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 1: Why difference matters

This is the first in a five-part series on marriage, wherein I discuss charity in marriage, why the gay community should favor marriage between a man and a woman, and why Latter-day Saints are not positioned well to defend against gay marriage.

In all three scriptural accounts of the physical creation, Adam is created of the dust of the earth, while Eve was created of Adam (Genesis 2:7, 21-22; Moses 3:7, 21-22; Abraham 5:7, 15-16). Adam, upon seeing woman for the first time, notes the significance of this division when he calls woman bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. What is striking to me is what Adam says next: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (v. 24 in Genesis and Moses, emphasis mine). Were they not already one flesh before God removed the rib from Adam’s side?

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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

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

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

The Wisdom of Barbara Walther: “FLDS, LDS, They’re Basically the Same Anyway, Right?” And — “Working Women Don’t Breastfeed, So Why Should You?”

Texas judge Barbara Walther, who is over the FLDS case in Texas, revealed Monday how she is completely out of touch with the FLDS and LDS cultures.

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Judge Barbara Walther did rule that the women and children currently staying at the San Angelo Coliseum could meet twice a day to pray without being monitored by state workers.

Instead, she asked Texas Child Protective Services to find a member of the mainstream Mormon Church to oversee the sessions or some other “appropriate religious person” who would not be seen as “making their service less sacred.”

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Deseret Morning News: Removes Words, Not Panties

Last night, my wife Candice wrote a letter to the Deseret Morning News. I’ll repeat the text of the submitted letter here:

I would not expect Deseret Morning News, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to display sexually offensive advertising images on its online articles. I recently saw an ad for “Macy’s Free Ultimates Panty” (whatever that is) showing a seductive model wearing extremely tight, thin, and revealing undershirt and panties. The ad is in full color, large, and unavoidable, in the very center of the text. The paper must be aware that this kind of advertising is distasteful and offensive to the majority of its predominantly Latter-day Saint readership. I realize there are probably pressures for printing such ads, but perhaps the paper should follow the advice given last weekend by W. Craig Zwick in the LDS General Conference: “Live by your standards and stand up for what you believe in. Sometimes it is not easy, and you may be standing alone for awhile.” Shouldn’t Deseret News take a lead in making a stand against sexually offensive advertising? What message does this kind of advertising from a Church-owned newspaper send to the world? And what message does it send to Latter-day Saints about taking a stand against destructive yet popular worldly trends?

The newspaper printed the letter in its Reader’s Forum.

Well, sort of. Continue reading