Review: 8: The Mormon Proposition

The Heart of 8: The Mormon Proposition — Improving LDS / Gay Relations

Once the documentary has finished with the dry and meaningless details of the Prop 8 campaign — and explained why all Mormons are evil, intolerant bigots without an original thought among them — 8: The Mormon Proposition finally gets around to some important material in its last twenty minutes.

Many present-day gay Mormons share their personal feelings of isolation after being rejected from their families for committing the sin of admitted they are attracted to members of the same gender.  Many of them describe their suicide attempts — one gay Latter-Day Saint in 2000 committed suicide outside an LDS chapel after being rejected from his family.

8 also shares some horror stories about the electro-shock therapy used to “cure” homosexuality in the 1970′s.  And a brief discussion of homeless teens who have run away from their families and have to live on the street with little help and little hope to survive.  (8 is a little coy about whether the homeless teens shown are actually gay — not all homeless teens are on the street because of homosexuality, of course — but the point is made:  far too many gay young people are abandoned by their family, especially Mormon families.)

This is the heart of 8: The Mormon Proposition — even if the film itself sticks this section in the back almost as an afterthought.  Regardless of the debate concerning “marriage” versus “domestic partnerships”, gay Mormons today face an almost surmountable challenge — how to “endure to the end” in a church that seems to despise them.

It is an unfortunate truth that the easiest way for a Latter-Day Saint to forget the ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ axiom is when the word ‘homosexuality’ is used.  While “homophobe” is an over-used word, thrown out by members of the left to describe anyone who does not support any part of the gay rights agenda, it is still a reality in many ways.  Many LDS would be more comfortable with the two guys living next door to them being drug dealers than a gay couple.  Many LDS genuinely think the proper response to having a gay kid is to throw them out of the house, and withhold all love and support until they “change”.  Is there a more obvious example of someone NOT asking themselves, “what would Christ do?” — especially when we are no longer talking about some strangers in California who want a piece of paper with their names on it, but their own flesh and blood.

(Tyler and Spencer both describe the hateful emails they received from Mormon family members because of their relationship.  While that’s not an argument FOR legalized gay marriage, obviously, one wonders what those family members were thinking, and what they expected the response to be.   You may not think marijuana should be legalized, for example, but would you send emails to a marijuana-smoking relative that said, “I refuse to find joy in your happiness.”?)

Many gay Mormons still believe in God and in the restored gospel, and try to reconcile gospel doctrine with their own internal feelings.  (“I’m exactly how God made me.” says one lesbian in the film.  Are Latter-Day Saints prepared to deal with the idea that same-sex attraction may have a biological component, and that gay individuals appear to be a fundamental part of God’s “creation”?)

This section should be required viewing for all Church members, if only to ask themselves whether they truly believe gay individuals are worthy of their charity — especially their own family members.  Is there ever an excuse for saying, “you are no longer a son/daughter of mine.”?

Now you may ask an obvious question — how do high gay suicide rates among Mormons and horrific “treatments” of homosexuality from three decades ago directly relate to Proposition 8 and legalized gay marriage in 2008?

It doesn’t…and this is basically my point.  It’s not about marriage — it’s about love, charity, and treating everyone as if they are God’s children with infinite eternal worth.  The fact that this section is (a) the heart and soul of the film, and the section that people most need to see, and (b) only tangentially related to the theme of the documentary — LDS involvement in the Prop 8 campaign — shows just how far askance the film’s chosen theme really is.  This section is what audiences need to hear, and 8 puts an hour of irrelevant material ahead of it, with only a thin line bridging the two.

Finding The Right Target Audience

It’s obvious that 8 is aimed only at the “choir” – people who already support gay marriage. Who should the audience have been, though?

If Cowen and Greenstreet were serious about having a positive impact on gay relations in 2010, I submit they should have aimed the documentary at one group in particular: Mormons themselves.

