Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

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Re: Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Dec 2020, 19:30

As I've aged and I've experienced problems in my marriage, I see the wisdom in NOT holding the Amatonormative view. BTW, I do wish they would use a more pronounceable, descriptive term that people could use in full.

I see it, from your explanation, as an invention of the LGBT community to describe relationships where, for example, a lesbian couple brings on a male to impregnate them so they can have children. The male wouldn't necessarily live with the couple or even act as a regular father, but would be in a relationship with the family. I see that as the basis of it.

In Canada, where there is a lot of socialism, there was a movement at one time to redefine family as two same sex individuals and biological father or mother. That way the couple could have children with financial and tax benefits, for example.

But back to the value of redefining where happiness is found. It is NOT always found in a satisfying relationship with someone. In fact, the quest for a satisfying relationship through marriage can be the absolute worst for happiness if you end up in an unhappy marriage.

But as I've aged, and realized my loss of youth, obesity and likely spate of health problems as I get older will disqualify me from a happy heterosexual relationship, I see the value of people having lives that are defined as happy, but single. Where you have a network of friends with varying time and commitment to your mutual friendship.

I have currently started one right now with a friend through my work. We go kayaking once a month or so and go exploring in different places. There is no discussion of deep issues, but we talk about our common interests in work, the trips we do etcetera. This is fulfilling. I can see how having several of these kinds of relationships in different fields -- like outdoorsmanship, exercising, community service, enjoying the arts -- all could help a person have a feeling of completeness without necessarily being in a committed, sexual relationship.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 09 Dec 2020, 19:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

Post by Roy » 07 Dec 2020, 17:21

When I was in YSA a very religious non-member friend of mine expressed how strange it is that we separate all our unmarried people between the ages of 19 and 30 into different congregations from the rest of the church community. She felt that the spiritual purposes of going to church should be preserved as much as possible without muddying the waters with an overt focus on pairing off and relationships. At the time (my perspective has since changed), I was thinking as you described … that our life purpose was pretty much on hold until we found a partner and got married so why shouldn't the church help to fill that need?

I can understand how this would make things difficult for you. Your culture and faith community are telling you that your yearnings for what you want out of life are invalid and will lead to second class citizenship in the community as well as in the eternal realm.

The good news is that (as has been stated before) most of the things that we believe and teach about marriage are really tangential to the doctrine of Christ. The bad news is that these teachings about marriage are so entrenched in the community that if you were to speak against them in a SS class then I expect the push back of the class to be pretty hostile. (there are things that we believe in church that are not supported by our scriptures - many in the church see everything that the church leaders say and even the predominant church culture as part of the gospel - They will not validate you and may even accuse you of heresy for questioning those things).

The challenge then in your effort to StayLDS becomes how do you manage/cope with those cultural pressures and messages. That is what we at this site are all about. to begin, I would suggest limiting the footprint of the church in your life to a more manageable size and to diversify your support system with other individuals/organizations. I would speculate that building and sustaining a diverse and robust support system would be even more important for someone that is not interested in the traditional nuclear family pathing than for someone that may find most of their social needs met in the nuclear family model. I don't want to derail your thread unnecessarily but just know that there is much more to be said about boundaries and management/coping strategies.
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Re: Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

Post by SamBee » 07 Dec 2020, 18:36

Roy wrote:
07 Dec 2020, 17:21
When I was in YSA a very religious non-member friend of mine expressed how strange it is that we separate all our unmarried people between the ages of 19 and 30 into different congregations from the rest of the church community.
I miss the YSA very much. I never ever dated anyone from it but it was definitely my favorite program and not for the romantic aspect. Looking back I regret going inactive during my twenties. Some of YSA was a bit juvenile - when you've been out of your parents' home for several years, you have different priorities... but it was also fun. I enjoyed the activities and social side. Now I'm middle aged, it seems there is so little.

The bad side though is that when you reach thirty, you are over the hill. But the truth is, someone at thirty two has more in common with someone of twenty nine than the twenty nine year old has with the nineteen year old.

Many of my relatives have married after thirty as have some of my school friends. It's not abnormal. It is more unusual to marry after your forties, but even then, it can happen. I suppose if you intend to have children, then a woman's menopause has to be taken into account but that doesn't affect males so much.
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Re: Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

Post by Heber13 » 09 Dec 2020, 19:34

Great post, and thanks for sharing thoughts.

I think from a certain point of view, temples and eternal marriage can be a beautiful and helpful thing. Some families build their life on it and it helps them.

But when temple ordinances were written, it was not universal or all encompassing. That leads to problems today trying to fit everything into a narrative from years past.

It is why we need ongoing revelation. But that process is slow. And leaves a problem for so many situations that don't yet fit in the narrative as we have it now.

I believe God knows this, and is greater than what we know. At some point, we simply don't have all answers from the church, and we have to get personal revelation, even if it doesn't fit for others. We have to travel our own road, and we can find peace while seeking truth that helps us become who God knows we should become. Sometimes that isn't validated by others, but by our heart and spirit.

There are not always easy answers to some of life's situations. But we journey on. It is what we are here to do. It sounds like you are doing good on your journey.
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Re: Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Dec 2020, 21:23

Humans who are in the majority tend to think what works for them works for everyone - so amatonormativity is seen as the ideal in most societies. Add a deep reverence for propagating the species and the societal desire for stability, and heterosexual marriage becomes the societal norm and ideal.

It is unfortunate that such a view carries so much negativity for those outside the norm, but the fact that it is the norm is not at all surprising. I agree completely that it would be wonderful if the LDS Church could embrace much more diversity with regard to human sexuality, generally - but I understand why that is not the case yet. We are moving very slowly toward more acceptance, but that movement is so slow currently that it doesn't help lots of people outside (and even inside) the norm.
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Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: Amatonormativity and Temple Marriage

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Dec 2020, 05:51

This is related so I thought I'd post here rather than a new thread.

I was recently having a conversation with a friend and the subject of testimony and the gospel came up. He had made some sort of mild assertion that everybody in the church had to have a testimony of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, etc., and if they didn't why would they be members? I said we can;t really assume that just because someone is active in the church that they actually believe those things. He kind of became argumentative then, but not loudly, I think because it's difficult for him to wrap his head around the idea that people would want to be members if they didn't believe. I outed myself a bit, but it wasn't public and I would never say this in public, and told him I believe the BoM to be a good book which testifies of Jesus Christ and can and does bring people closer to God (I have said that part from the pulpit) but I do not believe there were Lamanites or even gold plates and that the book is really just a set of stories with a moral principle, just like the Bible (I have never said - or will say - any of that from the pulpit). I also told him I don't I think he was a little stunned, and he tried to make some weak argument about the authenticity of the Bible that I called him out on because I know he doesn't believe stories like Jonah or Noah's Ark to be literal. I also asserted that that I think he might be surprised at how many people really have not had a fulfillment of Moroni's promise and really don't "know" the BoM is true.

That's a Reader's Digest version of what happened but I believe most members are in the same situation as my friend - assuming things about others that aren't necessarily correct and then not being able to wrap their brains around a different way of looking at things.
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