What Does Neutrality Mean?

It was my understanding, and I can’t find the source, that the Church had a position of strict neutrality on political matters. So, my heart is a little tender, and I’m a little confused by what was read from the pulpit on Sunday.

Does anyone have any insight to offer?

16 thoughts on “What Does Neutrality Mean?

  1. Politically neutral – meaning not endorsing one political party over another, nor one politician over another.

    The marriage ammendment, to the Church (and myself) – at least as far as I can tell, is a moral issue. The Church has never been one to take a neutral stance on moral issues.

    I was in and out of the Chapel on Sunday, so I only heard part of the announcement, but evidently the Church supports the Federal Marriage Ammendment because it codifies a doctrine spelled out in the Family Proclamation.

    My 2 cents.

  2. cordeiro is right. The church will only come out and make a statement when certain political issues will threaten the family. They made a huge deal here in California in (I think) 2000 (I was in Hawaii in college) about the proposition to support marriage between a man and a woman. That was one time we were asked to go and canvass our neighborhoods in support of the Prop. Hope that helps.

  3. This did happen once before with the issue of Prohibition. I believe that the prophesy even said that if alcohol were legalized again, our “roads would turn red w/ the blood of the victems”. The Church worked very hard to not pass the ammendment, but it passed anyway (Utah helped pass it). We can see the impact that has made and indeed we can all admit the prophesy has been fulfilled.

    I think that because the central focus of our doctrine is on the family and the way that God has structured the family, they are actively campaigning to not allow the law to go contrary to that. The issue is not as much “we hate homosexual” as it is….marriage is what it is and changing it isn’t ok.

    I struggle with this one too, b/c of the people that I know in my life. With the adoption issue alone…I know many gay and lesbian adoptive parents who are wonderful and it is hard for me to think about them not having their families……I have to use faith on this one……but I do struggle with it.

  4. Times and Seasons has an extensive thread on this, I started to read it, and it has a lot of really interesting arguments, but I got interrupted after 100 comments or so. My kids only let me blog in short bursts. I guess I’ll have to go read it after they are asleep.

  5. The thing is, everyone, EVERYONE Christ came in contact with in his life, he treated with love. Every lesson is about love, and he died teaching us about love, forgiveness and redemption. Even when he was angry, he acted with love.

    The message read in church did not feel loving to me- aside from the moral implications about being encouraged to raise my political voice in a certain way- I felt the spirit of the room change drastically when the words were discussed later. People got pious, and firm, their countenence changed and I just DID NOT feel the spirit of the Lord in the room. It made me want to run away, and I never want to feel that way at Church again.

    Regarding the Church seeing this as a moral issue, well, the church has issued it’s Proclomation for us, we have it. As the faithful, we accept it. The Church IS a moral authority for me, but those beliefs are personal. Encouraging me to “pray and vote my conscious” is always welcome, but that was not what happened this weekend. I don’t know how to reconcile my feelings and may not for a long time.

  6. I was out sick on Sunday, so I missed a first hand reading of the letter. The way it has been explained to me by several parties is that we were encouraged to contact our Senators and reminded of the Proclamation. Not neccessarily told how to feel, just reminded of the Church’s beliefs. Our bishop supposedly said that we should get involved no matter what our stance.

  7. Mo- text of the letter:

    We are informed that the United States Senate will on June 6, 2006, vote on an amendment to the Federal constitution designed to protect the traditional institution of marriage.

    We, as the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, have repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship.

    In 1995 we issued a Proclamation to the World on this matter, and have repeatedly reaffirmed that position.

    In that proclamation we said: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

    We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate.

  8. I am not a member of your church, but a friend who has known tracy a long time and all i can say is…trust what your heart tells you and always choose love and acceptance… chelsea

  9. Families are central to the Creator’s plan, of course Satan would attack the family. Homosexuality eradicates families. Families are the base of society; hence, weak families make weak nations. The family is not only our, but also America’s, most valuable asset. This is not only a religious issue, but indeed, a political one.
    I, too, have friends and associates that are homosexuals and I love and appreciate them, however, loving them does not mean I condone or encourage their sexual activity. I also have friends and family that commit adultery, it does not mean that I do not love, value and appreciate them. In fact the opposite is true—condoning would mean I do not love or care for them. I recognize that both of these behaviors, homosexuality and adultery, destroy family life. I am concerned for my family and the American family and same-sex marriages affect families. Supporting the amendment does not attack the intrinsic value of individuals, but does fight for the family.
    The constitution is an inspired document. However, it is not all inclusive–homosexuality was not a prominent issue in 1776, just as internet regulations and methamphetamine use were not. It is unreasonable to expect our founding fathers to have anticipated every issue that this country would face; however, they provided a framework to deal with arising issues and a check and balance system to meet the challenges forthcoming. Without an amendment to protect marriage and the family, we have non-elected judges making decisions which affect us all. An amendment would no longer leave this decision open to individual judges’ interpretations—which, divides the people.

