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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : California Mormons Won’t Be Cool with Acts of Protest at Their Chapels » California Mormons Won’t Be Cool with Acts of Protest at Their Chapels

California Mormons Won’t Be Cool with Acts of Protest at Their Chapels

Tom - June 27, 2008

Sometime Bloggernacle commenter Chino Blanco has a post up at the prominent liberal blog Daily Kos encouraging protest of the Church’s letter in support of the proposed amendment to the California state constitution. Contra Chino Blanco, I don’t consider the letter a betrayal and I don’t consider it hypocritical. I don’t want to debate that here, though. I do want to point out that I think Chino Blanco is mistaken in both his assessment of how Mormons in general will react to the letter and in how they would respond to acts of protest inside and around their own chapels.

With regards to how Mormons will react to the letter, Chino Blanco sounds as if he believes that at a significant proportion of active members will react negatively to the letter being read in Church on Sunday. Chino Blanco refers to this coming Sunday as “a day when many [Mormons] may not be feeling all that pleased with what they’ve just heard come down from the pulpit.” He goes on to say that Mormons’ “worship” of the family is a reason that “so many Mormons feel ill about what their leadership is doing (again) with this letter.”

I’m not sure what precisely Chino Blanco means by “many” and “so many,” but to me it sounds like he thinks there is a large contingent of active Mormons that will react negatively to the letter. Reading his post, it sounds like he’s drawing his conclusions by surveying what us ‘nacle nerds are saying. I don’t think that’s a good idea. This is debatable, but in my view we’re not real representative of rank-and-file Mormonism, even if some of us consider ourselves to be rank-and-file. Based on the way I use the words “many” and “so many,” and on my long experience in the Church, I would not agree with Chino Blanco’s contention that there will be many California Mormons feeling ill about the First Presidency letter on Sunday.

With regards to how acts of protest would be received by Mormons attending Church this Sunday in California, I think Chino Blanco is off base again. He approvingly cites Latter-day Guy’s suggestion here that non-member gay couples attend fast and testimony meeting on the first Sunday in July and step up to the pulpit and request that the congregants not vote to harm their family. Chino Blanco cites Latter-day Guy as an active member, as if that means that there would be a lot of active Mormons happy with that kind of demonstration. But, again, I think it would be a mistake to consider this one blog commenter’s attitude as representative of a significant proportion of Mormons. Most Mormons would be offended by such an intrusion into their worship service. It would be about as welcome as an anti-SSM activist taking the mic at a gay rights rally and asking the audience to stop attacking the traditional family. Probably less so. And I disagree with Chino Blanco and Latter-day Guy that such a gesture would change any minds. It would be more likely to engender antagonism.

Chino Blanco also reports that he asked some Mormon bloggers how they would feel about activists protesting outside Mormon chapels this coming Sunday. He says, “they were cool with it. In fact, some of them even came up with their own suggestions for protesting.” Again, I think it would be a mistake to take this to mean that a significant proportion of Mormons would be “cool with” protesters picketing chapels this Sunday.

None of this means that people shouldn’t demonstrate their opposition to the First Presidency’s position if they want to. It’s a free country, after all. But people shouldn’t believe that their activities would be welcomed, generally speaking, by the Mormons present. It would be experienced as an unkind act of aggression. They won’t be cool with picketing and they most certainly will be offended by any intrusion into their worship service. I know there are activists who feel like we would deserve that kind of treatment. That’s fine. If you want to cause affront, follow Chino Blanco’s suggestions. If you don’t want to cause affront, ignore him.


  1. From the comments at Kos it sounds like Chino Blanco’s motive is to win hearts, minds, and votes of faithful Mormons, not cause affront. I don’t really have suggestions as to how he might go about winning hearts and minds. I just know this ain’t it.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  2. You know, it takes something like religious zeal, for someone to see such a protest as an”unkind act of aggression,” while thinking it’s glorious to devote their own time and money to the political persecution of a minority group! How very “loving” it must feel for an LDS member to try to annul approximately 3,000 legal marriages, and impose a religiously-motivated ban on thousands of future couples!

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 27, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  3. Don’t you agree that an anti-SSM activist taking the mic at a meeting of gay activists and asking them to stop attacking the family would be experienced as an unkind act of agression? It’s common courtesy not to intrude, especially at a meeting where people are participating in religious rites that they deem sacred.

