Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Gay People Are Getting Married

For the last many years there has been a huge fight in America about marriage equality. How do I know about this? Because I've seen people scream about it on Facebook since at least 2008.

In recent weeks the issue of marriage equality has been at the forefront of everyone's attention in Utah. This is because in December a federal judge in Salt Lake City struck down Utah's ban on "same sex marriage" as unconstitutional.

Since then, all of the gay people in Utah have gotten married and divorced at least 46 times. Because they can.

And my personal belief on this? That's awesome for them. And for everyone else. Because it means that we are moving in the direction of getting better about putting ourselves in other people's shoes.

I've never really made Stranger a place for political rants. And besides threatening to slap your children in the grocery store (and then repeatedly bringing it up) I don't tend to talk about controversial topics here. Today, I don't really plan to rant about marriage equality. And you would die of boredom if you heard my thoughts on the courts' role in it all anyway.

And I guess that's appropriate, because I don't spend much of my time thinking or arguing about marriage equality in my non-blogging life. This might be shameful, but I've never really been able to care that much about the topic. I've tried to care! Believe me, I've tried! But every time I do, this happens:

[Looking in the mirror]

Eli: Ok, Eli. Marriage equality is an important topic. It's time to become an activist. You need to care about this so your plant's grandchildren will one day be proud of you and--oh my gosh! I should eat some ice cream!

[End scene]

Over the years whenever I've heard people start arguing about the topic I find myself tuning out the whole thing. Recently I've been really thinking about why it is that I seem to feel apathy over the issue. I have felt some guilt over this. Because this is a real issue with really important consequences for a lot of people. And it seems like I shouldn't feel anything close to apathy about this.

As to why I haven't been able to get myself to want to become very involved, I hadn't come up with a real answer until just a week or two ago. And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had engaged in a conversation about the way we (society) treat and have treated gay people. The person on the other end of the conversation said some things that sounded so close-minded and uncaring to me.

I got home after that conversation and just kept thinking and thinking and thinking about it. And I felt myself getting upset about the kind of attitude I had just witnessed. And I found myself thinking about some of my gay friends who have felt shame, and loneliness, and sadness, and have felt like nobody was listening because of that very attitude.

I thought about one friend who told me several years ago that he actually started praying to just die because it would be so much easier than continuing to try to live among so many people who go about their lives with smiles on their faces and stones in their hands. People who have been regarded for generations as standing up for what's right because of the way they have launched those stones. People who had convinced my friend that what he had felt since childhood was shameful and made him less of a person.

I thought about the teenage boys and girls who have spent countless nights sobbing themselves to sleep because they feel they have no one to turn to about this big thing they don't understand. No one to turn to because their whole lives they've heard their friends and families mock gay people and talk as though one's worth is directly tied to their sexual orientation.

I thought about the young boys and girls who have hated themselves over something they couldn't control.

I thought about the young boys and girls who have been alienated for feeling something they never wanted to feel.

I thought about the men and women who have been abandoned by their families.

I thought about the young people who have killed themselves. WHO HAVE FREAKING KILLED THEMSELVES. Let alone, the ones who have just prayed to die.

And that's when it hit me. As I sat in my apartment feeling so much anger and frustration over this, it finally occurred to me that the reason I haven't become passionate about marriage equality is because it feels like an empty victory when we are SO failing at a much more basic task:

Treating people like they are worth something.

Who cares if people can go to the alter if we're alienating them on the way?

We have failed.

And we are still failing. At least where I live, we are still failing.

Probably not intentionally, but we are doing a terrible job of making people feel comfortable talking about something that they can't control but that affects every single aspect of their life from start to finish.

This may be a terrible excuse to not wave the flag of justice on the legal issue of marriage equality. I didn't say it was a good excuse. It was just interesting to finally identify the reason behind my supposed apathy.

And I've been thinking about that a lot in the past several days. I've been thinking about how I haven't really helped much in this area. I've been thinking about how I'm failing by not taking the opportunity to stand up for what I believe in. And how I have a forum here and could at least share my thoughts and hope that it helps in some small way to move people in the direction of kindness and understanding.

So that's what I want to do. Truthfully, if not bluntly.

Maybe this will come across as too aggressive and too preachy and too self-righteous. But if it gets one person to treat another person a little more like a person, then the social implications are totally worth it to me:

If you are doing anything in your life that would make your gay friend or child or sibling feel like they would be mocked or judged or condemned if they came to you to talk about their sexual orientation, then shame on you.

If you are acting in any way that makes another person feel like they are broken or diseased or disturbed because of their sexual orientation, then shame on you.

I don't care if you think you are fulfilling some great and noble purpose. I don't care if you think you are just loyally following the tenants of your inspired religion. Nobody has any business making someone feel less about themselves because of their sexual orientation. And if your religion is the same as mine, I can tell you for certain that mistreating gay people is not what we believe.

If you want a religious explanation for why that kind of behavior is ungodly, I'll give you this: the Great Commandment is to love others. This is because loving others is the ultimate selfless act. And selflessness sets you free. Every other commandment and teaching only makes sense inasmuch as it allows us to fulfill the Great One. And if some teaching or policy or doctrine has caused you to make another person feel bad about something they can't control--something that terrifies them--then either the policy is misguided or you aren't correctly following it.

And now, a quick word to the person who has ever felt inadequate because of his or her sexual orientation:

You are not worth less than anyone else.

You are not broken.

You are not a mistake.

You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Never ever ever let anyone convince you otherwise. Anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself over this is wrong. The issue is complicated, but that point is simple. You are no more inadequate than anyone else.

Maybe some of you out there feel like you need to fight against same-sex marriage. By all means, go right ahead. And I will defend you when others assume that your stance means that you hate. Because I know you probably don't hate. And maybe God really does want you to speak out the way you are speaking out. And maybe you really are doing some good. I don't claim to know everything.

But keep in mind that while you fight your holy war, you may be doing unspeakable damage to some very hurt people around you. People who can't figure out why others who don't know what it's like to walk in their shoes are expending so much energy to fight against this and expending so little energy to help the hurt feel safe and loved.

[Steps off the soapbox. Retreats to eat some ice cream.]

~It Just Gets Stranger

145 comments:

  1. Beautifully said.

    Signed,
    A fan in Canada

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  2. Thank you. As a queer Mormon, thank you.

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  3. You are awesome for saying this so directly, lovingly, and faithfully.

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  4. So well said. We are all God's children so let us treat each other thusly.

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  5. I agree with you somewhat, Eli. The worth of a human being is definitely NOT tied to sexual orientation, and it truly makes me sad to think my opposition of gay marriage might come across as hateful or trying to belittle someone else. (Not by you, Eli. I mean by anyone.)

    I believe, as it says in the Bible, that homosexuality is a sin. That being said, I would NEVER intentionally insult someone for how they feel and act. It's not up to me to judge, but I still can't support something that I believe is a sin.

    I hope that makes sense.

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    2. I hope this comes across as respectful, just my opinion. I think it's important to distinguish that Being homosexual ISN'T the sin. Being something can never be sinful, that implies that someone is a mistake, and God doesn't make mistakes. He gives us challenges, he allows temptations to be lodged against us. So I personally believe that when the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, it means that acting upon those urges is the sin (actions being the key word there).

