Prophets and politics

Will the Mormon Church decide who gets married in California?

 

Listen to an exclusive audio interview with the author.

 REXBURG, IDAHO

"America's Family Community." That's the motto of this Mormon college town, displayed on street-side monuments and in tall letters on the movie-theater marquee. Apparently, it's a formula for success. Rexburg thrives on a burst of construction and population growth. More than 30,000 residents occupy a grid of wide, orderly streets, amid vast potato fields that unfurl toward the majestic Teton Peaks. Plenty of Rexburg parents, following the Mormon prescription for big families, have six or seven children. One guy tells me his next-door neighbors have 13 children, and a family on the other side has 16. The newly expanded hospital maternity unit is already crowded with new babies. If Rexburg is any indication, Mormons are taking over the world.

They certainly run this town. An estimated 97 percent of the locals belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- making Rexburg possibly the most Mormon of all towns. The brilliant white-stone 57,000-square-foot Mormon temple, opened eight months ago, looms on a hilltop, glowing day and night; intense floodlights make Mormon temples the brightest objects in the Western nights. The college that sprawls beside the temple -- Brigham Young University-Idaho -- now boasts an annual enrollment of 21,000 students, more than double what it had eight years ago.

Mormon mores -- some written into local laws -- permeate the community. Rexburg has no real saloon and no supply of hard liquor; only four restaurants are licensed to serve beer or wine. There is only one coffee shop, and it keeps up with the meager caffeine demand by brewing each cup individually. When I cruise town on a pleasant Saturday night in mid-September, the hottest action comes down in a bowling alley: Balls crash down all 16 lanes while the spinning pins and the bowlers' teeth glow even whiter under the ultraviolet lighting.

But something louder and bigger draws me to Rexburg: the religious culture wars, which heat up every election season. The prophets who run the Mormon Church -- the church president, his two counselors and a dozen top apostles, based in the headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah -- encourage all Mormons to be active in politics. The prophets are said to be relaying the word of God, and while they generally don't endorse candidates, they take stands on issues such as abortion and homosexuality. As a result, most Mormons vote very Republican. In the last presidential election, nearly 92 percent of the votes in Madison County (Rexburg is the county seat) went to George W. Bush -- securing Rexburg yet another title: the nation's most Republican town.

On the most critical issues, the Mormon prophets go all out, urging their followers to conduct targeted campaigns. That helps explain why, Thursday evenings in the downtown building of a health-products company owned by one of Idaho's richest Mormons, groups of Rexburg college students and townies get together. They're using the company's call center to make call after call to California voters, trying to persuade them to pass a ballot measure in the November election. It's titled Proposition 8 -- the California Marriage Protection Amendment -- and it aims to prevent gay and lesbian people from getting married in that state.

An eight-year battle led to Proposition 8. In 2000, with Mormon encouragement and campaign money, California voters passed a measure banning gay marriage. It blew up again last May, when the California Supreme Court justices narrowly ruled (four to three) that the ban violated the civil rights of gays and lesbians. The court likened it to the bans many states once had against interracial marriage, all of which were tossed out long ago. Now, Proposition 8 aims to overrule the California Supreme Court, by amending the state Constitution.

Many religious groups have jumped into the campaign; the Mormon Church takes the lead. In June, the church's top prophets commanded Mormons "to do all you can" to work for Proposition 8 and donate money to the campaign. Mormon leaders throughout California read the instructions to their congregations, which have more than 750,000 members. Word spread everywhere in the Mormon realm. In August, the prophets added pages of elaboration: "The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a husband and a wife united in bonds of matrimony. ... Any dilution of the traditional definition of marriage will further erode the already weakened stability of marriages and family generally ... with harmful consequences for society."

Mormon volunteers, additionally inspired by special TV broadcasts beamed from the headquarters into their churches, go door-to-door in California for Proposition 8. In other states, they run phone banks and do whatever they can. Their effort is strongest in the West, because there are more Mormons in this region than anywhere else. Chad Reiser, a leader of the BYU-Idaho College Republican Club, says the phone banks are not an official club activity, but "we do try to get as many people involved as possible. Proposition 8 is a moral issue" related to church doctrine -- "something we believe is important to all people."

Kim B. Clark, the president of BYU-Idaho and a pillar of Rexburg's Mormon establishment, receives me in his office on a sunny Tuesday morning. His windows look out on construction cranes erecting a huge events center that will have a 15,000-seat auditorium and 10 basketball courts. He talks of more university projects. He appears confident and wears a pinstripe charcoal suit and red-pattern necktie, with a well-thumbed 2,000-page book of scriptures within reach. He grew up a Western Mormon in Utah and Washington, earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University and ran the Harvard Business School. He left Harvard three years ago, because the top prophet invited him to shape this college. It was "like getting a call from Moses," Clark says.

When I ask Clark about his church's campaign against gay marriage in California, I note that some people consider it a violation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights -- which mandate the separation of church and state. He strongly disagrees. Those who would limit his church's work against homosexuality, he says, "cloak their arguments in other terms ... (such as) civil rights ... but their fundamental purpose is to destroy religion in our society."

He says these battles will occur more and more frequently: "We're seeing a change in the political environment and interest groups. ... It takes many different forms. It's not directed at any particular religion. It's driven by people who are against religion."

As over-the-top as that sounds, Proposition 8 is a Western showdown with national implications. Hollywood celebrities, civil-rights groups, dissident Mormons, mega-businesses such as Google, politicians and other interests around the country have also jumped in. Shortly, the election results on Proposition 8 will create a new landmark signifying how much influence religions can assert on our modern society. Behind all the fury, I find something unexpected in the Rexburg area. It seems to me that, despite appearances, the Mormon Church may be losing its grip.

I call BS on this article
stephen G. morley
stephen G. morley
Oct 20, 2008 04:31 PM
I love this article you could tell where the author was going in two paragraphs, which is to say they weren't Mormon fans nor do they like what we believe and are willing to fight for. For everyone's knowledge Mormons are not so mindless as this article makes us look.
The author of this article purposely put us in a ugly light so it could sway others about how they see us in relation to this issue of gay marriage. So be it, but I would hope anyone reading this could see the bias nature of the article and wouldn't take it on face value.
This article is less about information then it was a vehicle to judge the Mormon church and its beliefs.
If you want judgmental...
SocraticGadfly
SocraticGadfly
Oct 20, 2008 10:26 PM
First, already on page 2, the story goes beyond the Mormons.

Now, if the author had wanted to be judgmental, he would have said something like LSD church instead of LDS, or Morons instead of Mormons.

It looks at the great variety of Christian groups opposing Prop. 8, and looks at Mormon issues beyond Prop. 8, too.

And, on page 5, he talks about gay Mormons.
True.
D. Rolling Kearney
D. Rolling Kearney
Oct 26, 2008 11:41 PM
Yeah, he's totally NOT talking about Mormons. That's why the article is titled, "Prophets and politics - Will the Mormon Church decide who gets married in California?" You see there, totally NOT about Mormons.
Your Denial is Showing
Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson
Oct 23, 2008 02:12 AM
You say, "For everyone's knowledge Mormons are not so mindless as this article makes us look.
The author of this article purposely put us in a ugly light so it could sway others about how they see us in relation to this issue of gay marriage."

Get over your denial, man! Many (if not most) Mormons really ARE that mindless. The author didn't put you in an ugly light. You already ARE in an ugly light, and not only in relation to gay marriage. As soon as you recognize that, you can join the real world!

