Life is good until its barbs hit you directly.
My philosophy has always been that, as long as a controversial issue doesn’t touch my family, I don’t worry or fret over it.
For example, being a Mormon exposes you to one of the most perplexing practices in American history – polygamy.
As I raised my children in Southern California, I never gave the nineteenth and early twentieth century practice of Mormon polygamy a second thought. As far as I was concerned it was done away with by church leadership in an official proclamation made available to members worldwide. Polygamy came and polygamy went. It was past history.
That is until two of my adult daughters confronted me on the issue when we settled in Salt Lake City. Their questions were simple ones: “Do you believe in polygamy? And, why didn’t you tell us the church practiced polygamy when we were growing up?”
I honestly don’t believe in giving nuanced answers when confronted with direct questions. “No, I don’t believe in Mormon polygamy. I didn’t inform you, because it had nothing to do with the wellbeing of our family in the here and now.”
The questions kept coming. “Do you know anyone who practices polygamy? Are you friends with them? Do you have anything against practicing polygamy?”
My answers continued to be straightforward. “Yes, I know people who practice polygamy. They are Bedouin business partners in the United Arab Emirates. No, I don’t have anything against them practicing polygamy.”
More questions: “if the president of the church asked you to practice polygamy, would you?”
At the conclusion of this session, one of the daughters summarized. “Dad, I’m glad we had this time with you, but don’t you think you should have at least mentioned it to us growing up. It still feels like you were hiding it from us.”
As an aside, I don’t hide things, but I took her comment as a lesson learned.
I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again with the important social issue facing us today – LGBTQ acceptance.
I believe homosexuality, et al, is a biologically determined condition.
Because it’s naturally occurring, I have no issue with any of my posterity coming to me and telling me they are L or G or B or T or Q. I would tell them to enjoy their lives.
On fundamental values, I believe we must be strategic. In other words, I must make sure that my behavior today matches up with my long-term values. I must make sure that in the present, I do not associate with any organization that disdains, discounts, or restricts full acceptance of LGBTQ individuals, for negative consequences that surely will visit me in the future.
On this fundamental issue, there can be no equivocation.
Equivocation sends a message, unintended or not, that because we are not clear on how we feel about a child’s identity, neither are we clear about that child’s worth. That simply is not going to happen with me.
Over and out.