06 November 2008

The Passage of Prop 8 - Three Consequences

By almost all accounts, it appears that CA voters approved Proposition 8, which eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state, on Tuesday.  Opponents of the measure still have rapidly fading hopes that thousands of uncounted absentee ballots will reverse this outcome, but Prop 8's passage appears substantially certain at this point.  As has been noted widely, Prop 8's passage would not have been likely or possible without heavy involvement, both financial and otherwise, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  From my own observations, here is what I see for California Mormons, and the Church more broadly, in the near future.

1.  A hollow victory- It seems fairly clear that Prop 8's passage will only delay the arrival of gay marriage in California, not prevent it.  In the eight years since Prop 22, which was similar in language but was only a statute, rather than a constitutional amendment, almost 10% of opposition to same-sex marriage has fallen off.  Furthermore, exit polls (which I know, incorrectly predicted a loss for Prop 8) indicated that the under-30 crowd overwhelmingly voted against it (67-31) while the retiree set voted in favor 57-43.  This means that in another ten to twenty years, a large portion of support for measures like Prop 8 will simply die of natural causes, ushering in a more tolerant electorate. 

Also, legal challenges against Prop 8's passage have already started.  Their merits and prospects are debatable, but it shows that this battle ain't over.  This could end up in SCOTUS, which does not look favorable for gay marriage advocates right now, but could look much more so in another four years.  I fully anticipate that a pro-gay-marriage proposition will be on the CA ballot at the next election, followed by a responding ballot proposition depending on who wins the first. (No matter what side of the SSM debate you are on, I think that we can all agree that the ability to amend the state constitution based on a simple 50%+1 majority is positively ridiculous.  A 2/3rds requirement I can get behind, but the purpose of constitutions is the protection of the rights of the minority.  If a simple majority can change the constitution, it is not doing its job.)  Which leads me to the second consequence...

2. A massive Mormon exodus from California- The next ten years or so are going to be quite expensive for California Mormons.  If, as I alluded to in the first section, we see a series of back-and-forth ballot propositions on SSM in California every two years or so, few members of the Church will be able to afford to live in California (as if it were not hard enough already).  They are facing: higher federal taxes on their $200K+ income (Obama), CA's already crazy-high state taxes (which may grow due to budget shortfalls), and a special "Mormon tax," which will end up being an extra ~$5-25K or more every couple of years to a "Yes/No on ___" campaign.  It may finally get to the point where opposing gay marriage prevents California Mormons from building their food storage, having more kids, sending those kids on missions/to college, and saving for retirement.  At that point, they will bolt for Utah and other points in red states.  That leaves CA church units in the hands of 1) less-affluent members of the Church who were not donating to the campaigns in the first place, and 2) those who did not donate because of their support for SSM.  Of course, this may end up being a boon to Utah and other "receiver" states since many of these members will be high-functioning members of society and the Church.

