Bobby Parker

Explosive Revelation on Mormon Church Involvement in Prop 8

Filed By Bobby Parker | January 21, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay marriage, income, latter day saints, lesbian, LGBT, marriage, money, Mormon, Prop. 8, Salt Lake City, same-sex marriage, Thomas Monson, tithe, trial, utah

Good Morning, President Monson. Hope you slept well. Bit of bad news out of California. Seems there are some internal Church documents admitted into evidence in the Proposition 8 trial that prove we were more involved in Yes on Prop 8 than we said we were.

These documents show that leaders of the Church know that they will always lose in the Courts, because our cause is right and supported by the U.S. Constitution.

Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the multi-billion dollar megachurch (it has the largest religious auditorium in the country seating 22,000 in SLC) that pretty much runs Utah and, as we're finding out, has reached into the constitutions of many of the United States to deny equal rights to LGBT folk everywhere.

He and the other 14 men (no women in the Priesthood) who run the Presiding Councils of the Mormon Church have together experienced over 1,000 years in leadership positions at the General Authority level (they start mostly in their 40's and live to be very old men). Gives them a kind of know-it-all attitude. They think they've seen and experienced everything there is to experience in the far flung church Joseph Smith dreamed up in the early 1800's. And because they speak for God, or so they believe, 13 million members in more than 160 countries fall in line with orders from the headquarters of the Church... or they leave. There is no middle ground.

With billions in tithes and no one, except God, to tell them no, they have been hell-bent on an anti-homosexual agenda for decades. They have a satellite system unrivaled in the U.S. with the ability to beam their leaders' words to the 6 million members served by stake centers in the U.S. and Canada (more than 4,000). Since everyone in the Church believes that Thomas S. Monson speaks for God, when he speaks the debate is over...whether he and the others are stuck in another time or not makes no difference.
As an example of how the satellite system works, there are somewhere around 400,000 Mormons in Arizona. The Sunday before the Tuesday election in 2008, all of them were asked to go to their stake centers at 10:00 A.M. to hear the President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles tell them to vote yes on Prop 102. This was also done throughout California.

So when the Church asked members to give of time and money to defeat the homosexual agenda in California, Arizona, Florida, and other states, they did... to the tune of more than $23,000,000 in CA. Former friends/acquaintances of mine in Arizona, 70 of them, gave $10,000 each to pass Prop 102 here. Others gave $100,000 to $500,000. (As a result the anti-LGBT group in the Greater Phoenix area has upwards of $7,000,000 still in their coffers after an easy and inexpensive win here. That money is going to buy a lot of grief for us in the future.)

Pointing out to the world through the trial in San Francisco just how heavy-handed the Church has been in all of this will help to limit their reach in the future. They hate bad publicity. I can't wait for 8: The Mormon Proposition to premiere at Sundance. Word is it was the first movie to completely sell out!

If it sounds like I'm angry, I am! Reason one for my anger is that Mormons drive their young LGBT people to commit suicide. Utah has the highest rate of suicides among young men ages 15-25 of any state in the nation. It isn't that they'd rather be dead than continue the discrimination they feel - they know death is the worst answer - but so many, many times it keeps coming up as the only way they can find to solve the problem of being homosexual in a church that hates homosexuals. When you are faced with losing your family, your friends, your church, and your God, perhaps in all too many cases death is the least painful option.

These 15 Brethren who lead the Church say they love us, but they don't want us to have companions, hold hands, show our love in a kiss, and above all we must remain celibate the rest of our lives. That is so unacceptable it is not worth commenting on further. (They threw us a bone by saying they were against discrimination in housing and employment, only after the SLC Council was unanimously in favor of the ordinance.)

The second reason is that I know thousands of loving Mormons who don't hate me and would be willing to live with me the way I am, but if they do so they run afoul of HQ. The goal for Mormons is Eternal Life with their companion and limitless progeny, married in the temple for all time and eternity. The limitless progeny deal would be kinda screwed if they let two men or two women marry. How to get around that sticking point is probably keeping some of them up at night.

To get into the temple one of the main things you need to do is commit to paying a full tithing, which is 10% of your gross income. You must also pledge to support your Priesthood leaders and affirm that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God and abide by his prophetic words.

Follow the Prophet and give money or no eternal live for you!

I've investigated ten different churches since coming out. None of them have the kind of tithing hold over the congregation that the LDS have. Each year the Mormon bishop calls you in to a "tithing settlement" meeting. You discuss whether or not you have paid a "full tithe" in the past year. If you have, then you can continue to go to the temple. If you haven't you are encouraged to repent and do so and you're out of luck on getting a recommend.

