Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One side is right, and one side is wrong. How can you tell?

I received this letter via email today. It saddens me that some people would fight for "tolerance" by not tolerating others and their beliefs.

Dear family and friends,

I had a very disturbing experience yesterday that I would like to share with those of you that live outside of California (or outside of the San Francisco Bay Area).

This weekend we have Stake Conference. Our Stake Conference always begins with a Stake Temple Session on Friday or Thursday night. Early Friday morning I received a call from the second counselor in our bishopric to let me know that there would be numerous protesters outside the temple, and to remind everyone to stay calm and to drive carefully. The beautiful Oakland Temple is located right across the bay from San Francisco, very close to the city of Berkeley.

Apparently the opposition to proposition 8, the amendment that seeks to make marriage in CA between a man and a woman again, has realized the deep involvement of the church and begun to protest right outside of the temple and harass temple patrons. The fastest way to get to the temple from our house is to take the 680 freeway, but the exit is a bit tricky. The off ramp is extremely short and straight uphill. You then make an almost blind left turn, an immediate right and another left into the parking lot. As we approached the off ramp, I realized there would be trouble. There was a backup onto the freeway from cars stalled on the off ramp. As we moved forward inches at a time, we realized this was due to a large group of loud protesters who were standing on both sides of the street, yelling, screaming and waving signs. When we got to the top of the off ramp, ready to make our turn, one protester jumped out right in front of our car. It took my husband all his self control to carefully maneuver around him to the left and proceed to the temple. I tried not to listen to all they were shouting at us, but I was shaking as I got to the temple front door.

Several of the sisters, especially the ones driving on their own, were crying (which made me snap out of it and go into Relief Society President mode to comfort them). Later, as I was sitting in the perfect quiet of the chapel, I couldn't help but think of Lehi's dream, and the people who mocked the Saints from the big, spacious building but "we heeded them not." It was a truly surreal experience, I'd never thought that I would have to go through an angry crowd to get to the temple. As we left late at night, the protesters had dispersed, temple security (who all looked very large and Tongan) stood by the gates. I never saw a single police man.

Please pray for those of us in California fighting for prop 8--it's getting kind of scary out here!

~Susanne

For something truly horrifying, check out this link about how people are trying to personally attack any Mormom who has donated to Prop 8 -
http://www.asoftanswer.com/2008/10/21/targeting-mormons-on-proposition-8/#comment-5050

This issue has clearly divided our State. One side is mainly following their beliefs by educating people, volunteering to call voters, and having peaceful rallies simply waving signs. The other side has more than enough examples of how they attack their opposition, screaming obscenities, illegally destroying property such as Prop 8 signs, and encouraging people to look up "dirt" about them online and use it to attack them. As a religious person, I try to follow the example of Jesus Christ. How would He fight for what He believes in? On the other hand, which tactics do you think Satan encourages?

20 comments:

Christa Jeanne said...

Wow. Crazy! Thanks, Heather, for the reminder. Nothing worth doing was ever accomplished easily, right?

Keep fighting the good fight, friends!!!

Proud Mommy said...

OMG, seriously, why are they choosing violence?? I think it shows weakness. Stay strong YES supporters, we are on the RIGHT side!

Scott said...

Well being a bigot can hurt if you don't think you are.

YOU ARE, DEAL WITH IT.

Hizzeather said...

Again, what would you file name-calling and rudeness under? Good or evil?

Please be respectful. I'm sorry you don't agree, but no matter how we feel, we need to be nicer to each other.

Jenny + Antony said...

Good call hizzeather. It's really interesting to me that instead of those opposing Prop 8 reaching out to people they actually have potential persuading, they attack the Mormons. Obviously they are more concerned with trying to suppress their opponents opinions rather than promotion their own campaign.....hmmmmmm

Kristina P. said...

I found this blog through Heather. I live in Utah, so I won't be voting on this issue, but I do have a question.

I have been reading a lot about the Proposition from sources that are neither for it or against it, and I'm finding a lot of misinformation on both sides.

Ultimately, I based on what I have read, mostly in the Voter Pamphlet, I would vote for it. Which I feel is a very personal decision.

However, I have heard from friends and family who live in California that the LDS church is asking that people go from door to door and campain, the one person's stake has actually cancelled all church activities for the month and they are being given lists of people to call and talk to, etc.

Is this true? If so, this makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable, and really blurs some lines in regards to the church staying out of politics.

Kristina P. said...

I am posting so I can get emails. :)

Christa Jeanne said...

Hi, Kristina -

Heather converted me to your blog - I quite enjoy it!

Yes, what you're hearing is true. All YSAs have been asked to make phone calls, stakes are very involved, etc. - and it's all direction we've received from leaders of the Church. (Of course, carrying through on that direction is an individual decision, and there are many who aren't taking action - but there are many who are, too).