    If you want to justify that kind of act, that’s fine. You just shouldn’t believe that it would be well accepted. That’s all I’m saying.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  4. I’m also saying that it would not change any minds. Just like picketing a gay pride parade isn’t going to change any minds.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  5. Nick,

    Regardless of the seemed hypocricy – I have to agree with Tom. Non Mormons using the pulpit in church to express their views which are contrary to those of the prophet would be seen as an “unkind act of agression” and would net engender support to the cause. It would be similar to somebody entering my home and telling me that i had no right to teach my own children the values I was raised with. I could not hear the counter argument because I would feel threatened and my first reaction would be self defensive. In the case of gay activists coming into church, I could easily hear the argument of “See, I told you so, now they are coming into our churches to tell us what we should believe.” Violating the sanctity of a house of worship to promote dissension would only create more animosity. Many may feel the only way to stay safe is limit the freedoms of the gay population.

    I think this may not be a great move for the church and it will be a public affairs nightmare – but scaring the members into changing their minds is not the answer.

    Comment by Gilgamesh — June 27, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  6. Oh, I completely agree that bearing testimony against the FP in an LDS sacrament meeting isn’t likely tohange hearts and minds. Personally, I’d rather see people silently stand up, and very visibly walk out during the reading of the FP letter. In non-California wards, I’d encourage people to attend, wearing a prominently displayed rainbow ribbon, as a dignified, and very recognizeable, show of their grief over the letter being read elsewhere.

    At the same time, I still stand by what I said, regarding the manifest cruelty of this religious crusade to persecute those who do not share the LDS faith.

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 27, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  7. Nick, this is a place for discussion of the topic at hand, not for you to air your grievances ad nauseam. My post is not about whether or not the LDS Church is full of hateful bigots; it’s about how Chino Blanco’s proposed protests would be received. When we are talking about whether or not the LDS Church is full of hateful bigots, your opinion on that matter will be welcome.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  8. If you were talking about whether or not the LDS church is “full of hateful bigots,” Tom, my opinion would be “no.” Of course, your #7 could be evidence that there are certain individuals in the LDS church who have a rampaging persecution complex.

    You suggested that Chino’s proposed protest would be counterproductive, and I agreed. I also pointed out that the official LDS campaign against marriage quality will be equally seen as an act of “unkind aggression,” as you put it. Good people sometimes do some very bad things. That doesn’t mean they’re all “hateful bigots.” I’m disappointed that you would resort to such extremes, just to avoid the rather simple (even obvious) observation I made.

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 27, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  9. Tom, are you living in California?

    Comment by Steve Evans — June 27, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  10. Tom, depends where in California. Some wards I’ve been in, half the congregation would leave after the Sacrament to join the protesters.

    Comment by J. Nelson-Seawright — June 27, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  11. “Personally, I’d rather see people silently stand up, and very visibly walk out during the reading of the FP letter.”

    This is exactly what I will do this Sunday. I have already informed my wife of this, so she isn’t surprised when I do it.

    Comment by Phouchg — June 27, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  12. Nick, if you want to talk about points I made in the post, talk about them. Agree or disagree. Make arguments. Respond to arguments. I like conversations. But you can’t seem to limit yourself to that kind of conversation. You couldn’t help but characterize us as zealots and persecutors right off the bat. How can we have a pleasant conversation when you start with that kind of comment? If you could just participate in the conversation without constantly insisting on sharing your opinion that we’re being mean and doing hateful things, it would make things more pleasant.

    I hate conversations about conversations. Lets stop talking about this. Do you think Chino Blanco’s ideas are appropriate or wise? Is there some way that pro-SSM folks can win the votes of the good, faithful California saints?

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  13. Steve, JNS,
    Do you think that, generally speaking, active California Mormons would respond well to either of Chino Blanco’s suggestions?

    I’m sure that there are some Mormons in most wards that would be fine with those acts and that there are some wards where a significant proportion of members would welcome those acts. But does Chino Blanco get it right?

    Steve, I don’t live in California. Have I gotten California Mormons wrong, generally speaking?

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  14. Tom, why are you so desperate to mischaracterize what I said, and turn my comments into some ridiculous blanket condemnation of all LDS?

    If you could just participate in the conversation without constantly insisting on sharing your opinion that we’re being mean and doing hateful things, it would make things more pleasant.

    LOL!! So, in other words, you want me to just agree with everything you say, Tom, and participate in your pathetic attempt to paint “poor, downtrodden LDS” as the victims of all those bad, naughty people.

    Do you think Chino Blanco’s ideas are appropriate or wise? Is there some way that pro-SSM folks can win the votes of the good, faithful California saints?

    I addressed both of these questions in my first comment, Tom. Unfortunately, your agenda apparently demanded that you ignore an entire paragraph. Your oddball attack is rapidly convincing me that you didn’t want to discuss these issues at all, but instead simply wanted to spend bandwidth demonizing anyone who might disapprove of the LDS campaign.