There are faithful Mormons who were ambivalent — even disturbed — at the Church’s active involvement in the Proposition 8 campaign.   Many members were disturbed about the “shaking down” of California members for campaign contributions with the threat of Church discipline.  Many members were disturbed at California missionaries — whose ostensible purpose is to share the gospel and bring people to Christ — were redirected to work in the Prop 8 campaign in 2008.  Many of the quotes from past Church leaders –while still from previous generations (or centuries) — may cause reflection for LDS members as to what they believe themselves.  Many of the Prop 8 campaign details — such as the misreporting of funds, or the family of 7 who donated their kids’ college funds to the Prop 8 campaign — won’t be significant to non-members, but might be another data point to ponder for faithful Church members who could be involved with similar campaigns within their lifetimes.

It’s not that those Mormons will (nor need to) start supporting gay marriage, but they will almost certainly reflect upon their own attitude towards gay individuals.  They may ponder how best to respect and counter the feelings of isolation, depression, and suicide from gay family members, friends, and neighbors who need their love and charity the most.  And ponder the utility (or lack thereof) of severing relationships with gay loved ones.

In short, 8: The Mormon Proposition had the potential elements to improve gay relations within the Mormon community…if faithful Mormons were to view this documentary.

But they won’t…

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  • Allen

    Nice detailed review, Kevin. I think you only make two (for me) glaring errors. You say the following:

    (Tyler and Spencer both describe the hateful emails they received from Mormon family members because of their relationship. While that’s not an argument FOR legalized gay marriage, obviously, one wonders what those family members were thinking, and what they expected the response to be. You may not think marijuana should be legalized, for example, but would you send emails to a marijuana-smoking relative that said, “I refuse to find joy in your happiness.”?)

    It is the last sentence that I find a problem with, as I think it doesn’t make a strong argument for what you are trying to say. I would find no problem with, as a loving parent, saying to my child “I refuse to find joy in your happiness” *IF* the child was saying that the happiness stemmed from the use of marijuana. If a child said, “But I’m happy when I use drugs. Can’t you find joy in my happiness?” then my answer would be “no.” Should I find joy in my child being happy when they engage in something I consider immoral? Thus, you are providing a weak argument, out of context, in a complex situation.

    The second error was this:

    There are faithful Mormons who were ambivalent — even disturbed — at the Church’s active involvement in the Proposition 8 campaign. Many members were disturbed about the “shaking down” of California members for campaign contributions with the threat of Church discipline. Many members were disturbed at California missionaries — whose ostensible purpose is to share the gospel and bring people to Christ — were redirected to work in the Prop 8 campaign in 2008.

    I’ve heard allegations such as this before, but where is the evidence? Where is the evidence of “shaking down” members? Where was the threat of Church discipline? Where was the evidence that missionaries were used for campaigning? These are “we all know its true, so why provide evidence” statements, even though you (rightly) decry similar without-evidence statements by Cowan in his film. If such allegations are true, then it would have been helpful to provide links to documentation of such allegations, as you did with links earlier in the review. Instead, what the reader ends up with is the unsubstantiated restatement of allegations as if they were widespread fact.

    Other than that, a great review.

    -Allen

  • KevinB

    Missionary involvement was reported on one or more of the LDS group blogs while the campaign was going on — not ALL missions, but some missionaries in California were (reportedly) asked to do some Prop 8 tracting using the campaign handouts instead of the normal missionary stuff.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find any links at the moment, so we can put that in the ‘hearsay’ category unless anyone can confirm this.

    There’s more supported testimony (within “8″ and LDS group blogs at the time, as well) that some California bishops or stake presidents took the tithing records from local wards, and asked wealthier California members to donate specific amounts based on their income. Those quoted in “8″ say they were threatened with disfellowship if they didn’t. (These would be local leaders acting alone — not with ‘orders’ from SLC by any means)

    This may also be “hearsay” — but there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that leaders aggressively approached wealthy Saints in California for donations. Some members (myself included) would find that disturbing, whether or not any “threats” were attached.

