Collateral Damage: Missionaries and Prop 8

November 3, 2008 | 77 comments
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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 “that was too easy… what should we ban next?”

The Church is none-too-pleased with the ad and even issued a public response: “The 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.”

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?

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77 Responses to Collateral Damage: Missionaries and Prop 8

  1. Roland on November 4, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I don’t know about the missionaries – but as a member I have been engaged in a lot more frequent and positive conversations about the church and its principles in the workplace.

    And as far as Anti-Prop 8 ads go – we in California are starting to wonder if the Anti-Prop 8 donation funds are being syphoned off elsewhere. Even though both sides raised about $30M and had the same quantity of radio ads – there sure are a lot more Yes on 8 Yard Signs and Newspaper Full page ads – where the others had little.

    Rumor has it that their groups had to pay a “fee” to various political organizations to get their assistance.

  2. Blake on November 4, 2008 at 12:04 am

    The Anti- foes are a bunch of bigots and this advertisement is new low. Does anyone really believe missionaries would ever do such a thing? Preposterous. This is American politics at its worst and those who produced must be denounced as the bigots and scare-tactic, fear-mongering hacks that they are.

  3. Marc Bohn on November 4, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Please keep the comments civil (to reiterate the Church’s public statement: “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.”)

  4. Dan on November 4, 2008 at 12:10 am

    I wish both sides would stop with the name calling. Both sides are bigots. Just stop it.

    As far as the missionary thing is concerned, I had a feeling it would become a target. I sure hope it was worth it, because frankly, I would prefer that our missionaries be able to save souls than the word marriage be defined as just between a man and a woman.

  5. Guy Murray on November 4, 2008 at 12:12 am

    The sad fact out here in CA is that the No on 8 has been very effective in portraying the Church as actually funding the Yes on 8, rather than the truth that individual members are actually the contributors. And, they have also been very effective in wrapping this whole debate in the cloak of Equal Protection and Fundamental Rights. Now with this garbage, hopefully people will see through it.

  6. cchrissyy on November 4, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Roland,
    “we in California are starting to wonder if the Anti-Prop 8 donation funds are being syphoned off elsewhere. …. there sure are a lot more Yes on 8 Yard Signs and Newspaper Full page ads”

    that sure doesn’t speak for my part of CA. I only know of one yes on 8 sign in the whole city. I would say I’m starting to wonder if the yes campaign is syphoning off the money for signs or something, except I’ve seen the public records and there really were only a couple folks here who gave to the yes side.

  7. queuno on November 4, 2008 at 12:20 am

    What is this Proposition 8 you speak of?

  8. queuno on November 4, 2008 at 12:21 am

    ;)

  9. Jon W on November 4, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Dan,

    No matter your opinion on the matter that ad was a low blow. Imagine the vitriol if the Church had put out an ad where two people, who are stereotypically gay, are seen as … I could write several things but I am not interest in lowering myself. In other words, this is not about the church, it is about people deliberately treating a faith in a manner that is basically hate filled and would be prosecuted for it in Canada (or at least been brought up on charges). Sometimes politics overcomes common sense, this is one of those times.

    Regardless of where you sit this should be rejected by both sides. Not trumpeted as, “see this is what you get!!” kind of stuff. It also makes me wonder as I said on Guy’s blog if this means the No vote is losing. Because that seems to be an act of pure desperation.

    And how comfortable can Steve and Barbara Young be with things like this?

  10. Phouchg on November 4, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Roland, I work at a group of TV stations in California. While the Yes side had spent more on ads early going, there was a late surge in spending by the No side – the end result is that No outspent Yes by about 15% at least on our stations. There are many Yes signs in the town I live in, but I think I may have confused some because of my McCain sign right next to my No sign.

  11. Jim Cobabe on November 4, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Pretty funny — the commercial, I mean. Does any really take it seriously?

  12. Clayton on November 4, 2008 at 12:30 am

    That commercial is ridiculous. However, the church’s measured response is truly a “soft answer” to this distortion.

    Marc, I too am curious to the answers to your questions about missionary work. However, those who are the Lord’s sheep will be able to recognize this commercial for what it is, and hear His voice when the Spirit touches them.

  13. queuno on November 4, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Based on Barbara Young’s comments … it sounds like she’s fine with whatever tactics they use, and that Steve hasn’t heard yet about Prop 8.

    queuno, wondering if this is the moment that Steve Young personality cultism in the Church finally dies a fiery death… Will it be too late for BYU to take him out of their Football Hall of Fame?