Quit being so damned defensive, and take an HONEST look in the mirror!
Good point.
D. Rolling Kearney
D. Rolling Kearney
Oct 26, 2008 11:44 PM
You're right. Mormons are just too defensive. There really aren't people who troll blogs and news articles about Mormons just so they can call them names and disparage their beliefs. You are totally correct in name-calling and disparaging the author of that last post.
Mormons and gay marriage
Sheri
Sheri
Jan 12, 2009 06:16 PM
I was born and raised Mormon, 20 year temple marriage, raised 3 kids in the church. When Mormon leaders began to back the homophobic and discriminatory Prop 22 back in 2000 and encouraged faithful members to do the same, my eyes were opened to a much less noble path the church was following and after a few years I found the guts to leave the church. I've never been happier, especially since Prop 8 this year since I live in CA. I hope one day they understand the harm and hurt their actions inflicted on other of God's children, our gay brothers and sisters.
Stop forcing religion down society's throat
JT
JT
Oct 20, 2008 07:18 PM
We're surrounded by enough Mormons to see all too clearly that they desperately want to impose their bizarre beliefs on the rest of us. If they win on Prop 8, expect them to shoot for other things they dislike. Don't want to live in a theocracy? Vote NO on 8.
Prop 8
Terry
Terry
Oct 21, 2008 02:09 PM
It shows how far we have as a society degenerated when some one can describe marriage between one man and one woman as a "bizzare" Mormon belief.
Prop 8
Terry
Terry
Oct 21, 2008 02:12 PM
Sorry, I meant BIZARRE
Prop 8
Erin Osborn
Erin Osborn
Nov 22, 2008 07:01 PM
Good point!
Who defines marriage?
Captain America
Captain America
Oct 25, 2008 05:07 PM
Aren't the Mormon's the one's who used to define marriage as one man and as many women as he can convince to join in the party? And, now, they are telling the rest of society what is marriage? But for the Supreme Court telling them they could not practice polygamy, they still would.
By the way, don't people have enough problems of their own without trying to telling others how to live and love?
You need to do some reading.
D. Rolling Kearney
D. Rolling Kearney
Oct 26, 2008 11:24 PM
Only a small percentage of the LDS church ever practiced polygamy, because it was a calling and not a free-for-all. Keep in mind that many early Mormon men were murdered, in a day when women still did not have any property rights in the U.S. Some men, like Brigham Young, took on and cared for multiple families when these widows and orphans would otherwise have starved to death. Polygamy, by the way, was legal when it was practiced by the Church, and was only made illegal in spite of the church.

We DO "have enough problems... without trying to telling others how to live and love." That's what Prop 8 is all about: not letting judges tell us that we MUST accept homosexuality and that it MUST be taught to our children. These things are moral attitudes, and should be left to individuals to decide. What the judges did a few months ago was FORCEFUL, Prop 8 will only undo that wrongful action.
You need to stop lying
Captain America
Captain America
Oct 27, 2008 06:32 AM
Your church isn't concerned about judges saying you have to teach children anything. No judge has said that must be done. Nor has anyone forced anyone to accept anything. What a farce you people play. Polygamy was practiced openly, and that's why so many Mormon men were murdered: other religious beliefs would not tolerate it. Just like you are doing now. Intolerance. Prop 8 was initiated to prevent others from exercising their own freedom. I think it's pretty arrogant coming from people who once were scorned and murdered for their marital practices.
Mormons are taught LIES!
Karen
Karen
Jan 02, 2011 03:00 PM
The LDS leaders are heavy into politics such as the recently signed "Utah Compact" to disregard the laws against ILLEGAL immigration!

I am a Mormon, although unique because I seek Truth over Tradition thanks to spiritual experiences and a profound near death experience! I know the corruption of the "money changers"/leaders of the church as confirmed by law suits filed against them for theft, circumvention, etc. through Zions Bank, etc. I also know of the need for the "cleansing of the Lord's House" (Prophetic LDS scriptures). D. Rolling Kearney has expressed several LIES based on his indoctrination within this cult!

www.mormonstruth.org

Anyone who wants to can research and learn the TRUTH about the horrors and "abominations" of polygamy and Masonry/Secret Combinations(as declared by God in the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:23-24).

Mountain Meadow Massacre??? It was ordered by Brigham Young (believed in "Blood Atonement" as recorded in Journal of Discourses) as talked about by all my LDS relatives as I am a descendant to LDS Bishop John D. Lee, the scapegoat for BY and the MMM.

I did a research on the wives of Brigham Young (all 56 of them)and found that 10 divorced him (impoverished and abused by Brigham) and that the majority of these pathetically suppressed women (60%) were under the age of 28 with three only 16 when married to Brigham Young as an OLD, evil, controlling man.

Sorry to break it to you ignorant Mormons, but a MAJORITY of male members practiced polygamy! All church leaders during this era of B Young HAD to get into the evil practice of polygamy or else they could NOT be a church leader! Today, the church is trying to change its history with flattering public relations and lies.

Many of Brigham Young's wifes were not cared for, but rather financially and emotionally abused by him and many polygamous wives did starve to death while their husband was off fornicating with other women! (Please read Ann Eliza Young's 1876 truthful witness against polygamy and Masonry which corrupted an initially pure religion.) www.mormonstruth.org

Masonry requires a satanic blood oath ~ as done in ALL LDS temples ~ contrary to Christ's teaching to "NEVER swear or take an oath...as it comes from evil..."

The members are ignorant and have been taught from childhood to "follow the prophet" and that they leaders "are next to God" and when "the prophet has spoken the thinking has been done." Therefore, the posting by the blindly obedient (and depressed) sheep of Utah is understandable. Utah leads the nation in depression per U.S. Census 2003 to present. Utah also leads the nation in online pornography subscriptions (justified by the belief in polygamy?)... (Also, top in suicide and abuse...just check the statistics)
You've got it backwards.
D. Rolling Kearney
D. Rolling Kearney
Oct 26, 2008 11:39 PM
How is it "desperately want[ing] to impose their bizarre beliefs on the rest of us" for Mormons (and other groups, as well) to want to overturn a law that activist judges have inappropriately imposed on California society? That makes no sense.

What are Mormons "imposing?" The rule of law?
Mormon Donors to Prop 8
mimosa
mimosa
Oct 20, 2008 10:52 PM
To see just how much money donated in support of Prop 8 has come from mormons, go to www.mormonsfor8.com . Right now, about 46% of the large donations (over $1000) are identified as coming from mormons. (Small donations were just reported very recently and haven't been analyzed as much.)
Gay rights
Subhasis
Subhasis
Oct 21, 2008 01:12 AM
I am not a Christian, and proud to be a Hindu. Yet my whole intellectual training points out that the Mormons are doing the right thing by trying to ban Gay marriages. It will be a grand day for evil when gays are allowed to roam the earth.
Here's something I wrote in my blog :
http://dailylight.wordpress.com/[…]/
Where does the 'intellectual' come in?
Michael Kirkpatrick
Michael Kirkpatrick
Oct 24, 2008 03:09 AM
ok, i read your blog. you certainly have training in something. closeting your homosexuality, maybe?
Intellectual
B. Gooch
B. Gooch
Nov 17, 2008 01:26 PM
I am utterly appalled at your slandering Subhasis by your accusing him of being a homosexual. If you pretend to be even moderately tolerant of homosexuality you are obviously lying. The whole tone of the article was patently pro-gay and here you are calling a "homophobe" gay. Shame on you.
And...?
D. Rolling Kearney
D. Rolling Kearney
Oct 26, 2008 11:34 PM
So, some Mormons are donating their money to a cause that is in accords with their faith. And...? What is the problem? Voting No on 8 is apparently in accords with your beliefs, should that be illegal? When Evangelicals all vote for the same ballot initiatives in the Bible Belt, are they somehow violating some imagined "separation of church and state?" The constitution only says that the government cannot create a church or interfere with the operation of churches (See the 1st Amendment).

