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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for October, 2009

Mormon Leader: Prop 8 Backlash Like Intimidation of Southern Blacks In 1960s

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2009

A prominent leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is preparing to deliver a major address at Brigham Young University-Idaho in which he compares the anger directed toward the LDS church over its support of Prop 8 to “voter-intimidation of blacks in the South” during the civil rights struggle.

Dallin OaksIn an advance copy of the statement provided to the Associated Press, Elder Dallin H. Oaks renews the claim that Mormons experienced “violence and intimidation,” despite the fact that there has been no independent verification of a single act of violence against Mormon people or property. The Associated Press did not correct that claim. Oaks continued:

“As such, these incidents of ‘violence and intimidation’ are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic,” he said. “In their effect they are like well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.”

Oaks then went on to suggest that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which is currently making its way through Congress, will be used to prosecute or threaten preachers. Again, the AP did not correct that statement. Oaks, a member of the LDS’ Quorum of the Twelve, is repeating on of the most common lies about the hate crimes bill. The Matthew Shepard Act addresses violent crime only, not speech or religious beliefs. In fact, the bill contains specific guarantees that nothing in it will infringe on constitutionally-protected expressions of free speech and assembly.

The Mormon Church actively led the effort to disenfranchise thousands of LGBT citizens from their civil rights, only to turn around and cry that it is they who have something in common with disenfranchised Blacks in the 1960s — a group, by the way, that Mormons banned from full membership in the church until 1978. If that isn’t chutzpah, I don’t know what is.

The Complete 1997 Mormon Memo

Jim Burroway

November 15th, 2008

We reported earlier on the 1997 memo addressed to LDS elder Elder M. Russell Ballard which outlined the Mormon church’s entry into anti-gay politics more than eleven years ago. Ballard went on to become a key leader in the political campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California.

We now have a copy of the entire memo in full, which highlights the church’s efforts to ban same-sex marriage in Hawaii.  Interesting points include expressions of satisfaction that the leaders of the Hawaii campaign were not publicly identified with the Mormon church despite being members.

You can download it by clicking here (PDF: 260KB/8 pages).

Mormon Leadership: You (and not I) Should Sacrifice

Timothy Kincaid

October 13th, 2008

The Sacramento Bee has an article today about the sacrifices that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have made so that they can take away the right to marry from same-sex couples.

Rick and Pam Patterson gave $50,000.

He drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic to his job at Intel. She is a stay-at home mom who makes most of the family meals and bakes her own bread. The couple, who have five sons between the ages of 3 and 12, live in a comfortable but modest three-bedroom home in Folsom.

David and Susan Nielson gave $35,000.

The couple will forgo a vacation for the next two years and make other sacrifices to pay for their donation, he said.

Yes, they are faithful members of their church. And while the couples deny that they were pressured to contribute, both couples did so after the June 29 letter came out from the First Presidency and the church leadership requesting that Mormons “do what you can”.

However, this sacrifice seems not to have extended to the leaders actually contributing from their own personal funds. A search of the contribution database listing all contributors of $100 or more yields:

  • President and Prophet Thomas Monson – $0.00
  • 1st Counselor Henry Eyring – $0.00
  • 2nd Counselor Dieter Uchtdorf – $0.00
  • Apostle Boyd Packer – $0.00
  • Apostle L. Tom Perry – $0.00
  • Apostle Russell Nelson – $0.00
  • Apostle Dallin Oaks – $0.00
  • Apostle M. Russell Ballard – $0.00
  • Apostle Joseph Wirthlin – $0.00
  • Apostle Richard Scott – $0.00
  • Apostle Robert D. Hales – $0.00
  • Apostle Jeffery Holland – $0.00
  • Apostle David Bednar – $0.00
  • Apostle Quentin Cook – $0.00
  • Apostle C. Todd Christofferson – $0.00

Perhaps “our best efforts” means something different to the leaders than it does to the followers.

