Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage

Previously: How We Know Thomas Monson Is A Prophet, Seer, And Revelator

Sometime before the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, I wrote a piece entitled "Why I Don't Care If You're Gay."  My argument was that regardless of our personal opinions, there is no doctrine in Mormonism regarding homosexuality.  We believe our doctrines come from God through revelation, and since the Lord has not seen fit to address homosexuality in the 182 years since the Restoration began, I concluded it is not a topic my religion requires me to get exercised over.

Though others of my faith consider legal acceptance of same-sex marriage to be a harbinger of the destruction of America, the Book of Mormon, which we accept as a warning for our times, gives no warning to us on that particular topic. Neither is it mentioned in any revelation given through the Doctrine & Covenants. Though Mormons are entitled and encouraged to have and share differing opinions on social issues, I don't see this issue as having any bearing on my religion. My actual religion charges me to apply the golden rule to all, accepting others just the way they are.

It's worth remembering that the Supreme Court did not grant anyone the right to same-sex marriage.  It does not have that power. The decision of the court merely recognized that common law rights cannot be held by some while denied to others.  Many of those who today are lamenting over the gay marriage ruling, and what that travesty will mean for the future of this nation, might benefit from a bit of introspection.

Twenty or thirty years ago there were very few in the gay community who were clamoring for the right to marry.  Indeed, same sex marriage may not have become the issue it is today had certain busybodies not actively pushed for legislation deliberately intended to make life uncommonly difficult for homosexuals, many of whom would have preferred to keep their private lives to themselves.  As recently as 2009, Professor Nancy D. Polikoff of the American University Washington College of Law had this to say:
"A consumer of current news might imagine that access to same-sex marriage is the most contested issue in contemporary family policy, and that marriage is the only cure for the disadvantages faced by lesbian and gay families. Both of these observations would be wrong. The most contested issue in contemporary family policy is whether married-couple families should have “special rights” not available to other family forms." ("Laws That Value All Families," Journal of the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Vol 22, pg 86)
Professor Polikoff's memorandum includes short profiles involving people who were forced by legislation to endure injustices that, in the words of the Obergefell decision, "many opposite-sex couples would find intolerable."  I've been around long enough to recall that some folks who objected to gay couples living together felt the problem could be solved if only "those people" were barred from such privileges as custody and visitation rights with their own children, hospital visitation rights with a dying partner, or basic rights to property, inheritance, and other benefits -things that really have nothing to do with a person's sexual orientation at all.   Apparently the people who pushed for these laws felt that by making life difficult for same-sex couples, homosexuality would just go away.

But that is not what happened.  Same-sex couples did not stop cohabiting; instead their numbers grew.  But now they were keenly affected by legislation that barred them from enjoying rights that had nothing to do with their having same-sex attraction, but rather on the grounds that they were not married.

Those who had pushed for the enactment of laws restricting rights for gay couples unwittingly ensured things would come to an inevitable showdown: if certain rights and privileges were only available to married people, the only solution left for same-sex couples would be to demand the right to marry.  A reading of Obergefell shows that "far from seeking to devalue marriage, the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities."  The several plaintiffs in that case have clearly suffered injuries of a type that were never suffered by opposite sex couples due to inequities in statutory law.

The court was not unsympathetic to those who oppose same-sex marriage on grounds of morality, but recognizes it was the active interference by the state that yielded the consequences that brought us to this point:
"Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right." (Obergefell et al v. Hodges, et al; 14-556-3204-4, pg 19, italics mine.)
In other words, the court is saying it is not so much the right to marry that is at issue; it is the right not to be barred from enjoying certain rights and privileges that state governments had been granting to one class of people, and denying to another.

If there is a lesson here for those who are adamantly against same-sex marriage, it may be this: perhaps you should have left well enough alone twenty years ago.  By concerning yourselves with the perceived sins of others, and improperly using government to pass laws to enforce your will,  you have brought to pass the very thing you wanted desperately to avoid.  It is already well-settled law that the right of a man and a woman to marry is fundamental to our common law.  That's why, like it or not, when pushed to the wall on this issue the court was given little option but to conclude:
"The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest. With that knowledge must come the recognition that laws excluding same-sex couples from the marriage right impose stigma and injury of the kind prohibited by our basic charter." (ibid, 17)
If you are a Christian who believes the power of the state should be invoked to enforce God's law, don't be surprised to learn your foes have the capability of invoking that same power as well. Orthodox Christian theologian Davd J. Dunn writes,
"Today's Christian conservatives seem to be worshiping America, or at least a certain idea of it, when they ask the government to protect the 'sanctity' of marriage. In doing this, they have vested the state with the power to sanctify...Christians who demand the state take up the task of defending marital sanctity are effectively making the state their god. They seem to think that their local capitol can perform miracles when only the Holy Spirit has the power to sanctify.
"If marriage truly is a sacrament, as many Christians (including myself) believe, then we need to be much more concerned with developing a robust theology of marriage and making that understood among our congregations than with mobilizing them to deny the right of a civil marriage to same-sexed partners. If we believe marriage is a sacrament, then all marriages performed outside the church are civil marriages, and however the state defines marriage can have absolutely no bearing on its sanctity as far as the church is concerned.
"Christians opposed to gay marriage can continue to see civil marriages as sacramentally illegitimate without sponsoring ballot initiatives to ban it. They are free to join churches that share their views without essentially vesting judges or Elvis or the U.S.A with the power to sanctify."
And Now, To Offend The Gays...
I happen to personally believe that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. Does that mean God is displeased with a marriage between two committed persons of the same sex?

I have no idea.  He has not seen fit to inform me on this issue, and although there are a couple of old testament references that don't purport to have come from the mouth of God Himself, He has not addressed the issue through His living prophets in almost two centuries.  So I remain focused on my own marriage, which is the only marriage I have stewardship over.  It is not my place to pass judgment on the marriage of anyone else.

Do I believe, as some are convinced, that gay marriage will be bad for America?  Again, I have no idea. I guess time will tell.

But I can tell you what I already think is proving bad for America: stupid gay people.

I can always tell whether someone has actually read the Obergefell decision or not, because many of those who have not read it somehow think gays have been granted the right to deprive other people of their rights.  If you are one of those particular types of gay people, allow me to set you straight:

All the Supreme Court did was recognize your right to marry.  That ruling does not say you have to get married, and it did not bestow upon you the right to have other people suddenly approve of you, or like you, or sell their stuff to you.  You can get married if you want to.  Nothing is stopping you.  But you don't suddenly have a magic wand to wave around to get people to do your bidding just because you're gay.

If someone makes their living baking wedding cakes, you don't have a common law, constitutional right to insist they bake one for you.  If a florist doesn't want to cater your wedding, find a gay florist.  (Trust me, they're out there.)  And if you are outraged because a pizza parlor refuses to cater your wedding, you might want to rethink your assumptions, because if you're planning a gay wedding where your guests are served pizzas, your vision of what a gay wedding is supposed to look like may need a little tweaking.

The thing is, other people still have the right to refuse you service.  The so-called "Gay Marriage Ruling" may have recognized your right to be a queen, but it didn't all of a sudden make you queen of the world.  You have the same common law rights as I do; that's all that ruling said.

When the lovely and pristine Connie Bradfield announced her engagement to me back in 1980, some members in the ward she grew up in did not approve. She was their princess, and they felt I was unworthy of her.  They were right, of course. But that's beside the point.  There was a woman in Connie's ward who was skilled at making beautiful wedding cakes, and we hired her to bake ours.  Happily, this woman was not one of the ward members who disapproved of our marriage.  But what if she had been? What if she so disapproved of our marriage that she refused to bake that cake?  What would we do then? O, whatever would we do?

We would hire someone else to bake our cake.

