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Dave: I share your hope. I do not live in CA, but some of the stories I hear from family and friends there lead me to think that some local leaders became a bit overzealous. It is a little hard to believe that SLC did not know about this, but I try to give all Church leaders, local and general, the benefit of the doubt.

How can a Mormon in California draw any other conclusion when his own bishop calls him into an interview and asks him to donate a dollar amount to the campaign? Isn't the conclusion obviously that "supporting" your Priesthood leaders means supporting Prop 8?

It seems like support of Prop 8 for your average California Mormon is just as "voluntary" as accepting a Church calling.

Sure, you can turn it down. But you suck if you do.

It raises, again, more doubts about the whole affair.

My main problem with this continues to be: Why California?

Why NOT Massachusetts, or Connecticut. Or Denmark. Or Holland. Or Spain.

Should we not make the same stand everywhere?

Why California?

Why NOT Massachusetts, or Connecticut. Or Denmark. Or Holland. Or Spain.

I'm not going to start a threadjack with this, but somebody needs to give Dan an answer.

It's California because (a) the constitutions of the other jurisdictions you mention cannot be amended by a simple majority vote in a citizen initiative, and (b) the percentage of Mormon voters in those jurisdictions is much lower.

"I don't believe senior leaders anticipated the Prop 8 push was going to create such internal discord in LDS congregations."

Why not? Are you saying that the church would worry more about making a small subset of it's members upset then it would worry about a societal change with such drastic implications?

Dave: You should see what is going on at BYU. There was a long viewpoint printed in today's newspaper entitled: "Support Prop 8: Anything Else is Apostacy"

Ben, I couldn't find anything like that at BYU NewsNet. Are you sure someone's not just pulling your leg? Got a link?

As a ward coordinator for Prop 8 in suburban southern California I would just say that the messaging has been very confusing as to how we are to treat Prop 8 during church meetings. I think that Elder Clayton's quote to the SL Tribune is great, but unless it is read over the pulpit how are the members out in California to know that their temple recommends don't depend on their enthusiasm for Prop 8? All we have had officially read is the FP letter all but commanding everybody to participate. That combined with confusing rules (like we can talk about Prop 8 during priesthood and relief society but nothing can be said in sacrament meeting, materials must be handed out off of church property, etc.) results in considerable variation and interpretation in the hands of local leaders.

Honestly, I think the Brethren figured that every single church member would immediately be 100% in lockstep with any pronouncement or action plan. That they are not must be causing some cognitive dissonance in Salt Lake.

I really think that the leadership thought that the membership would share the same views. That they don't should cause some soul-searching amongst the leadership.

Dave, the piece in the Daily Universe can be found here:

http://newnewsnet.byu.edu/pdf/du20081024.pdf

It's a "viewpoint," rather than an editorial.

I think this split is great. I wish for more of it. In the end, I know who will win (within the LDS Church) and its not those who don't support Prop 8. This, more than anything else since E.R.A. has seperated the wheat from the chaff. There is good and evil in this world and it is high time a few members decided whose side they are on.

Thanks for the link, ed. It's basically just a letter to the editor. That's not half as bad as an editorial, which would have represented the considered opinion of the senior staff of the paper. And it's not clear whether "anything else was apostasy" was part of the original letter or was a headline added by the editors.

Interesting post. This issue has been particularly painful for me, and not only do I disagree with the church's actions, I am embarrassed by them. I haven't done anything drastic, nor have I done anything public - but my temple recommend is up for renewal and I know that in an interview there is no way I will be able to truthfully say that I support the church leadership.

And I don't even live in California

Jettboy: This, more than anything else since E.R.A. has seperated the wheat from the chaff. There is good and evil in this world and it is high time a few members decided whose side they are on.

Which team are you on Jettboy? (I want to be sure I know so I can sprint to the other team)

Wow, Jettboy, here I thought the pronouncement on not having multiple piercings was supposed to finally separate the wheat from the chaff. Good thing we have you to point out what really matters.

Here in southeastern PA neither gay marriage nor Prop 8 has come up at all in any of the regular LDS meetings. But, since June I have dreaded the prospect of another letter from SLC encouraging Saints from other states to contribute to the CA effort. With only two Sundays to go before the election, I doubt there will be such an exhortation for non-CA Saints, thankfully. Continental geography has provided me a convenient excuse for the absence of any donations from my home.

