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."