  14. Matt on November 4, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Ridiculous is all I can say, but I have reason to rejoice now: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/5/10-12,44#10

  15. queuno on November 4, 2008 at 12:34 am

    I may have confused some because of my McCain sign right next to my No sign.

    Hah! We had a testimony yesterday (in NTexas) with a very thinly veiled pro-Obama and pro-8 message. Very thinly veiled.

  16. Dan on November 4, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Jon,

    #9,

    I actually agree that the ad was a low blow. Personally I am still undecided on this issue, and were I living in California, I would probably not vote either way on the ballot on Prop 8. I think there are more important issues to spend our time and money on. But that’s just me. So I say again, I hope our effort was worth the cost.

  17. Left Field on November 4, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Idiots on both sides of this have left me alternately hoping for one side or the other to lose big. Is it possible for both sides to lose?

  18. Steven B on November 4, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Look on the bright side. Perhaps this campaign will finally communicate the message that Mormons believe in “traditional” marriage.

  19. Steven B on November 4, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Is it possible for both sides to lose?

    Yup. Civil unions for all.

  20. Tom Rod on November 4, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Queuno, where in NTexas? We had a similar thing in our f&t meeting in Dallas 6th.

  21. MikeInWeHo on November 4, 2008 at 12:52 am

    The ad in the above link is basically a YouTube video and is NOT being broadcast. I think it may play just once on TV somewhere tomorrow, and I’m not even sure about that. It’s the product of a marginal No On 8 group. So even though it’s provocative, don’t make too much of it. I’d venture that it represents how a lot of people here feel, though. The idea that religious groups would seek to nullify anyone’s marriage….please try for a second to imagine just how horrifying and invasive that feels to the families affected. It’s just awful.

    The state is very polarized and depending on where you live you would see a very different ratio of Yes and No signs/advertising. At least on the TV channels I watch, the No On 8 ads outnumber Yes at least two to one. I have yet to see a single Yes On 8 yard sign or bumper sticker since the campaign began. Not one! I would imagine people living in other areas have the opposite impression. Clearly this one could go either way.

    Well, we’re on final countdown now. Just think, in a scant 24 hours we can being the endless post-election bloggernacle posts!! (I can hardly wait — NOT)

  22. Ray on November 4, 2008 at 12:55 am

    There is no adequate response to this stupidity. Unfortunately, the same can be said of too much of what some on the other side have said, as well.

  23. makakona on November 4, 2008 at 12:55 am

    that’s sad. we don’t watch tv, so we miss a lot of that hubbub, for which i am grateful.

    our missionaries have been reminded to make sure they vote, but expressed to us that they were uncomfortable with that, as they were also counseled not to do any studying up on the issues. one of our missionaries is a pro-8’er, but says he wishes people at church would be more honest about what the ramifications actually are. the other missionary declines to state, but is voting for obama and has painted himself as being no-on-8.

  24. MikeInWeHo on November 4, 2008 at 12:55 am

    re: 17

    I think both sides have already lost. That’s what my heart tells me.

  25. Michelle Glauser on November 4, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Wow, that commercial is plain meeeeean. I’m not sure why the whole Church would deserve that when I’m sure not everyone is that rude about it. I guess it’s a lot less than what early Mormons went through, though.

  26. Hellmut on November 4, 2008 at 1:11 am

    If you sew the wind, you shall reap the storm.
    The whole campaign is just sad. I was hoping that we were beyond that stuff after 1978.

  27. Steven B on November 4, 2008 at 1:11 am

    According to an article on Crooks and Liars, the ad will air “on CNN, MSNBC and Comedy Central in selected markets on Election Day.” More about the making of the video is here.

  28. makakona on November 4, 2008 at 1:18 am

    mike’s right in #21 and it just depends on where you live. we used to live in la, where our former ward members say they’re afraid to display yes signs for fear of retribution. where we currently live, it’s the opposite. while playing with our kids in the front yard, a car full of people drove by and screamed “faggot lovers” and all we have up is a “no on 8″ bumper sticker (couldn’t get yard signs anywhere). our car was egged a few days later, which is something that doesn’t happen in our neighborhood (thanks to the white supremist gang who lives across the street), and i don’t think it was a coincidence. even better? some ward members are “boycotting” (their word) my baby shower because of how they heard i might be voting (again, their words).

  29. Wendy V on November 4, 2008 at 1:20 am

    I think it’s intended to be metaphorical, I.e., a visible religious group is making overt and agressive efforts to strip gays and lesbians of their rights to marry.

