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Why the church is involved in Prop 8

In the priesthood session of the October 1999 General Conference, President Hinckley answered the question, “Why does the Church become involved in issues that come before the legislature and the electorate?” I was amazed as I re-read his answer this morning how appropriately it fits again as we approach another vote on this same issue here in California in 2008.

"...we deal only with those legislative matters which are of a strictly moral nature or which directly affect the welfare of the Church. We have opposed gambling and liquor and will continue to do so. We regard it as not only our right but our duty to oppose those forces which we feel undermine the moral fiber of society.

We are not alone in this effort

"Much of our effort, a very great deal of it, is in association with others whose interests are similar. We have worked with Jewish groups, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and those of no particular religious affiliation, in coalitions formed to advocate positions on vital moral issues.

"Such is currently the case in California, where Latter-day Saints are working as part of a coalition to safeguard traditional marriage from forces in our society which are attempting to redefine that sacred institution.

Marriage is ordained of God

"God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years. There is no justification to redefine what marriage is. Such is not our right, and those who try will find themselves answerable to God. Some portray legalization of so-called same-sex marriage as a civil right. This is not a matter of civil rights; it is a matter of morality.

"Others question our constitutional right as a church to raise our voice on an issue that is of critical importance to the future of the family. We believe that defending this sacred institution by working to preserve traditional marriage lies clearly within our religious and constitutional prerogatives. Indeed, we are compelled by our doctrine to speak out.

We do not hate gays

"Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group.

"As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married.

Give of our time and means

"I commend those of our membership who have voluntarily joined with other like-minded people to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage. As part of a coalition that embraces those of other faiths, you are giving substantially of your means. The money being raised in California has been donated to the coalition by individual members of the Church.

"You are contributing your time and talents in a cause that in some quarters may not be politically correct but which nevertheless lies at the heart of the Lord’s eternal plan for His children, just as those of many other churches are doing. This is a united effort...I have tried to explain why we do some of the things that we do. I hope I have been helpful."

Source: Why we do some of the things we do, Ensign Nov 1999

Additional Information:
LDS Newsroom: California and same-sex marriage
Volunteer or donate:
Defending and preserving traditional marriage


Kyle Hampton said…
We would very much appreciate any help in persuading Californians that this is the correct course.

Please join us at
Anonymous said…
And once we win phase I in protecting marriage, let's move forward with phase II which is eliminating divorce, and abusive straight relationships, and the frivolity of marriage ceremonies as shown on TV, and those who don't support or properly train their children. Let's REALLY work to get to the ROOT cause of the deterioration of marriage! Those gays and lesbians are just the tip of the iceberg, don't you agree?
Tim Malone said…
No, I don't agree. The issue is about the definition of marriage, nothing more. It is not about the deterioration of marriage. There is no way to eliminate divorce, abusive relationships or any of the other things you mention until after the return of the Savior and the end of the world, which is the end of wickedness.
Anonymous said…
Oh! Well if that is the case then they never should have re-defined marriage back in the 1800s to let women have their own rights as equal spouses. It should have remained that the wife was the property of the husband and that was it. None of this liberal stuff about women being equal in a marriage relationship. It was never meant to be that way until those darn feminists got involved!

And I can see Tim's point that there is NO way to eliminate divorce or abusive relationships until the Saviour returns. That is why we should not bother trying to ban abortion, or criminalize drugs, or keep the death penalty. There is no way to eliminate baby killing, or to stop kids from getting high or to stop people from murdering. We just need to accept these things and move on!

Sorry Tim, I am not getting the logic of your statement. I think there are ways to eliminate divorce and abusive relationships and I think we need to be concentrating on those instead of worrying about gay marriage. Just my thoughts.
Tim Malone said…
Hi Michael,

Yes, you are correct. There are things we can and should do about all the terrible things you noted. That's why we enact laws to legislate morality. Back in the day when the California constitution was written, I doubt anyone thought that marriage would be anything other than between a man and a woman. The times have changed and the need to clarify has become clear. This clarification won't affect the majority of Californians.
Unknown said…
America is really the last western nation that has not completly been taken over my the homosexual conspiracy. If California falls I fear many other states are next.

One common factor in the fall of great societies of the past is the embrace of homosexual behavior. We must resist it with all our power.

However you are right we must hate the sin and love the sinner. No one is perfect. We should reach out to homosexuals and seek to bring them to Christ
Stephen said…
Interesting post.
Chino Blanco said…
"This clarification won't affect the majority of Californians."

Whether it affects one or one million is really quite irrelevant. I agree with (conservative Republican) Ward Connerly:

"For anyone to say that this is an issue for people who are gay and that this isn't about civil rights is sadly mistaken. If you really believe in freedom and limited government, to be intellectually consistent and honest you have to oppose efforts of the majority to impose their will on people."

Fortunately, Prop 8 will lose in November and churches can get back to fulfilling their ostensible missions rather than fooling around with distractions like Prop 8.

In any case, I'm sure the GOP appreciates your church's help with getting out the vote in November. Too bad most of their candidates will also lose in November as well.
glass ceiling said…
Hey! There is a new LDS Middle Singles weblog and support group. Join us at:

Chino Blanco said…
I clicked and followed the link to the blog that's being promoted in the comment above mine:

Here's their mission statement:

This blog is dedicated to finding a lasting solution and viable opportunities for Single people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

As it turns out, the GOP apparently already solved this problem. Jennifer Kerns, 35 and single, is the lead spokeswoman for Prop 8.