Listen, gay people. There will still be others in this world who do not approve of you getting married and living together.  So what? You do not need their approval.  You are equal, but only equal under the law.  That's the only guarantee any of us are entitled to, and it's all most of us will ever get.  If you're looking to convince others to respect your rights, promoting the image that gay people are whiny and petulant is not going to work in your favor.

Hey Dummy, You Don't Need Permission
Which brings me to the really stupid thing I recently observed when a whole lot of people, both gay and straight, got all worked up over an incident in Kentucky.  I'm talking about the unprecedented outrage over Kim Davis, the county clerk who was demonized by strangers and treated in the press as though she had run over somebody with her car.  Her unspeakable crime?  Refusing to issue state marriage licenses.

Setting aside for a moment the fact that Mrs. Davis was entirely within her rights to withhold licenses to anyone she chose (and I'll explain why later), why would anyone, gay or straight, even care?  Why would any couple allow their wedding to be held up simply because they couldn't get a license?  Why didn't same sex couples simply do what millions of heterosexual Americans have been doing since pre-colonial times?

Why not just go and get married?

It would seem we live in a time where most people think they have to have a marriage license, even when they don't know what a marriage license is.  Well, for starters, you don't really have to have one in order for your marriage to be lawful in America.  In this country the tradition of obtaining a license just so you can get married is not that old. Less than a hundred years ago no one deemed it a necessary prerequisite to marriage.  Secondly, the marriage license was born of early 20th century racism.  And if that isn't enough to frost you, the marriage license also weakens the sanctity of marriage.

Here is the definition of "license" from Bouvier's Dictionary of American Law, published in 1856:
"License: A right given by some competent authority to do an act, which without such authority would be illegal. The instrument or writing which secures this right, is also called a license."
So a license is permission to do something which would otherwise be illegal.  But didn't the Supreme Court just affirm that marriage is a fundamental right for all?  How then can getting married be illegal?  And not just illegal, but so illegal that you must obtain special permission from a government official?

If, as the Supreme Court has held time and again, marriage is a fundamental, common law right protected by the constitution, why would you even think you were required to ask a county government toady for additional permission?  Is it because you just like standing in lines?

One of the main reasons we give our governments the right to grant licenses in the first place is in order to regulate activities that are inherently harmful or dangerous.  I do not, for instance, have a fundamental right to manufacture poisons or explosives in my home, because poisons and explosives are inherently dangerous.  I could apply for a license to manufacture such products, which would give me special permission to do that which I wouldn't normally have a fundamental right to do.  But with that license come necessary controls and expenses, like making certain my activity is performed a safe distance from other people.

But why license a marriage?  What is it about weddings that make them so dangerous that in the 20th century, states began requiring people to get permission from the government?

My edition of Bouvier's, from which I quoted above, was published during a time when no sane person even thought of going to the state to ask permission to marry.  So there is no entry in Bouvier's for "marriage license," though there is plenty in there about marriage - mostly about how in America marriage has consistently been recognized as a fundamental, common law right.  In this country, if a couple were of the age of consent and competent to contract, they did not ask anyone's permission to get married. They just got married.

I was something of a collector of dictionaries back in the day, and the earliest edition of Black's Law Dictionary I own is a barely held-together edition of Black's Second Edition, published in 1910.  In that dictionary the definition of license is virtually the same as in Bouvier's, but now Black's has added an entry for Marriage License:
"A written license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry, usually addressed to the minister or magistrate who is to perform the ceremony." (Black's Second Edition, pg 724)
By 1910, there was a reason that entry had appeared. Note that license was granted to "intermarry," which was legally distinct from the common law right to marry.  In the post civil war era, miscegenation was made illegal in most states.  By 1924 some 38 states had introduced the concept of marriage "licenses," for the purpose of limiting the number of marriages between whites and people of "subhuman" races such as Negroes, mulattoes, Indians, Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians, and Malays. (See Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage)

Common law marriage between races had been taking place since colonial times and was not all that rare up up to and through the early 1800s; especially marriages between whites and Indians on the frontier.  But over time attitudes changed, and by 1929 most states had legislated intermarriage right out of existence through use of the marriage license.  (It was not until 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, that the Supreme Court invalidated intermarriage statutes by affirming that marriage is a constitutional right.)

These licensing laws required both the man and the woman to appear in person to obtain their marriage license, ensuring that no mixed-race couples slipped through undetected.  For most young couples in love, the act of going to the courthouse together to apply for their marriage license was part of the thrill; just one of the details to be handled on the way to the altar.  The licensing fee was minimal, and after the wedding the license doubled as the marriage certificate, which proved they now were officially married. Ooh! Exciting!

You're Waiving Your Rights
I don't care if you're gay or straight, but if you believe you have to get permission from the government before you can exercise a constitutional right, aren't you saying you don't really believe you have that right? Either your rights are fundamental, or they are conditional.  What you believe about your rights depends on whether you exercise them or ask permission for them.

It seems to me that the recent brouhaha over Kim Davis and her refusal to issue Kentucky state marriage licenses in Rowan County was a missed opportunity for the gay and straight communities in that part of the country.  There are only a handful of states left in the union that continue to recognize common law marriage, and Kentucky is not one of them.  The failure of the county clerk to grant permission to any couple -gay or straight- who might have applied, would have been the impetus for any petitioners to fall back on their right to a traditional marriage, the kind that has always been lawful in this country from the time the pilgrims landed at Plymouth.

A lawful marriage between a man and a woman entered into in Rowan County, Kentucky without the couple obtaining a license would test whether the state had an obligation to recognize an unlicensed marriage, given that the couple had attempted to obtain a license and failed. And the marriage of a same-sex couple entered into without a license would test the claim of whether same-sex couples actually do have the same fundamental right to marry that opposite sex couples have been guaranteed for hundreds of years.

Well, it's possible they don't.  We have hundreds of years of precedent to prove that marriage between a man and a woman is lawful, with or without a license.  On the other hand, the holding in the Obergefell court was that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. (Obergefell Pp. 3–28).

Now, my reading of that decision merely tells me that a state that issues licenses to opposite sex couples must also issue licenses to same-sex couples.  But judging from the reaction to the Rowan County incident, many same-sex couples seem to think they are barred from marriage unless they have a license.  Well, people are entitled to their beliefs, and if they believe they are not free to contract, I guess they're not.

Like I said, it was a missed opportunity to get some answers. What if a same-sex couple doesn't want to be licensed?   What if they get married without a license in a state that still recognizes common law marriage?  Will their marriage be valid in other states as it is with opposite sex couples? Or must they be licensed because their right to marry has been merely granted by the court as a civil right, and not actually guaranteed by the constitution?

To Be Continued...
These are interesting questions, but I confess all this so far is by way of introduction to the real topic I want to address, which I will get to in my next post a week or two from now. I believe traditional marriage is under threat, but I don't believe that threat is caused by people who are different from me seeking to pursue their own happiness in their own way. That does not affect my marriage nor my rights.  The biggest threat to traditional marriage has always come by way of government interference into marriage, which is a private contract between two people.

Although what I've written today is a preface to what I'll be discussing in my next post, for now I want to lay aside the question of whether same-sex marriage is proper in the eyes of God, since I just don't know. What I can do is to reaffirm my belief that at the very least, marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.  My religion teaches that God wants his sons and daughters to marry.

But here is a curious dichotomy:   If you are a young man and young woman who happen to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, and you are looking forward to being wed according to the religious tenets you have been raised on, you may be surprised to learn you will not be permitted to be married in your local chapel or sealed in any temple unless you first obtain permission from the government just like gay people apparently have to.  Unlike your grandparents and great-grandparents, you will not be permitted to submit to God's will unless you first submit to the will of your local county officials and ask their permission.  You cannot have a traditional church wedding nor a temple sealing unless you first reject hundreds of years of  religious tradition and seek secular permission beforehand.

