Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And they shall be ignored

I've been thinking about the things that happened on Sunday. On one hand, I feel good about being able to open my home to help a family which has been uprooted from their home. But, something else happened Sunday that is really starting to bug me.

In PEC meeting, before church, our bishop read a letter he received from church headquarters. It was warning us of letters and/or emails we might receive from a Dale Callahan. It seems he has started a letter writing campaign to LDS leaders, members, and missionaries in California urging them to vote 'No' on proposition 8. It went on to explain that they do not know if he is a former member of the church or if it's an assumed name he is working under. It pointed out that he does not represent the church and then ended saying any coorespondence we receive from Dale Callahan should be ignored.

I don't have a problem with the church pointing out that this Dale Callahan does not represent the church and that the views he is expressing are contrary to those expressed by the church. These are simple statements of fact. But, to tell us to ignore him seems petty. We are counseled to study the issues and vote with our conscious. But, are we only supposed to study things that come from the church and people who agree with the church. Are we supposed to simply ignore anybody that expresses any opposing points of view?

Needless to say, after our bishop read this letter a discussion ensued. My bishop wanted to clarify "so, if you vote no that means you are FOR gay marriage - in other words, you are against the family proclamation." Other brethren in the room were saying that this is truely a sign of the last days. One brother said that this person was obviously a former member of the church because no active member would ever express views like this.

As the discussion continued - I sat there in stunned silence. I truly did not know what to say or how to react. I felt very uncomfortable to say the least. I felt like an outsider. I was no longer sitting in a council of brethren united in purpose - I was the enemy. Me, and others like me, are the modern day Korihors - seeking to bring down the church. If only they knew what evil was lurking in their midst.

Today I am feeling melancholy - I feel so conflicted. As I pointed out in my last blog post, Mormon's are good people. Most members of the church will bend over backwards to help someone in need - apparently only so long as you keep homos away from them. Evidently we are of no consequence. If we express views supporting gay marriage then we are to be simply ignored. Studying political issues does not include listening to anything we have to say.

I feel like we're tolerated only so long as we keep our secrets to ourselves so that the general membership of the church can go on in blissful ignorance because, obviously, we don't have any of -those- people in the church. Hmmm, that sounds eerily similar to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran when he said "We don't have any gays in Iran."

23 comments:

Serendipity said...

Ugh, I feel for you. It puts me right back into Relief Society the first week in July. The lesson was on families and the discussion was much like you describe here. I am so sorry. I meant to blog this past weekend about that moment in R.S. It will be coming soon...

Dichotomy helped me realize the other day that even though the proclamation on the family says "between a man and a woman" it DOES NOT say "only". It is definitely open to individual interpretation and inspiration.

May the Lord bless you as you work through your feelings on this! I am right there with you.

robert said...

You can only know love by also knowing what love is not. We live in the world of the relative where what 'is' exists only by the virtue of its relationship to what 'is not'.

Love exists by virtue of fear. The paradigm of oneness is based in love while the paradigm of separateness is based in fear.

Those in the Church (and elsewhere) who espouse such views have much to learn about love.

Carter Niven said...

I recently listened to an interview discussing a new breed of Evangelicals who are voting Democrat. The young lady stated something to the effect, that although she didn’t like 20% of the Democratic platform, the remainder of the platform represented ideology that she believed in. Some of these included: education, social programs, and ending the war in Iraq. This didn’t preclude her objection to abortion, which she still adamantly opposed, but believed more good could be accomplished by working within a framework that supported the majority of what she believed.

Since my mission to the US, I have wondered why the Church supported the Republican Party given the fact that the policies of the Democratic Party seemed more in line with the teaching of Christ – tolerance, education, equality, social support. However, because the Republican Party has aligned itself with issues like abortion and inequality for groups such as gays and lesbians, that the Church seems very much in favour of this right wing thought.

OK, what is my point? I cannot see how a vote against proposition 8 can be interpreted as a vote against the Family Proclamation. Yes, yes. One man, one woman…blah, blah, blah. The strength of any family resides in the four walls created by those committed to the concept. Mormonism seems well adept at ignoring the storms of ideas around them. I expect this would still continue even if gay marriage becomes law everywhere in the world.

