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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gay People and Defending Traditional Christian Marriage: Vol II

       When there was a lot of turmoil in Alaska in 1998 about what the Alaska and Hawaii Constitutions guaranteed about equality of all citizens, it quickly became clear that the LDS Church leaders perceived equality as a threat to traditional marriage relationships.  I pointed out in my previous post on this topic that a letter from the "General Authorities" was read in our ward in Fairbanks, Alaska on this topic.  It pointed out that those members who had gone through the temple had promised everything they had to the building up of the Church.  [The secret oath is actually, to "consecrate your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...."]   Now, the church leaders are asking us to help a new amendment to the Alaska Constitution pass the voters of Alaska to uphold traditional marriage.   It said that marriage is under attack by "Gay Rights" people who want to destroy our marriages by getting the legal right to marry.  The letter asked all members to vote for the amendment to Alaska's Constitution AND to give sizable amounts of money to help affect the outcome of this ballot initiative.


The timetable for Gay rights to marry in Alaska is listed HERE.

No explanation was given on HOW allowing some Gay couple to marry would destroy traditional marriage.  Neither was an explanation ever given exactly how the state has a compelling interest in who its citizens should or should not be allowed to marry.


So, I wrote a letter to my bishop saying that until I had a good argument to vote to limit the Constitutional freedoms guaranteed in the Alaska Constitution, I could not vote for this amendment -- AND WOULD DONATE MY FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO DEFEATING THE NEW AMENDMENT.
    The Bishop told the Stake President [Pres Wappitt, a military medical officer serving in Fairbanks, AK] and I was soon called into his office for a "visit".  It was about two weeks before the election.  He kindly asked me to give up my temple recommend, as I was not supporting the LDS leadership in the ward, stake or Church.  He explained that the "issue" was NOT gay marriage, but obedience to the church's leaders.  He pointed out the question of the temple recommend that had to do with sustaining local leaders -- "4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?"  He said that he will need me to surrender my temple recommend "until I can answer 'YES' to that key question on the recommend interview."  I gave him my recommend.

      I thought about this constantly for the next two weeks.  When I voted at the voting booth, I voted AGAINST my conscience and FOR the amendment.  I hated myself for it.  It was only one vote, but it was a vote FOR ignorance, bigotry and FOR the improper authority of church leaders over their members.   But, I knew that without a temple recommend, I not only could not answer that question the way that I had to, but neither would I be allowed to be in attendance at my daughter's wedding -- that I knew would probably soon happen in the next few years in an LDS temple.

     So, the sly Stake President had brought the issue to a head.  He re-framed the issue as obedience AND had called in the original temple covenant so that they could do as they liked [or were inspired] without giving members a path of escape path to wiggle through.

     Yes, I got my temple recommend back -- but at a price for BOTH me AND the church.  I got the feeling that I could still go to the temple whenever I needed to -- but I promised myself secretly that I would NEVER again allow someone that kind of authority over my life -- if there is anything else that I can do about it.

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