17 April 2014

Same Sex Marriage

It's time to have another serious blog post. They only come around about once every five years, or every 40 posts. But I've been feeling compelled of late to voice my opinion instead of standing idly by. The topic is same sex marriage. I've dabbled in this discussion in the past, and I'm often left wondering how to better present myself and my opinions. Hopefully a thoughtful blog post that's only read by approximately my mother and my two sisters will suffice.
It's quite apparent that the American media has decided that they are pro gay marriage- which is understandable, they're allowed their opinions- except for how they paint the opposition. In our society it is assumed and believed that if you are anti gay marriage than you are intolerant, a bigot, and homophobic. It saddens me that this is how all opponents of gay marriage are seen through the media's portrayal. If a prominent American voices their opinion against gay marriage they could lose their job (as did the CEO of Mozilla Firefox, Brendan Eich) and they most certainly will be seen as intolerant. I don't believe that is the case. I consider myself an opponent of gay marriage while still being an accepting, loving individual. I remember clearly a high school assembly on tolerance where a classmate of mine said "It seems pretty stupid to use 'gay' as an insult. I mean, just the other day I heard someone say 'This test tube is so gay; it doesn't work at all' and I thought to myself, 'that's a weird way to describe the test tube. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have any sexual feelings whatsoever!'" That one story, told over a decade ago, still rings true in my ears and ever since I have vowed never to use 'gay' as an insult and I've kept to it. I have tremendous respect for many gay people. In fact, unbeknownst to me at the time I moved in, I live in a gay neighborhood. Two of my immediate neighbors are gay couples, and the house two doors down is two gay men. I don't agree with their lifestyles, but I also don't hate on them in the least because of it. Many of my friends from high school are gay, and some of my former classmates at BYU are gay (WHAT?!).  I grew up in Massachusetts. My fiancee is from California. We're not exactly strangers to friendly, loving, good people who also happen to be gay. I love these people and want no harm or malice towards them. I welcome their friendship and service to our communities, while still disagreeing with their lifestyle. Perhaps the same could be said of a cheating husband. I wouldn't agree with his actions in the least, but that doesn't mean I hate him or will deny his friendship or hand of service if offered.
So why am I opposed to gay marriage? It would be difficult for me to put forth a scholarly, persuasive argument filled with facts and evidence, so I'm not going to try. Instead, I'll just tell you what I do know. As a  member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I believe in a living, modern-day Prophet who has the same authority and calling as did Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, and all the other Prophets in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. The Prophet today is named Thomas S. Monson. Before him the Prophet's name was Gordon B. Hinckley, who died in 2008. In 1995, many years before gay marriage was a prominent issue in the US, President Hinckley declared through revelation from God that 'Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.' I believe the Prophet's counsel and wisdom that marriage should be only between a man and a woman. I believe that the first married couple on Earth were Adam and Eve. I believe that God only wants marriage to be between a man and a woman. I believe that He commands all of us to love one another and be tolerant, and reserve marriage to be between a man and a woman. Noah probably couldn't give a very factual argument as to why he was building a boat during dry weather, but he did so anyway with the faith that following God would lead to happiness. I may not be able to offer a factual argument against gay marriage, but I believe it's what the Prophet has commanded us and I believe it is the path to happiness. I have NEVER been let down by following the Prophet. He's not perfect, I recognize that, but his counsel comes from God and will not lead us astray. President Monson and President Hinckley both taught tolerance and love, and taught that God's will is for marriage to be reserved strictly between a man and a woman. I agree with this.

02 April 2014

Wedding Planning.

Wedding Planning. It's an amazing thing. It's sort of like planning for a bar mitzvah, but for Jews and non-Jews alike, and you're not 13. The basic ideas- such as Stars of David, kippahs, cakes, and family- are pretty much exact parallels across the two different types of parties. I am blessed to be betrothed to a truly incredible planner and organizer, so she's taken the reins in pretty much all things wedding planning. She's by far done the majority of the planning but she runs things by me and I give them a יאָ or קיין. Here's what I've gleaned from two months of conversations about weddings:

  • They're not actually at all like bar mitzvahs. This was a surprise to me. At all the bar mitzvahs I've been to there's been some lengthy Yiddish recitations. I guess that doesn't happen at Mormon weddings. When Caity told me that I was like, "וואָס עמעס!"
  • Planning a wedding requires a lot of emails and internet searches. I don't know how they did it before the Internet. Maybe people just didn't get married before the Internet? I can't think of a single wedding I ever went to before its inception, and as such I'm forced to conclude that they just didn't happen before the mid 90s. Sure I've seen pictures of weddings in the 80s and earlier, but that's all they are- pictures. I've never seen a wedding invite from the 80s or catering from the 70s- clearly demonstrating the improbability that weddings as party events actually happened previous to the world wide web.
  • There are a lot of similarities between the bride's experience and the groom's experience in the planning process. Allow me to shed light on one or two of these:
      1. The bride has 3-4 fittings for her dress. The groom has 0-1 fittings for his suit.
      2. ...
I guess I can only think of one difference. It must be the exact same experience for bride and groom.
Thus far I've been super impressed with Caity's planning. She's taken total control of the planning, and not in a Bridezilla sort of way. We still have three months before the wedding and we've already done the following:

  • Signed a lease on an apartment (true)
  • Got her wedding dress and my wedding suit (true)
  • Ordered the invitations (true)
  • Scheduled a visit with the cater, baker, florist, and interior decorator (true, true, true, false)
  • Started retirement funds for our future children (false)
Caity and I have decided to take some less traditional wedding moves as well. I'm planning on taking her last name and she's going to take my last name. We feel that that's an appropriate compromise. That way we'll both be giving a little bit of ourselves to one another. We've also decided that she will get a dog. It will have to go to work with her and she'll have to take it out and entirely take care of it so that I don't even know it exists, but I've agreed to buy its food as part of the sacrifices that must happen with marriages. Yes, we definitely feel prepared for the selflessness of marriage.