The proclamation warns that those who violate the principles written therein will experience the calamities foretold by the prophets. Here in Canada, this hasn’t seemed to happen yet. Our government runs a balanced budget and has been paying down the debt for the last several years. My Province, Alberta, is forecasting an 8 billion dollar surplus this year.

CK said...

If you want to see what Dale has been up to...

http://signingforsomething.org/blog/

Philip said...

Abelard,

It could be worse. You could be sixteen and dealing with this.

When I was a teenager a moratorium was declared on busing. I listened to the reporter talk about busing tearing the Country apart and the President and Congress calling for a cooling off period. The word "moratorium" appeared on my TV screen with a parking lot full of buses as background. Well, I was being torn apart by what my Church was saying about homosexuality and decided a little while later that what was good enough for the Country was good enough for me. I declared a moratorium and stopped trying to reconcile the conflict going on inside me between what the Church was teaching about homosexuality and what I knew to be true about myself. I had only learned about the Church's teachings a couple of months before and already the conflict was driving me crazy.

Basically, I put distance between me and the Church just like Nixon and Congress put distance between schools and integration.

My intention was to call off the moratorium and go back to Church once I no longer felt crazed. But like the Nixon and Congress, I put off dealing with the conflict year after year after year.

Recently I went back to the Church and learned I would only be accepted if I went back into the closet. I am no longer willing to be invisible or stay silent or play deaf and dumb so I said thanks but no thanks.

I read your posts and the posts of others and I wonder how you did it. How did you get through those teenage years? And I wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't happened to turn on the TV that day and hear about how the President and Congress had declared a moratorium; a term I had never heard of before and had to look up in the dictionary.

Regards,
Philip

AmbiguouS One said...

I have also experienced moments in church like this. I'm just grateful that I don't live in California; having to hear that letter read in Sacrament Meeting would've sent me over the edge!

Anyway, know that you are NOT the enemy. The Lord can give you personal revelation about things. Only you know what the Lord has personally revealed unto you through this blessing of communication.

If you vote your conscience, the Lord will surely understand.

MohoInTx said...

Ouch!

Maybe it's a good thing I haven't been able to go to any of these meetings recently.

Just remember that these are members speaking... and the Church is prone to man made mistakes. I really do believe most of what is said in Church is not intended to scar us emotionally :)

Abelard Enigma said...

even though the proclamation on the family says "between a man and a woman" it DOES NOT say "only"

I have pondered that question myself. The proclamation specifically says: "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God" which seems to suggest the possibility of other marriages that are not ordained of God. This then gets into a philosophical question: If something is not 'ordained of God', does that equate to being evil? Or, does not being 'ordained of God' simply mean it's ordained of man and, by itself, is neither evil or righteous - it just is.

Those in the Church (and elsewhere) who espouse such views have much to learn about love.

AMEN!!!

If you want to see what Dale has been up to...
http://signingforsomething.org/blog/


Is that who they are referring to? I thought the bishop said "Dale Callehan" when he read the letter, but I suppose it is possible I misheard and he said "Drew".

OK, now I'm really irked. The letter the bishop read made it sound like the guy was mailing letters to anybody and everybody and being generally annoying. Signing For Something simply encourages members to send a letter to church headquarters with their concerns.

The fact that the church mailed a letter to all bishops - not just the bishops in California - tells me that their letter writing campaign may be having more success than they realize. Perhaps the church is being inundated with letters voicing concern, so they are seeking to moderate the flow by telling us to ignore brother Callahan.

But, the fact that the church sent this letter also suggests that the church isn't learning anything from this experience. Instead, they may be choosing to adopt a persecution role. Those evil gays are persecuting us because we espouse different and unpopular views - just like in the old days. This letter may be an effort to circle the wagons to protect us from the evil gays. Little do they realize how many evil gays are already in their midst.

General Conference could be very interesting ...

How did you get through those teenage years?

Well, speaking only for myself - I wasn't LDS at the time. My parents are very religious; but, I rebelled during my teenage years, quit going to church, and became agnostic. It wasn't until I went away to college when I investigated and joined the LDS church.

