Galatians 6:7 [emphasis added]
- Protesting at LDS temples across California and elsewhere
- Calls for protest rally's at LDS chapels
- Calls for boycotting Mormon owned businesses
- Calls for boycotting Utah businesses and ski resorts
- Families no longer on speaking terms
- People leaving the LDS church
- Threats to 'out' closeted gays in the Mormon church
Mind you, there has always been some enmity between the LDS church and the GLBT community at large. But, the churches distinction between attraction and behavior and it's message of 'hate the sin, love the sinner' tempered much of the anger - especially when compared to the rhetoric and actions of other Christians against the GLBT communty.
Like it or not - whether we accept it or not - the GLBT community is a force to be reckoned with. Many businesses already recognize this. They are not offering heath benefits to same sex couples out of the goodness of their hearts - they are doing it because they do not want to incur the wrath of the GLBT community. The business world recognizes that the GLBT community is not a bunch of effeminate men carrying placards and throwing a fit in the streets. It is doctors, lawyers, CEO's, and other people in positions of authority and power. To ignore the GLBT community is bad business. To be labeled a 'gay hater' could lead to business death.
A religion, of course, is not the same as a business; but, like a business, it is an institution run by men - who can and do make mistakes. Many of the success factors in business can also be a success factors in a religious setting. Missionary work is, in effect, the business of selling God.
Will the protests and angry rhetoric against the LDS church die down? Probably. Emotions are high right now. The GLBT community needs to vent their frustration - and the LDS church is on the receiving end. But, we should not fool ourselves into thinking that, eventually, the GLBT community will forgive and forget. The dragon has turned - and it has focused it's gaze directly on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. The rallying at LDS temples will eventually stop - the protesting will eventually die down. But the anger at the LDS church is here to stay. And, eventually, that anger will turn away from rally's, boycotts, and protests - which are largely exercises in futility. Civil rights has come a long way since the 60's. Effective ways of achieving their goals have been fine tuned over the years. And now, those years of experience and practice will be put to use in finding ways to really hurt the LDS church and prevent it from being as powerful of a political force in future battles.
Is all of this anger directed towards the LDS church justified? Will history record the actions of the LDS church and its members in California as our modern day Mountain Meadows massacre? That will be the question of the ages.
In the latest press release from the LDS church, it recognizes that this election is merely the latest skirmish and does not mark "an end to the debate over same-sex marriage in this country." They state
We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.But, is this too little and too late? Has the membership of the LDS church even been practicing what the LDS church preaches? Some facts are indisputable
- There was some overzealousness on the part of some of the members and local church leaders in California.
- Organizing efforts to take to the streets (i.e. political actions) during church meetings
- Members being made to feel that "if you aren't with us then you are against us"
- Local leaders directly asking for donations to ProtectMarriage.com - some even tracking those donations using public records.
- Misrepresentations, half truths, and even outright lies were being spread around
- Spreading of ridiculous rumors, such as the church would be forced to close all of its temples in California if proposition 8 failed.
- Talks and lessons in church addressing how the evil gays are seeking to destroy the institution of marriage, and even society itself.
- Even some of the general authorities of the church were guilty
- Speaking to a group of young adults, and also distributed as a video on PreservingMarriage.org, Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the LDS church, said
You're going to have the possibility of the inevitable clashes between religious liberty and free speech; and, if your religious doctrine is such that you believe marriage between a man and a woman is the only definition of marriage then that smacks up against free speech; because if marriage is defined in a more broad way between members of the same gender - then you can't talk about that. [emphasis added]
But one thing is clear, there are individuals who have been deeply scarred by the actions of the LDS membership in California. Their lives having been forever altered, and not in a good way. Some of these scars may never heal.
While I am choosing to remain active in the church in the aftermath of proposition 8, I may never be able to look at my church and local leaders in the same way. My sense of awe has been diminished. For the first time in 34 years, since joining the church back when I was a teenager, the thought has entered my mind that irreconcilable differences could, one day, result in the church and I to parting ways - and that scares the hell out of me!