Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rally Entry - 65th/Broadway - NYC Mormon Temple

It is 2:15am...Thursday morning...I am still awake...because I have found myself exhausted by everything that is taking place right now in my life, in this country...and this city. Decisions and making a point about something that I feel should just simply be common sense...yet...I feel so much of the negativity.

About a week ago...I found myself shocked at some of the information that I was shocked me because I felt that so much of what I had been raised to thy neighbor...was simply an action that was not being met by many of my friends. Now not get all up in arms at that comment...I am just mentioning a very elementary subject that we have all been taught...the importance of not shunning or not finding faults in others. So I decided...regardless of my background...that Mormonism and the Civil Rights of others can walk hand in hand. And this is something I firmly believe...that people regardless of their religious or non-religious views have the right to believe and perform the way that they would like.

Members of the church need to realize that people are not throwing anger currently at them for believing the way they believe...people across the country are upset that members would support a cause (20 million dollars worth - from members alone) that supports hatred. Yes I understand the Proclamation of the Family and I have a testimony of it...that does not mean that it is ok for dish out money towards a Civil - not Moral law...that would infringe on others rights to believe the way that they want. I have always felt that it was unjust for any person to force a belief or way of life on anyone else.

example: While I was on my mission in Detroit, MI...we came across two member of another faith...who also went two by two to share their message of their gospel. When they confronted my missionary companion and myself on the freeway walkover and began to tell me how wrong I was and that I was believing in a faith that was inappropriate...I silenced them and said "What I believe to be correct is true...and the spirit of the lord...does not dwell in a place of confrontation or in force. If you would like to discuss your church with us and we with you...I would be happy to sit down peacefully and discuss this...but to force your opinion upon me will only cause me to close my ears and my heart towards you." My companion...a greeny at the time...was shocked to my response to these two individuals.

2nd example: Another story from my mission...a lady by the name of Cleta McNoriel - 75 year old Catholic women...who had been taking lessons from the Missionaries for over 6 years was continually confronted with aggressive missionaries who demanded that she get baptized...and what a sin it was to keep dragging the missionaries along with in this way. When I moved into that area...I learned about her very quickly...and I wanted to meet her since she was high on the mission list of individuals that we wanted to help bring into the gospel. So I went and spoke with her...and listened to my companion who tore into her conversationally immediately upon our arrival. Once he was done speaking to her...I asked if I could say some words of comfort to her...and first to let her know that the Savior loved her. This decision was not something that she needed to jump into...and it is a decision that when she felt of the comforting feelings of the spirit she needed to move forward with. I did this with a soft heart...a heart that I could tell spoke to her soul. Not a heart of fear...or a heart of discomfort...but a heart of love. She could tell that...and wouldn't you know...after 6 years of talking to the missionaries...she asked me to baptize and confirm her a member of the church.

Friends...I share this...because this support of a proposition...though it opposes your personal belief sending to the world...a message that is different than what you all think it should be sharing. Sadly it is sharing a message of force and hate. The church is not hate nor does it believe in force...I know that...I get that. But tell that to Joe Schmoe...and they do not get that nor do they desire to understand...they only see the actions being taken. (the money being donated...not your belief in the proclamation)

Today I went to the Rally that began at the Mormon temple on 65th and Broadway..and went down Broadway with over 20,000 people to Columbus Circle (the South/West corner of Central Park). I along with other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints...walked in support of a community that has been shunned for over 200 years. I cried at times...and screamed at times...because I felt like myself and many of the church members who were in support of this cause...also had to fight against those walking who were blaming the church for many things. Mind you...I am not a quiet mouth and spoke up everytime something in harm of the church was referenced...and I did so as a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There are pictures of myself along with the members of the church who came out to support...along with thousands of others. I may post a picture of the members who were there...and felt proud to be both a member of the church...and a believer in this rally.

This was a peaceful rally...because this rally was not meant to place blame (especially because us members were there to filter a lot of their comments) but yet to make members aware that their message of donating beginning to anger the majority of those across the country. This rally...was the NYC community stating that they do not approve of the action the members of the church.

Do you realize that a man who is Mormon was forced from his Artistic Director - of Sacramento Music Circus...forced out by the Broadway Community. They found out that he supported with a 1,000.00 dollar donation to Prop 8 and the Broadway community (my profession) found this out...and took away his upcoming season from him. They asked him how he could justify putting some of the most racy productions in the past couple of years on stage...and hires a majority of those who deal with same sex attraction over his own faith...and yet voted against those he the Broadway, Equity community responded with a huge swipe against him.