      On the same token though, I would never deny or cast a stone at anyone who wants what every single human being on the planet wants, connection. How grand the mansion of the individual who chooses a celibate lifestyle and withstood temptation. But I will not condemn anyone for wanting to find someone to love, to be loved, and have a connection to another human being.

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    3. I agree with you Nathan, and partially with you Amanda. However, as best as I can understand, homosexuality is a very very very deeply ingrained, possibly partially genetically pre-disposed struggle that many people face. However, I do not believe that it is something that you are 'born with' for the simple fact that God created us and he would not create something that he condemns. It may be the most difficult struggle and temptation in our world today. Period. I have many gay friends, most of whom have better relationships and tolerance for others than the Christians I know. However, while i won't get into the many facets and reasons I still believe homosexuality to be a sin on here, suffice to say, it is wrong, but frankly, I have NO IDEA how to approach people about it. In love, yes, but otherwise, i got nothing. And that's b/c the people i have spoken to truly and wholeheartedly believe in their orientation. They don't give any of the earmarks of trying to justify something they know is wrong is or it simply being a 'struggle.' They really believe and as mentioned, will DIE for it. How do you start a conversation about that? How do you convince others that it is still wrong when you don't even know how it happened to them in the first place? How it didn't seem to be a conscious decision on their part? How?? so that's where I am.

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    4. Nathan (and Eli), thank you. All I really feel I can add is amen.

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    5. The problem you all have is believing that god has anything to do with this... We are organic beings grown from cells. Our personalities and predispositions are a matter of brain patterns, heredity, and environment. Regardless if one believes in god or not, it is ridiculous to ignore the scientific truths of our biology.

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    6. I have nothing against homosexuals. I just don't believe in granting special rights to people just because they choose to act a certain way and practice a certain lifestyle. Laws against discrimination are meant to protect people who are ill treated because of their age, race, sex and other things that they cannot control.

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  6. This is exactly my views on this subject. Thank you Eli for putting this out there.

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  7. I love when Mormon's come out and talk about gay rights/human decency so openly like this. Its hard just supporting gay marriage or gay rights in the church, I can't even imagine what it would be like to discover you are gay. How do you reconcile your support of equality and your obviously strong testimony of the Gospel? It has been a hard battle for me but I focus on loving others (like you do) and when it comes to supporting gay marriage, I just kind of separate church and state. Its really the only thing that has worked for me so far. It helps to hear what others have done.

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    1. The Church and the Family Proclamation make it clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. Jesus Christ also made it clear that we are to love and not judge others. I don't think that loving gay people = supporting gay marriage. I can love someone without agreeing with what they do.

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    2. When you love someone you don't ignore a culture or set of laws that treats or values them as Less. If you're not helping, you're hurting.
      Sexual identity and orientation is more serious than "agree to disagree".

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    3. What is funny about mormons is that they can push us to believe in their beliefs but they not willing to believe how we being gay can love other gay, even to get married <3

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    4. ok a non. no, typical Mormon, or even a typical Christian or Catholic, person may not believe how a gay person can love and get married to another gay, but that doesn't mean all people of the above faiths do not believe that. Just because Eli is Mormon in faith, it doesn't mean that he can't see any of it. He obviously is not opposed to it because he admitted that he has gay friends. In my honest opinion I don't think he was trying to push his beliefs on anyone, but he was just trying to state his stance on the same sex marriage issue within the United States. Not all Mormons push everyone to believe what they believe, at all. Most Mormons I know are very respective of their friends beliefs.
      ~ Brooke(:

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    5. I've got to agree with Brooke and Cait here. Just because someone of any religion, Christian, Catholic, etc believes homosexualitiy is a sin, that doesn't mean you should support laws that oppress them. If you truly want to show love to them, you can't support the denial of their rights as a equal citizen. In my opinion, you should never force your own beliefs on anyone...especially here in the US, where we supposedly have separation of church and state.

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  8. Well said! Thank you for writing this!

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  9. One of the things I truly love about this blog is how effortlessly you can transition between comedic crazy and deep and thoughtful. Keep it coming!

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  10. THAT'S RIGHT BRO! (high five)
    It is so very important for us to use every resource we have in this world to create a just and peaceful place for everyone to coexist.
    Now please excuse me, I have some brats to smack.

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  11. Well said. Thank you.

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  12. You could replace "gay" with pretty much any persecuted people in this post, and the point would still be valid and beautifully made. We need to treat each other with respect and loving kindness. Thank you for saying this.

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  13. Thank you so much for this. This means a lot to me (and probably others), especially coming from someone in the Mormon religion. Thank you.

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  14. Great words, Eli! Thanks so much for writing this and encouraging us to love one another!

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  15. Thank you for your words. It is not our place to judge people that right is held by God and God only.

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  16. Absolutely amazing, so beautifully stated, thank you so much. I agree with Kat above me...you could replace "gay" with so many other words.

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  17. Amen Eli! I was born in raised in Utah...in a really sheltered part of Utah. But my parents believed in the power of travel to broaden their childrens minds and I have been lucky enough to learn about humanity through world travel...something many of the kids I grew up with never got to experience.

    Sometimes when I see my friends from high school who have never been more than a 100 miles from where they were born, I keep my mouth shut to "keep the peace", but more and more I find myself avoiding them because they "go about their lives with smiles on their faces and stones in their hands. People who have been regarded for generations as standing up for what's right because of the way they have launched those stones."

    I try to not get political as well. I was raised to not discuss sex, politics, or religion in social settings (that includes 21st century social settings online). But now I'm a straight, divorced, Mormon woman in Utah and one of my part time jobs is working in a small local boutique that sells lingerie and sex toys, talk about a paradox. I saw so many people slink in embarrassed and ashamed of who they were and something as natural and universal as sex...and I got angry. I've been bullied, I've been made to feel ashamed for being different than everyone else, and I don't want anyone else to feel that. So yes, it's great that Utah is taking steps towards marriage equality, wonderful, but we should be taking steps to human equality and human kindness on the most basic lever, this post is a wonderful step in that direction. Thank you.

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  18. Well said! I couldn't have put it better myself.

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  19. I am so happy to hear this well-considered, thoughtful, and compassionate argument. I still remember the pain on my friend Dean's face when he realized, an hour before his wedding, that his parents weren't going to show up, because they believed gay marriage was wrong and were offended that he retained elements of his Greek Orthodox faith in his ceremony. Every time the issue of gay marriage comes up I just remember the look in his eyes. Love is a human right. For serious.

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  20. Exactly: love thy neighbor as thyself. Bottom line. I knew I loved you the first time I read your column, Eli.

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  21. Echoes a lot of great sentiments I've been hearing more and more recently. Thanks for putting yourself out there and being a decent human being. It's so important to address more of the root of the problem. As a well-adjusted gay Mormon who was TAed by you, your words resonate and I am even more pleased to know you.

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    1. Thank you. I'm sure I'm happy to know you, too. If you were here right now, I would have us form a contract stating as much.

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    2. Way to ruin a moment. Now I'm a little less pleased to know you. ;)

      (also, I hate when I don't notice when I'm posting anonymously. I'm sure it's a bit weird to have anonymous people saying they know you.)

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    3. Not weird. Every time an anonymous comment claims to know me, I fantasize that it was left by Paul Simon. So you actually just ruined a moment for me. But in any event, I am pleased to know you, Brandon.

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  22. Thank you, Eli, for putting into words the way so many of us feel. You did it beautifully!

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  23. http://www.lds.org/topics/same-gender-attraction?lang=eng

    Your comments are almost exactly aligned with what this site says, and I really appreciate that.

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  24. This is perfect. Thank you. Warms my heart.

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  25. I am gay and have been reading Stranger for about a year. This just made me cry. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much it means to people like me to hear words like this from people like you. It makes all the difference in the world.

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  26. Eli, I admire you for speaking out about this. I cannot begin to imagine what someone must feel who has these feelings and continues to go to church and to do the best that they can. I think we do have a long way to go when it comes to compassion. At the same time, I have to wonder if as a church we are backing down from defending traditional marriage because we don't want to be seen as bullies. The Family Proclamation and the Plan of Salvation make it very clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. I know you weren't necessarily saying this, at the same time I believe there may be others reading this post that feel that loving gay people has to equal supporting gay marriage. It is a tricky balance in figuring out how to love them without supporting what they do but I believe that Christ was the perfect example of this. With the woman who was caught in adultery he first responded to her with love and expressed that He did not condemn her. After His first response of love He said, "Go thy way and sin no more." He still had love for her while asking her to live a different way. Like I said at the beginning though, you are absolutely right that as followers of Jesus Christ our first action should always be compassion and understanding.

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    1. I appreciate your comment here. It was very respectfully written. I love your example of the compassion Jesus showed while also saying, "go and sin no more" - I wish more people on both sides of the spectrum could understand that loving someone with same-sex attraction does not mean I have to support gay rights or I'm intolerant and ignorant. I think we all struggle with shame in our sinful natures. And that shame can feel weighty with other people's criticism heaped on. I agree with Eli's thoughts that we need to treat each other with more worth.

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    2. I so agree with the statement made by Mare. let them go and sin no more. Your Heavenly father loves his children. However the commandments are in place. Learn of them and go and do likewise.

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    3. Adultery is choice. "Same-sex attraction" is not. You are free to believe what you believe according to your religion... but don't compare gay people to adulterers.

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  27. Loved this. Especially since I thought that Mormons were against gays. Shed some light for me.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Mormons, or Latter Day Saints are not against gays. Your Heavenly Father has plainly stated that marriage is between a man and a woman end of conversation.

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  28. Eli,

    I don't know if you read all of these comments. But in the hopes that you do, this post really means more to me than you may think. I am the gay person who's parents abandoned them. I am the gay person who has been attacked on the street for being who I am. I will never back down and will always stand up for myself, in a way that does not include hate. I don't hate the people who do these things to me, because they simply do not understand.

    Anyway, I am not trying to post anything long sob story, just wanted to say THANKS! It is people like you help people like me realize there is good in the world.

    V

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    1. Just wanted to let you know I did read this comment (and I always read all comments). Thank you for not hating. Stay strong.

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    2. I read your comments and I so agree however the statement still stands marriage is between a man and a woman. go sin no more he said.

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  29. Your old babysitter from a million years ago approves of this post. Thanks Eli, you're still a good kid.

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  30. BEAUTIFUL words, Eli! This post hit the nail on the head. I've seen people disrespect gay people (and other people, really) time and time again. I just don't understand the need to cut people down and call them horrible names, etc. We were put on this Earth to love each other, not cut each other down. Let's hope that society as a whole makes some big steps in stopping this behavior.

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    1. It's so strange to me. Even if you disagree with their choices, treating them badly isn't going to make them live how you want them too. It's just going to make them feel bad.

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    2. *to. I can't believe I made that mistake! Curses!

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  31. While I appreciate the sentiment above, I think it is important to note that for many Christians, myself included, demonstrating love for our fellow man begins in uplifting and defending those that are experiencing hate and inequality. Showing love begins in ensuring that those people are protected and that they are able to exercise the same freedoms as the rest of us. I cannot personally claim to be practicing that perfect love if I am enabling the oppression of so many good people, who may not believe the same things I do, but who suffer daily because of something quite outside the realm of their personal choice. Making the decision to not raise a helping hand is, to me, quite the same as proclaiming opposition.

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  32. In the same instance gays need to respect other peoples believes that marriage is sacred, between a man and women. They mock and ridicule straight people who believe this. They have beliefs just as gays have theirs. Maybe there are gays out there that want a normal married life, not just for benifits or just to prove that they can. I just don't believe in it. It makes it even harder to believe they do it for love as a man and a woman feel when you see them in gay parades with men in dresses and nipple clamps and showing all these sex preversions. Ive known lots of gay people and seen and heard others talking and fidelity does not seem to concern them. If you get married, it is to one person. Absolutely a gay person can be a good person, but sex perversions, infidelity, or marriage for benifits is not traditional or right in my opinion. We all have a right to our beliefs and opinions.

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    1. There are so many things to say here. But I'll just go with this one: gay people absolutely do not have the market cornered on "sex perversions." And it's wholly offensive to simplify an entire group's character based on what some representatives of that group have done in a parade.

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    2. I don't know, Anonymous 11:46am. I'm straight and married, in a pretty liberal state, and I've never felt ridiculed or mocked by gay people for my hetero/"traditional" marriage. Also, I've seen all kinds of wacky behavior from both straight and gay people in parades (mardi gras for instance), but I don't think that's representative of the whole.

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    3. It is utterly ridiculous and small minded to reduce an entire group to the behavior of some. And I whole heartedly agree with Anonymous above :) Keep it real people.

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    4. Everybody has a right to their opinions, and unfortunately I think this opinion (Anon at 11:26's) is common. You say you've "known many gay people" but I find that hard to believe if your impression of a gay person is a man dancing in a parade with nipple clamps. I have numerous friends and colleagues who are gay, but you wouldn't know that unless you got to know them well. I don't go around saying, "Hi, I'm Lindsay and I'm married to a man!" and neither do they. They are well educated, well dressed, and just as "normal" as you and me. Many of them are in committed relationships far longer than my marriage so far; in fact, I had several gay friends and relatives attend my wedding last year. They were nothing but happy and supportive of my marriage. Just like I would be of theirs. There are A LOT of unfaithful straight people out there, but I don't see that being used as an argument as to why men and women shouldn't get married. Just because some straight women are prostitutes, doesn't mean that we're all selling our bodies for money. And just because some gay men like to dance in parades, doesn't mean they're all exhibitionists who sleep around.

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    5. Thank you anonymous at 1:39. Well said

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    6. 50% of marriage in the US end in divorce... How sacred is marriage to the general population of heterosexuals??

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  33. We ALL need to be better people to one another... screaming at the clerk at the store bc you didn't get your way and making someone feel bad for not aligning with your beliefs is all pretty crappy. We're better than that, y'all. We have to get along to survive, and we can't do that if we only think about ourselves.
    Just like the government shouldn't tell us we "have" to buy insurance, they also shouldn't tell us who we can and cannot marry... that's what makes our government great; they're supposed to NOT interfere with our life.

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  34. Thank you for this. As someone who deals with same sex attraction, things like this really help me and I wish I could just re-post this for all my family and friends to see, but I can't. A couple years ago I was at a church school and as I started figuring that my attractions to guys weren't going away after having served as faithful of a mission as I could, my curiosity got the best of me and in a rather short period of time was excommunicated by my stake president who told me that I lost the light of Christ when I was just 5 years old, because that's when I told him I first recognized that I was different. My testimony has never wavered, and I'm working to get rebaptized, knowing that I might be living a life of celibacy, despite the deep connections I have made and love I have felt for one other guy in particular. I guess I have always been able to look at the bigger picture and put things into perspective, but I still have never felt lonelier. I moved out of town to start back up at school somewhere else after losing about 50 credits and have started from scratch with friends, work, and school. I go to church and can't participate in class, I can't home teach or be home taught. I sit in the back to try not to stick out. I come across as too good for the girls because I never ask them out per their request. After a year in the ward my Elder's quorum president came up and asked me to give the opening prayer, which made me realize how uninterested everyone seems to be there and I have yet to make a single friend in the ward. I started going to a 12-step addiction recovery program and have been able to be open a time or two, and one guy in particular was really friendly and told me that he'd like to do things with me once in a while. It meant a lot to me that someone could overlook the things that I can't and still want to be a friend to me. He recently invited me to play volleyball with him and his buddies. During the evening I noticed these huge calves on one of his friends and I complimented him on them. Mine are tiny, so his really stood out, so I sincerely gave him a compliment. Afterwards my friend told me he overheard the compliment and told me that it made him really uncomfortable and that if I wanted to make more friends I'd have to learn to say and do things differently. It was extremely hurtful to me. I wasn't hitting on his friend and I truly feel he wouldn't have told me that if he didn't know about my attractions. I haven't heard from this friend since. I have had many friends leave the church because they don't feel welcome, loved, or equal to others. I hate thinking that as I work my way back into the church that it'll be okay to be gay or attracted to the same sex, as long as I never say or do anything that sounds remotely gay. I need support and friends, just as anyone else, and I'm a very friendly and personable guy, so it's hard to not be able to be myself at church, or school, or with friends and have to try to act straighter than I am, even straighter than straight guys who can compliment someone's calves without it being strange in the least. If the attitude towards me and others like me doesn't change, the next 60 years of my life don't look too appealing.

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    1. You Deserve The Biggest Mansion In The Highest Kingdom.

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    2. Thanks, Anonymous! But, I believe Christ couldn't have given more of himself for me or anyone. He sacrificed everything and endured more than I can imagine. I don't believe that anyone will be living with him for eternity if they aren't willing sacrifice anything and everything for Him. Everyone's challenges are a bit different, but I think to some extent we chose them and knew what it might take to stretch ourselves to prove or Love to Him. It can be really easy, though, to not see the big picture and how important our choices here affect everything else.

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    3. In the future, you will probably have many opportunities to help many, many church members to overcome their fears regarding active members who have feelings of same-sex attraction.

      You are a light to the world, and your efforts to do what you believe is righteous will be worth it. Hang in there. Not one of us LDS church members are perfect. I have felt outcast, alone, misunderstood, frustrated and neglected by fellow Ward/Stake members before. I was raised by an abusive, cheating mother, who went to church. If I didn't know in my heart that God wants me to stick it out, if I didn't deeply believe that the gospel is true, I wouldn't still be Mormon. I'm so glad I am, too.

      One of the best lessons we learn in life is that we are all, really, on our own when it comes to our testimonies. (Think the Parable of the 10 Virgins). Hang in there, hang on to yours. Stay close to God. When you are able to return to the temple, DO SO! Stay close to God and you will find peace and happiness. I hope you find a support group and friends, soon. I also hope you truly forgive those who don't give you the acceptance you are seeking, and don't rely on others for your self-worth. You are an amazing, incredible son of God. And I agree with Anonymous 2:06.

      Only the most valiant can fight battles such as yours. *hugs*

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    4. I'd like to find that stake president of yours and choke him. Keep doing what you're doing and stay strong. Be you, and I promise that somewhere out there you will find people who will love you for that. I know it's incredibly lonely, and sometimes you feel like it will never get better, but it will. You are in my prayers.

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    5. I definitely appreciate the support. Learning that my self worth doesn't change depending on who spends time with me or how many texts I get is a challenge for me, and probably many others. I'm glad that there are people like you guys in the church. It does give me hope. My challenges have definitely helped me to not judge anyone and their circumstances and appreciate those that have gone through a lot and have stuck to their faith. Hopefully you guys are recent move-ins to my ward this semester and will meet you Sunday. :)

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    6. I read through the comments getting more and more upset at all the tension and frustration that was being expressed until I read yours. Who knew you could feel the spirit while reading a post on a blog! You are a truly amazing individual and have given me faith and hope in my own life with my own struggles. You have done a wonderful thing here :) Don't give up hope, there are people praying for you and God knows you. I truly believe you'll be rewarded for your faith and efforts :)

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    7. Love yourself.

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  35. I sent this to my son and he called me later in the day crying and thanking me for sending it (he's gay and these words meant a lot to him). Thank you.

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    1. Nice work mum/dad. Love shouldn't be conditional. I wish there were more parents like you!!
      Bridg

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    2. Parent of the year.

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  36. Eli, I read your blog every single day. And I normally stay silent as you have a lot of comments and what not. But, today is different. You have literally gave me hope in religious people. As much as I try not to judge and keep my eyes and heart open, I am the first to admit there for awhile I was losing hope in the human race. People who claim to be religious particularly so. This is probably because the town I was born and raised in is 2,000 people, but the more I broaden my horizons I find there are people like you and it gives me hope. I am the type of person who actually loves that we all are different and have different beliefs. But I draw the line, and absolutely cannot stand, when people are mean and belittle someone for a different belief system. That's the amazing part of being lucky enough to be an American. We can all think and act differently. People forget that. And it saddens me seeing people of a FREE country trying to take away our freedoms. Women and blacks have had to fight for their rights, which saddens me and this is our generations version of those fights. Our CONSTITUTIONAL rights should never be based on religion. Which one are we even supposed to go on? I also find it SO hard to take them and their fight against gay marriage seriously because it's against their "beliefs" what about all the other things in the Bible that they ignore? Anyways, I agree is my point. If it's against your beliefs that's fine, but it's not against mine. I'm straight but I just can't stand the fighting and arguing. Love everyone. How does two people getting married affect anyone else? Regardless of their sex? Ugh, hopefully it will all be behind us one day soon.

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    1. There are good eggs and bad eggs in all groups. Some of the good eggs are religious. Some are not. Some of the bad eggs are not religious, etc. It's good of you to work on recognizing that. I think one of the hardest things to do as humans is to not characterize an entire group based on actions by a few in that group. I know I've really struggled with this in my life and I'm working on being better about that. Reading this blog has actually really opened my eyes in the last few years about how kind Mormon teachings can be. I've never known any Mormons and have always thought negatively about them because of reasons that don't even make sense. Then I started reading this blog and seeing how fun and nice Eli is and reading a lot of his more profound thoughts about service and kindness and it has totally changed my perspective and made me see the Mormon church in a totally different light. I know nobody is perfect and I don't think the Mormon church is perfect either, I just use it as an example of broadening perspectives. Thanks for this comment.

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  37. Thanks, Eli. I'm glad you took the time to write this, and I hope people become increasingly understanding and tolerant. I just wish there were a way to speed up the process.

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  38. This is great Eli! I also want to point out that the United States is founded on separation of church and state, and that whether or not gay marriage is "allowed" from a Christian/Mormon perspective is irrelevant to whether or not it should be legal. Because gay marriage doesn't hurt anyone and causes no negative affects to our nation, I see no valid reason why it should not be legal. Whether gay Mormon/Christian individuals feel called to celibacy is really up to their own interpretation of scripture, and is certainly not the business of the government.