Imagine the financial power that gives the Church. They can determine down to the smallest amount how much money they will have coming in and with calculations for the economy move ahead with plans to spend it... on whatever the Prophet deems appropriate.

Recently they instituted a "bar code" for each Temple Recommend so that when you go to the temple you swipe your recommend and instantly the Church has statistics of how many people are attending the temple (and are full tithe payers) and can do all kinds of calculations from that.

If you have that detailed financial info on members of your flock, you can then call in members of the Church "in good standing," meaning they are full tithe payers, and knowing exactly how much they have given you can figure out how much they can afford to give to a special cause - give until it hurts, mind you - and if the Priesthood asks, they will give, as was seen during the elections of 2008. Priesthood leaders called couples in and asked for certain amounts they knew they could pay.

Lastly, this particular church, because of the brilliance of the Prophet Joseph Smith who started it, and the consummate and extensive business acumen of the fifteen men who run the Church, is one of the most destructive forces in our nation where civil rights are concerned. They didn't accept the civil rights of Blacks until ten years after the movement attained legal equality. (The real problem I learned was not so much that they didn't want Blacks in the temples, they didn't want Blacks marrying Whites in the temples!) They fought against the Equal Rights Amendment for women. Their final stand is against homosexuals.

I admire all of those who are fighting the good fight for equality, and hope that this trial in San Francisco paints the Mormons for the narrow-minded group they are, denying them the opportunity to hide behind the church in matters of state.


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micheal wright | January 21, 2010 5:04 PM

Bobby Parker's article contains many gross over-statements. While I agree that the current policy of the LDS Church is ill-conceived and ill-informed from both a scientific and public relations point of view, and impairs the full evercise of civil rights for same-sex couples, I feel that I must call Bobby on many of his mis-statements: He says:

1- "Everyone in the Church believes that Pres. Monson speaks for God" - not so. Almost all Mormons believe that he endeavors to seek inspiration and is, with regard to matters of Church policy, the one who ultimately decides matters of Church policy. He is wise and decent, but not infallible, nor does he profess to be.

2- "13 million members... fall in line with the church leaders or they leave". Another gross over-statement. Some do, but many don't agree with all the teachings. Each member is at liberty to accept or reject counsel from the leadership.

3- "The Sunday before the Tuesday election all of them were asked to go to their Stake Centers to hear the President of the Quorum of the Twelve tell them to vote yes on Prop. 102". Another over-statement. What did happen is that in some Wards there was an announcement of a meeting members were invited to that evening where some Church leaders, along with ministers from other religions, spoke in favor of Prop. 102. I didn't even hear about the meeting until after it was over.

4- "Mormons drive their young men to commit suicide." A extreme over-statement. I think that some commit suicide because of their distress at being gay in a culture that doesn't accept their lifestyle, and that a part of that culture is their Mormon affiliation. But to suggest that all Mormons, or even many Mormons, bully or press young gay men into suicide is a gross over-statement.

5- ". . . if the Priesthood asks [for money], they will give." Also an over-statement. Some will do that, some won't. I know of members who would not give money, even when asked, and many who were not even asked to give money, like myself.

6- "They didn't accept civil rights of Blacks until ten years after the movement attained legal equality. (The real problem I learned was not so much that they didn't want Blacks in the temples, they didn't want Blacks marrying Whites in the temples!)" I have no idea where Bobby got this bit of speculation. It is true that as a matter of Church policy Black men were not given the Priesthood until 1976 when the policy was changed, but the Church did recognize the civil rights laws as the law evolved. And there is nowhere that any evidence exists, either in Church documents or even hearsay from witnesses, that the issue of inter-racial marriage was behind the Priesthood issue. It is true that there are unofficial statements by some ultra-conservative church leaders in the first half of the 20th Century discouraging inter-racial marriage, as there were such views throughout the country. But that is a far cry from a suggestion that this was official Church policy and it certainly was not the prevailing view after the 1950's.

While it is important to advocate for change in Church policy toward a more tolerant view of LGBT issues, including same-sex marriage as a civil right, it is equally important that their position be based on fact and not hyperbole or over-statement. Otherwise, those many good and faithful Mormons who are supportive of same-sex marriage, while also supporting the church and patiently advocating for change in its policy, will lose credibility and thereby lose a voice in advocating for change.

I appreciate why there is anger among the LGBT community for the church's role in influencing elections, but we should take as an example how the organizations advocating for equal rights for African-Americans approached the church and were able to influence the change in policy in the 60s and 70s. It is important to not allow hearsay and supposition to enter into the debate, lest we will be marginalized and less effective in bringing about change.

