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Concealing Mormonism

Christian J - November 17, 2008

On my mission, I met a man who had developed an electronic database containing a comprehensive collection of ancient and modern Christian writings. The man was a member of the Church and lived in Utah but his customers were mostly non-Mormon Christians. Though his product was non-denominational and contained no trace of Mormonism, the man went to great lengths to conceal any appearance of a connection to his religion. He even opened an office in Colorado so that his company’s mailing address would not be in Utah.

Of course this was a business decision. The man wasn’t involved in any sort of scheme and he certainly wasn’t ashamed of his beliefs. He knew too well the prejudice that exists among many Christians and couldn’t risk the future of his business on it. Even if he weren’t a Mormon, his Utah address would have still raised some eyes brows.

Mormons are used to this. Christian protesters outside Temple Square, the Hill Cumorah pageant or any other prominent church building or event are well-known traditions.

We’re all going to hell – we’ve heard this before.

It’s only until recently that the Left is matching these protests from the Right. We’ve all heard about them – no need to re-hash the fine details. However, I do want to point out that the new list of boycotts seem to reach beyond those who simply donated to Prop 8. Now, all you have to do is possess ANY Mormon connection – including those who just happen to run a film festival or ski resort in Utah (same dude).

As a resident of the LGBT’s second city, I have to say I’m a little worried. Let’s just say that my desire to tell people at the office “what I did last weekend” has declined significantly. It really doesn’t matter what my personal/political beliefs are or whether or not I agree with how Prop 8 went down. At the end of the day, I’m a Mormon.


1. How will the post-Prop 8 backlash affect the willingness of Mormons to be open about their personal lives?

2. How will it affect the way the full-time missionaries operate?


  1. False advertising!

    Comment by Jacob J — November 17, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  2. I’ve been thinking about this post for a few hours (wait, how long has it been up? Maybe not even that long?) and I’ve been trying to figure out why it bugs me so bad. I really couldn’t figure it out, but it hit me about two seconds ago:
    I hope I will never be ashamed of being a member of the LDS Church. Ever. No matter what happens, I hope I never feel the need to deny my faith: potential job loss, friend loss, family disappointment be damned. It has never crossed my mind that I should be tentative to share my Faith with people, but I guess I have never been confronted with a situation in which it would be hard. Perhaps if I had/did/will, my mind would not be so firm? I hope not!
    So, I get your questions, CJ, but they make me sad, because I don’t think anybody should ever be ashamed about who they are or what they believe (and this, I need to point out, includes those who think I’m a bigot for not agreeing with SSM). If I can’t stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places, then what do I really believe?

    P.S. Just to clarify, I’m talking about MYSELF. Not inferring anything about anybody else.

    Comment by cheryl — November 17, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  3. This impacts me probably less than most, since virtually everyone I deal with face-to-face is LDS. Even most of my non-LDS electronic contacts are contacts because of Mormon history, so they hardly represent generic encounters with randomly minded people.

    Still, I’ve caught myself second-guessing how a Utah address is going to strike an eBay seller, or whether I’ll get that genealogical document I’ve requested from New York if I mention where I live. I am absolutely certain that if I were living and working elsewhere, I would be editing overt references to Mormon life and culture out of my speech (I don’t think many of us can really edit it out of our behavior or appearance).

    And it has nothing to do with being ashamed of being a Mormon, because I am not in the least ashamed. I edit my public presentation in many areas that have nothing to do with shame — some things are personal, or too casual, or imply an unwelcome intimacy, and are not to be brought up in public. I’m afraid that in most settings among non-Mormons, I would be reticent about Mormon matters in large part because I wouldn’t want to open the floodgates for the rudeness that could so easily ensue. I don’t like to fight. I don’t like to be silent when someone is dumping on me unfairly, either. So I would avoid giving an easy opening for either.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — November 17, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

  4. I recently lost a very good friend after she started reading stuff on the internet and decided that we are memebers of a cult and she can`t have anything to do with cults (sigh – this is after she attended meetings etc with us, and as far as I know no-one ever suggested she change religions and get baptised or anything) – nothing to do with Prop 8 as we are outside the US, but still it made me very sad that she would beleive the internet over the people she she had met and become friends with in our branch and who she had praised before as being “wonderful”.