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 27, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

  15. First-time commenter, long-time lurker–

    Nick, most of what I read from you across the bloggernacle turns me off to the point you are trying to make. As an LDS woman with a gay brother who I love and adore, I have struggled to find a way to support and reach out to him and his parter and still follow the words of modern prophets. I am still struggling to know what to do.
    And then you show up in these discussions throwing around words like “manifest cruelty” “religious crusade” “religious zealot” and writing in a mocking tone about how “loving” I may be depending on my response to this letter. Then you act completely innocent when someone calls you on your tone and content. Your approach in these convesations isn’t working for someone “on the fence” like me. I thought you should know.

    To the point–I would respect anyone who wore a pin or silently stood and walked out. I would be happy to hear their point of view in later private conversations. I would react negatively to sign-carrying protesters disrupting my Sunday services outside or vocally disruptive protesters inside. I would listen carefully to someone who respects my Sunday worship time but ignore those who disrupt it.

    That’s my 2 cents from a California Mormon

    Comment by Carol Ann — June 27, 2008 @ 6:07 pm

  16. Nick,
    LOL!! So, in other words, you want me to just agree with everything you say, Tom, and participate in your pathetic attempt to paint “poor, downtrodden LDS” as the victims of all those bad, naughty people.

    My post made no contention that any LDS were victims of anybody and I have characterized nobody as bad or naughty. My post was about how specific, proposed protests would be received by Mormons attending Church this Sunday. It wasn’t about the rightness or wrongness of the Church’s actions or the rightness or wrongness of the pro-SSM position.

    Since it’s clear that I can’t convince you to engage in pleasant conversation, no further comments from you are welcome on this thread. Try again next time. Take a cue from the various other pro-SSM ‘nacle participants who don’t insist on constantly airing grievances and putting people on the defensive. JNS, MikeinWeHo, Kevin Barney, and Kaimi, to name just a few, are good models to look to.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  17. Tom,

    I have lived in California my whole life. In the San Francisco area and now in a Sacramento suburb – I can tell you that my previous ward (SF Bay Area) would have heard the FP statement patiently and debated later in quorum meetings whether or not it should be honored. My current ward will hear it as a battle cry and move forward with vigor to fight for the sanctity of marriage.

    As with most areas – the more urban wards tend to have members with diverse opinioons from liberal to conservative. The more suburban areas lean highly conservative.

    That said – I could not imagine any of my wards, including my time in Berkeley, being okay with open protests outside chapels and Sacrament meeting hijacking. Even the most liberal voices I know understand the delicate balance of being liberal in a conservative church. They have seen their role as offering an alternative opinion with compassion and care. To openly protest would destroy much of the work that these patient souls have done in terms of building a more tolerant community for any who choose to follow the gospel.

    Comment by Gilgamesh — June 27, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  18. Thanks for your perspective, Carol Ann.

    I personally would not welcome picketers but they wouldn’t bother me much as long as they didn’t try to disrupt our services. I would definitely be upset by a sacrament meeting intrusion, however. I think the vast majority of pro-SSM activists would have the sense to understand that such an act violates common courtesy, so I don’t expect to be hearing about that kind of thing happening in the next couple of weeks.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  19. Gilgamesh, I thought of the Bakersfield and Redding wards that I’ve visited and they seemed like what would be considered “conservative” places and the members of those wards who I know are definitely in that camp.

    Comment by Tom — June 27, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  20. Gilgamesh, when were you in the Berkeley ward? I love that place.

    In one Bay Area ward where I lived, the bishop actually rebelled against reading the First Presidency letter urging people to write about the proposed Constitutional amendment defining marriage. He read the letter over the pulpit as instructed, but only after the meeting had ended. California in my experience has a substantial number of members who are really upset about the church’s positions on marriage issues. Probably not anything like a majority of active members, but a substantial number nonetheless.

    Would active Mormons in general be persuaded to change their behavior one way or the other by acts of protest during Sunday worship? I bet not. It’s really hard to persuade people on political issues they see as important. And I guess most active Mormons see their position on these issues as important…

    But protest at Mormon chapels might be a useful bit of political theater for persuading on-the-fence non-Mormons to support same-sex marriage. To the extent that Mormons react negatively enough to the protests for them to receive news coverage, they would help create a linkage between opposition to same-sex marriage and Mormonism. Mormons as a group are not terribly popular among Americans as a whole, as we’ve learned recently, so this kind of linkage would probably tend to persuade the persuadable in the direction of supporting same-sex marriage. Regardless of how Mormons react, in other words, this might be an effective political tactic.

    Comment by J. Nelson-Seawright — June 27, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  21. We are asking Californians to make a stand on it too in our blog entries. This may sound so simple to some, but this one will paved the way for a greater BOM pride cycle that might to America’s destruction of family and values and morals, but degeneration as well.

