Proposition 8


Image: Elder Lance Wickman – LDS General Authority

Elder Lance Wickman in a 2012 interview speaking about the LDS churches involvement in the California Proposition 8 amendment against marriage equality: [footnote]Elder Wickman – Thoughts on Proposition 8[/footnote]

“The first thought that comes to my mind is the shear heroism of our members in California, and others who stood up with them to defend marriage. They truly were heroic, metal of honor service as far as I am concerned. Almost in the same vein, contrary to what some may think it was the members not the church, yes the First Presidency of the church sent a letter that was read in sacrament meeting urging members to get involved, and thats all that was needed and they were galvanized by it.”

From The Daily Dot, March 23, 2017[footnote]The long crusade: How the Mormon Church continues to war against gay marriage – The Daily Dot[/footnote]:

New documents released by the transparency website MormonLeaks allege that LDS leaders did more than give their members pizza to encourage them to volunteer: The church’s leadership was directly involved in ongoing efforts to block marriage equality. And it continues to advocate for discrimination against the LGBTQ community, here and abroad, even despite recent attempts to build bridges with queer people.

Training materials, presentation documents, and emails shared exclusively with the Daily Dot suggest even stronger ties between the Mormon Church and anti-marriage efforts than what has previously been alleged. After conservatives successfully passed Prop 8, a report from the Wall Street Journal claimed that the LDS Church provided volunteers and financial donations to the campaign. But the new materials suggest that the effort was directly supervised by members of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, its highest leadership board.

Titled “Proposition 8 Grassroots Program,” a PowerPoint presentation leaked to the site was what leaders used to train supervisors assigned to man phone-banking and door-to-door efforts. An organizational chart in the document suggests that Elder John C. Dalton, a member of his area’s Quorum of the Seventy, directly facilitated political organizing for Prop 8, serving as state chairman. In his role, Dalton oversaw campaign leadership, as well as communicating with bishops and the presidents of local stakes, the LDS term for a group of churches that share the same district.

Directly supervising Dalton were two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: Elders M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook. L. Whitney Clayton, senior president of the Presidency of the Seventy, also served as his superior.

On Oct. 28, 2008, Dalton reached out directly to the team just days before the campaign to wish them luck and tell volunteers to press onward. It is this email that speaks directly to these leaders’ direct involvement in Prop 8 organizing.

“We have been able to make hundreds of thousands of phone calls, rallies, bus tours, outreach programs on campuses and a host of other community activities,” Dalton wrote. “And all this has been done by your volunteer efforts and the members of your wards, branches, and institutes. I congratulate you on your dedication and faithfulness. Each evening as Elder Clayton and the statewide leadership conference call on Prop 8, you are uppermost in our minds and hearts. How proud we are to be associated with all of you.”

The “Operations Manual” for the Prop 8 campaign further points to constant contact between elders and local churches to compel voters to show up at the ballot box that November. The manual, which was specifically for the Santa Monica area, opens with a quote from Edmund Burke—which was previously invoked by President Gordon B. Hinckley in a speech condemning pornography and “sex perversion.” It offers a statement of purpose for the campaign: “All that is required for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”

Image: Page from the LDS “Proposition 8 Grassroots Program” training presentation – Organization Chart[footnote]‘Proposition 8 Grassroots Program’ Training Presentation – Mormon Leaks[/footnote]


Crash Course: