Living in a liberal state, such as I do here in California, often puts me at the forefront of some of the most controversial and hot button issues of the day.  Take for instance, same-sex marriage.  California continues to battle it out in court, the future of marriage.  It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog, that I'm a strong advocate for preserving and defending traditional marriage.  For me, that passion derives from both personal and religious convictions.  It's both moral and emotional for me -- a child of divorce.  Because I'm a Mormon, I've been accused, more times than I can count, of being anti-gay.  I've passionately declared, that I am not.

As dedicated as I was, and am, to have and still have stand, what many homosexuals refer to as a ban on gay marriage, via Prop 8, I am not interested in keeping the gay community from having true equal rights in society. (I do not consider SSM an equal rights issue) I want to see traditional or natural marriage, between one man and one woman, preserved.  I'm always saddened when anyone feels that a desire to preserve one thing, then automatically makes that person anti, to what another values or desires.   And yet, I can understand why they might perceive it to be so...

I've always believed that actions speak louder than words.  Living in today's pluralistic society has its challenges, particularly for those of religious faith.  Freedom of religion is precious, and enables us to feel confident that our moral values can safely be expressed, and help to create a moral society -- which then allows us to exercise our religion.   Religious freedom is at the very foundation of the United States Constitution.  From the perspective of those who do not value religion, nor have a desire to see such expression preserved, perhaps we can begin to understand how a misguided attempt to exercise that freedom, could be seen as hostile.

Mormons believe that following the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, during the period referred to as the Millenium, everything that opposes God's plan, will have been removed from the earth.  We believe that those willing to live a higher law, will be those left upon the earth.   During that time, we believe that Jesus Christ will reign sovereign, over all men.  But, now is not that time.  And until then, we need to understand that we are living in a 'telestial' or fallen world, where it has been given to all men, the right to exercise individual agency as they see fit -- to then experience the consequences of those choices.  As a society, all either benefit from those choices or experience the negative fall out.   In other words, this is the time that we have all been given a place to choose either righteousness or wickedness.  And in this situation, we must show a level of mutual respect and love for one another, and honor the gift that God has granted to all mankind.  Although this doesn't mean that we have to like or condone the actions of others.  And in fact, often times we will not.

So, what should this mean in the case of homosexuality in society?  Well, we can't deny, or ignore, that some who consider themselves gay, openly exist in our communities.  Clearly, God teaches that homosexual activity is a sin.  However, the world is now extremely liberal as compared to generations past, and many gays feel that their homosexuality is their identity.  Based on this belief, they feel that they have a 'right' to marriage.  Certainly the Mormon Church does not agree.  Just read The Family: A Proclamation to the World, to understand the doctrine on gender, marriage and birthright, as taught in Mormonism.   And it is precisely these specific doctrines that we should do all that we can to preserve in society.

Now, if we begin to try and wield religious freedom to keep the gay community from having their identity acknowledged, legal unions formed, partner benefits, etc...  then I submit to you, that we are abusing such power.  No wonder we would be perceived as an enemy to those who do not believe as we do.  In states across this nation, a rightful battle is taking place to preserve marriage as only between one man and one woman.  But let us be careful as to other potential legislation that may arise, which does not fall into the category of preventing immoral actions in society.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, set an excellent example of this principle within that community, when they officially came out and endorsed two Non-Discrimination Ordinances.  

Also of great interest, is the LDS Newsroom's report of a recent address, given by Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to Mormon single adults, entitled "Truth and Tolerance".

"Knowing how to communicate respectively and truthfully in the public square is critical, Elder Oaks said, because "living together with mutual respect for one another's differences is a challenge in today's world."  Elder Oaks emphasized that in religious and public life truth and tolerance go hand in hand.  "We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them.""

You can read then entire report HERE, which I strongly recommend.

LDS parents are called to teach their children righteousness, by covenant, in a wicked world.  This is part of God's plan.  He has given us doctrines that if we live and teach by, our children will ultimately embrace -- and learn to discern truth from error.   Our children were preserved to come forth during this time -- a time which God and His prophets foresaw.   The greatest lesson we can teach our children, is the love that God has for all of His children -- and the plan that He has presented for our salvation.

As people of faith, it can seem harsh to our gay brothers and sisters, who oppose God -- when we stand to defend His Plan.  And this is why, that when doing so, we must be selective and show an increase of love.

Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants instructs:
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
This faithfulness that is spoken of, is surely the love of God that He has for all of His children, and that He expects US to show forth among one another... 
Kathryn Skaggs

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