Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mormon Church featured in #1 spot of the "Gay Year in Review: The Top 10 News Stories"  Excerpts below:
1: California, Florida, Arizona Ban Gay Marriage; Arkansas Bans Gay Adoptions

The now-notorious Proposition 8 was put on the ballot by a group of activists intent on banning California's newly proclaimed gay marriages. Thanks to the state's history of ballot initiatives, the state's voters were allowed to express their feelings about the court's decision.

The Mormon Church became the most active participant in the "Yes on 8" campaign. The church found itself on the defensive for its political involvement, and some Mormon-owned businesses were targeted for boycotts.

But the passage of an anti-marriage amendment in neighboring Arizona was perhaps even more heartbreaking, because the state's citizens had previously voted down just such a measure--the first (and thus far, only) time an American electorate had done so.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Study finds "abstinence pledges" completely ineffective

Excerpts from Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds By Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer

Teenagers Who Make Such Promises Are Just as Likely to Have Sex, and Less Likely to Use Protection, the Data Indicate

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

The study is the latest in a series that have raised questions about programs that focus on encouraging abstinence until marriage, including those that specifically ask students to publicly declare their intention to remain virgins. The new analysis, however, goes beyond earlier analyses by focusing on teens who had similar values about sex and other issues before they took a virginity pledge.

"Previous studies would compare a mixture of apples and oranges," Rosenbaum said. "I tried to pull out the apples and compare only the apples to other apples."

The findings are reigniting the debate about the effectiveness of abstinence-focused sexual education just as Congress and the new Obama administration are about to reconsider the more than $176 million in annual funding for such programs.

"This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs,"
James Wagoner of the advocacy group Advocates for Youth agreed: "The Democratic Congress needs to get its head out of the sand and get real about sex education in America."

Proponents of such programs, however, dismissed the study as flawed and argued that programs that focus on abstinence go much further than simply asking youths to make a one-time promise to remain virgins.

"It is remarkable that an author who employs rigorous research methodology would then compromise those standards by making wild, ideologically tainted and inaccurate analysis regarding the content of abstinence education programs," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association.

Rosenbaum analyzed data collected by the federal government's National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which gathered detailed information from a representative sample of about 11,000 students in grades seven through 12 in 1995, 1996 and 2001.

Although researchers have analyzed data from that survey before to examine abstinence education programs, the new study is the first to use a more stringent method to account for other factors that could influence the teens' behavior, such as their attitudes about sex before they took the pledge.

Rosenbaum focused on about 3,400 students who had not had sex or taken a virginity pledge in 1995. She compared 289 students who were 17 years old on average in 1996, when they took a virginity pledge, with 645 who did not take a pledge but were otherwise similar. She based that judgment on about 100 variables, including their attitudes and their parents' attitudes about sex and their perception of their friends' attitudes about sex and birth control.

"This study came about because somebody who decides to take a virginity pledge tends to be different from the average American teenager. The pledgers tend to be more religious. They tend to be more conservative. They tend to be less positive about sex. There are some striking differences," Rosenbaum said. "So comparing pledgers to all non-pledgers doesn't make a lot of sense."

By 2001, Rosenbaum found, 82 percent of those who had taken a pledge had retracted their promises, and there was no significant difference in the proportion of students in both groups who had engaged in any type of sexual activity, including giving or receiving oral sex, vaginal intercourse, the age at which they first had sex, or their number of sexual partners. More than half of both groups had engaged in various types of sexual activity, had an average of about three sexual partners and had had sex for the first time by age 21 even if they were unmarried.

"It seems that pledgers aren't really internalizing the pledge," Rosenbaum said. "Participating in a program doesn't appear to be motivating them to change their behavior. It seems like abstinence has to come from an individual conviction rather than participating in a program."

While there was no difference in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the two groups, the percentage of students who reported condom use was about 10 points lower for those who had taken the pledge, and they were about 6 percentage points less likely to use any form of contraception. For example, about 24 percent of those who had taken a pledge said they always used a condom, compared with about 34 percent of those who had not.

Rosenbaum attributed the difference to what youths learn about condoms in abstinence-focused programs.

"There's been a lot of work that has found that teenagers who take part in abstinence-only education have more negative views about condoms," she said. "They tend not to give accurate information about condoms and birth control."

But Huber disputed that charge.