It is obvious that the purpose of Mormonsfor8.com is to single out Mormons for persecution. THAT is illegal.
Thanks for Some Perspective on the 'Religion' Card
Michael Kirkpatrick
Michael Kirkpatrick
Oct 21, 2008 12:55 AM
The Mormon Church engages in overt political activism, and as such it deserves the same muckraking scrutiny as any other advocacy organization. Its claim to foster moral leadership shouldn't exempt it from critique.

Ring's revelations about the "underbelly" of Rexburg are relevant to the investigation of a politico-religious institution that clearly aims to extend its moral example beyond a voluntary congregation. The rest of the world might like to know more about the aspirations of the Church, especially when it's our choices they aim to curtail.

Those who claim that the Church deserves to be left alone - or, in the words of BYU-Idaho, that its opponents are motivated by anti-religious fervor - should consider the example of a certain Salt Lake City-owned block that the Church managed to appropriate a few years ago, thanks to some intense (and intensely questionable) leveraging by the Church. Actions like these affect all of us, not just the faithful.
Anti-Mormon Article Allowed By HCN??
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 21, 2008 09:44 AM
Say it ain't so! I have been a fan of HCN for a few years now. This article is the worst piece of garbage ever featured by this publication. It is an attack not on the Mormon Church but on a small, college town that infuses certain values right into the community. What's wrong with that? There is definitely a concerted effort by some people at HCN to steer away from its typical coverage of "responsible environmentalism in the West" to "all the imagined culture wars and stereotypes of conservatives in the West."

The people in Rexburg are not ignorant: They are well-informed people who have decided to have their town run a certain way. Maybe the author of this dumb article should take some tips from the town leaders here. And when I call this article dumb, I am saying that the author claims to have spent time in Rexburg...well, only an idiot can visit here and come away with the conclusions of this article. And when I say "idiot," I mean someone who plainly sees the facts before them and just ignores the obvious truth.

As a result of this article, I have to say that I no longer support HCN, and I do not trust its perspectives on anything related to the environment or any other topic anymore. HCN has crossed a line with this article, and they should remove it from their website immediately.

Thank you,
Douglas Stambler
Western Coalition for Sustainable Living
Leave the rest of us alone
harry kinney
harry kinney
Oct 21, 2008 10:13 AM
I loved this article. I used to live south of Rexburg, and ended up moving to Jackson, WY due to the mormon influence there. What an uncomfortable thing to be around. Mormon's basically look at non-mormons as evil. I have no problem with religion, but why do these people insist on trying to force their values down everyone's throat. I think this arcticle was as un-biased as it could be. It spelled out the facts. These people are just really that messed up. And to the guy above me. Yes, the people in Rexburg are very ignorant. Anyone born into the mormon church is presented with such a one-sided view on life, they basically are never given a chance to come to their own conclusions.
Discussion: Shall We?
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 21, 2008 10:21 AM
Okay, if you want to have a discussion about all of this without the two of us hurling insults at each other, then I welcome that. Where would you like to begin? I can respond to any question or concern that you have about the Mormon Church and its members.

Thank you.
get over yourself
healthyskeptic
healthyskeptic
Oct 21, 2008 03:42 PM
ok how about addressing these concerns.

Start with the claim that Lamanites are descendants of a Jewish prophet escaping persecution in the holy land for preaching doom and destruction but DNA findings by some of your own scientists not only refute that claim but actually give credence to the prevailing scientific thought as to how the human race came here.

Address the issues with the Pearl of Great price and Joseph Smith's claims that he translated it word for word off the papyrus that he purchased along with the mummies. Explain how when it was found years later in the Chicago Museum of Natural History (also known full well to be the exact ones he was "translating" off of because it has doodles of the Nauvoo temple) and Egyptologists reexamined it this time with the help of the Rosetta stone they found it to be nothing more than common funerary documents that can be found with any number of mummies coming out of Egypt. Keep in mind that in his own Journal that Joseph said he was translating directly off the papyrus word for word so the apologist argument that what he was actually translating wasn't what's written on the pages doesn't wash.

Explain Joseph’s conviction for money digging on March 26, 1825. Explain the similarity between the Masonic ceremonies and the temple ceremonies and Joseph’s own role in the Masons.

Let’s get into the Adam/God Doctrine that Brigham taught and his views that god literally had sex with Mary to achieve the conception of Jesus. Let’s also examine the blood atonement doctrine that he espoused so well that it led to the Mountain Meadow Massacre.

No insults just facts.
Get Over Yourself
DanD
DanD
Oct 21, 2008 04:37 PM
According to Scott R. Woodward, executive director of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, a DNA marker, called the "Cohen modal haplotype," sometimes associated with Hebrew people, has been found in Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia.
So it would seem that your concerns about the Mormon church may always come up short with honest research and more truth around the next corner.
oh please
healthyskeptic
healthyskeptic
Oct 21, 2008 05:39 PM
actually it doesn't come up short at all. find me a scientific study that's not funded by the church that supports that claim and then you might actually be getting somewhere. Woodward is a known devout and so therefore would not be impartial or objective. Not only that but you're accepting the apologist answer that they intermingled with the native peoples who were already there. As a devout yourself and have read the BOM and actually believe everything in it and everything Joseph said then you know as well as I do that he claimed that it was Lehi and his family that populated the entire land mass. The only living human that they supposedly found was left over from the Jaredite civilization. Can't have it both ways. Either they intermingled with the native peoples as the apologists would have you accept now or you believe what your prophets told you and what's in your own set of scripture. If you believe and accept what the apologists say then you don't really believe your scripture or your prophets. So which is it?

Nor have you addressed the other issues.
concerns and "facts"
Mike
Mike
Oct 21, 2008 06:29 PM
It's not "Jewish" DNA, but Ephraim (Joseph)
- Most Native Americans ARE Asian origin - however, a small % are of other origins.
- The jury's still out on the remaining papyrus that was destroyed in the Chicago Fire. What we have now is only a small portion of what is left. There is a wealth of ancient truths, unknown in J.S's time, in the Book of Abraham - why not read it objectively?
- Adam/God is NOT doctrine, nor is Heavenly Father's relationship with Mary - no matter what early church leaders may have taught or eluded to. News flash - Prophets are human and have their opinions. @ the end of the day, the truth will prevail, and opinion will fail.
- Money digging was a legitamate way of earning $$ back in the day - was a culture thing, so don't isolate J.S. in this. By the way, J.S. admitted that he was not perfect.
- Masons have much of its origins from the Bible and Judeo-Christian history. Early Christians too had their secret rites which run parallel to modern LDS temple rites - do your homework.
- Blood atonement (death penalty). Mountain Meadows (huge mistake and sin by LDS in So. Utah - no proof B.Y. was involved - he condemned the action)Read the new book on the subject - I have. "Massacre @ Mountain Meadows"
----if you want a view from the LDS side see WWW.fairlds.org (my post is brief and scanty @ best)
Let's Begin The Discussion
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 22, 2008 09:01 AM
Hi:

This is my first free moment to respond to your comments from yesterday.