    Comment by mobile sloth — November 17, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

  5. I’ve been struggling with this. I’m a convert who now lives in Utah. I was raised in a very liberal/progressive home by good, honest parents. After I joined the Church 16 years ago, I was exposed to the more conservative ideology that dominates our religion, and I often find myself in conflict. I’m pretty socially liberal and pretty economically conservative.

    My biggest problem is that while I understand the Church’s involvement in Prop 8, the liberal side of my heart aches for how the gay community feels. I can understand how they would feel persecuted and discriminated against.

    That being said, I have a cousin who lives in CA and is gay. We’re on Facebook together. On Facebook, I list my religion, but I’ve been reluctant to join any groups or become a “fan” of anything obviously LDS. My kids and wife do these things, but almost all of their FB contacts are LDS. I don’t want people, especially my cousin, to automatically lump me into a stereotype. Along with my cousin, I’ve had a number of friends over the years that are gay and it has never bothered me.

    I guess I’m waiting for things to chill out a bit. Since I live in Utah, 98% of my face-face contacts are LDS so I’m not really doing anything different in that regard. It’s just my online identity that I’m conflicted about.

    Comment by Kristian Walker — November 17, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  6. CJ,

    You bring up some valid questions. Clearly it’s getting harder to sit on the fence…

    Perhaps it makes it a little easier to emphathize with our pioneer heritage.

    Prop 8 isn’t the first situation like this we’ve been in, and it won’t be the last.

    It will be interesting to see what else is coming down the pipe!

    Comment by JM — November 17, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  7. I read a story in the Apocrypha (second book of Maccabees) about an unnamed woman who was told if she and her family did not eat pork, they would kill her sons one by one. They horribly killed them all, and not one was willing to break the laws of their fathers.

    Whether or not that story is true, it made me consider my own dedication. Would I be willing to see my beautiful daughter painfully killed before my eyes before I would taste alcohol? I don’t know. I am less ashamed of my consideration of gay marriage than I was before, not more. I am more willing to donate to such causes than I was before. And, should I do so, I hope I would remain valiant in the testimony of Christ.

    I don’t know, but I hope. I do know there are things more important than life.

    Comment by SilverRain — November 17, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  8. 1. I guess that depends on the character of the Mormon. Some are openly courageous to a fault and others like to keep their underwear in the drawer. As for me and those in my circle (I live in Southern California), we haven’t had any cause to squelch our usual divulgence. My wife’s line of work has her working with and around a number of gay men and when I asked her if she felt the need to be more guarded, she said, “I haven’t thought about it either way.” They know she’s a Mormon. They don’t care– she doesn’t care. I think once the hubbub dies down and the press stops caring there will be relatively few left who still do.

    2. I couldn’t answer that until I hear what kind of feedback elders are getting regarding Prop 8. The Church would probably come up with a response for them if significant fallout ensued.

    Comment by David T. — November 17, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  9. Sheep and goats, wheat and tare. Now is the time to decide. Choose wisely, and choose the right. The tests will be coming much faster now. The fires will be hot for those that stand unprotected. . . .

    Comment by Rob — November 17, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  10. Conservative, Jewish radio talk-show host, Dennis Prager, last week commented on the overhyped “backlash” the Church was receiving from the opponents of Prop 8 in CA and around the country. He related that it was unfair, dishonest and misguided. He said, “Today, we are all Mormons.”

    1. Some Mormons will be ashamed. Some will be more cautious in certain circumstances (which I think is wise). Some won’t be affected at all.
    2. Some epople will be less inclined to listen to our message. Others will be impressed and have their attention drawn towards our message.