3. A brooding storm- The next few years are going to be very trying for members of the Church, both in California and elsewhere.  We can break this down into several headings:
Missionary work- As I alluded to earlier, the vote of the under-30 set was overwhelmingly in favor of allowing SSM.  In addition, people with any college education voted against Prop 8 by a wide margin.  I suspect that something similar is afoot in other states, to a lesser extent in the South and Midwest, but still true in urban areas and college towns of those regions.  Because the Church's crucial involvement in passing Prop 8 is so widely known (thanks Internet!), missionary work in this demographic is going to suffer terribly.  Affluent college-educated folks are your future mission presidents, bishops, stake presidents, etc. and a whole lot of them will never give the missionaries a sympathetic ear after this.
Getting things done- In the next couple of years, whenever the Church wants to accomplish anything that requires any kind of public approval (building a new building, etc.) in CA or any of the more liberal states, they are going to find a whole lot of obstructions put up by those whose approval they need.  I feel like most liberal-minded people looked at Mormons pre-Prop 8 and said: "well, they have some crazy beliefs but they seem to be genuinely good and kind people." Those days are over.  We have become a "hiss and a byword."
The opinion of others- this could fall equally under the previous heading, but I will elaborate further here.  The number of people I have seen on the Internet swearing an eternal hostility towards the Church, not because of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, an embodied God, etc., but because of our advocacy on Prop 8, is absolutely frightening.  I suspect we will see more of the attitude that this unfortunate commercial espouses.  In the mind of SSM advocates, because of our open and public involvement in this political issue, everything we do will be put under the most rigorous scrutiny, and any criticism is fair game.  We have already seen public protests at temples and meetinghouses, which is, in my mind, extremely unfortunate, but again, we are getting no more free passes ever again.
The membership- You might have read stories in the news or elsewhere on the Internet about people leaving the Church because of the Yes on 8 campaign.  I don't have any personal anecdotes, but it seems like Yes on 8 is really going to tear apart the fabric of families, wards, and neighborhoods within the Church.  My sense is that a lot of these people were inactive anyway, and while it is still a great loss, it is not likely to be felt in individual wards and stakes.  But there is a "ticking time bomb" out there of members who have been hurt, either on their own behalf or on behalf of friends, relatives, and neighbors, and this pain is going to fester and stew.  Some are just waiting for some other excuse to push them over the edge into inactivity or more direct measures to end their membership.  If the "Yes on 8" campaigns repeats itself in the near future (see my #1 above) that will likely be sufficient excuse for many. 
Also, any thawing on the SSA issue is over.  Members who struggle with SSA but are trying to stay active and chaste are going to sense the increased hostility towards those like them, not because of Prop 8 itself, but because of the sometimes hostile and inflammatory rhetoric used in the campaign.  They too are likely to bolt.

These prognostications are somewhat hyperbolic (and intentionally so), but not so far outside the realm of possibility that they should not be taken seriously.


  1. I think your #3 is dead-on. Living in the East Coast, I've been lucky to avoid a lot of the politics in church here, but if something similar to Prop 8 were to start up in my state, I have no idea how I'd react. (For the record, I'm not necessarily in favor of SSM, but I oppose any political activity being tied to my membership in the Church.)

    On another note, I haven't met a lot of new people since Nov 4 (busy at work), but I really do anticipate awkward moments when people find out that I'm Mormon. These awkward moments will come in two flavors: A) "You're Mormon? You must be a hateful bigot!" B) "You're Mormon? Thank goodness, I can't believe those gays wanted to get married, thank you so much for your efforts on behalf of traditional families!" I don't think I have a good reaction to either one planned yet.

  2. Don't forget the direct legal effects. I'm not sure about the amendment/revision lawsuit bandied about, but on review of the California Supreme Court's decision, I did notice this:
    Having concluded that sections 300 and 308.5 are unconstitutional to the extent each statute reserves the designation of marriage exclusively to opposite-sex couples and denies same-sex couples access to that designation, we must determine the proper remedy.

    When a statute’s differential treatment of separate categories of individuals is found to violate equal protection principles, a court must determine whether the constitutional violation should be eliminated or cured by extending to the previously excluded class the treatment or benefit that the statute affords to the included class, or alternatively should be remedied by withholding the benefit equally from both the previously included class and the excluded class.

    The text of Proposition 8 says: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Note that Prop 8 does not overturn the designation of gays as a suspect class, nor does it invalidate the equal protection problems that the court identified. Read together, it seems that the only way to give gays equal status under the law with proposition 8 in place is to deny opposite sex couples the word “marriage.” This is consistent with the text of the amendment, as it only has permissive, not mandatory, language.

    Could Prop 8 be responsible for destroying marriage in California? It’s a possibility, and an ironic twist that would be worthy of Kafka.

  3. I think the No On 8ers were too complacent early on, when the polls showed Prop 8 trailing. When the Mormon dollars started rolling in and the polls evened up, the No On 8ers were far behind in both funds and organization. They tightened things up in the final weeks of the campaign, but they couldn't catch up with the Mormon organizational machine.