People...wake up...please...this sort of unnecessary...seriously...and as a member of the church..and one who supports NO prop is sitting to close to home for me.

My father...earlier this evening..sent me a letter saying that I am hurting my mom. To my dear family....I love you...I am not making a stand against you...please know that...I have a testimony of the church...I have a testimony of families...I love you. That is the reason I wrote and posted my letter to you...because I do love love you and I care...and it is important that through all of know that most of heart is whole when I think of you...and I do care and love you.

Ok...this is already a novel..I can tell...sweet dreams to all of you. I may need to edit this tomorrow...because my writing probably doesnt make since. Goodnight!


Shannon said...

Rance...I remember when I first heard that the church was supporting Prop 8 so vigorously and adamantly I was a little taken aback. It seemed a matter of semantics to say gays can have the right to 'civil unions' but not 'marriage'. It seemed mean spirited to me. It seemed like just a word game. What is marriage in another language? It just seemed strange to me and didn't sit well that that would be the only reason why the church would be so actively involved in it. Yes, I understand the "Proclamation to the World". I believe in it too...but it seemed rather odd still to me to be so adamant to put into law. Seemed so bully-ish and imposing onto others our beliefs. And I was almost embarrassed to admit it to my hubby (who has unshakeable faith in all things mormon-I'm more the Eve who questions everything and ends up believing it all too anyway. LOL) that I was uncomfortable with it.

But then I started thinking of it from another angle...instead of just thinking about it from the 'institution of marriage' angle, I realized why the church was stressing the 'constitution' and 'law' angle. I realized that if it wasn't put in the LAW that 'marriage' was defined between a man and a woman, then what would stop ANYONE from trying to force (through lawsuits, appeals, and all sorts of legal matters) any religion (mormon or not) to marry whoever wants to get married there and blame it on discrimination if they refuse? Religious freedom is very different than discrimination. I could suddenly see the implications of Bishops/pastors/preachers/rabbis/temple presidents getting arrested for refusing to marry gays in their church/temple for discrimination. That's why so many people say it's a religious freedom issue, not a civil rights issue. Civil unions have the same rights, or they will soon if there are cracks still to fall through. Perhaps 'civil unions' needs a new term? LOL. Civil unions sound like engineering unions my hubby would belong to. LOL. It's not very romantic. LOL.

I see it totally more as mormons and every other religion for Prop 8 are trying to protect THEIR right to freedom of religion and marry whom they deem fits with their religion. I have NO problem with Carlos and his cute hubby going to Costa Rica and getting married. Sure, it goes against what I believe mormon-wise for two men to marry, but I LOVE them and I think it's great that they are so happy!!!!! No one can take that away from me. But that's not the issue. At least how I see it...

It's a matter of what the law states here in the US that applies directly to the religions here. Once that law is changed to be for whoever wants to be married can be married.....even multiple scares people who don't want to have to deny their faith and do something that goes against it, regardless of what faith it is, or get sued. Can you imagine a gay couple trying to get married in an lds temple ( when it is totally against everything a temple marriage ceremony is about...and suing to get it? I can see it happening somewhere if it's not specific in the law. That's where I can finally find peace in it. If another religion would marry them, then why sue the lds church? 'Cause they could. And if it's not in the law it would happen. It still probably will.

I think there's so much anger 'cause people don't understand that it's NOT in a mean spirit that the people in the church mostly were for Prop 8. It was to protect their personal religious rights...It is unfortunate that it seems mean spirited toward gays or polygamists. Without the other side it kinda does. But that's why I understand the church's/Monson's position now better and it sits well with me for that reason. It is religious freedom more than the other. At least that's the way I see it.

It makes me sad it makes so many people unhappy. :( Anyway...that's my two cents. :) I love you! :)

Rance Wright said...

Shannon, You are such an amazing person...I appreciate your thoughts are referred to 1967 when a black and white couple desired to be married in California...and the fears that came out of the mouths of members and non-members alike. (one person was quoted stating..."well if we allow this whats next...a black man becomes president of our country" - lol...its funny to listen to that as such a fear. Believe GAY MORMON...wants to get married in the temple with their partner...and our first amendment right holds that we can have our rights as members of a religion to keep those things sacred. Regardless of anyone desiring to want to sue anyone...they would never win. Because that is our first amendment right.

What I find wrong about it that we are placing our values - though amazing they may be...on others. That is unjust - and unfair.

I love and adore you as well Shannon.

Debra Christiansen Jacobson said...

It breaks my heart every time I hear someone I love or respect state that they support Prop. 8. I hope to see a time come when the marriages and unions of some of my dear friends are viewed as being the same as my marriage.