I had come to the conclusion that gay marriage was a good thing based not only on what I know and believe about the social impact of gay marriage--that it would be an effective way to encourage gay folks to be committed and monogamous, to provide them the legal tools to properly participate in the domestic affairs of those with whom they had become domestic partners, to choose committed love as an ideal over adultery--but also because it just seemed right and fair in this diverse country to allow people to pursue the brand of happiness they find acceptable for themselves.
I had thought about it a fair amount. And all my reasoning (and the social data) seemed to indicate gay marriage would be a good thing, despite my acknowledgement others may easily come to a different conclusion.
I found loopholes and legalistic reasons why I thought my opposition to the amendment and support of gay marriage were not strictly inconsistent with the counsel of the church. But, some part of me knew that pharisaic approach wasn't going to work in the end.
I sat, thinking and uncomfortable. Fingers perched, ready to type some sense out of the confusion.
I remembered one of the many defining moments on my mission when I received a letter from my parents--both terrified that I was standing at the edge of apostasy's cliff, ready to jump. I had written them some snide comments about a few of our mission rules, and they had been horrified enough to immediately produce a long rebuke. It's one of the few times on my mission that both parents contributed substantially to a single letter.
I think the particular issue may have been my president requiring us to take daily herbal supplements--a position he crowed was backed by scientific evidence (and a position about which science has long since vindicated my skepticism). It didn't matter whether he was right or wrong, my parents said, it mattered that I trusted and obeyed. They weren't stupid. They knew how counter-intuitive that was, how cultish. But they also knew that there would be times in my life later when I would think I understood something better than my priesthood leaders and I would be wrong. Then, it might be on something that mattered. And ultimately, they knew the church was true and that while small injustices would come of trusting leaders (like choking back daily garlic pills), God wouldn't allow the prophet to lead the church astray. They believed, as I do now, that there is singular power in obeying every word of command with exactness. Curious power. And yes, when applied to false prophets, such trust is dangerous. You've got to be certain who you can trust, because ultimately you are responsible for your own decisions.
The final position I took with my congressmen was one of support for the amendment. I was true to myself in a strangely contradictory way. I know the church is true. I know prophets are real. So, when Elder Maxwell says,
"So it is that real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed! Such is the sacrifice unto the Lord of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, (D&C 59:8), a prerequisite to taking up the cross, while giving away all [our] sins in order to know God (Alma 22:18) for the denial of self precedes the full acceptance of Him."
I interpret that in one sense to apply to times like these. It's perhaps an application of a skill I've learned through my homosexuality--to believe that what feels right is not necessarily so. And that the balance due in confidence and affirmation for truly right decisions may come in unexpected ways.
At the same time I feel confused and sad. I feel a great desire to contact Scot and Chris and David and apologize. Sometimes having faith is hard, and not being ashamed of it is also hard.