On the heels of a recent turn in California polls toward favor of those wish to maintain the legal definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, the Church has launched a new website: PreservingMarriage.org.

Two recent California statewide polls show that the Protect Marriage campaign has taken a lead. A CBS/Survey USA showed that Yes on 8 is leading by a margin of 47% Yes to 42% No. Shortly after that, Equality California briefed the gay media about their own campaign poll conducted by Lake Research Partners showing our campaign leading by a margin of 47% Yes to 43% No. Apparently, they attributed the sudden shift in voter attitudes to, “Yes on 8 is raising more money, and its most recent ad campaign is highly effective.”

The reverse in polls has followed a recent television ad campaign. The following was shown throughout California:

Last night, Elders Ballard and Cook of the Twelve and Elder Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy met with Latter-day Saints living in California, as well as LDS California residents living abroad, via satellite broadcast. They urged voters, particularly young adults, to use media and technology—phone calls, texting, blogs, Facebook, etc—to help spread support. The following is af brief clip published by the Church Newsroom:

Here are some videos from the new PreservingMarriage.org website:

The following are additional articles and blog discussion published thus far:

Church Readies Members on Proposition 8
LDS Newsroom – October 8, 2008

Young Mormons urged to join fight against gay marriage in California
Salt Lake Tribune – October 8, 2008

LDS Church urges pro-Proposition 8 calls
Deseret News – October 8

Mormons recruit out-of-state for gay marriage ban
Associated Press – October 8

LDS Church sends members to the phones in support of Calif. proposition
KSL News – October 7, 2008

Tolerance?
Messenger and Advocate – October 9, 2008

Church Broadcast To California Saints on Preserving The Divine Institution of Marriage
Messenger and Advocate – October 9, 2008

Elder Ballard asks Church members to step up involvement for Prop. 8
Millennial Star – October 9, 2008

Church’s new site on protecting marriage: preservingmarriage.org
Mulling and Musing – October 8, 2008

Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage?New Church Family Website
Messenger and Advocate – October 8, 2008

California Prop 8 goes church-wide
Latter-day Commentary – October 8, 2008

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19 comments

  1. avatar
  2. avatar

    bale

    Thank you for posting these media sources. I hadn’t even heard of PreservingMarriage.org. I appreciate Elder Cook’s assurance that while the Church does not endorse specific parties or candidates it will speak out on moral issues within the political arena. Church leaders like Pres. Heber J. Grant fought to generate support among Utahns to uphold the prohibition amendment. He wasn’t successful but maybe with the extensive network of informed young activists shown in these promos we will be. New media adds an exciting dimension to democracy.

    My only misgivings related to the Church’s efforts in this historic fight are that members in general will take a much more reactionary, fundamentalist attitude against homosexuals. If Prop 8 were to fail in November, or be later repealed, then would the Church’s position grow acrimonious towards gays and, by extension, SSA saints. Maybe it’s the duty of SSA saints to become more vocal in support of protecting marriage. Maybe our efforts will be seen as adding validity to the Church’s position. Maybe this is a timely way to publicly prove where our loyalties are.

  3. avatar

    Thanks for your comments, bale. Given your latter concerns, that’s why it’s all the more important for us to work within our own spheres of influence to try to help the dialogue remain compassionate and within it’s intended focus—on civil law. I appreciated the repeated emphasis on the fact that good people may disagree with the Church’s positions and we need to share our beliefs with genuine respect and kindness for the beliefs of others.

  4. avatar

    GFB

    Ty Ray,

    Thank you for this. You have done a great job of gathering these on line resources.

    I encourage you all to read:

    A Commentary on the Document “Six Consequences . . . if Proposition 8 Fails” by Morris A. Thurston

    This is easily found on Google. Morris is active LDS and teaches law at BYU. It is sad to see that all the things the TV adds and the Brethren base their arguments on are completely legally unfounded.

    I also struggle with what is said of tolerance. They say that on the left tolerance is only one sided because they oppose us in speaking our mind. The truth is we are not just speaking our mind we are attempting to make certain peoples actions illegal. No one on the left are asking us to stop preaching what we want to preach. In fact we are saying if they have a problem with us making their behavior illegal than they are intolerant not us.

    The other thing I have issue with is what is said about changing the definition of marriage. This is said as if we have always held this definition sacred. We attempted at one time to change the western definition of marriage to include polygamy. We have since almost the beginning of time tolerated multitude of definitions of marriage.

