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Friday, November 7, 2008

Yes, You Can

posted by on November 7 at 16:51 PM

I’m hoping that some of this political involvement stuff will stick in the wake of this election. Here are two things to do.

In the comments to Dan’s post about boycotting Utah and Mormonism, commenter pox points out the Mormon Stock Index, which lists businesses owned by Mormons. I was surprised by a couple of these, in particular Dell, American Express and Diebold.

And Daily Kos runs the phone numbers of Democratic Senators to call and insist that Joe Lieberman be stripped of his major committee chairmanships. Both of these actions are long overdue, and I hope people are willing to put in the time and make a difference.

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Boycotting businesses owned by Mormons is totally different than boycotting businesses owned by Jews right?

Posted by elenchos | November 7, 2008 5:00 PM

Please note that that list is current "as of 25 January 2002"

Posted by Just a side note | November 7, 2008 5:01 PM

Don't forget the US Senate, whose leader at the moment, Harry Reid, is Mormon.

Posted by don't forget | November 7, 2008 5:07 PM

@1 - Yes, because being a Mormon is a choice, while being a Jew is not.

Posted by David | November 7, 2008 5:08 PM

@1 - more along the lines of persecuted people being able to boycott businesses owned by Nazis. And to that list, let's not forget to add Mitt Romney's Bain Corporation.

Posted by E | November 7, 2008 5:09 PM


Oh, I was talking about the Jewish religion.

Posted by elenchos | November 7, 2008 5:10 PM

I'm definitely for boycotting Mormon OWNED businesses, but that link is an outdated list of companies that have Mormon executives, not necessarily owners.

Posted by K | November 7, 2008 5:11 PM
The Mormon Stock Index tries to measure the stock market performance of companies run by Mormon executives.

So, in other words, they are not owned by Mormons.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 7, 2008 5:12 PM

You have to admire the Mormons for their magic underwear though.

Posted by Fruit of the Loom | November 7, 2008 5:14 PM

Paul, this post is a fail!

Posted by Puhlease | November 7, 2008 5:17 PM

I'm sort of against throwing out random names of companies that may or may not be run or owned by Mormons in any discussion about a potential boycott. It really just makes us look kinda dumb. If there is going to be any boycott, let's make sure it's against a company or an entity that actually has strong ties to the Mormon Church.

I mean, American Express is a large public company (market cap of $30B). It is not owned by the Mormon Church.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | November 7, 2008 5:22 PM

Ack. While I'm very pleased with myself to have made it to the front page, I didn't say these businesses were Mormon-owned. I just posted the link without comment, and I didn't notice how out of date it was.

Posted by pox | November 7, 2008 5:26 PM

a good friend of mine in new york has begun a letter-writing campaign to help him deal with his massive depression brought on by the prop 8 madness.

he is writing letters to ron prentice who is the chair of and ceo of the california family council which was instrumental in passing this proposition.

the letters are not angry and hateful but rather friendly and informative. he's trying to rally as many people as possible to write friendly letters to good ol' ronnie so he can get to know some real life gays and see what their lives are like and that they are people too.

it's not the most aggressive campaign, but if it can help make some people feel better and possibly maybe just maybe cause one bigot to pull his head out of his ass long enough to see at least one glimmer of humanity in the gay community, then it's certainly a good thing.

you can see josh's first letter at his blog here:

you can send your own nice letter to ronnie here:
California Family Council
P.O. Box 20012
Riverside, CA 92516
Attn: Ron Prentice

Posted by ingo pixel | November 7, 2008 5:27 PM

Well, Diebold should definitely get their government contract for voting apparatus yanked. First of all, it's shoddy merchandise. Secondly, it's an obvious conflict of interest -- Diebold also receives numerous government contracts for the other products it manufactures (armored plating for tanks and prison doors, for instance. No I'm not making this up.) The temptation to use their machines to "help" put sympathetic politicians in place who will in return give them more contracts is too great.

So, yeah, let's pressure Congress to cancel their contract for making those shitty black box voting machines. Two birds, one stone.

Posted by flamingbanjo | November 7, 2008 5:35 PM

This might be a useful link:

...but it's broken when you try to see lists of businesses.

Posted by pox | November 7, 2008 5:35 PM

Oh, and, elenchos, I have no inherent problems with a boycott as long as it's the right target (i.e., actually owned by the church or a Mormon who gave to Yes on Prop 8). Why would I give my money to someone who's just going to turn around and give it to a Yes on Prop 8 campaign? Perhaps that person/the church will think twice about their stance if there is a significant economic impact.