1. Brigham Young did not tell the truth about his involvement in the massacre you refer to. The Church should apologize for his involvement in the matter. It is harmful to the Church membership to have this matter unresolved.

2. There is a difference between the leaders of the Church and members of the Church. The fact is, if you go to any LDS ward in the United States, you will only see the people who don't publicly question what the Church teaches. There are hundreds of thousands of Mormons who have left the Church or have been excommunicated because they have challenged Church teachings. So, quite honestly, there has been a "brain drain," with some of the finest minds in Mormonism being forced away from the Church, because they see holes in Church teachings. That being said, Mormons are some of the best people I know, and they don't get that way by accident: They follow the moral principles of the Church which I believe are sound and functional for all humans. Americans can learn so much from Mormons if they suspended their religious biases against Mormonism.

3. It's essential to bring this next matter up: Was Joseph Smith a prophet? Yes, there is no doubt that he was. If you pray about this, you will receive confirmation from God that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Next issue: Was he capable of sin? Of course he was: The Bible says that all people are capable of sin. Where the LDS Church runs into trouble defending its controversial teachings is right here: The Church says that everything Joseph Smith did was right, because he was the prophet. There is no evidence in the Bible that a prophet cannot sin and that everything a prophet does and says is to be a model of behavior for everybody else.

4. The Book of Mormon is true, but you will not be able to prove its validity historically. This is a document of faith and forewarning about the End Times. It amazes me how much people try to invalidate the Book of Mormon on the basis of history alone. No believer of any religion has ever said that religion and its books could be proven true through historical research. These are matters of faith alone. Historical research is just for the curious, not for the faithful. And it's a waste of time for people to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, too. What people who question Mormonism should do is ask if the RESULTS of the Mormon Church are acceptable or not. And from my perspective, it's a mixed bag. I believe in the Book of Mormon, and I encourage all Americans to take that book very seriously.


I hope that this email addresses some of your concerns. I am willing to talk more with you about anything you would like to know or discuss regarding the Mormon Church.

Thank you.
Apology
B. Gooch
B. Gooch
Oct 28, 2008 10:15 PM
Do more homework. President Henry B. Eyring publicly apologized for the Mountain Meadows massacre. It was published in the Deseret News in April.
President Hinkley
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 29, 2008 06:13 AM
President Hinkley said before he died that there was no way to know what happened there. I disagree: Brigham Young murdered other people, and ordered fellow Mormons to do the same.

You should do YOUR homework.
Apology
B. Gooch
B. Gooch
Nov 17, 2008 01:19 PM
I'm sorry if I came off challenging, but please don't tell me what Gordon Hinckley said. I know what he said. But guess what? Brigham Young is dead. Every last person involving the mountain meadows massacre is dead. Justice can no longer be meted out to the perpetrators.

You demanded an apology. You got it. It was published and broadcast worldwide.
Gordon B. Hinkley: Not A Prophet??
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Nov 17, 2008 01:24 PM
This is what Hinkley said about the Mountain Meadows Massacre:

"No one can explain what happened in these meadows 142 years ago. We may speculate, but we do not know," Hinckley said. "We do not understand it. We cannot comprehend it. We can only say that the past is long since gone."
------------------------------

How can someone who claims to be a prophet and a revelator say something as ignorant as this?? You must be suggesting to me that Gordon Hinkley was never a prophet at all.

And that's the real issue here: If there aren't prophets running the Mormon Church, then who is?? Are they righteous people?? Are they telling the truth about their beliefs??

You people here get lost in the politics of this. The fact is that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is prophecy and the Mormon Church and its leadership has strayed from the origins of the Mormon people. There was never supposed to be an institutionalized religion: Smith was a prophet, not JESUS.
Marriage/California
steve Duncan
steve Duncan
Oct 21, 2008 12:49 PM
Didn't the Savior of the world only present a one sided view of life?
the mormons of rexburg
Bruce Fenton
Bruce Fenton
Oct 22, 2008 05:18 PM
I lived in Victor, Idaho for many years ( 1993-2005), & before that in Jackson, Wyoming where I was surrounded by the Mormon 'menace'. seriously though I've spent a lot of time in Rexburg over the years & always liked the town. it's very clean & quiet & seems like it just might be the safest town in the united states to live in. still, in spite of saying that, I would just like to conclude by saying that if mormons were not so self centered & isolated & ignorant they wouldn't be mormons & they wouldn't be stupid enough to vote republican. rexburg should be renamed 'stepfordville'. the LDS religion ( if one could call it an actual religion... & it isn't )is a cultural ( as in Cult ) & socialogical cancer ( albeit a slow growing one..globally ) who's sole purpose is to intellectually sterilise the planet. Imagine a world full of mind numbing Sarah Palin's just doing nothing but breeding left & right & you get an idea of a scope of this potential disaster. Bruce Fenton. Little Rock , Arkansas
Rexburg
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 29, 2008 06:16 AM
Bruce:

I suppose there were certain things about Rexburg that DIDN'T rub off on you: Politeness, decency to others, respect for other people's beliefs and striving for a God-centered life. Perhaps you can tell us some of the good things you learned while in eastern Idaho.
Bias
Sam
Sam
Oct 21, 2008 01:11 PM
Please give me back the 15 minutes that I had wasted in reading this article. Not only is your potrayal of the Mormon community incorrect, but you completely misrepresented their stance on gay marriages. If you are going to give a report, do it fairly. I found this article very one-sided.
Truth
Eric
Eric
Oct 21, 2008 02:26 PM
The following quote is the hugest lie I've seen in an LDS article all year....
"Homophobic tripe is preached from the pulpit of every LDS church every Sunday (while) gay people in the congregation don't speak up."
I hope the person who said that can sleep tonight. I just wanted to clear that up that false statement. Have a nice day.
A comment about truth
DanD
DanD
Oct 21, 2008 04:21 PM
Ye know who are true followers of Christ. The "fruit" is there to be seen. The Holy Scriptures teach that only a man and a woman can become one in the Lord. They also teach that a man laying down with another man is an abomination to the Lord. So why shouldn't the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach and expect high moral standards based on what is taught and expected in the Scriptures from its membership, and fight for those same ideas when they may become threatened by the weaknesses and perversions of society.
Ending says it all
Aurelia Christensen
Aurelia Christensen
Oct 21, 2008 05:20 PM
What's hopeful - and sad - is that many church members are not nearly as bigoted and linear a thinker as the leaders who direct them to get involved in these campaigns. For instance, in California, the church has had a lot of trouble getting people to participate in these campaigns; they just won't post the yard signs or do the calling or give money. But the church is controlled from Salt Lake City, a small group of people who lead insular lives and who wish to raise another generation leading insular lives, so they can maintain this view - which contradicts everything we actually know about human sexuality. What's tragic is that so much religious energy is put into a campaign like this, and into separating from one's neighbors....instead of addressing the real problems, like child abuse or poverty (to mention one Jesus actually talked about).
Ray Ring - Prophets and Politics
John Chaffin
John Chaffin
Oct 21, 2008 08:49 PM
George Eliot said "Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact."

For years I have read High Country News as a source of environmental thought. I will try to continue to do so, but Mr. Ring's article forces me to re-assess my trust and respect for HCN. There is a time and place for everything, but HCN has chosen the wrong time and wrong place for a poorly written diatribe of hate and venom. It would appear that HCN's position on diversity is that it is OK as long as the diversity is on "our" side.
a shame
Holly
Holly
Oct 22, 2008 12:25 AM
As an open minded Mormon, this article was offensive and revealing at the same time. Stereotypes hurt, no matter which side of the labeling you're on. It's a shame that such a biased article would grace the pages of HCN.
The Real Story Behind Prop 8
Matt
Matt
Oct 22, 2008 01:16 AM
Here’s the real story of Prop 8 for me as a Far-northern California-based Mormon. I hate it that I as a voter am being asked to weigh in on this issue. California politicians have only done the legislative heavy lifting and tried to preserve ‘marriage’ in its classic meaning. They also tried to ensure that gay partners can have every right extended to them as single adults or heterosexual partners. But the High Court legislated and imposed their view.

With great and grave reservation, I will cast my vote against Prop 8 to bring the court back into line but I don’t think this is a wise or healthy way to govern so I will cast this vote reluctantly.

One the one hand, I am glad we the people can check the activists on the Bench. One the other, I question who will check the majority of the people on future issues.

If the Mormon Church pulls this off, I agree this would be a precedent setting move. It will give the Church a lot of power on future issues of this kind. It will be a force to be reckoned with. It is a white-bred version of community organizing and it is well within the rights of the Constitution.

The more interesting precedent setting feature of this Proposition campaign is what it will mean for the future of representative democracy. Will people avoid representative democracy and try to legislate from the most populated parts of the states – where the votes are?

In a state like California where the population is so lopsided that the majority of the people can easily maneuver to disenfranchise another geographic region. So this is the real story of Prop 8.

What if the majority of the people in this state -- Southern Californians, for example, decide one day in the future that Climate Change is here and water is in high demand.

Where do you think they will come looking for that water? Why, they will take it from the North Coast or the Shasta Cascades where there are far fewer people.

I can see a constitutional amendment where water becomes a human right and I can see where this process can perpetrate a water theft the likes of which we have not seen.
I don't understand
B. Gooch
B. Gooch
Oct 28, 2008 11:13 PM
You are casting your vote against it to bring the "courts back in line"? I don't get it. To vote no you would be affirming their overturning the will of the people of California. The Legislature has not weighed in on this issue. Voters passed prop 22 in 2000(?)

A yes vote will restore the sanctity of marriage.
Bring Back the Real Ray Ring
Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye
Oct 22, 2008 01:22 AM
I think Ray Ring is one of the best journalists today. But what was this?

A Mormon with eastern roots, I found this article woefully lacking. Bring back the real Ray Ring.

Ray, Mormons are not part of the Christian right cabal. Harry Reid for crying out loud. I voted for the Green candidate in 2004, and Obama in the California primary and may well vote for him again in a couple of weeks.

Ring simply overplays the usual, old, stale (tiresome) western Mormon stereotypes - which often makes us out to be a bunch of old fashioned oddities visiting Planet Earth from the 1950s. If Ring was going to go down this route, he should have given equal time to what makes our Faith so remarkable and appealing to the more than 13 million adherents. “Leave-it-to-beaverish.”

We, like others who have a deep sense of faith in Christian values, serve our Church, our community, and like any other families, we are busy bringing up our kids and don’t have much time for anything else.

We teach values in our homes -- and that includes tolerance and respect of others. Yes, Ray, even gay people. In the East where I am from originally, our Church is full of people from different races and nationalities -- not only Latino, but African, Asian, African American, Haitian, European. This I am sure is hard for New West liberals to grasp – that the Mormon Church is diverse. But keep writing about Salt Lake and Rexburg all you want. You will miss the point of Mormonism every time.

In our Church, not just in the East but here in California and all over the world, women speak from the pulpit every Sunday in thousands of LDS chapels everywhere around the world. Yes, Ray, they have real leadership positions, even. You would even find black bishops if you wanted to but best stick to those stereotypes.
A once tortured religion...now the hunter....
Corey Mondello
Corey Mondello
Oct 22, 2008 04:36 AM
A once tortured religion...now the hunter....

Once again, a once tortured sect of religious folk, gain ground, and get accepted as a “real” church, to turn around and attack others.

This is the way of most religions that are created then struggle to be validated, once accepted, the attacking of a minority is their way of life.
California voters will decide
Kevin Bates
Kevin Bates
Oct 22, 2008 07:19 AM
This issue will not be decided by any church. All churches not only have a constitutional right, but also a moral obligation to speak out on moral issues.

The possibility that same-sex marriage could be crammed down the throats of our children in public schools is sickening.

Same sex marriage advocates will NEVER be content with having their marriages nullified if they leave the state of California. And it same sex marriage becomes the law of California, pressure will soon be put on other states to permit what California has. It's only a matter of time--a short time before that happens.

This article is not accurate on many fronts. The reporter travels to a small Idaho town that is mostly LDS, and projects that as a threat of a Mormon take-over of the world?

This article is a slap in the face of millions of other Californians who belong to all religions who also support and bankroll this measure. Same sex marriage was already voted on in California, and earlier this year the the courts discarded the will of the people, and so the people now need to vote again on this issue.

If I were to be as mis-representative as this article is, I would title an article thusly:

"Will liberal courts be allowed cram same-sex marriage down everyone's throat?"

To get an accurate picture of the LDS position, people can read this:

http://www.newsroom.lds.org/[…]/the-divine-institution-of-marriage




Fairness called into question
jean
jean
Oct 22, 2008 07:33 AM
A journalist bold enough to publish religious canards -- unheard of! Or to examine the seamy underbelly of Rexburg -- information found on the police blotter -- revelation!
The California legislature spoke on this issue, and the courts objected. Now an attempt to amend the constitution is up in the air, which is a true demonstration of democracy. If this passes and then is rejected in some other fashion it will be evidence that democracy is dead. Never was there an issue that was more clearly under the control of a legislature. The laws determine who can marry, at what age, what paperwork they must have, the fee of the marriage, how to get out of it if necessary, the words said in the ceremony, etc. All this is under the control of the legislature, but they cannot continue to define marriage as it has traditionally been defined in our society?
Latter-day Saints have the same constitutional right to engage in community activism that every other citizen or group of citizens in this country is entitled so to do. The fact that you call this right into question in the manner that you have calls your objectivity and fairness into question.
We've lived all over this country and overseas as a career military family. There will generally be tension or at least a kind of "culture shock" between those who are in a minority living in an area with an overwhelming majority. As when I've lived in the South, wondered why the neighbors were less than friendly, and later learned that the church down the street frequently preached anti-Mormon propaganda from the pulpit. We still had to find a way to "bloom where we were planted." Or move away at the earliest opportunity. We did just fine in our four years in that neighborhood.
Prophets & Politics article
Joe Linford
Joe Linford
Oct 22, 2008 10:22 PM
First, let me just include a few items of background so that anyone who is interested may understand where I’m coming from: I’m a moderate to liberal Democrat who is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or “the Mormons” as we’ve been nicknamed. I was born and raised in Utah, but I spent 15 years on active duty in the Air Force, have lived in a variety of places and have been exposed to many viewpoints and cultures. I have my faults like everyone else but I do try to be as faithful as possible to my religious beliefs, which I hold very strongly. I make it a point to keep myself informed on all sides of the issues, and I’m never afraid to consider viewpoints different from my own. One of the major problems with both the political far right and the far left (basically, “far” anything, i.e., extremism), and particularly the ultra-conservative elements as the strongest and most virulent manifestation of the problem, is their basic intolerance and fearful rejection of differing viewpoints. This article, and some of the responses to it both pro and con, are examples of this problem.