    As to the marijuana thing — I don’t understand why anyone would ever tell a loved family member that “I’m not happy that you’re happy” even if they are doing things you don’t approve of. That strikes me as a very “conditional” form of love — and, from a practical perspective, does that sort of statement make it more or less likely that that loved one will change and return to the fold?

  • Allen

    One of the “supported testimony” blog reports that you may be thinking of is this one over at Nine Moons. The problem with a report such as this, however, is that it doesn’t support the assertion that bishops or stake presidents used tithing records. Note that the blogger stated that it was their assumption, post-visit, that tithing records were used. This is supposition, not evidence.

    I’ll share a personal story, not related to Prop 8 at all. A few years ago (7?) I lived in Mesa, Arizona, in a semi-affluent ward. I’d been there for about 18 months or so, and one day a member of the bishopric pulled me aside at Church. He said that the bishopric was raising funds for the youth in the ward and asked if I could contribute some money. He said he didn’t know what might be good for me, but the bishopric had noted that I lived in a nice house, I wore good suits, and I drove a car that wasn’t too beat up. So they felt comfortable in asking me if I could donate $1,000. It was a stretch, but I donated it.

    Now, had the bishopric member not told me that the request was based on the outward appearances of my lifestyle, I could have discussed it with my wife and speculated that they must have looked at my tithing records. I would have been wrong. And in reporting such an incorrect supposition, I would have been inadvertently promulgating an injustice on my local leaders because I would have been assuming (and imputing) actions to them that just weren’t there. And I would have gotten a lot of people’s knickers in a knot, to boot.

    Point is, I still haven’t seen any documentation that tithing records were used when; I’ve only seen supposition that they must have been used, without allowing for other bases for requesting certain amounts, as was my experience in Mesa. If you (or anyone) has other information that goes beyond supposition, I would really love to see it. (I’m not saying it doesn’t exist; it may very well. I’m just saying I would love to see it.)

    As to the marijuana thing, you’re seriously telling me that if you had a child who came to you and said “taking drugs makes me happy,” you would say “I’m happy that you’re happy, junior.” Wow. I’m just saying that you might have found a better analogy to use than marijuana.

    -Allen

  • KevinB

    Okay, I agree the use of tithing records may have been an assumption by “8″ (and by me) — we’ll see how the facts turn out… Based on all the other examples of the treatment of Church leaders in the documentary, it may not be wise to automatically grant it the benefit of the doubt. I submit, though, many members (myself included) would still be disturbed at such a request you described, even if tithing records were not involved.

    I do know, based on my long experience in the Church, that any statement of the form “Bishops / Stake Presidents in the Church would NEVER do ______” are almost always proven false somewhere in the world, whether it’s “molest children”, or “access private tithing records for personal use”. Bishops/SPs almost certainly *have* accessed members’ tithing records for their own ends sometime in history, somewhere in the world — whether it turns out to be true in these Prop 8 examples or not remains to be seen…

    I don’t agree that being happy for your children’s happiness equals approving of all their choices. I don’t agree that I *must* withhold any amount of love and support for my children to “punish” them for inappropriate choices, or else I’m essentially telling them “everything you do is okay” — that’s the same logic that leads to gay kids being thrown out of the house and all family relationships severed, isn’t it?

  • Nick Literski

    Thank you, Kevin, for your detailed review. I also saw this film, at a festival screening which was followed by a Q&A session with one of the co-directors, Tyler and Spencer, and Millie Watts (the faithful, active LDS member with two gay children, who is repeatedly quoted in the film). Like you, I thought the film had both weaknesss and strengths.