    Adam and Eve according to LDS theology were married for time and all eternity. Soon this definition included more than one wife. It also has included marriage for time only. It also included marriage performed by those without divine authority. It now includes arrangements that have nothing to do with sexual fidelity. Why is this one mutation suddenly so objectionable to our theology that we must make it illegal?

  5. avatar

    GFB, while I likewise take issue with some of the arguments in the “Six Consequences” document, they are not “completely legally unfounded.” Biased? Sure. Not always telling the full story? Most likely. But are those who want to sell gay marriage to the country as a right any less biased or more willing to tell the entire story? Hardly. So much of what has come from both sides is biased and partial-truth. I appreciated a lot of what Thurston said in his commentary, and it serves as an important reminder that we shouldn’t simply swallow whole the propaganda that any one side is selling, including those promoting gay marriage.

    Also, the key to your comment on the western definition of marriage is western. And, I would add, modern. Polygamy has been the norm through most of human history. Western history—particularly contemporary western history—is the exception, not the rule. I just read a recent article on human genetics that confirms this view. I was looking through some of the videos on the Mormons for Marriage website, which supports gay marriage, and some of the arguments in favor of gay marriage are based on assumptions that are severely problematic.

    I see the Church’s concerns as entirely valid—whether or not they are ever fully realized—though with the consequences as more long-term than short-term. Gay marriage would be as much of a disaster on cultural evolution as no-fault divorce has been. While I wrestle with my desire to see the merit in no fault divorce as a legal right, I also sense who the generations since that time see conjugal commitment with increasing apathy. Same-sex couples already have rights in California comparable to marital rights; this seems to me to be more about equality in social value than about equal legal rights. Socio-cultural normalization of homosexuality is not a “right.”

  6. avatar

    GFB

    Ty Ray,

    Thank you for your response. I agree that arguments on both sides have not always told the full story and are propaganda. I have hard time classifying Thurston?s commentary as propaganda. The one consequence of the six I believe that has any validity is the one about education; although I think what the church is afraid of happening is probably already happening in many schools and not just in CA.

    You make a good point about western definition of marriage. I do happen to believe the main point is that we have tolerated many definitions of marriage throughout time, and to decry change of definition now is a bit lame.

    I also agree that many of the arguments on Mormons for marriage are problematic. Where I do see many arguments for gay marriage as only telling part of the story as well as being problematic, but in my own mind I have found logic in why I believe gay marriage is good for families. I still have not been able to see the logic of the Churches position. I feel compelled to apologize for this, because I do believe these men are inspired, and I have spent a lot more time reading their position trying to gain understanding of it than of the pro gay marriage side.

    This pains me. I struggle knowing many gay Mormons that go to church afraid that their fellow ward members will find out they are gay. With the ?God Loves his children pamphlet? encouraging what amounts to living in secrecy, and our theology seeming to imply to me that homosexuality is an aberration to be ashamed of, and homosexuals at best we are taught to have compassion for them because we feel sorry for them. This political action of the church seems to me to only confirm the bigotry that is alive in the church. I am not saying the brethren directly teach this bigotry, but when you spend so much of the churches resources to make sure people that are not members cannot legally be recognized equally with heterosexuals I believe it sends a message to those within the church that exercise this bigotry. I believe if the brethren put this kind of energy into obliterating this bigotry in our wards it would no longer continue.

  7. avatar

    I’ve said this before, but at what point does faith come into play when questioning what the Church is doing here? This isn’t a bunch of old men putting up a fuss about Prop. 8, these are the men we sustain as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. Perhaps they have forseen something that goes beyond the mere “legal justifications” people keep raising about this issue? Or am I the only one who’s noticed that the ENTIRE body of General Authorities is actively supporting the Church’s activities in this regard?

    Perhaps this Proposition itself won’t lead to great legal harm to religion, but it could open the door for other legislation that will. If this becomes a “right”, I can easily see that a gay couple could present to a Bishop to be married, and then file a law suit if the Bishop declines their request. Or what if they present at the Temple to be married, and are turned away? I can see how this could take an ugly turn very quickly, even without any prophetic mantle to assist me.

    Neal

  8. avatar

    GFB

    Neal,

    I think it comes down to personal revelation. This is not a matter the brethren have given us a revelation on. Have you fasted and prayed about this matter? This question is rhetorical. I am not asking for an answer.