With publicly available donor lists this imbroglio probably won't end on November 4. I fear that people with sentiments like Jettboy will cross reference the donor lists with church membership directories to see who was valiant, who wasn't and who actually committed apostasy by donating to the anti/pro Prop 8 measure. (I forget which is pro gay marriage and which isn't.) Once the wheat and the tares have been identified by name and amount, the fun will begin for folks like Jettboy. The fallout from all of this may, unfortunately, continue for some time.

Wow Jettboy- adding some fuel to the fire, nice name you got there. As a young adult in CA who has always supported SSM, I have been feeling sick for months about this. I am a stake leader and am trying to not be dissident at all, but it is hard.
It's extremely difficult to handle all the talk about yes, the wheat and the chaff, the good and the evil, this is like the war in Heaven, etc.etc. It really does seem like most people think those who oppose Prop 8 are truly evil and fighting for Satan. I am having some extreme cognitive dissonance as well.
We are asked to volunteer at least 8 hours a week to the cause. Some members of the ward make me want to throw up now when I see them because they are so militant about this. If you don't live in CA, count your many blessings! This is the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in the Church (keep in mind I am a young adult). I CAN'T WAIT TIL NOV. 5th!

Anon, it is clear from Elder Whitney's statement that agreeing or disagreeing on Prop 8 does not have anything to do with qualifying for a temple recommend. Unless a local leader specifically raises Prop 8 in the course of a TR interview (and I am sure they will not), don't think in that direction.

I've never seen God or Jesus Christ revel in division. I've never seen them proclaim that division is great.

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Dave.

Concerning the article in the BYU Daily Universe today. While you are correct that this "viewpoint" is different from an official "editorial," it is clear that this is not just another letter to the editor, as you assert. For one thing, it is 3 times as the allowed limit of letters to the editor (it is nearly 700 words whereas normal letters to the editor are limited to 250). Also, it indicates not just the author's name and hometown (as letters to the editor typically do), but also his major. Finally, it is complemented by the other "viewpoint" that also deals with prop 8 (and articulates a rather ignorant and short-sighted narrative of LDS Church History). All of this indicates that these authors were very probably invited to author these letters, or perhaps that they approached the DU editorial board with the idea, and they agreed.

Regarding your comment that "And it's not clear whether 'anything else was apostasy' was part of the original letter or was a headline added by the editors."

Actually, its pretty clear that that is the author's viewpoint. A couple of relevant quotes from the "viewpoint":

These classmates have been saying the church is overstepping its bounds in telling us what we should do on political issues. I say such statements are apostasy.

And while we know that the true church will never be taken again from the Earth, personal apostasy begins with little things such as taking exception to the teachings of the church when they go against our beliefs.

God hasn’t sent us here to maintain the
status quo so as to not rock the boat. If the boat is heading toward apostasy and sin we have a duty to stand up and rock away. The inhabitants of the great and spacious building may mock and scorn and even persecute, but that’s the price of discipleship.

Lastly (sorry for the long comment), an official editorial from a few months ago on the same issue suggested that a Latter-day Saint could not oppose Prop 8 and be an "active Mormon," it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that the DU's editorial board actually shares the opinion of the author of today's letter on apostasy.

Thanks for giving the link to the viewpoint, ed (I made the comment then went to class, so i didn't see Dave's response--though I wish someone was really pulling my leg). And thanks to Christopher for basically explaining my sentiments on it.

And thanks to jettboy for continuing his long tradition of exemplifying how some people will always glory in zeal without knowledge.

Dan,

"I've never seen God or Jesus Christ revel in division. I've never seen them proclaim that division is great."

Division is not great, but it is entirely expected:

Matthew 10:34-36:

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

That said, we shouldn't enjoy it. But we shouldn't let it stop us from doing the right thing either.