  30. Treidi on November 4, 2008 at 1:27 am

    I disagree with the notion that the missionaries are \”caught in the cross fire\” or \”are suffering collateral damage.\” It implies that this situation is wreckless, out of control, and unexpected. This gay marriage issue is obviously complicated and impassioned, with both sides utilizing emotional based propaganda to incite responses. For it to be any other way would be contrary to every other hot political issue in history.

    I would assume that missionaries are using it as an opportunity to teach doctrines of the gospel. We\’ve waded through secret horns, polygamy kidnapping, and thousands of other inflamatory representations… bigot gay haters who impose their wills on society is now added to the list.

    I do wonder when as \”jon\” mentioned earlier, the same freedom of rights will be extended to us. In the current political climate it seems far too acceptable to mis-represent, stereotype, and degrade our beliefs.

  31. Roland on November 4, 2008 at 2:02 am

    If anyone sees this add actually play on the air please document which station and which time so that we can send in letters of condemnation to the station operator.

  32. norm on November 4, 2008 at 2:03 am

    is my part of california the only part where the missionaries ARE actively participating in the Prop 8 battle? they might not be waiving signs at intersections, but they are assisting members with everything else, including phone calls, firesides, meetings on prop 8, etc.

    at a non-church social event, the missionaries we telling non-members to vote Yes on 8. I’ve been told that for each of my stake and the two neighboring stakes Prop 8 is “the stake’s number one priority” (this was two months ago). I incredulously asked the two missionaries and member who told me this, “which prong of the three-part mission of the church does Prop 8 fall under?” I unison, they told me “all of them.” It was spooky, and I basically decided not to attend church until this is all over.

    i’d say that if the church involves its leaders and missionaries in the effort, they are certainly fair game for an ad from the other side.

  33. Marc Bohn on November 4, 2008 at 2:06 am

    If the missionaries are participating in the effort, which I hadn’t heard, I wonder whether they are given the same opportunity to opt out of participation as members in general.

  34. Paul F on November 4, 2008 at 2:09 am

    The video is not literal, but the essence is true. The leadership of the Mormon Church is trying to take away the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. The members of the church in many states other than California have been officially asked by their church leaders to support this initiative with their time and their money. I applaud members, such as Steve Young\’s wife, who are courageously siding with the rights of their neighbors against the church’s attempt to crush their neighbors\’ rights.

  35. Natasha on November 4, 2008 at 2:31 am

    I hate to say it, but when you play in the mud, you get dirty. The Church chose to push push push this political issue, and so of course they are going to get arrows shot at them.

    And, in a side note, I have been pressured immensely and persistently at church to get involved in this issue. Speakers have crossed lines, lots of inappropriate pressure. And last week our “Stake” Conference was a video from President Packer telling us how to vote. Thus, stating that the money is from individual members and not officially from the church is essentially meaningless. It’s Mormon money.

  36. norm on November 4, 2008 at 2:41 am

    “And, in a side note, I have been pressured immensely and persistently at church to get involved in this issue. Speakers have crossed lines, lots of inappropriate pressure. And last week our “Stake” Conference was a video from President Packer telling us how to vote. Thus, stating that the money is from individual members and not officially from the church is essentially meaningless. It’s Mormon money.”

    This has been my experience as well. Despite a few heart-to-hearts with my bishop, I have been called incessantly to help out by him, by the elders quorum, the relief society president, etc. Every meeting for the last two months has been replete with exhortation, allusions, accusations, etc. about Prop 8. If you disagree, you must stay silent. I have never been more upset and anguished, and, above all, faithless in my leaders. I get a few mass emails a week from my bishop and a former a stake president in the area, full of all manner of nonsense, ignorance and mistruth. I’ll be intensely grateful when this is over. I don’t mind being led by children, or even people I disagree with politically — but realizing you’re led by hateful, ignorant bigots (and I’m NOT equating Yes on 8! with bigotry — rather I have in mind specific comments from the SP and Bishop) — it ain’t easy to find a place or way to fall in line.

    I too am grateful that a few high profile Mormons have stood up to this awful exercise. I wish I had been courageous enough to put a No on 8 sign in front of my house.

  37. makakona on November 4, 2008 at 2:52 am

    where can we opt out? because that hasn’t been an option here. lines have been crossed beyond belief here and it’s very disturbing. as for the missionaries here, they have not been allowed to participate and were turned away from the broadcast.