Too many people have grave misconceptions about the Church and what one of the responders called its “bizarre” beliefs, without taking the trouble to really look into it for themselves from reliable sources. Surely one of the principle reliable sources should be the Church itself, rather than only looking at the writings of others who have an agenda of their own.

While in my opinion it is true that many members of the LDS Church are politically naïve in their often close-minded conservatism, I have not found that to be true of the top leaders of the Church, nor is it consistent with the teachings and practices of the Church as an institution. The Church leaders are not only very devout religiously, as one would expect, but they are also characteristically highly intelligent, well educated (in various disciplines), capable, and accomplished people who come from many different backgrounds and make very well-informed and well-considered decisions. Leaders of the Church also have within their ranks people from various political persuasions. The Church leaders are very careful to keep the Church out of politics except in cases where the Church should be legitimately involved, such as where moral, religious, or family values are involved. In these areas, churches have an important and legitimate viewpoint to offer that should be considered with an open mind. Such is the case with this issue. For all who would like to get the Church’s viewpoint on this issue directly from the source, from the Church itself (imagine that!), I invite you to read and carefully consider, with an open mind, what the Church has said instead of relying only on the characterizations (or mischaracterizations) of others. Without offering my own opinion one way or the other, this information from the Church may be found at the following link: http://newsroom.lds.org/[…]/the-divine-institution-of-marriage.
Gay Marriage
Troy
Troy
Oct 23, 2008 10:17 AM
This debate is about a lot things. The purpose of marriage is not to promote diversity.

http://somemormonstuff.blogspot.com/[…]/gay-marriage.html
bizarre not used lightly
JT
JT
Oct 27, 2008 11:48 AM
Is going to a temple and reading the Book of Mormon "reliable" enough for you? We have many Mormons in our neighborhood. We were invited to a temple opening (pre-sealing, of course, when we infidels would be unworthy) by these neighbors. I was utterly appalled at what I saw and learned. The opulence, the indoctrination room where you watch your videos, the babtism pool with the idolic statues...bizarre is a mild word. And your Book...Scientology has nothing on you folks for creativity.
As for prop 8, discrimination is unconstitutional, period. These same people screaming for inequality for gays would be silent as church mice if the same court found abortion unconstitutional. That would be judicial activism in their favor. Hypocrites. Keep them at bay, voters.
The basic question
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Oct 23, 2008 10:29 AM
When I wrote this story, I expected it would draw comments. Thank you to all the commenters. But let's focus:

The story poses one basic question. It's not about which church has the correct doctrine. It's not about how many Mormons are Democrats or Greens (a few are). It's not about women and blacks absent in the Mormon Church's top leadership positions (there are zero, or close to zero, in the top hundred positions).

The story asks: Should the Mormon Church -- or any other church -- use political power to enforce its doctrine over the beliefs of other people?

Millions of Unitarians, Episcopalians, Presbyterians etc believe it's OK for gay people to get married in their churches. Millions who belong to no church think it's OK for gay people to get married in courthouses.

Should the Mormon Church use political power to make the beliefs of others illegal?
Point
Ryan Foster
Ryan Foster
Oct 23, 2008 12:30 PM
Ray,

Unfortunately, I think your article could of used more of the focus mentioned above. Some of the inflammatory comments are in response to some of the inflammatory or at least vague points in your story. What relevance did the crime in Rexburg have to the story overall?

The question that you pose above is a good one. Whatever the Mormon Church thinks about homosexuality, I think it is wrong for them to promote laws that discriminate against a portion of the populace.

For me, it's not about marriage in a religious sense, but the rights accorded by the law to married couples. The law should make no distinctions based on religious or sexual orientation, that would be wrong ... is wrong ... in my opinion.

Cheers!
Relevance
Jonathan Thompson
Jonathan Thompson
Oct 23, 2008 01:00 PM
Ryan,

Actually, crime in Rexburg is very relevant; it demonstrates that even when a religion succeeds in controlling an entire community on some levels, it still fails on other very important levels. The church may be able to create an appearance of a clean, secure sameness, but ultimately, it reaches only so far. Not only is religious intrusion on politics wrong, but it's ultimately ineffective.

This story is not in any way an attack on Mormonism or its beliefs. It is a story about the role of religion -- any religion -- in society and in politics. Any such story is going to be inflammatory. But it will also be very important. Thanks, Ray, for writing it.
Oh, I see ...
Mike
Mike
Oct 29, 2008 10:05 PM
So the Mormon Church controls everyone in Rexburg and Rexburg isn't perfect, so therefore the Mormon Church shouldn't be trying to prevent gay marriage. Right. That totally makes sense.

The church didn't create the appearance of a clean, secure sameness, the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce did. There's a completely different group you can thank for that, and none of them live in Salt Lake City.

No thanks, again, for imposing your views on your readers, Ray.
The problem with your article...
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 29, 2008 06:22 AM
The problem with your article, Ray, is that you take umbrance with Rexburg as if the Mormon Church totally controls that town. That is simply not true. The Church controls the wards in that town, but not the people. It's a slice of America that should be praised. You might consider a sequel to this article only interviewing Mormons in Rexburg. It's a great town, and there was no reason for you to try to smear it.
Delusions, Ray ...
Mike
Mike
Oct 29, 2008 10:23 PM
Close to zero? What do you call the Relief Society General Presidency? Or the Young Women's General Presidency? Or the Primary General Presidency? I'm sure those women appreciate your calling them zeros.

Ray, the bottom line is that this was poorly researched and written. It was not objective at all. If your goal was to address whether the Mormon Church should be using political power, you should've written a different article.

Your article included lines like "As over-the-top as that sounds ..." and other thinly veiled insults at LDS people and leaders (by the way, there's no such thing as a "top prophet" in the LDS church).

Again, that's not journalism; that's hate literature against a religious group. You wrote this article in such a way as to make Mormons look stupid while making homosexuals look normal. Contrast the way you write about Kim Clark with the way you write about Matt Borg or any of the other homosexuals you interviewed.

The article is appropriately written in first person. It's not about "Should the Mormon Church use political power to make the beliefs of others illegal?" It's about Ray Ring's agenda.
Women in leadership roles etc
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Oct 30, 2008 10:13 AM
If you're Mormon, or if you know about the Mormon Church, then you know there are no women (or close to none) in the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Those are the church's top 150 or so leadership roles. You also know that the church president is the church's top living authority and prophet.
Thanks for proving my point, Ray
Mike
Mike
Oct 30, 2008 06:30 PM
Look, Ray, I'll forgive you for not knowing what you're talking about here, but those three presidencies sit right up with the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve and the Presidency of the Seventy. Members of those three presidencies (all women) speak at every single General Conference of the church. Furthermore, the Relief Society is one of the oldest women's organizations in existence--predating suffragettes, feminists and, yes, even Mary Kay--so it's somewhat inappropriate for you to count that organization as a bunch of zeros.

The prophet is the prophet, but all of the twelve apostles are prophets, seers and revelators. The suggestion that there are "top" prophets implies that there are also "bottom" prophets or "lesser" prophets. There aren't. Mormon scriptures indicate the Quorum of the Twelve is equal in authority to the Presidency. Furthermore, callings aren't "promotions" or "demotions," and the General Authorities know that.

