Why Proposition 8 is a Win-Win for the LDS Church

Leaving aside that Prop 8 and every other fight like it will leave a permanent impression that the church is a reactionary, bigoted organization, I think the church is going to benefit internally, no matter the outcome.

If Prop 8 wins, the church and its members will feel vindicated and believe that they have been involved in a great cause to preserve the righteousness of the nation and safeguard the sacred institution of marriage.

But if it fails, I suspect that the church will benefit even more, at least among its own members. We were taught all our lives that we were a peculiar people standing up for righteousness in a wicked world. The defeat of Prop 8 will be held up as a shining example of church members “standing for something,” despite its unpopularity in a wicked world.

Yes, there will be the occasional member whose sense of right and wrong and fairness will cause them to lose that much respect for church leaders, but those people are in the distinct minority.

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11 Responses to Why Proposition 8 is a Win-Win for the LDS Church

  1. Yeah, I think when something like Prop 8 fails, whether this fall in California or in some other situation in the future, it will strengthen the Church’s solidarity against the world.

    I think our resistance to gay rights will end up being as defining to the Church in the 21st century as polygamy was to the 19th-century church, in terms of setting us apart as a peculiar people and perhaps even affecting our social status enough that we have to start physically withdrawing in some way, to avoid persecution.

    I have an article coming out in the next Sunstone about this. It’s scheduled to post on my own blog before the end of the month, if you’re interested. Here’s a quote:

    “In the nineteenth century, Mormons espoused a principle that the civilization could not abide, and the civilization eventually pressured us to abandon earthly polygamy, although we continue to hold polygamy as an eternal principle. The twentieth century was the eye of the storm, during which we maintained Mauss’s optimal tension. In the twenty-first century, our host civilization is espousing a principle that Mormonism cannot abide, and I expect that the civilization will pressure us to accept gay marriage with every bit as much force as they used to get us to abandon polygamy. But I think we’re going to hold firm this time, simply because our doctrine won’t allow us to do otherwise. [Note: My article is mostly about why our doctrine won’t accommodate gay marriage.]

    “I don’t know where future social tension on this issue will take us, but I believe that we’re living in the latter days and that if anything ultimately fails, it will be worldly civilization, not the Lord’s earthly kingdom.”

  2. Chris, good stuff. If I could leave a comment on your blog before logging in I would. You’ve got to get yourself over to wordpress

  3. Sarah & Tim says:

    I haven’t heard yet about Proposition 8 – sounds like it has something to do with the church standing up against gay marriage in California, correct?

  4. Hellmut says:

    No matter how strong the Mormon alienation from “the world” if Church remains a spiritual, intellectual, and social wasteland, paranoia will not rectify the situation.

  5. Hellmut says:

    That’s right, Sarah. You can read more about Proposition 8 here. Mormons oppose Prop 8 and support marriage equality here.

  6. Hellmut says:

    “I don’t know where future social tension on this issue will take us, but I believe that we’re living in the latter days and that if anything ultimately fails, it will be worldly civilization, not the Lord’s earthly kingdom.”

    I feel sorry for the many Mormon children who are suffering from the homophobia in our culture. Thank heavens for a culture that is more humane than our community.

    Without mainstream America, Mormonism would be little more than an insignificant mountain tribe, by the way. The rise of Mormonism is inextricably tied to the rise of America. There would not be Mormons abroad were it not for the American dream and American power.

    Mainstream America has saved Mormonism more than once from itself. Mormonism became a much healthier place for the members once the United States dismantled Brigham Young’s theocracy. Had it not been for FDR’s New Deal and the victory in World War II, the Church would not be half as rich and powerful.

    Unfortunately, there are too many children that are suffering under the sexual obsessions of Mormon culture. It can only be a good thing for our children when we abandon those prejudices.

    There have been too many suicides already. I cannot wait for the day when this won’t be a problem any more.

  7. whatever says:

    I completely disagree with you. There’s a huge movement of mormons that disagree with the leaders on this particular issue. I think by trying to push people on this proposition, they’re going to tear the church apart. How many people would they be willing to excommunicate over speaking out against the church on this? Gay marriage would in no way effect the members of the mormon church. Why do they feel it’s so urgent to push their beliefs on everyone else? Whatever happened to freeagency?

    This isn’t even about gay rights. It’s human rights. How can you deny someone the basic right to marry the person they are deeply in love with?

  8. granddad says:

    Excuse me, President Monson, for not picking up my pitch fork and shovel and goose stepping in your holy war against marriage equality.