    Marriage BETWEEN a MAN AND A WOMAN is ORDAINED of GOD. That’s clear, and MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN AND A MAN, OR A WOMAN AND A WOMAN is not ordain of God and detrimental to the work and Glory of God, and that is to bring to pass immortality and eternal life of men.

    Comment by Mr. Thoughtskoto — June 27, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  22. Tom, the thing about your post that I find funny is that you are about as qualified to speak as to the reactions of CA Mormons as, say, Ronan. That’s not to say that you’re wrong — you could be right, but I don’t think you’re as right as you think you are — but rather, just that you seem an odd choice to be speaking for what CA Mormons will do.

    Comment by Steve Evans — June 27, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  23. Disrupting a worship service is simply one of the worst ideas I can think of. I don’t think there’s a problem with quietly walking out though, even if you’re being intentionally visible, such as sitting in the front row to do it. What do you folks think?

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 27, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  24. Whether one favors changing the definition of marriage to include couples of the same sex or not, allowing the least democratic branch of government to enact such a policy change, especially when the people have already voted to the contrary, is wrong.

    Comment by Don — June 27, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  25. #23: I agree with Nick, any disruption of LDS meetings will not work and will backfire. I would even discourage visible “walk-outs” during the reading of the letter. That is all disruptive. (At least, by Utah standards. I understand California is another country altogether.)

    Those who disagree with the First Presidency letter can only win hearts and minds through non-disruptive means. Proudly wearing a rainbow pin or ribbon will be the best way to express your disagreement, in my opinion. I suggest wearing them throughout the entire campaign. It lets those who are worried about dissenting see that there are others who are comfortable disagreeing with the actions of the church.

    Comment by Steven B — June 28, 2008 @ 1:17 am

  26. Steve,
    You don’t really know that, do you? You don’t know the extent of my exposure, direct or indirect, to California Mormons. I think it would be silly for me to argue about my qualifications. If I’m wrong I’m wrong. I don’t think I did get very much wrong and I think that’s because I know a little something about what I’m talking about. I don’t think it’s just a lucky guess.

    The point I make that I’m least confident in is that there isn’t a significant proportion of active California Mormons that will feel upset because of the letter. Whether I’m right there is largely a question of semantics. It depends on definitions of words like “many” and “significant proportion” and “upset.” Anyways, it’s largely academic.

    But I am very confident in my assertion that Chino Blanco’s suggestions, if carried out, would cause affront to the Mormons present, generally speaking. I think even that ignorant boob Ronan would be qualified to make that conclusion.

    Comment by Tom — June 28, 2008 @ 2:21 am

  27. JNS,
    I agree that Chino Blanco’s ideas might have some benefits for the pro-SSM side. But according to him he’s making these suggestions in an attempt to win over faithful LDS who aren’t already on his side.

    Comment by Tom — June 28, 2008 @ 2:29 am

  28. Nick,
    I don’t think people walking out would be too much of a problem. It’s gray area for me. I don’t think it would be the most effective way to change minds—I think that can only happen through conversation between people who trust each other—but I guess changing minds might not be the only objective.

    If I disagreed with the First Presidency’s actions I don’t know if visibly walking out is something I would feel comfortable doing. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make any public gestures because I wouldn’t want to upset any fellow Saints. Or maybe I would want to upset my fellow Saints. I don’t know.

    Comment by Tom — June 28, 2008 @ 2:41 am

  29. Don, the “least democratic branch of government” exists in our system for the democratic purpose of protecting the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Current arguments about how bad courts are sound almost exactly parallel to the arguments that segregationists made in the wake of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. This doesn’t mean that I think you have to agree with the policy of requiring same-sex marriage. It just means that I think you should think carefully before going the court-bashing route. It’s an argument with very bad antecedents, and one that completely disregards the role that minority rights have historically played in definitions of democracy and indeed in the thinking of our founders when they wrote the constitution. If courts always deferred to the decisions of voters and their elected representatives, minorities would have no protection against a hostile majority…

    Comment by J. Nelson-Seawright — June 28, 2008 @ 5:34 am

  30. nick literski

    in case you’re wondering. I think you are a jerk.

    Comment by matt w. — June 28, 2008 @ 6:43 am

  31. JNS

    I was in the Berkeley singles ward in the late 90′s.

    Tom – although you are not a Californian, your insights, in my humble Californian opinion, are right on.

    During the Prop 22 vote we did have a few silent protestors in our ward. They didn’t walk out but voiced their opinions when asked to canvas neighborhoods, etc… They remained well respected in the ward while remaining clear that they would not participate in discriminitory behavior.