    As to audience, I have to agree with you that the film assumed a certain level of background knowledge on the part of its viewers. The portrayal of quotations from 19th century LDS leaders were accompanied by portraits which could give context to the alert viewer, but it’s more likely that the filmmakers, having grown up LDS, sort of assumed that “everyone” knew who these men were. By the same token, however, I think you may be assuming too much background knowledge on the part of audiences. When I attended the Seattle screening, audience comments during the Q&A session, as well as discussion I overheard afterward in the lobby, etc., suggested that many viewers were genuinely shocked at the level of involvement which LDS leaders have had in anti-gay legislation over the past two decades (even though they left out many aspects of that participation which are familiar to those who were actively involved).

    The purpose of the film suffered, in my opinion, from a change in course during its production. The directors began with the intent of making a film about how the LDS church treats its gay members. Then, after Proposition 8 was passed, they decided that was the bigger story. In the end, they tried to do both, with neither getting the full treatment that I would have liked to see.

    I believe it’s inaccurate to suggest that the filmmakers thought the “underhandedness” of LDS leaders consisted of being involved at all on the issue of marriage equality. It’s quite clear that they were attacking the methods they used, such as hiding behind other organizations, withholding (intentionally or not) lawful spending reports, etc. While you can certainly argue that these tactics are “common” in politics, many people expect (rightly or not) a higher level of forthrightness from individuals who preach honesty and claim to be direct representatives of deity.

    My overall impression is that this film was not an indictment of LDS members in general, but specifically of LDS leadership, with regard to this issue. While the Q&A I attended certainly wasn’t part of the film itself, Stephen Greenstreet and Millie Watts (one of those faithful LDS in the film, which you thought didn’t exist) were particularly careful to explain this distinction. In fact, the film’s real “target audience” may have been the segment of LDS members who truly believe that they must obey every word that comes from their church president, regardless of their own personal views. Some of those LDS members exist, and among them, some will even use that as a bludgeon against their fellows (i.e., local leaders threatening to take away temple recommends, etc.). Unfortunately, as you point out, those are the same individuals who wouldn’t dream of seeing a “rated R” movie, and would stop listening the moment their church leaders were criticized in any way. Instead, the film seems more focused on “exposing” the actions of LDS leadership to outsiders, perhaps in hopes that public shame will lead to a change in those actions.

    Kevin, despite criticizing the filmmakers for “begging the question,” I’d suggest that you are doing the same with regard to the issue of “domestic partnerships” vs. marriage. You write as if your own position—that Proposition 8 took nothing but a word away from gay and lesbian couples–is an indisputable fact. The California Supreme Court, in their ruling prior to the election, found otherwise, indicating that your point of view is at least debatable. Along that same issue, your claim that Spencer and Tyler’s legal status was unchanged by Proposition 8 is a bit narrow. Immediately following the election, the legal validity of their marriage was thrown into serious doubt. For the next seven months, until the California Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 18,000 marriages performed prior to Prop 8, they had no way of knowing whether or not they remained legally married. Surely you can understand how that turmoil would feel to those affected. Even after the court upheld their marriage, however, these young men were left with a legal “cloud” over their marriage, in the sense that while an opposite-sex couple’s marriage is generally taken to be valid until proven otherwise, these young men have to constantly provide proof that they (1) were married legally, and (2) did so during the short time between the court ruling and Prop 8.

    I believe the film has its weaknesses, but it’s a good first step toward an examination of two different issues: (1) LDS treatment of gays and lesbians, and (2) anti-gay political involvement by LDS leaders. Both topics, in my mind, deserve more complete, nuanced treatment in future efforts.

