Marriage Amendments Tearing LDS Congregations Apart
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.”
Prop 8 Opponent Faces Possible Excommunication from LDS
September 25th, 2008
Andrew Callahan, a member of the LDS Church in Hastings, Nebraska is facing excommunication over his web site opposing California’s Prop 8.
Callahan’s blog at Signing for Something features a statement that he says that all members of the LDS church have been taught: “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government …” (Doctrine and Covenants 134:9).” But it appears that acting on that message may get Callahan in trouble with church leadership.
Callahan says he got a letter from his church stake leaders Monday night, which says, “…you are reported to have participated in conduct unbecoming a member of the church and have been in apostasy.” The LDS disciplinary hearing is tomorrow.
Update: The disciplinary hearing has now been put off until at least November, a move likely intended to keep this controversial issue out of limelight until after the elections.
Not Anti-Gay Enough to be a Mormon
February 25th, 2008
Peter Danzig isn’t gay – he’s a happily hetero husband and father of three. Nor is he an advocate for gay rights. And Danzig and his wife, Mary, were involved in their church, participating in the LDS Orchestra.
But Peter has been driven from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints because of his position on homosexuality.
According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Danzig’s crime was writing a letter to the editor of the Tribune in support of Jeffrey Nielsen, a BYU adjunct professor who lost his job for publicly arguing that the LDS Church should not support an anti-gay marriage amendment.
In his letter, Danzig said that he was appalled at Neilson’s summary dismissal and at the Church’s efforts to have members write in support of an amendment that Danzig found “contrary to the Constitution and to the gospel of Christ.” He said:
I wish to express to Jeffrey Nielsen that I admire his courage and that I stand with him. I hope that rank-and-file members of the church as well as members of the lay clergy who also find this troubling will have the courage to step forward and let themselves be known. To do anything else would be to hide in the shadow of an injustice.
Peter and his wife were questioned and challenged and finally resigned the church rather than be excommunicated. Those not raised Mormon may not recognize the depth of anguish it can cause to be cut off from the church.
While the Church refuses to comment on the particulars of the story, they dispute Danzig’s tale.
“There is room in the [LDS] Church for honest disagreement regarding church positions,” LDS Spokesman Scott Trotter said. “Disagreement on doctrine only becomes an issue when a church member acts in open opposition to the church or its leaders.”
Disagreement on doctrine?
Support of civil legislation to deny the functions of the state to gay persons is a matter of doctrine?