Marriage, part 5: Defending marriage, defending charity

This is the final post in a five-part series on marriage, in case that wasn’t obvious in the title.

Thus far I have tried to make a case for difference in marriage, arguing that without confronting the fundamental differences symbolized by the sexual unity of male and female, we are less able to understand fully what it means to be charitable. In this final post, I will argue that defending marriage – and by association, charity – requires we defend difference.

Thus far, Latter-day Saints have put a lot of money and rhetoric into defending marriage, in particular against gay marriage. Perhaps the most notable example of this was the church’s recent campaign for Prop 8 in California. Though Prop 8 passed, we have seen since its passage that this “victory” for marriage cost more than just a lot of money. For the Latter-day Saint church in particular, the victory bordered on a public relations nightmare, with a lot of hate generated against the organization and its membership. Even worse, perhaps, was the division it caused within the membership.

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Marriage, part 4: The sin of Sodom

This post is the fourth in a five-part series of posts about – you guessed it – marriage.

To sum up my argument so far, I began this series of posts discussing differences and why we ought to value them. I then discussed that teaching children to value difference in others begins in the home, where two parents of different descent love each other for their differences (not to say, also, their similarities). Previous to this post, I argued that married couples engage in what I called a ritual of difference, wherein they realize a full expression of the infinity of their relationship – made up in part of their differences – and are better situated to have charity for one another, as well as for others. I would like to turn now to the sin of Sodom and draw all three posts together. Continue reading

Marriage, part 3: Ritual of difference

This post is a continuation of a five-part series on Marriage. Access part one here; access part two here.

In the last post, I argued that teaching our children charity was facilitated by the love parents share in the face of differences. In being one body (one flesh), as Paul taught, we must embrace our differences – otherwise, where were the hearing?

In this post, I want to address a particular difference (or set of differences) which many married couples experience on a regular basis. I’m talking in particular about “knowing” one another in the biblical sense (e.g., “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived…“). I am not trying to be coy about using the word “sex.” For my purposes, I feel that knowing is the most appropriate word.

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Marriage, part 2: Teaching our children charity

This post is a follow-up from “Marriage, part 1: Why difference matters.” Three more related posts will follow.

In the previous post, I argued that differences were actually essential for a spirit of charity to thrive in marriage. In seeking out and embracing these differences, we learn to love that which is other than us – and by love, I mean in part to appreciate and embrace the unique contribution made by those differences.

Charity, as Paul says, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). The truth is, we (husbands and wives) are different, and to have charity, we must rejoice in those differences. Doing so has the benefit of uniting us, as I discussed before. In this post, I’d like to discuss another benefit through a semi-narrative.

Imagine two people perpetually in conflict with one another. Let us say their conflicts are sometimes not particularly contentious, but do (as they must) get heated every once in a while. Now, in spite of how those conflicts play out (i.e., whether they are resolved or not), imagine that these two people also love each other with complete fidelity – that they are desperately faithful to one another. We might even see their love for one another manifested during conflicts.

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Please Don’t Hate (H8) Me Because I’m Mormon

Since the passage of Proposition 8 in California, there have been several protests aimed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These protests are of course understandable. California Latter-day Saints did, after all, play a formidable role in donations and phone calling in support of the measure. This participation was formally encouraged by the general leaders of the Church in Salt Lake City. Considering how big of a deal this is for so many same-sex couples and others in support of same-sex marriage, these protests are inevitable and I welcome this exercise of free speech.

What I disagree with, however, is the “stop the hate (H8)” rhetoric. As if everyone in favor of Prop 8 is hateful and bigoted. Especially Mormons. This message is coming off to be awfully disingenuous and overly dramatic, and also sidesteps the major issues that need to be debated. Just because someone is not in favor of gay marriage does not mean they are hateful. Nor does it mean they are bigoted. They simply disagree with you, in terms of what should count for marriage.

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Fold Your Arms and Be Reverent!

Now that I have kids in primary, I find myself falling into the same trap that I’ve ridiculed in the past: when I want my kids to be quiet in church, I don’t say “be quiet!” Instead, I say, “be reverent,” as though the two were the same thing. Often times, being reverent means, in part, being quiet. After reading a story in the newspaper about an autistic boy who was kicked out of church, and the judge that upheld it, I began to think more about what it might mean for my own kids to be reverent. Continue reading

Obama vs. McCain 2008: Round 10: Faith and Family Values

This is the tenth of a weekly series of public forums on TMB. Watch for a new round every Monday. The schedule and comment policy are available here.

Certainly an important area for most Latter-day Saints is a presidential candidate’s values on faith and family, including issues from their personal life.

There is LOTS to talk about here. Some suggested topics: Continue reading

Quilting and Hope

If you grew up in an LDS family, it’s quite possible that you have at least one grandma, aunt, or immediate family member who made you a quilt and was perhaps even considered a quilting “fanatic” in your family. It can be very easy to take such handmade quilts for granted. Taking some time to ponder the meaning invested in such gifts, however, may help us to appreciate them more. Continue reading

Happiness, Gay Marriage, and Eternal Marriage

In light of the recent ruling by the California Supreme Court on gay marriage, I’ve been thinking a lot about politics and religion and where the two – for me, anyway – should meet. I’ve struggled for a long time wondering whether legislating against gay marriage was the most “Christian” thing to do, or if something else ought to be done first (such as, I don’t know, dialogue?). By now, it seems inevitable that gay marriage will be legal somewhere in the U.S., even if it never is in the great state of Utah. We have effectively lost marriage. Continue reading

Billy Joel: “She’ll Promise You More Than the Garden of Eden”

This post is adapted from a presentation I gave for the Psychology of Gender course I taught last year at BYU. Though it might not be clear at first, I conclude with some uniquely LDS themes.

Billy Joel is the master lyricist of the love song.

His love songs reflect a wide spectrum of feelings and attitudes about romantic relationships. We’re all familiar with “The Longest Time,” the prototypical song from the I’m-so-excited-to-be-back-in-love-again-and-I-don’t-care-what-happens genre. For his second wife, supermodel Christie Brinkley, there’s the upbeat 80s icon, “Uptown Girl.” And, of course, there are the touching tributes, “She’s Got a Way” and “Just the Way You Are,” that have been sung by men on many occasions to swoon their wives and girlfriends. Continue reading

Why Mormons Should Consider Backing Obama

Obama FamilyWith Mitt Romney out of the presidential race, who might the Mormon faithful back?

Of course, the Church is officially neutral on political candidates and parties (thank goodness). But let’s be honest, Romney’s failed attempt at the presidency has got to upset a lot of Latter-day Saints, who overwhelming backed Romney (at least in Utah), and who seem to not be very fond of John McCain or Mike Huckabee, not to mention Hillary Clinton.

But Latter-day Saints I have talked to have a fairly favorable view of another presidential candidate: Barack Obama. Continue reading