    As one of my friends put it, the bad thing about the California Constitution is that it can be amended with 51% of the vote, and the good thing about the California Constitution is that it can be amended with 51% of the vote.

    I doubt that the legal challenges to Prop 8 will be successful, but I predict that within another 4 to 10 years, gay rights proponents will have another initiative on the ballot, but with more money and better organization behind them. At that point, I think we'll see the reintroduction of gay marriage--by the vote of the people.

    I think that, when they decided to get involved, Church leaders underestimated just how much opinion within the Church had shifted. Mormon opposition to Prop 8 seems to be much deeper than it was to Prop 22, and the trend toward tolerance will likely only continue over the next several years.

  4. I am a returned missionary and BYU graduate. I am also a gay man with an adopted son. My son was a former student of mine and when his mother suddenly died, I was able to step in and become dad. He was also Mormon. I am raising him Episcopalian.

    The tolerance that I see in the church is mostly limited to a few wards in urban areas. My best friend's brother, a bishop in the San Diego area) gave $2500 to the yes people and confessed to his brother that he was pressured by the stake president. This alone should be reason to revoke the tax exempt status of the church.

    However, I think I am most baffled by a church that was founded on the principle of non-traditional marriage only 150 years ago to turn so against SSM. Joseph Smith received the revelations on "Celestial Marriage" that allowed him to marry girls as young as 16. The irony is laughable!

    Of course, I understand the bigotry that has existed in such tracts as "To the One” that promotes violence against homosexuals and Spencer Kimball's writings on forgiveness to have laid a strong foundation for the principle of bigoted activity and insensitivity to those "peculiar people" that are a different "peculiar" than straight, white Mormons.

    If you think we (the collective gay community) are just a bit angry, you haven't begun to understand the issue.

    You are dead on when it comes to educated people not wanting to be associated at all with the church. I wrote the church at 3am on Nov. 5 and asked to have my name and my son's name removed from the records already. I will also be asking all my Mormon acquaintances/enemies (no longer to be called friends or family) to look my son in the eye and explain why they have a right to destroy his family.

    Our one hope will be, as the years pass and Jesus doesn't come in glory to judge the living and the dead, thinking human beings will have to reassess their beliefs and hopefully will have room for a belief system that is not exclusive, but inclusive.

  5. You are all so articulate, well read and versed. I am exhausted from the efforts made in the last 72 hours. None of the people in my area feel that this is over. Although we did all we could to ensure it passed, we are aware that is simply a matter of time. Interestly enough, the No on 8's are picketing the LA Temple Gates as I write this. Got to love America, the land of free speech, self actulation and religious freedom...while lasts that is...

  6. Well said. As a straight LDS single man with no close homosexual friends or family, I am struggling much more than I thought I would have with the Church's involvement with Prop 8. With all this talk of protecting families and children, I wonder if anybody is thinking of the children of gay parents in elementary school who are taught that they don't belong in a real family. In the name of God, this effort is hurting so many, directly and indirectly.

  7. "These prognostications are somewhat hyperbolic"

    True dat.

  8. Got to love America, the land of free speech, self actulation and religious freedom...while lasts that is...

    This irritates me to no end. I'm sorry, but the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage will threaten religious freedom or free speech rights is empty. The First Amendment is robust enough to protect churches' and religious people's rights to say what they will and practice their religion as they will with respect to gays and lesbians. You are free to be as discriminatory and intolerant as you want.

    It saddens me that the free speech/religious liberties argument was advanced by no less than Elder Bednar.

  9. "Affluent college-educated folks are your future mission presidents, bishops, stake presidents, etc. and a whole lot of them will never give the missionaries a sympathetic ear after this."

    If this were true, then how does the church operate, and thrive for that matter, in 3rd world countries?

    It's a testimony built on faith that matters. Last time I checked, Joseph Smith only had about a 3rd grade education.

  10. Dan,

    "Last time I checked, Joseph Smith only had about a 3rd grade education."