Geez, Ray, it's too bad you didn't know me earlier. I could've proofread your stuff and helped you save some face.
Absolutely Not
Andy
Andy
Oct 30, 2008 06:01 PM
It is my view that if churches wish to be openly involved in law making and other political activities that they forfeit their tax exempt status completely.

If you have that much money to throw at a proposition that isn't even in your state, you have enough to pay taxes.
An Article with an Honest View of an Outsider
T. Turner in MD
T. Turner in MD
Oct 24, 2008 01:24 PM
As a Gay former Mormon who grew up in Idaho Falls, this article perfectly articulates why this issue is just as important outside of California. It pains me to see my childhood friends who attend BYU-I spending so much time and money on this issue with the endorsement of the LDS Church. In many ways this points out a wake up call for me... I always hoped that my friendship and trust with the people I grew up and knew in Idaho would help them see the Human Element at stake with Gay Rights and Gay Marriage. I hoped that finally seeing and knowing a person who is affected by laws like Prop 8 would help them understand that Homosexuality is not some cabal seeking to overturn the dinner tables of heterosexually parented families. I hoped that putting my face on this issue for them would make them think twice. Sadly, my trust and friendship with countless numbers of friends and family has been shattered over the past few months because of this issue... So much for protecting families, eh?

To those who feel like this article portrays Eastern Idaho or Mormonism in a negative light, so what? It is an honest view of an outsider. If you're going to pride yourselves for being "in the world but not of it," then you can only expect that there will be people who find Mormon Strongholds like Rexburg peculiar and strange. Like any other outsider, they are going to view your life in Idaho through their own lens. And they might conclude that they don't like the way you do things in Idaho. Good for them. Move on.

It made me laugh to see this article discuss the Gay Brunch every Sunday at the Dixie Diner in Idaho Falls. Who knew our weekly tradition would reach such an audience? I know each of those people very well. The only thing that I would add to this article in terms of the Idaho Falls Gay Community is that it is much more than just an inclusive, tight knit group that this article implies. In so many aspects, they really are more of a family than most Biological families I know. And I know that without these people, I would most certainly be just another homeless gay youth statistic. Instead, because of those people mentioned in this article, I have my life together and I'm a contributing member of society.
Homosexuality
Douglas Stambler
Douglas Stambler
Oct 29, 2008 06:24 AM
is a choice...
Religion
Mookie
Mookie
Feb 13, 2010 12:30 AM
Religions is also a choice.
Intellectual Dishonesty
Dominic DiBlasio
Dominic DiBlasio
Oct 26, 2008 06:11 PM
This article is very intellectually dishonest. The writer is not obejective, but pushing his pro gay marriage agenda. First of all, Mr. Ring asserts "how much power religions can assert in our modern society;" Yet he conveniently doesn't mention that the courts passed gay marriage in CA overriding a vote of the people of 61% against gay marriage. A more honest question would be, how much power can courts assert over the people's rights in a modern society. Secondly, this is not about rights, yes on Prop 8 doesn't take away anyone's rights, it just maintains a societal standard, that by the way has been this way since the beginning of time...
"What are you gay?"
Ivan Gamble
Ivan Gamble
Oct 27, 2008 10:39 AM
A great Simpsons episode where Bart goes to the only state in the nation where he can get married early (Utah) and is asked by the Mormon preacher, "what are you gay?" for only wanting one wife illustrates this perfectly. The LDS Chruch will make its standard what they choose unless the tax exempt status is in jeopardy then there will be divine intervention. It seems God is scared of litigation...Vote Quimby!
This grossly misleading article
Mike
Mike
Oct 29, 2008 09:58 PM
I used to be a news reporter in Rexburg, and I can't believe one of your commenters referred to Ray Ring as a "good journalist." I've heard the stories from the police officers too, (in fact, I'm willing to bet I know the lieutenant Ray spoke with), and Ray's use of those stories to somehow implicate the Mormon Church is ridiculous.

I'm willing to bet the couple who beat their child weren't Mormons. Same with the meth cookers, and same with the illegal immigrant who impregnated the 9 year old (it's notable that the incident occurred "south" of Rexburg--like Pocatello maybe?). I like how you only have an "attempted rape" charge to speak of. Couldn't find a real rape, huh? Oh, and how do you know that "attempted rape" was perpetrated by an LDS person? I guess you just want your reader to infer that.

Oh, and the city has known about how dangerous that intersection is for years now. I passed by that intersection on my way to the very same concert the two victims were going to attend. I don't think the victims of that accident would appreciate your using their deaths to justify your deluded conclusions. It isn't the LDS church's fault the City of Rexburg hasn't closed an unsafe crosswalk.

Again, what did the police officer tell you? "Religion has nothing to do with crime." So why are you including this information in a story with the subheading, "Will the Mormon Church decide who gets married in California?" Based on this article, I'd say all you looked for when you were in Rexburg were incidents that would substantiate your delusions. You went there with an agenda and went out of your way to find information to back it up.

That's not journalism; that's hate literature.

What religion do you blame crimes on in Paonia?

Oh, and I used to live in Delta, Colorado, up the road from your office. Last time I checked, folks there aren't in favor of gay marriage either. I'm sure if they had the resources, many of them would be making similar phone calls to California.

Your magazine's staff must really stand out in that region. You don't seem to represent the West's views at all; I'd venture to say your views are the apogee of your audience's.

Oh, and make no mistake about it: LDS folk in Rexburg are being kind to homosexuals because they have the ability to love the sinner while being disgusted by the sin itself. I think most Americans (Mormons and non-Mormons alike) can agree that homosexuality is vile and depraved--they just don't admit it because people like you will accuse them of bigotry if they do. Mormons don't advocate violence against gay people, but they do want to protect the institutions of marriage and the family against a growing din of homosexual advocates.

So the real question here is this: Exactly who is "imposing beliefs" on whom?
that pesky Constitution
Stacey Sullivan
Stacey Sullivan
Nov 01, 2008 07:12 PM
I haven't read every comment on Ray Ring's article, but I don't recall having seen anyone point out that the decision of the CA Supreme Court was based on a determination that discriminating against same-sex marriage is an unconstitutional denial of equal protection. Thankfully, we have a political system in which the rights of minorities, even unpopular ones, are protected for the tyranny of the majority by the Constitution and the courts. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling that ended Jim Crow and separate-but-"equal" treatment of African-Americans is now seen as a landmark of human rights, but you better believe that in 1954 it expressed what was very much a minority opinion. The majority simply isn't free to deny a minority its constitutional rights, no matter how many hateful propositions get passed. Vote No on 8.
Discussion is a good thing
Pam
Pam
Nov 05, 2008 08:11 AM
What I find most interesting about the comments people have posted is the divide between Mormons and non-Mormons that they display. There obviously is still a lot of mistrust and misunderstanding going on. Perhaps HCN could do an article on it in a future issue? I personally feel the discussion this article is generating is a healthy thing, whatever one's opinion of the "Prophets and Politics" piece itself.
Clarification
King Kong
King Kong
Nov 09, 2008 07:57 PM
The first commenter states "For everyone's knowledge Mormons are not so mindless as this article makes us look." Correct. They are infinitely more so.
Ray, I thought you might find this interesting:
Mike
Mike
Nov 09, 2008 10:51 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI-GjWY-WlA

P.S. Here's a site you probably should've visited BEFORE you published the story:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/
Really Sad
Jennifer Sullivan
Jennifer Sullivan
Nov 11, 2008 11:42 PM
I strongly believe that 20 years from now, our society's prejudice against homosexuals will be viewed in the same light as our society's historical racism. Back then, numerous religious groups actively or silently condoned the unequal treatment of people based on the color of their skin. Today, we see the same groups advocating unequal treatment of people based on their sexual orientation. Somehow this prejudice is being tolerated because its practitioners cloak it in religion. Their religion. Not mine.

