Thursday, June 01, 2006

An Open Letter To The Brethren

Dear Brethren:

In response to your letter released 5/26/06, it appears to be the collective wisdom of some of the more vocal denizens of the “bloggernacle” that your suggestion we communicate our support for traditional families and marriage to our elected representatives is misguided, misplaced, uninformed, or somehow just inappropriate. There are a variety of reasons for this, and I will attempt to highlight just a few in the hope that we, the collective “bloggernacle” might be able to educate you, Prophets, Seers, and Revelators all, on the real issues relating to marriage and families.

First, your letter is just incredibly ambiguous. You don’t really tell us exactly what you want us to support. Yes, we know you have pointed out and archived on the Church’s official website a history of the Church’s support for traditional marriage between a man and woman, dating all the way back to 1995 when President Hinckely issued his Proclamation to the World about families, marriage and a great deal more.

Yes, we know that you also issued other similar official pronouncements archived on the Church’s official website about traditional marriage between a man and woman, including these:

A Proclamation to the World; General Relief Society Mtg., Sept. 23, 1995

Oaks, Dallin H., “Same Gender Attraction,” Ensign, Oct. 1995, p. 6

Hinckley, President Gordon B., What is your Church’s attitude toward homosexuality?, in response to question from Larry King on Larry King Live, Ensign, Nov. 1998, p. 70

First Presidency Statement - Marriage, 7 July 2004

"LDS Church Supports Gay-marriage Bans" Deseret Morning News, 8 July 2004

First Presidency Statement - Same-Gender Marriage, 19 Oct 2004

Yes, we know all these references are archived on the Church’s website here. Yes, we know you have apparently been crystal clear that the only proper marriage is between a man and a woman. Yet, despite all these past pronouncements, despite the fact that the United States Senate votes in just five days on this very same issue, we just can’t seem to connect the dots and determine whether you really want us to support this amendment.

Of course, we know all too well that while the spirit is willing, the flesh is indeed weak, as are we the body of bloggernacle saints. In fact we might even be the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. So, we need you to be more specific and more clear. Do you really, really want us to support this particular amendment? If so, then why didn’t you specifically say so in your letter? You must know by now it is meet that we be commanded in all things.

Perhaps in future letters to the saints on this subject you might be just a bit more specific, and perhaps you could go so far as to suggest exact wording for the House and Senate to consider. Because of your letter’s ambiguity, we’ve spent a countless hours trying to figure out your cryptic counsel to us. You can see our most sincere efforts of pondering, praying, and coming to an understanding of your counsel in some of the comments that are archived here, here, here, here, here, and of course here.

I’m sure once you have all had a chance to review all the insightful posts and comments on this issue we have generated in our discussion you will note that we, the collective bloggernacle, are a pretty bright bunch of folks. I mean, we’ve got lawyers, maybe even some doctors, and lots of PhD’s, and I think even some more lawyers. So, you can see, we really are pretty smart. We read and generate lots and lots of posts and comments in the bloggernacle. We know a great deal about a lot of things (likely more than you do). Perhaps you might want to consult with some of us before issuing more of these future proclamations.

The other thing you may want to consider, is keeping your political preferences private. You see, counsel from the “Brethren” is most appropriate when it is kept within the bounds of doing home teaching, food storage, keeping the commandments (those we like), and that sort of stuff. It is really inappropriate and annoying to many of us for you to mix Church and state, and tell us how to vote. (Though really we want more clarification on this amendment thing—is this the one or what)?

So, rather that writing our senators we’ve decided just to write you and let you know why we have chosen to hearken unto ourselves.

Best and Warmest Regards,


The Collectively Wise Bloggernacle.

(On a more serious note). For one of the most thoughtful and reasoned posts I have read on this subject, please see Dave's Mormon Inquiry.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, so shut-up bloggernacle. The Brethren have spoken, the debate is over, obey. Is that how it works?

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:17:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Mr. Anonymous:

My custom and practice is only to engage those who leave comments who have the courage to identify themselves using a real name and identity.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Geoff B said...