  10. ooops. I forgot this program wouldn’t allow my double spacing and I didn’t indent. Sorry the entry is hard to read.

  11. I just don’t see how someone loving another human being is a threat to my family.

    I understand the divinity and sacredness of the man/woman relationship- it transcends art, culture and time. I feel that is where Pres. Hinkley was coming from- everything from him comes from love, too. The problem seems to be, per normal, the People who then feel free to let their “us/them” attitudes and judgementalness fly, seeing it as a mandate from the Prophet to be open about their uncomfortable feelings. I saw this on Sunday. It is very easy to see this issue as black and white when you don’t have a loved one to give it a face. Then, it becomes all sorts of grey.

    Keeping ‘Marriage’ between a man and a woman may very well be divine and kept to a religeous arena. However, the social constructs of society can allow for Civil Unions without bothering me and my marriage at all.

  12. Maybe that’s where we see things a little differently. I view that my actions do affect others, just as another’s actions do affect me, or better stated by Elder Dean L. Larsen, “There is no such thing as private sin.” Homosexual behavior in our society does or will eventually affect all of us if practiced. I suspect in ways I can’t even imagine. However, men we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators, have made a call to support an amendment supporting marriage. I am asked to trust what I cannot see.
    I agree, homosexuality (or any other behavior not approved by the Lord) can get gray when we have people involved that we love. Again, that’s why I’m so glad we have prophets and apostles who are seers that can see past the confusion that surrounds us and steer us through it. It takes faith to follow them; no doubt about it.
    As far as judgments, these quotes by Elder Dallin H. Oaks are really helpful to me, so I’m passing them on.
    “First, I speak of the final judgment. This is that future occasion in which all of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to our works . . . I believe that the scriptural command to ‘judge not’ refers most clearly to this final judgment, as in the Book of Mormon declaration that ‘man shall not . . . judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord’ (Mormon 8:20).
    “ . . . I believe this commandment was given because we presume to make final judgments whenever we proclaim that any particular person is going to hell (or to heaven) for a particular act or as of a particular time. When we do this—and there is a great temptation to do so—we hurt ourselves and the person we pretend to judge.
    “. . . We must refrain from making final judgments on people because we lack the knowledge and the wisdom to do so. We would even apply the wrong standards. The world’s way is to judge competitively between winners and losers. The Lord’s way of final judgment will be to apply his perfect knowledge of the law a person has received and to judge on the basis of that person’s circumstances, motives, and actions throughout his or her entire life. . .
    “In contrast to forbidding mortals to make final judgments, the scriptures require mortals to make what I will call ‘intermediate judgments.’ These judgments are essential to the exercise of personal moral agency. . .
    “We must, of course, make judgments every day in the exercise of our moral agency, but we must be careful that our judgments of people are intermediate and not final. Thus, our Savior’s teaching contain many commandments we cannot keep without making intermediate judgments of people: ‘Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine’ (Matthew 7:6); ‘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 all make judgments in choosing our friends, in choosing how we will spend our time and our money, and of course, in choosing an eternal companion. Some of these intermediate judgments are surely among those the Savior referenced when he taught that ‘the weightier matters of the law’ include judgment (Matthew 23:23).
    “. . . (A) principle of a righteous intermediate judgment is that whenever possible we will refrain from judging people and only judge situations.
    “. . . (Another) principle of a righteous judgment is that it will apply righteous standards. If we apply unrighteous standards, our judgment will be unrighteous. By falling short of righteous standards, we place ourselves in jeopardy of being judged by incorrect or unrighteous standards ourselves.”
    (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Excerpted from Judge Not and Judging, CES fireside for young adults, 1 March 1998, 1-5)
    I’m glad for this discussion. Thanks for opening up your post.