  38. Treidi on November 4, 2008 at 3:08 am

    I wish that commenters would stick to the content of the original posting rather than perpetuate the emotional rhetoric on thousands of blogs thoughout the internet. For every “over bearing church leader” there is also an inspiring and thoughtful one. Why polarize and over simplify these issues?

    Regarding the continual referencing of church hierarchy brainwashing and LDS members being told how to vote, I reference the talk by Dallin H. Oaks below. Consider it carefully and then evaluate your own abilities to access these spiritual channels.

    “In closing, I refer to the relationship between obedience and knowledge. Members who have a testimony and who act upon it under the direction of their Church leaders are sometimes accused of blind obedience.

    Of course, we have leaders, and of course, we are subject to their decisions and directions in the operation of the Church and in the performance of needed priesthood ordinances. But when it comes to learning and knowing the truth of the gospel—our personal testimonies—we each have a direct relationship with God, our Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, through the powerful witness of the Holy Ghost. This is what our critics fail to understand. It puzzles them that we can be united in following our leaders and yet independent in knowing for ourselves.

    Perhaps the puzzle some feel can be explained by the reality that each of us has two different channels to God. We have a channel of governance through our prophet and other leaders. This channel, which has to do with doctrine, ordinances, and commandments, results in obedience. We also have a channel of personal testimony, which is direct to God. This has to do with His existence, our relationship to Him, and the truth of His restored gospel. This channel results in knowledge. These two channels are mutually reinforcing: knowledge encourages obedience (see Deuteronomy 5:27; Moses 5:11), and obedience enhances knowledge (see John 7:17; D&C 93:1).” Dallin H Oaks “Testimony” Spring General Conference 2008

  39. MoHoHawaii on November 4, 2008 at 3:13 am

    I’m distressed by the level of divisiveness that the Prop. 8 has caused. I think in the long run the Church’s involvement in this issue will be a PR nightmare.

  40. MikeInWeHo on November 4, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Is anyone here besides me frightened by how polarized our society has become?

  41. Kelly Ann on November 4, 2008 at 3:19 am

    Personally, the impact I feel is the following …

    I want to invite a good friend to church and eventually meet the missionaries. But I won’t … I’m waiting till the New Year.

    How can I bring someone into the church when I am struggling with all the lines that Prop 8 has crossed? How can I explain the purpose of testimony meeting when four people basically campaigned over the pulpit? How can I justify the churches gray-line actions? For me it is not so much about prop 8 as it is about the separation of church and state.

    When I introduce this friend to formal church service and society (vs. the religious conversations we have had), I want the focus to be the gospel. There is enough other culture that can be distracting – with this heightened sometimes hate-filled environment, I can not do that.

    It saddens me … and the thing is I don’t know when it will go away.

    So I know my missionaries have lost at least one referral and I am sure they are receiving less across the board.

    It has got to be hard for them (no matter what their position or experience) to see people like me are shifting their confidence and having their faith challenged.

    And they are people to, so not only does it make their work harder, but they have to process what it means for themselves as well.

  42. Marc Bohn on November 4, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Interesting food for thought Kelly Ann. Thanks.

  43. norm on November 4, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Treidl,

    “wish that commenters would stick to the content of the original posting rather than . . . ”

    follow your own advice please.

  44. norm on November 4, 2008 at 3:44 am

    returning to missionaries, collateral damage, PR, prop 8, etc. —

    would that were an opt-out in my stake. it appears that missionaries have jumped in with both feet — inviting people to prop 8 events and talking up our involvement. this approach probably immediately turns off, oh, 49% of likely voters and revs up 44% of likely voters — minus the already converted.

    different missions and stakes probably have given different directions for utilizing the missionaries in the effort. as i mentioned, in my stake, missionaries have been involved in the events. i imagine that this takes away from proselyting time — but maybe they just account for it as “community service”?

    however, generally, the top-down drive has been for members to be involved. i know it’s a dead horse (give it to the poor! the third world! hunger!!!) but I wonder what effect on missionary work a million phone calls in a week, $20 million dollars, door-to-door canvassing by members, etc.?

  45. Jessica on November 4, 2008 at 5:16 am

    Kelly Ann,

    I’m right there with you. My mom’s finally opened up to the missionary discussions and started going to church, but two out of the three talks at her first Sacrament meeting were focused on prop 8! I’ve always felt the Spirit get sucked out of the room by this political issue, and I definitely noticed her negative reaction to the talks. Now, we’re trying to get her just to go to Gospel Essentials til this whole thing blows over. I wish I knew when that will be!

