Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Scandal! Scandal!? Church Provides More Details on Proposition 8 Spending for Jan. 31 Deadline

The buzz on the Internet is that the Church has been "forced" to provide more information about its scandalous support for Proposition 8 - and now it turns out that a lot more support was given that previously admitted. Hmmm. Accounting for the labor of some employees as part of the new information required for a Jan. 31 deadline under California law might not be as scandalous as critics would make it seem. See "Church Clarifies Proposition 8 Filing, Corrects Erroneous News Reports."

I don't know the details of the laws and what information they require when. Would appreciate informed comments. I have not been following the financial reports and don't know the details of what was covered in earlier reports or what's up with the different deadlines and reporting requirements. Updating or revising numbers does not necessarily mean that earlier numbers were lies - I await further information about what happened here and why. In any case, $200k of labor and other support is still a pittance - the real impact came from individuals, both LDS and others, contributing directly and with time to support Prop 8. Like it or not, speaking out on something as fundamental as traditional marriage is entirely within the realm of propriety for any religious organization.

No matter what, the Church will be hated and reviled by some for taking a stand on that issue. There's a moral to the story. Californian Mormons seeking to avoid reprisals from angry crowds for supporting traditional marriage, next time don't bring the Church into this. Come on! Temporarily convert to Islam when expressing your views. No one is going to vandalize, say, the San Francisco Third Mosque of the San Francisco Stake when Imam Heber Kimball Young encourages the congregation to support Prop. 8. Islam - it's not just the religion of peace, it's also the religion of protected free speech. And I'm totally cool with that! Just wish everyone would get that level of respect.



Update: Am puzzled as to why Mormons are singled out among the many groups who support traditional marriage and oppose Prop. 8. (Well, the Catholics and Evangelicals got some heat, but I haven't seen any formal heat toward Muslims, black Americans, and others - thank goodness! No one should be exposed to the hate and intimidation I've seen expressed toward some for simply taking a stand on an issue up for a vote. Some even lost jobs just for making a donation!) And please note that not all Mormons agree with the Church's stance in California. So before you get your local neighborhood Truth Commission together to go after your Mormon neighbors, first check and be sure that they are guilty of having an opinion you disagree with. Me? Uh, no, no opinions at all. So put those torches down!

Getting accurate numbers out of a large organization takes a lot of time and persistence. It takes lawyers and accountants sifting through data determining what counts and what doesn't according to California law or other standards. I've seen how hard it is to get accurate data in a corporation when they know ahead of time what needs to be reported and tracked. For the ad hoc nature of the Prop. 8 effort, it is very easy for me to imagine that diverse groups and employees could have given time and effort that would later require a lot further time and effort to properly estimate in terms of in-kind contributions. Revisions in reports and different standards for different estimates are common in business, and we should have a little patience and charity in letting the Church get its accounting squared away to meet the particular requirements of California law. $200k is still a pittance - I would be surprised if deliberate lying were done by any organization of similar size to disguise such a small number in the first place. Easy-to-find numbers with good news are tempting to report, perhaps prematurely - a common problem, if there is one here. If am wrong and there has been some serious and deliberate distortion by someone, then we've got a problem to fix. I await further clarification.

73 comments:

Russtafarian said...

This is the Cali. Gov't Fair political practices website. It explicitly states that lobbyists (which I believe the Church qualified as in the election--correct me if wrong) need to file by Jan. 31st.

I'm not keen on how members of the Church handled Prop. 8. But seriously, critics?

http://www.sos.ca.gov/prd/lobbying_info/filing_requirements/lob_filing_deadlines.htm

djinn said...

The Mormon church stated repeatedly (kindly reference Google or your search engine of choice) that they had only contributed $2078.97.00 towards the passage of prop 8. Now, suddenly, it turns out the number is much, much higher. Is this your standard, dear Mr. Lindsay? You get to lie through your teeth until reqired to turn in paperwork by the Government? How very very convenient. Nice to know. What issues, exactly, shall I trust you on? Only those that, if you lie, enact a governmental penalty? Alrighty then. What is it you do for a living?

djinn said...

Plus, why the random and totally uncalled-for Islam hate? It had no part in this post; I'm beginning to think I seriously misjudged you. What is going on?

mriCanada said...

Finally, something that ISN'T related to bashing the bailout/stimulus package (Which may or may not work, but he hasn't given it a rest)!

Papa D said...

I always am interested in how rabid and blind people can be. I saw the headline in the LATimes that the Church had "spent" $180,000 on Prop 8, then I read the article. They made it clear that the actual "spending" really was only about $3,000 or $4,000 (I forget exactly how much) and that the $180,000 was "in-kind" donations (like the estimated value of employee time and travel expenses).

So, out of approximately $26 million actually raised in real cash, the Church as an institution accounted for about 0.1% of that. (1/1000) Even if there were NO other in-kind donations, which is a ridiculous assumption, the entire amount contributed by the Church in full monetary value (rounding up to $200,000 due to laziness) would have been about 1/130 of the total. Defiitely must be illegal and worthy of losing its tax-exempt status. I mean, really, how could it be seen in any other way?

*sigh*

Russtafarian said...

Djinn:

First, I would suggest a nice "chill." You worry too much.

Secondly, your point has been made repeatedly by news outlets, talking heads, and others. And Jeff and the Church have responded to those claims. What say you? Not convinced? Why not? Is there some law that the Church did not follow (one that has NOT been addressed in this post) that we don't know about?

Mormanity said...

Islam hate??? What are you talking about? I have stood up for Islam as a religion of peace, in spite of its abuse by terrorists - I have great respect for my Muslim friends. I was observing that the media and the Prop 8 bashers focus on the Mormons while tending to give others a pass. Some Muslim imams have called not just for supporting marriage, but for stoning homosexuals - yet we don't see their mosques being vandalized. So if Islam gets a pass by the media and the anti-8 protesters, that's great - and offers a (tongue-in-cheek) loophole for those who want to speak out and have their free speech rights protected.

