So more than a few people have accused me of being anti-Mormon, or angry, or whatever your favorite term for people who leave the LDS religion but cannot leave it alone is. While I understand that those who know me from my blog will definitely see me as someone who wants nothing more than displeasure for the LDS religion and its leaders, those who know me better know that my disdain is widespread for all organizations who push their agendas in favor of the greater good and do so through deceitful and dishonest (though often legal) means.
Of course, I am obviously very familiar with the LDS religion after having spent all of my life in it until I was 25. And I do have very strong feelings against that religion for exactly that reason, I spent many years in it, and for many years I like most Mormons refused to look at it objectively. I was an avid defender of that so-called "faith." Realizing that the leaders of my religion were just like the leaders of every other organization, in that they are ultimately concerned with their power and place in society, was well, disheartening. I had always wanted to believe that I was part of the greater good, and after getting a glimpse of how the LDS religion really works on the inside, I was a little disenfranchised. That being said, I am opposed to any organization that lies and covers up its motives and uses the loose disclosure requirements in the US to push its agenda.
Anyway, now on to the point of today's post. Many people have probably heard that testimony in the federal challenge against Prop 8 ended recently, and Judge Walker (you know, the judicial activist, flaming-liberal Republican originally nominated by Reagan and then appointed by Gerorge H. W. Bush) is now reviewing the evidence before closing statements are made. Unfortunately, the SCOTUS blocked the YouTube broadcast of the trial which would have been a very eye-opening experience for many Americans, to finally see how absolutely stupid and baseless the "arguments" in favor or Prop 8 really are. Most proponents of Prop 8 can't seem to get over their "we've voted on it twice, just let it be!" argument to understand that the Constitution provides equal protection for all citizens, regardless of what the will of the masses is.
I followed much of the trial via live blogging on prop8trialtracker.com, and later read most of the transcripts on equalrightsfoundation.org. They are very revealing not just about the general motivations of the Proponents of Prop 8, but also the close ties between certain organizations, and protectmarriage.com, the official organization behind Prop 8. So with that being said, let's analyze some of the documents entered into as evidence during the trial and compare those with the PR statements of the LDS religion that were released during the election of 2008.
The following records were read into the court record on Day 7 of the trial, and you can check them out for yourself.
On Page 1608, beginning in line 23, a letter from the Catholic Conference of Bishops to the bishops within the conference states:"Of course, this campaign owes an enormous debt to the LDS Church. I will comment specifically at a later time, under separate cover, about their financial, organizational, and management contribution to the success of the effort. The ProtectMarriage.com campaign has surpassed $37 million in donations."
On page 1622, line 9, an internal memo from Mark Jannson, who is on the LDS Church's Public Affairs Committee, we learn the following: "Since the First Presidency letter was read in every ward throughout California last month, I have been frequently asked what our role in Public Affairs will be in the Prop 8 campaign." Continuing on line 20, "As you know from the First Presidency letter, this campaign is entirely under the priesthood direction - in concert with leaders of many other faiths and community groups forming part of the ProtectMarraige.com Coalition. I believe [name redacted] will be the LDS chair for all of California."
Page 1623, line 8 continues, "All of us working in public affairs will simply stand by and prepare to be anxiously engaged, like all citizens and lay members, when that time comes." Line 17 continues, "What is the next step in this campaign? I understand that all grass roots organizing efforts in OC will be led by Gary Lawrence, who will report directly to the ProtectMarriage.com Coalition leaders." Gary Lawrence is an member of the LDS religion who owns a polling company in Orange County.
Page 1627, line 11 continues with, "He has also been hired by the coalition to do polling work for Prop 8. The main California grass roots leaders are in the process of being called as, "area directors," with the responsibility for areas that generally correspond to each of the 17 LDS coordinating councils for the LDS mission boundaries. Thereafter, priesthood leaders will call local prop coordinators over each stake and leaders by zip code within each ward - potentially working not only with LDS, but also LDS volunteers."
Let's compare those internal documents with the statements publicly made by the LDS PR department: "the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized" (from the so-called Divine Institution of Marriage document put out by the LDS PR department).
The day after the election, they released another statement that, "before [the LDS religion] accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments..."
Both statements have a similar theme of implying that the LDS religion was just part of a coalition, not leading it. Based on the internal documents released during the trial, this is clearly not the case.
I am not going to go on and on about this, because I think it is clear that the LDS religion played a big role in Prop 8, and not just because the Mormons did a good job, but because the LDS religion was orchestrating the entire effort. If the LDS religion would own up to this, I would probably let it be, but they won't. They continue to cover their tracks by pushing their money through organizations like "National Organization for Marriage" which does not have to report its contributions. I know that practicing Mormons refuse to believe it, and those who do will justify that it is all legal, and that their religion has the "right" to do what it does, all of which I am not disputing. The LDS church has not broken any laws, but that's not saying much. Most of the politicking that goes on in this country is entirely legally. But that does not make it right. And I always hoped that an organization that claims to be inspired and from a higher source would be above it all. Prop 8 has helped me realize what most others already knew, that the LDS religion is like any other.