    That was almost 200 years ago. Today the Church hierarchy is flooded with professionals. The two highest quorums are all businessmen, lawyers, doctors, scientists, and educators. Mission presidents, stake presidents, and bishops are usually affluent (or at least well-to-do) men.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. But what if the Church wasn't involved and Prop 8 failed??

    Nothing. Nothing would happen. We'd all go on our merry ways and life would continue, just as it has in Canada. We'd still teach the same. Kids would be safe. Marriages would still be in tact. And assuming California doesn't slip into the ocean, we'd be just fine.

    Now we have 3,000 outside the LA temple protesting the Church's role in quenching marriage rights, potentially ending 9,000 marriages, and making a mock of God.

  13. Ahlduke, you have spoken as a true prophet.

  14. potentially ending 9,000 marriages

    I read that it was near 18,000 marriages.

  15. I wasn't sure if it was 18,000 marriages or 18,000 homosexuals. So i picked the lower number to be safe.

  16. "I will also be asking all my Mormon acquaintances/enemies (no longer to be called friends or family) to look my son in the eye and explain why they have a right to destroy his family."

    It's language like this that makes any type of healing/dialogue impossible. Sexuality is a moral issue. It has been for millennia. Why are those who hold different moral values now to be considered "enemies." How about looking at friends and family as that, friends and family. Leave the moral diatribes outside and realizew that family bonds should be stronger than sexual orientation.

    Teach your friends and family about the effects of their opinion through love and kindness. Share your experiences with them and let them see the consequences their actions have on their friend and loved one, not on their enemy. Such language is just as evil as the bigotry you are feeling from those who promoted the proposition.

  17. Such nice thoughts from "narrator". You should check out some of the language your prophet used in his scriptures in reference to early persecutors of the church. I think he used such "evil language." In fact he recommended the dusting of their feet off to destroy his enemies. I guess that puts your prophet into the "evil as bigotry" camp. And if sexuality is a moral issue...how does your founders multiple sex partners fit into this moral equation? How about his 16 year old wife? Today that would be statutory rape! Your churches history is rife with contradictions and mistakes. However, we are not trying to pass laws against your lunacy, just asking for you to leave us alone.

    Sexuality is not a moral issue. It happens to be one for you, but not for millions of others. The way one is born is not a moral issue. It is just who you are. Your god is one of strict obedience and hate. My God is not. However, if you seek to diminish me as a human being or take my rights away, you are my enemy and cannot be my friend. If you are my mother or father and seek to reduce me to a theological cliché in hopes that your faith doesn't unravel, you are my enemy. Whether I fight my enemy with love and kindness or with silence and distance is my business and I will pay the consequences of my choices. Such language is not as "evil" as bigotry. I do not seek to take their rights away, but they do mine. I do not shun them for who they are, but they have castigated me to a lesser world.

    Also, it is not the protestors making a mockery of God, but the Mormons who have used their power and influence to diminish His creation!

  18. What needs to be said, but seldom is, has to do with the homosexual sex act itself. It's perverted. It is an abomination, but few are ready to acknowledge it.

    This is the real reason why the LDS Christians oppose SSM, and why non-LDS Christians oppose it, or should oppose it. God has forbidden man to lie with man, because it perverts the purpose of sex and marriage.

    When Mormons teach their children about marriage, it's in the context of a bond and relationship that will never end, passing through death, standing before the judgment seat of God, rising in the resurrection, and dwelling with the billions of families that will inhabit the earth for a thousand years, preparing for its coming transformation into a celestial abode, when the old earth and the old heavens shall pass away, as a new earth and a new heavens replace them.

    In that day, the former earth and the former heavens will not be remembered, or come to mind. However, this great hope and glorious vision of the future is forever lost to those who, for whatever reason, reject the path that leads to their part in it.

    Yet, that is their business, and they have the God-given right to choose what they will believe, or will not believe.

    Nevertheless, it would be foolish to think that the Mormons don't understand how their children will have to withstand the persuasion of those who will come among them saying, "Believe it not!"