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    1. That is certainly your opinion. The truth is we don't know if gay marriage will have negative effects on society. There are countless examples from the history of this country where laws had unintended consequences; ie, no fault divorce. I hope you are correct that there won't be any negative effects to gay marriage but right now nobody can say that for sure.

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  39. ... Is it raining on your parade to say, for example, what Popes have been saying for years, that defending marriage and treating people like people are not contrary? And if it is raining on your parade, does it make it any less true?

    But I entirely agree that dehumanizing humans happens all the time in the culture wars. Heck, I'm convinced (via Marc Barnes) that pro-lifers can even dehumanize babies by using them as arguments and not showing them as people. It's a delicate thing, this meeting-a-person; but it would be a false dichotomy to therefore stop confronting the culture and philosophies which oppose Christianity. And so, there will always have to be dull people like me saying "repent! for Christ forgives." It's all one, and we shall die without both.

    - Montague

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  40. Thank you so much for this. God bless you. :) Love is the key. It's so good for the LGBT community to hear from communities of faith your message: we are not worth less than anyone, we are not broken, we are not a mistake, we have nothing to be ashamed of. That speaks to our hearts so loudly and indeed reminds us that we are human in the best way, just different. Thank you brother :)

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  41. But president Obama passed same-sex marriage

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  42. We are all really in the same boat - full of weaknesses and struggles. I have not dealt with same-gender attraction, but I have had to deal with feelings of isolation, loneliness, feeling different and outcast (in and out of the church). I can empathize when members of the church deal with these same feelings for different reason and people dismiss what they are dealing with. It can be difficult to remain active in the church while feeling the loneliness of being mis-understood for same-gender attraction. I agree with the Church's stance that we should love all people and be kind to others even when, and especially when, they are struggling (and their are infinite ways we each struggle). The family is central to God's plan for His children and children need to be reared by a mother and a father ideally. Although I can love my brother's and sister's with same-gender attraction, I do not feel compelled to agree with same-sex marriage. For me, it is just another example (along with divorce, promiscuity, adultery, etc) of a crumbling moral infrastructure to think we can alter God's laws through our political ones.

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  43. Love this post Eli.
    Neither gender nor sexuality are binary. Love should be unconditional and although we all the right to make choices that fit our beliefs I can't any of us should have the right to force their beliefs on others. "If you don't want a gay marriage, don't get one". I love your line people who go about their lives with smiles on their faces and stones in their hands.

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  44. I'm still waiting for you to finally come out. This was close, but not quite. Come on, just say it "My name is Eli and I'm gay." Now that wasn't hard, was it?
    ~ Steve

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    1. Does Eli have to declare his oriention? We'd love him and read the blog either way, right?

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    2. I don't think Eli is "gay" or that he is planning on "coming out." I think he has strong, intimate male-male relationships, but that is not the same thing as having or desiring homosexual intercourse. I think that's gotten people in a lot of trouble lately, that we either "like" boys or we "like" girls, but we should have healthy emotionally intimate relationships with both genders. Some people have stronger preferences towards one or the other. There is nothing wrong with having deeply intimate emotional relationships with people of the same gender, however, sex was created for procreation. Sexual relationships are intended to be procreative in nature. Anything other than that is a perversion of the purpose of sexual intimacy.
      ~Not Steve

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    3. How about "My name is Eli and I'm a child of God." Isn't that what truly defines us?

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    4. Sometimes when I read the comments on Stranger, I start to feel like I've entered the Twilight Zone.

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    5. Oh but think of how many sick, mentally ill, unready, unwilling heterosexual couples out there are creating lives that they can't and/or don't want to love and nurture! I have several married same sex friends who have scooped these babies up and raised them in the most stable, warm, loving, kind, secure, compassionate household they could provide. A same sex couple can't "naturally" have children, but many that I know are raising the product of a dysfunctional or unwilling/unready heterosexual relationship in a perfectly beautiful way. .. Just something to really consider when we decide what "marriage", and "family" means in the real world, and not just the world of an ancient book. No judgement, just a very important thought to consider.

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    6. this was supposed to be posted under some other close minded person's text but this dag named computer is messing with me

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  45. Hi Steve. I'm not sure why you'd say that... Why is sexuality anyone else's business? I don't care who you are intimate with, whether you fit a tick-a-box or whether you are out, or not. This post is about the right we all should have to love and commit without discrimation or fear. We don't all need to publicly discuss our choices and we have a right not to. I don't think you were being mean in any way but I wonder if you missed the point.

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  46. While It Has Already Been Said, I Just Wanted To Echo Some. While I Agree With Much Of Your Post, Especially Concerning How Homosexuals Are Treated, I Strongly Agree With The Savior's Statement to The Adulterous Women, "Go And Sin No More." While I Try To Be Compassionate An Understanding Of Someones Situation It Does Not Mean I Have To Agree With Their AChoices. I Have Friends And Family That Are Gay, But I Still Strongly Believe In Marriage Between A Man And A Wome And Yet I Still Try To Love My Family And Friends Dearly. Heaven Knows That I Have My Own Issues That I Need To Work With. I Am Not Perfect And I Know I Can't Cast The First Stone, But That Doesn't Mean I Have To Stop Fighting To Protect What I Believe Is A Sacred Institution. Please Forgive My Horrendous Grammar And Capitalization. I Tried To Type This On My Phone And The Thing Has Among Of Its Own!

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  47. Is there anything else more important in the world right now? Gays can get married in utah now, Yet they are still complaining. Meanwhile our government is corrupt, people are dying from war, starvation, disease, murder, ect. Oh but gays can marry in another state and still arent happy with life. Get over yourselfs. Everyone goes through the struggle that is life and we all endure. Can someone talk about something else now?

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    1. This comment kind of seems to me to be the exact opposite of Eli's entire post. Yes, everyone has their own struggle and there are lots of bad things going on in the world, but the people affected by this issue do think it's a big deal. People don't feel their struggles and problems in comparison to others. What hurts an individual is going to keep hurting them, even if other people are in pain as well, even if everyone else judges that the problem isn't important enough. Having compassion doesn't mean only caring about the things that affect you, but caring that a person is suffering even if you don't understand or agree with them.

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  48. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this. A few of my friends shared this link on FB and I ignored it at first because I've been getting so tired of reading so many arguments about this issue. It's been really discouraging to me. Finally a friend who posted this link and said, "please read this encouraging perspective on this issue," I was intrigued, so I clicked on it. This post means so much to me. I have been alienated by my family and mistreated by many others my whole life. Fortunately I have a lot of wonderful people in my life, too, who love me and are kind. But the meanness still sticks out. When I hear people like you publicly recognizing that people like me are not worth less than others, it really means something. It really helps me view my hard battle with a lot more hope. I know everyone has different political beliefs, and I'm ok with that. I just really appreciate when it's clear that people recognize the humans that are affected by these things and who really strive to find ways to live what they believe while lifting others up. I know it's complicated and sometimes difficult to figure out how to follow competing feelings and views. And I don't expect everyone around me to do it perfectly. But I just hope that people will show that they are trying and that they are thoughtfully attempting to figure out what's right. That's what I think you have done here. And I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

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    1. Well articulated and wonderful reply. Getting people to be more thoughtful is always a good thing. Thank you for this.