"Abstinence education programs provide accurate information on the level of protection offered through the typical use of condoms and contraception," she said. "Students understand that while condoms may reduce the risk of infection and/or pregnancy, they do not remove the risk."

Focus on the Family pulls interview over Beck's Mormon faith

Excerpts of Focus pulls interview over Beck's Mormon faith by Daniel Burke of the Salt Lake Tribune

Colorado-based Focus on the Family has pulled an online interview with conservative television host Glenn Beck after concerns were raised about Beck's Mormon faith.

Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations for Focus on the Family Action, said that "differences in the Mormon faith and the historical evangelical faith are not inconsequential."

"We can, and do, gladly cooperate with friends outside of the evangelical heritage on common causes; but in no case do we intend to alter our clear distinction as unwaveringly grounded in evangelical theology."

Beck has appeared on Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's radio program, and has hosted Dobson on his own former CNN show. Beck is scheduled to debut a new program on Fox News on Jan. 19. Both Dobson and Beck advocated for Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

On Dec. 22, Underground Apologetics, a Wisconsin-based group dedicated to helping Christians "defend their faith," criticized Focus on the Family for not mentioning Beck's membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its online interview.

"While Glenn's social views are compatible with many Christian views, his beliefs in Mormonism are not. Clearly, Mormonism is a cult," the news release said.

Schneeberger said the criticism from Underground Apologetics had "nothing to do with our decision to pull the article from publication," but admitted that "some from our base" were concerned that the interview aimed to "signal theological compromise."

"We regret having communicated in a way that has caused some confusion both from some within our evangelical base as well as from our friends, like Mr. Beck, who hold a sincere and devout Mormon faith," Schneeberger said. "We intended no insult; we merely miscalculated on how best to feature Glenn."

Beck said in a statement, "Whatever your beliefs about my religion, the concept of religious tolerance is too important to be sacrificed in response to special interest groups, especially when it means bowing to censorship."

Today in Church History - Dec 30

-- 1803 Winter
[Lucy Mack Smith] Move back to the Tunbridge farm (early in the year). (LucyM)

-- 1813 Winter
[Sydney Rigdon] Solomon Spalding obtains temporary residence with the Wilson family in Washington Co. (Broadhurst-Rigdon)

-- 1818 Wtr-Spr
[Sydney Rigdon] Alexander Campbell opened Buffalo Seminary, located near Brush Run in Washington Co.; Alexander lived on his father-in-law's farm (Brown Farm) (Broadhurst-Rigdon)

-- 1828 Winter
[Sydney Rigdon] Sydney Rigdon brings Baptist "teachers" Darwin Atwater and Zeb Rudolph from northern Portage Co. to Mentor, to attend his instructional classes -- the two students notice that Rigdon is frequently absent from that place (parts of Jan-Mar.) (Broadhurst-Rigdon)

-- 1830 December 30
D&C 37 (Canandaigua): Joseph to stop translating now until he goes to Ohio "because of the enemy." Strengthen the church in Colesville. In time they should gather in Ohio "against the time that my servant Oliver shall return unto them." Date by William E. McLellin, Ensign of Liberty 1 (Mar. 1847), 2, in JS revelations, 97n98. (Kenny)

-- 1830, December-January 1831
The Saints were commanded to gather to Ohio (see D&C 37; 38: 31-32). (LDSOrg)

-- 1835 December 30
He spent the day in reading hebrew at the council room, with his scribe, in whose company he delighted, & who had sufficiently recovered his health. to attend to his usual avocation. 18341836 history, 166.
scribe: Warren Parrish
Kirtland 1835 (Kenny)

-- Winter 1838-39
[Heber C. Kimball] Church is driven from Missouri to Illinois. (HCK)

-- December 30, 1839
[Joseph Smith] Monmouth, New Jersey. Joseph Smith left Philadelphia and spent several days visiting a branch of the Church in New Jersey. (BYU-Studies)

-- December 30, 1840
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smiths history included an extensive list of books, pamphlets, and letters published for and against the Latter-day Saints during the past year. (BYU-Studies)

-- 1843 30 Dec.
[Anointed Quorum] Afternoon prayer circle meeting in the upper room of Joseph Smith's store "with the quorum"; William Law and wife Jane were absent, and Smith "preached on the principles of integrity, and showed that the lack of sustaining this principle led men [i.e. Law] to apostasy" (HC, JS-F, MHBY, WW; MAQ does not list this date). (DMQaq)