    They will be cajoled, prodded, brow beaten, scorned and even persecuted for their faith in the sanctity of marriage. They will be urged to reject it as folly, to look upon it narrowly and consider it as a foolish and a vain hope, in a thousand subtle, and some not so subtle, ways, and, alas, many will surely succumb, choosing to believe it not.

    Do you think, then, that the Mormons don't have the right, indeed the duty, to defend their position, for their children’s sake? Should they not be expected to seek to firmly establish the holiness of marriage in the minds of the people, striving to circumscribe and minimize, in every legal and ethical manner possible, the power and influence of those whose persuasion in the schools, in the media, and in the halls of the state, is, and ever will be, exerted to deny it, to the utmost of their ability?

    Institutionalizing perversion, officially calling good evil and evil good, allows it to be taught in public schools, written into public laws, accepted as the community standard, and treated as a publicly sanctified norm, to which no opposition can be brooked.

    Clearly, we must oppose such a move, and resist those who seek to establish it, for whatever reason, or face the consequences, when we are fully ripened in our iniquity, like the cities of the plain.

  19. "It's perverted. It is an abomination, but few are ready to acknowledge it."

    That is a religious belief. Do you really want the government to start passing laws based on the religious beliefs of the Christian far-right?

    Further more the 'homosexuality is a sin' teaching in Mormonism has changed much over time. Just a couple decades ago Elder Packer was teaching that to be attracted to someone of the same sex was a sin and a sign of selfishness. The Church has already made far strides in changing its view of homosexuality.

    Furthermore, your rhetorical use of 'abomination' proves that you actually need to start reading your scriptures before you even try legislating what you perceive to be religious values. Nearly every sin from the major down to the mundane is called an 'abomination' at one time or another in the Bible. For you to pull your abomination card proves your naivete and ignorance in the discussion.

    Finally, the Book of Mormon was written for our day. How often does it mention homosexuality? Never. Quite odd considering homosexuality has existed in every culture and civilization.

  20. I find it remarkably ironic--and sad--that the Mormon Church undertook indulge in lies and deceit to whip a population into voting (by a scant majority; all it took) to take away fundamental rights from another minority group.

    I'm not Mormon. I've lived in Utah (well outside the SLC region) long enough to be pretty well educated about the LDS faith. We had delightful neighbors and wonderful interactions with many Mormons--and some distinctly chill, bigoted moments as well.

    I hope that the LDS Church didn't sow the wind. But it helped create a terribly, terribly dangerous precedent in California. Your (YOUR) fundamental rights are now at risk. All it will take is a mere majority to rescind them.

    Pray that the State Supreme Court decides that isn't constitutional.

    If it is, you may well reap the whirlwind. Just a for example, in the current society, with all the concern about child abuse -- and the pervasive concern in the larger society about Mormon splinter (how splinter? The vast majority has no clue... and won't much care about the nuances of it) sects and their activities, it's easy to imagine a law--a constitutional amendment, if necessary, to protect the kids. Nothing intrusive, just a requirement that any religious group permit discreet non-members to attend any and every religious rite to ensure that no abuse of children (or others...) is going on.

    Intrusion on US First Amendment rights? Sure. Yep. But that's not absolute. The Supreme Court has already established that sacramental intoxicants that are used by small, minority faiths aren't really protected (those of larger, more mainstream faiths are--wine was permissible even during Prohibition). Throw open the doors of the temples in California...?

    Unforeseen consequences are more of a law of nature than not. Be very afraid. What your Church did was to put us all at very serious risk. All it takes is a campaign of hate and fear... and your rights can be taken away. That the LDS Church, given its early history, was a major builder of that bandwagon... is appalling. Stunning. Foolish.

    Yes, your Church's actions have done deep, profound and long-lasting damage to its public standing. The very people most likely not to demonize it, not to array themselves against you--those liberal and liberal leaning folk (remember where Mitt Romney was elected and re-elected, without his faith being a stick to beat him with?)--have proof that you are one of those faiths that wants to legislate its official views, its official morality, its internal codes, and to force them on others. Don't expect much sympathy and support when the wolf's at your door; many will shrug. Don't be surprised when the level of doubt and suspicion about the quality and substance of educations from BYU are heightened among the well-educated. Expect to find your missionaries have a lot fewer tolerant receptions as they knock on doors (you were never going to get them from the evanglicals). It's just blowback.

