Today’s post is by Wade Nelson.
THE NEW MORMON BRAND
In my view the Prop 8 campaign in California that just ended has turned out to be a fiasco for the Church. I had assumed and hoped it would fail but we have all lost by winning. This post is not about the issue of same sex marriage but expresses my view that the Church leaders have shot themselves and all of us in the foot. Quite apart from the astoundingly divisive nature of the effort it has created a new toxic image of the Church that is going to stick around for an awfully long time. This is my view of how the Church will be viewed and portrayed by those not of our faith.
OUT DAMNED SPOT!
We spent the last century trying to make the world forget about polygamy. We went to great lengths to portray ourselves as mainstream trustworthy citizens wherever we lived, despite having flouted U.S. law for decades.
THE BANALITY OF GOODNESS
For the last quarter century, the Mormon brand was represented by the Word of Wisdom. People found it odd but it went along with other parts of our brand, socially conservative big on the family etc. What were Mormons like? They were clean cut and conservative in their lifestyle. When people came to understand our beliefs they usually found them bizarre but not dangerous, live and let live. Mormons were boring but having them as neighbours would have been viewed as a good thing we were Donny and Marie after all.
BLACK LIKE ME
Of course those with long memories would be aware that discrimination against African Americans Like Elijah Abel was practiced long after civil rights had been established.
CHRISTIAN IN OUR OWN WAY
Some may have been aware that Mormons contributed mightily to humanitarian causes so we may have been viewed as Christians in the important sense of the word.
CONTROL FROM THE WASATCH FRONT
A fear always lurked though that Mormons were subject to the ironfisted rule of their Masters in Utah. That fear has now been born out because the Prop 8 effort was pushed so vigorously from the Prophet on down. I believe that in the months and years to come popular belief will be established that the Mormon Prophet in Utah directed his mindless minions to donate time and money to force an amendment upon Californians. Of course other churches were involved but was not the Church the most centralized religion outside of the state to do everything it could to encourage voters to pass the amendment?
The New Mormon brand is intolerance. To be unleashed whenever the prophet decides. The media will see to it, whatever the truth is.
TITLE OF LIBERTY?
I know many are proud of the Church’s stance and think that it had no choice but the culture has shifted. Those who view the effort as raising the title of liberty how ironic is that?! will also state that they do not care about the Mormon brand or how are perceived by the world. They care only about truth and following the prophet who will never lead us astray. But in the culture at large we are fighting a battle that was lost years ago.
WHO ARE WE NOW?
Who are the Mormons? The come from Utah and used to marry more than one wife and used to deny blacks full participation in their temples. They are also the ones who fought against same sex marriage in California because their prophet told them to.
That might lack perspective but where would the falsehood lie?