It was a joke, and not one with the least animosity toward Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Djinn,

How is the LDS Church Contribution a problem? I realize that maybe there was not a full disclosure, that's pretty much par for the course, but, I still fail to see what the problem is.

As I see it, churches, regardless of the denomination, are entities with the right to take a stance on what are percieved to be moral issues. So contributing to a cause that either supports that moral issue, or fights against a moral issue, is well within a churches rights. It does not violate any non-profit stance for a church to take a stand on a particular issue, or to contribute time and money to support that church's stance on the issue.

So back to my question, how is the LDS Church contributing money to support Prop 8, any different than the Gay and Lesbian Community contributing money to fight Prop 8. No one is complaining about the various, liberal non-profit organizations donating to fight Prop 8. Seems to me that we live in a democratic society where the people vote the laws in, why is this issue any different? Because the Gay Community Lost?? Get over it...that happens.

On another note, and I've brought this up before, has anyone on either side of this issue really stopped to think about what happens if the California Supreme Court actually does consider this issue and actually does overturn the vote on Prop 8? Do we really want to go down a road where the court's can nullify the only real power we as citizens have in effecting our government? Is that going to be good for anyone in this issue?

Consider for a moment what happens if the Cal. SCT does over turn this. Our courts, being based on the English Common Law system, enact rulings called precedents. If this court were to overturn Prop 8, the precedent that will be set is that future lower courts will be required to find unconstitutional future votes on ballot proposals as a matter of law. The big picture is that if someone disagrees with a vote by the people, all one would have to do is sue, and they'd win and nullify the law. This is crazy.

Personally, I am very angry about this whole Prop 8 issue. Not because I'm for or against Prop 8, but because the morons on both sides are so angry that they can't see what they are about to do to our whole legal system or our voting rights if they force this into the court system. Calm down folks, cut your losses, and start using your brains.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Mormanity said...

Catholic Defender, those are some of the wisest words I've seen in the debate. You're seeing the Big Picture here, and I think you're absolutely right. This is a very serious issue. I fear that the vote will be overturned, and open a huge can of worms that can eat away at the foundation of representative government.

And thank you for recognizing the right for groups to express their opinions and stand up for issues they believe in. It is a two-way street, but some would have it be only one way. Opinions are only allowed to be expressed when they are politically correct opinions.

Mormanity said...

Djinn asked: Is this your standard, dear Mr. Lindsay? You get to lie through your teeth until reqired to turn in paperwork by the Government? How very very convenient. Nice to know. What issues, exactly, shall I trust you on?

Djinn, as a reminder, I'm not the Church and did not create the early estimates or the final ones. I have no idea what was spent or how. Part of my motivation was to ask for people to clarify the issues. You assume the difference in reports -- contrary to the explanation offered by the Church, if you've read it -- is due to deliberate lying. If that is the case, then NO, that it not my standard. I am totally for accuracy in reported numbers, in press releases, and in compliance with the letter of the law. Not understanding what happened and what criteria were being applied in sifting through the data, I am not convinced that deliberate prevarication of any kind was involved. If the Church missed the work of four or five employees in some division of the Church and later has to revise the numbers up to, say, $250,000, I don't think that would necessarily reflect deliberate dishonesty either.

I also recognize how difficult it is to come up with accurate numbers in matters such as this, for I know how difficult accurate numbers can be in a corporation with far fewer people and much more money for accounts and record keeping, and that's when they know what they need to record and report in the first place. For the rather ad hoc nature of the Prop 8 effort, it is entirely possible for many people to get involved early and not understand what needs to be reported and how. Even when that is known and propagated, it takes a lot of time and effort to nail things down. The cash expenditures are relatively easy, but estimating manpower across a large organization can be fraught with difficulty.

For some perspective, go talk to a business man in a corporation with, say, 10,000 employees, and ask about Sarbanes-Oxley and related reporting burdens. Ask about revising earnings estimates. Ask about SAP. What California is asking for isn't easy to do - I think a little charity would be helpful as we wait to understand these numbers.

Halibut said...

Why is the Church singled out? Could it be their arrogance?

Puzzler said...

Thomas S. Monson arrogant??

Anonymous said...

On another note, and I've brought this up before, has anyone on either side of this issue really stopped to think about what happens if the California Supreme Court actually does consider this issue and actually does overturn the vote on Prop 8? Do we really want to go down a road where the court's can nullify the only real power we as citizens have in effecting our government? Is that going to be good for anyone in this issue?

Defender,

If you are concerned about that, you should be equally deeply concerned about a lawsuit being brought by the yes-on-8 campaign to prevent disclosure of the list of donors to yes-on-8. The lawsuit is asking the courts to declare the campaign finance disclosure law unconstitutional. That law was passed by, you guessed it, a vast majority of voters in a ballot proposition some years ago.

Mike K said...

What I don't understand is how members of the LDS faith voted against prop 8. It should of passed by a wider margin.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous of Feb 3rd,

I'm deeply concerned by either side injecting this issue into the court system. The job of the court is to interpret existing law, not make it. There's already a perception that our court legislate from the bench too, this lawsuit will give them actual authority to do so. I don't think the courts should be reviewing voter decisions under these circumstances. On a side note, I do believe some of the campaign finance laws are unconstitutional. Frankly if I were writing them, I'd limit contributions to a $1000, and require that contributions only come from individual contributors, and I'd limit spending to a fixed amount, which would likely vary relative to the office being sought. But that's just me.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Dr. J said...