Totally different from boycotting a Jewish-owned business due to anti-Semitism. People who do that don't expect anything to change (they're not doing it to get the Jew to not be a Jew anymore), they're doing it out of hatred.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | November 7, 2008 5:38 PM

"Julie in Chicago" as you call yourself, that's what I'm saying.

If a business is owned by practicing Jews, who go to the temple or whatever, then I can pretty much assume any profits they make from me will turn around and go to the international Jewish conspiracy, or will be used to generally support Zionism. I mean, do I really need to ask for proof that a particular Jew-owned business kills Palestinian babies? They're Jews, right?

Maybe I'm confused about how all this works.

Posted by elenchos | November 7, 2008 5:46 PM

Here's another lonely Proposition 8 Big $$$ donor who might could use some sweet pen pals. . . the Wikipedia entry makes him sound kind of miserable and out of touch w/society. . .,_Jr.

Posted by Claire Ramsey | November 7, 2008 5:54 PM

elenchos, that's why I said that right target is so important. I would absolutely not be opposed to looking up the individuals who donated more than, say, $5,000 to Yes on Prop 8 causes, figuring out if they own a business, and boycotting that business. Maybe in the future they will not be so apt to donate to hateful causes.

Indiscriminately boycotting Mormon-owned businesses would be stupid. Also stupid would be boycotting American Express or Diebold (how exactly would I boycott Diebold, anyways? not use ATMs?).

Posted by Julie in Chicago | November 7, 2008 5:55 PM

One good thing about the "Mormon Stock Index" link is that it refreshes my memory. As I recall, the LDS Church and many of its most prominent and wealthy members/leaders have ownership in a wide range of corporate farming, trucking, food warehousing, food service, grocery stores, and similar businesses that fit with their goals of self-reliance and charity to church faithful (and others, too, it must be said) in hard economic times. This suggests that some diligent digging can bring up business names that can be targets of boycotts nationwide and not just in Utah. The far-flung tentacles of corporate farming and trans-shipment of foodstuffs are also antithetical to many green & locavore principles, so there's a twofer.

Posted by rob | November 7, 2008 6:17 PM

Wonderful. You're all playing into the fundamentalist Christian trap re: the Mormons. And the level of bigotry, yeah, awesome. It's anti-Semitism, only with jello-eating white folks.

I mean, boycott Mormon-owned business? Well, any Mormon who owns a share of a company owns that company. So, what businesses would you have to boycott? ANY PUBLICLY HELD COMPANY. Oh, and they're putting their money in the same mutual funds you own, too, so better divest your 401(k)!

So, calm down the anti-Mormon fervor just a bit and focus your boycott targets on the people who supported Prop 8 -- the Mormon Church and its donors -- and not on ancient lists of Mormon CEOs written up by freeper types.

You want a boycott target? A nice, easy, local boycott target?

KIRO Radio.

Wholly owned by the LDS Church through its media holding company, Bonneville International.

No Seahawks games on radio, no Mariners games on radio, no Dori Monson, no Too Beautiful To Live. There, you've taken the first step.

Now, just wait for someone to compile a decent boycott list of donors to Yes On 8, and you're done. And stay out of Utah, or at least metro SLC. And stop reading sites written by crazy anti-Mormon fundamentalist freeper types! You're a hop and a step away from GOOGLE RONPAUL territory.

Posted by dw | November 7, 2008 6:37 PM

If we're going to boycott a state (and I'm not saying this is the best idea) wouldn't it make more sense to boycott California? It was California, not Utah, that passed Prop 8. And yes, Utah is Mormon Heaven but it always has been, and the Mormons' political agenda has never been a secret. But a lot of non-Mormons in California chose to vote for hate and ignorance.

Posted by RainMan | November 7, 2008 7:07 PM

@21 re 20: I meant, but did not type, businesses in which the major owner is the LDS church and/or prominent church leaders. In those cases, the profits/dividends may be fairly assumed (through the tithe) to have provided substantial support to the Yes on 8 campaign. To someone who has ready access to indexes of business publications and standard government filings (not me), these businesses should not be hard to discover and propose for boycotts.

Also remember that KIRO is of little interest or significance to anyone outside Seattle; bigger targets are appropriate.

Posted by rob | November 7, 2008 7:09 PM

Uh, why not boycott any business whose owners made substantial donations to the Yes on 8 campaign, regardless of whether they're Mormon?