As for it blurring the line, however, Church leaders have made it clear that this is not a political issue. It is a MORAL issue, and in that case, they will stand up and urge members to get involved.

At the end of the day, those members do have their agency. Personally, though, I have a firm belief that when someone I've sustained as a prophet of God tells me to get involved, and when I've had that action confirmed through personal prayer, then I'll put my faith into action and do it. They have a perspective on these issues that we might not have - although, from sociological perspectives, much that I've studied on the issue secularly confirms that faith-based foundation, and my reasoning behind a Yes vote is a mix of the two.

Hizzeather said...

The church does stay out of politics Kristina, but this is a moral issue that we are being forced to vote on. Who would have ever dreamed that we would have to vote to protect the definition of marriage?

I do understand you being uncomfortable, I really do. But how does this differ from the church giving us revelation on any other topic? We believe that Heavenly Father speaks to us through a Prophet. When the Prophet says something, we act on it, or face the consquences. The consequences in this case are too grave for me to be squeamish and sit on the sidelines.

I don't mean to come off as condescending, or as if I am better than anyone because I am doing this. All we talk about these days in church is Prop 8. Evgen in our normal lessons, we always tend to bring up Prop 8. It's on the forefront of our minds.Our ward canceled everything too, INCLUDING OUR TEMPLE NIGHT! Now if that doesn't let you know that this is very important, what would? Yes, we have been asked to call registered voters to poll them. No one is being forced to do this. It is all on a volunteer basis. Trust me, not enough people are volunteering. Our church is very organized. It would be foolish of us to not use that organization on something this important. This is even more important than fearing that we may hurt someone's feelings.

We live in uncertain times. I barely know who to trust anymore. But there is one person I trust implicitly, and that's Heavenly Father. No matter how hard it is for me to do, I know if I do what He asks, I will be happy. I have found out firsthand that when I ignore His counsel, I will suffer, and without going into detail I have suffered greatly at times. I don't like that feeling, so I am going to be dang sure that I do the right thing from now on.

A lot of people out here have left the church over this. A lot of people, even those in leadership positions, grumble verbally about it. But for me, I feel that these people don't "get it." I can empathize with Nephi & Sam, who witnessed this with their brothers Laman & Lemuel. The Prophet isn't right just some of the time. He's not wrong about this. So why, when we KNOW what we know, do we not heed his counsel?

By the way Kristina, most of this is not directed at you. It's directed at my friends who KNOW the restored gospel is on the Earth today, they KNOW that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God, and yet, they do nothing. I am doing as much as I can to make up for them, and as much as this is interrupting everything else in my life, it is the RIGHT thing and I will have ZERO regrets.

Phew...it felt good to get all that out. :)

Kristina P. said...

Thanks for the response! Glad you like my blog. :)

I guess what makes me uncomfortable is that it's not just a moral issue. It IS a political issue as well. There are no two ways about it. It is what it is. And the church does not ask us to get involved in other moral issues. There are a lot more ways the family is being destroyed that I feel very strongly about, so this is what frustrates me. I'm a social worker, and I see the degradation of the traditional family everyday like in pornography, adultery, abuse, etc.

I have no problem with a statement being made about this is the way the church feels. But, the activism part makes my uncomfortable.

I feel like if someone is not OK with participating in it, as I would be, that they really would be regarded as a bad Mormon and not following the prophet, and I think that puts people in a very uncomfortable position.

Again, I support it personally, but I just couldn't get involved in the ways that have been requested.

Thanks for hearing me out!

Sarah said...

If the church is going out telling people why they should vote yes, setting their facebook status to something encouraging prop eight, they are letting people know what they think. They are letting people know it's the church who is for it.

So logically, the protesters are going to protest at the church.

H said...

Kristina P.

I think the Church does ask us to get involved in other moral issues. In this case, though, there isn't a vote coming up in November on those issues. So the Church is taking a stand on an issue available to vote on at this time. Plus, this issue in particular has graver implications for religious liberty than some other moral issues.

HH

Hizzeather said...

Sarah, I have no problem with protesters...they have every right to do such, and if they choose one of our Temples to protest at, bummer, but again, it's everyone's right.

They cross the line however when they bodily block people's cars, cause dangerous traffic situations, scream obscenities, and make rude gestures. And they take it to a whole new level when they encourage people to dig into people's past who donate to the campaign. These actions are horrible and they should be ashamed.

Kristina P. said...

H, I have been a lifelong church member, and have been able to vote for 12 years, and I cannot ever remember the church getting involved in other moral/politcal issues, even with local elections, like alcohol laws, pornography/strip clubs, etc. And some of those I feel are truly more of a threat to the everyday family.

