LDS Neutrality ‘A Hard Sell’ after Prop 8
In a lengthy statement on their main website, Mormon leaders say the church does not “endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.”
“We’re just going to do what the church does, regardless of the election,” [LDS national spokesman Michael Purdy] said.
The neutrality message can be a hard sell since Mormons are known to be overwhelmingly Republican and more socially conservative than many other Americans. The impression was reinforced by Mormon contributions of money and volunteers for Proposition 8, the 2008 California measure to bar same-sex marriage. (LDS officials say they were advocating for a moral, not a partisan, issue.)
”Romney, Mormons Brace for a Mean Political Season”
Rachel Zoll for the Associated Press, 3 May 2012
LDS Church Explains Political Involvement in New Video
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral when it comes to party politics. Simply put, its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not elect candidates.
So just what does political neutrality mean? Let’s take a closer look. Political neutrality means that the church does not engage in party politics, endorse candidates, or try to influence them. Also off-limits: The use of church buildings for political events and political messages from the pulpit, or using membership lists for fundraising and campaigning. As, without exception, whether they’re Mormon or not it makes no difference.
Does that mean that Mormons don’t vote? Hardly. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to get civically involved. Like other citizens, Mormons vote during elections, are active in the political process, and some may even choose to run for office. Church leader Elder M. Russell Ballard has said this to church members: Be involved, but don’t look to the church as to how to get involved.The civic duty of any Latter-day Saint, regardless of where they live, or including any county they may live in, is to be actively involved in the political process—that meaning that they study the issues, they determine what the needs are as they see it, that they then use their freedom and their agency to vote according to their own conscience. It’s very important that good people everywhere are involved in this process.
What about speaking out on community and moral issues if they’re not about party politics? Of course that’s OK. It’s a long-held right of all religions to have a place in the public square. Like many of those faiths, the church may choose from time to time to join the discussion on moral issues that it believes could impact society.
So, in a nutshell, political neutrality means that the church does not back candidates, but Mormons as individuals are encouraged to fully participate in the election process, back the causes and candidates of their choice that inspires good government, and on election day, vote according to their conscience.
If you’d like to learn more, go to mormonnewsroom.org
“Political Neutrality: Whiteboard Animation ‘Draws Out’ Church Position (VIDEO)”
Buddy Blankenfeld for Mormon Newsroom, 3 May 2012
LSU NEWS OPINION: LDS Prop 8 Blowback Example of LGBT Intolerance
During the fallout of a California referendum which banned gay marriage in 2008 (after it had been legal for more than a year), several Mormon and Catholic churches were vandalized, and burning copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon were left on their doorsteps.
Fighting intolerance with intolerance is like using a flamethrower to put out a fire. The California situation and others like it have done nothing but breed further distrust and anger.
“Blue-Eyed Devil: Church Leaders Need a Middle Ground on Gay Debate”
Nicholas Pierce for The Daily Reveille, 1 May 2012
Joseph Ward III Recaps Circling the Wagons Conference for The Huffington Post
[Katy Adams] relived the news of a phone call, five years ago, from her brother—wanting to jump off a rooftop at Brigham Young University—calling his parents, “to say goodbye.” Katy paused, looked out into the crowd around her, and then shared another moment in her life. Her father’s difficult journey from believing that homosexuality was “unnatural,’ to unconditionally loving his gay son. He used his BYU professorship to discuss homosexuality in the classroom, and provided a safe haven to gay students whose “LDS families abandoned them.” The consequence of his action? He received threats from BYU … and was forced into early retirement, if “he wanted to keep his insurance benefits.”
As I listened during this breakout session at last month’s “Circling the Wagons” conference in Washington, D.C., organized by Mormon Stories, I heard dozens of straight and gay Mormons vividly reflect their pain and optimism, their confidence and uncertainty, about their faith. … Their presentations and other activities throughout the conference were threaded by a theme of hope for change and openness to new ways of doing things to welcome LGBT people. …
“Mormons Take Steps to Welcome Gay Community”
(Source: The Huffington Post)
Straight Mormons Speak Against Bullying at Vigil Following Gay Teen Suicide (Standard-Examiner Coverage)
Almost 200 people attended the event, hosted by Ogden OUTReach and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Jim Rollins, a straight father and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took to the stage to let everyone at the vigil, regardless of who they were, know that they are loved.
“Two or three years ago, I wouldn’t have thought to come to an event like this,” he said.
But Rollins now has friends who are gay and said he appreciates them as people. And as the proud father of three boys, he only wants his sons to succeed, without knowing anger or hatred.
Rollins said that he, too, had used derogatory terms in high school. Now he would not think of ever doing so.
“Vigil speakers urge end to bullying, suicides of gay teens”
Michael McFall for the Standard-Examiner, 2 May 2012
ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES OPINION: NC’s Gay Marriage Ban Like Mormon Marriage Ban?
