I'm LDS, a business owner, and was a landlord for many years. I've
employed at least one gay person that I know of, and can't imagine
considering that as a factor in my hiring practices nor who I would rent a
property to. But I am troubled by the idea and practice of allowing the
government to dictate how one's property should be used. If I use my
property to do physical harm to someone who has done me no harm, then that is
one thing, and there should be means by which the person I have committed an act
of aggression against can seek redress. But if someone refuses to hire someone,
what harm has been done to them? As Jefferson might have put it, nobody's
leg has been broken nor anyone's pocket picked. If an employer refuses to
hire a gay person it may not be Christ-like, it may be wrong, but is it wrong
enough that we want the government involved? Might persuasion be the better
remedy, rather than force?
Latter-Day Saints ought to open their doors to anyone who comes through them,
sinner or saint--if not, we would never have any opportunity to conduct
missionary work or share the Gospel with anyone other than those who already
possess it. We would not be able to be examples onto others of what it means to
show Christlike fellowship to others and would be derelict in our priesthood
duties to stand as a witness for Him in all places, times, and things. But all of this has to be done by virtue of our own personal righteousness,
with individuals exercising their agency to make others feel loved and welcomed
in spite of any differences or sinful behavior that it is not our place to
judge. If any member of the Church fails to do that, the condemnation falls upon
them more than it does whomever they turned away. Laws outlawing
"discrimination"--essentially, trying to control how people think--are
ineffective and not conducive to having a free society. If we do not
love the sinners, we cannot be Christ-like. If we are not Christ-like, we cannot
expect to inherit the Celestial Kingdom. It is that simple.
I think that people should freely preach hating sins but loving sinners (while
noting that we're ALL sinners), as the Church teaches. I also think that
people should respect each other's rights, including contract rights, and
that governments should expertly help us to defend those rights. If we believe
that our neighbors are exercising their rights foolishly, then we may always
freely preach to them, but it's not right to compel them except as a last
resort in self-defense. I don't think that governments should compel
people to interact contractually in the name of being nondiscriminatory, which
does less to change hearts/minds than it does both to promote hypocrisy and to
Rob_Bird You are making my point. Yes, my religious convictions say
homosexual acts, not homosexuality, is a sin. And the gay agenda will not rest
until they compel religions, to accept as normal homosexual behavior. There was a case submitted after Judge Shelby made his ruling in December,
against the LDS church as one of the defendants, brought forward by one of the
recently married lesbian couples stating that their religious rights to worship
had previously been infringed upon. You think it will not stop there?Again, it is the proliferation of sexuality on our youth that lead many, not
all, who experience same-sex arousal to go through challenging difficulties,
because like it or not, stigma or no stigma, most do not want to be homosexual
or wish they were not and would love to change it. And in some cases many have
successfully altered their sexual preference, and don't say they are lying
to themselves because you do not know. So to normalize same-sex
marriage as an institution will open a huge can of worms on society that is not
healthy, to think otherwise is being naive.
Canvas1:The abuse of a person, especially a child, by someone of
either gender is deplorable. I'm very sorry for your son's abuse.
Yet I still have to wonder how many cases of same-sex abuse DIDN'T lead to
same-sex attraction. Yes, there are no doubt emotional scars, but I'm sure
there are plenty who still choose to enter into heterosexual relationships.
Yet, I concede that it's a very complex set of circumstances with no clear
cut, one-size-fits-all answer.As for the government's
recognition of same sex marriage leading to more victims of sexual abuse,
I'm sorry, but that is a non sequitur. How in the world do you go from two
people getting married because they love each other--with said marriage
sanctioned by the government--to abusing children? It seems that you must think
that homosexuality is a perversion and therefore must be "practiced" by
perverts and deviants. That is like thinking that if a man is attracted to
women and wants to sleep with one, he also must be attracted to little girls and
want to sleep with one. Or perhaps I've misunderstood your
No one is disputing that there are those who are born gay. But there are many
with same-sex tendencies who are not born gay but are victims of a sexually
permissive agenda being pushed by many groups seeking an elimination of right
and wrong in sexual behavior.I have a son who 15 years ago at age 7
was severely molested by a 14 year old boy. We found out about it when he was
13. Damage done. He experimented as a preteen in gay acts. Where did this
teenager get this idea? He had to see it or it was done to him first.I have a neighbor whose 17 year old son moved in with a gay 27 year old last
year. The 17 yr old was repeatedly molested by his father when he was young. Was
he born gay? Don't think so.With sexual trauma of a child 10
and under where there is arousal the brain's development is altered
resulting in difficult challenges as the child grows older. I empathize with
those who struggle under these circumstances. But to redefine and weaken the
institution of marriage I believe will result in a proliferation of
experimentation of sex, and therefore more victims.
