Sunday, September 14, 2008

I generally don't put very much religious material on my blog because I'm pretty sure that the only people who read it are my family and a few friends. However, I wanted to just share some quotes that I have been thinking about with the recent proposition 8 vote. I want everyone to know how I feel about this and why it is important to me and I want to have a public record of how I feel on the matter.
Like most anyone I recognize that not everyone is the same. I recognize and support sensitivity and understanding to diversity. Although this is the case, it does not mean that my opinion is inconsequential. Isn't that the whole idea behind having a society? We band together as people with certain core values and ideas and work to support and protect them. There is still room for diversity, but at the same time a common belief system unites us. This being the case, we as members of the society have the right to say that somethings are unacceptable. This is illustrated by the fact that we view murder as being reprehensible and as a society we have placed certain laws to define that view and protect it.
As a society we also voted our view on marriage. We said that we believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I believe that there are great spiritual and eternal truths in that statement.
Now, because of a recent overturn of the society's opinion, we have the opportunity of reaffirming our feelings. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have been counseled to vote yes on proposition 8 and I plan on doing so. This is not because I am a bigot but is based on my belief. I do not hate gays nor lesbians but I do not believe that I have to accept there lifestyle and support it as a societal norm.
It makes me sad that many members of the Church have decided to ignore the counsel we received but have gone out and openly opposed it. I think these quotes from the leaders of the Church make it very clear how the Church views this upcoming vote
In a letter from the first presidency they said the following:
"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World says:“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

“We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

“We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

It seems very clear to me. I understand that people may have a hard time with this, however, that does not okay someone to go against what the Brethren have said.
I hope that those who have a hard time with this issue (I'm writing particularly to those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) would follow this counsel from Harold B. Lee

Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, "as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me ... as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." (D&C 21:4-5.) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory." (D&C 21:6.) (President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1970, Afternoon Meeting, p.152)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bali Hai

Heaven above & hell below
and we stand here betwixt
yet who can tell where men will go
for that is not affixed.
Well, I know where I want to go and its definitely not some forsaken desert tundra. Yet here I sit again in that distant vale. Yes, I am back in Provo. It's not that bad but I couldn't help but notice a contrast between the obvious tropical beauty of Hawai'i and the more, how shall I say, nuanced desolate beauty of Utah.

Hawai'i was great by the way, and if they let me stay, I would. It was nice to be able to enjoy time with my family whom I love so dearly. We got to explore the natural wonders of Maui, go to luaus, surf a lot, and we went to this neat slack key guitar show. If you've never listened to slack-key guitar it's probably because you're not very cool. We saw Dennis Kamakahi and George Kahumoku Jr. and then I got invited over to George's house to jam with him the next day. He was real nice guy. He let me borrow one of his guitars for the week. If Karen reads this maybe she'll send me the picture and I'll post it up here.