Reflection on the PEW Study- Intolerance and potential for improvement

July 26, 2009

I wrote this analysis with the northeast in mind, in particular my University Ward in Cambridge, MA, but I think what I write is equally if not more true elsewhere…

Reflection on the PEW study of members–An opportunity for Improvement
Daniel Ortner
7-26-09

In Honor of Pioneer Day, the Pew Forum has released a study entitled

A Portrait of Mormons in the U.S.

http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=427

There are some very encouraging facts about LDS members on the whole. It’s a pretty glowingly positive statistical portrait. In terms of religious attendance, faith in a personal deity, rates of in faith marriage etc., we stand above most faiths in our diligence. However, there are some negatives that i feel prudent to discuss. I write this with a special focus on applicability to the University Ward in a northeast setting. All of these findings should be tempered by the fact that members outside of Utah are less likely to be guilty of these faults.

“Geography appears to play a role in patterns of religious commitment among Mormons as well. Those who live in Utah differ from Mormons in other areas of the country in several ways. Utahans are much less likely than Mormons from other states to share their faith with others at least once a week (13% vs. 37%), they are more likely to say theirs is the one true faith (63% vs. 51%) and they more heavily favor preserving traditional beliefs and practices (77% vs. 63%). On many other core religion measures, however, there are few geographical differences.”

Additionally…

“There also are some political differences between Mormons in different geographic areas. In particular, Mormons in the western region of the U.S. are significantly more likely than Mormons from other regions to identify as Republican (68% vs. 55%). They also are more likely to say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases (72% vs. 62%; the figure among Mormons in Utah is 78%). There is no significant difference on other issues, such as the size of government and the best way to ensure peace.”

With that in mind, I still think that an exploration of some of the findings could really be beneficial in helping bring to light some of the challenges that our ward and wards in the northeast might face in regard to reaching out to potential members and ensuring that they are find fellowship and remain active once they become members.

“On most measures of religious commitment, Mormons under age 50 do not differ significantly from those aged 50 and older. The one exception is on the question of religious exclusivity. More than six-in-ten younger Mormons (62%) say theirs in the one true faith, compared with roughly half (48%) of Mormons 50 and older who say the same.”

Earlier in the study when this question first comes up, they mention that this question also included the notion that their faith was the only way to achieve salvation. I don’t like the idea that the youth is becoming more exclusive in their belief in the sole value of the LDS church. It goes against so much of what I think the beauty of the Plan of Salvation is. While we certainly hold that our faith is the most complete and the ultimate way for individuals to reach heaven ( or else we would not focus so much on missionary work), it is also vital for the value that other faiths play in the lives of their members. Those faiths do an enormous amount to build individual members up towards Jesus Christ and God. They lay a foundation upon which we later may grow. I worry that this statistic suggests that members are not approaching interfaith dialogue as an opportunity to learn from those with other views but instead approaching merely with the desire to convert.

Fortunately, members continue to participate in wonderful examples of interfaith dialogue and continue to build bridges between our faith and the faith of others. (Rachel Esplin’s words at the Personal Quests for A Purpose forum at Harvard are probably the best example of this. http://hillel.harvard.edu/media/videos/550)
More members should be encouraged to reach out with not just missionary hands

“Two-thirds of Mormons (68%) say homosexuality should be discouraged rather than accepted by society. This is comparable to the figure among members of evangelical Protestant churches (64%) and Muslims (61%) but significantly higher than among members of historically black Protestant churches (46%). Jehovah’s Witnesses are the most likely to say homosexuality should be discouraged, with 76% expressing this view. Among the general population, only 40% say it should be discouraged, with half saying it should be accepted.”

I hope that this does not translate into open intolerance, but I am sure that it unfortunately does. It is clear we need to do a lot more to discourage homophobic and hateful attitudes and mores among members. Those struggling with homosexual tendencies and attractions are likely to become depressed, withdrawn and inactive because of these views. Living, working and attending church in Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to allow Gay Marriage, also provides some unique challenges that I am not sure that members are properly being prepared to face. We need to determine effective ways to reach out to LGBTQ members of our community and to invite rather than condemn. Our strong stance as a church against Same Sex Marriage needs to be given context by the fact that we live in a state that has openly allowed the practice for 6 years now. How are we as members supposed to reach view the committed long term marriages entered into by those of the same sex? How do we reach out to them in a non-judgmental fashion? These seem like difficult questions where I am sure that many members ( myself included) could use a bit more direction.