My Southern California singles ward has overwhelmingly responded to leadership's call to support Prop 8. Daily emails go out with links to youtube videos and articles over our ward email list. Testimony meetings have featured quite a few narratives recounting how individuals have come to support Prop 8. Groups are meeting on a weekly basis to make phone calls and canvas neighborhoods. The talks for the 4 sacrament meetings in the month of September had a singular theme: "Follow the Prophet." Undoubtedly, some of that was in preperation for General Conference, but most of the talks made some mention of Prop 8. I thought a friends facebook status on Sunday summed up my ward pretty well.

"____ is at prop 8 headquarters for the afternoon. Or as I used to call it... Church"

I wonder whether the response has exceeded what the brethren expected?

"prop 8 headquarters..."

It does have a nice ring to it:

The Church of Yes on Prop Eight of Latter-day Saints.

Oh, yes.

Jettboy, since Elder Whitney obviously disagrees with you, you'll forgive me if I take his opinion more seriously than yours.

I am sad to read much of this.
What makes me the most sad is those who feel unloved by the churches position or the way in which it is being implemented.
I have a friend in California that I recently reconnected with. I loved her very much before and after she revealed to me that she is in a relationship with a woman. The strongest feelings I have/had at this realization was that I hope she loves and is loved.
For a long time the homosexual issue has bother me. Were I not a LDS (and also not a Catholic), I would believe that the Bible teaches against homosexuality as an artifact of ancient Jewish and Christian culture. I could boldly claim there is no sin in love regardless of who one finds they love.
In addition to this, I am quite certain that I never decided I would not be a homosexual. It doesn’t really bother me, but it was never something to which I was attracted. As a result of this truth and the bold claims from homosexuals that they did not choose to have the feelings they do, I believe them. To hold that this is not the best path is to ask folks who did not choose to have these feelings (of love no less) to not act upon them.
Still, I think there are powerful theological and societal reasons for a LDS to support Prop 8. I do not know how much passion I could muster, but despite all of the above, I think I would vote in favor of preserving “traditional” marriage.
I wish I could, and I wish Jettboy could, and … walk in the shoes of a person with same sex attractions for a week or so. I would do this so that I might know what it was like, but I am thankful I do not need to spend a lifetime in these shoes. As in so many areas of my life it is by the grace of God that I walk around so many pitfalls that would surely swallow me whole.
For my part, I would ask that everyone (especially everyone who I share the label LDS with) would “show forth an increase of love toward him or her.” Be the him or her one who struggles with the churches position, one who spitefully attacks those who espouse the churches position, and especially one who has same sex attractions and feels attacked.
I do not know for absolute certainty that “love unfeigned” would support Prop 8, but I am quite sure there would be less hurt and sorrow if those on both sides loved more deeply.
Charity, TOm

I think the thing that stands out the most in this whole discussion is the complete lack of compassion on both sides. I do think the FP is somewhat out of touch with many members. I have seen this for years but it doesn't really matter when it comes right down to it most of the time.

The church's position is that Homosexuality is immoral and the church does not want to support immorality. All of the other stuff that has come out in the discussions about families leads to really strong feelings that just inflames people and sounds like all of the other negative adds running in this political season. I will be really glad when this is over regardless of the results I don't think it could be as bad as the discussion. Outside of bloggers, gay rights activists, and people in Utah and California I don't think anyone else cares about this. I see little or nothing on national talk shows and weekly political roundups.

I would think after over 150 years, the "wheat" and "chaff" would have been separated already. The fact that they aren't (based on Jettboy's assertion) may signify that this division is just a means to bully members who don't agree with your particular point of view.

It isn't one church, it's 11 million churches, with each church (member) with their own doctrine...

Christopher,
I never worked at the Daily Universe, but looking back, longer "Viewpoints" written by random BYU students that state that student's major, etc., are pretty common in the Daily Universe. The DU is mostly staffed by communications majors (in fact, it may be exclusively comms majors).

So the writer of the Viewpoint is an idiot; that seems to be par for course.

Geoff, tell me which team you take--that's the one I want to be on.

Phouchg,

"I would think after over 150 years, the "wheat" and "chaff" would have been separated already."

Unless the average member is over 150 years old then I would suspect that the wheat and chaff separation would need to be an ongoing process.

