08 December 2008
02 December 2008
21 November 2008
17 November 2008
13 November 2008
If anyone doubts that, they should read the letter from Kevin Hamilton that has been circulating on the Internet.
Brother Hamilton, a seminary teacher, asked his students a couple of days after the election if any of them had been treated with hostility because they were Mormon.
Every hand went up.
So Brother Hamilton collected the statistics about who is to "blame" for passing Proposition 8 and gave it to his students, proving that we did no harm and certainly did not act alone. We were part of a coalition of people to whom marriage is not just a brand that can be put on any relationship. We did not and do not stand alone.
Then, thinking that others might be interested, Brother Hamilton wrote it into an e-mail and sent it to a couple of friends.
His friends sent it on. It spread through the church. You've probably already seen it.
When it reached me, I realized that Brother Hamilton had already done precisely the research that I intended to do for this column.
So I am posting the text of his letter at the end of this column on MormonTimes.com, and will move on to my own particular points.
There are many heroes in this struggle, but I want to call special attention to the young Saints in the singles wards of California. Outside the Church, most of their peers were against Proposition 8; inexperienced in marriage and child-rearing, they saw no harm in gay marriage.
So when our Latter-day Saint singles heeded the call of the church's leaders to take part in the defense of marriage, they, more than any other group of Saints, were swimming upstream.
They worked hard. They took risks. And many of them paid a price that is heavy indeed.
Many of them lost dear friends -- sometimes with bitter, angry recriminations from people they had once been close to.
If the situation had been reversed, if Prop. 8 had failed, these LDS young people would not have rejected their friends who voted to repudiate the meaning of marriage. And if they had, would they not have been condemned as bigots, for being unable to tolerate someone else voting his conscience?
I have been more fortunate. All my gay friends who might have repudiated me for supporting Prop. 8 had already condemned me long ago for standing by a Christ-centered, prophet-led church. The gay friends who remained at the time of the vote already knew my views, and our relationship continues.
(Not that I lack for hate mail and death threats from the "tolerant," mind you. It just didn't come from my friends.)
I suspect that the young Saints from those California singles wards felt the cost -- socially and in their hearts -- more keenly than anyone.
But as one of them pointed out to me in a conversation soon after the vote, "Now we know what it was like for believers in the Book of Mormon." So many times, the division between the followers of Christ and their opponents and persecutors was not geographical or national or cultural -- it was their own friends and neighbors who turned on them.
Reading the end of the book of Helaman, we can hear the voices of those who attack the church (and all religions) today.
They accuse us of continuing a "wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing?therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes."
They accuse the church of wanting to "keep us down to be servants to their words, and also servants unto them?and thus will they keep us in ignorance if we will yield ourselves unto them, all the days of our lives" (Hel. 16:20-21).
Their story is that we Mormons somehow oppress them and force them; they claim to be our victims. And yet they are the ones who tried to force us to accept their radical change through judicial edict, rejecting a clear majority vote only a few years before.
All we did was tell the truth, and try to persuade other people to act on that truth by voting for the proposition. We forced no one. We deceived no one?It was democracy.
Out here in the East and South, many of our young men and women are serving missions in California. When a particularly vicious and bigoted ad showed Mormon missionaries bursting into the homes of gay couples, wresting the rings from their fingers and tearing up their marriage licenses, we feared that this might make people feel justified in acts of violence and hostility toward our missionaries.
If we had put out an ad showing gay activists forcing their views on unwilling citizens, it would have actually been true -- since that is exactly what happened to make Prop. 8 necessary in the first place.
But we were careful never to do or say anything that might seem to condone violence against individual gay people. They took no such care for our missionaries.
Here is where the Savior's admonition to Peter comes into play. We can see that they would not bear it if we treated them as they have treated us -- but we will not treat them that way.
This victory in California was by a shockingly slim margin. The forces arrayed against us depend on concealing actual scientific and historical evidence from the voters -- it is frightening how close they came to blinding a majority.
