[From Brent, former missionary associate, who found my musings on Prop 8 on Facebook]

 

"riddle me this antonio, would you rather have a child stuck in the system then be adopted by a homosexual couple that would love them more then the system would?"

 

***

 

Elder Berrett,

 

“Would you rather have a child stuck in the system than be adopted by a homosexual couple that would love them more than the system would?”

 

Possibly not, but consider the following:

 

This is comparing the worst of one situation (child 'stuck' in a 'non-loving' system) with the best of another (loving same-sex parenting). That's apples and oranges.  In logic this is called a non-sequitur because the truth of the statement has no bearing on the conclusion reached.  Even if it were the case that a child in a home with loving same-sex parents were better off than one 'stuck in the system', that says nothing about whether or not a child is equally as well off in a homosexual home as in a heterosexual one.  And that is was what Prop 8 is about.  In fact, as virtually every study on point has shown, children are decidedly disadvantaged in a homosexual home.  Nothing can replace a mother or a father.  You see, if Prop 8 does not pass, homosexual couples will be placed on equal footing with heterosexual ones in adoption proceedings (as has happened in Massachusetts where the 100-year old and highly respected Catholic Charities adoption agency was forced out of business because the state was forcing them to place children in homosexual homes who could have otherwise been placed in heterosexual ones).  Alternatively, if Prop 8 passes, adoption agencies can favor heterosexual couples, but homosexual couples can still adopt!  And if they want to adopt children who would otherwise be 'stuck in the system', nothing will stop them from doing that.  Unfortunately, as I will explain, gay couples are not seeking those kinds of children.

 

Your question assumes that children stuck in the system are being adopted by gay couples.  I have researched this issue and in fact homosexual couples are NOT taking in those who are 'stuck' in the system, but are vying for and receiving those babies and children that are being sought after by heterosexual couples.  I spoke just two weeks ago with Doris Gentry who is currently running for Member of the State Assembly, 7th District (Napa) and who has been a Foster parent for some 50 youth.  She also works for the agency that handles Foster parenting and adoption in Napa County.  She informed me that not only is it prohibited that the county favor heterosexual couples, the county actually gets bonuses by placing children in homosexual homes!  Like it or not, it's already happening.  Children who are wanted by heterosexual couples are being deliberately placed with homosexual ones, the interests of adults usurping the needs of the child.

 

In short, the question you ask has no bearing on whether the government should affirm homosexual marriage as the moral equivalent to traditional marriage.  In fact, doing so will prove disastrous to our culture, our children, and the institution of the family generally.

 

What do you think?

Yours,

 

E. Celaysha

 

***

 

Antonio,

 

I felt bad for butting into your conversation and also because it was the first thing that you heard from me after 18 some odd years.  I thought I deleted my comment. I hadn't figured it would have been emailed to you.   I hold a great deal of respect for you so I apologize if it came off as being rude or callas. You were one of the best missionaries that I had the privilege of meeting.

 

My  question was based on the question that you asked Susan.  I know it has nothing to bear on the issue.  I just wanted to get your viewpoint on if it would be better to have a child "stuck" in the system or adopted by a homosexual couple.  I want to clarify that I didn't  stay that the system was non-loving. Also, when I say stuck, I didn't mean that the child had issues that prevented them from being adopted. I simply meant that they were stuck in the system waiting to be adopted. I am sure that you will agree that the system cannot care for  the children like a loving hetrosexual or homosexual couple could.

 

"What you would tell the child adopted to a homosexual couple who asks you 'Why can I not have a daddy?' Or, "Why can I not have a mommy?'  For my part, I will do all in my power to ensure that children receive what they are entitled to, a mother and a father, despite the sacrifices that requires. Indeed, all people should have more of that kind of love, one that puts others' needs before their own wants."

 

You stated that children are entitled to "a mother and a father".  I would like to add that they are entitled to a "loving" mother and father.  Its the love between a couple, and their kids if they have any, that makes a family.   I agree that one man and one woman simply "fit".  The ideal family includes one father and one mother, however I don't think that there really is such a thing as an "ideal" family.  All families will have issues to deal with, regardless of the circumstances.

 

“You see, if Prop 8 does not pass, homosexual couples will be placed on equal footing with heterosexual ones in adoption proceedings (as has happened in  Massachusetts where the 100-year old and highly respected Catholic  Charities adoption agency was forced out of business because the state was  forcing them to place children in homosexual homes who could have otherwise been placed in heterosexual ones).”

 

Could the same be said about the LDS adoption agency?  IF so, is this one of the reason why the Church jumped into this political issue?

 

The Churches involvement in this issue puts a bad taste in my mouth.  Do they have an hidden agenda in coming out so strongly against this  Proposition?   There is always a message given by the first presidency around election time that the church takes no stance on which party to vote for, or who to vote for.  They say to inform yourself of the issues before you vote.   Can you give me you insight on why the church is spending so much time and effort to make sure that this Proposition is defeated?    Why is the Church coming out so strongly on a California Constitution issue that it is mobilizing its members even pressuring members to give as much as they can afford to the campaign against it.