North Carolina’s Amendment One is not a religious issue, but a legal one. It constitutionally denies legal rights to same sex couples. Legislating based on one set of scriptures is a very dangerous slippery slope. Should the state only legally recognize Judeo-Christian marriages? Maybe the state should not recognize Jewish, Mormon or Catholic marriages. … The separation of church and state is necessary to avoid this kind of slippery slope.
“Readers Offer More Thoughts on Marriage Amendment”
Bil Stahl for the Asheville Citizen-Times, 27 April 2012
Mormon County Supervisor Candidate Questioned on Same-Sex Marriage
County supervisors have no … say in whether same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.
Despite that, [Tomi] Van de Brooke introduced the subject last week in the first face-to-face debate, telling the audience she is the “only pro-choice, pro-marriage equality woman in the race” and pledged to protect Planned Parenthood funding.
[Candace] Andersen fired back during the editorial board meeting, saying her more conservative personal values as a Mormon woman have “nothing to do with county issues.”
“Three Candidates — Two Seasoned, One Newcomer — Running for Contra Costa Supervisor”
Lisa Vorderbrueggen for the Contra Costa Times, 17 April 2012
Straight Mormons Speak Against Bullying at Vigil Following Gay Teen Suicide
More than 100 people gathered here to talk about a problem they say is not talked about enough: the bullying of gay youth that can sometimes leads to suicide.
Many people who spoke to the crowd described themselves as “married, straight and Mormon.” But they said they wanted to express their love to their neighbors and family members who are gay. One woman said she didn’t know if any of her children were gay, but she would not care if they were — she would love them.
“Vigil to Help Gay Youth Deal with Bullying, Suicide”
Ben Winslow for Fox 13 KSTU, 1 May 2012
Gay Mormon Stories Uploads November 2011 Circling the Wagons Conference
Friday, November 4, 2011
SESSION 2: Post-Potluck Interview with Jim Dabakis by John Dehlin (Audio & Video)
Saturday, November 5, 2011
SESSION 3: Main Conference
First General Session (Audio & Video)
- Presentation of the Statement of Purpose: Joseph Broom
- Speaker: Salt Lake City therapist Lee Beckstead
- Original Composition by David Zabriskie and the Conference Chorus based on Carol Lynn Pearson’s Poem “Pioneers”
- Keynote Address: Carol Lynn Pearson
- Musical Number: Be Still My Soul performed by David Zabriskie and the Conference Chorus
- Panel on the salient differences and similarities between Affirmation, Family Fellowship, North Star and Evergreen hosted by Empathy First Initiative. Includes Kendall Wilcox, Jon Hastings, Bianca Morrison Dillard, Brent Kirby (Audio)
- To Be or Not to Be: the Power of Authenticity as a Mormon Lesbian. Julia Hunter, Elise Mortensen West, Kelly Hill (Audio)
- A Father’s Journey Toward Understanding Homosexuality with Stephen Cohen (Audio)
- What Helps (and Hurts) in Resolving Sexual, Religious, and Social Conflicts with Lee Beckstead (Audio)
- A National Perspective on the Church and LBGTQ Issues with Jimmy Creech (Audio)
- It HAS Gotten Better: LGBTQ History in Utah over the Past 30 Years. Jim Dabakis and Ben Williams (Audio)
Second General Session (Audio & Video)
- Keynote Address: Author/LGBT Activist Jimmy Creech
- Musical Number: For Good performed by Mark Packer and Tyler Kofoed
- Panel Discussion: Where Then Shall We Go: What Does the Future Hold for LGBTQ Mormons? Moderated by John Dehlin, featuring Bill Bradshaw, Carol Lynn Pearson, and Julia Hunter.
Concluding Session (Audio & Video)
- Conducting: Bishop Kevin Kloosterman
- Musical Number: Blessing performed by Devin O’Donnell
- Open Mike Story Sharing (“Testimonies”)
Sunday, November 6, 2011
SESSION 4: Interfaith Services with The Reverend Jimmy Creech, The Reverend Mary June Nestler, and Bishop Kevin Kloosterman (Audio & Video)
Mormon Apologists FAIR to Discuss Gay Marriage at August Conference
The annual FAIR Conference of scholars, apologists, and interested individuals will meet August 2-3, 2012, at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. …
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, commonly known as FAIR, will host speakers and other experts who will discuss many of the topics and questions that have arisen as a result of Mitt Romney’s campaign. Among other hot topics and important issues to be discussed this year are questions regarding Mormonism and Blacks, Mormon women, polygamy, troubling aspects of Mormon history, and the difficult issues surrounding gay marriage.
“Apologetics Conference Targets Important Issues Confronting Mormons”
Press Release via PRWeb, 30 April 2012