    It takes courage to keep the commandments sometimes. I think we could all benefit from a trip away from “ease” every once in a while.

    Comment by mondo cool — November 17, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  11. I got caught right smack in the middle of a prop 8 protest in Hollywood the other week. My car was parked in a lot right where the protesters were. Cops had all the streets blocked off. I’ve never seen so many cops in my life—and all in riot gear. I had visions of my car being lit on fire when I first realized where the protesters were, and where my car was.

    The friend I was with was freaking out. She was seriously scared. I thought it was kinda cool. She called her husband and he told her, “Just don’t tell them you’re Mormon!”

    Comment by Susan M — November 17, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

  12. Ah, Susan, you have all the fun.

    Comment by David T. — November 17, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  13. Ardis is right. Its not about shame. Its more about picking your spots.

    And Rob is also right. I will say, though, that I’m surprised that the No on 8 crew is drawing the line in the sand more vigorously than the Church.

    Quietly opposing Prop 8 doesn’t seem to get you ex’d. Living in the same zip code as Church headquarters, on the other hand, is apparently grounds for boycott.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — November 17, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  14. The anti-Prop 8, pro gay marriage crowd ran ads charging this whole idea that public schools will teach gay marriage is just a “lie.”

    However, the same groups who said it’s a lie – “public schools will teach about gay marriage whether parents like it or not” — were in court in Massachusetts filing amicus briefs arguing parents don’t have any right to opt their children out of the pro-gay marriage curriculum.

    From the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Amicus Curiae Brief:
    “, it is particularly important to teach children about families with gay parents.” [p 5]

    From the Human Rights Campaign Amicus Curiae Brief:
    “(parents have) no right to remove the books now in issue – or to impose an opt-out system.” [pp1-2]

    From the ACLU Amicus Curiae Brief:
    “ parents do not have a constitutional right to override pedagogical judgment of the school …King and King.” [p 9]

    Which side is really telling the truth here about its aims? At least Mormons tell the truth. The GLBT side breaks several of the Ten Commandments, including bearing false witness.

    Comment by At Least Mormons Tell The Truth — November 17, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  15. And on that note…

    Comment by David T. — November 17, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

  16. CJ – Thanks for bringing this issue up for discussion. I think it is something we all need to deal with in our own way, according to our own positions, wherever we live. I live far from Utah (although I once lived in Utah) and I live even farther from California. But this issue is still on my mind.

    Two good friends at work – one I met 18 years ago and one joined out office just about a year ago – are gay and we have had some serious and some not so serious discussions about the issue since Election Day. My long time friend knows that I am socially liberal and we have had frank discussions for many years about our different points of view. It was through my discussion with him in the early 90′s that I came to the realization that being gay is not really a choice. As he told me then, he had to choose between accepting the persecution of being gay or living as someone or something he knew he was not.

    I include the information above to preface my opinion that I disagree with Prop 8. I don’t remember missing more than a few Sunday’s at church over the past several years but I don’t recall anything being presented over the pulpit about the Prop 8 issue. But friends at church and those commenting on various blogs have suggested that I don’t sustain the Prophet if I oppose Prop 8. I’m not sure where that leaves me but I don’t feel I am turning my back on the things that I’ve been taught at church by maintaining that position.

    I am just finishing up Terryl Givins’ book called People of Paradox and I have been comforted by his documentation of the evolution of thought and action within the church over its history. Last week in Priesthood Executive Committee meeting one brother gave what I would call an “in-your-face” spiritual thought supporting Prop 8 and there was reference to The Proclamation on the Family. I don’t feel my opposition to Prop 8 is in conflict with the Proclamation on the Family. I’m not proposing that we all accept homosexuality as an appropriate lifestyle. I just believe that some things are religious in nature and some things are political. The irony of Mormons telling another group of the population that their idea of marriage is wrong cannot be overlooked.

