I have a hangover--an intellectual and social hangover. I spent the last three days at Sunstone, and it was the standard mix: really meaningful connections with thoughtful people, new friendships, profound intellectual insights, and a few unpleasant social interactions. As usual, I got asked "So why are you at Sunstone?" in this angry, accusatory tone, as if I have no right to be interested in discussions about one of the primary institutions to shape my life. I think in the future I might photocopy this essay and have it on hand to give people when they ask me that.
There were many discussions of gay marriage, particularly given the church's activism regarding California's Proposition 8. You always hear upsetting stories at Sunstone: tales of religious and emotional abuse, profound spiritual suffering, sheer mind-boggling stupidity. But I was gobsmacked by the tales I heard from a California lawyer who is horrified by the church's homophobia. He said that each ward in California is told how much money it must contribute to the church's campaign to amend California's constitution to ban same-sex marriage. He also said that a member of the high council got up in a meeting and informed the congregation that Satan is behind all the efforts to legitimize homosexual relations, and that he frequently works in some really pernicious ways to get people to embrace things they shouldn't:
1. He creates sympathy among good people for the lives, hopes and unhappiness of others.
In other words, compassion is of the devil.
2. He uses rational thinking and logic to create doubt about God's commandments.
Or, to paraphrase D&C 93:36: "the glory of Satan is intelligence, or in other words, truth and light."
But enough about that. Here are a few of the cool things that happened.