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  49. I agree with some comments above. However, as best as I can understand, homosexuality is a very very very deeply ingrained, possibly partially genetically pre-disposed struggle that many people face. However, I do not believe that it is something that you are 'born with' for the simple fact that God created us and he would not create something that he condemns. It may be the most difficult struggle and temptation in our world today. Period. I have many gay friends, most of whom have better relationships and tolerance for others than the Christians I know. However, while i won't get into the many facets and reasons I still believe homosexuality to be a sin on here, suffice to say, it is wrong, but frankly, I have NO IDEA how to approach people about it. In love, yes, but otherwise, i got nothing. And that's b/c the people i have spoken to truly and wholeheartedly believe in their orientation. They don't give any of the earmarks of trying to justify something they know is wrong is or it simply being a 'struggle.' They really believe and as mentioned, will DIE for it. How do you start a conversation about that? How do you convince others that it is still wrong when you don't even know how it happened to them in the first place? How it didn't seem to be a conscious decision on their part? How?? so that's where I am.

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    1. I agree with you. This whole subject makes me so sad. and I think most LDS people feel that way. I know I cant agree with the act but I hate that people have that attraction through no fault of their own hate themselves for it. it honestly breaks my heart. I hope their will be a day they can openly talk about their struggles without judgement. It seems we are getting closer to that, i hope . Great post Eli

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    2. I'm sorry. I know that many people are posting their "love the sinner, not the sin" messages because they genuinely believe that they are showing compassion. But that.is.wrong.

      I just found Eli a few days ago, and I've not commented in the 20 or so hilarious posts I've inhaled so far, so I won't speak for him. But on behalf of the LGBTQIA community, I will say that, yes, "pity" is better than hatred. But not by much.

      No one wakes up and decides to be a heterosexual. In the same way, being LGBTQIA is not a choice. Any more than race or handedness. And just like race, sexual orientation is merely a social construct - a way of describing something that does not match what a designated group sees in the mirror. And just like handedness, no one should be pitied for being different. Just because some religions once believed left-handedness to be the sign of the devil doesn't mean that that idea wasn't asinine, that human understanding cannot evolve.

      So, evolve, people.

      @Lauren: The reason why you don't hear many non-heteros describing their orientation as a struggle is because IT SHOULDN'T be!! You should not have to be shunned from your church or community, you should not have to take a vow of celibacy rather than know the pleasure of sexual intercourse. And no, sex was not created solely for procreation. The Bible was written by several people over several years - think of it as a compilation tape of God's word if you want to take it even close to literally. But please, take the time to learn about homosexuality in nature, of animals who co-habitate to raise babies they can't make, of animals who masturbate and play with each other for pure pleasure and bonding. Then study the many *social* ideals that were previously justified using the Bible, and since found to be wholly unacceptable in an advanced society. Slavery's in the Bible, amirite?

      To describe anything other than heterosexuality as a struggle or a sin is to deny the pleasure of being able to connect with other consenting adults in any way you desire. And that's not helpful. The only battle is for community acceptance, and we will look back on this time with the same incredulity with which we reflect upon the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Our grandkids will say: "You mean you guys really had to fight for the rights of gays?!" And we will laugh with them at the ridiculousness, and point to the few stragglers, as we do Confederate flag wearers and other assorted bigots.

      I've gone on too long now. So I'll leave it here: get on the right side of history, or become a joke in the footnotes.

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    3. ^This is just what I wanted to say but much better. :-)

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  50. I am so proud of you, Eli, for taking a public stance on treating all humans like humans. I also feel chastened because I did not expect your post to overtly support gay marriage--because I made an assumption about your world views because of your religion. I stand corrected and with more hope and pride in my fellow humans than before I read this.

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  51. Just wanted to add my thank you to the long list of thank yous for posting this.

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  52. Well said. Thank you.

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  53. This post is giving me a lot to think about. Thank you for posting it.

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  54. Very refreshing post! Thank you!

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  55. True - everyone is important and no one should be made to feel otherwise. We are all sinners. However, homosexuality is a CHOICE. No one is genetically predisposed to it. God created a man and a woman and put them together. There is a great article about this on ipost - Same-sex attraction: Should Christians err on the side of grace or truth? You cannot be a true Biblical Christian and approve of homosexuality but you can and should treat homosexuals with love and lead them to the truth of the Gospel. Only God can help any of us overcome our sins - and we all have them. Homosexuals are just brave enough to make their sin public.

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    1. Curious, GrammaTink: If it is a choice, why do you think young people would choose it and then become so depressed that they actually kill themselves?

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    2. Of my homosexual friends that have opened up with me, they all have one thing in common: childhood sexual abuse. I believe that homosexuality is not a choice when it results from trauma and abuse. Sometimes these experiences are repressed which makes the individual feel even more shame in what they are struggling with.

      But there is a phenomenon sweeping the nation that I term "social homosexuality" ... we are bombarded by the media, movies, song lyrics all telling us that experimentation is normal and exciting. When a young person goes down that road, it can be confusing and sexually disorienting. Social homosexuality is a choice and one that more and more young people feel peer pressured to engage in.

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    3. I know many gay people who have not experienced sexual abuse, nor have they experimented. It seems absurd to me to call their feelings that they don't want a "choice." Worse, it comes across as very offensive. Often religious people have a difficult time imagining that homosexuality is something that a person experiences regardless of their life circumstances because it implies that God made a mistake. This doesn't make sense to me. A person can be born with a set of very difficult life experiences without it implying that that person was created by a faulty god. We certainly accept this in other contexts. My personal belief is that religious people need to stop trying to argue that these feelings are the product of choice. It is an incorrect, unhelpful, and damaging argument. I am a very religious person who has absolutely no problem accepting that people are born with their sexual orientation, that it cannot be changed in this life, and that God is keenly aware of that and expects ALL of us to learn something from it. And I imagine there might be a surprise for some who will later discover that that "something" is loving those who struggle differently than you and not so much raging against their behavior you don't agree with and could never understand without experiencing their same difficulties.

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    4. Eli, thank you for this addition! I replied anonymously above to Lauren (and to Mark below), without having read your answer here (I just got stirred up!). When I finally start my blog, I'll introduce myself :-)

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    5. Yeah, the God Does Not Make Mistakes theme makes NO sense. Would anyone *choose* for their baby to be born with Down Syndrome, missing limbs, micro

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    6. Oops..cut off.... You get my point though. Why is homosexuality "obviously" a choice when a variety of other differences clearly are not?

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    7. Eli, I personally do not think there was anything "raging" or judgmental about my comment. Sorry if it came across that way. I deeply empathize with those that feel deep shame, experience bullying, and think they are deeply flawed for something they feel they cannot control. I have experienced those same (and very real) feelings but under a different set of circumstances to personal to share in this platform. But just like I realize my experiences were out of my control, I could choose how I reacted, I also believe someone struggling with same-gender attraction can choose how to react to those circumstances. I also believe we all have vises we are pre-dispositioned to that will cause us great temptation throughout our lives. I believe someone could be born with a pre-disposition toward same-gender attraction. But the choice is made to engage in that behavior. Homosexuality is a sin. It is as simple as that. The Bible makes it abundantly clear. I have a great temptation to drink alcohol, which I believe to be sinful. Alcoholism runs in my family and I have a very, very, very strong pull to want to drink when I am stressed - even though I have never had a drink in my life! But I know that it is not a sin to have the desire/temptation to do it. Likewise, God knew that Cain was pre-disposed by nature to have the capability to murder. That does not mean he was pre-destined to murder his brother. But he chose to do it; chose to act on his temptations.