“Mormons are distinctive in their views on the origins of human life. When asked about the theory of evolution, only 22% of Mormons say it is the best explanation for human life, with three-in-four (75%) disagreeing. Only among one other major religious tradition – Jehovah’s Witnesses (90%) – does a higher proportion disagree that evolution is the best explanation for human life. The general public is more evenly divided on this question, with 48% saying it is the best explanation and 45% rejecting that position.”

This might have to do with the poor wording of the question, but I was taken a bit aback by this answer I know that BYU students learn about evolution in science courses so this cynical view of evolution is quite striking. I would like to see a question reworded to suggest that evolution is a good explanation for human life rather than the best. I think many more members probably believe it played a substantial role in the formation of life but is not THE BEST explanation. When trying to reach out to University students in the liberal northeast, however, I wonder if we can’t do more to build some kind of common ground. Our focus on naturalism and our disbelief in supernatural miracles (all acts of God are manipulations of natural forces) could perhaps be emphasized? I don’t offer any answers in this regard but bring up the question as an area deserving more exploration.

This is most disturbing of all…

“Political and social views are linked with church attendance among Mormons, as among the general population. Those who attend services at least once a week are more than 30 percentage points more likely than Mormons who attend less frequently to be Republican (73% vs. 39%) and oppose legal abortion (78% vs. 44%). In fact, among those who attend church less often, majority opinion leans in the opposite direction on these two items; pluralities of those who attend church less than once a week are Democrats (40%) and favor legal abortion (49%). The same is true with regard to opinion on the size of government; among weekly attenders, 61% support a smaller government while 31% prefer a larger government, and among less-frequent attenders, just 37% prefer a smaller government while 53% prefer a bigger government.

The link between church attendance and ideology is less pronounced than with party affiliation, but it is still substantial. Two-thirds of weekly attenders (66%) say they are conservative, compared with 40% of those who attend less often. There is also a significant difference when it comes to the question of the best way to ensure peace. Nearly twice as many weekly attenders (41% vs. 24%) say a strong military is more important than good diplomacy in ensuring peace.”

I find the idea that liberal members are much more likely to be inactive and non-attenders disturbing. Of course, those that view Liberal Mormons as illegitimate members ( a view that I have unfortunately heard uttered by members time and time again) could say that this just shows that Liberals are bad Mormons, but to me this seems to be glaringly false. It seems obvious, from my many talks with liberal mormon friends, that liberal views are treated with such intolerant criticism as to make liberal members actively uncomfortable. I actually quite enjoy political discussion and so I enjoy the challenges to my faith and the need to assert that for me liberal values and mormon values are equivalent, but I wonder how many visitors, investigators and members are turned away by these displays of intolerance.

Is there some hope for change in this study? The answer is tentatively yes. In a church that is becoming more and more convert heavy, a greater tide of liberalism is possible and even probably.

“There also are some differences between Mormons depending on whether they are converts or lifelong members. While majorities of converts and nonconverts alike identify as Republican and say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, converts are considerably less likely than nonconverts to do so (52% of converts are Republican vs. 69% of lifelong members, and 59% of converts oppose legal abortion vs. 74% of nonconverts). On other issues, such as size of government and best way to ensure peace, however, there are no significant differences between converts and lifelong Mormons.”

This is tempered by the finding that Converts are also much less likely to be active, marry in the temple etc…

“Converts to Mormonism also differ somewhat from lifelong Mormons in terms of religious commitment. Converts are less likely to attend church at least once a week compared with nonconverts (68% vs. 79%) and less likely to say theirs is the one true faith (46% vs. 61%), but are more likely to share their faith weekly (38% vs. 19%). On other measures of religious commitment converts tend to resemble non-converts.”