    Comment by Gilgamesh — June 28, 2008 @ 7:48 am

  32. Ah, the single’s ward. A very different place than the family ward.

    Comment by J. Nelson-Seawright — June 28, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  33. #25:
    Proudly wearing a rainbow pin or ribbon will be the best way to express your disagreement, in my opinion. I suggest wearing them throughout the entire campaign. It lets those who are worried about dissenting see that there are others who are comfortable disagreeing with the actions of the church.

    Excellent point, Steven B!

    I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make any public gestures because I wouldn’t want to upset any fellow Saints. Or maybe I would want to upset my fellow Saints. I don’t know.

    Tom, does Steven’s point fall under “public gestures,” or do you just mean more “overt” acts (like walking out)?

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 8:18 am

  34. So Nick, did you get married?

    Comment by MAtt W. — June 28, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  35. Sorry, Matt. I’m taken. ;-)

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 8:52 am

  36. I don’t know, Nick. Like I say, it’s gray area. I would have to balance between competing values. On the one hand I would probably feel like I should stand up for what I personally thought was right; on the other hand, I would feel like I shouldn’t set myself apart from the congregation and potentially foster disunity and undermine respect for the leadership. In the end I’d probably limit whatever action I took to non-Church venues and/or private correspondences. I don’t feel like worship services with the saints is the venue for me to put forth a personal agenda. But that’s just me. I wouldn’t be upset with someone else wearing a pin. I’d probably be annoyed with a visible walkout gesture but I’d get over it quick.

    Comment by Tom — June 28, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  37. Fair enough, Tom. You bring up some difficult questions. Not only is there a religious value of unity, but there’s a social cost (for lack of a better phrase) to making dissent known in the LDS faith. At some point, one has to decide whether the point is important enough to make, despite the expected risks. That will differ widely, depending on the issue and the person involved.

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  38. Ok, as a California native, (disclosure- moved the Pac Northwest 6 years ago) and an adult convert, disrupting sacrament meeting, even in the liberal Bay Area (where I’m from) would be a very bad move. Even the most tolerant and open-minded Mormons I know would consider that disrespectful and alienating- to say nothing of what it would do to the people “on the fence”.

    Were I still at home, I might do something along the lines wearing a lapel pin or something otherwise subtle, yet visible, that would not disrespect my fellow congregants rights to worship.

    Protesting meeting-houses would only galvanize most Mormons- persecution is a historical badge of pride among us Peculiar people- and protests would backfire. Perhaps, even in Berekely.

    There is a time and a place for protest and dissent, and the hour of the faithful (of any faith) taking their Sacrament, is not it.

    Comment by tracy m — June 28, 2008 @ 9:52 am

  39. Protesting meeting-houses would only galvanize most Mormons- persecution is a historical badge of pride among us Peculiar people- and protests would backfire.

    Tracy, you’re absolutely right about this. I hadn’t taken into consideration the huge cultural aspect of perceived (mostly real, historically!) persecution on this. I agree that many LDS would “go there” in response to active protests.

    I’m all for those rainbow ribbons, myself!

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  40. “Up until grad school I lived all my life in Orem, Utah, with the exception of my time in the Brazil, Belo Horizonte East mission from 1998 to 2000. I graduated from BYU with a BS in microbiology in 2002. Since then I’ve been (slowly) working toward a PhD in biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.”

    Sorry, Tom. I didn’t see nary a whisper of California in your bio. If you have some insight into the workings of California, it’s sure not anywhere in your bio at all. But like I said, it’s not about those things. It’s just funny.

    Comment by Steve Evans — June 28, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  41. Call for political displays rankles some Mormons

    Hi Tom,

    Sincere thanks for linking to my dKos diary. Of course, dKos bein’ the madhouse it is, my diary fell off the front page there in a matter of minutes.

    It’s x-posted at TPMCafé and at OpenLeft. It’d be great to see comments from bloggernacle denizens over at dKos, TPM or OL.

    Also, thanks for the first comment you left under your post here. That its fairness is typical of the best of the bloggernacle is largely what motivated my previous sometime participation in the goings-on in your corner of the online world.

    In terms of tactics that I (or anyone else) might have suggested, I agree that it’s entirely fair to debate their efficacy or appropriateness – I do appreciate the extent to which the efficacy of an action may very well depend on being able to make the case for its appropriateness to its intended audience.

    What’s your take on the efficacy and appropriateness of the LDS Church’s tactics in California? It’d help if I had a better understanding of what the strategic objective is for the LDS here. Maybe I’m missing something, but this letter just seems like a huge blunder.

    Thanks again. In all of this, let me be upfront about what bugs me. The balkanization of our country bugs me. The chasm that separates Bakersfield from the Bay Area bugs me. Scalia’s dissenting opinion in Romer v. Evans bugs me. That we sneer at each other across manufactured divides, rather than do the hard work of building bridges, bugs me. That so many of us fail to call out those who seem intent on blowing up whatever bridges remain just pisses me off.


