2008 Yes on 8 from the Inside
posted by November 7 at 17:58 PMon
One of the more crazy-making claims coming in the wake of Prop. 8 is that the Mormon Church did nothing to encourage (or coerce) church members into giving the 25 million dollars donated by Mormons to Yes on 8, which spent millions disseminating duplicitous ads about what Prop 8 was fighting and what it would accomplish. “The church didn’t order anyone to do anything!” an LDS troll wrote me yesterday. Maybe so—cults often depend on subtler devices than direct orders.
But here’s the thing: I have the firsthand testimony of a California Mormon—my sister-in-law Ana—who told Jake and me that she donated $100 to Yes on 8 specifcally to “obey the prophet.” From her letter:
You already know we believe in the Church—and, by corollary, the importance of thoughtful and considered obedience to divinely called leaders, and have made our decision to stand in that place. We both know our leaders can sometimes make mistakes, and we make our choices in that knowledge. Sometimes it feels like being a politician who votes for a bill with one horrendous clause added by an opponent, because the bill has other, more important content that must be implemented. It’s not clean or easy. It’s very hard to decide what is right when there are so many components both good and bad.
But when we look back at polygamy or the “Negro question” for example, we feel like as awful as those things are, we wouldn’t have wanted to give up on our most important feelings and beliefs because of them. I guess I feel like we were not so much supporting Prop 8 as making this small signal that we believe in a prophet. If it were just me, I’d probably be firmly on the other side. But I feel like “just me” is not the supreme authority and I have to acknowledge that I might be wrong. I know this probably will not sit well with you, but if we are wrong we are wrong with the best organization we can find, and if (I hope when) it someday changes for the better we will rejoice with the body of the Saints in that change - not look at them as outsiders wondering why it took so long.
Additional facts about Ana: She and her husband are the parents of four children, all adopted, all brown (two African-American, one Latina, one biracial). Here’s what she blogged on election night:
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
How a couple of black kids feel tonight
A lot of my friends might not have immediate access to the responses of the elementary-school-age African American demographic without me, so I thought I’d help you out tonight.
A, biracial, age 7, praying: “Thank you for giving us a good blessing and letting Barack Obama be the president. Bless John McCain that he won’t feel too bad, because he’s a good man and he tried really hard.”
S, full African-American, age 9, listening to the victory speech: “Martin Luther King is alive again.”
I’ve kept quiet throughout the hubbub surrounding the discovery of Ana’s donation to Yes on 8 (a discovery made extra galling by her family’s financial dependence on her parents/my father- and mother-in-law, whose feelings about Prop 8 couldn’t be clearer). But I can’t help wondering how the kids of the 20,000 same-sex couples that Proposition 8 turned into bastards feel.