Guy, this is a classic. Thanks for making my day.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you can label me as an apostate? Sadly, one has to speak anonymously in a church that stifles free speech (as your post demonstrates). We fear for our place among the Saints if we voice concerns. That the bloggernacle allows a safe place to do so should be congratulated not mocked, Mr. Murray.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Geoff B: Thanks for stopping by . . . glad we could put a smile on your face!

Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Very funny post. Thanks for this, you've got a great point I believe.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Guy,
Funny. But a bit unfair. I guess I consider all this talk part of the "study it out in your mind" portion of the process. When I was first informed about this letter I didn't know exactly what I was going to do. I figured I'd do what it said but I felt like I didn't know enough about it that I could make a decision any better than "blind obedience" which I try to avoid (if possible). After reading portions of a few of those threads (in addition to the other reference material you linked to) I feel informed enough to make a more educated decision and I've written my senators expressing that decision. It's the same "decision" as it would have been but the letters are vastly different than if I hadn't done that research.

In other words, I don't mind all that's been said because it's been informative to me. I'm one of those who blogs because of how much I don't know rather than because of how much I know.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Rusty:

I don't begrudge anyone the "study it out in your mind" portion of the process. My thoughts are directed elsewhere. Since you have read the threads, and in some cases posts out there, I'm certain you have read those to which I refer. I appreciate your comment, and the fact you have gone through the process you have described. I'm not certain everyone can say the same.

I'm sorry you feel it is my post, out of all the others that are out there, that is unfair.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Eric, Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Rusty,

One question for you: Would you have made the same comment, if my post had appeared over here , instead of on my blog?

Thursday, June 01, 2006 2:55:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Thanks, Guy. I feel like I sort of took a Bloggernacle bullet on this one. However, I'm not convinced the FP letter is actually telling people what position they are supposed to take. There's only one sentence in the FP letter that is addressed to members, and that says only, "We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate."

Express themselves. While they know how most members will express themselves, it leaves open the legitimate expression of a contrary opinion. To hold otherwise puts LDS politicians in an untenable position. If LDS politicians are free to adopt their own positions, so is every LDS voter. At least that's how I see it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Dave,

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you posted your letters on your site, and more importantly your reasoning process.

I have not in my previous posts on this subject shared much of my analysis as I didn't want to appear engaged in self flagellation. I have never supported a constitutional amendment. I have been and remain opposed to flag burning amendments, balanced budget amendments, abortion amendments, and any of the others proposed in recent years.

When the FP first announced their support for this amendment I was disappointed; but held my tongue. As the marriage issues progressed from the Prop 22 (one I supported but only after some reflection) days up through the present time, my thinking progressed as well.

I agree with you that:

1. The FP letter is NOT telling anyone how to vote, or which position to take. They never really do. The final choice is always ours;

2. The letter leaves open the possibility for individuals to disagree. But, that disagreement comes with a consequence: You disagree with a long standing unanimous position of the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It was this realization that finally brought my thinking around to consider the very real possibility that perhaps, just perhaps these inspired men know or can perceive just a bit more than can I on this particular issue;

3. LDS politicians and voters have the right to vote how they think best. Again, the Church never requires a voting litmus test of its members whether regular citizens or elected political leaders. The “Brethren” will counsel, advise, proclaim, and teach us correct principles. It is up to us to govern ourselves. My own personal opinion is that an elected LDS political leader has a greater obligation to follow the desires of his constituency, and vote their will, even if that means voting against the FP and Q12– at least that's how I see it. Thanks again for stopping by.

Thursday, June 01, 2006 7:14:00 PM  
Blogger Bookslinger said...

You might want to put a disclaimer somewhere on the original post for the humor- or sarcasm-impaired.

Friday, June 02, 2006 6:58:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Bookslinger: Perhaps you are right; however, I think from the post itself, and also the comments it is pretty clear the post was written as it were "tongue in cheek." Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, June 02, 2006 7:10:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

Guy, wonderful letter.

One quibble, when you talk about them refraining from telling their political preference, but then previously discussed the ambiguity.

I think the ambiguity was intentional. They were saying, "we're concerned, but you have your free agency in this matter."

Friday, June 02, 2006 8:14:00 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Annegb: Thanks for stopping by. I'm a BIG believer in free agency. I've never, ever, taken a position that runs against that important eternal concept.

Friday, June 02, 2006 8:21:00 AM  

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