  13. I agree, Tracy, that two gay people being married will not affect your marriage in any way.

    BUT, and I feel really strongly about this, I DO think it will affect the way your children and grandchildren think about marriage.

    And I think the slippery slope is something that just cannot be ignored. It opens so many doors, I can’t even go there, it scares me so much. (If churches won’t allow gay adoptions, then they lose tax exempt status, and essentially cease to function, if marriage can’t be defined by the government, then what’s to stop anyone from marrying 6 women, 3 men, a cow and a goat, and hey! Why not this minor child? It’s just too much for me, every time I go there, I think of worse things).

    Divorce used to be unheard of in this country, and it was extremely difficult to get one. The laws were tight. The argument to loosen them was the same – How does 2 people getting divorced hurt your marriage? It doesn’t specifically, but it does hurt society at large, and now divorce is a hugely viable option, (50-60% of marriages ending) and is tearing children and society apart.

    My problem is, I have so many gay people that I love as well, some of them family, and I have no solution for them. I think this is truly a situation where “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” But that doesn’t make it any easier for those gay men. And it hurts my heart.

    I am firmly against gay marriage, but I am not firmly against gays. And I wish I had an answer for them, that’s what hurts me so much. I am glad, though, that they have contracts, wills, and non-discrimination laws that can get them many of the same benefits marriage can. (health insurance, inheritance, etc.) I know it’s not the same for them, but it’s something.

    I also trust that “man cannot comprehend all things” (Mosiah 4:9). But I tell you, when I get past that veil, it’s going to be one of the first questions I ask!

    Sorry for the long comment.

  14. What if we took the word “marriage” off the table, and made marriage strictly a religious covennant, like our other covennants? Other people who wouldn’t want (or couln’t have) a “marriage” ie: a relious covennanted relationship, could then go to city hall and have a civil binding, or something of the like. Then, marriage still remains a sacred religious ceremony and others, weather they be gay, agnostic, athiest or whatever, can have their union. Is that still a slippery slope? I just don’t know. I really don’t.

    The whole thing is just so complex- human hearts are involved, and they are good hearts, too. I cannot look into the faces of those I love and pass judgement on them, I just can’t. And I believe that the Lord loves them just as much as he loves me.

    My children are going to grow up knowing and loving family members who are openly gay. This is not something hidden in our family. We have not figured out what/how much to tell them yet, but they are too young for sexuality of any bent. Will loving these people effect how my children view marriage? Again, I don’t know.

    So here I am bumbling though. Doing the best I can. I’m not leaving- this is not a deal-breaker for me. This church does far too much good in the world and in my life for me to doubt it, but my heart may not get the anwers it seeks- not here on earth.

    Like the Wiz, who I happen to consider a friend, I look forward to wonderful answers to earths perplexing questions when I get to the other side of that veil.

  15. I didn’t get that the First Presidency is asking us to judge anyone….and aren’t saying anything new.
    My biggest problem is that with allowing “alternative marriage/lifestyle” to become mainstream, other things will be perverted and corrupted, all in the “freedom to do whatever feels good” vein. Each time a law like this is passed, a more corrupt thing comes a long and “rationalized” and passed…all because those very good lawyers and politicians can prove reasons it’s a good thing…based on the ones they’ve “won”.

  16. Annonymous-
    I object to your choice of words- my family members who are gay are neither perverted nor corrupt, nor do they run around like maniacs doing whatever “feels good”. This stereotype is as rediculous as “all Mormons are polygamists”.

    *******

    My gay family members want to be in relationships with people they have loved, monogamously, for many years. They were born the way they are, and they are not abstracts for politicians to use, they are people, with hearts and souls.

    I realize the First Presidency is not asking anything new. I have the proclomation on the wall in my living room, and we live it. This is part of why I am such a mess.

    I wish there was a way to have a dispassionate, rational discussion on this topic. Unfortunately, even on my own site, that does not seem possible. Rhetoric starts to fly and unkind words are written.

    I appreciate the kind and compassionate voices, even the voices who may have a different point of view than I do. I appreciate the attempt to be considerate in discussing this topic, but I find myself no further resolved, and indeed, more torn than ever.

    I don’t do this often, but for now, I am closing comments. Back to my regualrly scheduled program: babies, The Terrorists, barf, poop and not going insane.

    Thanks everyone.

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