  46. jimbob on November 4, 2008 at 6:59 am

    “The idea that religious groups would seek to nullify anyone’s marriage….please try for a second to imagine just how horrifying and invasive that feels to the families affected.”

    I appreciate the difficulty, Mike, but in fairness, homosexuals have had the right to marry in CA for about all of about 15 minutes. As a result, it seems to me that only a homosexual couple with a particularly short memory would be “horrified” by the status quo ante.

  47. Alice Lowe on November 4, 2008 at 7:13 am

    This proposition 8 issue has been very troubling for me. I have always been proud of my family & church.

    Now I am deeply troubled personally. I feel that what the leaders of our church are doing is wrong. D&C 134:9 seems perfectly clear to me:
    \”WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT JUST TO AMINGLE RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE WITH CIVIL GOVERNMENT . . . \”.

    Why is it now right to force our religious beliefs on those of other faiths?

  48. Wendy V on November 4, 2008 at 7:53 am

    and in those fiften minutes, tens of thousands of gay and lesbian couples have married.

    Of all people, we Mormons should appreciate the power of symbism and the sacrdness of loving relationships. This video is an excellent wake-up call.

  49. Adam Greenwood on November 4, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Note to readers: T&S does not purpose to serve as a forum for people who resent the Church. Look at Marc Bohn’s post and you’ll see that its unobjectionable. I suppose some people are so hungry to attack the Church in public that any forum will do.

    Let me also credit MikeinWeHo as someone who would naturally have strong feelings on the subject but who has worked extra hard to be evenhanded and have broad sympathies.

  50. Mark Brown on November 4, 2008 at 8:28 am

    I get a weekly email from a young man serving a mission in California. He hasn’t mentioned prop. 8, and he and his companion seem to have lots of investigators and contacts, because every week is busy with teaching. It is impossible to tell from his experiences that the prop 8 campaign is taking place.

    I also want to single out MikeinWeHo as an shining example of civility. Thanks, Mike.

  51. Utahn in CT on November 4, 2008 at 10:03 am

    The LDS missionary effort in Eastern Europe before the fall of Communist-party led regimes is an example of co-existing with political and social conditions that ran against LDS doctrine and culture. What would Ezra Taft Benson have thought of this, I wonder? My suspicion is that if historians ever get to tell the story of decision-making in the Q12, it will turn out that there were differences of opinion on which way to go in championing the Church’s SSM stance in US society at large.

  52. don on November 4, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I know the church has a right to speak out on political issues. I just wish we could look back on the last half-century and see a record of the church fighting FOR peoples’ rights instead of always trying to limit them. It would make a Prop 8 fight less onerous for all concerned.

  53. MikeInWeHo on November 4, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Gosh, thanks for the comments guys. Right back at you. I deeply appreciate being given the opportunity to present my perspective in the the Bloggernacle.

  54. Brian Woodward on November 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Apologies for my lack of HTML skill:

    “Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years
    ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will
    follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer
    between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he
    had ‘never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church
    even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.’

    This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which
    is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of
    the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus
    Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions
    are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain
    opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

    Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution
    of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened…. Before the
    ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost.
    Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear,
    letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also
    be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step
    forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do.

    We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of
    the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of
    itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, ‘summer
    is nigh.’ Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of
    the heat.”

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978

  55. Roland on November 4, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    #54 – Brian –

    Some of that quote was picked up today by a Meridian Magazine editorial that talks about how in the last days the world will become very polarized between good and evil.

    If Prop 8 passes or fails – there will be even bigger battles in the future.

    This editorial is a great recap of the California LDS experience this year.
    http://www.meridianmagazine.com/familyleadernetwork/081104liberty.html

    I also don’t see any mention here of the YouTube video going around yesterday that portrays LDS missionaries raiding the home of married lesbians and confiscating their marriage license.

    While the LDS may try to play politics by the rulebook – the other side has clearly shown that they will play all the dirty tricks possible to avoid defeat.

  56. jjohnsen on November 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    “If anyone sees this add actually play on the air please document which station and which time so that we can send in letters of condemnation to the station operator. ”
    They’ve already said where it will appear. Today on MSNBC, CNN and comedy Central.

    “Is anyone here besides me frightened by how polarized our society has become? ”
    Yes. Ivan over at Millennial Star has a great post about all of us just chilling out now. It’s great advice.

    And anyone who says the ad shouldn’t involve missionaries because it’s not a missionary issue is wrong in at least one case (and maybe a few according to previous comments). One of our regional sales guys in California says missionaries knocked on his door a few weeks ago and after talking to him about eh church, gave him literature and invited him to a Pro 8 event. I don’t know if it’s in every California mission, but there are definitely missionaries involved in some areas, and I fear what long term effect it will have on preaching the gospel in California.