To clarify, the real issue before the California State Supreme court is not whether they can strike down a ballot iniative (or any other duly enacted law) as unconstitutional, but whether they can declare a constitutional amendment unconstitutional. If they decide that they have the authority to invalidate constitutional amendments, then the idea that our republic derives its power from the consent of the governed is on its way out.

Anonymous said...

but whether they can declare a constitutional amendment unconstitutional

Dr. J, that's not a very accurate characterization.

It is already not possible under California law to amend the CA state constitution by a simple majority vote of the voters. So all constitutional amendments are unconstitutional by definition if they are done by majority ballot. (Only small constitutional "revisions" can be done that way.)

The question before the court is whether Prop 8 was an amendment or a small revision.

If you think that not allowing a simple majority vote to amend the constitution means that "the idea that our republic derives its power from the consent of the governed is on its way out," then you must really despise the US Constitution! As you may recall, the Founding Fathers required 3/4 of the states and supermajorities of both houses of Congress to agree in order to amend the Constitution. There is no provision for a 50%+1 vote of the people.

Tony said...

To the person who claims that the leaders of the Church are arrogant, I am afraid you are sadly mistaken. Having personally met and talked to three of the Apostles of the Church, i can promise you that they are some of the most humble, honest, and loving men I have ever known. Get to know someone before you judge them outright, and avoid looking ignorant and arrogant yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the founding fathers did require a 3/4 majority to amend the US Constitution. You're overlooking the 10th Amendment though, which gives the States the power to govern themselves, so long as they don't overstep the US Constitution. Essentially California can decide that it wants a simple majority to amend the Calif. constitution.

Catholic Defender

kuri said...

The issue is that the Church and its defenders have used the "only $2,000 worth of in-kind contributions" as a talking point in defending the Church's involvement. Suddenly revealing contributions almost 100 times as large makes the Church look deceptive, even to reasonable people.

Dr. J said...

To Anon @ 11:32 am

I'm a chemist, not a lawyer, so I admit that the issue before the CA supreme court is probably be more complex than I originally stated. That being said, my understanding is that "revisions" of the CA state constitution require 2/3 vote of the legislature whereas "amendments" can be legally passed by ballot initiative.

We might disagree with each other about whether prop 8 is a good idea or not, and may disagree about whether prop 8 constitutes a revision or an amendment. However, asking a court to strike down any legally enacted constitutional amendment is dangerous, because it sets the precedent that ultimate power rests with the court or the government and not with the people.

JimD said...

In hindsight, we apologists (and the news reporters) should have been more careful about making black-and-white claims regarding how much the Church institutionally had (or hadn't) donated.

But look for a Church press release saying that the Church only had and/or or ever would spend $2,000.

You won't find it.

Also, djinn asserts that the Church "lie[d] through [its] teeth until required to turn in paperwork by the Government", as if the Church intended to carry on some sort of charade indefinitely and suddenly the Government demanded it produce the numbers.

That's quite simply untrue, as Jeff points out above. Everyone had to release their final reports (by February 2nd. The Church was three days early.)

Anonymous said...

Dr J, quite right, I had swapped the revision and amendment words. The idea stands though. It makes sense to only allow small changes.

djinn said...

The Mormon Church lied about its expenditures until a court filing required them to report. Aren't you a patent attorney? Ids's anyone?

djinn said...

Up until yesterday (Feb. 2, 2009), the Mormon Church directly lied about its contributions to the "Yes on 8 campaign designed explicitly to strip existing rights from perfectly decent humans who happened to have genitalia of which you in pairs, you disapproved. $2k vs. $180K, some discrepancy? Congrats. Lying for the Lord, anyone? What else do you feel it's hunky dory to lie through your teeth about?

Mormons are my family, my people; wy can't you at least pretend to be at least a bit decent? I blame Nephi.

djinn said...

As to the issue of reporting deadlines, there are specific time frames, violated freely by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That they finally gave at least a partial accounting on the last possible day... well, such a high standard -- I'm going to recommend this to all my Mormon family that still attend (that would be everyone but me.) Lie through your teeth until the last possible minute then act all innocent. That's the standard I expect of my religious leaders

Plus, the Mormon church has yet to account for the money (freely documented on the amazing interwebs) spent on phone banks. Amended returns, anyone?

Mr. Lindsay? How do you handle your legal practice?

Mormanity said...

Djinn, I'm not an attorney, but it seems that anybody concerned about legal matters like this should recognize that caution is needed in making conclusory statements about someone else's intent. The fact that early reports were for a very tiny amount and more detailed reports give a larger but still tiny amount may not be grounds for your anger. The $200k from the Church was not the deciding factor in the $40 million campaign, and money alone probably wasn't either - it was the people of California.

And Djinn, I'm an observer of this matter, not the guy that filed the report. I really don't know how the earlier numbers were released, who gave them, how they were computed, etc. The $200k number appears to be the more complete, formal report, but I still don't know how they got all the data and how accurate it was. I'm not involved and didn't play any role - I'm must a member in a Midwest state. What do any alleged accounting or reporting problems from Salt Lake City have to do with my personal integrity that you are so quick to impugn? I do not condone lying - and I'm also against innocent mistakes as well, though I make plenty.

Djinn, I don't think you have a basis to insult my integrity on the basis of reporting the Church's statement and being LDS. I would encourage you to be less quick to condemn and decry others.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is how members of the LDS faith voted against prop 8.

It's easy: some of us still have a sense of propriety with regards to the role of government. I am ashamed of those who voted in favor.

djinn said...

I'm sorry, I apologize, you are right, I was too quick to judge. I thought you were a patent attorney, as am I, to tell the truth. The rules I must follow are very strict indeed, I assumed you operated under the same standards. The Mormon church both claimed that they had spent around 2K and let that amont float around freely in the media until they were challenged with a lawsuit. I'd lose my license if I did such a thing. I assume you work under some looser set of rules.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that the $2000 the LDS Church spent was actual cash, and the 180,000 is an 'in kind' amount, meaning not actual cash, but the value of the time and certain resounces that were used to promote Prop 8.

Bookslinger said...

The $180,000 also reflects a reassessment of travel that could be construed to have been done on behalf of Prop 8 related trips.

My belief is that the travel was NOT specifically or entirely for Prop 8, IE, that there were other primary reasons for the trips, and that's why it was not counted at first.

With the reassessment, or re-analysis of the trips, it looks as if the travelling church authority mentioned anything about prop 8 at all on the trip, then they have now re-allocated all the expenses of that trip as having been in behalf of Prop 8.

djinn said...

Dear Mr. Lindsay The reason I was "quick to impugn" was because the Mormon church gave the very real implication for months and months of only giving around 2k to prop 8, and then after an actual legal lawsuit fessed up to more.

Looking at the actual expenses, found here, the expenses weren't especially difficult to calculate; that is, they were meant to deceive.

I do not mean to impugn your own integrity; forgive me, I thought you were a patent attorney. You have always struck me, like my sweet, painfully sincere family members, beyond decent, moving into some ultra-violet sense of the word.

Plus, considering the reported expenses where's the phone banks that were active in Utah? Expect amended, larger expense reports in the future.

But why be so sincerely vested in this clearly erronous report? You're (speaking of clarity) clearly a wonderful, decent, human being. Why do you care if a neighbor, a colleague, a child, heaven forbid, is gay, and has the choice to live a life that is not a series of tragedies?

Mormanity said...

Djinn, thanks for the refreshing reply. Sorry if I was harsh also in replying.

I'm not highly vested in the details of what the Church has reported - my post was letting people know about something new, the Church's response to numerous allegations that may have been hasty. So I've put the link to their response, which seems fairly reasonable, and asked for feedback because I don't really know the full story. But from my biased perspective as a Mormon, their response looks reasonable, and some of the hostility toward the Church looks unreasonable.

I agree that IF deliberate deception was involved, this was wrong and needs correction. But being familiar with the challenges of accurate reports from organizations and the time it takes, I don't think we can assume deliberate lying was involved because the preliminary report failed to consider additional labor. There are details here that I don't get - making it too early to pass judgment.

As for the ethics issue, again, I'm not the one involved, just observing from my perspective as a supportive member of the Church. High ethics are required in most professions. I'm not a patent attorney, am a chemical engineer and business consultant, and did become a patent agent a number of years ago. But what would be different if I were an attorney? The Church is not my client, just my friend. Are you saying that an LDS attorney would need to denounce the Church and leave it if in fact someone in the Church deliberately lied about this matter?

I hold to high ethical standards in my professional work and try to do so on this blog as well. I do not believe in lying for the Lord. I do believe that there are couple sides to every dispute and know that caution is needed in judging what others do. Did the Church deliberately lie?? I don't understand how you can make that conclusion based on providing updated figures. I would need to know who said what, who knew what when, and what the different reporting standards were for the information given. I would like to understand these issues, but don't.

Thanks for the recent comments - it does help to have your insights. I do recognize how painful Prop 8 was for many people. One of my favorite gay people, with whom I had lunch recently, is a former Mormon who expressed his anger toward the Church over its involvement. I think he misunderstand some of the issues, but I can also sympathize with the pain.

If serious mistakes were made in LDS involvement in the matter, we need to learn from this and correct those problems. But given what little I know now, I think the widespread furor over the updated info is fueled more by the pain of the Prop. 8 loss than a reasoned reaction to the facts of the reporting..

Razzie Dazz said...

I don't get it. I thought lawyers were required to have LOWER ethics than the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger's guess makes a lot of sense. I think we should entertain that as one of several possibilities before we go screaming about the Church lying. $200k is such a trivial amount - makes no sense that they would "lie" to cover up nothing.

Oh, it's 100 TIMES MORE! Sure - just like it is if I say I'm down to my last penny when I check and find there is actually a dollar in my wallet. Big deal - it's a penny when it comes to the $40 million spent on Prop 8.

Anonymous said...

Ah!! Just a tempest in a teapot!!

Just much ado about nothing!!

But brain dead hyper critics aren't happy unless they are screaming about some trivial matter.

djinn said...

Ahhh, Dear Mr. Lindsay, there are times when an attorney must remove him/herself from representation. There are also times, often related to upcoming deadlines, where we cannot, even though we would like to. Unlike the public opinion, we are held to a high standard. The issue in question, repoting expenditures, required reporting, in a timely fashion, for expenses accrueed during specific time periods. Didn't happen.


Sarbanes-Oxley, uuuh, I confess that I have sympathy. You would have to mention that.

Be that as it may, I feel that I must comment on the nature of our republic. We have the courts, the legislature, and the popular vote.

We are a constitutional republic. Plus, each state has it's own constitution. The Supreme Court of the US and of each state has the rerquiement that the laws passed are constitutional. If the Supreme Court determines a law is unconstitutional, it is invalidated. That's the way it works. The "Will of the People" is not triumphant, of which we should all be glad. If it were, an unpopular minority, Mormons anyone? could have their rights voted away at the whim of the people.

Reading assignment--10 pages of constitutional law, that's all I ask.

Oh, and Mr. Lindsay, I really like you, I apologize for sounding so cruel, but I the Mormon church falling into a deep deep hole of theirn own making--evangelicals hate mormons and gay people, yet Mormonism has chosen to court its enemies, said evangelicals, rather than its friend and family members--gay people (often multi-generation mormon) and those of us who love them. Surely you can understand my dismay.

It helps no one. Mormons are more marginalized, and gain no friends at all.

djinn said...

My family is all Mormon; I want to go back. Help.