Thanks Erika, As a gay returned missionary, it is inspiring to see
such a thoughtful, loving op-ed. I hope that eventually both the LDS and the
LGBT communities can see that we have more in common that not. In fact, so many
of us are both Mormon and gay! It will be a beautiful day when we can put down
our fears and suspicions and join each other in friendship.Sending
love to all of my Mormon friends and family! Troy Williams
IMO we are required to love EVERYBODY, not just our "Neighbor" (so
defining "Neighbor" is irrelevant). If you find yourself
needing to define "Neighbor" so you know who you must love... and who
you don't need to love... you're probably focusing on the wrong
thing.====We must love everybody... but that
doesn't mean we have to adopt or support their political agenda!You don't hate gay people if you just don't support their effort to
redefine the term "Marriage". I can love them and not support their
politics. I can love them and not support their lifestyle. I can love them
and not join them. Same goes or Mormons.===Sure we
have to love everybody... but don't confuse our role with the
government's role. The government is different than we are. It's
the government's job to enforce the law. It's OUR job to forgive.So when a Christian family forgives the murderer of a family member
(something they must do)... it doesn't mean the Government must also love
him and forgive him. Government must enforce the law... while the family
forgives and heals.
DEAR MIKE RICHARDS:Did you HONESTLY think that the marriage equality
movement for Gay couples was some sinister plot to make homosexuality compulsory
for everyone? Gosh, I hope not. But if so, let me reassure you: The human
population has always been and always will be predominantly heterosexual, and
Straight people will continue making babies as they always have. In states and
countries where Gay couples are allowed to legally marry, there has been no
phenomenom of Straight people deciding to "turn Gay," nor has there been
any corresponding reduction in the fecundity of Straight couples.The
fact tht the human population of Planet Earth has gone from 3 billion to 7
billion IN MY LIFETIME ALONE suggests to me that a decline in procreation is the
very LEAST of our worries.
Good fences make good neighbors. We can respect each others personal space.
Respect is lost for lairs, cheaters and thieves.
@Mike RichardsSouth Jordan, Utah11:28 a.m. Jan. 10, 2014========Mike, You keep using this lame reason that
only men are women who can have children be the only one allowed to be
married.Alright then, Since you and your wife can no longer
bare children, I demand you get a divorce.
@ OlderGreg: The proposed legislation would apply to businesses and rental
units over a certain size. If you are renting out a room in your
home, or renting out your basement, or renting out the other half of your
duplex, or other small properties - especially if you, as the landlord, live
there - this would not apply to you. Likewise, if you are a small
business owner, this legislation would not apply to you.This law
would be an expansion of current anti-discrimination laws and would work exactly
the same way.
@Mike Richards, "I find it hard to agree with anyone who would eliminate
all human life within one lifetime if his ideas were practiced by
everyone'With respect, if everyone were a neurosurgeon, we
would soon die of exposure to the elements for lack of housing, die of
starvation for lack of food. And even neurosurgeons wouldn't be able to
practice without all the support staff and the people who make their
equipment.But that hardly means that it's a bad thing to be a
neurosurgeon.Not everyone is gay. In fact, most people are not gay.
And, indeed, those of us who realized we were gay (most of us well before
puberty) didn't have and didn't need anyone to tell us to make our
knees buckle and our tongues stammer when we encountered someone we were
attracted to. That's not the way sexual orientation works.Peace.
@Mike RichardsIf you believe being gay is a choice(and reading your
comments you obviously do), than you must also believe that being straight is a
choice. Logically a choice means you can take 2 or more paths(metaphorically)
and you choose one of them. So my question to you is when did you decide to be
straight? Because the people I know knew from a very very early age what they
liked. I know I have always liked women(occasionally to my own detriment) While
I have no problems with gay people, and think they should be allowed to be
married. I've never had an inclination that being with a man would be
enjoyable for me. Is it really that inconceivable to you that a gay person could
feel the exact same way about people of their own gender?
It kills me when people talk about the concept of convincing other people to be
homosexual. It always makes me wonder if they think that way because they
themselves could be convinced. I concur with A Quaker: I'm attracted to
women and no amount of conversation with another person is going to make me
change that. Would it make you change, Mike?As for the teen who
logged into the "chat room," sounds like he was already aware that he is
gay, and some creep was trying to convince him to have sex, not to become gay.
@ cjb - The LDS church website mormonsandgays.org states "The experience of
same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people...Even though
individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to
respond to them."As a faithful member of the church in this
situation, this is my reality. One of the biggest barriers to effective
conversations on this topic is when people assume that we somehow did something
or made some bad choice to be in this situation and that we could inversely do
something or make some choice to get over this feeling. It does not go away. We
can keep it quiet and guard ourselves but we live with it.