    I think your fear is unfounded. Many churches have requirements before they will perform marriages. I work with a counselor who once was a Catholic Father. He told me his local Catholic Church have a long list of requirements before they will marry a couple, one of these requirements is for the couple to under go counseling. When I was a teen my father was bishop of my ward. A lady in our ward who was in her seventies came to him and asked him to marry her and her 23 year old boy friend in a public park in front of the press. My father was kind but refused. The practice of churches marrying who they decide has always been left to the churches. Same-sex-marriage will not change this.

  9. avatar

    GFB,

    I don’t think this is a matter of personal revelation at all. The Brethren have distinclty and clearly declared what the definition of marriage is. They have made official proclamations as such. They have made numerous talks and printed articles stating this fact. You don’t have to wait for it to be printed in the Standard Works for it to be considered revelation. The Lord didn’t put the Brethren in place for them to breathe a lot of hot air at us – their job is to guide and counsel us as HE (The Lord) would, and they are clearly doing that now. This isn’t one or the other of them – its all of them!

    As for what effect Same Sex Marriage legislation will or will not have on Churches is something neither you nor I cannot predict with any certainty. But the Brethren can. I think this is more a matter of faith. There weren’t any clouds in the sky when Noah built the Ark.

  10. avatar

    GFB, Jeff Bennion wrote an insightful article on this some time back on the North Star site: “Revelation: Even When It Doesn’t Fully Explain, It Always Blesses“.

    Church leaders may receive revelation regarding a certain idea, but then have to use their own best judgment as to the meaning or reasons for the revelation. The revelation may need to be distinguished from the reasons or explanations of it. I sustain Church leaders as prophets, seers, and revelators, and they have called us to action on some level. I feel the Lord has been impressing on my heart certain ideas regarding long-term affects of legalized same-sex marriage, but what I’ve personally felt may be completely independent of the revelations or reasons the Church is giving. And the Church does not need to state something with “Thus sayeth the Lord” in order for it to be founded in revelation.

  11. avatar

    GFB

    Neal & Ty Ray,

    Are you suggesting that we should not ask for personal revelation on this subject?

    Brigham said: ?I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self security. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 135).

    Are you suggesting that all that the leaders of the church say or do is revelation?

  12. avatar

    GFB

    Neal,
    Why do we assume that if God ordains marriages between and a woman that he means we should hunt and kill others?

  13. avatar

    GFB, I’m very familiar with Brigham Young’s statement and have quoted it in this very forum. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t seek personal revelation. I’m quite ernest in seeking personal revelation about statements or ideas Church leaders have taught, as well as things they haven’t necessarily taught. What I’m suggesting is that one cannot say that because Church leaders may not add “Thus sayeth the Lord” before they issue a statement or teach a principle that what they are saying is not revelation. That was kind of wordy, but hopefully you get my point. The Lord’s often gives us “whats” without giving us “whys” (see Moses 5:6). That may be as much true with Church leaders as with members, and one of the points of Jeff’s article is that sometimes individuals try to explain reasons for revelations that may be lacking, when the Lord didn’t provide a reason—at least not yet. Often He simply gives the commandment as we are expected to obey. We can and should seek personal revelation, but it may be after “many days” of obedience before we receive the answers we were looking/hoping for. In the meantime, we may simply have to trust that “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). Julie Smith at Times and Seasons wrote an interesting post in a similar theme. Much of what the Lord says is not going to make perfect sense on a cerebral level, when our thoughts are not our thoughts nor our ways His ways.

    Hope for, pray for, and seek personal revelation on a matter, I say. In the end, your revelation may have been when you raised your hand to the square to sustain the First Presidency and the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators.

  14. avatar

    GFB

    Ty Ray,

    Thank you for recommending the article ?Revelation: Even When It Doesn?t Fully Explain, It Always Blesses?

    It is a good article.

    ?Does this mean that we are supposed to just obey every time our leaders speak? If they cannot explain them, are we supposed to follow just because they say so? No, and they have never asked us to do that. What it does mean is we must get our own revelation on the matter, and the Lord has promised us that he will do that if we ask humbly and sincerely. We may still not know why, but we can know that it is right.?

    Ty this is what I have done, and I believe God has given me an answer as clear as when I asked about the Book of Mormon or when I went to the temple the first time and asked if it was from him.

