Friday, April 03, 2009

A final response...

As an update to my saga with my neighbor...

I had prepared a much lengthier response, but decided to scale it back and be less inflammatory and more direct and to the point. In that spirit, I sent what I consider to be the final response...


Your opinions are firm and I again admire the passion behind your words. I have no intentions of debating, but I do feel the need to respond to a couple of points:

Regarding “self-selection”, the Church itself has come to realize that this is not an issue of choice regarding one’s attractions. It is a choice regarding what one does with these attractions. You may want to read the Church’s pamphlet “God Loveth His Children” so that you understand these are not my words, but the Church’s.

Not wanting to presume to speak for the Church, I stated that the Church had already made statements to the fact of not being opposed to the “rights” that are being sought by the Common Ground initiatives, as they have posted in the Divine Institution of Marriage document the following:

The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.

Governor Huntsman has the same “no objection to rights” and has expressed this same commitment and support. Discrimination has occurred and these cohabitation rights will apply to heterosexuals as much as homosexuals, including brother / sister / grandparents, etc. that may benefit greatly from these initiatives.

I have not seen that homosexuals have desires to force themselves into our temples. With the 1st Amendment, religion has the right to establish their own rules, and none of these initiatives infringe on those religious rights. Canada has had legal gay marriage for several years now, and there are, I believe, seven temples in Canada, and I could be mistaken, but I am not familiar with any slippery-slope cases of gays forcing themselves through the courts to force entry into the LDS temples (not to mention those in Europe).

You may think me na├»ve and deceived, but I do not see them as “burglars” in my home, but as families seeking equal treatment. At this point, I guess we “agree to disagree” in our perspectives and we should go back to discussing the finer points of compost and gardening techniques.

Regards, (Beck)

Again, my intent was not to convince, but to let him know that there are others in his quorum and neighborhood who feel differently about his "talking points" and yet remain faithful in their testimonies of the Gospel.

I know that the bottom line is that in his eyes I have been deceived and fallen to the wrong side of this argument being sucked into "their immorality": in the last days, even the "elite will be among the deceived".

Oh well... I'm ending it here and we'll go back to our gardening - but hopefully he'll at least think twice the next time he feels inclined to spout off in priesthood meeting.

So, what do you think? How did I do as a first-time activist? (I'm begging for atta-boys as I still feel insecure in stepping out like this). I'm sure that Scot, and Alan, and Scott, among others, may be disappointed in my not being more forceful, but at least I spoke up instead of continuing to suffer from the dreaded chronic disease called BTD ("bitten tongue disorder")...


Kengo Biddles said...

The Canada and Europe bit's a tad zingy in my opinion, and may spark some frustration from him, but I think that on the whole it was even handed.

playasinmar said...

Be sure to post his response!

Beck said...

KENGO: I was much zingier before, and tried to trim back my zing and take out inflammatory stuff... for example, I wrote that I would rather be on the side of the Governor, than on the side of a hate-filled, fear-mongering W. Jordan senator (who will remain nameless).

But, thanks for your insight. It helps me to step back and see it in perspective.

Abelard Enigma said...

I think you did just fine

With some people, there is just nothing to be gained in debating with them. You've established where you stand. If he thinks that you've been deceived then so be it.

Scot said...

Ah Beck all this time we've inter-known each other, and you think I'd be disappointed in that?

No way, man. I was reading it wishing the comment form had a cute little applause emoticon :-). I think it's great.

Facts are facts and I hope they do get through to him before he just falls back on accusing you being deceived or worse. I hate to think of you being treated in such a way over this, and I worry this will not be the end of it. If anything I worry your letter was more "forceful" than you'd want if you want this issue just fade away.

To be perfectly clear, you have our heartfelt appreciation for what you've done and may wish to continue doing on this; I just hope you don't feel you have to keep this going for anyone's sake, if he keeps pushing it. By experience, I know there are people who simply won't change their minds by receiving facts or good arguments; it's those open to new information that matter most. Simply, even if you're not ready to jump further into whatever he may bring up next and you just end it without counterpoint, I want to be clear that you'll be a person I greatly respect either way.

Becky said...

It was lovely. :D

MoHoHawaii said...

Great job. I thought it had just the right tone. I liked the inclusion of Huntsman's position as well as the throwaway line about compost.

Do you feel better for having stood up like this?

You may have outed yourself a little bit with your neighbor, but that's not a bad thing either. He needs to have his boundaries enlarged.

You da man.

Beck said...

ABE: I'm convinced he thinks I'm deceived. I'm concerned if this will affect our relationship regarding quorum affairs / home teaching discussions etc. I don't know what the impact will be, but I hope it will be just an "agreement to disagree". Is that wishful thinking?

SCOT: You have my "heartfelt appreciation". It means a lot to me that you are not disappointed in me. I honor you and your family and am honored by your devotion to you family. Someday soon, I hope, we can meet in person and not just "inter-known" friends.

If I was too forceful to let it fade away, I guess I need to face up to that. I know I'm under no obligation to keep this going, and feel none, though I do feel encouragement to speak up.

