Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thousands protest against Mormon Church at Salt Lake temple

Here's what the Salt Lake Tribune wrote about last night's protest:

Opponents of a measure that banned gay marriage in California took their outrage to the spiritual hub of Mormonism on Friday.

More than 3,000 people swarmed downtown Salt Lake City to march past the LDS temple and church headquarters, protesting Mormon involvement in the campaign for California's Proposition 8. The measure, which defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, passed this week.

A sea of signs in City Creek Park, where the march began, screamed out messages including, "I didn't vote on your marriage," "Mormons once persecuted . . . Now persecutors," and "Jesus said love everyone." Others read, "Proud of my two moms" and "Protect traditional marriage. Ban divorce."

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and three openly gay state legislators, Sen. Scott McCoy and Reps. Jackie Biskupski and Christine Johnson, spoke out in support. At one point, the crowd took up the mantra made famous by the country's new president-elect: "Yes, we can!"

Then, the masses headed west, weaving between cars, waving at those who watched from windows in the LDS Church Office Building and shouting chants such as: "What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!"

Across the street on North Temple, a group of about 50 - the majority not LDS members - defended the church's support of the successful ballot measure. "The people voted," they shouted at the protesters. "YOU are intolerant!"

Others screamed: "Marriage is between a man and woman. You'll never be a man and woman!"

Some marchers offered heated arguments to the counterprotesters, others responded by kissing their partners. The romantic moments were greeted with cheers.

(As an aside, if you opt to read the full story at their site, check out their multimedia sound slideshow. It's pretty cool.)

And, to balance out the more liberal (but better-written) Trib, here's the Deseret News' take:

Thousands of people packed a Salt Lake City park and then paraded through downtown streets Friday night for a vocal but peaceful protest of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' participation in California's new ban on gay marriage.

An estimated 3,500 members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community gathered at City Creek Park to speak out against the LDS Church for encouraging its members to support Proposition 8.

"We're here because we've been hurt, some of us very personally," said Jacob Whipple, who organized the protest as a show of solidarity with Californians who have been staging such events since Election Day.

"I would like to thank the (LDS Church) for what they've done," Whipple said. "They have helped awaken this spirit in the gay community. For way too long, we've been complacent in our own rights. ... Now we have this momentum."

It's getting pretty heated out there. Let us not forget, however, the counsel of LDS leaders. Here's what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said hours before the protest:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

Can I just say - statements like that make me proud to be LDS. Talk about class and concern - let's repeat that last sentence one more time:

"No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

Remember the most basic Christian teaching of turning the other cheek, folks.

In 1982, Neal A. Maxwell offered an amazing address, "Meekly Drenched in Destiny," at BYU that has become one of my all-time favorites. I leave you with his words:

Granted, none of us like, or should like, to be disregarded, to be silenced, to see a flawed argument prevail, or to endure a gratuitous discourtesy. But such circumstances as these seldom constitute that field of action from which meekness calls upon us to retire gracefully...

Meekness will permit us to endure more graciously the cruel caricaturing and misrepresentation that accompany discipleship, especially in the rugged last days of this dispensation. Remember the fingers of scorn in Lehi's vision which pointed and mocked at those who clung to the iron rod (see 1 Nephi 8:26­33)? The mockers were not a small minority. And they were persistent and preoccupied in their scorn of the saints. You will come to see that preoccupation.

Meekness permits us to be prompted as to whether to speak out or, as Jesus once did, be silent. But even when the meek speak up, they do so without speaking down.

For more information go to


Elizabeth said...

My mom just told me today that now the protesters are targeting individual meeting houses in CA. I would much rather they do that than make it so we can't do temple work.