This study seems to me to show that as members we need to do a lot more to ensure member activity and retention among two specific subgroups. We need to ensure that we are providing fellowship for new converts. Many deal with family difficulty and opposition and if they do not feel that they have a family at church that they can be comfortable with they are more likely to fall away. We also need to ensure that church is not a hostile environment for those that hold differing political views. In the Northeast, these two goals are inexorably interlinked and this is especially true in Massachusetts one of the most partisan blue states in the country. Especially in Suffolk county ( Boston, Cambridge etc), we find an exceptionally high party affiliation index leaning towards the Democratic party ( 54.46 %!)

(http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/st_county_town_enroll_breakdown_08.pdf)

With more and more of the young generation identifying itself as Liberal as opposed to Conservative ( http://people-press.org/report/517/political-values-and-core-attitudes), and those holding especially true in our region, in order for us to have success as a ward with missionary activity, we need to begin thinking of strategies to ensure that politics does not become a stumbling stone in the lives of potential converts.

I offer these reflections and thoughts humbly in prayer and with the sincere desire that they may be of some use to the ward or the stake in coordinating, training and planning missionary activity both by members and full time missionaries. I am so thankful for the role of the gospel in my life and hope to be able to contribute in some way to helping the gospel be more efficiently in the lives of those around me. It is because I truly believe that this church is true and could be such a poignant force for good in the lives everyone, that I offer this in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen

Something Big is happening in Iran and in the United States as well

June 15, 2009

Something really revolutionary is happening in Iran and the mainstream media has basically fallen asleep in terms of coverage.  Andrew Sullivan has done a fantastic job of covering the protests in particular. He has been compiling twitter feeds and other blog posts that have managed to escape from the tight net put in place by the Iranian regime. He has made his posts green in Solidarity with true president elect Mir Hossein Mousavi and so so I will do the same.

Sullivan has received estimates that over 1,000,000 Iranians turned out for rallies despite state persecution and opposition.  There has been nothing like this in the middle east in my lifetime and I find the possibility of change to be truly electrifying. Even has Iran has been demonized its citizens have grown into among the best educated and best connected in the region. Even state censorship has failed to stifle the amazing outpouring of blogs and creativity.
Evidence for the rigging of the election has emerged over the past few days and has become more and more persuasive. Even Nate Silver whom has been quite conservative in his prognosis has seen evidence of tampering and strange results. Vice President Joe Biden has asserted his doubts about the elections as have most U.S analysts.

It seems that the only ones that are viewing this election as legitimate are the same neoconservatives. This is the same group that before the election said they would support the incumbent Ahmadinejad. Daniel Pipes for instance clearly stated as much. It seems that these groups depend on a continual war machine pumping anti-Iranian propaganda and that the victory of a moderate would undermine their credibility. They would sacrifice all of the values they pretend to hold sacred in order to support their war aims. We should not allow this election to die down but should do everything to build solidarity and support organic democratic movements in Iran.

Lastly, I  wanted to share pictures that I took yesterday in Harvard Square, Cambridge of a 100+ person protest of the Iranian elections… It was nice to see so many brave the light rain to protest on a “peripheral issue.” They sang and chanted proudly and received near unanimous car honks.

Iranian Protest 1

Iranian Protest 2

Iranian Protest 3

OLD POST- January 21, 2009- Non-Believers and Obama

June 9, 2009

A president for Hindus and Non-believers as well!

•January 21, 2009 • No Comments

The Inaugural speech was quite well done. Solidly constructed and very beautifully delivered if not quite transcendent. At times, it dropped into pedestrian terminology such as the cringe worthy mentions of GDP or data and statistics. At times, Obama’s speech felt lacking theme and direction. Yet, what emerged was something pretty moving and a great peon to America and its potential for greatness.

I want to look at a few of the remarkable segments of the speech that I found truly memorable

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

This piece is remarkable for the mere mention of Hindus and non-believers. As opposed to Rick Warrens clunky, and poorly conceived prayer which excluded such a large portion of the population by specific and repeat mention of Christ, Obama truly intellectually looked to include all in his speech. His mentions of God were much more of the traditional ceremonial deism sort, and even his citation from scripture was really a pretty secure and grounded portion. Yet, the mention of Hindu’s and of non-believers in particular was controversial. As a former member of the most despised and mistrusted group in America (That you be the Atheists though my current Mormon affiliation does not land me much higher up on the list), just the mere acknowledgement made me cheer with joy. My friend Lisa who was watching the speech with me is currently a non-believer and I could just see her elevated and brought into the joy of the moment by the mere mention. It is vital and so beautiful to have a president that realized that the right to believe must also include and protect the right not to believer. Of course, Obama included the “So help me God” in his oath of office and is in favor of greater use of faith based charity and outreach, but fundamentally Obama seems to understand that all are protected under the laws of this land and all deserve to be treated as dutiful citizens. For too long, we have allowed those without faith to be bullied, harassed and even threatened.