Our opponents will move on to other states -- Massachusetts and Connecticut, for instance. And they will make us their targets and whipping boys. By painting us as the group trying to "force" our beliefs on unwilling people -- falsely accusing us, in short, of doing exactly what they really are doing -- they hope to arouse hatred and rage toward Mormons and use that as a means of prevailing in the political contest.
We must be prepared to be the victims of lies. We may also see acts of violence and persecution by individuals and governments against Mormons, individually and as a church.
What we must not do, what we must not tolerate, is the slightest action by any member of the church to harm or persecute others. They declare themselves our enemies, but we refuse to recognize that declaration.
We know that we are in fact the friends of all; that a society that organizes itself to promote traditional marriage is the one most likely to promote the general happiness -- even of those who choose not to enter into such a marriage.
We are not fighting a war, we are liberating people by telling them the truth. Only when they know the truth can they be free.
Kevin Hamilton's Letter on Proposition 8 and the Mormon Church
In the aftermath of the recent election, we may find ourselves oddly on the defensive regarding our support for the Yes on Proposition 8 cause. Our young people have been especially subject to mean-spirited comments by high school friends and teachers. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We did nothing wrong. In fact, we did everything that a civic-minded American can and should do. I have put together a few facts that help me to appreciate our position better. For example:
1. Mormons make up less than 2 percent of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.Mormon voters were less than 5 percent of the yes vote.
2. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6 percent of the yes vote and 2.4 percent of the total Proposition 8 vote.
3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.
4. The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.
5. Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.
6. The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.
7. African-Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70 percent of black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.
8. The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).
9. The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims -- all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.
10. Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or herself. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.
11. The church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States' Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?" The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The church as always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.
12. Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do -- we spoke up, we campaigned and we voted.
Hold your heads up high -- you did a great job on this most important cause. We will have more opportunities in the future to participate in our democratic process. Let's remember the lessons learned and do an even better job next time.
These are my personal opinions and thoughts; any errors are mine and in no way reflect official church policy or doctrine.
07 November 2008
24 October 2008
15 October 2008
17 September 2008
27 August 2008
29 May 2008
28 May 2008
20 May 2008
06 May 2008
02 May 2008
23 April 2008
19 April 2008
On the Nature of Dogs, the Right of Grace, Forgiveness and Hospitality: Derrida, Kant, and Lars Von Trier's Dogville
14 April 2008
13 April 2008
The warm day of April solemnity gathered on a plot of land,
07 April 2008
"1223, "illegitimate child," from O.Fr., "child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art. Alternate possibly is that the word is from P.Gmc. *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin. Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense is from 1552; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. Bastardize "debase" is from 1587.Who wants to be considered low?"
01 April 2008
You partook and I saw you burst into flames
The Ghost rained down upon our congregation,
And I could not help but marvel at the snow gracing the passersby,
Those patrons of the white mana,
As they journeyed on their exodus
Your spirit will rejoin the dust made infinitely bright
Your breath will light darkness
And slothfulness will bow to strengthened resolve
Not yet known by this row
[Written 28 March 2008]
13 March 2008
10 March 2008
21 February 2008
I then have a Spanish chapter test at 2 pm, and I have to tell that I really have lost a lot of what I learned last semester. I hope I can at least remember how to conjugate a few verbs. O sad day! Where wast thy preparation?
11 February 2008
"Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm."
Read more of the article here
10 February 2008
Tell Congress: Reject Bush's Cuts to Public Broadcasting
PS---Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) is a relatively strong voice for media independence statewide and nationally, just got an email from him about this topic actually, good man.
05 February 2008
I was then browsing around some art blogs earlier today and happened to read about an interview on NPR with Eric Carle, of children's book fame, in which he also stated that yellow is his favorite color. Both American, both love yellow. Both are really fabulous people, though Carle still charges a lot for his books.
This is truly a great day for similarities. I wonder if I could like yellow too.
Solemn - Tod Robbins
[A direct link now. Try and right/control click and "Save As" to download it]
01 February 2008
Four-score and approximately eleven days times three divided by two thirds is exactly when our country was attacked by dark wizards. I don't mean ethnic, but I DO mean dark. We must regather ourselves, light our beards as a candle to the dreary road and press on like a Zeus-fist. I elect the new month of February as the month of love-hate. Hating those who love, and loving those who hate.