 

The Church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal.  Are those members that vote no in jeopardy of being ex-communicated?  Is the church forcing every member in California to vote yes?  If so, couldn't that be compared to the plan that our adversary offered us in the preexistence?

 

I really have mixed emotions about this issue, so I appreciate any insight you have to offer on the issue.

 

Regards,

 

Brent

 

PS. You have a beautiful family.

 

***

 

Brent,

 

No worries...I did not take your comment as callous at all.  Actually, it was great to hear from you!  Besides, I’m not always one for small talk...it's pretty lame when you just say, 'Hey, how have you been the last two decades?'  At least we jumped right into lively, and meaningful, conversation.  I do hope you and yours are well.

 

I certainly agree that children are entitled to 'loving' parents.  From the Family Proc:

 

"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...Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love..." etc.

 

As to the ideal family, ideal does not mean perfect.  I agree there are no perfect families, just as there are no perfect people.  Frankly, perfect would not be ideal...there would be no growth, no need for some of the above practices, like forgiveness.  And while I do think there are ideal imperfect families, even ideal is often a strain to reach.  But that is the very reason why as a society, we must continue to hold up the ideal and do everything possible to encourage that ideal.  Note this interesting comment from Senator Hillary Clinton from her book It Takes a Village, “Every society requires a critical mass of families that fit the traditional ideal, both to meet the needs of most children and to serve as a model for other adults who are raising children in difficult settings.  We are at risk of losing that critical mass in America today.”  Then this from President Bush, “Because families pass along values and shape character, marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure.”

 

So, though the ideal may seldom be reached, there is a sort of rubber band effect.  As long as you hold out the ideal (one end of the rubber band), though the reality may never quite reach it (the other end of the rubber band), there will be a constant tug towards it.  Interestingly, just as with a rubber band, the farther out you hold one end (the greater the ideal), the greater the draw towards it.  Of course the reverse is also true.  As we lower the ideal, tension to work towards it slackens, and in fact, the ideal could be low enough that there is NO draw towards it at all.  That is what Prop 8 is about.  And that is what Senator Clinton means when she says, ‘Every society requires a critical mass of families that fit the traditional ideal...to serve as models for other adults’ and why Pres. Bush says, ‘Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them.’

 

But tension is not comfortable, and as human nature is, many would rather lower the ideal than continue to strive towards it.  But that would be a serious mistake, both individually and societally.  On a more personal/religious note, I like this from Elder Richard G. Scott, who knows from whence he speaks (he did not have the ‘ideal’ family):

 

“Through the restored gospel we learn there is an ideal family. [He then gives a remarkable definition of that ideal]  Throughout your life on earth, seek diligently to fulfill the fundamental purposes of this life through the ideal family. While you may not have yet reached that ideal, do all you can through obedience and faith in the Lord to consistently draw as close to it as you are able. Let nothing dissuade you from that objective...Do not be discouraged. Living a pattern of life as close as possible to the ideal will provide much happiness, great satisfaction, and impressive growth while here on earth regardless of your current life circumstances...Do the best you can while on earth to have an ideal family.” First Things First, April Gen Conf, 2001.  http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,89-1-183-2,00.html

 

I’m sure this was more than you wanted to read, but it was good for me.  Thanks!

 

Anthony

 

***

 

Brent,

 

Aaaah!  For some reason I missed the second half of your email.  I had only read down to "All families have issues to deal with, regardless of the circumstances."  Fortunately, I just figured that out now so I will respond to the rest of your email.

 

Elder Russell M. Nelson came down two months ago to our stake to reorganize our Stake Presidency.  When he spoke to us in the adult session of Stake Conference, he talked about the moment the Brethren were discussing the issue and it was presented before Pres. Monson.  The discussion was about whether to mobilize membership in this effort or not, and the essential issue was not whether it was a good thing to do so (that is clear...the ramifications for religious liberties in particular are frightening, let alone society's morality); rather, the issue was whether it justified burdening the membership.  Back in 2000, we did the same thing with Prop 22, and of course it was an enormous burden.  The Brethren were very sensitive to this.  Finally, however, Pres. Monson spoke and revealed that this was a fight we must win.  Interestingly, Elder Nelson then apologized for the burden that would be placed upon us all, but that again, this was one of those battles that the prophet, the watchman, determined was crucial.  He then said that we were the ‘heat shield’ in the culture war that is sweeping our nation and is threatening our personal and religious liberties.