Republican and single? Mormon and single? Great! We've got some amazing opportunities lined up for you ... all that's required is that you embrace the hypocrisy and demonstrate an ability to convince the rest of America that gay Americans are the newest red-level threat to the republic!

Seriously, who better than an unmarried thirty-something political operative to tell Californians how best to "protect marriage" ??? Pure genius.

It's all gotten just a bit too sad to take seriously, hasn't it?
Kalv1n said…
The more I read, the more disgusted I am. You don't have any charity for anyone except for your church, and it's not even human. How you have perverted what is written about in the bible about Jesus. You're so blind to reality in your love for a shell, a form. You don't even see people but as constructs of this discourse. Not being able to get married may be sad, but not having the ability to expand one's soul outside of such banality is a tragedy.
Tim Malone said…

Except for the opening paragraph in which I introduce the contents of the essay, everything included in this post is a quote from President Hinckley delivered in a priesthood session of General Conference back when we were first working on getting Proposition 22 passed here in California in 1999 and 2000. I was involved in that effort back then and appreciated his comments explaining why we get involved in moral issues like this.
Unknown said…
The government should have nothing to do with marriage, be it hetero- or homo- or polygamous or whatever (which use to be the First Presidencies position). The government only got involved in licensing marriage about 100 years ago for health reasons - making sure the parents were healthy enough for the children. Now people forget that and it's never brought up.

Imagine if the government got involved in licensing baptism today. In a hundred years the church would probably be advocating people to pour money into "Prop 8,000" which defines baptism as only allowable for heterosexuals. There would be tons of needless contention and we would hear about how heterosexual baptism is the foundation of our religious society and no one would mention how or why the government even got involved in the first place. If government were to disappear, would there be no more marriages? No! There would still be marriage, just like there would still be baptism. As one writer said, "George and Martha Washington never had a marriage license, and most Americans didn't need them until the mid-1800s. It is likely they would be appalled by the degree to which we have gotten the government involved in a sacred religious ceremony."

When I say this most people ask about the government teaching gay marriage to school children. This is why governments should not be involved in schooling as well. Read up on the words of the early prophets concerning public education. Most Mormons are ignorant of this.
In government schools, politics decides what the children shall be taught. This is one reason why public schools should be abolished and schooling should be entirely private. That way, education will work like everything else on the free market, where the customer is king. If you don't fully satisfy the customer, you're history. Any school that angered its customers (the parents and students) by teaching them about homosexuality, would lose customers to schools that didn't do such things, and thus be history. Right now everyone is at each others throats to control the government so that they can control the schools.

President Benson -

“Parents want better school for their children, but not a federal subsidy, leading to control of the teachings and textbooks, as well as the ideologies, of the children.” - Stand Up For Freedom Talk

Brigham Young – [Here he talks about the immorality of public education. I'd add that it's immoral to have those without children pay for the education of those with children. Or those with two kids to pay the same school tax as those with seven. Or those who pay for their kids to go to private schools to pay the public school tax that they receive no benefit from.]

“I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another who knows not how to take care of it… I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves and give one tenth to the poor… Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!” (Journal of Discourses Vol. 18, p. 357)

“We had to pay our own schoolteachers, raise our own bread and earn our own clothing, or go without; there was no other choice. We did it then, and we are able to do the same to-day. I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can… I understand that the other night there was a school meeting in one of the wards of this city, and a part there–a poor miserable apostate–said, “We want a free school, and we want to have the name of establishing the first free school in Utah.” To call a person a poor miserable apostate may seem like a harsh word; but what shall we call a man who talks about free schools and who would have all the people taxed to support them, and yet would take his rifle and threaten to shoot the man who had the collection of the ordinary light taxes levied in this Territory–taxes which are lighter than any levied in any other portion of the country?” (Journal of Discourses 16:19-20)
Tim Malone said…
Amen, Quest, Amen! Well said and nicely explained. Would that more people felt this way. Actually, I think we probably do but haven't thought about is as you said. Thanks for stopping by and adding this thoughtful comment. I'd like to read more of your stuff. Do you have a blog somewhere?
Voluntaryist said…
Thank you. I don't have a blog though I'll tell you my political journey because it is how I came to understand all of this. I use to be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican until I happened upon The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War by Thomas DiLorenzo. The book opened my eyes and brought everything about America today together for me. Since then I have handed out countless copies (including to a civil war re-enactor friend of mine who called me and said "I have only read two chapters and am convinced!")

I looked up the author online and discovered that he writes articles at a website called which is the most read Libertarian website in the world. Just recently I e-mailed Lew and told him how I wished that there could be a list of articles explaining Libertarianism in a methodical manner. He said it was a great idea and he had Thomas Woods, a new hero of mine, write it up here.

I tell you all this because it was dumb luck that I happened across all this in the first place, and yet I am so thankful I did because of how many realizations I have had since then. The world makes so much more sense now. Kind of like discovering the gospel.
Chino Blanco said…
As a courtesy to bb, here's a heads up from this NYU grad:

NY Marriage Equality: Astroturfing - Courtesy of the Same Ten (Mormon) People,-Courtesy-of-the-Same-Ten-(Mormon)-People

And, yeah, I fixed the graphic. Dude in the bottom-right corner was looking way too sullen for such a joyous occasion.
Unknown said…
I fail to see how a gay couples marriage can destroy a straight L.D.S. couples marriage, or any straight couples marriage

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