SSM Policies: Please Don’t Oversimplify (Part I)

SSM Policies: Please Don’t Oversimplify (Part I) November 23, 2015

I teach a philosophy course at Utah Valley University entitled “Ethics and Values.” We explore the intersections between ethics, religion, and society. One week from today I will begin lectures treating the ethical implications of same-sex marriage. Of course, Mormonism’s recently announced policy will be part of the general exploration. So will the linkage between polygamy and same-sex marriage. We will explore natural law, modernism, post-modernism, religion/theology, law, politics, and so forth. Multifaceted to say the least. You might say that these topics are to ethics what Bryce Canyon is to geology.

My concern semester-in-and-semester-out is that coming into it my students lack ability to defend both sides of the same-sex debate (and other positions in between). More troubling is that many students don’t think they need to know both sides of the arguments. They’ve made up their mind and that’s that. However, they know that if they cannot vigorously defend same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage then their essay on the final exam will be a shallow treatment and their grade will reflect that shallowness. I hope that this semester they will do all the readings, attend the lectures, and really pay a price to understand both sides of the issue. Then they will be more capable to draw informed conclusions. Beyond university students, I trust the same onus rests upon us all.

The following article provides some points to ponder relative to children raised in fundamentalist Mormon homes and, by association could be of interest when considering children raised in homes of same-sex couples. It is not the “final word” by any stretch of the imagination. However, it may serve as one perspective among many that attempts to highlight various components of the discussion from one general school of thought. It is written by the first player in the NBA to also be hearing impaired. Furthermore, he was raised in one of the most well-known fundamentalist Mormon families to date. Perhaps your initial conclusions will be similar to mine: this is not simple terrain to navigate–going forward, don’t oversimplify. Thanks to Josh Madsen for bringing this article to my attention. I would have missed it.

Read the piece and let the conversation continue. Here’s the link:



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