It sounds unbelievable, but in Mormon marriages today, the desire of the state trumps the will of God.  And this holds true even in Utah, where common law marriage is still recognized.  What that means is the government would prefer you get a license, but will still recognize the validity of your marriage even if you don't.

Your bishop will make you get one anyway.

I've wondered why that is for over thirty years, and only recently figured out why.

Stay tuned for The Real Threat To Traditional Marriage Part Two, in which we discuss, among other things, the circumstances under which certain establishments have the right to refuse service -and when they do not.



Many readers of this blog have arrived here after experiencing a crisis of faith marked by the discovery that church history was different than what they were taught.  Unfortunately, rather than help members reconcile these issues, the current Church leadership continues to drive more and more of the faithful away by doubling down and perpetuating the cover up.  Earlier this month Corbin Velluz discussed this unfortunate state of affairs in The Mormon History Conspiracy

An Invitation To Reclaim The Restoration is a one page proclamation that deserves to be widely read, and widely circulated.  I hope you'll pass it around.


Gordon Banks said...

I think the reason the state began requiring marriage licenses was to protect women and children. It was considered a contract, and if the man broke the contract, he was still responsible for supporting the wife and children, rather than have them on the dole. It also involves laws on how property is to be split in case of divorce. Couples who cohabit without marriage have a more difficult time unless they can amicably decide on how to divide property, child custody, etc.

lysander said...

My thoughts on this exactly. Excellent post.

Jared Livesey said...

I found this interesting:

Your mileage may vary.

lysander said...

That may have been the motivation of some, but the fear of interracial marriage being the main driving factor cannot be ignored.

Unknown said...

Interesting thoughts, Rock. Did you know that the Kentucky state constitution forbids marriage licenses be issued to same-sex couples? Not only was Kim acting on her own religious beliefs, but was upholding the law of the land. The latter has not even entered into the discussion on mainstream media. That being said, your argument is that marriage should not be legislated to any degree. And I agree with that. I'm glad you are required to be licensed to drive a car, because we don't want 10 year old boys driving down our streets. I wonder how much a part Revenues play a part in requiring licenses for marriage? I think if I had to do it over at this stage in my life, I would make the marriage covenant between my, my "intended", and the Lord...period. Until the Lord sets in place authoritative sealing powers again, this would be an acceptable choice for me. Winnie

Irven said...

The way the church is playing this game is only going to empower the threat against marriage. They fought against "gay marriage" while fighting for LGBT "non-discrimination" ordinances. They fight against fundamental rights and property, while fighting for special privileges of certain groups--including their own "religious groups". They want special rights while throwing my property rights under the bus.

Gay marriage can't be and never was any threat. Government is the threat. The church wants to empower government and certain groups while attacking the rights of the individual.

The church is fighting aggressively and with threat of violence, against the individual. They are fighting against the very basis of liberty.

Jared Livesey said...

The fight against "gay marriage," hereafter referred to as homogamy, mattered for reasons that weren't referred to in Rock's post.

Homogamy devalues the institution of marriage in the eyes of the rising generation, and it is the plan of the adversary to use homogamy as the wedge issue to criminalize Christianity, thus legally suppressing the preaching of repentance.

To be super brief, Canada has already demonstrated the endgame:

So opposition to homogamy is a matter of self-defense with respect to the exercise of true fundamental rights, in particular speech and religion.

I won't belabor the point, since the war is lost, and we're making a fighting retreat. I think for those who are just, this is a matter that might warrant inquiry of God.

Rock, you may have let blood get in your eye. God is of such a character as to cut off, without known chance of redemption, a third part of his own children from the outset. That's how strong we must be, too, to be saved.

Jared Livesey said...

During the Prop 8 fight, the leadership made a video presentation to all the stakes in California. I forget who it was who did most of the talking, but he ran down a list of reasons homogamy should be opposed. Those reasons are worth examining and prayerful pondering.

It is not necessarily the case that "if the leadership did it, it must be bad," even if some in the leadership put up bad arguments for opposing it, as Elder Oaks did in 2005-2006 when the same issue was legislated in Virginia. The "fallacy fallacy" is still a fallacy, as are arguments from ignorance, and even the "argument from recent silence," or the "argument from relative silence."

Rock, I'm looking at you on the last ones.

And yes, the Church erred mightily in their support for "nondiscrimination" laws. In principle, they have cut their own throat.

The Arkwelder said...

Why are we calling it homogamy?

Jared Livesey said...

Because it is precise, descriptive, and neutral, allowing no misunderstanding nor euphemistics. Homo - prefix meaning "same," gamy - suffix meaning "marriage."

Isaiah said...

Rock, I think you missed a major point here with gay marriage. In my view, the main objective the gay camp wanted to achieve is to legitimize gay sexuality by institutionalizing it into US law. In this way their sexuality can be forced upon us. Nearly all of the other rights of marriage can be obtained through various civil processes.

Secondly, from a religious standpoint, the gay lifestyle damns their progression to follow God and Christ. God is a creator of life - gays cant create life. I think a case could be made from the scriptures the it takes a man and a women to create a whole complete identity. Their complementing attributes form a perfect whole oneness. Jesus, himself being a Jew, would see that a lack of posterity would be not only a curse under the law but would negate that His posterity would ultimately be the ones to save this world under the terms of the Davidic covenant.

Lastly, the articles of I have read about the real agenda to gay marriage is to completely destroy marriage all together - may be a spoiler. Ill be interested to read your next post.

Jared Livesey said...

Also, I have noted a consistent pattern throughout history.

When men design to do evil, they seek first to cover their crimes by altering the language, using words to make evil seem good, and good seem evil.

If they can get your buy-in to the false recharacterization of things, then they control your actions and thoughts into the future with respect to these things as well.

By using the tendentious phrase "traditional marriage," Rock signals he has bought into the false recharacterization of marriage by homosexualists and their supporters; marriage in reality is a kind of relationship that does not exist except between male and female.

This is the same kind of definitional legerdemain the Church has executed with respect to key terms such as "oracles," "prophets," "apostles," "revelation," "priesthood," "keys," and so forth. It is for the same purpose - if you buy the definitions and thus the reinterpretation of the past, the rest of the claims follow as a matter of course.

It works the same in any context. Once you've bought into the tendentious reinterpretation of the past, you can be controlled in the present by a claim to justice or fairness - this is the essence of social justice. Then you can be induced to perpetuate abuse into the future while claiming to be redressing past wrongs.

That's the secret of power: whoso controls the past controls the present; whoso controls the present controls the future. And this is done by getting people to buy into lies.

I wish y'all good luck. Sometimes the beginning of freedom is to call things by their true names - hence, "homogamy" - and to see them for what they truly are.

"You have no power over me!" - Sarah, Labyrinth

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log and Isaiah,
There is little question in my mind that there is a "gay agenda" on the part of some to undermine and subvert law and society. At the same time, I am close to several people with same-sex attraction who reject that agenda, reject the idea that private businesses should be forced to cater to the whims of gays against their will, and who believe in the fundamental right to be left alone. Hence, my decision to leave others to pursue their own paths in life, and I expect the same respect.

Log, my use of the term "traditional marriage" refers to the right of a man and a woman to contract marriage absent any outside governmental restrictions. However one wishes to describe gay marriage, I don't think "traditional" would fit. I do however, recognize the right of two consenting adults to make whatever living arrangements they care to, without restriction. I believe in the right to privacy, the right to contract, and the right to free association. The reason this debate will never end in America is that there are too many people wanting to use coercion on others. Straight people want gay people to bend to their will, and gays want straights to bend to theirs. Which is why I come down so hard on those who feel they have an inalienable right to make someone sell them a wedding cake. It doesn't get more petty than that.

Jared Livesey said...