    I’ve already said and written too much but I should say before I close that I am concerned about the future. I remember the day in June of 1978 when the church’s ban on blacks holding the priesthood was reversed and I count it as my best day in the church. As one fellow church member said to me, “It was my best day as well because I no longer had to try to explain something I didn’t understand.” My memories of those days before 1978 have been rekindled in the days since Prop 8 was passed. I know many, maybe most, other church members disagree with me and I fear that one day I will be asked to make a choice that I don’t want to make. I hope I make the right decision.

    Comment by lamonte — November 18, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  17. I’m not really a big fan of the whole “be true to yourself mandate.”

    What if “yourself” sucks?

    Comment by Seth R. — November 18, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  18. This made me think of this story I heard on local NPR this morning, about some guy bemoaning the church’s “image problem” and how we need to overcome it. Funny, I thought we were supposed to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death”….not just when it’s popular.

    The kingdom of God is not a democracy. Wickedness and righteousness are not legislated by majority vote. Right and wrong are not determined by polls or pundits, though many would have us believe otherwise. Evil never was happiness. Happiness lies in the power and the sweet simplicity of virtue.
    - Pres. Hinckley

    Comment by Chris — November 18, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  19. “The irony of Mormons telling another group of the population that their idea of marriage is wrong cannot be overlooked.”

    I’m not sure if it’s ironic. Maybe it’s precisely because of Mormon history that we understand that you do not want to have the wrong view of marriage if you are a religious group in America. We know what it’s like to be on the outside of decent American society looking in, supposedly having the retrograde, oppressive, barbaric, authoritarian view of marriage and the family. We’ve now finally been accepted to a large extent into the American mainstream, and the mainstream could be moving underneath our feet. The big difference between our polygamist forbears and gay marriage advocates is that the latter are winning, culturally and politically. And that makes a difference.

    The parallel with 1978 is exactly what is so troubling. If the refusal to marry gays in the church becomes, culturally and socially, equivalent to denying blacks the priesthood, refusing to take the gospel to black people, and maintaining that blacks are less valiant spirits, it will be a catastrophe for the church in America and worldwide. So the argument that is now being made, that the gay marriage movement is equivalent to the civil rights movement, and that opposition to gay marriage is equivalent to support of miscegeny laws, should I think be troubling to a Mormon, even if it were a Mormon who *supports* gay marriage on other grounds!

    Now maybe that *cultural* shift will happen with or without legally calling it marriage instead of civil unions in California. Maybe Prop 8 and related efforts will have no effect either way on it. But I’m no better judge of that than any other informed person, much less the general authorities, whose job it is to worry about that sort of thing. I can’t find a principled reason to oppose Prop 8, but I can think of several religious and political reasons to support it. So to bring this back into the CJ’s original question, I do think the political fight could be connected to the general social acceptance of the church and even its members, in the long term.

    Comment by Jeremiah J. — November 18, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  20. “….if the refusal to marry gays in the church becomes culturally and socially equivalent to denying blacks the priesthood …” I believe the difference here is that neither I nor anyone else is suggesting the Mormon Church allow gays to marry in their church. They are just suggesting they be allowed the same privilege (to marry) as any other citizen who wants to commit their life to someone they love. The only parallel that I am suggesting between 1978 and now is that once again I am wondering how to reconcile my dedication to a church that I love while maintaining associations with good friends who have been offended by the actions of my church.

    Comment by lamonte — November 18, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

  21. Lamonte: “They are just suggesting they be allowed the same privilege (to marry) as any other citizen who wants to commit their life to someone they love. The only parallel that I am suggesting between 1978 and now is that once again I am wondering how to reconcile my dedication to a church that I love while maintaining associations with good friends who have been offended by the actions of my church.”