    P.S. I tried adding this comment earlier, but it didn’t display. This is a 2nd attempt.

    Comment by Yahoo! News Alert — June 28, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  42. Awww, come on, Chino! Couldn’t you link to one of the newspapers that are carrying the longer version of the article? Someone familiar is quoted in it, after all. Heh….

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  43. I could, if I knew where to find what you’re referring to, but I don’t ;-) Linky, please?

    Comment by Yahoo! News Alert — June 28, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  44. Tom,

    I think you are right. I live in AZ now but have spent most of my life as a CA Mormon and there is no question that protesting the requests of the FP would be as unwelcome to most members in SoCal as it would anywhere else in the church. Nobody’s heart or mind will be changed by a walk-out either though as you said, it is a free country and Mormonism firm in teaching that we are all “free to choose”.

    PS — You have moderation capabilities right? Why aren’t you using them here when commenters insist on trollishly getting off topic and trying to bait you?

    Comment by Geoff J — June 28, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

  45. Here’s one newspaper which has published the full article:


    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  46. The “Don” that is commenting here is not the “Don” who can post here.

    Just so there isn’t any confusion I’d appreciate it if the “Don” who is commenting include a last name initial, or change something so there isn’t any confusion.


    The “Don” that posts….sometimes!

    Comment by Don — June 28, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

  47. “hundreds of Mormon blog postings” Wow, I sure don’t believe that…

    Comment by MAtt W. — June 28, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  48. I apologize for comments 30 and 34. Aparantly, when I just turn off my phone after typing a comment and not sending it, it sends it anyway… Sort of embarrassing…

    and 47 was referring to the article linked in 45

    Comment by MAtt W. — June 28, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  49. Matt, it’s definitely in the hundreds, even if you only count one thread at Mormon Matters.

    Comment by Nick Literski — June 28, 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  50. Geoff,
    I’m not good at moderating. This is the first time I’ve considered putting the hammer down. I would have deleted Nick’s subsequent posts if he hadn’t started engaging pleasantly, but he did, so it’s OK. I probably did let it go too far down the wrong road, though.

    I’m glad I amuse you. My next post will be on how Timbuktu Mormons will react to the promotion of the village soothsayer to village shaman. Stay tuned.

    But seriously, living among California Mormons within California isn’t the only way one can know things about California Mormon culture and sensibility (if there is such a thing), is it? Anyways, my main point—that they wouldn’t take kindly to the things Chino Blanco suggested—is based more on common sense notions of courtesy and human nature than it is about specific knowledge of Californians. But trust me, I could blow your mind with the things I know about California Mormons.

    Comment by Tom — June 28, 2008 @ 8:06 pm

  51. “I could blow your mind with the things I know about California Mormons”

    Indeed, you already have! Well done young man.

    Comment by Steve Evans — June 28, 2008 @ 8:59 pm

  52. Nick, so 20 to 40 people making hundreds of comments on a few blog postings is now hundreds of blog postings? Maybe they don’t know much about blogging and that posts are posts and comments are comments…

    Comment by MAtt W. — June 28, 2008 @ 9:05 pm

  53. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/6/28/65245/2417/859/543246

    Comment by Daily Kos Trackback — June 28, 2008 @ 9:13 pm

  54. Wow… I too am blogging about this on my own blog over on Hubpages… interesting, no one has threatened to protest our church buildings yet?

    I suppose this could happen? I am a shepherd in our Stake, at our quite large singles branch. I am quite interested in hearing their response once this letter is read this afternoon in our Sacrament meeting.

    This is a divisive issue, perhaps more within the Church – than from the outside looking in. As a Mormon, we can easily state our position to a non-Mormon and move on our merry way. But within our own ranks, taking a position to not support and even speak out against counsel — may very well cause internal problems that many are not prepared to deal with.

    Personally, I support the First Presidency and find it not too difficult helping others not only understand our position a bit better, but educating on our doctrine along the way.


    Comment by LdsNana-AskMormon — June 29, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  55. I’m not in California. I’ve walked out of sacrament meeting lots of times, but I’ve never “huffed” out. When I’ve left meetings, it’s always been to protect my mental health, not to be disruptive. Based on my experience, one or two people leaving isn’t going to make a scene unless they “make a scene.”

    Comment by Ann — June 29, 2008 @ 10:58 am

  56. You know…

    Yes, Mormons have a persecution complex.

    But part of the reason for that is because… well… we are still persecuted.

    Sorry, but there it is. We are.

    I know a lot of our critics like to pooh-pooh this, and minimize the extent and nature of what LDS have to put up with now and have had to put up with in the past. Much easier to attack something when it’s less sympathetic looking.