I would be remiss without illustrating the secret of power by reference to a scriptural example or two.

11 Now, the Lamanites knew nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, therefore they depended upon their own strength. Yet they were a strong people, as to the strength of men.

12 They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this—Believing that they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea;

13 And again, that they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea, and all this because that Nephi was more faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord—therefore he was favored of the Lord, for the Lord heard his prayers and answered them, and he took the lead of their journey in the wilderness.

14 And his brethren were wroth with him because they understood not the dealings of the Lord; they were also wroth with him upon the waters because they hardened their hearts against the Lord.

15 And again, they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land, because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands; and they sought to kill him.

16 And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, and took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them.

17 And thus they have taught their children that they should hate them, and that they should murder them, and that they should rob and plunder them, and do all they could to destroy them; therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi.

18 For this very cause has king Laman, by his cunning, and lying craftiness, and his fair promises, deceived me, that I have brought this my people up into this land, that they may destroy them; yea, and we have suffered these many years in the land.


1 And now it came to pass that, as soon as Amalickiah had obtained the kingdom he began to inspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi; yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their towers, against the Nephites.

2 And thus he did inspire their hearts against the Nephites, insomuch that in the latter end of the nineteenth year of the reign of the judges, he having accomplished his designs thus far, yea, having been made king over the Lamanites, he sought also to reign over all the land, yea, and all the people who were in the land, the Nephites as well as the Lamanites.

3 Therefore he had accomplished his design, for he had hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger, insomuch that he had gathered together a numerous host to go to battle against the Nephites.

4 For he was determined, because of the greatness of the number of his people, to overpower the Nephites and to bring them into bondage.

5 And thus he did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities; therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies.

Tale as old as time...

Jared Livesey said...

Rock, did you read my comments in their entirety, including the links?

If so, you haven't responded appropriately.

Kendal Anderson said...

Great post Rock! Seriously, when I told my friends and family a few years back that I didn't support prop 8 they looked at me like I was nuts. Of course none of them were libertarians so they didn't understand. I figured it was a worse sin to legislate morality on others than it was to engage in immorality. This whole debate is not about rights, it's about control. It's about one group using government to control another group. And now the LDS Church (TM) is fighting gay marriage one hand and advocating LGBT rights on the other. Both policies advocate the use of force via the police power of government. Deny people the right of marriage, and deny people the right of free association. It seems that they have descended into belonging to the great and abominable church of the devil that would like to destroy the freedom of all peoples and nations. The Benson's and the McKay's are officially gone forever. Statists, apologists, and corporate officers are all we have left in the church. Just like Irven said, they are advocating the rights of groups (that don't really exist) i.e., religious organizations and corporations, at the expense of the rights of individuals (which actually exist).

Emily said...

Plenty of children grow up without parents because they're in foster care, etc.

I'd rather a loving, committed gay couple adopt these children.

I'm in an infertile heterosexual relationship. I feel for the people who cannot have children naturally, including gay couples. We have options, just as a gay couple does. We cannot minimize this potentially valuable resource for loving parenting.

Unknown said...

I would like to address the idea that refusal of service is acceptable. Allowing a florist, caterer, baker, or anyone to refuse service based on nothing more than a religious belief about an individual's sexual orientation is discrimination and is not a proper defense. It aligns more closely with the days of segregation when blacks were denied entrance into restaurants or required to sit at the back of the bus. I would agree with Rock if this gay couple were asking for something the business owner does not ever do for any potential customer. The business owner would have every right to refuse service to that customer. However, this is not the case. Gay couples are simply asking that the business owner continue to run their business, but to let them participate in it by being a customer. To refuse anyone service merely because of their sexual orientation, race, gender, etc. is discriminatory and not acceptable. I understand there are other business owners who are more than willing to serve these gay couples. That is not the point. The point is to not allow business owners to discriminate against individuals, even if there are religious reasons.

Consider this scenario. Two couples walk into a bakery and ask to buy a wedding cake. The first couple is made up of a white man and a white woman. The second couple is a black man and a white woman. The baker sells the first couple a cake, but denies the second one on the grounds that he believes interracial marriage to be an abomination in the eyes of God. Is this just? Should this baker be allowed to discriminate in this manner?


Senex said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Senex said...

John, of course that Baker should be allowed to discriminate. His reputation on Google and Yelp should reflect his prejudices and affect his business.

Force and coercion are the implements of slavery.

Senex said...

Log, your scriptural examples do not apply. Nephi requesting and receiving revelation from God is not a precedent for Americans allowing the state to associate special rights with marriage.

This fight was lost the moment whites legislated licenses to fight micegination. Tax, ownership, visitation, and adoption rights were all wrested from the people by the state right then and there, then that state control was lorded over gays for the last 30 years.

Do you want to preserve the sanctity of marriage? Then stop allowing the state to enter a covenant that should only be between people and God.

Michael said...

From Unknown:

"Consider this scenario. Two couples walk into a bakery and ask to buy a wedding cake. The first couple is made up of a white man and a white woman. The second couple is a black man and a white woman. The baker sells the first couple a cake, but denies the second one on the grounds that he believes interracial marriage to be an abomination in the eyes of God. Is this just? Should this baker be allowed to discriminate in this manner?"

The answer to your first question is "Irrelevant".

The answer to your second question is "yes".

You do not have the right to insist that someone utilize a skill or ability they have to benefit you if they do not want to do so.

Left alone, the marketplace will decide if such discrimination is appropriate or not. Yes, really. We do not need government ordering individuals or businesses to interact with people they would otherwise choose not to.

Unknown said...

From Michael:
"You do not have the right to insist that someone utilize a skill or ability they have to benefit you if they do not want to do so."

If that person is running a legitimate business with a state/federally sponsored business license, then yes you do have that right. All states have some level of protections for minority groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, and class. More and more states are adding sexual orientation to that list of protected groups. When applying for that business license, you are also agreeing to all of the terms and conditions associated with it. Which includes not discriminating against those minority groups.

From Michael:
"Left alone, the marketplace will decide if such discrimination is appropriate or not. Yes, really. We do not need government ordering individuals or businesses to interact with people they would otherwise choose not to."
From Senex:
"John, of course that Baker should be allowed to discriminate. His reputation on Google and Yelp should reflect his prejudices and affect his business."

The marketplace will trend in whichever direction the majority chooses, which may or may not be appropriate. That is the point of having protections for minority groups; to protect them from possible grievances from the majority. That responsibility falls to the government. Even if an individual has the power of the internet to rage against a company, she still has the right to seek help from the government.

Jared Livesey said...

Unknown: Michael's talking about principles; you're talking about realpolitik.

Rock's talking about principles, and I'm talking about realpolitik.

The failure to acknowledge that we're conflating "the way things ought to be" with "the way things are" is what has produced the confusion in this conversation.

The law is the way it is. We either deal with the system as it is, or we retreat into a world of idealism that has no impact upon the real world, but can confuse the issues.

Given that the law is the way it is, homogamy can be opposed and such opposition can be principled, in contrast to arbitrary. Such opposition can even be consistent with the Golden Rule. Bigotry is not the sole reason homogamy can be, or should be, opposed. There are other issues and strategies and goals in play that go unacknowledged, and I have mentioned them in previous comments.

BigBoss said...

Your initial premise is flawed because the Bible talks about homosexuality and the Bible is part of LDS Doctrine, so it didn't need to be restated by the Book of Mormon or anyone else, it was already established. You also ignore a lot of history, actually all of it.

Jared Livesey said...

In a nutshell: it doesn't matter how we got here. The narrative, the story of how things got this way, is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what do we do from the current situation?

The state is NOT getting out of the marriage business peaceably. Too many fingers are in too many pies. So you deal with the system the way it is, or you kvetch.