Mike wrote: 1- "Everyone in the Church believes that Pres. Monson speaks for God" - not so. Almost all Mormons believe that he endeavors to seek inspiration and is, with regard to matters of Church policy, the one who ultimately decides matters of Church policy. He is wise and decent, but not infallible, nor does he profess to be.

Response: I freely admit that you are a wonderful exception to 'everyone in the Church.' Thank God for that! There are others like you, but in reality you are few in number. If you asked every active, recommend-carrying Mormon you came up to if the Prophet speaks for God they will say he does. That's one of the reasons they were able to get a recommend. He is the 'Lord's mouthpiece' on the earth today according to them. Those who want to give him an 'out' will hold forth that he is just human and can make errors. Truly, that is what is happening. He and the Church are crossways with God and although he has done wonderful things as a former bishop and as an influential member of the Church, he also led the Church on the campaign to deny us our civil rights. Not a good man in that.

Mike wrote: 2- "13 million members... fall in line with the church leaders or they leave". Another gross over-statement. Some do, but many don't agree with all the teachings. Each member is at liberty to accept or reject counsel from the leadership.

Response: Indeed the Church is in more trouble than it admits to publicly. It is losing a whole generation of young people to inactivity of very high proportions, plus a huge percentage of the 13 million does not attend church regularly. But those who hold recommends do what the Prophet says.

Mike wrote: 3- "The Sunday before the Tuesday election all of them were asked to go to their Stake Centers to hear the President of the Quorum of the Twelve tell them to vote yes on Prop. 102". Another over-statement. What did happen is that in some Wards there was an announcement of a meeting members were invited to that evening where some Church leaders, along with ministers from other religions, spoke in favor of Prop. 102. I didn't even hear about the meeting until after it was over.

Response: Wrong! There was what I thought was a statewide satellite conference viewed by the majority of the 400,000 members in Arizona beamed from Salt Lake City that Sunday morning. My whole stake and I went and heard President Packer's talk.

Mike wrote: 4- "Mormons drive their young men to commit suicide." A extreme over-statement. I think that some commit suicide because of their distress at being gay in a culture that doesn't accept their lifestyle, and that a part of that culture is their Mormon affiliation. But to suggest that all Mormons, or even many Mormons, bully or press young gay men into suicide is a gross over-statement.

Response: Mormons do drive their young to commit suicide as is borne out by the statistics on suicide that come out of Utah. One of my young gay Mormon former Youth Guide admitted to having to put together an anti-suicide pact with his friends to help keep them all alive through the persecution. Admittedly, our young years are fraught with anxiety and challenges, but adding the fact that a youth is gay into that mix in such a homophobic closed society as is found within the active members of the Church is deadly to far too many.

Miek wrote: 5- ". . . if the Priesthood asks [for money], they will give." Also an over-statement. Some will do that, some won't. I know of members who would not give money, even when asked, and many who were not even asked to give money, like myself.

Response: It is the exception you speak of. In the group of people that I ran around with as an active member of the Church, if we were asked for money, we would give until it hurt.

Mike wrote: 6- "They didn't accept civil rights of Blacks until ten years after the movement attained legal equality. (The real problem I learned was not so much that they didn't want Blacks in the temples, they didn't want Blacks marrying Whites in the temples!)" I have no idea where Bobby got this bit of speculation. It is true that as a matter of Church policy Black men were not given the Priesthood until 1976 when the policy was changed, but the Church did recognize the civil rights laws as the law evolved. And there is nowhere that any evidence exists, either in Church documents or even hearsay from witnesses, that the issue of inter-racial marriage was behind the Priesthood issue. It is true that there are unofficial statements by some ultra-conservative church leaders in the first half of the 20th Century discouraging inter-racial marriage, as there were such views throughout the country. But that is a far cry from a suggestion that this was official Church policy and it certainly was not the prevailing view after the 1950's.

Response: The policy was changed only after President Kimball was able to get a majority to go with him. He was wise in waiting until the makeup of the other 14 men running the Church was such that they would finally agree as a body with him that it was time. Time and tide wait for no man, and that is true of The Brethren. It is an interesting side note that I read a long dissertation on the inner thinking and actions of leadership of the Church over its history concerning whites and blacks marrying. That was anathema to the leadership until 1976, when Kimball got all of their eggs together in one basket on this. Even then the reaction around the Church was not good...many left the Church because of it. But the reality was that if the Church wanted to take its message into the far reaches of the earth, the policy on Blacks had to be changed...think Brazil which now has more than a million members, Africa, India...I joined the Church shortly after President Kimball shared his vision of a worldwide missionary church. From the get go my command was 'lenghthen my stride.'