  57. Geoff B on November 4, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Wow, Brian, that is a great quotation. Thanks for reminding people what is really at stake here.

  58. James on November 4, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Sunday, there was a broadcast to many, if not all, of the stakes in Arizona. The topic of the marriage amendment votes in CA, AZ, and FL was discussed. My interpretation of what was said is that this is a “who supports the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve” issue.

  59. James on November 4, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Jon W. wrote – “it is about people deliberately treating a faith in a manner that is basically hate filled and would be prosecuted for it in Canada (or at least been brought up on charges).”

    Perhaps we can get the BC Human Rights commission to do something about it since they have shown a willingness to take cases beyond their borders. Their recent case against MacLean’s and Mark Steyn comes to mind.

  60. Jettboy on November 4, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    To be honest, I expected worse. The acting was so bad and the hypothetical action was so over-the-top that only those who already hate the Mormons because of Prop 8 will find it convincing. Many might even see it as a direct attack on religion in general.

    The idea that this issue is damaging the Mormon image just doesn’t bother me at all. There is no hint of any change whatever. Those who dislike Mormons on the left just have a reason to vocalize it for a time. Those on the right who don’t like Mormons continue to not like them, and pretend that they don’t make a difference by supporting the same causes. Status Quo remains.

  61. Chino Blanco on November 4, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Re #55 …

    To: Maurine Proctor
    Subject: Re: My thoughts, comments, and impressions.

    Stewart is one of your own, and Severino makes a living peddling hyperbole.

    Still, it might be interesting to get Severino in a room together with Mitt Romney’s chief legal counsel, Daniel Winslow, who told justices of the peace in Massachusetts that they should carry out the decision of the court and perform same-sex marriages or resign.

    Severino seems to think that constituted an infringement of religious liberty. I tend to side with Winslow:

    “My message was: ‘You took an oath, and you don’t have to agree or disagree with the law, you took an oath to uphold the law. Your only job is to follow the law,’” Winslow told Pete Winn of CNSNews.com in January. “We’ll leave it to the courts to litigate what the law is, but once the courts have ruled, if you’ve taken an oath under the constitution, you have to follow your oath.”

    Best of luck in all your endeavors.

    From: Maurine Proctor
    Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 19:34:17 -0400

    I wrote this piece and it happens to be extremely well researched. You might look at these articles from Harvard if you’d like some additional sources.
    http://www.marriagelawfoundation.org/mlf/publications/Harvard%20Facts.pdf

    How Same-Sex Marriage Threatens Religious Liberty
    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No3_Severinoonline.pdf

    Maurine Proctor
    Editor-in-Chief
    Meridian Magazine

  62. DavidH on November 4, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I think the impact of the Church’s outspoken support of Propositions 8 (CA) and 102 (AZ) is that the Church will retrench in being perceived as politically right wing leaning religious organization, and more particularly, as an unfriendly place not just for gays and lesbians, but for people who are sympathetic toward gays and lesbians.

    In the 1960s, the Church was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an unfriendly place, not just for blacks of African descent, but for those who were committed to full equality regardless of race. For better or worse, in my experience, in the 1960s and 1970s, most individuals, inside or outside of the Church, who were committed to full racial equality at that time, tended to be politically (and religiously) “liberal”. Many such political “liberals” who were members of the Church, dropped out of activity; few if any of such nonmember individuals investigated or joined the Church. My own anecdotal experience leads me to wonder if the Church’s past practice regarding race and lineage is part of why the active US Church membership today is overwhelmingly politically (and religiously) conservative.

    I do recall in the 1960s and 1970s reading materials like Elder Maxwell’s talk–indicating that support of the race/lineage policy was a “test” of our commitment to “following the Brethren” and part of a “weeding out” process. I do think it successfully “weeded out” (and precluded from joining the Church) many who did not have absolute confidence in the Brethren on this matter–i.e., the “religiously liberal.” Unfortunately (in my opinion), I think it also “weeded out” the politically liberal as well.

    For better or worse, I suspect the same result may occur once more. The active portion of the Church will continue to be religiously conservative and committed to the principle of obedience to human leaders, but will also continue to be politically conservative and generally nonsympathetic to gay rights. Many members who are not in that category may find themselves religiously marginalized, and very few nonmembers who are sympathetic to gay rights will have any interest in associating with the Church.