Have any of you inquired of God as to what's going on with homogamy? Have any of you struggled to come to an understanding of these things?

Does truth not matter to you? Are you principled?

It's not enough to say "God ain't tole me nothin'." For so also said Laman and Lemuel - "We have not inquired, for God maketh no such thing known unto us."

Why not ask?

AM said...


I agree with several aspects of your post, but NOT with the idea that modern scriptures are inconclusive about homosexuality.

I would argue that Doctrine and Covenants 42:22 (which is written in the first person voice of Christ, and given as a "law" to the men in the Church) provides clarity in the matter.

That verse refers to a wife being the one and only entity to which it is acceptable to cleave unto. "Cleave unto" is an unmistakable euphemism for sexual contact.

A wife by definition is female. The verse uses the pronoun "her" when referring to a wife. The verse indicates that there is "none else" that is acceptable for a man to cleave unto in the eyes of God.

It is true enough that homosexuality is not explicitly named or referred to, but it doesn't need to be explicitly named in order for it to be outlawed. The "none else [except one's wife]" phrase is absolute and all-encompassing.

It is an extraordinarily thorny issue to denounce homosexuality in today's society, but it needs to be done. I feel hurt for those who have same gender attraction, it is a tough road to walk. The Josh Weed story is an example of how maybe it can be handled correctly. I personally feel that the modern upsurge of homosexuality has something to do with the massive pollution, Rx, pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones, and hyper-estrogen foods that have flooded our society. Massive upsurges in cancer, autism, and many other diseases would indicate that we are doing something very wrong. We need a return to clean food, less pollution, and less Rx.

Anyway: overall I really like your analysis of the marriage license issue, you have some important insights. And your condemnation of the same-gender wedding cake baking tantrums is spot on. The role of government is to enforce free-will contracts made by consents adults, not to micromanage what kind of contracts must or must not be entered into.

isaac stanfield said...

Of course he should be able to discriminate. Any time, for any reason. The business owner should be able to make decisions and deal with the consequences. If another entity controls his choices, doesn't that mean the owner isn't truly the owner? Are you comfortable with government owning every industry?

Steve said...

One of the commenters above identified business licenses as the nexus which gives government the authority to control businesses. In other reports I've seen that because the florist/baker/photographer were "public accomodations" they were required to follow governmental edicts, such as servicing homosexuals.

Perhaps it is time that free men and women stand up for their rights, shed their licenses (which Rock defined above) and simply go about their personal business without seeking benefit or permission from another. As Article I, Section 10 says in part: No State shall ... pass any ... Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.

Steve said...


A fellow I know took advantage of a state law in Colorado. His son and future bride made a contract of marriage, complete with penalties for failure to comply, and filed it with the state. Then on the effective date of the contract he married the couple.

Thus the state was not a party to their marriage.

Apparently the state of Colorado (and Nevada where they lived) honored their marriage. I wonder if the Church would honor it.


Steve said...

The article and section are in the U S Constitution.

Ayon said...

For those who have stated that the floral shop owner or wedding cake baker have the right to refuse service to anyone for whatever reason: At what point does descrimination become unwarranted, or does it only become unwarranted when it affects one's self? Is it warranted for a land-lord to refuse to house people based on sexual orientation? How about race? Religion? Is it warranted for a business owner to refuse employment to someone based on sexual orientation, race or religion? What about a physician? Is it okay for a physician to refuse care to someone based on sexual orientation, race or religion? When is descrimination unwarranted, and what makes descrimination in one case warranted whereas in another case it is not warranted? We live in a pluralistic society and one aspect of government should be to protect minorities and the marginalized from descrimination of the majority. How else can we be a just society?

I realize that as an emerging atheist, I do not share the view that homosexuality is evil or an abomination, so I can't speak to that other than to say that that viewpoint no longer makes any sense to me. And I cannot adhere to the idea that homosexualtiy is a sickness, or the result of some mutation caused by a toxic environment since homeosexuality has been around throughout history and across the world.

I don't see how the State recognizing the right of all people to contract in marriage is detrimental to heterosexual unions--how does homogamy threaten heterogamy? Why is marriage in reality "a kind of relationship that does not exist except between male and female" (logs reply above)? Is that because that's how our society has historically treated it? What about same sex unions that have occurred throughout history and across cultures? Or does marriage specifically refer to the sex act between humans that produces or has the possibility of producing offspring? What kind of a relationship can "only" exist in an heterosexual union?

Linda Gale said...

Dear Ayon,

There shall be no discrimination under the law; all laws necessarily apply to everyone across the board.

How can anyone choose what to do with their private property, if there are restriction (not of their choosing) placed upon them, then they are not free under the law. I am not talking about statutes, which are another matter all together.

You would not like the idea of anyone and everyone having access to your home bathroom, because that belongs to you. How can someone buy a property (under your control), improve upon it (under your control), put out a sign for business (under your control), and not have control of said property? Who owns the property? How much money did the government invest into your business? The percentage of investment decides who owns the property.

If the government has no investment into your bakery, then how can they lawfully (not speaking of legally) tell you whom you must do business with? Where do private property rights end, and government rights begin?

Be careful what you ask for.

Jared Livesey said...


The foundations of a functional discussion are missing.

In order to build that common ground, I would ask that you pick up a copy of "Reason In the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education" by Phillip E. Johnson, and read it.

Then we might have something to discuss.

Until then, well, Jeffrey Dahmer said it best.

“If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway.”

“I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing.”

Luckily, most atheists are not as consistent as Dahmer.

Anonymous said...

NAC Article III. Section 1. Neither the united States in Congress assembled, nor any State of this Confederacy, shall have power to abridge, regulate, or license, a man’s right to take a wife, for men shall always be free to marry wives, without restriction and without permission from ecclesiastical or secular authorities, but, for the resulting marriage, whether confarreatio, or coemptio in manum, or usus, or any other form, with or without manus, and with or without a vow, every State shall issue certificates upon presentment of statements or affidavits by the man and his wife, which shall certify the marriage and its form, and such certificates, if available, shall be used in all marriage controversies at law, which controversies shall be judged according to the marriage form and the covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations or expectations that were made and entered into by the persons involved.

NAC Article III. Section 3. No State shall have power to divorce men who exercise their right to marry wives with manus, from their wives, nor shall the right and power of such men to issue a writ of divorcement, on their own authority, be abridged or regulated in any way, and such writs shall be binding and valid and final and unalterable decrees in the eyes of the law, so that the law shall view a wife so divorced as loosed from the law of her husband.

Brian B. said...

Hi Rock, Great points about those how those that have been bent on outlawing gay marriage have really hurt their own cause of trying protecting the benefits associated with traditional marriage. Although I am a believer in the divinity of traditional marriage, I also think that the Supreme Court's decision is the right one when considered through the lens of LDS scripture. Consider what the Lord taught in D&C 101:

76 And again I say unto you, those who have been scattered by their enemies, it is my will that they should continue to importune for redress, and redemption, by the hands of those who are placed as rulers and are in authority over you--

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

It feels like the Lord is saying that he established the constitution for the explicit purpose of protecting our ability to freely act and make choices according to the moral agency which God gave to all of us. He did this so that we might all be accountable for our own sins and not be able to blame others for the choices we make (or are forced or enticed to make due to the laws of the land). This sounds an awful like the same agency that we all fought for in the war in heaven. If I chose God’s plan of agency then, why would I now seek to undermine that plan by forcing others to live as I think they ought to?

Unknown said...

Let's be honest, this isn't about God's law, since when do we try to legislate commandments for non-believers? Give me some other examples? Why this law? This is about bullying and shaming people who share different values than you. I am also certain their is a bit of fear of the unknown, as in what does this mean going forward for me and our church? Let's also be honest about your own filthy sins and habits as we blithely take the sacrament and practice temple rights. We are all sinners. If you justify yourself thinking there are big sins (theirs) and little sins (mine) you are fooling only yourself. When we talk about "God's law", there isn't much in the scriptures to justify any view of marriage. And which law is it? The somewhat vague references to men and women from the bible? Or is it the one from section 132? Or is it Offical Declaration 1?