@MikeRichards said, "I find it hard to agree with anyone who would eliminate
all human life within one lifetime if his ideas were practiced by
everyone."On what conceivable basis can you conclude that
allowing gays and lesbians, who constitute about 1 out of every 20 people, to
marry each other, will suddenly turn everyone in the country homosexual? I don't know if or who you love, but I love a member of the
opposite sex, and nothing is ever going to change that. Like most straight
people, and we are about 95% of the population, I feel zero attraction to my own
sex. I can't even imagine what you're talking about. With or without gay marriage, only about 5% of the population is gay. Those
who are fighting a battle with their SSA are only a fraction of that. While I
wish you luck, personally, mostly I wish for equal treatment under civil law for
all committed couples.
"and institutions ranging from the American Psychological Association to the
LDS Church have acknowledged that being gay is not a choice" ---When did the LDS church do this? I remember they came out with
a statement that God didn't make anyone gay which would seem to imply the
opposite of what is being said here in this article.
Mike Richards Anything taken to an extreme (everyone doing the same
thing ) is unhealthy for any society, for example if we were all carpenters we
would all starve to death in really nice houses sitting on fancy furniture and
any country that has forced everyone to follow one religion always falls into
brutality and eventually war. No one is talking about everyone being forced to
be gay we are talking about peoples right to live their life without your
interference so maybe we can scale back on the all or nothing thinking.
Mike Richards, maybe your (our?) creator defined "marriage" as you (and
me?) understand it, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking
about the government's definition of marriage. The government's
decision to change its definition of marriage to ensure the law protects all
equally has no bearing on God's definition of marriage (nor mine, nor
yours, nor the church that I assume we both attend).I have a hard
time understanding why people think that making the government's definition
of marriage or family more inclusive is an attempt to change what they believe
or God's definition of marriage? Are we seeking a Mormon version of sharia?
We don't drink alcohol--should it be illegal to make or possess? Should
"relations" outside of marriage be illegal? What about sabbath day
observance? Fines for all who open their stores and the shoppers too?
@Mike " Secondly, the only way that a homosexual individual can find someone
to have sexual relations with is to convince that person that he/she is also
homosexual.'It looks like your comment is getting beaten up
quite a bit, with other commenters claiming that you are spreading baseless
fears. In reference to the quote above, I know that this is absolutely taking
place. One of my teen relatives announced to his family that he was gay and
logged into a gay chat website soon thereafter. It was no surprise that he was
skyping with a gay adult 24 hours later who was trying to convince him to have
sex with him. Even the teen realized that he was being rushed into something he
wasn't ready for.Not all gays are predators and not all
hetero-sexuals are child molesters, but there are a a significant abundance in
both groups. Gays deserve equal housing and employment, but they
are at risk for something that laws cannot protect them from. They deserve all
the protection they can get.
"...Given the rapid pace of change in the prevailing attitudes toward LGBT
people, many of us may feel fearful and cut adrift in uncharted waters. But
while fear can save us from imminent physical danger, it is not a helpful
emotion as citizens seek to make their communities harmonious and loving
places...".Erika...Thank you for taking the time to
express your opinion.
"How do we follow this exhortation when it comes to our LGBT/same-sex
attracted brothers and sisters?"Don't be a third derivative
of position. (math pun)
@Mike Richards"I find it hard to agree with anyone who would eliminate
all human life within one lifetime if his ideas were practiced by
everyone."As long as in-vitro fertilization exists, you're
not even factually accurate in that statement.Do you also dislike
heterosexual couples who, for whatever reason, don't have children either?
I had dinner last night with two friends who never want to have children, do you
hate them too? "just because they "feel" that the
physician was wrong when he told them that they had a male body or a female
body. "For the last time... the "wrong body" thing is
trans, gay/lesbian deals with who one is attracted to. Gay men still consider
themselves men, for instance.
@Mike: >> "He defined marriage as being between men and
women."Do you mean like Solomon, who was "married" to
700 wives, and had 300 concubines?Or do you mean between a rapist
and his victim - who was forced to "marry" her assailant? (Deuterotomy
22:28).Or do you mean the virgin female prisoners of war who were
forced to "marry" their invaders? (Numbers 31).I certainly
hope you don't mean the "marriage" defined in Genesis 2:24 - where
a bride who was not a virgin was stoned to death.So which exact
definition were you referring to? Or, shall we just say that the definition of
marriage is not as clear-cut as many people think?
Mike, thanks for your discussion. Now, here's the deal: I'm not
obligated to buy into it. Not one iota. Plus, your contention that a gay
individual has to 'convince' someone else to be gay in order to obtain
a partner is a total denial of the idea, which according to the article even the
mormon church supports, that people do not choose to be gay.
You cannot claim to love someone and work to deny them the legal
protections, you enjoy. Double talk is not what God intended. For more evidence, we need to see what Jesus actually said about gay
marriage. Which is, nothing.