  • Jeremy Jensen

    Great review, for the most part. I disagree that a documentary specifically focused on Mormons disowning their kids makes a lot of sense, because this type of thing happens in all conservative churches. To single out Mormons for this doesn’t make any sense unless there’s a real reason to think that Mormons do this far more often then, say, Southern Baptists or Catholics.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.com TT

    Thanks for this review. You and I have remarkably similar takes on the film. (Mine can be found here: http://www.faithpromotingrumor.com/2010/04/review-8-the-mormon-proposition/)

    You seem to go after the film pretty harshly for misrepresenting Mormons as “bigots” (a claim that I agree with, though I don’t recall this term actually being used to refer to Mormons in the film) and for not offering any substantive arguments in favor of SSM (a claim I too agree with, though I am not as convinced that should have been the focus of the film). At the same time, you seem to concede that LDS homophobia “is a reality in many ways.” While I definitely think there is much to critique in this film, and I appreciate that you acknowledge that LDS culture stands in need of critique and even highly endorse the last 20 minutes of the film, it seems to me that your critique of the film’s anti-Mormonism is much harsher than your critique of LDS homophobia.

  • Jeremy Jensen

    “it seems to me that your critique of the film’s anti-Mormonism is much harsher than your critique of LDS homophobia.”

    Given that this is a review of a highly flawed film, and not a post about LDS homophobia, that would make sense.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.com TT

    Jeremy 8- except that the film is a critique a LDS homophobia…

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.com TT

    Sorry, let me be more clear: If the author is sincere in condemning efforts that simply “preach to the choir” when it comes to “having a positive impact on gay relations” with Mormons, it seems to me that the often incredibly harsh language in this review (filled with sarcasm, air quotes, described as “laughably biased and dishonest,” “laughable,” “mind blowing,” “laughable [again]“, [and most of these are describing the film's claim that Mormons unquestioningly followed directions from church leaders and that they harbor negative attitudes toward homosexuals, the latter point the author will eventually agree with!]) is at times counterproductive to that goal. Again, there are serious criticisms of the film to be made, and I believe that it is important to clarify some of the facts and to challenge the narrative of the film itself. My concern is that in our zeal to defend ourselves, we can at times adopt the hostile posture that only continues to drive a wedge between us. If we expect the filmmakers to adopt a higher standard of discourse, we should strive for that standard ourselves. That said, the grievousness of the sin of misrepresenting Mormons is not necessarily on par with our community’s history of treatment of homosexuals in and out of our fold, as the final part of the film shows (though this presentation too is open to criticism). I am glad that the author of the review does make a charitable statement like “this section should be required viewing for all Church members,” which definitely moves in the right direction. I just found the tone of the critique of the film before that a little too heavy handed.

  • KevinB

    “While I definitely think there is much to critique in this film, and I appreciate that you acknowledge that LDS culture stands in need of critique and even highly endorse the last 20 minutes of the film, it seems to me that your critique of the film’s anti-Mormonism is much harsher than your critique of LDS homophobia.”

    I meant to criticize both — the “Mormons are ALL the enemy” paradigm is a constant theme throughout the film, even though that is easily disproven through even a token amount of research.

    However, the abandonment of gay individuals in the Church (the “homophobia” if you want to use that term) is a more serious problem in today’s society than the existence of a biased documentary (and a more serious problem than the existence/non-existence of gay marriage in the US, depending on your point of view).

    I meant the LDS criticism to be “harsh” although, as stated, I don’t know that many members will accept a “recommendation” that only one quarter of a documentary is worth seeking out and seeing.

    Nick, I don’t have anything in my notes on Millie Watts, so I don’t remember if the documentary stated clearly she was a “faithful” member versus lumping her in with the other former members. If she is an active member, then that’s a point in 8′s favor, then.

    It’s true that the anti-gay marriage side attempted to cancel the previous gay marriages in California in the courts…but they failed. As stated, there was never a day when Tyler and Spencer’s marriage was not legally valid.

    You can argue that there was still the worry that it *might* become invalidated some day, which could be a black cloud over their relationship…but then you have to consider what would happen if it *was* actually invalidated some day: they’d simply file for a domestic partnership instead and have exactly the same benefits and blessings they had before. How big a “tragedy” could that be?