CA reader said...

Djinn, for someone who sees dishonesty at every turn in relation to the LDS church you continue to employ dishonesty yourself. I say that after thinking carefully and considering carefully. You and others so passionate about the church and Prop 8 continue to lie about it.

Specifically your comment that, Prop 8 was "designed explicitly to strip existing rights from perfectly decent humans" wording clearly designed to arouse passions and obfuscate issues.

You seem a reasonably intelligent person. I'm sure you know the timeline of Prop 8 and that it was formally started months before the CA supreme court ruling was announced, in response to a CA initiative on marriage that was passed 8 years before the CA supreme court ruling was announced.

No gay marriage rights existed in CA at the time Prop 8 wording was formulated, no such rights existed at the time 1.2 million CA citizens signed the petitions, no such rights existed when the signatures were turned in to the state of CA. The state of CA finally certified Prop 8 for the ballot less than 3 weeks after the CA supreme court announced its decision and more than 2 weeks before any rights that you are so passionate about became valid in the state.

To continually state that Prop 8 was designed to strip existing rights is a self-serving lie, there is no other way to put it more politely. Is this your standard, dear Mr. Djinn? You get to lie through your teeth hoping that if you repeat it enough it will become the truth? How very very convenient. Nice to know. What issues, exactly, shall I trust YOU on?

djinn said...

Parsing. When people voted on Prop. 8 they were clearly and unequivocally stripping existing rights from real people. Not a difficult concept. The fact that at some unimportant point in the past (as no votes then) the interpretation could be different does not change the analysis.


Remember those marriages? With licenses issued by the state? Are you suggesting they were some sort of group hallucination? What sort of mushrooms do you have growing in your back yard?

Tame Mormon said...

CA, I bet Jeff will be ticked when he sees you accuse Djinn of lying. "Uncivil" posts might get sent into outer darkness here. Reconsider those words, please. There's a difference between having strong views and possibly errant interpretations of facts, versus deliberate lying. I am sure that Djinn is genuinely concerned about Prop. 8 and sees it as a huge step back that could lead to loss of rights. It's a position a reasonable person can hold, especially if they are informed by some of the hyperbole coming out of California. I think it's a wrong position for the reasons you give, but it's not a lie to believe and advocate things from a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

Djinn,

You should focus your anger where it is deserved. At the Justices that allowed those gay folks to get married in the first place. They are the ones who gave those gay folks false hope by overstepping the will of the people of California.

Prop 8 gave the people of California the ability to express their will regarding this matter.

Are you suggesting that it is ok for a couple of persons in black robes to subvert the will of the people?

CA reader said...

Tame Mormon, as I said, I used the word lying after consideration and thought. I can see no other rational explanation for it. And Djinn has offered no other rational explanation for it, he dismisses my argument as "parsing".

Djinn sidesteps my objection by addressing things I never brought up, by talking about real people and marriage licenses issued before the election, and trotting out more of the tiring invective he spews out on the internet, babbling about mushrooms and hallucinations.

Go back and reread my objection to Djinn, it is specific. I am sure that Djinn IS genuinely concerned about Prop. 8 and sees it as a huge step back that could lead to loss of rights; I'm sure he DOES believe and advocate things from a different perspective, but none of that is relevant to my specific objection.

Djinn said that Prop 8 was "DESIGNED EXPLICITLY to strip EXISTING rights from perfectly decent humans" I have heard this same argument repeated as self evident truth ad infinitum in impassioned blog posts and comments. Anyone with more than a casual grasp of the issues surrounding Prop 8, which Djinn certainly is, cannot state that as truth without willfully lying.

Prop 8 was never designed to strip any existing rights. That is a blatant lie, those rights did not exist until after 8 was designed, petitioned and submitted to the state.

And I don't believe this is just a mere difference of opinion over nomenclature. It is a carefully crafted lie designed to incite and inflame. How dare they assault these innocent humans and strip them of their rights? It is the rhetorical equivalent of that ad of the LDS missionaries invading a home and ripping the rings off the fingers of a lesbian couple.

Djinn has a very precise standard for lying and dishonesty and low tolerance for alternate explanations when it comes to his perceptions about the church's reported financial contributions. I'm only asking him to apply those same standards to himself.

kuri said...

CA Reader, if you find "parsing" dismissive, how about "You're splitting hairs" or "You're nitpicking" or "The distinction you're drawing is a trivial one"?

So Prop 8 was designed to prevent people from obtaining a right rather than to strip them of that right? Is that supposed to be a significant difference, especially when the end result was that those people had already obtained that right and were stripped of it when Prop 8 finally passed?

Seriously, is there even any reason for making such a petty point except to try to take shots at djinn? (And after she and Jeff had already made up, at that.)

djinn said...

Anonymous, those justice whom you deride were all but one appointed by Republicans. They are doing their duty to interpret the California Constitution. They are not activists in any sense of the term. They're Republicans (well, all but one). They also understand what their duty is under the law. Please understand that.

Mormanity said...

Hi, kuri! Nice to see you again.

CA, I know what you're saying and I've been there and know how things look from that podium. But really, there are different lenses that others can use - people who are sincere and striving to be intellectually honest. I think it possible for good people to see Prop. 8 as Djinn does without lying. I think good, honest, and even intelligent people can come to completely opposite conclusions about evolution vs. design, about the wisdom of socialism vs. free economies, and about Prop. 8, without rightfully deserving to be accused of stupidity or dishonesty.

I rarely think it is appropriate to accuse someone of lying when they are interpreting or forecasting. I think the dollar is bound to collapse and that the current policies of the Fed and Congress are virtually designed to ruin us economically. Others feel that they represent our economic salvation. Am I a liar if wrong? I think Prop. 8 protects families, while Djinn may feel it is designed to destroy an important and valid category of family. We may challenge her assumptions and analysis, but I don't think we have any right to accuse her of lying - she's clearly committed to high ethics regardless of our differences.

