Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brown Stuff

I was reading a magazine about fifteen minutes ago. Z and C were playing quietly in their room, until Z called to me and said "C just spit up." C had come out to the living room at that point and I looked at him and there was brown stuff all over his face.

I looked at his feet, and there were little droplets of brown making a trail across the floor, and right outside the entrance to the boys' bedroom was a pile of regurgitated brown stuff. I grabbed some baby wipes and cleaned off his face, then started on the droplets.

My first thought was not actually poop (bet that's what you were thinking). I had been baking with chocolate chips earlier, and so my first thought had been that he had somehow gotten a mouthful of chocolate chips, though it seemed impossible since the kitchen was closed off to him (and I'm not that messy when I cook).

I made my way to the pile and realized it wasn't poop, thank goodness (yes, that had been my second thought). But I still couldn't figure out what it was.

Then I came into the bedroom and realized there were jumbo crayons strewn on the floor amid the other toys. I quickly picked up all the crayons I could see. But the brown crayon was not among them. I eventually found the brown crayon after a more thorough search, and sure enough one end had been bitten off.

C has had his four front teeth (two top, two bottom) for a while now. He just broke through one of his top incisors yesterday.

He chews on everything. Nothing is safe. It's only a matter of time, I suppose, before he tries to eat his own poop. But thankfully, today was not that day.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How my opposition to gay marriage is fueled by Love

Our nation is being gravely divided right now in a civil dispute over the rights of homosexual adults to marry and enjoy the legal benefits that heterosexually married couples enjoy. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have been advised by my religious leaders to oppose the legalization of gay marriage.

 The church has come out with various official statements about and related to this subject. These statements will serve as the framework from which I compose the rest of this post. I refer you to the following links to read more about what my church believes concerning marriage, the family, and homosexuality:

 On the flipside, various statements have also come out from other groups and individuals in support of gay marriage, including evidence that children raised by gay couples fare no worse in life than children raised by heterosexual couples. Whether these cases turn out to be the norm or the exception may be too soon to tell. But I am mostly satisfied, at least, that from a temporal perspective, I can continue to be loving toward all my fellow human beings, and accepting of the diverse lifestyles of all peaceable individuals regardless of their life choices. I don’t believe in contention; I don’t believe in hate.

 Nevertheless, from a religious standpoint and eternal perspective, I must oppose gay marriage. Not out of hate, but out of love. How can that be? I will endeavor to explain my position.

 I believe gender is more than just a manifestation of physical traits. Gender is also spiritual. That is, each one of us is a spiritual being, a divine son or daughter of our Heavenly Father (otherwise known as God).

 Heavenly Father has a gender—male. And though He does not specifically mention our Heavenly Mother (no doubt out of love and respect for her and a desire to protect Her name from being abused as His has been), I believe we have one. Together, these two Heavenly beings gave “birth” (via what process I do not know) to every spirit in Heaven prior to these spirits—our spirits—being born in the flesh to an earthly father and mother in similitude of our Heavenly origins.

 While I will not be discussing the specifics of the process here, I also believe that it has been made possible for each one of us to one day become as our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother now are—to be gods ourselves, to propogate our own spiritual offspring and help them to achieve “goodhood”—or Exaltation—as well, in the same manner as we have done.

 This is the loftiest goal to which our souls can aspire—the goal of Eternal Life. But it can only be achieved through faithful diligence, acceptance of our Father’s Plan and our Savior’s Atonement, receiving sacred ordinances along the way, and no man or woman can do it alone. We need each other.

 I believe in Eternal Marriage—that is, a marriage performed as a sacred and binding ordinance, administered by proper authority (we call in the Priesthood), between a man and a woman who are to remain faithful to other and to God to the best of their ability in this life and in the life to come. Only in this way can one hope to attain full Godhood—as a team, a man and a woman.

 Now, many if not most of us will in some way fall short of this ultimate goal. But if we do, it will come as no surprise in the end.