    1. Gays have had and _do_ have the privelege of “committing their life to someone they love”. Cohabitation, wills, contracts, specifying someone as a beneficiary on insurance policies, medical directives, power-of-attorney, have always been available. Civil unions were an additional thing granted by many states as “recognition” of their committment, but that didn’t go far enough for the _approval_ that they want.

    The new thing that is being asked for is society’s stamp of approval and the labeling of their union/committment a “marriage.” They previously asked for, and received, tolerance. They previously asked for, and received, recognition (civil unions.) The new thing being asked for is now a new increased level of approval.

    I see a progression; incrementalism. So it prompts the question: “What next?” The issue of re-writing school curricula has already raised its head, as has the right to adopt.

    2. The church has taken no _actions_ in regards to Prop 8. The church has specifically only made verbal exhortations in regards to Prop 8, and that only to members, not to the public. (The Proclamation came years before Prop 8.) Any _actions_ (posting of signs, donating of money, voting) you might be referring to have all been done by individuals exercising their political rights, not done by the LDS church.


    CJ’s Q 1. “How will the post-Prop 8 backlash affect the willingness of Mormons to be open about their personal lives?”

    I suppose the backlash would be the people in the great and spacious building pointing their finger and mocking and deriding. And like in the vision/parable, some members will hold to the iron rod, and some will be ashamed and get lost in the mists.

    CJ’s Q 2. “How will it affect the way the full-time missionaries operate?”

    I think SSM is another filtering mechanism, keeping/bringing some people into the church, and keeping/sending others out.

    Comment by Bookslinger — November 18, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  22. Bookslinger,

    I don’t think that cobbling together a series of agreements under contract law is quite so simple as you make it out to be. Under marriage, a lot of presumptions kick in which simplify things exceedingly.

    How many of you people reading this have made out your living wills?

    Didn’t think so.

    Thing is, if you are married, it’s simple. Your spouse will still have visitation rights at the hospital. Kicks in automatically. Which is a good thing, because only a very rare few people are really so organized that they bother to formalize all this stuff.

    So saying that heterosexual couples are going to automatically get all these protections, but gays are going to have to go out and hire a lawyer to properly obtain them is most certainly NOT fair. Nor equal.

    Look, I advocate for gender-neutral civil union laws.

    But even I don’t pretend that this body of law is anywhere up to the level where you can consider gays in most states to be getting the same bundle of rights.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 18, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

  23. 2. The church has taken no _actions_ in regards to Prop 8. The church has specifically only made verbal exhortations in regards to Prop 8, and that only to members, not to the public. (The Proclamation came years before Prop 8.) Any _actions_ (posting of signs, donating of money, voting) you might be referring to have all been done by individuals exercising their political rights, not done by the LDS church.

    Bookslinger, this is simply not an accurate statement. In fact, given your usual level of integrity, I’m genuinely shocked that you would make such a claim.

    Comment by Nick Literski — November 18, 2008 @ 10:06 pm

  24. 2. The church has taken no _actions_ in regards to Prop 8. The church has specifically only made verbal exhortations in regards to Prop 8, and that only to members, not to the public. (The Proclamation came years before Prop 8.) Any _actions_ (posting of signs, donating of money, voting) you might be referring to have all been done by individuals exercising their political rights, not done by the LDS church.

    This very blog contradicts this!

    This article shows how deep the involvement of the LDS church was in the prop 8 campaign:

    Comment by Doctor Nick — November 18, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

  25. Lamonte:
    “The only parallel that I am suggesting between 1978 and now is that once again I am wondering how to reconcile my dedication to a church that I love while maintaining associations with good friends who have been offended by the actions of my church.”

    This makes it more clear what you were talking about. I wasn’t sure; but I was talking generally about the 1978 parallels, rather than responding specifically to what I thought you were advocating.

    “I believe the difference here is that neither I nor anyone else is suggesting the Mormon Church allow gays to marry in their church.”

