Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Letter Brings Questions, Even by Members
Salt Lake Tribune 22Aug99 L1
By Patty Henetz: Special to the Tribune
Members of the LDS Church in California are worried, and some
offended, at fund-raising letters they have received from local
Church leaders requesting funds to support the Knight initiative. The
initiative would ban recognition of gay marriages, including those
performed outside of California, in the state.
One Los Angeles member says that there has been too much pressure. "I
just feel they have pushed it too hard." A July 4 letter the member
received implied that they were wealthy and could make a relatively
large donation. "They asked us for a recommended amount of $1,200 to
$2,500, or if we wanted to do more, as much as $10,000."
Other members say that the mere fact that the letters came from local
leaders put pressure on them. "It didn't come from just any old
private citizen in the ward. It came from the bishop. We know the
church's stand," said a Church member in Sierra Madre, California.
"If we want to take part in the campaign, we certainly can. But I
don't want to be asked, or made to feel in any way that I have to."
LDS Church spokesman Dan Rascon said that Church members should
consider the opposition to same-sex marriage as divinely inspired. LDS
officials have also made clear that there will be no repercussions if
members do not donate.
Still, members are worried about the campaign. One bishop in southern
California says that the overwhelming concern of members is what will
happen to them if they don't support the initiative."The question I'm
getting is, if they [members] don't support the initiative, what
would be the ramifications on their church membership? That is an
Adding to concerns of many members is the fact that someone is
keeping track of donations. The southern California bishop says that
his ward was expected to raise $7,500, based on demographics. Letters
to members were accompanied by a form, which was to be sent to a post
office box in Glendale, California with the donation. And the local
stake was to then receive information letting local leaders know
about results. "Information would be sent back to the stake to see
how we are doing," said the bishop.
LDS Church spokesman Mike Otterson declined to comment on the
concerns of local members.