The first few decades in the history of the mormon church are truly remarkable. It is an example of religious bigotry at it's finest. The mormons were run from state to state, being driven out eventually by the other 'god fearing' people of those states. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois...in each state, mobs of religious people gathered to drive the mormons out. The efforts became increasingly worse, until in Missouri the governor of the state issued the 'Extermination Order'...making it legal for citizens of Missouri to kill mormons on sight. After this, the Mormons were once and for all run out of the US when their fair town of Nauvoo was utterly destroyed, and large numbers of their membership persecuated and even killed. This is what prompted them to leave what was then the United States and settle in what is now Utah. The mormons were true victims of some of the worst religiously motivated persecution ever conducted in the history of the US.
After all of this persecution...after leaving the US in order to find religious freedom...the mormons then had to face one more attack. When Utah was up for statehood, the US challenged their right to have plural marriages, being spurred on by those same religions that had run the mormons out in the first place. The mormons were practicing polygamy as part of their religious beliefs. In order to become a state, the mormons had to quit the practice. They did so, more or less...at least the official church stand was against the practice. While this was happening, many mormon leaders spoke very passionately about how the government should stay out of people's private and personal matters. Ironic, no?
Now...jump ahead 160 years and you find a mormon church that has apparently forgotten what it was like to be an unwanted minority. You find a church that is so large and financially motivated that it has decided that it has no problem filling the 'bully' role that other religious groups had played on them for years. The mormon church must feel that what happened to them was fair game...that it is ok to be a bully and mistreat others...denying them rights and freedoms.
This election we watched the mormon church pump millions of dollars into states that had propositions banning gay marriage. The mormon church was instrumental in the passage of these bills. They were able to twist the truth and move their big PR department against a minority group in this country and wage a battle to prevent, and in California, take away their rights. The mormon church leadership actively called on it's congregation to do the entirely unamerican act of voting away fellow citizens rights.
The mormon church is shameful in it's actions and deceitful in it's motivations, however. We heard the proponants of Prop 8 (in Cali) call for this ammendment because they wished to preserve the 'sanctity of marriage'. Well...here is the deciet...the mormons already have some disdain for civil marriages. You see...mormons do not believe that the civil marriage vows taken by people are sufficient anyway. Mormons have their own wedding ceremonies in their temples...only temple worthy mormons can have them or even attend them. AND...if you have had a civil marriage, you are encouraged to make yourself worthy for the temple where you can get what is called a sealing...a renewal of your vows using the mormon vows. While legally the original marriage stands up...most mormons celebrate their sealing as their anniversary, not their civil ceremony. So you see, the mormons are lying when they say they wish to preserve the sanctity of civil marriages...they already deny the sanctity of civil marriages. Mormons believe they are married forever, but god will only accept their temple marriages...which makes me ask why gay people having civil marriages threatens the mormon's marriages at all...they are already different and given to specific 'worthy' people.
In other words...the mormons spent millions on the premise that they were trying to preserve marriage...when they quite obviously do not regard civil marriages highly in the first place. They have their own ceremonies that are quite different from the civil ones. And, they already have a view of those civil marriages being inferior, in gods eyes, to their own.
If you look at this fact...you see that there must have been something else motivating this action. How about just plain hate? Mormons have a terrible track record regarding homosexuals. Young mormons who believe they are gay have very high suicide rates because of the hateful way the church deals with the subject...basically painting a dark and dire picture for a gay person in the eyes of the mormon's god. If their own members who are struggling with homosexuality (as if it were a disease) find no better solution than suicide, then it is fair to say that the mormon treatment of non-member gays will be equal if not worse. Oh, it is a message they try to give 'lovingly'...if one can lovingly condemn you to hell. Which is what they believe and teach. A young gay mormon has to face the fact that they are hellbound. Even their own families will support the church's view. I watched mormon families disown and turn their backs on their 'lost' children all of the time. I saw this group of people who allegedly promotes 'family values' support the disowning of pregant teenage daughters and gay sons. I have seen first hand the 'love' the mormon church gives and teaches...very conditional.
The mormon church mobilized out of fear and hatred. They also mobilized because if the nation relaxes much more, their 19th century set of beliefs will be less and less relevent. If people begin to tolerate homosexuality...then they will not accept the mormons 'hellbound gays' message when the missionaries knock on their door, among other increasingly outdated tenets of their faith. I also think the mormon church will jump at a chance to be able to join other religions in a common cause...no matter how hateful and wrong they are. Mormons are not even regarded as christians by most other chrisitians, so it pads a mormons ego and status when they can stand side by side other religions for a cause. I think the mormon ego really searches for those times when it can be counted as a 'real chrisitan' church. Forget that their acts of intolerance are pretty much against the teachings of the savior they claim to love and follow.
As an aside, I want to recall someone who showed great courage in a similar fight against the mormons. We recall Sonya Johnson...the mormon woman who publically disagreed with the mormon leadership's opposal of the ERA campaigns in the late 70s. The church actively campaigned agains the ERA (Equal Rights Ammendment), playing on people's fears and anxieties. When Sonya spoke out in favor of the ERA and disagreed with her church's interference in governmental matters...she was ex-communicated from the church. She lost family and friends and was publically smeared by the church. It was sad to watch a church act as it did in political interests...one would think that a church is there for the individual, not the issues. But, nope...the church would rather cast someone who disagrees aside, rather than respect her views and still love and accept her.
