Good Morning, President Monson. Hope you slept well. Bit of bad news out of California. Seems there are some internal Church documents admitted into evidence in the Proposition 8 trial that prove we were more involved in Yes on Prop 8 than we said we were.
These documents show that leaders of the Church know that they will always lose in the Courts, because our cause is right and supported by the U.S. Constitution.
Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the multi-billion dollar megachurch (it has the largest religious auditorium in the country seating 22,000 in SLC) that pretty much runs Utah and, as we're finding out, has reached into the constitutions of many of the United States to deny equal rights to LGBT folk everywhere.
He and the other 14 men (no women in the Priesthood) who run the Presiding Councils of the Mormon Church have together experienced over 1,000 years in leadership positions at the General Authority level (they start mostly in their 40's and live to be very old men). Gives them a kind of know-it-all attitude. They think they've seen and experienced everything there is to experience in the far flung church Joseph Smith dreamed up in the early 1800's. And because they speak for God, or so they believe, 13 million members in more than 160 countries fall in line with orders from the headquarters of the Church... or they leave. There is no middle ground.
With billions in tithes and no one, except God, to tell them no, they have been hell-bent on an anti-homosexual agenda for decades. They have a satellite system unrivaled in the U.S. with the ability to beam their leaders' words to the 6 million members served by stake centers in the U.S. and Canada (more than 4,000). Since everyone in the Church believes that Thomas S. Monson speaks for God, when he speaks the debate is over...whether he and the others are stuck in another time or not makes no difference.
As an example of how the satellite system works, there are somewhere around 400,000 Mormons in Arizona. The Sunday before the Tuesday election in 2008, all of them were asked to go to their stake centers at 10:00 A.M. to hear the President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles tell them to vote yes on Prop 102. This was also done throughout California.
So when the Church asked members to give of time and money to defeat the homosexual agenda in California, Arizona, Florida, and other states, they did... to the tune of more than $23,000,000 in CA. Former friends/acquaintances of mine in Arizona, 70 of them, gave $10,000 each to pass Prop 102 here. Others gave $100,000 to $500,000. (As a result the anti-LGBT group in the Greater Phoenix area has upwards of $7,000,000 still in their coffers after an easy and inexpensive win here. That money is going to buy a lot of grief for us in the future.)
Pointing out to the world through the trial in San Francisco just how heavy-handed the Church has been in all of this will help to limit their reach in the future. They hate bad publicity. I can't wait for 8: The Mormon Proposition to premiere at Sundance. Word is it was the first movie to completely sell out!
If it sounds like I'm angry, I am! Reason one for my anger is that Mormons drive their young LGBT people to commit suicide. Utah has the highest rate of suicides among young men ages 15-25 of any state in the nation. It isn't that they'd rather be dead than continue the discrimination they feel - they know death is the worst answer - but so many, many times it keeps coming up as the only way they can find to solve the problem of being homosexual in a church that hates homosexuals. When you are faced with losing your family, your friends, your church, and your God, perhaps in all too many cases death is the least painful option.
These 15 Brethren who lead the Church say they love us, but they don't want us to have companions, hold hands, show our love in a kiss, and above all we must remain celibate the rest of our lives. That is so unacceptable it is not worth commenting on further. (They threw us a bone by saying they were against discrimination in housing and employment, only after the SLC Council was unanimously in favor of the ordinance.)
The second reason is that I know thousands of loving Mormons who don't hate me and would be willing to live with me the way I am, but if they do so they run afoul of HQ. The goal for Mormons is Eternal Life with their companion and limitless progeny, married in the temple for all time and eternity. The limitless progeny deal would be kinda screwed if they let two men or two women marry. How to get around that sticking point is probably keeping some of them up at night.
To get into the temple one of the main things you need to do is commit to paying a full tithing, which is 10% of your gross income. You must also pledge to support your Priesthood leaders and affirm that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God and abide by his prophetic words.
Follow the Prophet and give money or no eternal live for you!
I've investigated ten different churches since coming out. None of them have the kind of tithing hold over the congregation that the LDS have. Each year the Mormon bishop calls you in to a "tithing settlement" meeting. You discuss whether or not you have paid a "full tithe" in the past year. If you have, then you can continue to go to the temple. If you haven't you are encouraged to repent and do so and you're out of luck on getting a recommend.
Imagine the financial power that gives the Church. They can determine down to the smallest amount how much money they will have coming in and with calculations for the economy move ahead with plans to spend it... on whatever the Prophet deems appropriate.
Recently they instituted a "bar code" for each Temple Recommend so that when you go to the temple you swipe your recommend and instantly the Church has statistics of how many people are attending the temple (and are full tithe payers) and can do all kinds of calculations from that.
If you have that detailed financial info on members of your flock, you can then call in members of the Church "in good standing," meaning they are full tithe payers, and knowing exactly how much they have given you can figure out how much they can afford to give to a special cause - give until it hurts, mind you - and if the Priesthood asks, they will give, as was seen during the elections of 2008. Priesthood leaders called couples in and asked for certain amounts they knew they could pay.
Lastly, this particular church, because of the brilliance of the Prophet Joseph Smith who started it, and the consummate and extensive business acumen of the fifteen men who run the Church, is one of the most destructive forces in our nation where civil rights are concerned. They didn't accept the civil rights of Blacks until ten years after the movement attained legal equality. (The real problem I learned was not so much that they didn't want Blacks in the temples, they didn't want Blacks marrying Whites in the temples!) They fought against the Equal Rights Amendment for women. Their final stand is against homosexuals.
I admire all of those who are fighting the good fight for equality, and hope that this trial in San Francisco paints the Mormons for the narrow-minded group they are, denying them the opportunity to hide behind the church in matters of state.