    For gay couples in California over 18 who live together, there’s no difference between a domestic partnership and a marriage other than the name, so we’re still lacking anything of substance, of “tragic consequence”, at stake for gay couples in the Prop 8 debate, other than symbolism.

  • KevinB

    “… the film is a critique a LDS homophobia…”

    I disagree with this, actually — the film is named and organized around LDS involvement in the Prop 8 campaign. That’s the majority of the film.

    The entire first hour does not contain *anything* other than Prop 8 and gay marriage discussion. The only thing related to “homophobia” in the first 60 minutes is that many Mormons…oppose gay marriage — a flawed definition of “homophobia” in my opinion.

    I’m criticizing the film not just for being biased against Mormons, but (1) ignoring relevant facts in the gay marriage debate in California in an intellectually dishonest way and (2) for ignoring what the primary thrust of the film *should* have been, if improving gay relations was a goal.

    The important parts are completely outside of the theme of the film and disconnected from the first hour when it should have been front and center, without the extraneous stuff.

    Again, my key questions are: who is this film talking to, and what response do the filmmakers hope to achieve?

    There’s no evidence that the filmmakers genuinely thought they were creating a film designed for Mormons to watch, in order to encourage them to have more charitable feelings towards gays. That may be a side effect of the last twenty minutes (if many Mormons actually see the film), but certainly not the purpose of the film.

  • http://faithpromotingrumor.com TT

    Thanks Kevin. I think that we are pretty much on the same page here, and I think our reviews bear that out. I agree with you that some discussion of the domestic partnerships should have been included. I am not convinced up front that because of domestic partnerships there is simply no reason for marriage, or if marriage went away entirely there would be no change. I would have liked to see a case made on this issue in the film beyond the one line that addressed it, and I agree it is a shortcoming. I am not sure that it means as much as you think it means against SSM, however.

  • Nick Literski

    It’s true that the anti-gay marriage side attempted to cancel the previous gay marriages in California in the courts…but they failed.

    As recently as two weeks ago, they’re still trying, Kevin. In the currently-pending federal trial over Prop 8, the initiative’s proponents have asked (albeit in a legally ineffective manner) that the court “correct” the situation by declaring the 18,000 marriages invalid.

    As stated, there was never a day when Tyler and Spencer’s marriage was not legally valid. You can argue that there was still the worry that it *might* become invalidated some day, which could be a black cloud over their relationship…but then you have to consider what would happen if it *was* actually invalidated some day: they’d simply file for a domestic partnership instead and have exactly the same benefits and blessings they had before.

    Again, you’re simply stating this “no difference” argument as if it was established, indisputeable fact. Since the California Supreme Court found otherwise, this claim is debatable, at the very least.

    For gay couples in California over 18 who live together, there’s no difference between a domestic partnership and a marriage other than the name, so we’re still lacking anything of substance, of “tragic consequence”, at stake for gay couples in the Prop 8 debate, other than symbolism.

    If this is true, then Proposition 8 was itself “lacking anything of substance,” with nothing “at stake . . . other than symbolism.” The proponents of that initiative, however, spoke and behaved as if all of world civilization, even “the family” and “marriage” itself, were “at stake.” Indeed, they continuously claimed (as you note) that they were “protecting marriage,” so they clearly felt there was more “at stake” than you admit.

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  • http://joshuajohanson.blogspot.com Joshua Johanson

    “gay Mormons today face an almost surmountable challenge — how to “endure to the end” in a church that seems to despise them.”

    You brought up this point made by the movie, but you did not counter it. That made it sound like you agreed with the movie that gay Mormons feel the church despises them.

    Many gay Mormons, or Mormons with same-sex attractions (SSA), do not feel that the church despises them. One of my biggest problems with the film is that it portrays gay (or SSA) Mormons as depressed, suicidal drones with bad family relationships. I think that is a stereotype that only serves to alienate faithful SSA members of the church. Why didn’t the film interview faithful SSA Mormons?

