Thursday, June 26, 2008

History made us Paranoid.

Mormons are paranoid. There I said it. It's out in the open now. We are paranoid. Of course, not without good reason. There have been people who have looked for any stick with which to beat us up. Historically you could point several examples of this. There was a long succession of laws designed to legislate the LDS church out of existence over the issue of Plural Marriage. Leaders were arrested, Church property confiscated, members disenfranchised (i.e. had their right to vote taken away). Then before the priesthood ban was lifted there was talk about losing tax exempt status. It doesn't take much of an imagination to envision what other steps could be tried had the ban not been lifted.

So in light of this I start to see why the Church picks certain political battles to fight. ERA for example. In the light of history I can see some anti-Mormon deciding that a successfully passed ERA would have made the Church vulnerable because it does not ordain women to the priesthood. Or even same sex marriage. Could the California court find the Church in contempt for not allowing Same sex marriages in the temple. Or prevent LDS social service from placing children for adoption because they won't place in same sex households.

It may seem far fetched to us now, but none of the writers of the 14th amendment would have considered that it would someday be used to legalize abortion. And yet that is exactly what happened. There is even some fool out there trying to get "In God We Trust" taken off US currency on the premise that it violates the first amendment. With the right combination of plaintiff and judges, even the unimaginable is possible.

Can you imagine how the Church would respond if the courts ruled against them in such a case. Would the temples in California just close down? Would the First Presidency call all the members in California to leave the state? And then dust their feet as they leave? Where would they go? What would the effect be of half a million Californians just leaving the state? How many would really leave if told to by the Church? Would there be another splinter group?

Just for the record, I don't care if same sex marriages are legal in California. We didn't fight that hard against the repeal of prohibition. Or the decriminalization of adultery. Or against the idea of no fault divorces. Of course, we have to claim it is a moral issue. If we just said "we oppose this because we are paranoid" I don't think it would sound nearly as salient. All the same, the vague argument that it will erode away at the institution of marriage could be interpreted as paranoia. But as the saying goes, just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean there isn't someone out to get you.

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