I’m on both sides of a huge issue thats run amok in California.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Mormon.
LDS.
That’s me.
So be it.
I also voted no on Prop 8.
I can understand the frustration of my fellow Californians who also voted No on 8. I can understand the need to place blame on a group of people. And I can understand that us Mormons are convenient. Not many people fully understand [or care to understand] Mormons. Many people hate on us for no reason, or for really retarded ones. Many people hear rumors about us and just run with that. As I was telling some friends the other day, some people out there in the world truly believe that Mormons have horns growing out of our heads. Or that we’re not allowed to dance. Or that we’re practicing polygamy. [No thanks to HBO for that one.] So I understand that many people will say “Yea, fuck Mormons! They hate gays!” and not ask questions. For example, a bulletin posted by my dear friend on myspace. I know she didn’t write this, so I’m not directly criticizing her. Well, maybe a bit, but more on that later.

“The Mormon Church spent heavily in California to get Prop 8 (the state Constitutional amendment which bans gay marriage) passed.

However, according to the IRS, “no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying).

That’s right, folks. The Mormon Church by purchasing ads specifically for promoting the passage of Prop 8 – according to the IRS – should lose it’s tax exempt status.

Please sign this petition which calls upon the IRS to follow the law and strip the Mormon Church of it’s tax exempt status:

http://www.mormonsstoleourrights.com/

Please repost.”

There are several problems I have with this post, and the website that it supports.
First and foremost, none of the church’s money was used. Nowhere on the site nor in any of the news articles it links to does it say that the church used any church funds. The money that supposedly comes from the LDS church was all donated by individuals. Yes, they happened to be Mormon. Yes, Mormons are generally conservative. But the money came out of individual members’ pockets.
Also, the site goes on about how Mormons told lies to support Yes on 8. But I’m pretty sure all campaign material [signs, commercials, etc.] was organized by official Yes on 8 campaigners. Sure, some of them may have been Mormon. But I don’t think they all were. It’s not like missionaries were going door to door telling people these things.
Saying that Mormons have decided to start oppressing people after years of persecution is a little ridiculous. The site says that 300 Mormons and 1 Mormon celebrity have shown they’re opposition to No on 8 and support gay rights. I can promise you that the number is so much higher than that. That whole paragraph is just stupid, I’m sorry.
The site goes on to say that Mormons send their gay teens to “conversion camps”. That’s probably true in some cases. But Mormons are not the only religious groups to do that. More “mainstream” Christian denominations have been supporting that for years. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying don’t pinpoint one religion for something that is more mainstream than we’d all like to think.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints never made an official statement or endorsement of Prop 8. None of the church’s funds were used to support the campaign. It was private donations from people who were Mormon. If a bunch of Jewish people donated their own money to a cause you didn’t believe in, would you try to shut down their religion? I didn’t think so.

On a more personal note, I am scared shitless to post this. Before I was just going to be a little vague on where I stood and simply say that it hurt my feelings, but after looking at the site and doing some more research on the issue, I have to say that blaming the Mormon church is wrong and incorrect. Not to mention a little desperate and stupid. Again, I voted No on 8, and I support gay rights all the way. [as you may have noticed in my previous post about the Pride Parade] But I’m still Mormon. And I feel like I have to defend myself. I shouldn’t have to feel that way, but I do. And I’m seriously truly hurt that my friend, who I figured would have a steady head about this, would post that bulletin. Maybe she didn’t bother researching it, I dunno, but I was really shocked to see it coming from her. And not just her, anyone really. I mean, the site that the bulletin linked to even said it was unclear as to whether or not the church violated any laws. So what’s the point?
I don’t think that Mormons should be afraid to go to temple because of protestor’s outside our place of worship. I don’t think I should have to make excuses for myself or reassure people of how I voted.
And it sucks.
Being on both sides of something this huge is hard. Not just for me, but for all the other Mormons out there who I know support gay rights. Even for the other general Christians I know who voted Yes on 8 simply because they were hung up on the word “marraige” but otherwise support gay rights. I don’t agree with them, but I can understand their dilemma too. It is really difficult.
Every time I defend my religion now people are going to assume things about me. Not that they didn’t already. But now its going to be about an issue that I feel passionately about, and people are going to assume the wrong thing about me. That kills me.
Again, I’m scared shitless to post this. I’m really trusting the world to not bash my religious beliefs. I’m really trusting my friends to understand how I can be hurt by this and to not take offense to how I feel. If it were just on the news I could handle it, but this is different.
Anyway, I feel like I’ve rambled about my feelings long enough now.
Goodnight.

Links:
LDS Newsroom — here is the transcript of an interview with Elder Oaks [a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, who I met…he’s cool, I liked him] and Elder Wickman [a member of the Quorum of the Seventy…and no I don’t really expect that to make sense to anyone] about the Church’s stand on homosexuality. I don’t agree with 100% of it, but I feel it’s important to publicize the other side a bit, since no one else cares to these days. There is a section maybe a fourth of the way in [it’s a long article] about those “conversion camps” I talked about earlier, that I think everyone should read, especially if they read the garbage on that other site about it.

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One thought on “torn.

  1. hmm. I think I just got caught up in the fervor. and no, I didn’t research it. I know, totally dumb.
    but I’m known for doing stupid things, so I’m sure it won’t be spread from me.

    people are just people. what they do is on an individual basis, and doesn’t always reflect the views of an organization they are a prt of.

    lesson learned. thank you. we should chat more about this whole Mormon thing. it seems there’s a lot I don’t know.

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