    Long-term damage for what will be a short term victory. If Prop 8 survives the challenge in the state Supreme Court, it will almost certainly be scrubbed by the voters within the decade. But the memory of what the LDS Church stood for, and did, won't. I've heard that conversation among my sons and their friends--not voting age yet. But they noticed. Sure, we've talked about religious tolerance... but they also understand that tolerance is, in the end, a mutual benefit game. You don't tolerate people who really won't tolerate you.

  21. Evangelicals will never be a true friend of the Mormon Church. Even if they align with you on political issues. Mormonism will always be regarded as an anti-Christ cult. I'm saying this as a former-Evangelical and current atheist.

    When I left the abusive Evangelical church that I was raised in I adopted a live and let live attitude towards any religion that didn't promote violence or bigotry. Up til then my only experience with Mormonism was those LDS commercials and a trip to a visitors center that showed a Christmas movie starring Jimmy Stewart. I didn't see any harm in it personally -- even though I was raised to see LDS as a dangerous and blasphemous false religion.

    I had a friend who -- about 12 years ago -- converted to Mormonism because his fiance was Mormon. He even went on a mission in France -- over the objections of his Baptist family. The wedding never happened though because his fiance's parents wouldn't allow their daughter to marry a black man.

    It never occured to me back then that I should blame the Mormon Church for their racism, but now I'm seeing things differently. From researching the church's recent activities I'm seeing that institutionalized bigotry has always been a major aspect of LDS. And after visiting Mormon web sites to see what LDS members think of Prop 8, I'm finding anti-gay comments every bit as hateful as the stuff you see from Evangelicals. Support for Prop 8 seems to have more to do with putting "those people" in their place than it does with "protecting families." From what I've discovered over these past few weeks, the majority of "Prop H8" supporters are just as bad the Phelpses and Westboro Baptist crowd.

    Prop 8 activism has altered my perception of the Mormon Church. But not for the better. And the next time missionaries show up at my house, they'll get more than a polite "no thank you" from me.

  22. "Don't be surprised when the level of doubt and suspicion about the quality and substance of educations from BYU are heightened among the well-educated."

    Good point given the recent Monica Goodling fiasco and her Christian college background.

  23. Ogre brings up some good points.

    What's perhaps most worrisome to me is that Prop 8 essentially carved out an exception to the equal protection clause under the state constitution. No matter where you stand on gay marriage, I think we should all be uncomfortable with the idea that a 51% vote can compromise equal protection.

  24. First, judicially, the gay activists are the ones the have reaped the wind. Why do we insist on using courts to impose our will upon others? If the winds of change are blowing, why not wait ten years for them to democratically shift on their own? There are no gays sitting on the back of buses, drinking from their own water fountains, being sprayed by hoses, or being segragated in schools. They are for the most part, rich, affluent, and just as influential in liberal government as necons are in conservative government. I challenge you to tell me what actual right is being violated. You can vote, worship, be employed, and assemble however you want. What you wish is acceptance through your proxy of the marriage debate. You cannot force acceptance.

    To those that just want to be left alone with live and let live. I sympathize with your comprehension of the issue but I see it as naive. Your "leaders" want much more. This is a chess game to them and they want forced acceptance. Explain why in Canada saying homosexuality is a sin is "hate speech" and you can be punished? Is that a red herring? What about the educational tyranny taking place in Massachusetts where parents have no right to opt out of "gay is okay" stuff? These are true freedoms being violated, freedom of relgion, freedom of assembly, etc. The homosexual agenda is nothing more than a patsy for cultural socialists and critical theorists who use both well-meaning gays and conservative Christians against each other. It's called secret combinations.