      I wish that more young people (who you refer to as wanting to kill themselves because of the shame they feel) also knew that their same-gender attraction is not a sin, but rather a strong pre-disposed temptation. Acting on the temptation and breaking the law of chastity, however, is a sin. (and of course, let me add, that there are plenty of people in this world who do not know it is a sin. And God judges all of us based on our personal knowledge of right and wrong. That's why I strongly support the LDS churches stance that we treat all those we encounter with love).

      Please understand, I do not mean any of this in a callous way.

      I think my perspective stems from the basic believe that gender (male and female) is an identity, but same-gender attraction is not. There is so much more to someone's identity than their sexuality. And I do not believe that a person is born that way. I simply do not believe it. I know people present scientific evidence to prove they do and to prove they don't, and personally believe the latter.

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    8. Finding Peace, I did not mean to attach the word "raging" to your comment. I meant it more in a general sense--I see "raging" going on all over in discussions of this issue. My apologies.

      You and I disagree on several things here. That's ok. I appreciate that you are obviously trying to be thoughtful about the topic. Many people I encounter don't appear to be thoughtful about this and merely jump to harmful conclusions (on either side). Thank you for your comment.

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  56. Well said, thank you!

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  57. Very well-written. It's almost impossible to change an opinion but your approach might make someone at least think. Of course, if people REALLY thought about it, they would realize that the nice folks who wrote the bible believed that the world was flat and that wives were considered property. Somehow, we've kind of evolved since then... well, most of us. A little perspective goes a long way!

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    1. Mark, THIS!!! I should have read your comment before my long anonymous post to Lauren above.

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  58. I'm a gay Mormon who often struggles with feeling like crap. Thanks for this post. I don't know all the answers, but loving one another is important.

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  59. First, if your reason for opposition to gay marriage comes from what the Bible says, do you equally oppose Red Lobster?

    Just like the Bible did not fall from the sky directly from God, bound up with ribbons and bows in all its completeness, The Family: A Proclamation to the World is also an interpretation of what a group of men/prophets believe to be God's will. It has never been declared scripture. When Boyd Packer called it revelation, his wording was afterwards changed. Nowhere in that document does it say "this is the only way of which God approves." That aside, the Church changes. Words of prophets are not always right. (See things Brigham Young and others said about blacks compared with what the Church just released on the matter.)

    More importantly, hundreds have received personal answers from God that being gay - even acting on it - is good, is what they should be doing. If marriage is about developing a bond and relationship with another human being as anything, and a marriage between two men or women is perfectly capable of accomplishing that. If marriage is about raising children in a loving, healthy, stable environment, thousands of children are being raised by "gay-married" parents right now.

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  60. "the Great Commandment is to love others": Loving others is not allowing them to destroy their bodies and souls. Just like you would discourage someone from doing drugs. Just like you would discourage a married man from committing adultery against his wife. Just like you should discourage those who want to have sex before marriage. It's not about equality. It's about how God created man to love others and to love God Himself and what that love really implies. It's not a fuzzy and gushy love based on emotions. It's sacrifice as when Christ died on the cross.

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    1. I agree with this, Andrea, and certainly expect that we view our interactions with one another through BOTH lenses. The problem I've identified is that many people have had a difficult time viewing this issue compatibly with the charge to love one another. If you believe that a certain behavior is destructive then certainly you won't promote others to engage in that behavior. My hope is, however, that you won't unproductively trample over the injured in the process of preaching, if preaching is what you feel you need to do. And being unkind is never the godly way to get others to change their behavior. Andrea, you did not read my words very carefully if you really think I just argued that all that matters is fuzzy and gushy love based on emotions. What matters is the person. And our duty is to be careful to be cognizant of the devastating trials that we will never understand ourselves but that are very real situations for many people. If we are not attempting to do that and allowing it to instruct our actions and interactions, we are absolutely not following the Great Commandment.

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    2. You have clearly given a lot of thought to this topic. I think the hardest part is knowing how to walk that line.
      A year ago I read a book by Carol Lynne Pearson called "No More Goodbyes." It was a hard book to read for a few different reasons. It's made up almost entirely of the personal stories of LDS people with homosexual tendencies. It has some tragic stories and some hopeful stories. I didn't agree with everything she asserted, and found myself arguing with her in my head over some of the points, but it definitely helped me to put myself in different situations and see both positive and negative reactions, helpful and harmful behaviors. And the main take-away was the same as what you are saying here--it's about the person.
      How does that trite statement go? Love the sinner, hate the sin. That's one of those things that is much easier said than done. It's hard to distinguish the individual from their actions, but that is what we are commanded to do.
      Other statements that I think are helpful: "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you do."
      Or this challenging passage: (from here http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/64?lang=eng)

      "9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

      10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."

      (What does it mean to forgive? I'm thinking of that scene in You've got Mail where Meg Ryan admits to forgetting to vote and her boyfriend says "I forgive you" and she takes offense at that-- "YOU forgive ME?!" So I can see people being offended by the application of this verse to this context--"what have I done that needs to be forgiven?"--but that's not the point. I read "love" in the place of "forgive," or "withhold judgment and don't hold their perceived wrong-doing against them.")

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    3. Eli, this response is brilliant. Thank you.

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    4. Of course a person living a gay lifestyle has an inherent dignity given by God and should be treated accordingly, with love and respect. I never mentioned being unkind in the process of calling out the sin. Many in the gay lifestyle have been through heck, and a lot of it is because of the perverted subculture that exists. You did say this: "And if some teaching or policy or doctrine has caused you to make another person feel bad about something they can't control--something that terrifies them--then either the policy is misguided or you aren't correctly following it." It would be natural for someone to feel badly after they've sinned. And living a gay lifestyle is something that can be controlled. There are plenty of personal cases that say so. It's normal to feel shame. I feel badly even when someone calls me out nicely for something I have done wrong. It can be scary and terrifying to change bad habits that we are comfortable with. Of course reasoning doesn't usually change people. At this point, our world is in such a state (killing babies, killing the elderly, etc) that I'm pretty sure prayer is one of the best and strongest ways to go. And on an interesting side note, I have been told (by someone with hatred in his eye) that I should be sent to jail for a hate crime for the sole fact that I was supporting a law God gave to mankind and I have been verbally abused for being Catholic. I'm no stranger myself to unkindness.

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    5. @Andrea "Many in the gay lifestyle have been through heck, and a lot of it is because of the perverted subculture that exists."

      Uh...no. Gays have not been through hell because of a perverted gay subculture!! They've been through hell because of perverted moralizing which equates sexual preference with killing people!

      No, they should not feel shame. They should not feel badly. I love how many "Christians" use the Bible and other religious texts to justify this nonsense, while conveniently ignoring all the other admonitions of the Bible which we summarily ignore (eating shellfish, owning slaves, wives as property, etc.)

      The funniest thing is, if the Bible were 100% correct, EVERYONE would be a Jew - sticking to the Old Testament. And if all Christians (non-Jews, believing the New Testament, written decades post-Jesus) believed in the Bible as written, there would not be such a plethora of denominations: I've never understood how there can be so many versions of Christianity with differing opinions of a book they all find as perfect representations of their beliefs!

