Friday, November 14, 2008

Protesting against the Church of Jesus Christ

I've tried to refrain from voicing any sort of strong political commentary on the Internet. I'm not much of an activist and I typically keep my opinions private. They are strong, but I don't get in people's faces about them when it comes to moral and political values (however, when it comes to anything related to movies it is a completely different story). Recently I've been pushed to the point that I can no longer remain silent.

Most of us are well aware of California's history in recent years with the issue of "gay marriage." A couple years ago proposition 22 banned it. A ruling by judges earlier this year said that prop 22 was unconstitutional and somehow they were able to declare that that made gay marriage legal (I can't wrap my head around how making prop 22 unconstitutional all of a sudden makes gay marriage legal when it was not legal before prop 22... judges interpret the law people, they don't make it). California voters responded by passing proposition 8 to amend their state constitution just shy of two weeks ago. Simply put, all prop 8 does is define marriage as between a man and a woman. Issue resolved right? Wrong. The armies of angry homosexual couples and their sympathizers come out and wage war.

The church I belong to (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) joined many others in supporting proposition 8. And my church leaders encouraged church members to support it as well. Marriage has been since the dawn of time a religious practice. At that time marriage between same-sex couples wasn't even considered. After all, the books of Moses, the first recorded religious doctrine supported by the worlds three major religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), is clear on the subject of homosexuality. It is condemned almost in the same breath as bestiality. I'll admit that's pretty strong, but I'm just telling it how it is. Through time as governments formed marriage has been upheld and supported by government. The traditional family has been a strong asset to the United States of America. This country was founded as a God-fearing nation. People are free to voice their opinions and reform society for the better. But now a new issue is on the table and emotions run high.

I'm not trying to change your mind on these issues. They are too heated and complex for me happily resolve them in simple blog. I'm not sure what the compromise should be. I just want to put this all into context for myself and for anybody who reads through this.

I have my biases. My moral values and beliefs are strong. I sustain President Monson as the prophet of God right now here on earth. So nobody is in the dark about where my loyalties are right? Good. I want this to be read in an honest/non-manipulative context.

A week ago my friend, Sean Walker, wanted me to shoot video of the protest at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a journalist for Brigham Young University's Daily Universe newspaper and he wanted a short video piece documenting the event to be placed on their online News Net website. We shot video of the mobs. We gathered interviews from the protesters themselves. Funny tangential story: the first group we attempted to interview asked us who we were with. When Sean responded that he was with BYU they ran away. I suggested just simply stating it was for a documentary, that worked. Moving on: we cut the whole thing together that night. Unfortunately, we were never able to get it online. Now before you start making assumptions, it had nothing to do with censoring from BYU. It did however have to do with incompetence. Apparently their IT guy was not there and nobody knew how to easily compress it to a flash video and upload it.

I bumped into one of my professors from the Fine Arts Department of the University of Utah there at the protest and she too had a camera and was working on a documentary. I offered her all the footage I've obtained because otherwise I doubt it will see the light of day. Side note: she saw our clip that was never posted and described it as "compassionate." I don't know if I agree with that, I just cut together clips of what the protesters said to us. I did not want the piece to have an obvious bias and it's not like I threw a sentimental piano piece over it. But that was her opinion of it.

With this background I'm going to move onto my opinions of these recent events. I saw signs and heard the chants of the protesters proclaiming "stop the hate" in person. Ironically over these last few weeks I've observed that the hate is not coming from the church or its members attacking the gay community. It is the exact opposite. For example, a television ad posted on YouTube disrespects my two years of service as a missionary for my church as it does many others by portraying LDS missionaries as malicious home invaders ready to take away the rights of gay couples. Another example, the protests right outside of church property is disrespectful. More examples, within those mobs of protesters radicals have become so inspired, empowered, and enraged that they have vandalized several churches in my community. And that's not all, a Book of Mormon, a holy book of scripture for my church, was burned on the steps of a house of worship. And it does not end there, just yesterday a letter of powder was sent to the Salt Lake Temple. Anthrax threats? Really? So the gay community and its supporters now have terrorists in their midst. One church out of many others has been targeted, the church I am a proud member of. Once again the "Mormon" church is being persecuted. This time not by other churches claiming we aren't Christians. Other churches are actually reaching out and supporting my church during this time of turmoil and grief.

Are you proud of this gay community? Do you want these acts to continue and potentially define you? Stop the public protests. Condemn these acts of hate. Sit down with a level head and maybe we can work something out. Then I could take you seriously. Like I stated earlier, this is not a cut and dry situation. People feel strongly about this on both sides. On one side we want traditional values upheld. I believe this is important because I'm afraid that as I get older and perhaps have children of my own they will grow up in a world where a public awareness of right and wrong has become so convoluted that it no longer exists. The other side compares this to the civil rights movement of the sixties and seventies. That it is a cause to stop prejudice and discrimination. In a secular world who are we to impose our beliefs on other people?

Personally I wish things could be simple. But they're not. I would not have written and posted this but I feel like somebody needs to lay this all out there on the table and so that we can actually take it all in. For better or for worse this is going to be in the history books. So I've got to deal with it and take a stand for what I believe is true and just right now.

About Me

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Sandy, Utah, United States
I make movies with my friends. I like to find humor in just about anything. I live in a dark cave similar to Batman's as far as cool computer equipment goes. But my cave lacks the gym, car, and suit...