In the Middle: Rainbows and Fences

Rainbows are incredible, you know? They are this amazing thing that combines water and sunlight to create the perfect, ultimate spectrum of color. If you ever just sit and look at one, you’ll see that there are the simple colors (red, purple, yellow), but also infinite gradations of colors within colors.

It’s no wonder God gave them to us to show his promise to keep the world safe from danger. And it is no wonder that it was reapportioned by the LGBT community to represent the vast myriad of sexualities that can be found in the world.

I have a confession. I’m a Mormon, and I don’t hate gay people.

But, I don’t know if I support them, either.

Gay marriage is one of the sticky points of The Church that I have a hard time with. As someone who has been around theater people my whole life, I have a certain…Gay-tardedness that I was just brought up with. Let’s face it, I’m probably a little gender-confused myself. I’m not exactly the girly-girl type. There is a reason why I always played the boy when I was playing pretend with my little friends. I really, REALLY wanted to be a boy.

Still, I have chosen to be a heterosexual Mormon lady with an awesome husband. So, I kind of see both sides of this issue.

For those who might not know, Mormons don’t hate gay people. Still, there are certainly some unpleasant feelings between the groups. For example, there has been a long-standing battle between gay activists groups like Affirmation, Mormons for Equality and Mormons Building Bridges and the leadership of the church. Every so often, these groups get up enough courage to ask the Prophet and Twelve if they can please come back and be like other Mormons. Every time, the leadership kindly tells them to stop calling.

Now, before I lose you completely, I am not taking sides on this issue. Therein lies the issue.

I wish I could be like all the “cool kids” who are on Twitter and Facebook today, at the judgement of the Supreme Court over Proposition 8 in California (known as the Mormon Proposition on Wikipedia). I wish I could throw up my hands with joy. Instead, I just want to throw up with confusion.

I love my gay friends and I respect their decisions, but I love my church. What am I supposed to do?

I am in the age-old Mormon conundrum cycle. I believe what the Prophet says, and yet my heart is having a hard time towing the party line. I totally believe The Church is true, and yet, there are people in my own church out there who are trying to make it illegal for people of the same sex to get married to each other. It seems pretty crappy.

The Prophet says that marriage is “between a man a woman.” Didn’t a prophet also say that marriage was between a man and a woman, and a woman, and a woman…

It feels like the Mormon definition of marriage has become very…solid. But, this is not the historical root of our religious beliefs.

Yes, the bible says in Leviticus 20:13 that, “If a man lays with another man, as with a woman, he should be stoned.” It ALSO says “People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God.” (Leviticus 21:17-18) Are we really relying on Leviticus alone to tell us that Gay marriage is bad?

Well, of course not. We have continuing revelation to tell us that it is wrong. And yet…

Willow 1 says: Any marriage outside of the temple is not valid for eternity without a temple sealing, even between a man and a woman. It is only a legal statute being fulfilled, and therefore permissible by The Church, so you can still be a member if you are only legally married.

Willow 2 says: Gay marriage being legal fulfills that element of The Church’s rules, but it is still not approved by God, as has been revealed to modern-day prophets.

Willow 1 says: Just because a person is married to a person of the same sex doesn’t change how The Church feels about the union. It is not valid and binding, just as an unsealed marriage is not valid and binding after this life. So why do we care? If a same-sex marriage basically can’t last after this life (just like a heterosexual one can’t with out a sealing), why deny them the right to express love like everyone else?

Willow 2 says: Except THE PROPHET SAID NO!!

I wish I could be happy or sad. I wish I could be on one side or the other, but I am too confused. Choosing means that either I turn my back on the hopes and dreams of people that I love and respect, or turning my back on the thing that has made my life most meaningful.

Most of all, I wish there was an “AND” somewhere. I remember playing the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods.” She sings a song after she cheats on her husband. The sentiment is something like: “When you get what you’re not supposed to have for a moment, in addition to what you already have, it makes you more grateful that you can go back to what you had before (without the little extra). But, it would be even better if you could have both at the same time.”

I get it. You really can’t have both at the same time. In this instance, I will need to jump the fence. At this point, I just don’t which way to jump.

Until then, I will continue to see rainbows the way my daughter does: as a perfect moment when light shines through the rain. I certainly hope the light comes out soon.