    I came out as a gay Mormon three years ago in my single adult ward. I did not hear ONE negative comment from any member of the ward. I still had a calling, a temple recommend, and tons of friends. My whole family knows and is very supportive. Since I have been married, I have been less open in my family ward, but only because there were so many kids.

    My point is that while I wish things were different, there is no conflict between having gay feelings and being an active member of the Church. I think the doctrine that by putting off the natural I can be cleansed through the atonement of Christ is a beautiful doctrine. Many other people with SSA do to.

    I thank Kevin for calling out for the need of greater acceptance of people with SSA in the church. However, I thought you could be more clear that many SSA Mormons are doing well in the Church. We are not all trying to change church doctrine to fit our natural man. Overall, however, I think it was a great review and I think you brought up several good points about how SSA Mormons could be treated better.

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  • Tracy Hall Jr

    Thank you for your excellent review, which helps me to understand why I don’t need to see this film. The apostles and prophets have given me abundant reason and motivation to try harder to love all of God’s creatures, and I find their encouragement much more helpful than any shame this film could heap on me.

    I am so thankful for Joshua’s response! Any Latter-day Saint who experiences same-sex attraction and strives valiantly to yield the natural man to Christ is a hero! With all the world telling me that I must obey my flesh, he shows me a better way. He has allowed the Lord to show him his weakness: maybe I can dare to allow the Lord to show me mine!
    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/mosiah/3/19#19
    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ether/12/27-28#27

    Tracy Hall Jr
    hthalljr’gmail’com

  • djinn

    Although I’m sure you quote the 70% black vote for prop. 8 honestly, relying on the numbers reported immediately after the vote, further analysis showed that it was actually 58% of blacks that voted for prop. 8.

    Read about it here: http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2009/01/prop-8-and-blaming-the-blacks/6548/

  • djinn

    Oh, and nice rhetorical point there, comparing the right to own slaves to the right to not allow two people to marry.

  • http://voiceofpatmos.blogspot.com/ Patmos Pee

    Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    Err, from the story it looks like the Mormon Church did not spend $200k.

    The California Fair Political Practices Commission concluded the church “failed to timely report making late non-monetary contributions totaling $36,928″ during the November 2008 election. It assessed a penalty of $5,539.

    Following links I found “The investigation revealed that the Church unintentionally failed to file daily reports detailing approximately $37,000 in non-monetary contributions. This represented the cost of staff time spent by Church employees on activities to help the Yes on 8 committee during the final two weeks of the election. “

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    Thanks by-the-way — I was able to link to this from my blog.

  • Nick Literski

    Stephen, your quotation refers to the portion of LDS church spending which was not properly and timely reported, not the total. The final total was indeed nearly $200k (actually about $197k, but I don’t have the exact figure in front of me right now).

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen M (Ethesis)

    Thanks for the update. So, the penalty was not on the failure to report $200k in cash, but on the failure to report $37k in value of time spent on time, or about 15% of the time reported late.

    Thanks, did not realize that the inferences I drew were incorrect.

    Of course I remain in support of “we claim the privilege to marry whom we please and accord all the same privilege, let them marry how, when or whom they please …” sort of position.

    But you know that from the past.

  • ExMoHoMoDon

    I hope I can be forgiven for commenting here by TT since I have been banned from FPR, but I cannot let pass the oft repeated assertion that DP and marriage have the exact same legal status. That is false for at least two reasons: CA DP legal status ends at CA borders, marriage does not. Marriage entitles you to over 1,000 Federal benefits, DP status does not. Although sweeping in its scope, CA DP status is not equal–and repeating that it is does not make it so. Hope that comment was vanilla enough to pass TT’s ‘Don’t hurt the Mormons’ feelings’ test of appropriateness. I haven’t even seen TMP–too busy and too interested in DOMA being found unconstitutional to find time. It is after all, in the Constitutional amendments like the 10th and the 14th that homosexuals will eventually win equality, whether Mormons like it or not.