-- 1854 December 30
[Utah War] Colonel Steptoe, who had been offered the governorship of Utah by Pres. Pierce but declined, along with leading officials and business men of SLC signed a petition and sent it to Washington recommending Pres. Pierce reappoint Brigham Young as Governor of Utah Territory. (MMisc)

-- 1870 December 30
[William Clayton] Marries tenth wife, Anna Elizabeth Higgs. (GDSmith)

-- Winter 1876-77
[Mountain Meadows] While his appeals play out, John Lee writes his autobiography and confession, which he gives to his attorney, William Bishop, and which is later published under the title, Mormonism Unveiled. (Linder)

-- December 30, 1927
[U.S. Religious History] Originally founded by evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson in 1923, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel was officially incorporated in Los Angeles, California. (USRelHist)

-- 30 December 1973 - 3 October 1981
[1st Presidency Changes] Spencer W. Kimball N. Eldon Tanner Marion G. Romney Reorganization of First Presidency after death of Harold B. Lee (Wiki-1stp)

-- 1973, December 30
Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church. (EofM)

-- 1973 30 December
Spencer W. Kimball ordained and set apart as 12th president of the Church. (Hemidakota)

-- 1973, December 30
Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church. (LDSOrg)

-- December 30, 1973
[Quorum of the Twelve] The First Presidency is reorganized, with Spencer W. Kimball President, N. Eldon Tanner First Counselor, and Marion G. Romney Second Counselor. Ezra Taft Benson is President of the Quorum. (Wiki12)

-- 1973, December 30
[Spencer W. Kimball] Becomes President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with President N. Eldon Tanner as First Counselor and President Marion G. Romney as Second Counselor in the First Presidency. (SKimball)

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today in Church History - Dec 29

-- 1832 December 29
This day Brother Calvin Stodard [Stoddard] came forward and gave up his licence to the Bishop and confessed that he had not magnified his office but had transgressed and been out of the way. Kirtland council, 4. (Kenny)

-- 1833 December 29
[Wilford Woodruff] Attends first Mormon meeting (KennyWW)

-- 1833, December 29
[Wilford Woodruff] Hears the restored gospel for the first time at a meeting conducted by two Latter-day Saint missionaries, Elders Zera Pulsipher and Elijah Cheney. (P-RS-Woodruff)

-- 29 Dec (Tue) 1835
Joseph Smith brought formal charges against his brother William, as the first step in bringing William back into the Church. [LDS Church History Vol II, p. 346] (Broadhurst)

-- 1835 December 29
Joseph Smith Sr. gives 15 patriarchal blessings, followed by a sumptuous feast. In the evening, Joseph Jr. delivers a lecture of 3 hours. Later he learns some Presbyterians were present, "and I expect that some of my saying's set like a garment that was well fited, as I expoused their abominations in the language of the scriptures, and I pray God that it may be like a nail in a sure place, driven by the master of assemblies." Diary-2, 92, 93; also 18341836 history, 165-166. (Kenny)

-- 1835 December 29
Orson Johnson charges William Smith with "unchristianlike conduct in speaking disrespectfully of President Joseph Smith Junr. and the revelations & commandments given through him," and "attempting to inflict personal violence on President J. Smith Junr" <.
= Orson Johnson's Charge Against William Smith (Kenny)

-- 29-Dec 1835
Joseph Smith brings charges against William Smith. (Tidd)

-- December 29, 1835
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith preached for three hours to a large crowd at the Kirtland school, some of whom were Presbyterians. (BYU-Studies)

-- December 29, 1842
[Joseph Smith] En route to Springfield, Illinois. Joseph Smith and his company traveled 32 miles in the cold. (BYU-Studies)

-- December 29, 1843
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith pronounced a blessing on the Nauvoo Police and offered to pay twice the amount of any bribe offered to them for information about the briber. (BYU-Studies)

-- 1843 29 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] At the organization of the Nauvoo police (former Danites), Smith authorizes them to kill "if need be" and says his life is endangered by "a little dough-head" and "a Brutus." (DMQ1)

-- 1846 29 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Young gives an address in tongues, "then conversed in tongues with Elder Kimball." (DMQ1)

-- 1856 December 29
[Wilford Woodruff] With Orson Hyde and Lorenzo Snow, offers to resign apostleship; Brigham Young declines (KennyWW)

-- Dec 29,1978
[Utah] First Presidency allows women to pray in sacrament meetings again, rescind earlier ban from 07 11, 1967 (DMQ2)

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Heaven for the Godless?