Mike wrote: While it is important to advocate for change in Church policy toward a more tolerant view of LGBT issues, including same-sex marriage as a civil right, it is equally important that their position be based on fact and not hyperbole or over-statement. Otherwise, those many good and faithful Mormons who are supportive of same-sex marriage, while also supporting the church and patiently advocating for change in its policy, will lose credibility and thereby lose a voice in advocating for change.

Response: People don't listen to facts. They all know the facts that God created us all equal. Demonizing homosexuality is an overstatement as well. It is long past waiting patiently. What has waiting patiently ever really gotten us except a few bones here and there.

Mike wrote: I appreciate why there is anger among the LGBT community for the church's role in influencing elections, but we should take as an example how the organizations advocating for equal rights for African-Americans approached the church and were able to influence the change in policy in the 60s and 70s. It is important to not allow hearsay and supposition to enter into the debate, lest we will be marginalized and less effective in bringing about change.

Response: The Church ONLY changes policy when confronted on all sides by public opinion that has changed. Reasoning with the unreasonable does not work, when doctrine is concerned.

In the end, we couldn't be less effective than we are at bringing change to the Church. Whatever we have done in the past is not working. The only way to make the Church change is to embarrass it in the public eye...because, after all, we're talking about 15 old men here, who hate to be wrong, who fight change on every side...unless it benefits the bottom line.

I appreciate the friendship of my moderate and liberal Church friends. It gives me the only ray of hope in a very dark scenario. If overstatement turns out to be too much, understatement is even worse. I'm not an intellectual and am just trying to live the rest of my life in a way that will help me to be happier. The Church is an impediment to that, and if it were not for my family I would leave it in an instant.

Micheal - clearly you are not a "Utah" Mormon. For those living in the Zion corridor, this is reality. For those who are the offspring of multiple generations of Saints, which includes many living in AZ and surrounding states, this is reality. Those members who are converts or children of converts, those who live surrounded by "gentiles" or who are "California" Mormons may feel free to be "cafeteria" Mormons and disagree with church leadership or cultivate their own opinions, but that is the exception, not the rule in the church. I say bully for you if you feel empowered to think for yourself, as you should, and I wish all Mormons would, but you are deluded if you think the church encourages that. The general authorities give lipservice, they say what is going to make the church look good, but they hold their members close and know that "when the prophet speaks, the thinking is done."

I'm not a Mormon. I was raised Jehovah's Witness, so I do know a thing or two about a strict religious organization governed by a central collective of old men who allow no dissent and who think they speak for God. It took me a decade and a half to get over the indoctrination.

What strikes me as curious is both organizations had segregationist leanings when society at large did. Now both frown on that, because, I guess, God saw the light, and the evils of mix marriages are not so evil after all. Witnesses describe this sudden change in doctrine as - "The Truth keeps getting brighter." I describe it as bullcrap.

Now there is a new evil, a new devil poised to bring down society as we know it. Same sex marriage. The Mormons have clearly been actively working to keep this discrimination going as long as they can. The Jehovah's Witnesses, to their credit, abhor politics and never vote. They keep their religion in the church were it belongs, and occasionally annoying folks early Saturday morning (Just don't answer the bell, they'll go away).

The Mormons could learn a thing or two about keeping Caesar's things completely separate from God's things.

While I appreciate your anger, I think it is unfair to make general blanketing statements about a very large, diverse group of people. It is one thing to decry policy and practice, it is a completely different thing to disparage an entire religion, calling into question its authenticity and presuming to know the intentions of every member.

In light of this and the deplorable actions of The Church... as a member, I'm revoking my membership and I kinda want the world to see and hopefully encourage others to do so as well. You can follow it here;

http://www.dearthomassmonson.com

@micheal wright: You're the rare liberal but believing Mormon. As a lifelong LDS member who mentally disaffected years ago but can't "come out" as an unbeliever because it would cost me my entire family, I agree with everything in this post. Mormonism is psychologically harmful. The level of cognitive dissonance you have to live with is unbelievable, especially if you are not white, heterosexual, and male.

this is such a lie. I am Mormon, have been since i was born and i can tell you, WE CAN VOTE HOWEVER WE WANT. In fact, the church tells people to vote their conscience. We can DONATE MONEY WHERE WE WANT. If a member of the church chooses to donate money you cannot state that as "the church's money". that is a private donation. get a life and stop making stuff up!
I am a temple attending, active, returned missionary and guess what, i have gay family members and friends who I LOVE. That love in no way puts me at odds with a church that teaches acceptance. I know you think we dont accept people. but have you really never heard the term Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin?
No matter what my individual belief is on homosexuality, I came to it the same as you did. I was influenced by people who i love and trust, and then I made my own evaluation. I accept yours, but I cannot accept your false accusations that the church basically forces people to do its bidding. It just DOES NOT happen.