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Marriage Amendments Tearing LDS Congregations Apart

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

According to a recent Salt Lake Tribune article, the church’s marriage campaigns are taking a heavy toll on local congregations.

The Mormon Church’s campaign to pass so-called “marriage amendments” in California and Arizona is the most vigorous political campaign they have ever waged. LDS leaders have tapped into every resource: their member’s income data from tithing rolls, phone trees, e-mail lists, and other appeals. With continued urging from among the highest prophets of the church, many LDS members consider their calls a directive from God and a test of their faith.

Those who disagree with the church’s stance on these propositions say that they are made to feel unwelcome in their wards. Some have avoided church services during the election campaign, and some have resigned, while others face excommunication. Others still are actively opposing their church’s activities because they believe the church’s active campaign mocks their church’s theology.

Even some of those who favor the ballot measures are put off by their church’s zeal:

“I do expect the church to face a high cost – both externally and internally – for its prominent part in the campaign,” said LDS sociologist and Proposition 8 supporter Armand Mauss of Irvine, Calif. He believes church leaders feel a “prophetic imperative” to speak out against gay marriage.

“The internal cost will consist of ruptured relationships between and among LDS members of opposing positions, sometimes by friends of long standing and equally strong records of church activity,” Mauss said. “In some cases, it will result in disaffection and disaffiliation from the church because of the ways in which their dissent has been handled by local leaders.”

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Ben in Oakland
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

““it will take considerable humility, charity and forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by this initiative.”

That’s a mis-statement if i ever heard one. It isn’t the initiative that caused the owunds. It is the church’s insistence that its members had better toe the line or else.

And all to purchase a little credibility with evangelicals– it won’t– and to get a few more names for souls to save.

KipEsquire
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

From the Tribune article:

Proponents’ arguments in favor of Proposition 8: It takes away no rights or benefits of gay or lesbian domestic partnerships in California.

What kind of “professional journalism” is that?

cowboy
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

KipEsquire,
The Tribune is only citing the Proponents view. They gave the opposing view’s talking points further down in the article.

What jumped out for me was the quote from the Mormon General Authority who said:

Later-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on this issue without facing any sanction…

That will remain to be seen.

I’m getting conflicting accounts about Morris Thurston, though. I read rebuttals about his legal explanation for NOT supporting Proposition 8 and it’s getting ugly for him. I cannot understand where he and the Sutherland Institute can be “friends”.

Thanks for mentioning the article in the Tribune. It will be fodder for maybe some lively conversations at the water cooler this whole next and perhaps for a long time afterwards.

Tara the antisocial
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

I’m wondering if all that money is reaching the campaign. Granted, advertising in California is expensive. But the forceful shakedown of congregations, and the attempted extortion businesses opposing Prop 8, makes me wonder if some of that money is getting skimmed into leaders’ pockets. It would certainly provide a convenient cover.

Tara the antisocial
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

Argh, my full signature doesn’t fit. that should be “Tara the Antisocial Social Worker.”

cowboy
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

Trust me…the Mormon Church is rich enough to not care one iota about the piddly little 17 million dollars spent on this Proposition. That’s all in the duty to the Prophet.

What is amazing is how the Mormon HQ is back-peddling on the support (or non-support). You would think a Prophet and seer would know what would happen.

It’s all happening too fast for them and there is not enough time to undo the damage they will be linked to.

Seth R.
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

“What is amazing is how the Mormon HQ is back-peddling on the support (or non-support). You would think a Prophet and seer would know what would happen.”

Only if you subscribe to the childish view that a prophet is by-definition omniscient.

As a believing and active Mormon, I oppose Prop. 8 – but not out of concern for gays (although I do think they are being treated unfairly). I oppose it because I think it will harm the LDS religion in the long run.

By pushing Prop 8, the LDS leadership is essentially admitting that we Mormons need government permission to get married.

When I married my wife, I did so in an LDS temple. Sure, I got a marriage license at the local courthouse too, but if that judge had refused to issue it, I still would have considered myself married to my wife. The judge had no real authority in this matter. All I cared about was what God thought about the matter.

“Marriage” is not the government’s to give and it really needs to get out of the marriage license business. Such “marriage” licenses should not be given to homosexual unions. Nor should they be given to heterosexual unions. Nor polygamous, or monogamous.

We need a comprehensive civil union law, and we need it to apply to all unions. Marriage should be left up to individual or religious belief.

I worry that by conceding that we need the California state govt’s permission to get married, the LDS Church is setting itself up to be bound by that government – no matter were it eventually takes them.

Bad idea.

Timothy Kincaid
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

Wisely said, Seth

John
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

In their zeal to write their religious (or non-religious biogtry) toward gay people into the California Constitution, Mormons seem to be suffering a little themselves.