I contrast the use of this starkly with a speech on faith Mitt Romney made during the primary campaign. When pressed to explain his Mormonism, Romney went to great pains to explain his Christianity and religiosity and to emphasize that “reedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” In other words, he tried to reconcile his identity within the conservative community by othering those of no faith. He basically said: My faith is different, but at least I am not an immoral non-believer who cannot possibly share in the freedom and liberty of this nation.

Obama’s speech in this point most embodies what makes it different from administrations and candidates past. It is clear that he is serious about the sort of change he speaks of.

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”

The return to speak about the Muslim faith is especially gutsy. I have heard speculation that Obama will either make a major speech on Islam within his first months in office or attend a conference on the faith and its outgrowth. It is so important to have a president that can work with the moderates and strengthen rather than weaken their resolve. It is great to have a president that does not launch “ crusades” but instead realizes that we are dealing with a battle for the minds of individuals.

“This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”

The return to the notion of every faith is beautiful and symbolic here. He is tying the concept of diversity of faith to our most basic feelings of racial justice. He is linking the two in a way that promotes plurality and true equality. By talking about racial struggles in the same breath as faith, he has made a powerful linkage.

“This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.”

This is the one God reference that perhaps unsettled me most at first. It seems to have that sort of American destiny vibe that Bush so fully imbibed. Yet, there this quote shows a refreshing amount of uncertainty and agency. Our destiny is ours to create. We have a calling from our Heavenly Father to achieve greatness. He has blessed us with opportunity and now it is our choices that reveal whether we live up to those high expectations of falter. Our destiny is in our hands and we will be judged more harshly for our failures because we had so much room for growth.

Old Posts- March 10, 2009 LDS ILLINOIS

June 9, 2009

The LDS church is NOT opposing civil union in Illinois

•March 10, 2009 • No Comments

This story of a mass e-mail written by a private member of a single LDS ward in Illinois urging fellow members to make calls to the legislature in opposition to (Nauvoo, Illinois 3rd ward) ( Incidentally the most conservative of wards because of its high mixture of members from Utah) has been circulating for a few days now, but with a front page story on The Advocate’s website, and an ABC news story it seems to have finally broken. Yet, it is important for us to differentiate fact from fiction and to realize that this is not the same as the official church policy taken in regard to proposition 8 and not an example of the church rearing up its propaganda campaign or anything of the sort suggested by others posting here.

Examples: LDS now wants to shut down civil unions in IL
The Mormon Church is at it again!

symphonyofdissent’s diary :: ::
Both of those posts contain many inaccuracies and outright lies about the scope or intention in this instance. The Advocate ( a publication I usually rely upon for solid journalism) is equally shoddy in its coverage.

Mormons Set Sights on Killing Civil Unions in Illinois

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently sent a private e-mail to its Illinois members urging them to contact state legislators and voice opposition to civil union legislation the state is currently considering. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the e-mail was sent to at least one LDS ward in Illinois and was authorized by a bishop named Chris Church.

The diaries on this site and this Advocate article make it sound like there is an official church policy disseminating these e-mails. Instead, the e-mail in question was written by a private member on the Ward webspace that is available to members and sent to all members of only that specific ward. It is true, that a Bishop has to approve of all messages that are sent not merely between a few members but to the whole ward, but this does not imply that support of this message is official ward policy. Ward e-mails tend to contain information about events or causes that may be of interest to the members of the ward and there is usually not a high level of top down control.

Moreover, it might be useful to point out exactly what a Bishop is in the LDS church. A bishop is merely a person called to a leadership position in a specific ward. He is not a paid individual or full time worker for the church. Instead, he is typically an individual who is also involved in the professional world. Bishops are individuals and just like anyone partake in political activity in their private lives; The bishop in my ward in Boston was actually involved in the Mitt Romney campaign, for instance. Thus, LDS bishops are private citizens and their actions have no say on the top down policy coming from Salt Lake City or anywhere else.

