12 November 2008

Dear President Monson

Dear President Monson:

Our prayers are with you in your new calling. It is a responsibility like no other on earth. May the Lord bless you as you serve.

By now I'm sure you know that the Saints have reacted in different ways to your letter urging support for Proposition 8 in California. Elder Clayton has confirmed that they are free to do so. I'm sure you also know that even after the election, vigorous debate continues among the members of the church over the matter. Many take the position that since you urged support for the measure, no further debate is necessary or even desirable.

President Monson, we want to support and sustain you in your calling. We earnestly desire to do what's right. But I still have questions that so far, nobody in the Church has answered—not Elder Clayton, not Elder Oaks, not Elder Bednar or Elder Wickman. They and others have painted doomsday scenarios about abridgment of our freedoms of speech and religion if Proposition 8 failed. In all honesty, I and many other members of the Church just don't see how this is possible. And countless others outside the Church across the nation and in other countries agree with us, including dozens of distinguished legal scholars. These are not uninformed or agenda-driven zealots. They are intelligent, thoughtful people, many professionals, many people of faith themselves, and many with the highest credentials in their field who have, in the opinion of myself and others, completely refuted all of the imagined negative results if Proposition 8 failed.

By contrast, what I saw from Elders Clayton, Oaks, Bednar and Wickman was essentially just a push to re-write secular law based on LDS religious doctrine. We were the target of that very same kind of effort 120 years ago when the Edmunds-Tucker Act, propelled by others' own “moral” and religious objections to polygamy, nearly destroyed us as a church. How can we now do that to others, especially when the result has been to take away legal and social stability from thousands of families and make such stability impossible for more people who want it? Isn't that exactly what we faced ourselves before? How can we now inflict that same thing on those who are not even of our faith, have no desire to be, and for whom, according to our own doctrine, it thus shouldn't matter whether they enter the temple or not?

President Monson, we sustain you as a seer. What do you see that we don't? With all due respect, the letter urging support for Proposition 8 and the subsequent discussions by a handful of General Authorities haven't answered this question for me. Forgive me if you think this means I lack faith, but I need more than what the Church has given us so far, which is essentially that our doctrine justifies re-writing secular law and we will live in a genderless police state if we don't. I don't wish to sound picky, but just quoting the Proclamation on the Family's bit about “nations bringing on themselves the consequences foretold” is just too abstract and sounds like a corporate press release. I need to know more.

I need to know what you, specifically, as the prophet of the Lord, see will happen if same-sex marriage becomes legal in our country. I don't mean to be disrespectful or ungrateful or faithless. I have a testimony of the gospel and have been active in the Church all my life. But we are supposed to study things out in our mind, as the Doctrine & Covenants says, and we are supposed to worship the Lord with all of our mind as well as our hearts. That's what I'm trying to do. So on this issue, one of the ways for me to sustain you in your calling is to hope and pray that you see more than I do, because I and countless others just don't see as realistic all the drastic consequences that Proposition 8 supporters threatened us with if it had failed.

Please, tell us what you see. Don't dispatch Church PR people. Don't deputize a couple of other General Authorities for a roundtable discussion that creates as many questions as it tries to answer. Don't just issue a letter asking that we do what we can to support a ballot measure. You are the prophet of the Lord. Please, tell us what YOU see.

Very truly yours,



Mike said...

Are you planning on sending this to President Monson?

I think that it is a very good idea not to raise the question on ssa, but specifically ask what the impact same gender marriage will have in our society.

I would like to believe that Presiden Monson would respond to such a letter, but I am afraid that we would most likely receive word from a PR representative if at all.

I would like to be know what the prophets thoughts are on this, but I suppose its again the struggle that we deal with, lack of knowledge and inspiration concerning ssa and the church.


October Rising said...

very good! all the right questions!

Z i n j said...

To put it bluntly ....legal same gender marriage would mean that sex between loving committed couples would no longer be a sin

Alan said...

I've seen that argument before. I don't think the Church would go along. I think it would say "we don't care whether the state puts its stamp of approval on this or not, the state doesn't have the authority to override God's law, and God says such behavior is sinful."

Look at the case of Buckley Jeppson, who was threatened with excommunication in his Washington DC area stake because he married his partner in Canada. Last I heard, he was still a member of the Church but had moved to Oregon where local leaders may not be as keen to stir up another "anti-gay" news story, especially in the wake of Proposition 8. But the fact that the wheels were set in motion tells me that the Church will not accept civil marriages between same-sex couples as somehow "sanitizing the sin".

Grant Haws said...

Great letter. I am sick of the Church PR team dictating policy and doctrine and telling me what is going on.

Ezra said...

What a wonderful letter!

Too bad he'll never see it.