Friday, February 17, 2012

False Priests Who Oppress

It doesn't come as a surprise that LDS church leaders will be marshaling the Mormon ranks in the fight to repeal marriage equality in Washington---which, just to recap, was enacted through the proper functioning of the legislature which represents the voice of the people of Washington. The referendum process is also a legitimate process under Washington law, of course. But for a completely undemocratic institution that claims to obey, honor and sustain the law, the LDS church's efforts don't seem to include much honoring or sustaining when things don't go their way.

The church has been down this road before. The church under Heber Grant fought tooth-and-nail to maintain Prohibition, yet saw Utah casting the deciding vote for its (justified) repeal. The vast majority of the apostles during the administration of David McKay (with the notable and vocal exception of Hugh B. Brown) believed the Civil Rights Movement was a communist conspiracy designed to undermine the Republic. Future president Ezra Benson spearheaded the communist conspiracy fear-stoking efforts. McKay tried to forge a middle path of sorts. The Civil Rights Act and successive laws to protect civil rights were enacted nonetheless. Under Spencer Kimball, the church used its wealth and membership to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. While the amendment was never enacted, the core protections it sought to make part of the Constitution have become part of the law at the federal, state and local levels. In this generation, under Gordon Hinckley and now Thomas Monson, the church has sought once again to achieve self-styled martyrdom on the hill of marriage equality.

Given the likely involvement of the LDS church in the unnecessary battle to repeal marriage equality in Washington, I'd like to re-frame some Mormonspeak:

If the Mormon church does in Washington the same thing which they have done in other states---giving the bitter fruit of fear---they should expect some displays of enmity. They should also expect that their gold and silver which they have used to buy up alliances and front groups, and spread falsehoods that oppress, may allow them to reign for a season. But the day will come when they, or at least a future generation, will weep at what they have done.

And all those millions spent on the "I'm a Mormon" campaign will be largely a waste, when people see what is most important to the LDS leadership: denying civil rights and dignity to historically oppressed groups. As I wrote several days ago: more paint, smaller corner.


  1. I appreciate your blog, Paul. You write in a clear, powerful way.

    I am interested to see what kind of reactions the church will get from members if it starts another Prop 8-style campaign.

  2. They can buy anything in this world with money...

    Speaking of which, now is a good time to point out the similarities of Temple Square to Nephi's dream:

    - Men dressed in white robes
    - Dark and dreary waste land (Salt Lake valley)
    - A river of water (City Creek running along the Conference Center)
    - A fountain of water and a spacious field (the field on top of the Conference Center is adjacent to a fountain of water)

    I used to think the Conference Center was the great and spacious building. Now I think it might be the City Creek mall/condos. When I was a Mormon, I also used to think Mormons could not be inside the great and spacious building. Now I wonder if... maybe... sigh.