It is really hard for me to shed any tears. I hope that Proposition 8 passes, and that the Mormons are left reeling from splits in the congregations over Mormon behavior during this campaign. Perhaps they might look inside themselves and really ask whether all of this was worth it.

On a side note, I wonder if Mormon missionaries are taking a lower profile in more liberal areas of California right now. Since the campaign heated up, I don’t see any of them around town, and a few mmonts ago, I saw them regularly.

Louie
October 26th, 2008 | LINK

I believe Prop. 8 WILL NOT PASS!

And same-gender marriage will continue in 3 States (California, Massachusetts and Connecticut) with some more States being added within the next year or so. Eventually some time in the distant future, after everyone reading this today has returned to dust, our children’s children will wonder at how bigoted people were to deny a “civil” marriage, under the eyes of THE LAW to a couple solely based on their gender.

I wonder today that just 60 years ago blacks and whites were not allowed to marry each other! I think to myself, what the heck was wrong with these people!? What was their reasoning? What legitimate basis did they have for not allowing a black and white couple to get married? Because of some racist lunatic that held a high position of judicial power?

Leon Bazile:
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.”

The Mormon’s involvement with Prop. 8 and Prop. 102 and possibly Amendment 2 in Florida will be the beginning of their undoing.

Events have been set in motion and there is no turning back the clock now.


California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!
Connecticut – Vote “NO” on Question 1!

jOHN
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

I do think that by their support it just makes the people that are questioning the religion it’s self are now more then ever seeing them as a cult not that much different then Jim Jones.

Kool-aid anyone?

Ben in Oakland
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

John: I live right next door to a mormon temple. I’ve done a number of weddings there, and i’ve always found them to be very nice poeple.

A lot of Christians consider them to be a cult. I don’t– just one more religion among a multitude of competing claims to absolute truth, but iwth no evidence other than a book of questionable authorship.

Having said that, I don’t wish them great harm./ but if this causes LDS mnembers to start questioning their church’s interference in purely civil matters inorder to enforce their prejudices– pardon me, that was a mis-type for beliefs– then I wish them all the angst they can get.

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

cowboy
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

Ben:

On November 5th, the Oakland Temple (I’m assuming that is the one you’re right next to) will be no different than any other day for the Mormons. You’ll still see lovely young brides in flowing wedding gowns getting their pictures taken in the gardens surrounding the Temple. Standard operating procedures whether the Prop 8 passes or not.

But, if on November 5th the Proposition 8 passes…what happens to those gay marriages already solemnized in a Church or what happens to that gay couple that lives next to the Mormon Temple?

Nothing happens to Mormons the day after…but plenty of angst will be set upon gays if the Proposition passes.

I suggest you light up your house as bright as the white lights on the Oakland Temple… I have lots and lots of old Christmas decorating lights (I’m switching to LEDs this year.) I’ll even pay your electric bill for a month.

Ben in Oakland
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

I agree iwth you, cowboy. But Paul and I have already decided that if prop. 8 passes, it won’t really have much effect on us.

Except that we won’t give up, and we’ll be back.

I may also refuse to shoot those weddings, though I will have to figure out a way that I can do it without getting sued for religious discrimination.

cowboy
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

Shoot/Take the pictures anyway. But then, say: “Oh…the memory card(s) got clobbered with an errant gamma ray and the pictures are unrecoverable.” “Damn!”

You may not get paid but…

Just be sure you don’t have a smirk on your face when you tell them.

But I hope you wear a bright rainbow-colored photographers vest when you take the pictures on the Temple grounds.

Brian
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

My husband volunteers at our children’s school, and we are probably the most highly-visible gay couple in our bedroom community. We joke about the “Mormon Mafia” at the school — a number of Mormon moms who also volunteer a lot.

One of them told my husband that she and her husband are under enormous pressure at church to donate time and money. Yes on 8 signs are distributed at church. At the same time, she and her husband are wonderful, loving people, and they have also been very nice to and supportive of us. She said her mind was made up when she thought about the day she found out we were married. She realized that she was truly happy for us, and that was all the answer she needed. She and her husband are voting no, but they are still being pressured by the leadership of their congregation.

I am beginning to wonder if there is the possibility of a “reverse Bradley effect,” where people like this family are afraid to tell a pollster or phone-banker they are voting no because of the pressure the Church is putting on them. They may not be able to articulate they are voting no — even to a stranger on the phone — but in the privacy of a voting booth, they may actually vote against Prop 8.

Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but I can’t help wondering if some people with Yes signs on their lawns may vote their consciences instead of the way the Church tells them to.

rusty
October 27th, 2008 | LINK

again, Timothy commented that it will be through our personal relationships with folk out there that will change people’s minds. It will be those willing to remind neighbors about issues, our times together at school events, social events, at our churches or even the helping hand at the grocery store that will bring about change. CHANGE will be daunted by those living semi-closeted or even closeted lives. But Change is coming.

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