Posted by Darcy | November 7, 2008 7:32 PM

How about taking all your energy and working hard to make sure folks here in Washington can get married? Let CA deal with CA. WE have a battle to win here. Of course if you're the sort that thinks all gay run Non-profits are a waste of time, keep bickering about the Mormon church.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | November 7, 2008 8:19 PM

this gas bag talk of boycotts is getting silly, could be a tactic

1. the target must be directly part of the failure - voters in California who are homophobic
Mormons could give a rats ass about queer boycotts, confirms their sense of who their enemies are and will mean nothing to their cash stash
Why just Mormon stuff? Did the Pope and his cadre of gay hating bishops and cardinals come out? Don't get it, other than some Stranger staff don't like Mormons. Their Temples get picked by
Boycott some piece of California, Orange County??? Impact the payroll to the votes who screwed us.

Posted by Adam | November 7, 2008 8:23 PM


Posted by MormonsRWhackos | November 7, 2008 8:39 PM


No, for one thing, Prop 8 passed by a slim majority. You'd be better off boycotting a state that passed these kinds of amendments by wide margins. Besides, California has a huge economy that's not going to be affected in any way by a boycott. Which also brings up the futility of this whole thing. Any boycott is going to be ineffective and, in the end, this is pointless.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 7, 2008 9:29 PM

If we're going to boycott a state (and I'm not saying this is the best idea) wouldn't it make more sense to boycott California?

Yes, exactly. I lived in Colorado during the Amendment 2 boycott. We all knew that it was conservatives in California who'd bankrolled much of the Yes On 2 campaign, but Colorado voted for it, so we had to deal with the boycott. Now, California votes for something just as bad, but no one wants to boycott California? Double standard much?

I meant, but did not type, businesses in which the major owner is the LDS church and/or prominent church leaders.

Then you can boycott Deseret Management, which is the holding company for the for-profit section of the church. But I think what you'd find is you're basically boycotting downtown SLC, a bunch of random hotel properties, and Beneficial Insurance. Tithe money that's not going right back out to charitable needs is just getting plowed into the equity markets.

Deseret owns Bonneville International, which owns KIRO radio. (But NOT KIRO-TV, which is now owned by Bonneville until 1995 and is now owned by Cox.)

In those cases, the profits/dividends may be fairly assumed (through the tithe) to have provided substantial support to the Yes on 8 campaign.

The problem with this "major owner" stuff is that almost all Mormon-owned businesses of the size you want are PUBLIC COMPANIES. Many companies that are historically associated with the Mormon Church, e.g. Marriott, have scant few Mormons in the board room. And many of the larger donors appear to be local business owners, the sort of people you could boycott simply by never buying vinyl siding in Provo.

Also remember that KIRO is of little interest or significance to anyone outside Seattle; bigger targets are appropriate.

Bonneville owns 30+ radio stations in Seattle, Phoenix, Cincy, Chicago, St. Louis, LA, and DC. They're currently bidding for another 50 more stations CBS Radio is trying to divest themselves of. They're not Clear Channel, but they're plenty big.

Or, you know, you could just not boycott, give money to one of the legal funds being set up to lead the court challenges, and work positively here and across the country to promote gay marriage. It's going to take more than boycotts, it's going to take changing hearts and minds. You know, like the Obama ground game.

Posted by dw | November 7, 2008 10:07 PM

interesting, seeing as Ellen DeGeneres was a long-time face of AMEX.

Posted by juicy | November 7, 2008 11:37 PM

Dell is Mormon because one person on the board of directors is Mormon? Uh, interesting definition.

Posted by bob | November 7, 2008 11:38 PM

Here's Slate's coverage of the Prop. 8/Mormon correlation, which includes a list of Mormon donors to Prop. 8 -- some of them gave quite a lot of money. The document is 3 pages, and includes both individuals and businesses. The biggest donation I spotted was $1,000,000. Something for people looking to boycott specific businesses, or write some letters. Unfortunately, confirmed Mormons don't have complete names on the list -- so that million dollar Alan A. from Utah won't be getting any letters.

Posted by Elissa S. | November 8, 2008 5:24 AM

Wow, I've never seen sour grapes like this. And the amazing part is this: Mormon's make up 2% of the voting population in California. Even if all the Mormons in CA voted (and they didn't), they still only accounted for a tiny fraction of those who voted Prop 8 in. I'm not sure why you're not boycotting Catholics, Hispanics, Blacks, Old People, or Evangelicals, all of whom voted for Prop 8 in substantially greater numbers than Mormons. It's hilarious how it's not ok to disagree with gays (a minority), but it is ok to discriminate against Mormons (a minority). Who made up that backwards rule?

Posted by Ben Neilsen | November 9, 2008 9:38 PM

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