  • KevinB

    ExMoHoMoDon, your observation is true…from a federal standpoint. US governmental recognition of marriage has benefits that state recognition of marriage does not.

    But gays *never* had federal recognition of gay marriage, in California or anywhere — that’s a completely separate debate, with no relevance to the effects of Prop 8. If Prop 8 had failed, gays in California would still not have any of those 1000+ federal benefits, so that’s irrelevant to the discussion of Prop 8 and gay marriage in California.

    From a state government standpoint — which is all we’re talking about — California’s recognition of gay marriage and gay domestic partnerships are equivalent except for the minor exceptions as noted…

    (And I’ll note that your last comment begs the question on “equality” and civil rights the same way 8 does. “Equality” is relative and subject to interpretation, I guess?)

  • ExMoHoMoDon

    While gay marriage never has had Federal recognition, it is moving in that direction, as a Federal judge recently ruled DOMA as unconstitutional insofar as it relates to the 10th amendment and the State of Massachusetts’ equal marriage laws. Furthermore, apart from the extension of Federal benefits which as you point out have never been given to homosexual citizens, marriage from one state is honored in another, due to the full faith and credit clause–DP are not. Although of course, there has not been a Constitutional test of those DP laws or gay marriage yet as they relate to the full faith and credit clause. If DP and marriage were exactly the same, then would those who have marriage licenses issued by the State be willing to have everyone get DP, and abolish civil marriage altogether? Of course not, because they know that DP and marriage are in fact not equal, although repeating that they are is useful in making those who oppose equality for homosexual Americans feel a bit better about their bigotry. So far as equal protection under the law, I always thought that equal meant equal–not ‘separate but equal’ or ‘almost equal’, or equal except for those people who Mormons have decided that God doesn’t like as much as them.
    Should your logic that gays never had Federal equality be applied to women or blacks? since they never had equality either, until they won it incrementally. Or perhaps the world would be better if we returned to when women and blacks were property and gays were people you could beat up and kill without penalty? Sorry, but I’m not going back to the days of subservient darkies, women who did what they were told, and fags you could push around. What I will do is happily return to the day when I couldn’t have cared less what hateful nonsense Mormons believed–as soon as homosexual Americans have pushed back sufficiently to make the Mormon Church understand that our equal protection under the law is found in the Constitution, not in the theology of whom Mormons are currently hating for Jesus. Just as the Constitution promises me equal civil treatment under the law, religions are free to marry whom they will, and Mormons, Catholics and all others are free to marry whom they will–that right is protected. Although I will admit that some of the Mormon Temple architecture is stunning, and even if some gay couple were crazy enough to try to get married in one, religions may exclude from their sacraments anyone they choose. A little more faith in the Constitution, and a little less credence given to those who hysterically claim some breach of religious freedom should homosexuals be given equality would do Mormons a lot of good.
    You needn’t bother with any BS about how much Mormons love everyone–I have my entire life in the Mormon Church and its discriminatory hatred of me that proves otherwise. You can put whipped cream on manure, but that doesn’t make it dessert.

  • Joshua

    The difference between blacks, women and other minorities and same-sex couples is that same-sex couples chose to be a same-sex couple, where blacks and women are born that way and would only be able to change through intrusive surgery.

    Now, I agree that we did not chose to be gay. I said we because I include myself in that statistic. However, despite being gay at the time the whole controversy about Prop 8 started, I still got married in California after Prop 8 passed. By no means do I suggest that all gay people should do that, but to say that gay people are incapable of that is a completely different matter.

    Marriage is a union between men and women. Any two consenting adults can participate, regardless of race or sexual orientation. I was gay, but I got married.

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    Some time ago, I did need to buy a house for my business but I did not earn enough money and couldn’t order anything. Thank heaven my father proposed to take the credit loans at reliable bank. Hence, I acted so and used to be happy with my short term loan.


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