I need to clarify some things. I think my rhetoric towards the end of my last post came off as very offensive to a lot of people, and for that I apologize. When I say that "doing as you're told" is not a sufficient enough reason to follow the prophet, I by no means am saying that any given member follows the prophet for that reason alone. There are a host of reasons beyond just doing as you're told to follow the prophet. And most of them are very respectable. I have deep respect for the Brethren and for people who follow what they say. All I'm saying is that I don't believe that one reason (of just obedience) is sufficient to follow them, for the reasons I outlined in my post. And I have to make it clear that if you disagree with me, I'm fine with that. I don't mean to offend people, merely to make the case of why I think the way I do.
Many responses (both here on my blog, on facebook, and through private messages) displayed exactly one point I was trying to make: that people have a deep, emotional connection to the infallibility of the prophet, and when you question certain policies and practices, people often react emotionally. The reason I think this is a problem is because there are many ways to interpret Mormonism. Many people find themselves in a position where they no longer agree with the all-or-nothing narrative of the infallibility of prophets, but still believe that there's more to the church than the explanation given by people who believe Joseph Smith was a fraud. I advocate for these people's position, and believe that they should not be ostracized by such emotional reactions.
Secondly, I would like to clarify that my argument is concerning the legalization of same sex marriage and about marriage equality within society. I am not arguing in my post that the church should change its beliefs about the morality of same-sex marriage--rather that I disagree with its position about same sex marriage in society. The former is a completely different argument all together. Many people responded to me privately, and a few publicly, as if I were making that argument. For example, Justin Hume responded to my suggestion of heterosexuals reflecting on the nature of their own marriage to ponder on the extent to which commitment plays a role in marriage that the commitment is found in Celestial marriage, which homosexuals cannot have. This, however, is ignoring the fact that temple marriages are the vast minority of marriages within society, and this argument is a society-level argument, and not specific to church doctrines, but rather the policies concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage.
I very much appreciate Greg's thoughtful reply. He did an excellent job of explaining why he disagrees with me and takes the position he does. Over the next few days I am going to respond to his arguments one at a time, beginning with his views on the role of government in determining marriage equality.