@ A Quaker,Perhaps my "contempt" is showing. I find it hard
to agree with anyone who would eliminate all human life within one lifetime if
his ideas were practiced by everyone. I find it hard to agree with anyone who
would require the schools, the churches and the government to teach people that
his way of same-sex sex is normal and acceptable when same-sex sex, if practiced
by everyone, would eliminate all humanity within one lifetime. I find it hard
to agree with anyone who claims that his lifestyle and his definition of
marriage be considered equal to the marriage of a man and a woman when his style
of marriage would eliminate all humanity within one lifetime.@10CC,When you find the way to ignite the "spark" that
gives a body life, then you can tell God what to say and when to say it, until
then wouldn't it be more prudent to study His word and align yourself as
perfectly as possible with His doctrine?He commanded us to marry.
He defined marriage as being between men and women. He commanded us to
replenish the earth.
Mike:Depending on religious persuasion, it appear our Creator has
changed his/her mind several times on the definition of marriage, types of
family structures, etc.Or, like on a recent clarifications of a
previous racial ban, maybe the religious leaders earnestly *thought* they were
given specific direction from our Creator on acceptable or even recommended
marriage structures, but they weren't.In any case, it appears
the results of those divergent family structures didn't exactly ruin
society. There are still some of those family types in existence today, in Utah
and other states, and yet for the rest of us, life goes on unabated.
Erika, well said. You brighten my day.
I can invite loved family/ friends into my home and still appropriately deny
them a shared room. I am still groping with the concept about making
a law that puts restrictions on that.
Thank you Erika! I love the suggestion to find an LGBT person in our community
and ask what this legislation would mean to him or her. Really getting to know
and listening to our LGBT neighbors and family is the best way to bridge the
divide of misunderstanding about these issues.
Thank you for posting a loving editorial on a subject of civil justice. No
society benefits from hatred and persecution. This law will ultimately
strengthen your state. Good luck to you in getting it signed into effect.@MikeRichards: Your contempt is showing. Transgender people and
homosexuals might be statistical minorities in our population, but within the
context of our society, they work, study, keep house, shop, drive, vote, pay
taxes, tend to their loved ones, manage their finances, water their lawns, and
do almost everything else, just like the rest of us. They can even be good
neighbors, if they're not beleaguered with the fear of being hated.So, I would argue that they might be uncommon, but that doesn't
mean they're abnormal. And civil rights won't change that.
They'll still be uncommon. But they're already "normal"
enough for society's purposes.Hey, if you don't like who
someone is marrying, don't go to the wedding. And if you don't like
the couple next door, no one says you have to accept their invitation to dinner.
But, everyone should have a right to live peaceably, under the protection of
I think Mike's comment represents why it is so important to protect the
free speech of those you disagree with the most. He is changing the hearts and
minds of others as he shows the true colors of those that so ardently oppose
LGBT rights (Including ignoring the counsel of his own religion). I say let the
man speak and don't be afraid to point out the flaws in his logic. The more
people see and hear these types of venomous comments and see good people stand
up and speak out against it the sooner we can reach true equality for the LGBT
After my eyebrows returned from the back of my head reading this the first time,
I actually feel sorry for you Mike. It’s clear you see a world filled with
all sorts of evil (e.g., homosexual brainwashing others to “turn”
gay) and you no doubt feel it to be your Christian duty to stamp out this
evil.And as chilling as many others will likely find your last
sentence above, I’m curious how you reconcile such draconian laws –
and can we assume “gay gulags” for those who break these laws
– with your strict libertarian views of our Constitution?
The message is very clear. Anyone can have sex with any consenting adult at any
time, regardless of sex, but no one, absolutely no one, has the right to change
the definition of the most sacred unit on earth, the family. No one, absolutely
no one, can claim that they are being treated "unequally" just because
they "feel" that the physician was wrong when he told them that they had
a male body or a female body. We can show tolerance and empathy for
those who disagree with their doctors, but we do not have to redefine
"marriage" to accommodate anyone who wants to be made "normal"
by a judge's decree. The problem is two fold. First our
Creator defined "marriage". Secondly, the only way that a homosexual
individual can find someone to have sexual relations with is to convince that
person that he/she is also homosexual. Until there are laws that would convict
anyone who even talked to minors about homosexual "feelings" or
"orientation", then the homosexual community is asking us to open our
homes and our schools to their propaganda.
I had to check thrice to see if I was actually reading the DN.Very
nice op-ed, Erika. Now if you can convince the Sutherland Institute...
they're running those awful ad's claiming that granting protections to
LGBT people takes away the rights of non-LGBT people.
The message is pretty clear: "We love you...as long as you remain second
class citizens."With "loving" neighbors like that, who