    But I think the events of the last year have shown pretty clearly that much of America (and even more of other countries) regard us as a bunch of freaks whom they should keep their children away from. So Nick, maybe the persecution complex is not the right response. But there’s no question that we’ve earned it.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 29, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  57. Well, how’d it go? We’re heading into afternoon, and some CA people should be getting home…

    Comment by tracy m — June 29, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  58. Return and report.

    I attended the first portion of SM meeting with my wife. I informed her in advance of what I was doing. We took separate cars since she was going early for choir practice. I parked outside the front door on the street instead of the back parking lot.

    We entered the chapel and sat in my wife’s usual spot – 3 rows back on the right hand side. Nobody greeted us before the service started, as is typical.

    The opening hymn (“The Iron Rod”") was sung, one sister was released from teaching sunday school, she was then sustained to something or other in the RS. One deacon was present for the sustaining vote to be ordained a teacher.

    The bishop then stood and announced that he has a letter from the first presidency. As he started reading, I squeeze my wife’s hand, stood up, walked forward 3 rows past the sacrament table. As I was leaving I saw one other person at the rear of the chapel starting to walk out. I quickly opened the side door and immediately turned left out the main door and into my car and drove to Panera Bread for lunch.

    this is my report.

    Comment by Phouchg — June 29, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

  59. The letter wasn’t read in my ward in Fremont, CA.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — June 29, 2008 @ 2:53 pm

  60. It was read in mine. No one walked out.

    Comment by Susan M — June 29, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  61. I stayed home today. I just couldn’t deal.

    Comment by tracy m — June 29, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

  62. We had a combined RS/Priesthood mtg. about using the internet to spread the Gospel.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 29, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  63. Ann is right. Unless you make a scene, or unless a quarter of the congregation leaves simultaneously, nobody will notice. People walk out of sacrament meeting all the time for a myriad of reasons: bathroom break; boredom; stretching legs; diaper change; disciplining a child; sudden nosebleed; heading for the airport; feeling ill; searching for a meandering offspring; preparing a lesson; taking medication; just hanging out; answering an emergency page; leaving for a speaking assignment in another ward; putting dinner in the oven; checking the baseball scores, etc.

    On the off chance that anybody notices you leave and thinks to wonder where you’re going, they’re likely to assume any of the above before they think you’re protesting a First Presidency letter.

    Comment by Left Field — June 29, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

  64. Left Field,

    Comment by Rusty — June 29, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  65. and drove to Panera Bread for lunch.

    You know, that is the one thing I suspect no one expected.

    Generally you don’t expect active members to take off to places for lunch on Sunday.

    Otherwise I think Left Field has it exactly right.


    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — June 29, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

  66. “If courts always deferred to the decisions of voters and their elected representatives, minorities would have no protection against a hostile majority…”

    Actually, the courts must always defer to the decisions of voters and their elected representatives, that’s my point. Minority rights are protected by those same laws and the judicial branch protects minority rights, and the rights of everyone else, by enforcing the laws as they are on the books.

    The judicial activism engaged in by the CA SC thwarts the policy intent of the people based in law, and if allowed to remain as is, actually threatens not only minority rights, but the rights of everyone. This is judicial tyranny.

    The vote to overthrow the CA SCs act of legislating from the bench is required to stop this usurpation of the rights of the people. The debate over whether or not marriage should be redefined to include same sex partners is a matter for the normal process of legislation, not judicial legislation.

    Comment by Don (not Clifton) — June 29, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  67. Don (not Clifton), that’s just simply not true. Anyone can gather enough signatures to put anything they want on a ballot- that doesn’t mean it’s constitutional if it passes. That’s the case in California.

    If the state constitution is ammended, then the courts would have to rule differently, but as it stands, their decision was correct, and the antithesis of legislating.

    That ammending is what the new vote is about this November, should it make it to the ballot. It’s a multi-step process. If a group of people got enough signatures, they could put an innitiative on the ballot requiring everyone to, say, wear a widget on thier head. However, even if that inniative passed with a landslide vote in favor of widget-wearing, it could/would/should still be struck down by the court, as what a person wears cannot be legislated.

    Comment by tracy m — June 29, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  68. So Don, should the courts have thwarted the “voice of the people” in Missouri when they stole the Mormons’ property, shot them, and drove them out of the state?

    Mormons know only too well that the “voice of the people” can, and does commit its own wrongs.

    There’s nothing in the world more democratic than a lynch mob.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 30, 2008 @ 7:11 am

  69. Aaaand it now has a name… Prop 8.

    Comment by tracy m — June 30, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  70. The silly thing about people walking out is I’m sure 95% of the people assume it was due to a dirty diaper (if you had a kid) or you had to go potty yourself. It’s not as if people aren’t walking in and out all the time – especially during the business phase of sacrament.

