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For week ended October 03, 1999 Posted 3 Oct 1999

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Mormons take 'family values' to polls

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Mormons take 'family values' to polls
Sacramento CA Bee 27Sep99 N3
By Jan Ferris: Bee Religion Writer

Through programs like Family Home Evening the LDS Church has long tried to support families. Recently, says Bee reporter Jan Ferris, that support has shifted to the political arena as the Church has sought to defend 'traditional' families through support for legislation against same-sex marriages in Alaska, Hawaii, and now California.

This support has led to criticism of the Church both from without and from within. When news of a letter sent by the Church's North America West Area to all California congregations hit the news, critics soon found irony in the Church's long-past practice of polygamy, which was considered then, as now, a non-traditional form of marriage.

Elder Douglas Callister,an Area Authority Seventy in the North America West Area, says that this comparison isn't fair. He says Mormons are simply expecting Gay and Lesbians to live with the same restrictions placed on Mormons. "We are now being told that that was required of us, but that we may not make the same argument. We may not say that there are societal norms that others must adhere to," Callister said.

Inside the Church, some members have expressed concern that the Church would take ecclesiastical action against them for opposing the Church's position. "We have had issue after issue where (church officials) have been prepared to use their ecclesiastical power in protecting Mormon doctrine,"says J. D. Williams, an inactive LDS Church member and retired University of Utah professor. And the issue has dominated discussions at last week's annual Mormon Women's Forum. "The Gospel of Jesus is a very inclusive one. Jesus taught us we should be very open and broad in choosing the people that we love -- and very, very careful in the people we choose as enemies," said Sacramento resident Cindy LeFevre, who attended the conference. "The church is teaching us we have to be very careful about who we love and encouraging us to be enemies to a broad group of people."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information