Friday, October 31, 2008

Bits, Pieces and the like

I swear I tend to do most of my blogging when my coworkers are away, instead of at home. That's what happens when your ish-ness is all together before Friday rolls around!

So I am by myself here in the office. Coworker A is on a trip (work-related, but I don't see how a 3-hour car drive can take an entire weekend, and have her miss three days of work for it!) and Coworker B doesn't work Fridays, but will be in with me tomorrow for a study visit.

Today I'm wearing my Harry Potter shirt, in honor of Halloween. On the front it says "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." (For those who aren't insane Potter fanatics, it's what you say to get the Marauder's Map, a map that tells where EVERYONE is, to work). On the back it says "Mischief Managed" (How you close the map). Everyone so far has gotten a chuckle, so I may go with holiday-and-event-themed T-shirts. And why not? I had a T-shirt for the JDRF walks, for when I had to participate in them, and now this. I swear, Tuesday, I'm coming in with my "Vote For Pedro" shirt!

Speaking of politics, I cannot WAIT until this is all over. Between having to hear about the presidential candidates at nausea for the past, what, two and a half YEARS and then the Prop. 8 nonsense, I am so done!

Proposition 8, for those not in the know, is to create an amendment in the California Constitution to keep marriages between a man and a woman. Now, don't get me wrong; I am totally all-pro-gay. Some of my best friends were/are gay. I have nothing against the lifestyle and find this particular cohort to be some of the most accepting people on the planet. However, I have a lot going against me.

Being a Latter-Day Saint, we are taught that marriage is between a man and a woman and that one of our divine callings is to marry and have children so that His spirits can be on this earth. Sex out of marriage, regardless of who is engaging, is a sin and that homosexuality is a bigger sin since it involves same-gender attraction.

Although the church leaders and the prophet have said that we as Saints should do all that we can to support this constitutional amendment, basically saying we ought to vote for the amendment to happen. But I have found a lot of struggles with it.

For one, I know many LDS people (especially in my ward) who have just gone off of the deep end. They've gone door to door soliciting people for votes. They've donated lots of money to the cause. They've sent forwards saying that by not voting for this legislation, kindergarteners will be exposed to homosexual teachings and that 5-year olds will be taught about homosexuality (this despite the superintendent of schools saying that is simply not true). The worst was when, during fast and testimony meeting, the majority of my ward bore their testimony of Prop. 8. Fast and Testimony meetings are meant to show your thankfulness to Heavenly Father and his Son for all that They have done for you, not to talk about the latest efforts in a political agenda.

At first I thought I was alone with this. On message boards and at church I am/was considered an outcast because I refused to ignore and cast aside those living this lifestyle. In a stake conference (when a bunch of wards, or congregations, meet in one super-meeting of sorts) a regular church member went to the pulpit and said that we should cast aside our friends and family who do not live a lifestyle like our own. WHAT???? That's horrible!!! I mean, my family consists of wonderful, helpful, productive members of society but, according to this man, I have to shun my oldest sister because she doesn't want to get married, or my brother and older sister because they drink. Although he's quitting, my dad's a smoker of 50+years and both he and my mom drink coffee. So I need to shun them? I think he's GREATLY mistaken!

But I digress... back to Prop. 8

So I feel like a leper. I understand what the church is TRYING to say, and I feel like I ought to vote for 8, but something's missing. I feel for these people and their agency.

But appparently I'm not alone.

I was at the church bookstore one day during lunch and the clerk and I got into a lengthy discussion. I was purchasing books by Carol Lynn Peterson, a great LDS author who has a first-person perspective of the "gay lifestyle". She met her husband after his mission at BYU, and they had four children together. I believe she was carrying baby #4 when her husband came out of the closet for good (he had struggled with homosexual tendencies) and they stayed close friends until his death in the late 80s from AIDS. I had bought her memoirs of this time period (Goodbye, I Love You) as well as the Setting The Record Straight book on Homosexuality, and so naturally Prop 8 came up. She told me about a dear family friend who was like an older brother to her and how much she loved having him and his partner in her life as well as her (now ex) husband's. She had the same feelings that I did: That she would vote Yes because the Prophet and the brethren said to, but that she did not feel like going door-to-door to condemn homosexuality was something she could personally do. I was surprised. There's someone ELSE with the same struggle! In a way, I felt validated in my feelings (after all, if someone else is having them...) and it helped clarify some things for me.

In all honesty, I still am not sure I'll vote at all for this. I've been trying to come to terms as to WHY to vote for it, and when I tell myself to just say yes, that still small voice keeps telling me "You need to look into it more before you say yes. Keep looking." So there's still a small piece of the puzzle missing.

Well, I've spent more time on this than I care to admit. I am going back to "work" now. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and be sure to save me the peanut butter cups