    It’s clear that you’re not suggesting that the church should, now or in the future, allow gays to be married in the church. There’s also no direct, necessary connection between allowing civil gay marriage in a state and the church being forced by law to marry gays. But it’s simply not true that *no one* is suggesting that churches, including the Mormon church, should accept homosexuality and marry gays. There are already churches that do this, and there are Mormons who think the church should follow suit. You don’t have to go far to find people on Mormon blogs (to say nothing of places like Affirmation) saying that the church was behind the times on race, and it’s behind the times on homosexuality, and it should and will catch up eventually. Notice these are not claims about the church’s political positions; they’re claims about church doctrine and policy itself.

    Now so what? A few people making arguments and having opinions are not a serious threat to the church. The point is that there was a cultural and social shift (a very positive, beneficial shift) about race that went along with and perhaps even resulted from the civil rights movement, which put the church outside the mainstream on the issue of race. Political movements don’t always have strictly legal effects; they have cultural and social effects as well and that’s what I’m most worried about from the perspective of the church and gay marriage.

    Comment by Jeremiah J. — November 18, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  26. Doctor, I should probably let David speak for himself.

    But I believe there was later clarification from his leaders to the effect that tithing records were not being analyzed to come up with recommended donation figures.

    Comment by Seth R. — November 18, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  27. Bookslinger – I appreciate your thoughts and understand your position but I disagree with a couple of your comments:

    “They previously asked for, and received, tolerance.” Do you really believe that? Yes, there is certainly less venom in the discourse about gays than there used to be but to suggest that it has even come close to tolerance is just wishful thinking.

    “The church has taken no _actions_ in regards to Prop 8.” We might have difference of opinion as to what defines an action by the church. My feeling is that when the church sends a letter to wards and stakes in California (see atached) and asks that it be read to the congregants over the pulpit, that constitutes an action. Especially in our church, where essentially every undertaking of the church is done through the “exhortations” of the church leaders, I think the intention of the church leadership is clear.


    Comment by lamonte — November 19, 2008 @ 5:41 am

  28. Why do hospitals have those visitation rules, anyway?

    Comment by Susan M — November 19, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  29. Seth R. (#26) and Doctor Nick (#24),

    Seth is correct, I was later assured by the SP that tithing records were not looked at and it was only through counsel with the bishops and prayer that led them to approach the donors and for what amount.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but my particular case was an example of verbal exhortation to an individual member– how is it contrary to the quote you’re brandishing, Nick? It wasn’t a command, it was a request, to which I complied.

    Comment by David T. — November 19, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  30. Nick 24, and Lamonte #27.

    You guys still have it backwards.

    All the things you cite were all _internal_ verbalizations, from a church to its members. Nothing left the sphere of church until individual members excercised their own political and individual religious _rights_.

    The motivations of an individual for what they vote for, and how they exercise their rights in the electoral sphere are a matter of conscience, and therefore no one else’s business.

    The only hate and discrimination I see is against a church exercising its religion, and against individuals exercising their consitutional rights.

    Nick, that blog post backs up my point. It was all internal church-to-member communication. Nothing went outside the church except individual members exercising their rights. If members got involved at the instigation of the church, so what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, because money and time were spent on the individual level. The church spent no tithing money on it. The church donated no money that might have come from people against Prop 8.

    Lamonte, the only intolerance I see in this matter is against Mormons and members of other churches.

    If anyone deserves a law-suit it’s the anti-8 crowd for harassing people and trying to deprive them of their civil and political rights to peaceably participate in the election process. That elderly lady who was assaulted on TV should have a good lawsuit against those who attacked her. And what they did to her should also be classified as a hate crime and a civil rights violation.

    Comment by Bookslinger — November 19, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  31. Seth, you have a good point about the hassle of creating contacts/etc versus the automatic things that kick in with marriage or a civil union.

    Since California already had civil unions, and since civil-unions had all the things they wanted in terms of those contracts/etc, then they didn’t really need same-sex marriage for those automatic things, did they?

