An anti-Prop 8 organization has released a new commercial drawing Mormon missionaries into the fight over Proposition 8. To say the ad is inflammatory is putting it lightly. The commercial depicts two Mormon missionaries entering the home of a lesbian couple after declaring that they have come to “take away [the couple’s] rights.” The missionaries proceed to ransack the couple’s home in search of their marriage license, which they then destroy upon discovering. The ad closes with the missionaries saying â€œthat was too easy… what should we ban next?â€
The Church is none-too-pleased with the ad and even issued a public response: â€œThe Church has joined a broad-based coalition in defense of traditional marriage. While we feel this is important to all of society, we have always emphasized that respect be given to those who feel differently on this issue. It is unfortunate that some who oppose this proposition have not given the Church this same courtesy.â€
This egregious example of missionaries caught in the cross-fire has made me wonder what missionaries serving in California have had to deal with since the Church stepped up its public involvement in the Prop 8 effort. Has it significantly affected their missionary work? What is tracting like in California these days? How have missionaries been instructed to respond when Proposition 8 comes up? Have they been encountering some pretty serious resistance? More importantly, what sort of consequences do people expect the Church’s involvement will have on missionary work in California in the near and long term? Or does this largely depend on how Prop 8 fares at the polls tomorrow?