    As protests go this one was stupid not just because it aimed to make the people in question more pissed off and thus more activist against your position. No it was stupid because it was the kind of protest oriented around a protest no one could tell was a protest. It’s right up there with a minority of people going to a rock concert and engaging in a vow of silence because they didn’t like the lyrics.

    Comment by Clark — June 30, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

  71. It would have had more impact if… say… 15 people stood up and walked out.

    Probably a case of overestimating the amount of support in typical CA congregations.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 30, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  72. Does anyone happen to have a transcript online of what was read? They didn’t read it in our ward, but did in another ward. I’d be interested to hear exactly what the Church Statement read before I make very many comments…


    Comment by Ama — June 30, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

  73. [...] “California Mormons Won’t Be Cool With Acts of Protest At Their Chapels“ [...]

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  74. [...] California Mormons Won’t Be Cool with Acts of Protest at Their Chapels Nine Moons – June 27, 2008 [...]

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  75. I am confused as to why so many people disagree with the LDS faiths stand on this issue. It only makes sense that if their religioun denounces homosexuality based on moral belief, then it is their responsibility to stand against the proliferation on such an act. Do I agree? Hell no, but I do think that they have just as much right to oppose, as I have to support, and doing so does not make either side evil.

    Comment by Ron Beuhler — November 6, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  76. Ron, I think the difference is that standing up for your beliefs does not mean that you work with all your might to FORCE your view on OTHER people. Standing up for your beliefs means that work to insure you personally have the rights you deserve; it has very little to do with the rights of anyone else. Taking a stand against something should be that YOU refuse to engage or indulge in whatever it is that you believe is wrong, not trying to make OTHERS abide by your code. I believe the Mormon church seriously crossed the line, here.

    And isn’t it a shame – $15,000,000+ donated by mormons to make sure others are forced to live by their code; just imagine how much good that $15,000,000 could have done in the world. How many children would that have fed? People need to get their priorities straight.

    Comment by Kristin — November 7, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  77. Kristin, it is very popular for prop 8 opponents to describe prop 8 as an effort by religious folks to force their beliefs on others, but that’s not really accurate. We all live in this country and all Californians (by definition) live in California. Do you really believe that someone who advocates legislation that bans a practice that she believes is wrong is always forcing her views on others? Or is she just advocating legislation that makes her world a better place (according to her definition of “better”)?

    If you follow your previous statement to its logical conclusion, no one could ever advocate laws against any behavior, as there will always be someone who disagrees with you and wants to practice that behavior.

    Logically, however, there are probably behaviors that even you want to have proscribed (laws against polluting for example?) and I suspect you do not think you are “forcing your view on other people” when you advocate such laws. You just think you are trying to make your world better. That’s what Mormons think they are doing on Prop 8. You can certainly disagree with them, but not for the reasons you stated above (at least, not if you want to be taken seriously).

    Comment by MCQ — November 10, 2008 @ 12:03 am

  78. “California Mormons Won’t Be Cool with Acts of Protest at Their Chapels”

    Perhaps, but who ever thought that we’d arrive at the point of being able to actually test this hypothesis?

    Not me. I guess now we’ll see.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — November 15, 2008 @ 11:00 am

  79. Chino
    “Not me. I guess now we’ll see”.

    Your welcome to attend my ward’s fast & testimony meeting. They need a wake up call as to what the adversary will try and do to disrupt the ultimate spread of the gospel. Kinda of like punching a beehive (i crack myself up. . .but I digress)

    News will spread quickly of the event, thereby creating even more forward movement for the church. Remember, when you kick a Mormon, they do not go down the stairs, they go up the stairs.

    Let’s get together and talk about a good time to make this happen.

    Comment by Rob — November 19, 2008 @ 10:25 am

  80. Rob-

    It’s convoluted and not quite ready for prime time, but if you’d like to understand something about where I’m coming from, I’d like to invite you to read this post:


    And before you take a gander, let me just say, I agree.

    If my side ever intends to effectively respond to tactics like the RNC’s “72-Hour Task Force” … we’re gonna need to start thinking about showing up for church in the weeks and days before regular church-goers are getting admonished to get out and vote.

    That said, please give up the delusion that you’re talking to someone who ever underestimated the Mormons in all of this. If anything, I’ve spent the last four months railing on my political allies re the stupidity of ignoring the power of the LDS ground game.

    It’s impressive. Has been for the past three election cycles.

    Go on thinking that I’m scum because I dirty myself with the nitty-gritty of our political processes. Electoral politics is what it is and I’m not gonna apologize for participating in the inherently vulgar aspects of a system of governance that I continue to believe in, even when things don’t go my way.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — November 19, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

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