  15. avatar

    GFB

    I think Brigham Young’s quote has been thoroughly abused, quite frankly, and is being used as a justification NOT to follow counsel. I think its interesting to note that Brigham Young DID NOT say we should question or argue with every bit of counsel our leaders give us! He said we should pray for a testimony that our leaders are being led by God. Are you saying they are not? I find it impossible to reconcile your logic otherwise. I find it impossible to believe that God would tell you to support Gay Marriage and even make public arguments against the position of the Church, and then tell all of the Prophets and Apostles to do the opposite. Would he tell you not to obey the Law of Tithing and tell me I would burn in hell if I don’t? Would he tell you it was OK to commit adultry and then tell me I was unworthy of membership in the Kingdom for such an act? I think not. God is a God of order, and He is no respector of persons.

    In essence, what I hear being said is that God is double-minded and that there really are no rules here – whatever we think the Spirit is telling us to do we should do, and forget what a whole quorum of Prophets is telling us. They’re just there for show.

    Whatever you or I think we’re recieving as revelation must somehow match up to the body of other revelation and doctrine of the Church. If they don’t, then either we’re sadly mistaken or the Church is a fraud and we’re being led down the primrose path. That’s how I see it anyway.

  16. avatar

    GFB

    Neal,

    I know we have had this conversation before. I disagree with the way you look at the situation. In fact I have a hard time understanding how you still have a testimony if you believe that every time the church leaders do and say anything they are acting as prophets, seers, and revelators. I do believe they do act in those offices, but if there was not a difference in receiving a revelation like 1978 and everything else they do than why bother making any distinction.

    Also, if the only options are everything they say and do is revelation or it is all bunk then we are in a world of hurt. If we believe in the gospel I think we accept that all through time the Lord has chosen his leaders over his church with the exception of times under apostasy. We have talked before of the multitude of examples of leaders of the church saying and doing things that were simply wrong. I have given the example of blacks and the priesthood were many general authorities spoke on the same theories put forth by the Klan. These are things no longer put forward by the church. The church also discouraged support for civil rights. I think we can see that even what the church has taught about homosexuality has changed drastically in the past forty years. That implies to me that what was said forty years ago is down right wrong. We can go on and on. The further into history we go the more clearly we can see the things that were said and done that were wrong. Many of these things were conference talks and done and said as leaders of the church not as privet people, but they were not revelations or given as such. Like what we have for homosexuality.

    As for me I believe if we through out personal revelation it makes the whole restored gospel a house of cards. I believe this is the only foundation we can build a testimony on. It sounds like you are asking me to through this out in my life, and you are saying that you do not believe we should ask for personal revelation in this case. Am I misunderstanding what your message is?

  17. avatar

    No, I’m not saying to throw out personal revelation at all. No, I’m not saying we should act like dumb cattle. What I AM saying is there is a point at which something goes beyond personal revelation, and I think this is one of those times. This is DOCTRINE. When the Church and all 15 Prophets make a Proclamation to the World expounding the nature of the family, marriage, etc. it isn’t an internal memo – this is as big as it gets. My message is this – If you’re telling me you are recieveing revelation that the doctrine is wrong, then I say you have a problem with your revelation. Same Sex marriage can’t be right and wrong at the same time. The Brethren have said repeatedly and undeniably it is wrong – it is not part of the plan. So one or the other party must be wrong – either all the General Authorities or your revelation. That’s as simple as I can put it, and I do so not as a personal attack but as a statement of principle. Personal Revelation will NOT contradict the other revealed Doctrine of the Lord. (and let’s please not get into the Nephi killing Laban issue or any other rare exceptions that don’t have mainstream application)

    And I think the other point is that this IS like 1978. Read the Procalmation again. Here’s what Elder Henry B. Eyring said concerning it:

    The title of the proclamation on the family reads: ?The Family: A Proclamation to the World?The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.? Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. All this means that the family must be of tremendous importance to us, that whatever the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord?s promise when he said, ?Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same?

    I can’t offer any more clarification than that. Is there a doubt at all that the Brethren consider the Proclamation to be Holy Writ? I will follow the Lord and His Prophets on this issue, not out of blind obedience but because I have had Personal Revelation that they are inspired men of God, and the Proclamation is an inspired document, as Elder Eyring states.

  18. avatar

    GFB

    Neal,
    Thank you for your patient hearing of my point of view. I do not have any plans to bring up anything up like Nephi and Laban.
    I see we do not agree on a few very important points. You are free to disagree with me. You believe the proclamation is specific enough on these issues of homosexuality and gay marriage. You also believe the proclamation is just as good as a revelation. You also believe if the brethren make a mistake that would mean the church was not true. I think these are the three areas.
    Neal, I hope my arguments have never come across as a personal attack. Yours have not.
    Thank you,
    GFB

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