I work with addicts and it tears all kinds of families apart. I guess I just think that there are some greater issues that truly affect my family, while gay marriage has nothing to do with my relationship with my husband.

Again, I think it is an important issue, and I would vote Yes, but there are plenty of other moral issues the church chooses not to get involved with.

Hizzeather said...

Kristina, I think that many other people feel the same way as you, so let me address you and all of those people. I don't think that gay people getting married will personally affect me in a way that I can quantify. But it will affect society, which in turn will affect my children, which will in turn affect their children, so on & so forth. Even though I can't see any direct threat to me right now, I can put my trust in Heavenly Father. The Word of Wisdom, counsel on Emergency Preparedness & Food Storage, the counsel to avoid debt...none of that made sense at the time. No one knew why we were doing it, other than the fact that God asked us to. And we can see very clearly now why He did. Don't you think He knows just a bit more than us, can see just a bit more into the future than us? I do, and that is why I have prayed about this issue, studied it excruciatingly, pondered the words of my leaders, and ultimately decided to exercise my faith that this is the right thing for our future. I invite you all to do the same.

emily said...

another thing Kristina, is that while the LDS church is encouraging it's members to be active in the campaign. The phone calls, the door to door visits are only polling calls. They are only asking what the vote is. If the caller asks a question they can answer it, but they are doing so on behalf of the coalition supporting prop 8. They aren't even allowed to mention their religious orientation.

also i think the church is so directly involved because this is legislation that affects families and children. The church is open about its members trying to promote good legislation that encourages good principles.

nasonata said...

Dear Kristina P.,

The official LDS Churh websites have wonderful articles that explain why we are urged to get involved and how would same-sex marriage affect society:

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-divine-institution-of-marriage

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/same-sex-marriage-and-proposition-8

I also would like to add a link to Elder Robert D. Hales' talk from the last General Conference:

http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-947-22,00.html

I hope these will help to resolve your concerns.

Best Wishes,
Natalie.

nasonata said...

I just want to validate the original letter posted on the top of this page. Susan is a real person, her original letter describing the Oakland Temple protest was taken from Betty Pearson's email support group. Below is a new letter forwarded with Betty's permission:

************
Because I have received emails inquiring about the validity of this incident, I contacted the mom who first posted it to one of my groups. The incident really did happen, and I've asked Susanne for permission to repost her experience along with a preface from her about it (Homemoms, please do not forward her complete name or email address without my permission). You DO have permission to forward this email I am sending to you:

"Sister Pearson has asked me for permission to send my story out again. After much contemplation, I agreed. I understand that it has already been widely circulated on the internet. Initially, this email was only written for a very limited audience. I never expected it to be forwarded and I am absolutely astonished at the response I have received, both positive and negative. Sister Pearson let me know that she has been contacted by many who believe that this story was a hoax. I have also been contacted by many who believe that I either don't really exist or that I made it all up. That's been hard, because no one likes to be called a liar--and most of all I just want my private life back.

Anyway, I am a real person. I have been a member of the church for 21 years, I am a stay at home Mom of 6 children and I am a subscriber to the stay at home Mom's group that Sister Pearson hosts at her website. To the best of my recollection, this story is what happened to me on Friday, October 17th at around 6pm when my husband and I were on our way to the temple session of our stake conference.

I know that I will never meet most of you in person. But if you want to know if the story is true, there is one way you can find out, isn't there? If you are not sure, just pray about it.

Susanne
(email and last name withheld for privacy reasons. If you want to contact her, email me privately (Betty: betty@ourldsfamily.com).

Christa Jeanne said...

Thanks, nasonata!!!

djinn said...

http://www.cougarboard.com/nologin/message.html?id=4162527
“Author: empleh
Date: Oct 24, 03:12pm
Category: Current Events

I am a security officer at the Oakland, CA Temple and was in the meeting with the Temple Recorder, Head Engineer, Head of Security, and the engineering department. One of the main points of this meeting was regarding this e-mail and story that has been circulating.
This story is indeed exaggerated and innaccurate. Brother Newport did not receive any notice from anyone in the Temple (Patron or worker) about sisters crying or being upset in any manner. As for the traffic, the off ramp is often congested because of the traffic, the protestors were not responisible for the back up and they were not jumping out in front of vehicles. They were crossing the road back and forth at a walking pace when vehicles were already stopped.
As for police involvement, they were notified of a different matter regarding protestors at an off-ramp and responded immediately.

As for my personal opinion on the matter, I say we should be careful not to be like those no on 8 prostestors by lying or deceiving others into what they are like. That is there number one tool, lying and deceiving about the matter and people they are opposing.

Please be careful with what you pass on. (Official statements are OK.) ”

It appears the official statement of the Oakland Temple is that the incident was much more peaceful than described.