The world views almost everything I cherish as wacked-out cult drivel, completely divorced from logic and reality. And that's just for being a Packers fan - add Mormonism to the stew and we've got a real problem. If we can call Djinn a liar for having views that we feel are wrong and easily refuted, then I would have to give a green flag to everyone calling me a liar for my misunderstood views. I don't want to go there. I call for more civility in respecting divergent views.

djinn said...

Dear CA Reader, I cannot find the phrase of which you accuse me "designed to explicitly strip people of their rights" on this site. Be that as it may, by the time the election rolled around, this was the actual effect--we can remove "designed" in the past tense and put in the future. Same exact effect. I stand my ground; sorry if I had the rather convoluted time frame mixed up.

Mormanity said...

I also think it would be healthy to take just a few seconds and consider this: What if Prop. 8 really were a mistake? Or what if Church support of Prop. 8 were a mistake? I don't think that's the case - I really don't - but since we do not believe in infallibility of mortal leaders, and since mistakes do happen, what if we're wrong?

Five . . . four . . . three . . .

Whew - those were painful seconds!

Of course, I think it would be healthy for our critics to also consider temporarily, as an experiment, the possibility that the Church acted in good faith - and may have even done the right thing. Ouch, eh?

How strange would it be if I could strip off all bias and fling off the chains of ignorance to see things truly as they are? "To see as you are seen, and to know as you are known" - that's the great blessing that awaits us in heaven, per Doctrine & Covenants 76 (76:94 I think?). Won't that be amazing!

djinn said...

Dear Mr. Lindsay, that is a beautiful comment, as I expect from you, but it will not make more heterosexual couples step up to the plate and adopt the difficult kids that gay families sweetly and effectively take in; it will not stop the insurance, probate, and tax discrimination that such people face, and it will not stop kids being ostracized or even killed in CA because they declared they were gay.

The Mormon church is filled with loving, lovely people. Soon enough they (we, I hope) will understand that we are on the wrong side of history and change our tune.

Everyone now "Somewhere, over the rainbow......
All my love,

Djinn.

SlalomHO said...

ah, i was about to ask a question in all seriousness that seems to have been addressed by Mormanity.

I was going to ask whether we Mormons are even capable of questioning the judgement of our leadership without fearing our questioning automatically rises to the level of heresy/apostasy, or whether we are so emotionally tied to the mantra of "the church is true so our leaders are incapable of making errors in doctrine or official judgement" that we dont even think to question how policies are implemented.

well, i guess i still asked the question...

Mormanity said...

Even capable? You should attend a bishopric meeting sometime. You might be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Djinn,

I think you're overlooking the fact that the gay and lesbian community has always had the right to marry, they just haven't had the right to marry someone of the same sex. That is what I believe is the fundamental flaw of this whole debate. What the folks are fighting for isn't the right to marry, its the right to marry someone of the same sex. But that is a violation of the equal protection clause of the constitution in that it seeks to establish a protected class of citizens who have more rights because of their classification as homosexual than the rest of us becuase we not homosexual. As I see it, this is problematic and is not in keeping with the idea that we are supposed to be equally treated under the laws of the country.

I expect I'll get some response about how the civil rights movement, using my logic, would somehow be invalidated. My response in advance, is that the civil rights movement had to do with getting folks to respect rights that blacks, and other minorities already had, but were being denied. Consider that at the end of the civil war the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were enacted. These amendments gave blacks the freedoms to be treated equally. The mind set of the people however hadn't changed and blacks were denied those rights, granted to them under the constitution until 1964. This is different from the argument about same sex marriage, because everyone already has a right to marry.

Additionally, both sides of this argument have rights. Both sides have the right to opposing views. They don't have to agree, and they aren't likely to agree. Ultimately a decision was made by the people, and its a decision that good, bad, or indifferent needs to stand...not necessarily because its the right decision, but because to invalidate the vote would serve only to undermine the voting rights of the people in future elections. Does that mean SS Couples should give up their fight, no, not if they believe they are fighting the good fight. It just means they've lost this battle and need to regroup and try something else.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

kuri said...

I think you're overlooking the fact that the gay and lesbian community has always had the right to marry, they just haven't had the right to marry someone of the same sex. ...What the folks are fighting for isn't the right to marry, its the right to marry someone of the same sex. But that is a violation of the equal protection clause of the constitution in that it seeks to establish a protected class of citizens who have more rights because of their classification as homosexual than the rest of us becuase we not homosexual.

Anon,

You can't use both the "gay people have the same marriage rights as everyone" argument and the "gay marriage would be a special right" argument; they contradict each other. True, gay people now have the right to marry people of the opposite sex, but if gay marriage were legal you would have just as much right to marry a person of the same sex as any gay person does. No one would have any special rights.

Anonymous said...

Kuri,

Sure I can use that argument, I just did. And in fact its true, gay people have exactly the same rights as everyone else. Unfortunately there are a number of misguided and fearful heterosexuals out there who don't agree. But the fact remains that right now, gay people have every right to marry in every state in the union. What they want is for the state to recognize as valid the contract they make to marry someone of the same sex. The state does not have to do that. In fact, for centuries it has been an established principle in the law that the state can decide that certain types of contracts are illegal, immoral, and/or invalid. The states can say that marriage between two people of the same sex is immoral and illegal.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

kuri said...

CD,

I said you can't use both arguments, because the argument that "gay people have the same marriage rights as anyone" disproves the argument that gay marriage is a "special right" for gay people. If the first is true, the second cannot be true.

djinn said...

Found it! Here is an official LDS spokesman, Don Eaton, saying that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints put zero money into this," referring to Prop. 8.

djinn said...