BECKY: Thanks.

Beck said...

MOHOH asked: "Do you feel better for having stood up like this?"

Yes, I do, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. I'm still a bit intimidated by the whole thing and the possibility of being a "gay sympathizer" (which I don't feel bad about). Whether I am "outed" or not, I don't know. I guess I'm willing to face that as it evolves. He may be wondering why I am so "knowledgeable" about this issue and so passionate in the defense of gays. I guess I'm wondering why he's got such a chip on his shoulder against gays.

Anyway, another good thing is that I've been able to share all of this with my wife and it has given her at least a clearer perspective of where I stand and what I believe and she has not reacted negatively at all (so far). And so for that, I am feeling better for standing up instead of biting my tongue.

Thanks for standing behind me.

Scot said...

"Someday soon, I hope, we can meet in person and not just "inter-known" friends."

I heard a rumor you might be spotted at a moho event some time this month. Email me and let me know if that be true, and we'll hope to see you there.

Abelard Enigma said...

I heard a rumor you might be spotted at a moho event some time this month. Email me and let me know if that be true, and we'll hope to see you there.

I can't tell you how jealous this makes me :( - being able to meet Beck, Scot, and a whole bunch of other MoHo's in one fell swoop

Scott said...

I can't begin to express how much I hate the "in the last days even the very elect shall be deceived" drivel.

Have the people who like to spout that line ever stopped to consider that they (as people who most likely see themselves as "the elect") might be the ones who are deceived?

Beck, it was a great letter, and even if it doesn't change your neighbor's mind in the least, it does at least let him know that there are good, active members of the church whose opinions differ from his own.

Way to go!

Sarah said...


You did an incredible job and I am very proud of you!

And I am very pleased that this has opened some communication lines with your wife as well.

May God bless your neighbor with an open heart and mind, and may He bless you with courage and resilience as you face any further communication from your neighbor.

MoHoHawaii said...

I need to be in Utah sometime this month, but my dates are flexible. I will try to arrange my schedule so that I can also attend the MoHo get-together and meet all of you fine fellows.

Sean said...

Oh Beck, you really make me laugh sometimes. I'll give you an "atta-boy!" :)

I think that it was fine and that there didn't need to be more than that.

PS Way to start breaking out of the BTD!

Alan said...

Nice job Beck. Most personal growth starts with baby steps. I know this was a little outside your comfort zone and I'm proud of you! Well done.

And DEFINITELY post his response.

robert said...

Scott said: I can't begin to express how much I hate the "in the last days even the very elect shall be deceived" drivel.

Wow, I can't tell you how much this sounds like Pentecostal Christianity. Its so crazy to think that two separate faiths think the same thing is "true" for "them" with equal conviction. These people need to get out more. Geesh!

Beck said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

When I shared my comments with my wife, it wasn't what she did say, it was more what she didn't say. She didn't say: "I can't believe you are doing this!" Or "I can't believe you believe this!" Or, "this really isn't going away is it?"

Instead, her actions said nothing but: "I don't understand but I understand".

There has been no pulling back or hurt feelings or running to the bathroom to cry. It has all been good.

The only thing she asked was: "I think this needs to end before it gets worse."

I responsed: "I've decided it has already ended. I'm not going to bring it up again."

Beck said...

PLAYA and ALAN (and anyone curious to know):

Here is his received response:


Thanks again for your comments.

Regards, (Neighbor)"

That's it. It actually surprised me of his brevity. Either it means that I have been too harsh or zingy and he no longer wants to zing back (which is surprising because he has been known to always have one more thing to say) or he has given up on me and I am a lost-cause Jack-Mormon, lost to the moderate beliefs of the world.

In either case, I am not sure where our priesthood and neighborhood relationship will go from here. I thank Sarah for her prayer of courage and resilience to be with me as we move forward in what will inevitably be other communications.

Beck said...

Regarding any truth to the rumor that "Beck" may make his inaugural appearance at any MOHO social event toward the end of this month - all I can say is "he" seriously wants to and hopes to be able to make said rumor a confirmation.

Gay LDS Actor said...

I'm proud of you, Beck. I think it's great you've taken a stand and let your feelings on the matter be known, and regardless of how your neighbor chooses to respond, I think it is important to let him know that not everybody in the church is lockstep marching to his call. I think as an active, married gay man who is trying to live according to the commandments (something I wasn't quite able to do myself), you are a good example of someone who can show others who may have prejudiced views towards homosexuals that there is room for sympathy and compassion towards our gay brothers and sisters without going against the church and do so in a manner that doesn't necessarily "out" yourself. I chose a different, but still satisfying, path myself, but I admire where you are on your own journey.

Anonymous said...

his arguments have a superficial appeal but may not hold up to scrutiny. for example, the doctor being sued for not taking providing fertility services to a lesbian couple (cf Benitiz v Northcoast ...) sounds scary, sure. but physicians receive a lot from society. our educations and incomes are subsidized by government programs. despite our whining about malpractice suits, we are a protected group and should not complain if that same government tells us that we cannot discriminate.