Mormons certainly aren't the only ones who claim that the State should deprive people of their rights to marry because of whom they choose to marry. But they are one of the groups who championed Proposition 8, and for this they should be ashamed (along with everyone else who supported the measure).

My husband and I are trying to teach our toddlers to be nice to everyone. To do unto others as they would themselves. And it's a sad day when we have so many adults failing to follow this basic playground rule. There is so much sadness in this world. Cancer. Famine. War. Can't we treat members of our society with basic dignity? Can't religious organizations make this their cause, rather than propagating hatred?

Thank you for publishing this article.
I am not ashamed
Erin Osborn
Erin Osborn
Nov 23, 2008 12:28 PM
I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I love my church and its teachings.I trust the leaders of this church. I guess that sounds naive but whether or not you believe these men are called of God, there is no denying that they are good men with the best of intentions. If you want to know about the church, go and read the teachings of prophets and apostles like President Thomas S. Monson."By their fruits ye shall know them." On the other hand I do think many members of the church have been very judgemental of homosexuals. Less judgement more love is in order for people on both sides of the issues.
No Man Knows My History...
Sean
Sean
Jan 15, 2009 07:00 PM
I was born and raised LDS. I served a faithful 2 year Church Mission to Venezuela. I also attended BYU-Idaho for 3 years. I am a gay man. Under my good Bishop's ouncil, I fought my 'homosexual tendencies' tooth & nail. I attended counceling sessions with LDS Psychologists, and even enrolled myself in aversion therapy, in order to 'reverse' my strong emotional & physical longings to be with another man. I spent countless hours on my knees, in earnest fasting, and prayer. I have shed more tears over the issue than I care to remember. I was miserable.

And yet, the moment I decided to face my greatest fears - and embrace my true self, I felt a peace and wholeness that I had never before experienced.

I am happier outside of the Church than ever I was - while in it. I also feel closer to God, the Spirit, and myself - than ever before.

Members of the LDS Church can judge me all they wish. I hold no bitterness or guile towards them. I am no longer afraid of the Church, 'sin,' or God. The bottom line is, that it matters not what Mormons want. I do not need their validation - or acceptance for a union between me and another to count for something. What's important is that it counts to me. I have a clear conscience. Christ will be my judge, and as much as others may claim to know the outcome of my spiritual fate, only God and God alone - knows my heart, my struggles, my story. i trust that whatever becomes of me will be just. I also know that He wants me to be happy. I trust Him.

LDS will do what they feel they must do. I will continue to do what my conscience tells me to be correct. I need not argue or fuel anger and hate. I will rise, and I will stand up for what I believe to be true.

You do what you've got to do.

My Counselor at BYU-I, told me that the Church has officially changed it's stance on homosexuality, on 3 different occasions.

Brigham Young considered anyone who even suffered from homosexual tendencies to be helplessly damned to the fiery inferno. Today, the Church embraces it's gay brothers and sisters and acknowledges that - it is NOT a choice to be gay. they just ask that homosexual brothers and sisters obstain from acting on their desires.

The only difference, is that we are left without hope - if we are not permitted to marry. Straight members are able to hope for the day of meeting that 'special someone,' if they have not already. Whereas we are asked to lead out quiet, and lonely lives - without any hope for equal companionship.

Until someone has walked in my shoes, one cannot say what he/she would do - under the circumstances. I have been that devout LDS. I am gay. I understand BOTH sides - as ONLY - someone that has lived through it can.

One day Gay Marriage will be legal. Then what?

I guarantee you that the sky will NOT fall.
UGH! Why oh why must you treat people horribly?
Jocelyn Morrison
Jocelyn Morrison
Apr 10, 2009 03:51 PM
the Mormon church, has done nothing but hurt me! I stopped going once the bishop told me that God doesnt love me anymore. its quite ridiculous how the mormons are "afraid" of the LGBT community! Stop denying people the right to marry. And stop calling people in california. I mean you live in IDAHO, NOT CALIFORNIA! you dont know what it feels like here to not be able to have the one right that every person should have. GEEZE!
High Country News???
Travis Palfreyman
Travis Palfreyman
Oct 24, 2009 11:35 PM
What does the Mormon churches stand on Gay/Lesbian marriage have to do with protecting the enironment, especially as the cover story? Answer, nothing, the owners of this publication are just trying to sell there magazine thinking all those that care about the enironment are also in favor of Gay marriage. Stick to environmental issues.
Corrections
Travis Palfreyman
Travis Palfreyman
Oct 24, 2009 11:42 PM
Just read my own comments and thought I better fix my errors before someone else bashes me for them.

What does the Mormon church's stand on Gay/Lesbian marriage have to do with protecting the enironment, especially as the cover story? Answer, nothing. The owners of this publication are just trying to sell their magazine thinking all those that care about the environment are also in favor of Gay marriage. Stick to environmental issues.
hit and run
Ray Ring
Ray Ring
Oct 26, 2009 10:58 AM
HCN covers a lot more than the environment. Anyone who reads HCN would know that. Our current cover story, for instance, profiles refugees in the West. Your comment seems to be a hit and run -- someone swooping in from the World Wide Web and then moving on quickly.
The Future of Western Civilization
Bot
Bot
Oct 26, 2009 11:53 AM
Marriage reflects the natural moral and social law evidenced the world over. As the late British social anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin noted in his study of world civilizations, any society that devalued the nuclear family soon lost what he called "expansive energy," which might best be summarized as society's will to make things better for the next generation. In fact, no society that has loosened sexual morality outside of man-woman marriage has survived.

 Analyzing studies of cultures spanning several thousands of years on several continents, Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that virtually all political revolutions that brought about societal collapse were preceded by a sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued by the culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.

When marriage loses its unique status, women and children most frequently are the direct victims. Giving same-sex relationships or out-of-wedlock heterosexual couples the same special status and benefits as the marital bond would not be the expansion of a right but the destruction of a principle. . If the one-man/one-woman definition of marriage is broken, there is no logical stopping point for continuing the assault on marriage.
boilerplate hate
paul hoornbeek
paul hoornbeek
Oct 26, 2009 11:35 PM
I bet you have a little bot on your computer that sends this same little set-piece out to wherever you think people will listen to this 'think'-tank-generated nonsense. i bet you think you're fighting the good fight, protecting the universe (or at least western civilization) from those nasty fagots. I also bet you have a variation of this same little spiel for Illegal Immigrants, or Democrats or Feminists, or whomever you feel threatens your perceived sovereignty that is oh-so-important to maintaining the natural order.
Hypocricy
niko
niko
Oct 27, 2009 12:58 PM
These posts from Mormons about the “sanctity of marriage” are classic. This, coming from a religion where some ELEVEN year old girls are knowingly married off to sexual predators against their will. And they have the gall to say consenting adult homosexuals are leading an “assault on marriage.”

I had a Mormon tell me once “We’re not racist. We just don’t let Blacks hold high positions in the church.” Also, I’m sure you all can remember the school bus in Rexburg where children were chanting “assassinate Obama.” We all know they got that hate from their parents.

Mormons are generally kind people, and community minded. I think the Mormon Church needs to clean up its own back yard before they go knocking on their neighbor’s door.