      But that's ok, because everyone walks a different path to spirituality. Homosexuality is not inherently *wrong*, but shaming those who are different than you is definitively wrong. Even if no homosexuals existed, Mormons and Catholics and Baptists and Protestants would find other ways to bring each other down as less deserving of God's love.

      Just.stop.it.

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  61. I was actually afraid to read this blog post Eli, I love your blog and enjoy your personality. I should have known better, the world needs more Elis in it, plain and simple, I'm a straight married Catholic gal and I haven't met many gay people growing up in a small population.

    But the few I have have the biggest hearts and generosity that made me realize how wrong, and how much of a "sin" it truly is that people have treated them so abusively in life, to me, that is what God will judge when both their day and the people who think what they are is wrong and a "sin" and treat them like they are of less value for it. At least the God I love and believe in will.
    One lady I worked with, who was both native and gay, gave me the last five dollars to her name, because I forgot my lunch and she had hers at work one day. Actually she set in on a table and refused to take it back, and said if I didn't take it it'll go to somebody else who comes along and just takes it.
    This same lady switched from a prime day shift as the supervisor, to the crappy night shift with us and a cut in pay, because the two staff she was in charge of would wait until there was nobody to witness and barraged her with bigotry, I believe the words they used were "squaw" and "Dyke" , she could have had them fired, or she could have had them transferred to either nights or another building. Instead she took a horrible shift so nobody else had to be subjected to their ignorance and nastiness. They're defense was that they were just kidding. Um no? Of course the night crowd was a staff of 10, and we had a rough idea of what had happened with her. So we did our best to let her know she had stepped into a better place. When I left my job for health reasons, they all said goodbye, but she was the only one with tears in her eyes and a big hug for me.
    I hope she one day finds a wonderful woman who gives her the love she deserves. She's been so abused in life she has no interest in either sex beyond a little flirting, if you knew the rest you'd understand why, but it's too violent for public reading in my opinion and too invasive of her privacy even remaining anonymous. How unfortunate that such a caring, gentle person will never feel safe enough with another human being because of the raw abuse she has endured, because of her orientation and color of her skin. So very sad.

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  62. Eli, Eli, Eli. Thank you for writing so candidly and eloquently. As a Mormon who believes as you do, I deeply appreciate your words.

    I noticed that many commenters referenced the story of the woman taken in adultery, and to that I'd like to add my own two cents. Yes, Christ certainly told the woman to "go and sin no more," but it's important to remember what transpired prior to Him speaking those words. Before He ever said a word to the woman, He spoke to the men who accused her; "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Then they all left, because they realized they were jerks. When they had gone, Jesus asked, "Where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more."

    Christ never said "Love the sinner, hate the sin." Basically what he said was, "Really, guys? This is not your job. Leave the judgment to me." And to woman who was an adulterer he offered no condemnation.

    All Christ did was love. As a Christian and a Mormon, I believe that first and foremost, it is my responsibility to love, and only love.

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    1. Rachel, I could replace my entire post with your perfectly-worded comment. Thank you.

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    2. Awesome! This offers some clarity and a greater understanding as to how to approach anyone and their different situations. You have a great perspective.

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    3. Below is a direct quote from LDS church's website on Judgment. They say it so much better than I can, but it is important to remember that we aren't told to NEVER judge. I love the Gospel Topics. There is more to this statement on their website, but I think this part is left off too much by too many saying to never judge. We are all familiar with being kind and loving. Most of us need a lot more practice and miraculously the atonement applies to ALL even those that are maybe not so kind sometimes and those that seem insensitive because they are being obedient to the prophet. There are many situations today that it is important to remember the below words so we can navigate are way back to our Father in Heaven. We are blessed with a latter day prophet, Pres. Monson, and Apostles, who are also Prophet, Seers, and Revelators. ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.' isn't a suggestion, it comes from the mouth of our Prophet, and is signed by three or more witnesses, it is commandment. I have very close dear friends, that haven't had an opportunity to get married because they have not met someone or met people not living a virtuous life, it breaks my heart for them. They are also lonely. The church's website, mormonsandgays, says there are few struggles that are more difficult than this. We each have deep struggles. Hopefully we can become people that love, support, and inspire and help each other endure to the end in righteousness.

      "Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that we should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, we will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout our lives. The Lord has given many commandments that we cannot keep without making judgments. For example, He has said: "Beware of false prophets. . . . Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15–16) and "Go ye out from among the wicked" (D&C 38:42). We need to make judgments of people in many of our important decisions, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, and choosing a spouse.
      Our righteous judgments about others can provide needed guidance for them and, in some cases, protection for us and our families. We should approach any such judgment with care and compassion. As much as we can, we should judge people's situations rather than judging the people themselves. Whenever possible, we should refrain from making judgments until we have an adequate knowledge of the facts. And we should always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who can guide our decisions. Alma's counsel to his son Corianton is a helpful reminder: "See that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually" (Alma 41:14)."

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    4. I meant "few struggles more difficult that homosexuality"...

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  63. Wow Eli! This is one of the best things I've ever read on the internet. I've been following your blog for a while now and, as much as I love it, always kinda wondered where you stood on this topic. Suffice it to say, this is EXACTLY what people need to hear, both gay AND straight. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and reflecting God's love. As a gay man, I can tell you that many of us already KNOW the scriptures and passages so preaching to us is kind of redundant and counterproductive. Simply displaying God's love as you have done/do will shout volumes louder than any sermon. Thanks again for this uplifting and godly message of compassion and hope!
    -Tony

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    1. Wow. Great comment. And thank you for your perspective.

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  64. Thank you so much for this post Eli! I love when the Bible and God's love are used to make others feel good about themselves instead of knocking people down.

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  65. I'm curious: what are your thoughts on the courts' role in gay marriage? In both Utah and New Mexico, it was the courts that legalized gay marriage. Seems like a trend is beginning, and I'm wondering what you, as a lawyer, think about that.

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    1. That's a long and complicated answer and not really the point of this post. And I'm tired and won't go deeply into it now. But, I'm feeling a little chatty so I guess I'll give you the short answer: I think the court was wrong to rule as it did. This is one of those instances where I may dislike the state of the law, but that doesn't mean I think the court has sufficient justification to throw it out. I believe that changes in marriage laws to accommodate same-sex marriage needs to be done legislatively (or through a public vote). This would probably take longer to accomplish--certainly in Utah this would be the case. And I feel for people who don't want to have to keep waiting. However, I think it's dangerous to improperly use judicial power to right what feels like an injustice, as tempting as it may be. We need to be able to rely on consistent and legal jurisprudence or the system starts to come apart. To use it improperly to win a battle feels very short-sighted to me. For this reason, I have very mixed feelings about the court rulings. On the one hand, I want to be happy for people because of the practical implications of the decision on those people's lives. But on the other hand, I'm very annoyed about how those practical implications came to be.

      My thoughts may evolve on this. I certainly don't believe that I know all things. But that's how I understand it now.

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    2. It is none of my business as to whether or not gay people get married. This does not harm me or my family in any way. If it comes to a vote again, I will vote for it.

      I am Mormon. My present philosophy is that Brigham Young made a big mistake with his racist beliefs and policies. The same thing is happening again with the policies against gay marriage.

      I will support my brothers and sisters no matter what their sexual orientation.

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  66. "People who have been regarded for generations as standing up for what's right because of the way they have launched those stones."
    That's powerful.

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