The two greatest commandments are to love God and then secondly to love our neighbor. All other laws and commandments are predicated on these two. By neighbor he didn't mean only those who think and act just like we do, or who go to church with you. Anyone can love their friends, that's nothing. How do we treat people who don't share our values? When you seek to control or deny others, that's not love, it's hatred. It's self justification. It's egotistical! I'm not OK denying any minority group the same rights the majority shares based on popularity or majority vote.

Mormons believe God did not leave the plates with Joseph, or have them visualized by any man in order to test our faith. Likewise, I believe that God didn't spell everything in regards to marriage to test our faith and see how we would treat each other. Especially in regards to the second greatest commandment, and also because at the very tenets of LDS faith lies the doctrine of agency. I've run into too many Christians and LDS in particular that don't follow these very basic tenets of the faith.

Unknown said...

wow! I am just loving so many thoughtful comments. I think I'll scrub in on this one since I am at the beginning of that 22-46 marriage-family creation demographic.

Personal disclosure statement: I survived the foster care system. I admit that I did do some experimental gay years. I am LDS and a returned missionary.

Now I am at the point where one ponders marriage. I see stats like this graphing the accelerating decline in the rate of marriage in the US; now to half of the rate it was in 1980 - and trending much lower. In 2007, the majority of women in my age demographic are single, never-married for the first time in American history. What accounts for it? Why is marriage dying as an American institution?

Was it the great society welfare programs of LBJ? The 70s femnist movement or the rise of Planned Parenthood convenient abortions or the militant LGBT mafia?

Or the drugs in every home ranging from Ambien to Prozac to oxy, not to mention caffeinated everything?

Or the need for three incomes instead of just dad working at the factory in order to support a family in our failing economy?

Is it the totally corrupt and out-of-control Family Court and social snooper system scaring off people my age from marriage leading to a likely and crippling divorce?

Maybe it's that we are either imprisoning or sending to war a huge part of our men?

Or is it because we are losing our strong spiritual heritage to over-regulation, secular insanity and unbridled selfishness?

Or is it because we are reaping the rewards of the secret combinations running this country as emphatically warned against in Ether 8?

Or is it that we have become an intolerant, dogmatic, hurray-for-my-team people because we are scared and desperately looking for something we can grab onto and trust in?

Or is it because ANYTHING touched by government beyond it's few constitutionally enumerated powers, pretty much always turns to crap?

Maybe marriage should have never have been moved outside of private contract or left as a church sacrament at most. In fact, it seems to me that moving marriage back to private contract and/or common law would eliminate a goodly part of the American horror show that marriage has become.

Unknown said...

“If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway.”

This quote is dumb. I have a conscience, which modifies my behavior within acceptable ranges. Only the ultra-religious (and apparently the author of this quote) see atheism as anarchy and chaos. In reality, it is probably more thoughtful than the silly fancies of most of the religious nuts out there.

Jared Livesey said...

So, your response, in full, is: "I don't feel the way the logic actually dictates reality is if my position is correct."

The contradiction between your conscience and your intellect is prima facie evidence your position is false.

Like I said, it is fortunate most atheists are not as consistent as Jeffrey Dahmer.

Unknown said...

If a belief in God, specifically a fear of God's punishment for sinning, is required for an individual to keep their behavior "within acceptable ranges", then that individual is not a good person. Integrity is measured by how you act when you believe no one is watching, including God.


Jared Livesey said...

If atheism is true, it doesn't matter how you act when you believe no one is watching.

And it also doesn't matter how you act when you believe anyone is watching.

What possible significance can chemically reacting sacks of mud actually have in an unfeeling, uncaring universe which produced them by rolling dice against the backdrop of eternity?

Answer: as much significance as a Yahtzee.

Ask not of rocks what they mean when they crash into each other.

Unknown said...


"If atheism is true, it doesn't matter how you act when you believe no one is watching.
And it also doesn't matter how you act when you believe anyone is watching."

That is exactly my point. If one believes there is no end punishment/reward to be handed out by God and yet still chooses to behave "within acceptable ranges", that individual is simply a good person and someone to emulate. Their actions are guided by their own conscience, by their own desire to be moral. In my opinion, that is far superior to an individual who does good for fear of God's reprisal or a desire for God's reward.

To believe that being a moral atheist is illogical is nothing more than closed-mindedness. One does not need a god to provide significance or meaning to life.


Jared Livesey said...

There are no "good" people if atheism is true. People are simply chemically reacting sacks of mud - or meat puppets, if you like, or highly complex rocks. An arbitrary arrangement of matter, in the end, just like the rest of the universe, and with no more morality attached to it.

"Good" presupposes some standard. You are free to declare "this or that is good, based on my whims!", but so was Jeffrey Dahmer. Apparently he found his lovers mmm mmm good.

You see, you have no non-arbitrary way of declaring how things ought to be from the way things are. In the end, all you can say against Dahmer is "I just don't feel that way!" Which you have, multiple times. Thankfully so, I'm sure your lovers would agree.

One needs more than mere arrangements of matter to provide significance or meaning to life. That you declare that you feel there is more to life than mere arrangements of matter says you, yourself, do not feel what you claim to believe is true.

I don't really care what, therefore, motivates your self-contradictory claim to belief. Your self-contradiction marks you as an unreliable reporter of reality. I would not wish to participate in a governmental system where you had capacity to prosecute your vision of the way things should be upon me by force of arms.

Just sayin'.

Jared Livesey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

"One needs more than mere arrangements of matter to provide significance or meaning to life."

In the end, this is the assumption upon which your entire argument is based. I don't agree with that statement. I don't feel that a belief in God is the only thing that can provide significance or meaning to life. Many people are currently living such lives. You claim they are living self-contradictory lives and don't truly live what they believe. Of course you do. That is because it contradicts the above statement. But just because you don't accept this idea of finding meaning/significance without a God, does not mean it isn't real for those that have found it.

"I don't really care what, therefore, motivates your self-contradictory claim to belief. Your self-contradiction marks you as an unreliable reporter of reality. I would not wish to participate in a governmental system where you had capacity to prosecute your vision of the way things should be upon me by force of arms."

And with that this conversation ends, as well as any influence you held with other readers. To admit to not care about someone else's beliefs (regardless if they are self-contradictory) speaks volumes.

For the record, I would not wish to participate in any governmental system where I or anyone had capacity to prosecute mine or anyone's vision of the way things should be upon you or anyone else by force of arms. Not sure where that one came from.


PNW_DPer said...

I'm reminded of a statement I read recently by the late author Kurt Vonnegut, a chain-smoking, sometimes vulgar, very worldly (by LDS standards) agnostic/atheist that he made during the first Iraqi war; to the effect that he was quite distressed at how the Iraqi POW's were being treated, that "...they are my brothers", having been a POW in Germany himself. I felt, when reading that statement, that he showed more of what the LDS call the Light of Christ than all of the pro-war Mormon, evangelical, and "born-again Christian" believers put together.

Paradoxically, LDS scriptures and even the New Testament support "Unknown" Jon's comment at 10:14 pm (without going into the subsequent arguing between Jon and Log), specifically Mormon's teachings in Moroni 8 and 9 that charity, or in other words loving and respecting everyone as yourself is the greatest of all, and D&C 58:26 which indicates that keeping behavior "within acceptable ranges" (as Jon put it above) out of fear of punishment instead of love and charity does not, in fact, receive any reward from God. Also 2 Timothy 1:7 where the Apostle Paul states that true belief in God does not come from fear, but from power, and love, and a sound mind.