But, my teenage years for rough. I had to endure being called a queer and faggot all through junior high and high school. But, I was taught that homosexuals were perverts that hung out in bathrooms waiting to molest boys. So, although I knew I was attracted to boys, I wasn't like what I had been taught it meant to be a homosexual; so, of course, I couldn't be one.

I'm just grateful that I don't live in California; having to hear that letter read in Sacrament Meeting would've sent me over the edge!

I'm not in California either - I live in Texas. Apparently, this letter was mailed to all bishops in the US. So, this is starting to affect all of us, not just the saints in California.

btw, ambiguous one, welcome to the queerosphere. Are you family? Or are you a friend of the family?

Dichotomy said...

The proclamation specifically says: "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God" which seems to suggest the possibility of other marriages that are not ordained of God.

That's not the only possibility. Just because one thing is "ordained of God" doesn't mean another, different, thing can't ALSO be "ordained of God".

If I were to say "An Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood is ordained of God" that would be a true, factual statement, but it wouldn't automatically imply that a person holding any other office in the Melchizedek Priesthood is NOT ordained of God.

Regardless of whether or not they're "ordained", I choose to believe that God is more pleased with the marriages of people like Scot and Rob or John and Göran than with Britney Spears' 55 hour marriage-on-a-whim. Yet church doctrine says that hers is somehow more "sacred" or more "ordained of God" than theirs.

A.J. said...

I can't wait for the election to be over. This whole thing has been painful for me and had a negative effect on my testimony. -A.J.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Sodom & Gomorrah had nothing on you guys! Good luck -- you're gonna need it.

Abelard Enigma said...

I really do believe most of what is said in Church is not intended to scar us emotionally

I agree with you. I think these kinds of statements are made out of ignorance rather than malice. I do find myself wondering how the discussion may have gone had they known about me. Then again, there is also the question if I would even be in PEC meetings if they knew about me

Regardless of whether or not they're "ordained", I choose to believe that God is more pleased with the marriages of people like Scot and Rob or John and Göran than with Britney Spears' 55 hour marriage-on-a-whim.

Frankly, there are a lot of heterosexual couples who could learn a thing or two about love and marriage from Scot & Rob and/or John & Göran

I can't wait for the election to be over.

Don't give up. If prop 8 fails in California, it could have a ripple effect in other states making 2012 even more exciting than 2008.

Wow! Sodom & Gomorrah had nothing on you guys!

Yes, we are much smarter than those Sodomites and Gomorrahites. We've infiltrated their ranks - now we'll perform acts of love and service for our fellow members - they'll never know what hit them.

Hastings Times said...

I am the one who sent out the letters that generated the "Don't Listen to Dale Callahan" letter. I suggested in the letters that there is some dissent on this issue in the Church, and that not everyone agrees with the idea of voting in favor of taking civil rights away from gays and lesbians.

At the time of the letters my son was on his mission, (he is now returned) and I did not use any first name. They apparently jumped to a conclusion that my name was Dale Callahan from an e-mail address I included. My name is Andrew Callahan. I am a High Priest. I am a current member of the church. I have served in bishoprics, on the high council. I have attended leadership meetings with the President Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, Russell M. Nelson. I understand the doctrine of the Church. I am not someone who is simply OUT TO GET the church. I am trying to point out that there are many of us who want to do the right thing.

Please speak out on this issue.

Thank you.
Andrew Callahan

Truly Confused said...

I agree with your frustration at your bishop saying to ignore this man.

One of my frustrations has been the church pushing for marriage between one man and one woman, when the temple still does sealings between one man and multiple women. I also struggle with not feeling like a HUGE hypocrite that the church was screaming for the US government to stay out of their bedrooms so they could practice polygamy.

Finally, the church is pushing for so much donation of time and money to this cause. I don't see why cannot see the same kind of push to ending world hunger, of something like that. The members of the church are so willing to go to bat for just about anything the brethern ask. There is so much potential. If you doubt, see this blog that shows how much members are donating: http://mormonsfor8.com/

The churchs involvement in the proposition has left me wondering if I will continue to be a member of the church.