    We can't even argue whether or not you're born with it or not. We've had no intellectual breakthrough on this, no large debate to end debate. The discussion has been settled and there is no need to argue. Hogwash. The twins studies and the hypothalmus studies are ambiguous, and the mainstream media try to whitewash or hide those that have left the homosexual lifestyle. We choose not to believe our prophets and believe Time, Newsweek, NY Times, CNN, and all of the purveyors of innformation we've been warned about as being "wise unto themselves" but not unto the things of God. We've been warned about this since it is the last days, but of course it is all a self-perpetuating prophecy by a Christian taliban using the Church as its patsy. Conspiracies I guess are only good for those wearing crosses.

    The proclaimation on the family warns that the collapse of the family will bring upon us the calamaties foretold in scripture, or have we forgot that. Are we now just the Church of Jesus Christ of the no-such-thing-as-latter-day Saints? We'll just inevitably accept by evolution or by force? People don't understand that regardless of an imminent second coming, the world is not getting more tolerant of social mores. In 50 years, Europe will be under Sharia law and we can no longer look to them as the social future.

    I for one am willing to wait out history a little longer. You can fight against the church because you think we're wrong, or you can realize that there really is a sifting going on and you're on the wrong side. The wonderful thing is that you can submit yourself to the Lord in humility and he will tell you where to stand. Only the gospel will make people happy, and that includes gays. They are not atonement exempt from change. Believe me because I used to partake in those abominations and now I'm married to a wonderful woman!

  25. And there you have it. The previous blogger has said it all: "Believe me because I used to partake in those abominations and now I'm married to a wonderful woman!"

    Of course he needs to hang on to all the absurdities of Mormon theology and anti-gay studies and sentiment. Once he opens up to even the possibility that his religion could be wrong on this, the thread of his faith will unravel and he will find himself in predicament of profound and life shattering consequences. Most of us have already gone through this change and having been born again, can live our lives in the freedom of truth.

    I don't doubt for a minute that he is married to a wonderful woman. I don't doubt that he is faithful for the time being. He may even remain that way. If it brings him the peace he wants, then so be it. There is no need to even answer his hateful diatribe, because it is against his own being.

    I pray for you and your family. I pray that you can someday know of God's love for you in your gayness, with your gayness, fully engaged in your gayness. I also know that you can't even come close to seeing life from this perspective. We all were there. We all beat ourselves up and some of us have killed ourselves over it. The vast majority of us have, as in the words of Spencer W. Kimball, "knocked on the door of forgiveness until our knuckles "were" broken and bleeding." When we finally realized that there was no door and that we were free to "fulfill the measure of our "gay" creation, we went on to live happy, fulfilled lives.

    I have a wonderful partner, who will someday be my husband. I have a wonderful son who has transformed his life since he has been with me. I have a very fulfilling career in education where I spent 17 years in the inner-city serving underserved children and now am principal of one of the top 10 schools in California. I belong to a church that accepts me and God’s love for me.

    I am happy and blessed and I hope the best for those who are condemned to a life of servitude to needless pain and suffering, but know that there is nothing I can say to change your mind. We would be having the same discussions if it were about Mormonism vs. orthodox Christianity, Mormonism vs. wine consumption, Mormonism vs. anything that is against their church, because their belief system can only allow for their view of the world. Any other view erodes the foundation on which they have built their lives.

    My anger is dissipating, but not my resolve to fight for my rights. We will have them. Our time will come. Those who fight against it are on the wrong side of history and they or their descendents will live to be shameful of it.

  26. Before I respond to the rest of his post, I'd like to know why Anonymous 1:50 thinks he has the right to impose his religious beliefs on everyone else.

    Freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right in this country. Which means if religious leaders declare that marriage is between one man and one woman, I'm still free to ignore them. It also means any church that's willing to recognize SSM is free to do so if it chooses.

    The United States is a constitutional democracy, not a theocracy. Minority rights are protected from "the tyranny of the majority." That's why slavery was abolished, segregation was ended and women were given the right to vote. The courts, not the majority, decided all these issues. If these issues had been put to a vote at the time, the majority would have voted for oppression.

