Summarized by Kent Larsen
NPR's Morning Edition 4Aug99 L1
By Jenny Brundin: KUER, Salt Lake City, Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The LDS Church campaign to support
California's Knight initiative, set for a vote in March 2000, is the
subject of this report on NPR's influential Morning Edition news
program. The report emphasizes the difficulties that the Church might
face because of the campaign and its political fallout.
Reporter Brundin talks with a BYU student who is soliciting
signatures from fellow students, a good portion of whom might be
Californians entitled to vote, on a petition in support of the
initiative. She also interviews 'high-ranking' LDS Church official
Lance Whitman, who notes that while the letter sent by the Church to
congregations in California, while unusual, is one of the rare
circumstances in which the Church enters the political debate.
Whitman says that the issue of gay marriage attacks "one of the
cornerstones, if not the cornerstone," of LDS beliefs on marriage.
[This letter was read in Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, not
in Sacrament meetings as reported incorrectly in a Mormon-News story
Part of the controversy, according to the newsstory, involves a
second letter, which NPR claims to have, in which selected wealthy
members of the Church in California were asked for donations of
specific amounts to be sent in support of the initiative. In
addition, a letter from a local leader to the Area presidency
apparently made specific suggestions of strategy, including which
members should be approached for financial help.
Brundin also talks to University of Utah Political Science professor
Ted Wilson, who sees possible repercussions in the Church's
missionary program because of the campaign. Wilson notes that
missionary work is an "inclusive" activity, while the campaign is
"exclusive" in nature. Wilson explains that getting involved in
politics always excludes someone. He indicates that those offended or
excluded are not likely to talk with the missionaries in the future.