I have stayed silent for a few days now after the election for a number of reasons.
BUT I am now going to speak up for those of us who feel that our active support of Prop 8 equates to hate or intolerance at worst or blindly following the Prophet at best. I haven't really heard of much gloating from members of my ward or stake. Yes they are happy because the did work hard. But I don't think it can even be defined as gloating.
For those of us who feel that the Proclamation to the World is an inspired declaration, for those of us in CA who worked on this, happiness over the passage of Prop 8 feels like we have done what the Prophet has asked to try to stem the things that would bring to pass the things that prophets past and present have warned against. At least for now its a relief.
I do object to those who say that we shouldn't be well pleased with the results. Those who jump to this statement need to remember that participating in this hasn't been easy for any of us. For many of us this victory is representative of countless hours of work involving: knocking on doors, calling people, talking to people, placing signs etc. For those of us who struggle with Same Gender Attraction this was especially hard.
Those of us who struggle understand what our brothers and sisters who may choose not to live according to the gospel plan feel. But I want to make an observation. I am fairly sure that when Nephi and company found out that the city had been conquered and enslaved after they packed up and left, that they didn't gloat about their choice to follow God's "urging" to leave. I'm pretty sure that when Noah and his family brought up the gangplank on the ark amidst the jeering of their friends only to have to listen to them begging and pleading to let them in when the floods started. I'm sure they didn't stand on the deck of the ship saying "I told you so, too bad."
I'm sure they felt bad and they cried because of the choices of their beloved friends and neighbors who choose to use their agency in a way that was in opposition to what they had been urged to do. They loved them and felt bad that their choices had separated them from God. I'm sure they mourned them the same way we mourned the loss of a 1/3 of our brothers and sisters as a result of them following Satan in the war in heaven. But feeling bad about that didn't keep us from going forward with our choice to follow our Heavenly Father.
I'm not going to argue here rather choosing to follow the Prophet's call to action over this issue represented following the Prophet or not. The First Presidency in a letter and two apostles in a broadcast issues a clear call. But that is up to the individual, but what I am saying is that for those of us who did, we have nothing to apologize for. We did what we felt was right and we should never be ashamed of that. That doesn't mean we need to gloat over it. But we can walk away knowing that we did what we set out to do. For those who attended the broadcast as Elder Ballard and Elder Cook stressed we were engaged in the Lord's work. Those were his words, not mine.
When my bishop asked me to serve as our wards Zip Code Coordinator I admit that I had to struggle with it. On one hand it was something I knew I could do. I've had experience organizing past involvement in local, state and national campaigns. I love doing it. I could do this. Then he told me that he understands I struggle and that was the main reason he wanted my help because he felt that I could help with this and have the correct understanding of why we are doing this. I prayed about this and felt that it was the right thing to do.
The first thing I did was order enough copies of "The Lord Loveth His Children" and everyone of my volunteers received one when they came on board. I will say that none of my organizational meetings were homophobic, I will say that at least in none of the priesthood meetings I attended were stupid things said and if they were they were shot down by the majority. This was a fantastic opportunity to teach correct principles. From day one I made sure everyone involved knew what this was about and what it wasn't about.
I have lost friends over this. I've had longtime friends tell me that I was hateful, intolerant, ignorant and homophobic. I've been called sick. I've had people remove me from Myspace and Facebook. I've had friends send me letters and text messages telling me to never talk to them again. Within my own family my little brother is currently not speaking to my dad. I've had my faith, my church and my beliefs challenged. I have several good friends who were so emotionally disturbed by protesters at the Oakland Temple that they came home in tears. Yes, I've had my yard signs stolen, and my car keyed over my bumper sticker. Ironicly these are all the actions of so called tolerant people. As I write this I am watching a broadcast on the news about riots in front of the LA Temple and plans for a similar protest on Temple Square.
Yes we need to be more loving and more understanding. But we don't have to be ashamed of it. We don't have to apologize for what we believe in order to make those who choose to sin feel more loved or accepted. We don't have to accept the sin in order to love the sinner. I don't have to go to gay clubs to show my gay friends that I accept them as people. I don't have to attend gay pride parades to demonstrate that I accept their choices. I don't have to have an online presence on gay.com or connextions to show that while I don't choose to engage in the lifestyle, I am okay with those who do. I don't have to surround myself with immorality in order to prove that I'm tolerant.
Standing for something means taking a stand and this sometimes means having to walk away from things that would influence me to make bad choices. Being tolerant never means having to put myself in spiritually hazardous situations.
I refuse to apologize for standing up for what I think is right. I refuse to apologize for making the difficult choice to follow the Prophet. I refuse to apologize for my faith and my beliefs. I am not ashamed nor do I feel that I need to hide it. If 5,000 people can rally and riot in front of the LA Temple, climb all over the walls, engage in inappropriate and publicly sexual behavior in order to "punish" by shocking Mormons on their own terf. Perhaps those who are good friends with these people should tell them that they need to also question their actions.
Tolerance goes two ways. I can accept if my friends feel a need to live their lives in a way that goes against what I believe. BUT I also expect them to accept my beliefs and accept my opinions as well. Real tolerance goes both ways. I think thats a concept that has been forgotten in this whole deal.
I want to leave a few thoughts here.
* This evening I saw a news broadcast that put all the blame on the passage of this on the shoulders of the Mormon Church. One guy is urged all gay people to not stay at Marriot Hotels. Another was saying how they need to do everything they can to discredit Mitt Romney so as to cripple his chances to run for president. One guy was saying that they should get the list of names off the mormonsforprop8 site and blacklist businesses and shame them out of their elected offices and whatnot. Apparently the 2.5 percent of the Mormon Church population about 750,000 are the ones to blame here. To be honest I only wish for our missionary efforts we were this influential.
* Remember that while we worked on a broad based, grass roots organization, many of those who worked along side us have no use for Mormons in general. We are still a cult. We had a huge bus rally in my area that was planned at the Baptist Church. At first the Church wasn't even contacted to participated. We seemed to have been viewed as a necessary evil in the end when we received an invite. Oddly about 75 percent of the large crowd of 700 people were LDS.
* With the election of Obama, this nations seems to have thrown out the conservative view point. Other races indicate that the influence of the Religious Right is decreasing. Yet Prop 8 in CA, Prop 207 in AZ, Measure 2 in FL and a similar measure in AR all passed. For the record 7 in 10 black males voted for Prop 8 in CA. This is something to think about.
* There was a lot of attacks on the church for using so called scare tactics and half truths. A lot of which translated into "I don't like the facts presented and refuse to accept them." But at the eleventh hour a commercial depicting two Mormon Elders invading a home was aired and the same people who cried foul about the Yes on 8's tactics are now seeing justifications for this new ad. Either that or they claimed that it wasn't really part of what the mainstream No on 8 crowd agreed on.
* One final observation. Did anyone notice just how not gay or at least non-sterotypical the lesbian couple looked in that ad. To be honest the two Mormon Elders appeared more gay looking then the couple. This brings up a point. In any of the ads for No on 8 how much homosexuality was depicted? None. It was all about civil rights and texts and attacks on the facts used by the Yes on 8 side. The clear and simple fact was that the No on 8 people knew that to publicly own their cause would present an image problem. They knew that pictures same gender affection by in large makes people uncomfortable. While most people want to think of themselves as tolerant, they also don't want to see things that make them feel uncomfortable. Judging by the votes in CA, FL, AR, and AZ this seems to ring true.