The Mormon Church vs. the rights of homosexuals
— A e-mail poster to an internet list reported that in sacrament meeting on 23 January the bishop said that ten families from each ward [and they were named from the pulpit] were to attend a special meeting in the stake center that evening to raise money for a new assessment to support Proposition 22. The families named were told to bring their checkbooks.
— A poster reports to an e-mail list that when he arrives at stake conference at the stake center the entrances are surrounded by “Yes on Prop 22” lawn signs. Boy Scouts, in uniform, are at tables inside the building registering new voters. One of the counselors in the stake presidency was reported to have “found a way to work into his talk a condemnation to anyone who doesn’t vote yes on 22.”
— A Southern California reports that he received a phone call on 24 January from his priesthood leader, a confirmation of the post above. He is told that the stake president had a phone call the day before from a member of the Area Presidency. The member was told that the Area President told the Stake President that President Hinckley and the general authorities would like members to donate more money so they can make a big push with TV ads. The member was told that stake president was asked for and committed to collect $15,000 to $20,000 to be sent by the stake by Monday the 28th of January. The member was asked to contribute $200, and was told that a donation slip would be mailed to him so that he could do so.
— In response to the post just above, a poster responds that his ward was accessed an additional $12,000 in this second round of assessments.
— An article in the 25 January issue of the Daily Universe, the student paper at Mormon Church owned Brigham Young University, describes student efforts to support the “California same-sex marriage issue despite opposition and a lack of official university support. Jean Wooley, a student at BYU from California and an intern at the Jacobsen Center for Service and Learning is spearheading student efforts.” The article reports that the university declined a request from Wooley to provide a list of students from California. Michael Orme, described in the article as associate BYU general council, advised that he university not provide the list. “The decision not to get involved is a decision driven as much by policy and public relations as it is by legal concerns, Orme is quoted as stating. The article further states, “Orme also said that BYU’s decision to remain neutral is consistent with the role of non-profit organizations in political matters and elections.” Why this does not apply to the church’s actions in California, since the church is also a non-profit organization is not discussed in the article. The article notes that Wooley and other student employees have been given access to university computers after open hours at the Jacobsen Center to send e-mail to California students encouraging them to become educated on the issues surrounding Proposition 22 and to vote. The email does not say that they should vote in any particular way. The existing policy allows access to computers for student employees of the Jacobsen Center after open hours. One student, a freshman from Redlands, California, Ryan Belka, is quoted as saying, “I am sick of receiving e-mail about the subject. This is harassment.” How much e-mail has been sent to each student is not stated.
— A member reports to an e-mail list that on 24 January while doing errands she drove by eight active members homes and that only one, a high councilman, has one of the signs in their yard supporting Proposition 22 that were made available in church earlier.
— A member reports to an e-mail list on 27 January that she was contacted by the wife of the ward coordinator to let her and her husband know about ward meetings about the proposition. “I told her in polite but vivid terms that we were not in agreement with the church’s position and that we would not be joining them for their meetings and activities supporting Prop. 22. She politely thanked me and that was that. We make no secret of our opposition, although we have made a point not to thrust ourselves on bayonets. If people want to talk with us about it, we tell them what we think. That’s at church. Outside church, we’ve attended anti-22 fundraising activities and donated money.”
— An e-mail poster reports to a list on 28 January about a family friend, who is an active church member, gay and living church standards. The young man told them how upset he was over the continuing Proposition 22 pitches his ward was getting in church meetings. He recently left a Sunday meeting, sat in the foyer and cried. A woman, asking what was wrong, asked him if he planned on marrying a man, and when he said no, she told him he didn’t need to be upset then. He explained that even so, this was an attack on him, even if he always lived church standards. Her response was that he needed to stop being promiscuous and watching gay videos. When he protested that he did not, she said that she knew that all gay people did this because her hairdresser was gay and that is what he does. Following this he started attending a ward in the LA area though he doesn’t live there. The poster said that their friend reports to them that when the LA area bishop brings up Proposition 22, that nearly half the ward gets up and walks out.
— A Central Valley member reports that his ward’s priesthood and Relief Society met together for the third hour on 30 January. After the opening prayer, the bishop gave 10 minutes to the ward coordinator for the yes on Knight effort. The coordinator announced that he had taken the printed ward directory and cross referenced it with a list of registered voters he had obtained. He then created a list of names and numbers for each family in the ward to call about voting yes on Proposition 22. The list given the poster’s family consisted of six pages of names and numbers printed front and back and a cover letter thanking him for volunteering. The writer notes: “This was conducted during official church meeting time with the bishop’s full approval and direction. Ward lists were used in express prohibition to the General Handbook. I was not given an option to accept or decline ‘volunteering’.”
— An e-mail poster on 30 January reports that it was announced in his ward, in Sacrament Meeting, over the pulpit, that all ward members aged 15 and over were encouraged to meet on the evening of the 30th in the bishop’s law office to do phonebanking in support of Proposition 22. The list given the poster’s family consisted of six pages of names and numbers printed front and back and a cover letter thanking him for volunteering. The writer notes: “This was conducted during official church meeting time with the bishop’s full approval and direction. Ward lists were used in express prohibition to the General Handbook. I was not given an option to accept or decline ‘volunteering’.”
— Another e-mail poster on 30 January reports that it was also announced in his ward Sacrament meeting over the pulpit that all ward members aged 15 and older were encouraged to meet the next day, Monday evening, at the bishop’s law office to do phonebanking in support of Proposition 22. Members were asked to bring cellular phones if they have one. It was announced that it was an official teen service project. Pizza will be served. [Traditionally, Monday evening is Family Home Evening for Mormon families, an official church program where families are encouraged to spend time together in lessons and activities.]
These are admittedly scattered reports and conclusions are difficult and speculative. I have made a deliberate attempt to be factual in my descriptions of events and to avoid editorial comment of my own.
Please forward new information, or corrections to the e-mail address above. Thank you.
The brief quotations from the Church Handbook of Instructions are to illustrate official Church policy on political activities of the church and its members. The brief quotes are quoted under the “fair use doctrine” of copyright law, and are not intended to deprive The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or its copyright agent, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., of any of their legal rights under the US Copyright Act of 1976, or as amended 26 June 1992, or as amended 27 October 1998. [US Code, Title 17]