In June, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published a
controversial survey in which 70 percent of Americans said that they
believed religions other than theirs could lead to eternal life.

This threw evangelicals into a tizzy. After all, the Bible makes it
clear that heaven is a velvet-roped V.I.P. area reserved for
Christians. Jesus said so: "I am the way, the truth and the life: no
man cometh unto the Father, but by me." But the survey suggested that
Americans just weren't buying that.

The evangelicals complained that people must not have understood the
question. The respondents couldn't actually believe what they were
saying, could they?

So in August, Pew asked the question again. (They released the results
last week.) Sixty-five percent of respondents said — again — that
other religions could lead to eternal life. But this time, to clear up
any confusion, Pew asked them to specify which religions. The
respondents essentially said all of them.

And they didn't stop there. Nearly half also thought that atheists
could go to heaven — dragged there kicking and screaming, no doubt —
and most thought that people with no religious faith also could go.

What on earth does this mean?

One very plausible explanation is that Americans just want good things
to come to good people, regardless of their faith. As Alan Segal, a
professor of religion at Barnard College told me: "We are a
multicultural society, and people expect this American life to
continue the same way in heaven." He explained that in our society, we
meet so many good people of different faiths that it's hard for us to
imagine God letting them go to hell. In fact, in the most recent
survey, Pew asked people what they thought determined whether a person
would achieve eternal life. Nearly as many Christians said you could
achieve eternal life by just being a good person as said that you had
to believe in Jesus.

Also, many Christians apparently view their didactic text as flexible.
According to Pew's August survey, only 39 percent of Christians
believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, and 18 percent
think that it's just a book written by men and not the word of God at
all. In fact, on the question in the Pew survey about what it would
take to achieve eternal life, only 1 percent of Christians said living
life in accordance with the Bible.

Today in Church History - Dec 28

-- 28-Dec 1812
Catherine Smith (Joseph's sister) born in Lebanon, NH. (Tidd)

-- 1831 December 28
Joseph blesses McLellin: "I was healed so that I got up and eat breakfast and attended an ap. made for them." In the evening McLellin baptizes Celia Burwell, goes to another meeting with Hyrum and speaks an hour and a half. In the evening Joseph confirms Celia and she "expressed great joy in the reception of the Holy spirit." McLellin journals, 67-68. (Kenny)

-- December 28, 1832
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith received portions of Doctrine & Covenants 88, a revelation often known as the Olive Leaf, and which he called the Lords message of peace to us. Other portions of this revelation were received on December 27, 1832 and January 3, 1833. (BYU-Studies)

-- December 28, 1841
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith baptized Sidney Rigdon for and in behalf of Elder Rigdons parents. The Prophet also baptized Reynolds Cahoon and others. (BYU-Studies)

-- 1894 December 28
[Wilford Woodruff] Salt Lake city and county building dedicated (KennyWW)

-- Winter 1979-80.
A survey of Exponent II readers shows that 66 percent rate themselves "very active" with an additional 18 percent reporting themselves as "above average" in activity; 43 percent are employed; 95 percent have attended college; 95 percent subscribe to the Ensign, 35 percent subscribe to Dialogue, and 22 percent subscribe to Sunstone. They average 3. children. (Anderson)

-- late Dec 1995
[Same Sex Marriage] An announcement is made that Jack Hoag (the Church's lawyer in Hawaii, CEO of First Hawaiian Bank, the President and Chairman of Hawaii Reserves, Inc., and member of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, Manoa) is working on something important, possibly the creation of Hawaii's Future Today (personal communication from Bill Woods, organizer of GLEA (Gay and Lesbian Education and Advocacy) FOUNDATION and the HAWAII MARRIAGE PROJECT that brought together the three couples that initiated the court case in behalf of same-sex marriage.) (Crapo-SSM)

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Announcement: Mormon-Church-History

I've been working on a project to develop a chronology that covers the history of the church from the beginning up through the present.  I've gathered a set of chronoligies about church history, and related topics, combining  them into a single larger chronology.  I've used over 70 chronologies, have standardized their format and sorted them by date.  You've seen aspects of this chronology in entries titled "Today in Church History."