Anonynous-try to remember that the JS translation clarifies that the sin was not sodomy, but in refusing to listen to God.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

Here is a very funny pic that also makes a statement. Put it up on your blog!

http://img293.imageshack.us/my.php?image=titleofequalityde3.jpg

Abelard Enigma said...

I am the one who sent out the letters that generated the "Don't Listen to Dale Callahan" letter.

Brother Callahan, I am truly honored that you would take the time to read my measly blog. The fact that the church sent the warning letter out in the first place says that you must be accomplishing something.

Although, I am now totally confused. The letter made it sound like the church doesn't know who you are - yet you clearly identify yourself on the signingforsomething.org web site, including a picture. Did they go to the expense of sending out this letter to all bishops without doing simple research? Or are they fully aware of who you are and were pretending to not know, for whatever reason. Every possibility I come up with in my mind is disturbing in one way or another.

see this blog that shows how much members are donating: http://mormonsfor8.com/

I grew up, married, and had 1/2 my family in California before moving to Texas. I know a couple of the people on that list of donors - people we exchange Christmas cards with. I not sure why I'm taking it so personally, but this makes me very sad.

Truly Confused said...

"I grew up, married, and had 1/2 my family in California before moving to Texas. I know a couple of the people on that list of donors - people we exchange Christmas cards with. I not sure why I'm taking it so personally, but this makes me very sad"

It is because it is sad. I am straight and this makes me incredibly sad. I have several gay friends in wards where I see leadership donating. That breaks my heart. I cannot imagine how painful this must be for them. In several of their cases the leadership in their ward knows and still has donated large sums of money.

Equality said...

I wonder if the Brethren will follow their own counsel and ignore this fellow. I somehow doubt it. Methinks there is an "invitation" to a "court of love" already being prepared for him. Ready the comfy chair and fluffy pillows!

MikeInWeHo said...

What a great blog! Glad to have stumbled in here from BCC. Good luck to you.

Andrew Callahan said...

Dear Abelard Enigma:

I appreciate what you are doing here with this blog, with the blogroll of the "family." I have visited a great many of the blogs you list here and just barely skimmed them. Some of them have very powerful stories, as do you. I too am saddened by our church's positions regarding gays, gay marriage, etc. There has been a small amount of improvement in the tenor and the way they frame things in press releases, and other carefully crafted writings. Unfortunately, there is no significant change in the underlying message, that is love expressed between two people of the same gender is sinful.

I wish they could get over that. I am doing what I can but we all need to speak out, write our friends, gay and straight. Ask them to speak out. There are a great many members of the church who think the leadership is wrong on this issue, but is afraid to speak out. We need to encourage them to not be afraid, but to speak truth to power.

Best wishes to you.

Suzie Petunia said...

I hate being the only descentor in a church meeting. But I find it so difficult to keep my mouth closed. It gets me into trouble.

Mr. Fob said...

So the one time I attended an elders quorum meeting in the last year and a half--a couple weeks ago when my wife was sick and I knew the kids would be disappointed if I didn't take them to church--they talked about this letter. They didn't actually read the letter that had been sent to the bishops, and in fact now I'm thinking they grossly misrepresented it. The way the EQP phrased it, SLC was warning bishops that some guy was sending letters to LDS leaders, claiming to be the First Presidency and saying, "Oh, hey, that letter we sent out saying to support Prop 8? Never mind. Now we're cool with gay marriage." Which is not at all what the actual letter said at all, I take it.

Sigh. The amount of nasty rhetoric I had to endure in two hours of church was enough to make me happy I've left the church. I feel bad for faithful members like my wife who have to hear that every week instead of the spiritual edification they go to church for--at least here in California.

VeritasLiberat said...

"I am not someone who is simply OUT TO GET the church. "

Well, your YouTube video suggests that you really don't like the church or its members very much.

"Let's talk a little bit about the Mormon church. The culture of the Mormon church is one of intrigue, secrecy, secret combinations...guile, deception, and lying for the Lord are all canonized in our scriptures."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeJtp0OEWRo