You Have Time for Just One More:

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7 responses to “In the Middle: Rainbows and Fences”

  1. Oh, you are so very much not alone in this. <3 Thank you for writing this out, and contributing it to the universe/internet. And I believe that "sitting on the fence" because your heart and your mind are actively battling on an issue, is not so much the "luke-warm-I-shall-spew-you-out-of-my-mouth" that some are concerned about ("hot or cold, you have to decide now!") I believe choosing one 'side' simply in order to safely belong is more "the blind leading the blind", and God definitely has a history of changing instructions, so holding out for more information seems pretty wise to me.

    • You have no idea how wonderful it was to read this!! I feel so torn on this issue and I wish I wasn’t. I feel that I am often asked to defend one side or the other and I feel that I’m never being truly honest without saying, “But, I really understand how the other side feels, too.” Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It’s nice to know that I have a sympathizer somewhere out there in the universe!

  2. I respect your fence balancing, and have struggled with other issues in a similar way. I think the fact that you have indecision means that whichever side you come down on, it will be a well-thought out decision. And if you choose to remain on the fence, then that will be fine as well. On this issue, I’m on the side of let love rule, no matter the sexuality, and I’m okay with giving legality to that love through marriage (and that doesn’t make me a cool kid on Twitter).

    When (if) you come down off that fence (whichever side), be at peace with that decision. You will be respected no matter what.


    • You are such a wise friend, Cedrix. It is a conflict that I’m not sure I’ll ever really find a resolution for. I do appreciate your comments and willingness to share your perspective. I think love is a wonderful and powerful thing. It is definitely something I regard highly, and wish the best for all people in their pursuit of finding it.

  3. Whew… yeah. ..and yeah. I am torn myself. My current solution, which really isn’t a solution, just another way to straddle the fence is: There should be a complete separation of church and state in regards to marriage. Give the government control of legally binding unions (similar to applying for a marriage license that everybody has to do now, but just calling it a civil union). And give religions the right to define marriage however they’d like. (It wouldn’t be legally binding anymore though, the same as if you were married in a religion without a marriage licence). (unless of course you also get a civil union, which is what plenty of other countries have been doing from before there even was a “gay marriage” issue). The upside to this is that everybody can get whatever they want. It is the same exact hassle to get married both legally (with a “liscense” now would be called civil union) and religiously. Each religion can call their own shots, the government and religions aren’t stepping on anybodies toes now. The government can allow whatever they want legally, and it isn’t touching the word “marriage” which is mostly what makes religions so hot and bothered by the topic. And if you as a gay man or woman want to ALSO be joined in marriage (not just legal rights) you just need to go to a religion (unitarian being one I know that cares not) and also get married. Everybody wins!

    I know I am totally sidestepping the issue by giving my own solution that is just my own impossible pipe dream. But it would work. But the government isn’t famous for simple every-body-wins compromises. People would probably find other ways to be riled up by that.

    As for how I stand right now though. I have no real concrete idea (but I’m leaning pretty heavily on at least the government can’t discriminate anyone, and I have a hard time with how to reconcile that with my religion… I can see both sides so clearly, and I don’t want to jump in fully with either. Mostly I’m just holding out hope for more revelation. The Lord doesn’t reveal more until the body of the Church is ready to receive it. I don’t know what the new revelation will say or be or change. I just know we need more revelation. Right now it is pretty bleak for our same gender attracted brothers and sisters. “um, yeah… hang in there and figure it out on your own.. we don’t exactly know where to fit you in the nice little ‘plan of salvation’ format.” “um, it is really, really hard. sorry… um, be celibate, like forever with no hope… or, um, guess you have to leave the church.” “yeah, we realize those are both pretty sucky options…” “um, sorry… we do love you though, I mean most of us, I mean the ones who actually get it.”

    yeah. I think we need to discuss this further.. at a retreat in the future… 🙂

    • Liesel,

      Thanks for commenting! You make me feel so…not alone! I really feel like I am supposed to be taking a side on this one, but I just can’t seem to get off the fence. Like you, I am hoping for additional revelation at some point in the future. I’m sure that the saints felt the same way before the proclamation in 1976 about the priesthood – just hoping that at some point there would be a better answer. I am so excited to see you in just a few weeks! I love the poop out of you! It is gross, but I’ve learned to live with it.

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