Review – “8: The Mormon Proposition”

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On Friday, June 18th, 2010, I went to see a documentary entitled “8: The Mormon Proposition.” I first heard of this documentary through a friend’s magazine, and later on a poster. This poster was on view at an art-walk in downtown Phoenix aptly named “First Friday.”

For over a month I waited with anticipation to see this film. For those who are not aware, my childhood took place in a Mormon household. That is, of course, a book in itself… However, this definitely brought a personal aspect that made me even more intrigued. Typically, Mormons keep a low profile because of the public’s less-than-favorable view of them (at least, compared to other major monotheistic religions). It was a surprise to see that someone FINALLY had the courage to show this cult’s back-room dealings, especially with irrefutable documentation.

The opening scene was speech over a fuzzy background with subtitles. The words were eerily confusing at first, but ultimately explained further later into the film. This opening definitely left me feeling eager to know more about where this speech was coming from.

The film’s mood relayed the extremes of emotions that California gays went through after finally receiving the right to marry and then having it taken away. There were scenes of lines of partners lined up outside courthouses awaiting marriage certificates and ceremonies. The look of happiness on their faces was unmistakable. The film introduces the audience to partners as they exchange vows and enjoy their first day as a married couple. Interviews show the partners reflecting back to that day.

Of course, this ends up being the build-up to what eventually shows the incredibly malicious agenda of the Mormon (LDS) Church. See here for just a simple example of some of the documents the church never intended to reach public eyes. From official documents obtained by one of the men interviewed in the film, we find that the church had worked against gay marriage in Hawaii before the California Proposition 8 even started. There was very little time spent on the Hawaii incident, but showed that to the church, Hawaii was a “practice run” for other states.

The main issue with the way the church went about this is that they distanced themselves from the actual “camp” that worked to push against gay marriage. They did this by creating coalitions and working with many other religious bodies to conceal that it was an LDS-led push. Specific sentences of the documents shown in the film describe how church leaders were fully aware and updated on the progression of the initiative.

The anguish felt by those whose marriages took place before Prop 8 passed (and those who had hoped to marry in the future) was palpable. The subjects interviewed in the film explain their stories with true passion. They are simply trying to live in happiness with their partners in no way different from heterosexuals. The fear mongering, fallacies, and rhetoric used by Mormons and other religious institutions are utterly revolting to me. These lies are often discredited, but generally, this is after the fact (especially with Prop 8 ) and no one seems to remember that they were lied to.

There was also a very interesting interview in the film with a man who had been “outed” as gay by a fellow Brigham Young University student. The man explained a series of meetings that were explained to him as “therapy to cure him.” Let me just say that what the man experienced is similar to a failed type of therapy in the cult-classic movie “A Clockwork Orange.” I felt disgusted and cannot believe that someone would treat a fellow human in such a way.

Honestly, I do not want to give away too much, and would much rather have people go see the film (or buy it when it comes out on DVD in mid-July 2010). However, be prepared to see the way that the Mormon Church runs much like a corporation full of ignorant old men. One member in particular that is exceptionally intolerant is Utah Senator Chris Buttars (start video at around :30).

The church used its powerful influence over its members to garner initial votes for the initiative early on, and then funding once the initiative was on the November 2009 ballot. The amount of person-hours spent going door-to-door, calling, and distributing materials by members of the church was unprecedented.

What truly upsets me about the situation is that one group is working diligently to PREVENT another group from having equal rights. I just do not understand this level of thinking, even when taking into account the ridiculous beliefs of their faith. However, the film does an excellent job of explaining that the Mormon’s idea of heaven is such that gay marriage is a monumental disruption of this “plan” for the afterlife. Oh, well, that makes it okay I guess

For those that do not know, the LDS religion is one of utmost patriarchal and misogynistic bullshit. Sure, Mormon women are not forced to wear burkas like Muslim women, but they are certainly subservient to their husbands and are treated as birthing centers, cooks/maids, and as though they are UNEQUAL to men. The Mormon plan for the afterlife is loosely based on how the man’s family (with as many children as possible) follows his lead blindly and unquestioningly. The man and his family are also required to do the same of the church’s leaders. Questioning the prophet and doctrine is not allowed in the church… Therefore, when the church leaders called its members to action in a political movement, the members did so with fervor.

Over 30 million dollars was raised for the support of the Prop 8 campaign by the Mormons within only a few months. During the campaign, they hid behind the veil of vaguely named coalitions and organizations to limit their visibility.

However, once the bill passed and the dreams of thousands of our fellow humans were dashed, the Mormons ultimately received most of the credit for the passing of Prop 8. Large demonstrations occurred outside of Mormon temples all around the country in protest to their involvement in the US political system. While this received some media coverage, it was not enough to give the Mormon Church the giant gaping wound it deserves.

I refuse get into some of the ignorant and hateful things that were said in the film by Mormons and those who supported Prop 8 (except the video of Buttars above, that guy is just such a douchebag I had to share it). It is disrespectful for me to even quote them here. One thing that continues to give cause to the religious (of any religion) to persecute LGBT’s is that they believe that being gay is a “choice.” That’s a bold statement considering how many have never truly sat down with a gay person and listened intently to their life stories: growing up confused, even very early in life before any “social factors” could have influenced them, having to face persecution and rejection from family and friends, etc. Unfortunately, the religious try to make a debate out of anything that contradicts their god’s plan, whether the results of such harm others or not. There is good research here that may offer some additional insight.

My hope is that everyone, including Mormons and people of other faiths, will see this film. Maybe those who previously supported Prop 8 or who are against gay marriage will see the damage that this viewpoint does to other families. Many of the subjects interviewed in the film had family members who supported Prop 8, despite knowing fully how that decision would affect their gay family members.

The dogmatic beliefs that are held by the religious are affecting the opportunity for society to progress and give equal rights to our fellow citizens. Some say that giving gays “civil unions” is enough, but that marriage is some sort of sacred right reserved for a man and a woman. This should be plainly obvious that it is not giving gays equal rights. It is saying, “Okay, we’ll give you this, but you’re still not getting the same rights we have.” We are conscious humans, and deserve the same equal rights regardless of petty differences. Your religious freedom does not give you the freedom to persecute and lobby in the political realm to further your agenda! It is also freedom FROM religion (www.ffrf.org).

One of the conclusions that I drew from the film is this: the Mormon Church should no longer be eligible for tax-exempt status. They have invested heavily in the political movement in the US and have affected innocent people with their bigotry. This cannot be tolerated any longer. In my view, the sheer deception (see videos here) displayed by the religious and the Mormons (see actual Mormon broadcast here) during the Prop 8 campaign shows that their ludicrous religious beliefs will continue to impede human civility and progress.

Please see this documentary, as it exposes an aspect to the Mormon religion that rarely shows its face in public. You may feel that Mormons are “kind-hearted” people who are family-oriented. This is typically true, unless you get in the way…

–          Jay

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One Response to “Review – “8: The Mormon Proposition””

  1. Lindsey Vance Says:

    This film had me in tears for 2 hours. What horrible people to deny other human beings the right to happiness. How easily they forget how it felt for the LDS “pioneers” to have their rights of polygamy taken away.

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