Dear Bro. Lindsay, you said this: "We may challenge her assumptions and analysis," I believe that with all my heart and am glad, if only (currently) peripherally to be in the same church.

For what it's worth, my boyfriend who grew up athiest, could scarcely be more impressed by Mormons. It's one like you (I'm sure) that he finds so commendable.

djinn said...

Oh, and I agree with you about the Fed. We're in for bad bad bad bad times. I feel like I'm acting like a troll, but really, I see the Mormon church, or at least some section responsible for these matters shooting themselves accurately and carefully in the foot.

Making mistakes on financial forms happens all the time. Any of us who has filled out a tax return understands this. We try, we misapply line 16e, which requires referencing this other multi-page form, which even with the helpful multi-page pamphlet, and even the multivolume treatise is a mystery.

This happens. This is different that "We didn't do anything. Oh woops, we did a lot." Someone at Church Headquarters needs to get a clue. Here. Two Vowels included for free.

Pops said...

I think most reasonable people understand that it is the policy of the LDS Church to be honest. I suspect one Brother Eaton might have been called on the carpet and admonished to be more circumspect in his public statements. It is quite plausible that what Eaton said was true as far as he knew.

Mormanity said...

Djinn, I really appreciate the perspectives you've brought. The back and forth has reminded me that people that might seem to be "enemies" may really be good friends or potential friends who nevertheless are concerned and working in good faith to correct us when needed, as they see it. And sometimes the warnings and "calls to repentance" are quite justified - we are all fallible humans. The interaction with you on this post is a reminder to me to not get rankled and read between the lines, to understand what people are trying to share and why. I'll try to do better - but I lapse into old habits so easily!

Thanks also for the link on the early and incorrect statement from an LDS voice. My hope is that it was an innocent mistake based on incomplete info. I understand that the person who made it is regional P.R. person, which may simply be an unpaid position where it's easy to be unaware of details like the full scope of LDS involvement. And it's also possible that many LDS visits to California from SLC were for other purposes were combined with work on Prop. 8, creating confusion over how to classify the travel. I just don't see any sense to deliberately lying over what is still a small amount. Let's see. But your concern is understandable and not unreasonable.

Djinn, you also mentioned that your family is LDS - sounds that there is a rift of some kind. Anything we can do to help? Some families have a real hard time dealing with someone who goes their own route, but there are readers here who have worked miracles IMO in bringing people together again and helping loved ones learn to accept differences that once divided. If there's anything you'd like to ask or any messages we can share or create, let us know. Life is too beautiful and short to let differences keep us from talking and loving one another, no matter how strongly we may differ on theology, politics, gender roles, orientation, etc. Please let us know. I can also be reached at jeff at jefflindsay.com if there's anything I can do.

Best wishes, and may God bless you in your journey!

djinn said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment, it means more than I can say.

Brad said...

[Sorry to jump in at the end, but I only read Bro. Lindsay's blog on the weekends if I have time.]

Anyone that is criticizing the church for this "new" disclosure after reading the church's response to this non-issue is just trying to find fault, that's all. No if, and's, or but's about it. Doesn't matter who you are in this thread, that's your sole motivation. Just to find fault with the church because you are angry at it. No other reason.

There is no motivation for the church to deceive anyone about this. No matter how much money they gave, it does not jeopardize their non-profit status. Non-profits are limited in campaign contributions to political office and in lobbying, neither of which apply, of course, to Prop 8, a ballot issue voted upon by the people of CA.

I'm a member of the church in CA and I voted for Prop 8, I hung door hangers, made calls at a phone bank. put up a sign in my yard, and donated money....I'd like to see the church's disclosure to see why anyone is so upset. I saw none of the church's money. We saw two major groups helping to push Prop 8's passage that were asking for money. That's who I gave money to.

The church did a broadcast here in CA. I'm sure they had to figure out how much that was "worth" and add it into their figures. That's the only thing I ever saw from the church. Never saw any church "CIA-like" operatives in commando training camps. Never heard about money coming from the church in Stake PEC meeting (I'm on the High Council). Only heard quoting the Brethren's request that members should donate of their time and means to help pass Prop 8. Every stake organized their own local activities in conjunction with other groups and churches to get out the vote. Did hear about LDS attorneys working at the polls and/or in the county offices state-wide to help ensure that the ballots passed legal muster and to oversee/prevent any ballot tampering. Perhaps there is where some of the "in-kind" money is being accounted for.

Opponents of Prop 8 were equally well-funded. Well, actually, even more funded. Homosexuals are not financially persecuted people. If you look at their demographics, they are actually doing extremely well. And that is not even counting their heterosexual friends in Hollywood who have very deep wallets and contributed.

You don't think any of them are ever deceptive? During this campaign, I witnessed lie, after lie, after lie being hurled against this campaign and the church. Blatant lies. (Because in the war on truth, that's all they could use.) Even our illustrious State Education Superintendent and State School Board President lied at a major press conference and in a televised commercial and on mailers. (I'm a teacher.) Either that, or they were incredibly ignorant and/or incompetent. To you members of the church who are antagonistic: Do you realize exactly with whom you are taking sides?

To suggest that the brethren are lying about their financial disclosure is to strain at a gnat. You are just looking for any excuse to be angry at the church. You need to look inside of yourself for the real issue here.

The real issues of Prop 8, both the political and moral ramifications, have been clearly stated, have been available for anyone to read and understand, and have been reiterated over and over. They are plain to see. There is nothing to hide. The real issue comes down to this: Are you deceived and caught up by the homosexual agenda?

That's it. That's all there is to it. And don't give me any baloney "enlightened day and age we are living in" arguments, either. To you members of the church, you either believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon or not. You believe that the Prophet and the Brethren are called of God or not. You either believe that the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman as an eternal institution was ordained of God or not.