    What ever happened to “Persuasion, Long suffering, Love unfeigned and pure knowelege (without the spin). No. So far it’s been all “Follow the Prophet”.

    I’ve got news for my fellow LDS: That’s just pulling rank. The LDS are being told to obey by virtue of your priesthood office. That kind of influence and power is a vulgar abuse of Priesthood Authority. You have Section 121 of the D&C’s word on it.

  9. chris says:

    granddad:

    I have a difficult time believing you are a member of the LDS Church. It appears you are pretending to be an “angry” member to pull support in your direction. I’ve been a life-long member of the LDS Church and have been active my entire life. I’ve lived in California, Idaho, Alaska, Tennessee, Utah and Arizona and have become very close to church members in all of those areas. The far majority of the thousands of active church members I have come in contact with would be in direct opposition to your statement and attitude. I have also personally met President Monson and know that he is a good and honest man. He is a true prophet of God and it would be very wise for us to listen closely. When you see the collapse of the world around you, you will one day wish you had.

    Hellmut:

    I agree with you that Mormonism is tied to the rise of America. Think about it… if God would have restored His true church in Europe in those days, it would have never survived. They would have been burned at the stake and viewed as heritics. I think most Americans will agree that God founded this great nation of America. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in 1830, not long after the founding of this great nation. Your arguement establishes the fact that if God brought about the rise of America, He also brought about the rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are correct, I agree.

  10. Steve says:

    Leaders of the Mormon Church have perverted the ways of free thinking amongst its members. Their conservative teachings are ultimately destructive towards individuals suffering from Homosexuality. They claim to be accepting of everyone, but clearly, they are not, especially when you have Boyd K. Packer stating that Homosexuals, in addition to Intellectuals and Feminists, are one of the three greatest threats to the Church. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t like the idea of being considered a threat to an organization I believed in.

    The Mormon Church is anything but accepting towards anyone. I am currently LDS, and have experienced incredible humiliation, awkwardness, and downright bitterness because I’m male, 22 years old, and did NOT serve a mission.

    I find Mormon Culture to be completely reprehensible, and downright poisonous towards individuals who are homosexual, open minded, unable to go on a mission, black, and in some cases, and intellectuals.

  11. Paul says:

    “What happened to free agency?”

    It still exists. You still have a choice. You have a choice to vote yes or no on proposition 8 independent of religious influence. Influences are inevitably all around us, both good and bad (relatively), but it is the individual that decides to be influenced.

    Yes, the LDS church leaders, along with many other religious institutions that oddly don’t get mentioned (or at least by those who previously commented above.), are influencing there members to support a proposition that questions the definition of marriage and how it is to be viewed by the state of California. If you feel that you agree with this proposition, then use your personal agency to act accordingly when you vote. The same applies if you disagree. That is your GOD given right.

    Free thinking. In the context that was argued earlier, free thinking would be thought without influence (influence of the “Mormon church”). If that is the definition of free thinking, can it truly exist? Even the rebellious follow trends. Free thinking then would have to be accepted as the ability for one to cognitively review their influences as derived from life experiences, family, friends, the media, literature, and yes, even religious leaders, and many more….; And then thoughtfully and freely think based on those influences. Thinking is not influence free even though it is called free thinking.

    The Mormon Church has not perverted the ways of free thinking. They are just an influence. They strive to influence those who listen to follow a lifestyle and allow those to “think freely” and act with agency. The same is done by all religions. This influence to lead a life of standards is all over the Bible. It’s what Christ did. Christ influenced many to change their lives and to think differently simply by saying, follow me!

    By supporting proposition 8, no religion is pushing their ideals onto others. We live in a democracy where we are given a choice. If they weren’t to have an opinion and not vote, it would be considered un-American. Many LDS members live a standard where they disagree with gay marriage as influenced by their shared belief. It is there right to vote yes on proposition 8, as it is for them to also influence others with there reasoning.

    Don’t attack Mormons, Jews, “Born-again”-Christians or any others for practicing the rights that came with the territory of this land. We are Americans! We enjoy the freedom to vote according to our thoughts despite the decisions of judges. Listen to the influences around you. There is nothing wrong with agreeing with another person’s, or leader’s thoughts.

    As for me, my influence would be to believe in God. Ask for his guidance. His is the influence of most worth. He answers the prayers of all those who humbly kneel in faith independent of religious affiliation. Strive to use your agency in a way that makes the world a better place to live. After you have done that, vote according to what you think is best.

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