Saturday, October 18, 2008

How To Confront Mormons About Proposition 8

The LDS church has pulled out the stops in support of Proposition 8. It now looks like the initiative may actually pass, and that would be saddening, because the validity of its amendment to the state constitution will probably be challenged successfully, and then we'll have to sit through yet more rounds of right-wing whining about activist judges.

It's important that pro-marriage forces really get mobilized in opposition to Proposition 8. It will be a lot simpler for everyone, including the churches actually, if this initiative is defeated. I bring this up because, if you're like me, then you probably know someone who knows someone who's a Mormon, and that means there's a good chance you've been swept into a wider discussion with one of the many Brothers and Sisters who've been sent out to engage the public in support of Proposition 8.

Recently, I had the opportunity to shred one of these benighted sods pretty mercilessly in email, and he stopped communicating with me all of a sudden. But I'm not letting go of him just yet. Check out the message I just sent him below, and please bookmark it for when you find yourself in your own discussion with one of these people, and they use this rather common talking point they keep spreading. This line of reasoning is very powerful, and if enough of us use it when the opportunity arises, we may just manage to turn this situation into an opportunity to do some good.

I wrote:
For whatever reason, you haven't responded to my previous message on this topic. I understand we're all busy and engaging in a democratic discourse with your fellow citizens doesn't directly contribute to the family income statement, but there was one point in the discussion that I'm really, REALLY motivated to get sorted out, because I think it's the most important thing we talked about.
[...] more importantly, what happens when a gay couple want to be married in the temple? The temple, in our belief, is the most sacred of places, and the whole ceremony is about the creation, and men and women. So, is that bigotry, or 2000+ year old doctrine? [...]
[...] The California Supreme Court did not rewrite church doctrine with its decision. It can't do that. Just because gays and lesbians have a right to obtain marriage certificates from county clerks just like straight couples, it does not mean that they now have a right to profane your temple. [...]
I'm very interested to hear your response to this. If what I wrote immediately after this seemed too harsh, the please know you have my sympathies. It's never feels very good to be exposed as a fraud.

[I wrote:]
See? This is another one of those right wing lies that your church is spreading-- that *you* are helping your church to spread.

Do you feel good about helping your church to spread lies, [brother]? Is that one of the ways that following the LDS church has improved your life? By giving you an excuse to spread convenient lies?
I think, by now, you've had plenty of opportunity to find out the truth, and it must be making you feel uncomfortable, I know.

Here you've been trying to help your church in an outreach operation of obvious apparent importance to many of your Elders, Bishops and Presidents, and now you come to find out they're using you to spread a lie. They know full well that the California Supreme Court has not done anything that puts LDS doctrine at risk of interference by the state. They know more than full well that Proposition 8 will not provide any further protection of LDS doctrine not already afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the myriad religious freedom laws and regulations that depend from it. Yet, here they are spreading the lie that if Proposition 8 doesn't pass, then your temple will be as good as profaned, it's only a matter of time.

And here *YOU* are repeating this lie to your friends and family, your Brothers and Sisters in the LDS church, your fellow citizens whom you meet when you go out to proselytize for Proposition 8. I'm going to assume that you either didn't know or didn't think about how you might be participating in this deception before you started, but I don't cut the High Social Dominance Oriented leaders of your church any such slack. Nor should you, [brother]. Nor should you.

Finally, I'd like to ask you two questions, and I really hope you'll favor me with the time it takes to give me thoughtful answers.

1) Now that you know there is no threat to the sanctity of your temple posed by the recent California Supreme Court decision recognizing the right of gays and lesbians to marry, and you know that Proposition 8 will not (moreover, CANNOT) provide any further protection of the sanctity of your temple, will you stop trying to spread fear and uncertainty about it by posing questions to people like the one I quoted from you above?

2) Now that you know how your church leaders are lying to you, and abusing your trust and faith to manipulate you into spreading their lies for them, what do you plan to do about it?
I'll be interested to see if this gets no response from him either. Fortunately, the guy is my brother-in-law's best friend from high school, and my brother-in-law is against Proposition 8 already. I don't think he's going to be able to weasel out of this bind he's gotten himself into.

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