Nate, my experience matches yours and your facebook friend. I'm also in southern California.

it is clear from Elder Whitney's statement that agreeing or disagreeing on Prop 8 does not have anything to do with qualifying for a temple recommend.

I don't think it's completely clear. He says there would be no "sanction," which could be interpreted as "no church discipline." I suspect you have the right interpretation, but I wish he had made it more clear. Have there been any other statements about this?

Unless a local leader specifically raises Prop 8 in the course of a TR interview (and I am sure they will not)

I wonder how you can be sure? I would be surprised if there were not some local leaders who would make an issue of prop 8 support. And I don't even think it is that much of a stretch...following leaders' counsel on this could be construed as an important aspect of "sustaining" them, which is a requirement for a TR.

Actually, some church meetings were taken over by Prop 22. We even had a phone banking lesson during RS one day. One day, right before the election, we were all dismissed right after Sacrament Meeting to go walk precincts for Prop 22. However, this time the pressure's been much more overt, and came on much quicker.

Also, after Prop 22, it seemed pretty clear that the leadership positions in our stake went to people who had been prominent supporters of Prop 22.

Obviously, there are

Obviously, there are some students at BYU who are not afraid to speak their mind. Good to know. Thanks for the link.

b

I love how everyone thinks this is separating the wheat and chaff. After reading all of the comments about apostasy and pointing a finger at those against Prop 8 I can't help but think of the Pharisees when they brought the prostitute to Christ and how he handled it. Makes you wonder if this is about homosexuality or about weeding out the Pharisees. Remember they were quite loudly pointing out everyone else’s shortcomings with no thought to their own. Supporting this amendment is one thing (I do) but violating the first presidencies plea for respectful discussion seems to have fallen on many many deaf ears.


Dave,

Thanks for the very nice sentiment in the original post.

"Perhaps they did not expect some local leaders in California to make participation in Prop 8 activities the equivalent of a test of one's faith or loyalty to the Church (and it's not even clear that many local leaders have done this)."

Well, here's a data point from a real, live local leader in California:

"At the risk of being criticized for saying so, I do not understand how one can sign one's Temple Recommend, wherein we affirm that we support and sustain our Priesthood leaders from the President of the Church on down, if we do not make any financial donation to the protect marriage coalition, even if only a token $5.00 contribution so one can at least be counted on the Lord's side of this issue."

Peter,

does a token contribution reflect token faith? Just kidding but donations of both financial and time should be allocated as wisely as we can. I see the effort and money spent here as somewhat fruitless. Even if it passes homosexuality will not go away and SSM will still exist just not in in CA. With all that is going on and the fact that I do not live in California I can see 3-4 dozen local things that the FP has also asked us to support that would come before this issue gets any of my money.

I also think that much of the support for SSM from within the church is coming from those that family and very close friends that would be directly impacted. When the pain gets personal people are more likely to question the counsel.

I have been told that at least one person has lost a TR for writing an anti-Prop 8 letter to a newspaper. I think some local leaders are taking dissent more seriously than others.

"Here in southeastern PA neither gay marriage nor Prop 8 has come up at all in any of the regular LDS meetings. But, since June I have dreaded the prospect of another letter from SLC encouraging Saints from other states to contribute to the CA effort. With only two Sundays to go before the election, I doubt there will be such an exhortation for non-CA Saints, thankfully. Continental geography has provided me a convenient excuse for the absence of any donations from my home."

We live in the Las Vegas area, and a few weeks ago I was asked to chair my ward's volunteer phone bank to California. Ward members would be asked to donate four hours a week to make phone calls to non-LDS-intensive areas in California, in support of Proposition 8. We started to get organized, and then our regional representative sent a letter thanking us for our willingness to help out, and then said that the Church was no longer going to use southern Nevadan members to make phone calls to California. No reason given.

Bob W,

I was quoting from an email. I'm not a local leader.

Peter,

Either way your comment was fine. I am sure if I lived in CA I would be more inclined to get involved and give.

I am still surprised at the level of activity the church has put into this for Utah and CA compared to the neighboring states or nationwide. It looks like a goal line stand in CA compared to prevent defense elsewhere.

Like Jettboy, I believe in agreeing with my church leaders, unless they say that it is okay to disagree with them.

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