 What do I mean by that? I mean that God and Christ (through the Atonement and Resurrection) have ensured for each one of us that we will be granted the opportunity for eternal progression. If one does not receive that opportunity in this life, it will be offered in the next. None will be disadvantaged in the eternal scheme.

 But, it has to be our choice whether or not to accept the invitation to begin and to endure upon the path to Eternal Life. And many people—unfathomable as is seems—will choose not to follow it, and will instead accept their place in a “lesser glory” or kingdom. And while it is a sad choice for God to see one of His children make, He allows that child right via the law of Free Agency to make that choice to halt his Eternal progression.

 A quick note here, but without going into great detail: I believe (as per the teachings of my church) that having a physical body is an essential part of God’s plan for each of His children. And furthermore, those sacred ordinances which I mentioned earlier which must be performed along an individual’s path to Eternal Life, must be performed physically before they can be valid spiritually. If a person is not privileged, then, to have these ordinances performed while living on this earth, a worthy member (having had his own ordinances performed already) may stand in as a proxy for that deceased spirit to receive the necessary ordinances and fullness of his promised blessings, should he be found worthy and willing to receive them.

 There are several ordinances which must be received in order, and receiving any one or more of them allows an individual to progress along the path. The highest ordinance, and the one necessary for Eternal Life or Godhood, is the sealing ordinance of Eternal Marriage. And Eternal Marriage as ordained by God, can only be between a man and a woman.

 As things currently stand, if a man and a woman are legally married in this life, but did not receive the sealing ordinance, proxies can be authorized to perform that ordinance for them, allowing that man and woman to progress toward Godhood together should they so choose.

 Also, after a couple is sealed together under the proper authority, any biological or legally-adopted children can also be sealed to those parents.

 But a legally married gay or lesbian couple cannot be sealed together in this way, nor can any children they have borne or adopted be sealed to their gay or lesbian parents.

 Here is the sad dilemma:

 If, while still in this life, a gay individual in a gay marriage were to gain a testimony of the Church and desire to join and partake of the ordinances necessary for spiritual and eternal progression, he could not be permitted to do so while his gay union stands. This puts the individual in the unfortunate situation of either divorcing his partner (whom he loves and with whom he chose to spend his life), or staying in the relationship and halting his spiritual progression. This choice becomes much more difficult if there are children involved.

 If this same individual were to come to a knowledge and acceptance of the Gospel after death, earthly records would not be such as to permit a proxy sealing of any kind. Though this same situation would occur with any unmarried individual—gay or straight. We are told in the church, that a lot of proxy work will be done after the Second Coming of Christ, and that all will be worked out in the end for anyone faithful who desires for their work to be done. If a posthumous union can be arranged for worthy straight individuals, I can only assume that the same will be true for those gays and lesbians who have repented of their earthly sins and are willing to accept eternal mates of the opposite gender. I personally do not know how it all will be worked out, but I believe that it will, because God is just and merciful.

 So why do I oppose gay marriage? Ultimately, because it causes a lot of unneccessary spiritual heartache; because it halts the progression—either temporarily or permanently—of otherwise worthy individuals; and because any family formed by a gay union cannot last into Eternity, no matter how much those family members love each other, and that is the saddest thought of all.

 I don’t expect those who do not believe as I do to accept as truth all that I have just shared. I have no real empirical evidence, aside from the witness of the Holy Spirit which has affirmed the truth of it to my soul. I do hope that it can at least serve to help others understand my position and how—believing as I believe—I must oppose gay marriage.

 For if I believe—as I do—that God’s greatest desire for each of His children is to one day become as He Himself now is, how can I desire or encourage any less for my Brothers and Sisters? For me to endorse gay marriage would be for me to imply to these people that I do not care if they achieve the same eternal rewards as I myself strive for.

 In closing, I offer up a final thought, that right does not always equal good.

 From a legal standpoint, is allowing gay marriage the right thing to do? Yes.

 From a temporal/earthly perspective, is it good? I believe the evidence for this one way or the other has yet to be seen.

 But from an eternal perspective, is gay marriage good for God’s children? To that, I can say that the answer is a definite and resounding NO.