  27. One of the anonymi wrote:

    Before I respond to the rest of his post, I'd like to know why Anonymous 1:50 thinks he has the right to impose his religious beliefs on everyone else.

    Me too. This is at the heart of this. That anyone feels comfortable in the USA with any religious community imposing religious beliefs on others is, well, terrifying. History shows us, over and over, that this leads to terrible things.

    Righteousness can't be legislated, nor can sin be legislated out of existence. The notion, in fact, for any Christian, ought to be noxious--if these things are controllable by human institutions and authorities, then individual free will has been mocked and crushed out. That's a violation of the divine image.

    One has to choose what's right--because if it's not chosen, then there's no ownership of that. It's not one's choice, it's not one's action.

    That means that religious communities have to tolerate people who don't agree, and who don't act "as they ought to." Only where they are doing demonstrable, real injury to others is there any excuse for the state to get involved. Then it's not about sin, it's about harm and injury.

    For any faith, the truth is that we have to accept that others don't make what we believe are the right choices... and that we hope that they'll change. We leave the door open.

    Freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right in this country. Which means if religious leaders declare that marriage is between one man and one woman, I'm still free to ignore them. It also means any church that's willing to recognize SSM is free to do so if it chooses.


    Which means that the Mormon Church should really be thinking about what they've done. They've used the state, and the law, to ban churches that DO permit, approve and sanctify same sex marriages from performing them--such churches aren't permitted to perform them. Being "able" to recognize them is an inconsequential triviality; they are not permitted to perform them, they're not legal. From my years working with law enforcement, I took away a common wisdom shared by most of the cops I dealt with. What goes around comes around. Sharpening a stick that someone will poke you with is a fool's act.

  28. You can pontificate all you want, but nothing will stop the growth of the chuch, nothing. It is hear to stay and no one not anything will stiffle it!

  29. The government has every ability to impose restrictions on marriage, not out of religious imposition, but on a desire to promote the ideal form of the most basic unit of society, the citizen-rearinng model of a mother and father. Shamefully, it has often not been fought in this manner, but this is the logical cruz, religion or no, it can be argued that it is the best and most prudent type of family, ergo, it should be set us as the standard. Live with you partner, get benefits, vote, assemble, speak, but to have your relationship be on "par" is nothing - it's an empty suit, using a word to seek acceptance to something that is not the ideal. It's not even biologically normal, so why pretend that it is. You can't even define "homosexuality" so why try to redefine "marriage."

  30. Becky,

    Nobody wants to stop the church, except evangelicals, protestants, Catholics, and just about every other Christian Church that got into bed with the Mormons over this issue. I really don't think most Gay and Lesbian people care wether the church is growing or shrinking, but that they keep their religion out of the laws of the land.

    Nobody is ever going to stop you from having temple weddings or force you to (god forbid) have two returned missionary companions sealed in the temple. I deeply believe that if the church just treated gay marriage like they did with everything else they are against, then we could live in peace as neighbors. I'm sure that if the church put the same effort into stopping the California wine industry or Starbucks, that you would see a concentrated effort by those industries to get the church to change their stance. However, good wine loving people and Mormons can sit at the table and break bread, precisely because Mormons allow for others to live their life as they see fit in this area. On a similar vain...if the church's stand on Blacks in the priesthood had not changed and the church tried to get that view passed in another state, you would also see outrage.

    Having an opinion or belief is one thing, imposing it on another is called the "inquisition" and has not proved to be an effective missionary tool. There is a reason that the church does not grow in Europe and does in Third World nations: Education and social progress.

  31. I do not fault you for not understanding how things work in our church. But let me assure you it is not on a whim! The decision to get involved in this matter I am quite sure was for a much bigger picture than you or I could understand. You either believe in revelation or you don't. It's that simple!

  32. No, the point is that a religious belief is different than a governmental law, which, as a mormon (1.7% of the total population of the US) you should find praiseworthy. Shall evangelicals vote you out of existance because you don't follow the nicene creed? Hmmmm.

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