The bishop soon after allowing the e-mail to be sent out, put out another e-mail commenting on the fact that this e-mail was not meant to suggest any compulsion or official policy on the part of the church.

From: Chris Church
Date: March 4, 2009 1:58:47 PM CST
Subject: Church Position on Legislation

Members of the Church may take any action they wish concerning legislation but the Church does not take any position in relation to these issues.

Bishop Church

Update On That Mormon Email: LDS Backs Away

Moreover, a statement was issued today by LDS public affairs ( an official church source) that made it clear that the LDS church has taken no position on the Illinois legislation and that this e-mail was not a sign of official policy.

As is widely known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage. The Church has not taken a position on any legislation currently being considered by the Illinois State Legislature. The Church did not send an e-mail to its members in regards to House Bill 2234, although a false report to the contrary has been circulated. An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois Church leader to his congregation – one of 129 congregations in the state — who was free to express his own views.

No LDS campaign in Illinois

Because of all of this, the rhetoric of even illustrious and renowned organizations such as Human Rights Watch has been rather disturbing.

“It is irrefutably clear that the LDS Church is fighting an antigay crusade throughout the nation, targeting any form of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” said Bruce Bastian, a member of HRC’s board of directors and a former member of the LDS Church. “Church leaders want nothing more than to do their hateful work in secrecy, but the time has come to shine a light on their insidious efforts. If the LDS Church won’t tell the truth, we will.”

(quoted from the advocate article cited earlier)

Truly, an organization like HRC should know better than to throw around words such as an antigay “crusade.” In this case, such language is completely out of proportion and based on a distorted understanding of the position of a bishop as well as the perceived official nature of this e-mail.

If a well known group with a great reputation such as Human Rights Watch overreacted so strongly, some of the commons on blog posts were utterly disgusting and offensive. Some of the comments attempted to suggest that the church should be kicked out of the state of illinois once again. For a member or anyone who knows the history of the Mormon church, nothing but slaughter and oppression, this suggestion is akin to suggesting to a Jew that maybe he should be kicked out of spain or forced out of their communities by pogroms . It is absolutely inappropriate and we should be better than that.

Sure, some members of the church are bigoted and oppose civil union legislation in Illinois. Yet, this does not equal official policy and such messaging is not supported by the leadership of the church. I am reminded of the attempts by conservatives to smear democrats and Obama because of the DailyKos diaries that unrelated members posted. This kind of thinking is absurd no matter what the cause or issue involved. There is no Mormon conspiracy against civil union in illinois or anything else of the sort. Those fighting for rights should get the facts straight before they become needlessly bigoted in response.

_______________________

For Reference here’s the full text of the e-mail that was sent out

From: Kristy Combs
Date: March 3, 2009 12:27:59 PM CST
Subject: Civil Union bill scheduled for a hearing Thursday – calls needed

This message has been authorized for sending by Bishop Church.
The Civil Union Bill (HB 2234) has been scheduled for a hearing in the Youth and Family Committee this week on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield. If the bill is voted out of committee, it becomes eligible for a vote before the full Illinois House of Representatives. This bill will legalize civil unions in the state of Illinois, and will treat such civil unions with the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits as are afforded within marriage. In other words, civil unions will be different in name only from marriage. As has already been seen in Massachusetts, this will empower the public schools to begin teaching this lifestyle to our young children regardless of parental requests otherwise. It will also create grounds for rewriting all social mores; the current push in Massachusetts is to recognize and legalize all transgender rights (An individual in Massachusetts can now change their drivers license to the gender they believe themselves to be, regardless of actual gender, which means that confused men and women are now legally entering one another’s bathrooms and locker rooms. What kind of a safety issue is this for our children?). Furthermore, while the bill legalizes civil unions, it will be used in the courts to show discrimination and will ultimately lead to court mandated same-sex marriages.

To help defeat this bill, please call your state representative and state senator and ask that they support traditional marriage and vote against the civil unions bill. If you are unsure who your legislators are, please see the link at the end of this email.