LDS Battle Plan for California Anti-Marriage Amendment

Jim Burroway

July 5th, 2008

The message below, by public relations leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, a.k.a “the Mormons”), was sent to Orange County LDS Public Affairs personnel and other church leaders in California.

A brief introduction of some the names mentioned below is in order. Elders Russell M. Ballard, Quentin L. Cook, and Dallin H. Oaks are members of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second highest presiding group under the direction of the First Presidency. Elder Lance B. Wickman is a member of that church’s First Quorum of the Seventy, a leadership group beneath the Quorum of the Twelve. L. Whitney Clayton is also a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy as well as the Presidency of the Seventy.


To: All OC Public Affairs Personnel
Cc: Other Interested Persons

By now many of you serving in Public Affairs may have been invited by your Stake Presidency to join other stake priesthood and auxiliary leaders in attending a special meeting. That was to discuss points that originated last Sunday, June 29, with a historic live interactive telecast emanating from SLC among Elders Ballard, Cook, Wickman and Clayton with CA Stake Presidents.

We have been asked to study out the above issue -– starting with the First Presidency letter that was read in Church last Sunday and the Proclamation on the Family. [That letter is available here (PDF: 1,08KB/2 pages) -- ed.] You should all have copies of these items. As the year goes on, Public Affairs is apt to get ever more involved, under proper Priesthood direction. This will be especially true after Labor Day, when getting out the vote will be crucial. Meanwhile we are asked to use “our best efforts” and to do “all we can” to support this initiative with both our “means and time.”

To help you get prepared, here are some pertinent materials I have gathered on this issue, for your summer reading.

1. In Re Marriage Cases. See attached PDF summary of these consolidated cases, as issued by the Cal Sup. Ct. on 5-15-08. The majority decision is 121 pages long plus concurring and dissenting opinions. Essentially, the court has determined that any classification based on sexual orientation is a “suspect classification” that requires “strict scrutiny” under the “equal protection” clause of the CA Constitution. It also found that the CA Constitution has granted a “fundamental right to marry.” In 1948, that enabled the court invalidate statutory restrictions on interracial marriage. On these grounds, the court then proceeded to invalidate the existing statutory restrictions on same-gender marriages that were passed as Proposition 22 in 2000.

2. The Protectmarriage.com website. This is the key website of the central coalition of churches and other organizations that have been promoting what is now Prop. 8 for over a year. You will first see a list of member organizations and sponsoring individuals belonging to this coalition. Also see links on the left-hand side for “FAQS” and some good talking points under “Why it is needed.”

3. LDS.org Website. See this long but exceptionally important and well articulated 2007 interview by Public Affairs with Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman on “Same-Gender Attraction.” It is at: http://newsroom.lds.org/ ldsnewsroom/ eng/ public-issues/ same-gender-attraction

4. Meridian Magazine. “What difference will same-gender marriage make to you?” See this link: http://www.ldsmag.com/ familyleadernetwork/ 080627marriage.html Also see http://www.ldsmag.com/ familyleadernetwork/ 080619ignore.html These articles explore some of the possibly unintended consequences of this recent Cal. Supreme Court decision.

5. NB Stake Talking Points. See attached PDF with some key talking points created by my own Newport Beach Stake President Weatherford Clayton. More official talking points will are being prepared and will be provided through proper channels by LDS Church HQ in Salt Lake City.

6. Church News Article. From 2004 issue on the benefits of families raised within male-female marriages

HISPANICS AGAINST PROP 8. See first email attached above.
HISPANICS WHO SUPPORT IT. See email #3 attached above.

As the June 20th First Presidency letter said, more information will be made available to you from time to time through local priesthood channels.

You may also be aware that the new Managing Director of LDS Public Affairs in SLC will be Michael Otterson. He has been serving as assistant to Bruce Olsen and is originally from Australia. Brother Olsen will be the new San Diego Temple President.

Most sincerely,
Joseph I. Bentley, Director
Orange County Public Affairs
[Personal contact information redacted -- ed.]

[Hat tip: Nick Literski]