Yesterday, in some wards in our stake here in California, a letter from the First Presidency was read. In the letter, it was requested that we do all that we can to support the proposed constitutional amendment on preserving traditional marriage here in California. In particular, we were asked to donate of our means and time to assure the passage of the ballot measure.
My wife reports that the letter was read in our home ward, while the bishop of the ward in which I serve had not yet received it. I have read reports that the letter was read in other states beside California, along with commentary that members in those states should support the efforts here. As far as I can determine, nobody got up and walked out in protest like some had suggested.
This invitation is to members of the church to become active in what some describe as a political issue. The church has made it clear over the years that this is a moral issue. That is why back in 2000 we were asked to place signs on our lawns in support of proposition 22. Carol and I walked the precincts with many others in our stake to distribute information to our neighbors.
A moral and a social issue
When the First Presidency of the church asks the members to do something, it deserves careful attention. Why is the legal definition of marriage in the State of California a moral issue? Those who are against it argue that it would not change our society at all. As a church, we disagree. We believe that marriage is ordained of God. No society has ever tried to redefine it until now.
There is great material available on the subject that explains why this is both a moral issue and a social issue deserving the participation of the church. It can best be found in the Amicus brief that the Church filed with the State of California awhile back. If you open the PDF of the link in the previous sentence, skip down to page 27 for the beginning of the argument.
I believe that we owe it to our testimonies and our faith in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to consider carefully what the prophet of the Lord is asking us to do and to respond accordingly. I know there are many members of the church who have family members or friends who identify themselves as gay. This issue is not about that. It is about preserving traditional marriage.
The position of the Church
From the brief: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian denomination with approximately 800,000 members in California. Marriage and the family are central to the Church’s doctrine and beliefs. The Church teaches that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God and that the traditional family is the foundation of society.”
“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” Source – The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
“The Church believes that marriage and family supply the crucial relationships through which parents and children learn to live basic moral norms and acquire public and private virtue. The Church opposes changing the traditional male-female definition of marriage because of the harm such a change will cause to marriage and the family.”
The argument of the church
[The church has] “a powerful interest in the institution of marriage. We are deeply concerned about the happiness and welfare of our members, especially our member children. Through millions of hours of counseling and ministry, we have seen at close range the enormous benefits that traditional male-female marriage imparts. We have also witnessed the substantial adverse consequences for children that often flow from alternative household arrangements.”
“Since no same-sex marriage can produce children from both spouses, the close cultural linkage between the institution of marriage and the begetting and raising of children will be weakened. Whatever the choices of individual couples, children will no longer be central to the social meaning and purpose of marriage. What plaintiffs advocate is in fact an enormous change in California’s most important social institution.”
“California’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is entitled to profound judicial respect. Even in jurisdictions around the world known for being highly solicitous of gays and lesbians, the democratic judgment of nearly all such jurisdictions remains that marriage should be reserved exclusively to male-female couples, with the legitimate needs of homosexuals being addressed through other protections and institutions. Judicial deference to the people’s democratic judgment on this issue is appropriate.”
Summary and conclusion
In other words, we do not believe it is appropriate that the judges have overturned the vote of the people of the State of California in 2000 in which 61% of the voters upheld traditional marriage. The opponents of traditional marriage are wondering if the people will turn out in the same numbers to support this amendment. We expressed our voice then. We can do it again.
This proposed constitutional amendment deserves our support as a church and as a people. I am impressed that the First Presidency has been consistent over the years on our position in this matter. Carol and I fully support the Prophet in this moral issue and pledge to do our part in contributing our time and means to advocate the passage of the proposed amendment.
Some have accused members of the LDS Church of being brainwashed in a culture of obedience. Nothing could be further from the truth. We use common sense, good judgment and the intellectual capacity with which God has blessed us to determine for ourselves that the prophets are right on this issue. We stand with the Lord and the prophet in defining traditional marriage.
For more information:
2. Alliance Defense Fund
3. Family Leader network
4. Campaign for Children and Families
5. Family Research Council
6. Alliance for Marriage
7. Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
8. World Congress of Families