 

First, in answer to some of your concerns, I can assure you that the direction to Stake Presidents has been very clear and that is that NO ONE is to be coerced into doing anything on this issue.  We have been instructed to be extremely sensitive to those who either do not feel comfortable speaking up on the issue or who simply disagree with our position.  Elder Ballard, in a recent round table fireside he did with all of the YSA with respect to Prop 8 said, and I’m almost quoting, ‘There are good people on both sides of this issue’ and both he and Elder Cook emphasized that we must be kind and gracious, etc.  So, of course no one will be ‘punished’ in any way for voting NO on Prop 8.  I have several LDS friends for example who are planning to vote no.  I am currently the Institute Director at Cal Berkeley University, and as you can imagine, several students there have had issues with this.  I have spoken with the Bishop who has counseled with these YSA and of course he always assures them that they are entitled to vote as their conscience directs and that is okay.  The analogy I have considered is the parable of the wheat and tares.  Frankly, we are still at the preliminary stages of the last of the last days, and it would be foolish to root out what we might consider ‘tares’ simply because they disagree on this issue.  They may be more wheat than we are, but because of circumstance or experience can’t see yet through the haze of this issue.  It’s all good.

 

So, why has the church gotten involved?  Well, I’m going to attach a write up I put together in August for your reading pleasure (Proposition8.doc).  Gird up your loins because it’s about 15 pages; but even after the last two months, I still think I address the major issues.  Alternatively, you could read Elder Oaks comments on the issue at (see attached The Divine Institution of marriage.pdf). You can also read the Proclamation on the Family (attached Family Proclamation.pdf).  Preliminarily, I would give the following reasons:

 

1.         The redefinition and ultimate breakdown of the family (which will occur as I have outlined in my write-up) will prove disastrous for our society and our children.  It is a social experiment that is likely to prove more consequential even than those that came out of the 60s (in Berkeley of course) such as the sexual revolution.

2.         We were urged by other religious organizations who had begun the campaign to participate.  Unlike back in 2000 with Prop 22, this time we wouldn’t shoulder the entire burden.  There is an extremely broad-based coalition heading up the campaign.

3.         The constitution and our religious liberties demand it.  I of course understand this well as an attorney.  It is an irony that some in the church (and out) are arguing that we are not to get involved in the political process, citing separation of church and state.  However, that is a gross misunderstanding of that concept.  The separation of church and state has to do not with the fact that religious groups are involved in the political process, but that a government shouldn’t mandate one single religion for all, as it was with the Church of England.  In fact, the founding fathers relied on religious and other groups as society’s stabilizing influences, their moral protectors, the salt if you will, that would keep government and laws in tow.  It would be utterly irresponsible and self-centered not to participate.

4.         There will be significant fallout for religious liberty that could halt the progress of the church (read my write-up).  You mention the LDS Adoption agency, but it could hit home even more closely than that.  In Canada and Sweden, ministers who preach that homosexuality is wrong are being sued for hate speech.  This may be a very key reason we are getting involved on such a level.

5.         This issues is a moral-political issue, not strictly a political one.  On moral issues, faiths have an obligation to speak out.

6.         The prophet, the watchman, has spoken.  In war, resources are always limited.  The commanding general of all the troops, despite the varied battlefronts, can only fight a few battles because resources are limited.  He must decide which battles are most crucial in order to ultimately win the war.  Our commanding general, who is a Seer on the tower, sees that this battle is crucial.  Elder Lance Wickman of the Seventy has echoed what others have said, that this fight for traditional marriage in California is the ‘Gettysburg of the culture war.’  Think about that; it’s quite sobering.

 

I hope some of that helps.  I have an abiding testimony that the ‘Church’ as you refer to it is Jesus Christ himself, that He is the cornerstone, that He directs a prophet who holds the keys on earth, the only one who does (D&C 132:7).  Another way to ask the question then is why is the Savior getting involved in this issue?  And that demands are serious consideration of the issues, along with prayer.  I think it’s our duty to figure out why it is so important if we don’t at first, as you are doing.  And of course, move forward with faith.  At least we have some very solid reasons why this issue seems to be so crucial.  Imagine living in the days of Noah...even I would have had a hard time with the logic behind why the ark needed to be built (lol).

 

Warmly,

 

Anthony

 

PS:   So, tell me about what you are doing, your family, etc.

PSS:  Oh, and take the time to read my write up.  Some of it may seem alarmist, but most of it is not.

 

***

 

[Quote sent to me that I wanted to use in my email to Brent:]

 

The Church will always hold aloft the banner of happy family life, for we can do no other! Family life is the best method for achieving happiness in this world, and it is a clear pattern given to us from the Lord about what is to be in the next world.  We have no choice but to continue to hold up the ideal of the Latter-day Saint family. The fact that some do not now have the privilege of living in such a family is not reason enough to stop talking about it. We do discuss family life with sensitivity, however, realizing that many...do not presently have the privilege of belonging or contributing to such a family. But we cannot set aside this standard, because so many other things depend upon it.   Spencer W. Kimball, CR Oct 1978.

***

 

[Link to an excellent talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on the Ideal Family, from the 2008 World Wide Leadership Training Meeting]

 

http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,8027-1-4404-2,00.html