Firstly, hate love as love, for dark wizards always want the puppies to be admired. Though a black wind blows, and kisses abound, never shall we as clansmenwo trade our morning salad and eggs for the likes of a walk on the beach. Nay, we shall never ACQUIESCE!
Secondly, love hate as the dying pools of Mythrondyl fade into the everpast so shall we stand by "WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN!" to embrace the Second Law of Thermodynamics and all things decaying. Love the haters, the bros, the warlocks, the Jews, & the Crude.
(This proclamation is pending upon common consent of the Poet's Guild February Congress of 2008)
31 January 2008
Mukasey admitted waterboarding would feel like torture if it was done to him but he refused to say whether it would be illegal for a foreign country to waterboard a U.S. citizen.
He told Senator Joseph Biden, that the cruelty of torture must be balanced “against the information you might get.” During the hearing Mukasey repeatedly came under harsh questioning from both Democrats and Republicans."
Check it out (transcript, mp3, podcast) on Democracy Now!
28 January 2008
25 January 2008
To a shoreline of black snow,
I cursed the sky and wept while my ears hurried and sighed.
I then feared drowning more than cars.
I slid along the asphalt road,
Like a sound innocuous and cold.
I returned a donee of grace divine,
Resting on a love that held in the cry:
O God! Condescend to calm the heart and mind of Your child so resigned!
He answered in a calm: what, My son, is time?
Your formations caressed light and set one son here and another fainted.
Whose hands bled when another fainted and resigned in a car?
Whose heart burst when one son wandered alone with black eyes, with Lucifer and his snowy waters?
Whose voice cried out? Which voice cried out?
When caressed light fainted and One Son fell to catch the resigned, I felt it.
I agreed to lay down broken me, and then I agreed to take the mass and heave it with the chaos He worked over.
He bled with the mass and we felt that bust down the veils, the walls, and then worlds clapped when resignation turned over to heightened light.
I eat an apple, a biscuit, my empty stomach as well, and find myself traveling to grass and stone, a sword in abbey. I am wrestling with history and a man who says the most asinine words in the primeval hours of fog. You can take back a gift, but you most certainly cannot take back the historian inside man. We analyze and forge a view of the viscera, the night colours, and the bleak horizons that must be trembling at the core of every character. This becomes our worldview when no argument of battle is heard on the carpet, in the dining room, or on the fields of trial.
I feel it is appropriate to be ill for the month to come. I hold the opinions in and let Columbia or Harvard take their swipes, their lugs, their essays, and bury me with the journals and letters, the apple core. I am a simple and struggling gentleman, yet a donee of new bones and flesh.
11 January 2008
This is the most fun I've had outdoors for a good while. We used old text books Ryan had in the trunk of his car and used them until the covers ripped off. John (Boss) fell off a lot, Ryan went really fast, and I was mostly believable and pleased.
I love sledding with books.
08 January 2008
I just had a crash course in public history tonight as we convened for our first class period of the semester. I am quite pumped up for learning about all the fields of work within the public history umbrella: historical consulting, multimedia history, site preservation, document preservation, historical societies, archivists, historical parks, museums, family history & genealogy. All very exciting and mostly new, but it got me in the mood for searching online archives and the like.
I happened upon this Yiddish copy of "All Quiet on the Western Front" and had to post the cover. It is amazing to read about within the archivist world how the Internet, though massive and increasing in the amount of documents in digital form, there still is a huge lack of connection between all of the information. For instance: you have an archive in London that has uploaded all these emigration documents from the 1880s, but then the autobiography by some well-known poet, found on the University of Minnesota online special collections,
which describes his immigration to the U.S. in the 1880s is not connected via a simple web link. Anyhow, that all probably seems contrived, but it does mean something: that even though there is a ton of information on the Internet now, (primary source documents and such) there is still a huge gap in connecting all of this information to itself. Yeah...
If that didn't make sense to you, it probably won't make sense to me when I re-read this is like a day or so. Ha.