    That is my fear. The flip side is that perhaps the Church will more openly support other forms of gay rights. I doubt it, but some of the rhetoric that Proposition 8 will not take away any rights leads me to think that it is a possibility.

  63. Hellmut on November 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Seriously, how has the world become more “wicked” since 1978? Crime is down. Abortion is down. Illegitimate births are down.

    At least, the western world has become a better place since 1978.

  64. Bro. Jones on November 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    #63 There’s bad stuff on TV that was never there before, and interracial marriage (together with body piercing) has brought Western society to its knees.

    Joking aside, I can’t wait for this to be over. Just one more thing to lead people into making assumptions about who I am based on my faith.

  65. Drex Davis on November 4, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    The people who made this ad, I believe, really have this perspective. I think that this reflects their perception of what is happening.

    Unfortunately, ads like this backfire. It’s too over the top and doesn’t appeal – on any level – to reason. It’s emotionally stirring, but not in a way that – in my opinion – is likely to make one less sympathetic to Mormons (the caricatures are *too* over the top).

    Perhaps the Anti-Prop. 8 people would be better served taking their anger out on a legislative process that they feel leaves them open to disenfranchisement, rather than a group of people merely working within that process to secure a society they want.

    If you feel you’re disenfranchised, and the system is permitting it, why not work to change the system rather than rant at those you feel are using it to disenfranchise you?

    Seeing an ad like this leads me to believe that the Anti-Prop 8 people feel like this might be lost. This feels like a hail mary, mixed with sour grapes (trying to take someone else down with the ship).

  66. Mark N. on November 4, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I think it’s intended to be metaphorical, I.e., a visible religious group is making overt and agressive efforts to strip gays and lesbians of their rights to marry.

    Yes, and when you stop to think that the emphasis has always been on “every member a missionary”, then the missionaries in the commercial (so far as the “no on 8″ crowd are concerned) are merely the symbol for you (and every other member of the Church) when you set foot into the voting booth to vote “yes” on 8.

  67. Chadwick on November 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I am a long-time reader, but first time poster. My comment is that I have lived through Prop 22 and Prop 8 both. For Prop 22, I lived in Valencia. We returned our Yes on Prop 22 sign to the Bishop because our neighbors across the street were a very nice lesbian couple. We didn\’t want to alienate them. I voted yay and my wife voted nay.

    For Prop 8, we now live in the OC. Again, no sign in the yard because we want to keep our yard clean of eggs either way. This time around, the campaign seems so much nastier on both sides. I don\’t recall ads directed at the church back then, and I think it\’s partly because the \”call to arms\” was not so conspicuous 8 years ago. Yes, the church asked us to help. But not like this. I\’ve often wondered if the change at the helm has had anything to do with it. President Hinckley had years of experience in church PR. President Monson, though still an inspired leader of God, has not. And the campaigns appear to have run quite differently this time around. My wife and I will hit the polls later today, and will most likely cancel each other out again.

  68. Jeremiah J. on November 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    DavidH–

    Of course the church could become divided over the political recognition of gay marriage. I’m sure that general authorities have contemplated this possibility, and I’m very doubtful that they welcome it as a salutary “weeding out” process. But I think it’s important to ask why this division would arise. Perhaps it could arise because people are disappointed that the church isn’t moving fast enough, or isn’t moving at all to a 1978 as it were with respect to acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage within the church. In this case it’s a matter of saints tragically being committed to the Kingdom in general but rejecting an important part of church doctrine, in the patient antipication that it will be changed. If that’s the case then it seems that vigorously teaching the doctrine, in the same loving way we should teach every doctrine, is the best course. Refraining from teaching the doctrine, beause some don’t believe it or expect it to be soon superceded by revelation, is a bad idea, for the simple fact that doctrine exists and won’t go away by ignoring it.

    Of course the division could be over something else–that many Saints accept the church teaching on the family, but disagree with the church’s political strategy. They think that there’s no danger to the church presented by gay marriage, and that it’s actually damaging for the church to fight against it. At most they think the church could be violating its own principles regarding religious participation and religious freedom. This kind of division is a problem, but I doubt that most members who really differ with the church over strategies would for this reason alone become seriously disaffected. On the side of the church authorities themselves, I don’t think they regard respectful, humble disagreements over political strategy as especially damaging, as evidenced by Elder Oaks’ response to Harry Reid’s disagreements with the federal marriage amendment.