Don't give me this nonsense of being "bigoted" against homosexuals, either, because that is just a smokescreen. You members of the church should know better. Yes, I understand that the issue of homosexuality in the church has its issues, but that is totally irrelevant in the argument of whether they should be granted the right to marry. I know you may have shed tears about the difficulties you or your loved ones or your friends have had as homosexual members of the church, but those experiences are irrelevant in this argument about Prop. 8.

You may even have been treated by members of the church and perhaps even by priesthood leaders in unjust, uncaring, or unrighteous ways. I'm not excusing their behavior nor am I trying to be callous towards your suffering. But the bottom line is that all those things "about the church" is irrelevant to the question, "Should homosexuals be allowed the right to marry?"

As a member of the church, the answer is "eternally no."

You can quibble about how much the church spent, how the Brethren do not understand the issue or your circumstance, whether they are lying, or any other thing that you wish to bring up and be angry about. It doesn't matter in the big and eternal picture. Those are distractions (or deceptions, actually, IMO). And it doesn't matter about Prop 8 passing. It passed. No matter how angry you are about it, this disclosure issue is not going to taint or reverse the fact that Prop 8 passed. And try as the critics may, it will not taint the church, either.

The homosexual agenda is aggressive, frightening, and a true threat to civilized society. Period. True enlightenment comes not from man, but from Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

djinn said...

The homosexual agenda? Could you post a copy? I've always suspected it of having four-color offset litho; hardware store ads, brunch recommendations, and an entire section devoted to subjects such as the best ever stroller and getting those annoying insufficiently burped baby throw-up stains out of cashmere sweaters.

Waiting.....

djinn said...

Oh and if the no on 8 people lied they should be totally called out. Absolutely. What were they? Asking honestly.

RickLDS said...

djinn,

Do you have a list of all organizations that "lied" about their contributions, or are you only singling out the LDS church? I'm asking because I have seen you post on other blogs about this same issue and it is only about the LDS church.

GayRepublican said...

I agree that the 'mormons' are being singled out unfairly. It's far too easy for people to blame failure on a single, small minority.

That having been said...

This entire situation is frustrating. For years I have defended my LDS friends and family from attacks by ignorant fools who think 'mormons' are evil cultists. No, I'm not and have never been LDS, but that hasn't stopped me from correcting people when they say something ridiculous about the church.

But to be perfectly honest about it, part of me feels betrayed. It absolutely crushed me to see an anti-SSM sign in my aunt's lawn. I literally cried afterwards.

All we want is the ability to marry the person we love. What's so wrong with that? The LDS Church already has 'temple marriage' that many 'mormons' view as being superior to civil marriage, so what's the big deal? No one is going to force the church to perform temple marriages for gays, and if they try, then you have every right to stand up for your beliefs and say, "Heck no, we aren't doing that!"

Best wishes and God Bless.

djinn said...

I don't know of any other organizations that hid their support/opposition to prop 8 like the Mormon church did. Google explicitly came out against prop 8and Apple, donated $100,000 against it publicly.

The Evangelicals were equally proud of their donations for the proposition. It only appears to be the Mormon church that attempted to occupy some nether-region. Plus, the (a) lawsuit against having to report donations, coupled with (b) sudden appearance of report with said donations leads one to thoughts other than perfect honesty on the part of the organization of the first part. Or is it the third? Whatever.

Why not be loud be proud?

bunker said...

I guess because it isn't a pride thing with LDS folks. Just a principle. Just a belief.

djinn said...

Then why at the very best obfuscate? My personal belief, backed with no information whatsoever, is that the church wanted to have it both ways; that is they wanted prop. 8 to win without appearing to support it too vociferously, considering the large number of Mormon families with gay members--in my experience Mormons are really kind, loving people and dislike being told to abandon their loved ones, and they are intelligent to understand the shifty 15/16ths condemnatory language emanating out of the church.

Hence, the hedging. We didn't say what we, uh, said, yeah.... that's the ticket. Say good bye to an entire generation of non-misfit mormons. Ta ta.....

GayRepublican said...

I agree 100%, djinn. No need for anyone to hide anything

bunker said...

"Say good bye to an entire generation of non-misfit mormons. Ta ta....."

An entire generation? Maybe you are exaggerating just a little.

Those that leave because of this, choose to. They are not being forced out. You have to remember that this isn't a church with members that freak out when the church doesn't go their way. It isn't a democratic church. Only One resides at It's head.

It isn't a "fair weather" membership. The "fair weather" members that do leave are exactly that. "Fair weather"; Band wagon jumpers or just confused.

I know, I know I am rambling.

djinn said...

I know I'm going to regret this, but that's the story of my life. Black people were denied exultation, that is, they were unable to participate in temple ceremonies until, I believe, 1978.

Pretty harsh. The only factor of which I am aware (and I keep track of the primary literature) that affects the number of gay male offspring is the number of previous sons a woman has had.

So, the higher the birthrate, the more gay boys.

Hence, Mormons have many gay sons. These same mormons are beyond decent people who love their children and want them to live happy non required celibate lives.

Why not let them get married? The difference from Polygamy to Monogamy which the church made, was much bigger.

It'll happen, or the church will lose basically all the non-cruel people younger than what? 30?

djinn said...

Oh yeah, I also defend Mormons, my family, Me, even, as extremely hardworking, loving, kind, decent people (ok, not so much on the web, but well, I see myself as having good motives -- fewer need here in the NW, than when I lived in Utah, for some reason. It actually scares me, some of the things I hear.

Actually, I thought Mormons would disagree with their leaders (like when that anti-oral sex thing came out in the late 70's) leadig to a change. I've been disappointed.
Things like this make such defense much more difficult.