Also, please take a moment and call the following members of the Youth and Family Committee to encourage them to vote no on this bill. We need 4 votes to keep it from passing out of the committee. And – as always, please pass this on to all who believe in protecting our families and our children. If you are interested in attending the hearing, it will be held on Thursday, March 5th at 9:00 a.m. in Springfield in Room 122B of the Capitol Building (I can give you directions to the Capitol Building if needed).

Members of the Youth and Family Committee:
Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) (Greg Harris is also the sponsor of this bill, but he needs to hear your opposition to this bill)
Chairperson
217-782-3835

Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago)
Vice-Chairperson
217-782-5962

Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)
Republican Spokesperson
217-782-1653

Rep. William D. Burns (D-Chicago)
217-782-2023

Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago)
217-782-8182

Rep. Al Riley (D-Matteson)
217-558-1007

Rep. Dave Winters (R-Rockford)
217-782-0455

Directions for identifying your legislators:
You can use the following link to identify your state legislators and their contact information: http://www.elections.il.gov/ DistrictLocator/ SelectSearchType.aspx? NavLink=1 (and enter your 9 digit zip code). If this link doesn’t work, you can use the general link http://www.ilga.gov and then click on ” legislator lookup” near the bottom of the page, then click on “by zip+4″. Type in your zip code, and you’ll see a list of your legislators. You want your state senator and state representative as they will be the ones voting on the bill.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sister Combs.

Posted in Uncategorized

LDS and civil unions

•March 6, 2009 • No Comments

I am going to write a brief post on this topic because I am fuming right now and absolutely need to do so. I will follow up with a full post on gay marriage and proposition 8, but I was just irked on to write this immediately by this latest news story hitting the net and now front page on The Advocate’s website.

http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid74341.asp

Lets look at the headline

Mormons Set Sights on Killing Civil Unions in Illinois

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently sent a private e-mail to its Illinois members urging them to contact state legislators and voice opposition to civil union legislation the state is currently considering.

This is of course inaccurate on many levels. ABC has a much more balanced take on this story and The Advocate article does later put in place all of the necessary caveats

Now, the true story is that a single e-mail was sent to a single ward. The e-mail was written by a private member and only voiced her opinion. The e-mail was approved for sending by the ward Bishop. Yet, I have a feeling the bishop will approve anything for this kind of mass e-mail unless it is pornographic, or against the church message in some clear way. This was an e-mail that could be of valid interest to many member and there was not effort to declare it official ward policy.

The bishop and a church spokesperson have quickly backed off from the e-mail with the church spokesperson stating

As is widely known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage. The Church has not taken a position on any legislation currently being considered by the Illinois State Legislature. The Church did not send an e-mail to its members in regards to House Bill 2234, although a false report to the contrary has been circulated. An e-mail was sent from a local Illinois Church leader to his congregation – one of 129 congregations in the state — who was free to express his own views.”

-Scott Trotter, Church spokesman

Still, this e-mail exploding on the same day as the proposition 8 backlash is clearly bad timing of the worst sort and sure to taint the church.

“It is irrefutably clear that the LDS Church is fighting an antigay crusade throughout the nation, targeting any form of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” said Bruce Bastian, a member of HRC’s board of directors and a former member of the LDS Church. “Church leaders want nothing more than to do their hateful work in secrecy, but the time has come to shine a light on their insidious efforts. If the LDS Church won’t tell the truth, we will.”

This is the opposite of the message we should be working on sending and yet we have totally lost control of the message over proposition 8. How can a church that is so brilliant at rallying its members to support proposition 8 in the first place and be so efficient at missionary work and so many other endeavors be utterly unable to control a media narrative?

It is my personal view, that the day after proposition 8 passed, the church should have begun to truly make an effort to live up to its words when it stated that its actions were pro-marriage and not anti-gay. The church should have taken up Equality Utah’s Common Ground proposal instead of leaving it unanswered for well over 100 days and allowing the basic rights bills to die an ignominious death in the Utah legislature

http://www.equalityutah.org/action/common.html

The church should be fighting to make it clear that it is a loving institution and should fight for the hearts and souls of those who will now be instead hardened and stiffened against the church because of its lack of compassion.

This is a true disappointment.


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