  69. Adam Greenwood on November 4, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Wise, Jeremy J., as always.

  70. mrblue on November 4, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I thought it was interesting in my SoCal ward this last Sunday, which was Fast Sunday. The counselor in the Bishopric conducting the meeting related a “reminder” and a “request” from our Stake President to NOT talk about Prop. 8 during the bearing of testimonies, and to remember that we should focus on the Savior in our comments. I found that request rather refeshing, even though I happen to support Prop. 8. It did seem to stick in the craw of the guy in our ward tasked with leading the Prop. 8 troops. He did his best to talk about it without actually talking about it — I got the sense that he had a big get-out-the-troops rally message planned, but that he got stymied from the SP’s request.

  71. we on November 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I have enjoyed the following sentiments, and I intend to plod on until I understand why my heart and spirit tell me something different.

    “A cowboy who wants to turn a stampeding heard can ride neither in it nor counter to it; he must ride at the edge. Happy sounds are generally better than cursing… but there are times when he must maybe swear a little and swing a whip or lariat to round in a stray or turn the leaders. So don’t lose yourself, and don’t ride away and desert the outfit. Ride the edge of the herd and be alert, but know your directions, and call out loud and clear. Chances are, you won’t make any difference, but on the other hand you just might.” (Juanita Brooks attributed this to a relative, as I recall.)

    Levi Peterson said:

    “I fancy that if I were excommunicated by a Church court on a weekday, I’d be back sleeping in sacrament meeting on the following Sunday. Presumably I’d be relieved of my duties as home teacher and occasional instructor of the high priests group. Presumably I’d not be called on to pray or preach. But those are petty losses. I’d continue to partake of the sacrament unless I were expressly forbidden to do so. In that case, I’d attend meetings from time to time in a ward where I wasn’t known and would partake of the sacrament there. Certainly I’d join lustily in singing hymns, and I’d attend church socials and chat as always with my friends after meeting. And of course, out on the battlefront of liberal Mormonism, I’d go on doing whatever it was that had got me excommunicated in the first place.

    “Though as a corporation the Church may be owned by its legally constituted officers, as a moral community Mormonism is beyond ownership. You and I belong if we choose to belong. I for one do choose to belong. I’ll not let another human being, however highly placed, drive me from Mormonism. I’ll not let an archaic doctrine or practice drive me out. I choose to stay where my heart is and to vent my disapproval of uncivilized beliefs and practices through a quiet but unrelenting resis¬tance. There’s a place within Mormonism for the loyal dis¬senter, and I for one intend to occupy it.”

  72. DavidH on November 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks we. Wonderful thoughts.

  73. queuno on November 7, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Levi forgets the blessings of having a recommend and worshipping in the temple. No political front is worth that. To each his own, though.

  74. queuno on November 7, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    I would prefer that our missionaries be able to save souls than the word marriage be defined as just between a man and a woman.

    You mean, a raising of the bar for missionaries and converts?

  75. Kurt on November 8, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I thought it was interesting who the opponents of Prop 8 chose as their evil villains in this ad. With so many different groups supporting Prop 8 they could have just as easily shown a couple of nuns, some Hasidic Jews, or stereo-typical evangelicals with big hair barging into the house. Even better, since African-Americans overwhelmingly (70%) supported Prop 8, they could have shown a couple of black men breaking into the white women’s house. (I think that commercial got George Wallace elected governor or Alabama, didn’t it?) So why the Mormons? Simply put, Mormons make up less than 2% of California’s population (no big voting block lost)and lots of people hate them. They just wanted to eploit this. I assume we’ll continue to get hammered because we’re such an easy target. I always wondered what exactly people were shouting from the great and spacious building. Now I know.

  76. Kurt on November 8, 2008 at 12:51 am

    I thought it was interesting who the opponents of Prop 8 chose as their evil villains in this ad. With so many different groups supporting Prop 8 they could have just as easily shown a couple of nuns, some Hasidic Jews, or stereo-typical evangelicals with big hair barging into the house. Even better, since African-Americans overwhelmingly (70%) supported Prop 8, they could have shown a couple of black men breaking into the white women’s house. (I think that commercial got George Wallace elected governor or Alabama, didn’t it?) So why the Mormons? Simply put, Mormons make up less than 2% of California’s population (no big voting block lost)and lots of people hate them. They just wanted to eploit this. I assume we’ll continue to get hammered because we’re such an easy target. I always wondered what exactly people were shouting from the great and spacious building. Now I know.

  77. Kurt on November 8, 2008 at 12:53 am

    sorry, I clicked twice. Fancy new keyboard.