Marriage is more than a “right”

Something is wrong, here. It’s suddenly become very normal to talk about marriage as a “right” and a “freedom” and that seems to me a rather impoverished way of talking about marriage. And yet, though one side (those opposed to gay marriage) often disagrees on marriage being a “right”, neither side can seem to get past this issue.

The “right” to be self-fulfilled

Let me try to articulate what I’m talking about: by talking about marriage as a freedom and a right, people are essentially drawing on a narrative like the very one I grew up with: when I marry, I want someone to whom I am physically and sexually attracted; I want someone who treats me well (in part because of their attraction to me) and who helps me reach my full potential as a person (can take me to the temple, etc); I want someone who cares for me like I care for them, who I can keep secrets with and who will share my life with me. I want… I want… I want…

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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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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

BYU, “Safe Walk,” and Rape Prevention: A Flawed Strategy

I recently began volunteering for a rape crisis team in the Provo/Orem area. My training experience, which I recently completed, helped me to realize (even more than I had before) that many in the BYU community unintentionally create a false sense of security concerning rape prevention.

The vast majority of rapes — in Utah County and elsewhere — are committed by acquaintances, whether it is boyfriends, first dates, old classmates, etc. The stranger-jumping-from-the-bushes rape scenario is very rare (though it does happen). Continue reading

Nude Art and Mormonism

I’d like to quote a post from my education blog. The full post can be found here.

I was in the HFAC (at BYU) the other day admiring an exhibit on drawing. At one point, I came across one of those labels that tells you about the art work. It was describing how a knowledge of anatomy contributes to drawing the human figure, stating something to this effect: knowing what is under skin helps you to understand what you see on the skin. In other words, having a knowledge of what is underneath the surface of what you are trying to draw enables you to express that knowledge when you draw what is on the surface. Good artists, then, draw more than what’s on the surface (i.e., what they see). But how deep does “more” go? Continue reading