I bring her up because that sums up the mormon church...complete agreement or you are not part of us. She disagreed on a political issue...not doctrinal (the mormons will say disagreeing with their leaders IS a doctrinal issue...which is also revealing). It does not take much to see that actions like those are going to get membership lock-stepping without ever really thinking about whether they should nor not. It also does not take too much to see that such a view is outdated and doomed to fail. The mormon church is not what it once was. Their young people are not staying among the ranks like they used to. They get out into the real world and it is getting more and more apparent to them that the views and teachings of the church are from a different place and time...thus making it also apparent that a god with a knowledge of mankind's progress certainly did not have any hand in the mormons' distictly 19th centruy American viewpoints. Not to mention having the information about their chruch that was kept from them that they can now assimilate from the internet. When it comes to mormonism, I will borrow the old X-File stag line; 'The Truth is Out There'.
But if you look at the history of the mormons...the real persecution they faced in early America at the hands of religious bigots who, in the case of missouri, were perfectly willing to kill mormons in the name of their god...you would think that mormons would know better than to persecute others in the name of their own god. You would think that the lessons of those times would make the mormons one of the most outspoken groups protecting the rights of minorities. Not so, obviously.
The mormons are a bigotted and hateful people, collectively. Individually, they are typically kind and friendly. I have no problem with individual mormons. If you look at the Sonya Johnson example...if they speak out agains ttheir church, they risk being attacked and discarded. All mormons spend a large amount of their time trying to be what the church expects of them, rather than just being who they are. And this is why those good mormon neighbors of yours, who seem so kind and friendly, could be seen out on corners calling on their fellow Americans to deny another group's rights. Mormons all want really badly to be good mormons...and in this case, bieng a good mormon meant being hateful to gays. No two ways around it. Historically they look just as bad...the mormons kept black men from holding their preisthood...and it should be noted that all worthy male members over the age of 12 hold the priesthood. Worthy means living the gospel, and up until 1978 it meant also not being black. They believe that dark skin is a curse from god. They still believe this...they just believe that god is now allowing blacks to hold the priesthood. Hehe...that's right, it was not them that was bigotted, it was god.
And that does seem to sum the mormons up. They are not against gay people, their god is. They were not against black people, their god was. Well, it is a cop out...god, the all powerful, all bigotted scapegoat supreme. Any mormon who really values what America is all about...that our constitutiuon is not there just to allow their chruch to be free...that it is there to allow others to be free from churches and imposed morality as well...needs to wake up and call your church out on it. Call them wrong...and then watch them kick you out. And maybe then you will see just how manmade and fallible your church is, and keeps proving itself.
Shame on the mormon church for forgetting the lessons it should have learned about tolerance. Shame on individual mormons for letting your church teach you to hate others. Shame on anyone who says they are for family values and the sanctitiy of marriage who now just voted to dissolve over 18,000 marriages. Shame on the mormons for being unamerican. All of America was watching, however.
Now the good news...10 years ago this would not have been this close. 20 years ago it would not have been on the ballot. The gay rights movement has come so far so fast...it is really winning. This was a victory, when all is said and done. It is a victory to expose the religious right as liars and people hateful and unamerican enough to vote to take away their fellow citizens rights. The youth fell firmly in favor of gay rights, and was shown how out of touch the religious right is...that bodes well for our future, as the youth will distrust the religious agenda more and more. Those church people who think america is one big christian viewpoint have seen that millions of their fellow americans...nearly half of all voters...do think that gay people deserve this right...and it is the youth who are leading that. If you would have removed the votes of people over 65, prop 8 would have failed monumentally. So, it is a battle of attrition...and quite frankly, waiting for outdated ideas born of tradition rather than right and just to die out. Our youth cannot be made to fear homosexuals, because they all have homosexual friends who they already no they needn't fear. The world has changed over the last few generations, and for the better. The old views will die out with those who held them, just like those who promoted slavery and other outdated ideas that have been cast aside. Soon, the idea of gay people being denied rights will be a memory, and they will rightfully be nothing more than our fellow citizens, as they should be.
(Note: Since we have been speaking out against prop 8, my family and I have been called quite a few names. Some of them are quite vulgar...but I do want to address one that I have been called a few times lately. I am not a "faggot" (seems to be the term the religious prefer to yell at those of us standing up for antoher group's civil rights). I know that when you stand their with your bible clenched in one hand, your face red, your mouth spewing wonderful things like "fudge packers" and "hope you all die of aids, the fag plague"...and then you pull the ace out of the hole and call me a "faggot" you think you have scored a point. Not so. You see, I am not homosexual. I am married and straight. My wife is not gay. I have 4 teenage kids, one serving in the Navy...who are not gay (although I want to thank those several christians who told me they "hope my kids all turn gay, get aids and die"...two different christians told me this, with their group of rabid supporters nodding and smiling. If my kids determine they are gay, I will love them and support them just as I do today. The fact you hope they get sick and die speaks volumes about you, however.). We are simply being human beings. We are putting humanity...our genuine feelings and emotions...our views of just and unjust...first. We are not using a set of ancient laws and outdated morals to view the world through. We simply see that our fellow citizens, who happen to be homosexual, are facing a serious threat to their rights...and are struggling just to get the rights they deserve in the first place. We are just people who see America as a place of freedom...not a place for us to tell others how they should think and act. We see a segemnt of religious people in america acting completely unamerican by waging war against people's personal rights, and we have reacted. Calling me gay or "faggot" does not hurt me. While the term "faggot" is meant to be offensive much like a certain "N" word was used against African Americans...calling me gay does not hurt my feelings at all. And your judgement of me means so little anyway, considering I know how little you regard the rights of your fellow americans. But, know this, I would so much rather be counted among their ranks then the ranks of religious bigots who turned out to show just how unamerican they can be.)