eternal outlook is bleak." She has made wonderful choices in life, and has received many blessings in life, and she is firm in her belief that more blessings are in store for her in the hereafter. No. But there are many struggles in life. This one is a bit unique in that there are social pressures to abandon the Law of Chastity - in whole or in part - because it is or can be difficult for some to obey. I don't think that works. Homosexual behavior does not result in children/offspring or grandchildren. It is perhaps that fundamental point that renders it incompatible with the Restored Gospel. I also disagree with the rest of your characterization. A gay son or daughter can "look forward to" all most (and even for some, all) "family gatherings." This is an emotional argument, not a reasoned one. There are plenty of people in the Church who are never married, or who are divorced, or who are widowed, or who cannot have children, or whose marriage is unhappy/strained, or who have physical or mentail impairments, or who are living in poverty, or amidst violence. And on and on and on. The Lord knows all of this, and still asks us to exercise faith through obedience. As Elder Christofferson so aptly put it: Amen. Not me. I fully acknowledge that such sorrow can and does exist. It is understandable. It is foreseeable. What I cannot accept is the idea that such potential sorrow functions as an exception to the Law of Chastity. It doesn't. I agree. Part of that approach, in my view, involves the moral clarity that is to be found in the statements by the General Authorities. I'm not really interested in parsing out whether this statement or that one is sufficiently "sensitive" or "compassionate." That's too subjective. Again, Pres. Oaks gets a bad rap. Not because he is profane or abrasive or bigoted. He is nothing like that (hat tip to Tacenda). Instead, he is clear and reasoned and articulate. He is a good man. I disagree with the "over, and over, and over again" characterization. The Church doesn't fixate on this issue and bring it up every five minutes. Its critics do. The Church doesn't attempt to foment anger and resentments and hatreds pertaining to this issue. Its critics do. Amen to that. But it's not the Church who keeps picking at the scabs and pouring lemon juice on them. The critics and dissidents are doing that. Exactly. So the critics and dissidents should cease from constantly railing against the Church. They should stop carping on this issue. But they don't. I agree. And yet the critics constantly bring it up. And they do so in ways calculated to foment hard feelings and ill will. I really don't know what you are talking about here. The Church is not "continually address{ing} the issue." It's the critics and dissidents who dwell on it. Who fixate on it. Who constantly bring it up. I would invite you to provide some examples from the Church's publications - say within the last ten years - that are not "moderate and compassionate." "Extreme?" How so? You don't disagree with the Church's "extreme prohibition"? Thanks, -Smac
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