    Another counter-point is that so few gays really want to enter into a marriage or a civil union. They are a tiny minority within a minority. The “Will and Grace” type of homosexual is the “front office”, a public face that gains sympathy. The reality for most homosexuals is still different. It’s still mainly about libertinism. Look at their parades and demonstrations.

    I wonder how many of the California anti-8 demonstrators were already in a civil union. How many homosexuals who voted for Prop 8 were in, or wanted to be in a civil union or marriage? A very small percentage I’d bet.

    I still say it’s not about unions or marriage or civil rights at all. That’s a cover story. That’s a Hegelian Dialectic in play. It’s really about getting society’s approval, an approval that goes beyond tolerance and recognition.

    They say homosexuality isn’t a choice (and like many, I don’t agree 100% with that). But I believe one of the goals of the pro-gay crowd is to remove all social taboo so that a homosexual lifestyle can be seen as a choice in future generations. The signs for it have already been appearing (“lesbian chic” has been around a while), so it’s not far off.

    As seen in the protests, the real hatred is on the pro-gay side. They are trying to force the conscience of everyone else to concur with them. The pro-gay/anti-8 crowd is the side trying to remove freedom of conscience by coercing others into agreeing with them.

    And with the assaults and destruction of property going on, and the threats of violence (“burn down their churches”) it’s apparent that they are willing to use violence.

    Comment by Bookslinger — November 19, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

  32. The intellectual dishonesty in this thread is pretty disconcerting.

    Your words, David:

    the worst part about being asked by the Church to do something is you really can’t say no– and if you do, you just don’t get it

    It wasn’t a request. You were being coerced into donating money/time to Prop 8 because of the threat of social retribution.

    Because of the authoritarian nature of the church, you can’t really distinguish between individual motivations and the motivations of the church: when the church tells you to do something, you do something.

    When the church tells its members to donate money/time to Prop 8, that money/time becomes the church’s. There’s really no distinction to be made.

    Comment by Doctor Nick — November 20, 2008 @ 12:39 am

  33. Doctor Nick,
    The Church can’t even coerce me into doing my home teaching, in spite of the enormous emphasis it brings to bear on this point. While I believe that the Church is God’s true church, it has absolutely no power to force me to do something I don’t want to do. No intellectual dishonesty; seriously, it’s not an all-seeing tyrannical shadowy organization.

    That is, what I do is always under my motivation. The Church is certainly capable of trying to influence my actions, and generally tries to influence me to be a better person than I naturally am, but has never had some sort of shadowy authoritarian power over me such that I lose my individual motivation as it is subsumed by the Church’s desires.

    Comment by Sam B. — November 20, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  34. Doctor Nick,

    It wasn’t a request. You were being coerced into donating money/time to Prop 8 because of the threat of social retribution.

    You’re misinterpreting my words here– which means you’re one of the ones I was talking about when I said “you just don’t get it.” What I meant was, devotion to the Lord’s church is not something you just give when its convenient, comfortable or conducive to your own sentiments. When you “go in” you should “go all in”. When you covenant to obey the Lord and profess belief that the prophet is his representative on earth, there isn’t room for “Ooh, I don’t like that, that’s just unfair, I won’t do that…” In context of the request, such behavior would have been hypocrisy.

    My obedience wasn’t coerced and there wouldn’t have been any social retribution. I’ve known the SP for years– he’s a very good man– and our minds are on the same page in the big scheme of things: This was between me and the Lord. Had I excused myself from making the contribution, nothing more would have been said on the matter. I can’t speak for other members, but I have no fear of being called out on the carpet.

    I don’t expect you to agree with my motivations, Nick. I do expect you not to accuse me of being dishonest. Rather than trying to understand my motivations, you’re cramming them into your own convenient perception. If you were being honest, you’d try a little harder to understand.

    Comment by David T. — November 20, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  35. [...] comment on CJ Douglass’s post Concealing Mormonism at Nine [...]

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