Jared Livesey said...

Maybe we should take a vote.

How many people would willingly follow someone who openly contradicts himself, who acts against what he says he believes?

How many people would be comfortable in allowing such an individual to have power to point a gun at one's head - you know, be in charge of writing and / or enforcing laws upon you?

Yeah... I think I'd like to avoid those situations.

And, lastly, if not caring why someone's lying is a moral failing, well, then, I'm a moral failure.

Jared Livesey said...

"For the record, I would not wish to participate in any governmental system where I or anyone had capacity to prosecute mine or anyone's vision of the way things should be upon you or anyone else by force of arms. Not sure where that one came from."

And yet, the entire conversation stems from a post about participating in a governmental system where people have the capacity to prosecute their vision of the way things should be upon me and everyone else by the force of arms.

Did I really have to point that out?

I mean, really?

Dox said...

"How many people would willingly follow someone who openly contradicts himself, who acts against what he says he believes?

How many people would be comfortable in allowing such an individual to have power to point a gun at one's head - you know, be in charge of writing and / or enforcing laws upon you?"

That's pretty much the situation we find ourselves in right now. I don't like it at all.

Steak Presedent said...

Either few people seem to understand what atheism means or they do but use the word to mean whatever they want, regardless.

From Oxford dictionary:

Atheist: "Person who does not believe in God."

It does not mean a person who does not believe in spirituality or believes that the material universe is all there is. Nor does it mean a person who believes that human lives have no meaning. One can be an atheist but believe in the existence of the human spirit or soul (or the spirit/soul of anything) and the existence of an afterlife.

I understand the convenience of using the term atheist to describe a person who does not believe in any of the above or any other religious or spiritual ideas. However, problems arise when one assumes that just because a person claims they are an atheist they therefore do not believe in any of these ideas. This is what we have right now with Log and Unknown, with the latter stating that they can find meaning in life and the former arguing they cannot due their lack of belief in a God, which would assume a lack of belief in meaning in his or her life.

Steak Presedent said...

"How many people would willingly follow someone who openly contradicts himself, who acts against what he says he believes?"

If Unknown declared that they believe there is meaning in one's life whether a person is an atheist or not and then afterwards states that one's life is meaningless, then there would be a contradiction.

I understand that to Log, believing that humans are just an assortment of matter, formed through random evolution, would mean there is no point in life. I agree to a degree because if there was no creator, there would be no purpose behind this arrangement of matter into a human being. But whether there was a purpose or not, a human can find meaning in his or life through enjoyment of certain pursuits. The human, somehow, still has thoughts and feelings, and things found along the journey of life matter to him/her. To me, this would lead me to believe there is a quale, the "way things seem to us" as Daniel Dennett put it; the pain or a headache or the redness of the sunset sky. Or in other words, that there is more to the universe than what is physically present, which we can sense. Believing in God or in anything spiritual has more to do with this than in merely physically sensing something.

Unknown said...

I feel this is a great summary viewpoint pertinent to this discussion:

"From its inception in American history, freedom of religion actually meant freedom from the dominant religions of the time. The religious refugees were escaping mainstream European and Christian religions such as the Anglican church or the Catholic church.

Stop and think about that for a minute. The first Amendment was written to protect people from forced participation in mainstream Protestantism. It was meant to protect minority religions and minority religious viewpoints from the majority.

Frequently, religious values seep into our legal system. This is inevitable, and even desirable, because religious values are often human values. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ makes sense regardless of what religion you adhere to. ‘Thou shalt not steal’, or ‘bear false witness’, have implications on a society in general, that make them subject to legal codification.

On the flip side, there are numerous laws that actually restrict religious practice. Mormons in the late 1800’s experienced this when the federal government imprisoned church leaders for practicing plural marriage. Native Americans experienced this when they were forced to fight for their right to use a hallucinogenic drug, peyote, in their religious rituals as they had been doing for hundreds of years. Jehovah’s Witnesses experience this today when their children are forced to receive blood transfusions in life-threatening situations, as do Christian Scientists when they are forced to allow medical treatment of their children. Muslim taxi drivers in Minnesota are forced to transport people who carry alcohol against their religious objections. Muslims and Fundamentalist Mormons are both restricted from legal polygamy and from marrying under-age brides. All of these are cases where the adherents have every right to their belief, but they are restricted in their practice. The justification for these restrictions is that a religious practice is violating the rights of another person or harming society.

‘Religious liberty’ has never meant the right of a majority religion (or religions) to impose religious practices or religious rules on non-adherents. In America, we can be sure that Catholics can’t make birth control illegal, even though they are the largest religion. We can be sure that if Muslims become a dominant religion in any community, they still can’t require all women to cover their heads or impose Sharia law. We can be sure that if Amish are a majority in some community, they can’t impose their lifestyle on non-Amish living there.

In the case of marriage laws, there are many dominant religions who define marriage as one-man/one-woman. However, there are several religions who define it differently and bless same-sex marriages. The irony is, if a religious freedom argument were relevant, then it would actually work in favor of same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court will never be able to justify forcing any religion to adopt a practice of performing marriages that it does not believe in. But, more importantly, if religious freedom is grounds for interference around marriage, the Supreme Court should protect those minority religions that do want to perform same-sex marriages (as well as those that don’t). This is consistent with the principles of religious liberty and separation of church and state that inspired our founding fathers to write the first amendment–in order to protect minority religions from the dominant religions."

Unknown said...

Log, your arguments are based on black and white dichotomy and circular reasoning. Further, your reducing atheism to an extreme silliness: "chemically reactive sacks of mud" is a way to demean and thus discredit opposing viewpoints. Have you considered maybe atheist just don't believe in the Christian God? Or the Mormon God(s)?

Personally I'd rather be surrounded by people that act out of an inner ethical and moral integrity and not because of fear of eternal consequence or promises of eternal life, thousands of virgins, what have you. The first is a higher developmental stage, the latter a lower developmental state. We can argue if there are Mormons who develop past early developmental stages or if the religion stunts personal development but that is the another topic.

I assume you are LDS. If so, then you should believe in both the principle of agency, and a God who loves his children unconditionally. If you believe in these principles, which there are scriptural evidence, then you should be a little kinder and more accepting as you emulate that model. If you believe in vengeance, conditional love, and coercion, and feel the right to scold, shame and demean others until they see your viewpoint, then you should know that many don't want to be associated with such people or such a God. There is much good to be found scripturally. There is also much horror and terrible things which have been done by those who believe they are on earth to carry our God's vengeance to non-believers, all in his name. Do you believe in conditional love or unconditional love. Do you believe in agency? Do you believe it is your role in life to enforce your God's will on other people who don't share your views? That's not a position others are going to feel very good about. It damages the message of Christ and bastardizes the reason for the religion. In fact, according to Mormon theology, that was exactly Satan's plan was it not?

The argument of logic in atheism vs logic in Mormonism would be a good one but not fit for this thread.

Irven said...

If a Muslim taxi driver in Minnesota is driving for a company he doesn't own, he is subject to the terms of his employment. He is using another person's(employers) property, therefore he is subject to the property owners terms, not his. If the Muslim taxi driver is independent and drives only for himself, there can be no justification for him being being forced to haul people and alcohol against his will.

How have another person's rights been violated by someone refusing service to another? Do people have a right to taxi service, or any other service? If so, how are those rights derived? How has "society" been harmed if a Muslim taxi driver doesn't haul drunks? How is "society" a damaged party?

Unknown said...

oh hurray! does this mean that the peeing contest is finally over? I was assuming that it must be a guy thing to mercilessly beat a dead argument for so long.

Our country is moving into choppy uncharted waters where the traditional definitions of marriage and family are being challenged like never before.

Log said: The state is NOT getting out of the marriage business peaceably. Too many fingers are in too many pies. So you deal with the system the way it is, or you kvetch [ie. complain a lot]

That's certainly true. I mean, the family court is by far the most profitable of all the courts including constitutional, corporate or even the IRS courts - put together. So change is NOT coming from the top. But what is happening is that ordinary people are voting against the marriage business. This is evident in the fact that marriage rates are plummeting so quickly now that traditional licensed marriage is on trend to become nothing more than a societal anachronism by 2030.

I was really hoping that Thomas B Monson was going to address this today in some way, but his talk really was more like be nice to others, comb your hair and don't use drugs (although I'm guessing that prescription drugs was the unmentioned exception... oh just don't get me started on this).

Anyway, Mr Waterman said: It sounds unbelievable, but in Mormon marriages today, the desire of the state trumps the will of God. And this holds true even in Utah, where common law marriage is still recognized. What that means is the government would prefer you get a license, but will still recognize the validity of your marriage even if you don't. Your bishop will make you get one anyway. I've wondered why that is for over thirty years, and only recently figured out why.

I can't wait to see what Mr Waterman is cooking up on this!

Jared Livesey said...

Miguel and Gregory,

"[I]f my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms." - JBS Haldane

Unfortunately, until you grok this statement fully, you do not understand atheism. By the word "atheism," as is the most common meaning in our culture today, we may understand it to be referring to metaphysical naturalism - succinctly, the idea that there exists nothing but particles, forces, and the void.

Unknown said...

Log, deflection is another tactic when there are no more points to be made. Do you want to argue the logic of Christianity or Mormonism? If the defining premise is "faith = truth" (based on a book, a man, a heavenly visitation), well I guess you effectively shut everyone else down, at least in your own mind. Except there are so many sects of Christianity and far more non-christian religions all claiming their unique sect is "the truth" because a certain man proclaimed it to be so. Once you put forth that impossible to prove premise as fact, and then defend every other belief/commandment as truth because the book, the man, the angel told you it was so, there is nothing left to discuss. However, with that logic, anyone can make up any fantasy and claim it was divine edict. In fact that's exactly where mankind has stood throughout recorded history. The problem lies not in your belief system, you can believe whatever you want to as long as you don't hurt me or trample my rights. The problem comes into play when you apply coercion and try to force all others to adhere to your particular set of beliefs. If you claim truth based on the millions who testify your brand of faith, you realize that there are billions that would argue with your millions, all in the name of faith. And what if I pray for an answer and get a different answer than you do? I've found Mormons dismissive of such: "well you must be sinning or you didn't pray well enough or you would have got the same answer I did". Note that nowhere am I denying your right to believe as you wish. I personally believe God did not provide every answer on purpose, to see how we would treat each other in love and kindness or in defiance, rigidity and belligerence.

The answers to the following would help me understand your stance a bit better:

Do you believe in a God who has unconditional love for all of his children?
Do you believe in the LDS concept of agency?
Do you believe it is your personal role as a Mormon/Christian to extend your personal beliefs/commandments and concept of consequence for all of humanity? i.e.. Christians/Mormon law for all?
Do you believe in "tough love" or "means to an end" (coercion) as a justification of promoting your religious viewpoint on those who don't share them?
How does LGBT marriage hurt or threaten you personally?

Unknown said...

Gay sexuality IS legitimate, institutional or not

Jared Livesey said...


I find it interesting that you consider my efforts to ensure we intend the same content when we use the same words to be "deflection." Without agreeing on semantic content, while we may appear to converse, in reality we're just slinging gibberish at each other.

Your questions are irrelevant, again because we don't agree on what the words mean, and your last question tells me uncomplimentary things about you: it tells me you cannot be troubled to read my previous comments in their entirety including the links, or it tells me you are unable to understand what you read.

Either way, there is no merit to my repeating what I've already said or linked to, and which you can re-read at your leisure.

Unknown said...

Mr Waterman's salient point to me was: We can't get people to change. Well, actually we can, but that takes love, not lawsuits. And in order to bring unconditional love into play, we're going to have start by changing ourselves... Rights belong to individuals, not to groups [because] A definable, uniform [group] does not exist.

I think this is like a cool corollary to the famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi — 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'

It seems to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is, at it's core, about literal individual transformation rather than reformation or change by external coercion.

(Luke 17:20–21)
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

It's always been there. The portal to light and truth is engineered into each of us.

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?

Thanks Mr Waterman for another great thought provoking post. I knew you wouldn't let me down - and you didn't.

Joshua Tolley said...

Speaking of wacky licenses:

Unknown said...

Ive read your blog sporadically with much interest.
I have to admit parts of this post really pissed me off. To be fair, you did provide a disclaimer that the section in question will piss of the gays..and it sure did.

When you open the door to the public, you need to serve the public. We dont live in a country anymore that use to display 'No Irish Allowed,' or 'No Jews Allowed' within their shop windows - because that was discrimination.

Why is it that these bakeries or pizza places, etc will cater to people who have eaten shell fish, wear mixed fabrics or have had sexual relations with their menstruating wife - but they wont make goods for a gay wedding...

The Bible specifically calls out the above as sins, yet people who indulge in the above are served - without hesitation - within these religious businesses that refuse to cater a gay wedding. That is discrimination. These religious businesses are picking and choosing from the Bible.

If they are going to holler violation of their religious freedom, than they need to ensure that they dont provide any business to individuals committings all acts labeled sinful in the Bible.

Thank you for your time.

Shaun said...

It's not about religious freedom. Anyone who claims it is doesn't understand. It is only about property rights. Many goods are scarce. In order to resolve conflicts over the right to control those goods, we follow the axiomatic principle of private property, or private ownership. Ownership is nothing more than the right to control a scarce good. When you walk into a bakery, you do not own anything in there. You do not own the oven. You do not own the ingredients. You do not own the four walls, and you do not own the baker. The baker owns it all. It is hers. She and only she has the right to control her property,and neither you nor anyone else has any say, unless you make yourself out to be a robber and an enslaver.

She can discriminate against anyone she wants to - Jews, blacks, whites, gays, stoners, cops, Marines, or baseball players. You might think she's a jerk for doing so, and you might even be right, but that doesn't give you or anyone the right to violate her property rights. She has the right to refuse to perform her labor with her property for any reason or no reason at all. The fact that her door is open doesn't mean she's bound to serve anyone, just because you think that's what it should mean. It's her business, and she gets to decide what her open door means.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Right you are, Shaun. Presumably by now, "Unknown" has read part two of this series, which addresses fundamental rights.

Unknown said...

They are arguing on the basis of religious freedom - not property rights - if youre going to claim that you cant sell/bake a wedding cake to sinful people... Then you shouldnt sell/bake a wedding cake for any sin listed in the bible....

Even if you threw in the property rights argument, the reality is that no public business would survive if business owners acted on their property rights by refusing service to groups of people.
Also, I doubt the owners in question actually own the space where they are conducting business... Most likely they are on a lease. They dont actually 'own' the shop.
And Im sure some of their equipment is probably leased as well.
If the bldg owners and equipment owners put a mandate in their lease that all customers have to be served, regardless of ones religious beliefs, there would be yet another bitch fest about religious freedom. There would be a suit against thr bldg owners for violating religious freedom - even though the bldg owners were exercising their property rights...
So it all comes back to the religious freedom argument... You dont want to sell to sinners, then you shouldnt sell to ALL types of sinners listed in the bible.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Again, Joshua, if you wish to remain on point, I would read part two of this series, which I linked to above in my response to Shaun.

It is entirely lawful for a business owner to sell to whomever he wishes, but there are conditions that exist for holding oneself out in public commerce. Still, there are exceptions, and refusing to cater, for whatever reason, whether religious, personal, or just not wanting to, is completely within one's rights. Please read the piece where I address those concerns.