The new gospel doctrine lessons of 2009 will cover the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History.  In conjunction with this, I will replace "Today in Church History" with a daily post covering church history starting from the beginning.  Each day will cover the next set of events, and over time cover the entirety of church history up through the present.  I'll post about a dozen events each day.  I suspect it will take two to three years to traverse through the history of the church.

I hope this pace will appeal to those who would like to approach church history in detail, but  just a little bit each day.   And I hope that you will feel free to comment on, pose questions, or otherwise discuss church history at the blog site: or at the google group mirror site: (via email).

Note that Mormon-Chronicles/Issues will be a separate blog/group from Mormon-Church-History.  For those who subscribe to Mormon-Chronicles/Issues via email, I will add you to Mormon-Church-History.  Watch for a welcome message from google groups.  Of course, you're welcome to alter your subscription if you're not interested in a daily dose of church history.

For those who follow Mormon-Chronicles via RSS, please visit to subscribe via RSS.

I hope you enjoy this journey through church history.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Time Magazine #2 Religion Story of the Year

It looked like a bad year for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: in April police removed 400 children from he ranch of a small, breakaway and still polygamous "fundamentalist" Latter-day Saints sect, resulting in some popular confusion when media reports did not make clear that the mainstream church had foresworn the taking of multiple wives in the 19th century. Then Mitt Romney tanked in the Republican primaries, at least partly due to the ambivalence of Mormon-shy evangelical leaders. But in a stunning show of discipline and unity, California Mormons heeded a plea by their church's President and Prophet Thomas Monson to support California's Proposition 8 against gay marriage. Making up less than 3% of the state's electorate, they nevertheless donated roughly half the funds for the pro-8 alliance. It prevailed and the Latter Day Saints regained some of their conservative mojo.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Today in Church History - Dec 25

-- December 25, 1789
[U.S. Religious History] During the first Christmas under America's new Constitution, the Congress was in session. This fact may seem odd today, but at the time Christmas was no t a major Christian holiday. As a matter of fact, Christmas had a bad reputation among many Christians as a time of un-Christian excess and partying. Between 1659 and 1681, celebrating Christmas was actually illegal in Boston and anti-Christmas sentiment in the North prevented the day from becoming a national holiday until 1870.

-- 1831 December 25
Sidney Rigdon's lecture.

-- 1832 Dec 25
[Black History] Joseph Smith Jr. predicts slave revolt,

-- 1832, December 25
Revelation and Prophecy on War (D&C 87) received by Joseph Smith. [See Civil War Prophecy.]

-- 1832 25 December
Joseph Smith received the prophecy on war (D&C 87).

-- 1832 December 25
I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God. that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man. will be in South Carolina: (it may probably arise through the Slave Question; this a voice declared to me. while I was praying earnestly on the subject: December 25th, 1832. MH-A, 244
D&C 130:12-13.

-- 1832 December 25
Kirtland. Conference of high priests. Joseph receives D&C 88:1-126, the Olive Leaf. Holy spirit of promise the second comforter; three degrees glory; eye single to my glory; he will unveil his face; idle thoughts; call a solemn assembly; teach one another; warn Gentiles; be clean; last days; resurrection, thousand years; prepare; virtues enjoined.
Minutes of December 27, 1832

-- 25-Dec 1832
Joseph Smith predicts civil war.

-- December 25, 1832
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith received Doctrine & Covenants 87, a revelation containing prophecies about wars, most notably the forthcoming American Civil War.

-- 1832 25 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Joseph Smith dictates a revelation and prophecy "concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina [which seceded in 1860 and fired on Ft. Sumter in 1861] For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern states will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain [es-63]after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war [in the Union's African-American combat units, 1864-65]. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land [native American Indians] will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation [which began with the Sioux Uprising of 1862]." This manuscript prophecy, is first published in the 1851 edition of the Pearl of Great Price.

-- 1832 Dec 25
[Lucy Mack Smith] Revelation on war given (D&C 87).

-- 1837 December 25
The first Conference of the Latter-day Saints in England was held in the Cock Pit, Preston. During this mouth a somewhat extensive apostacy took place in Kirtland.

-- 1838 December 25
Joseph's brother, Don Carlos, and cousin George A. Smith return from missions in Kentucky and Tennessee. "When nearly home they were known and pursued by the mob, which compelled them to travel one hundred miles in two days and nights. The ground at the time was slippery, and a severe northwest wind was blowing in their faces; they had but little to eat, and narrowly escaped freezing both nights." HC 3:241.

-- 1843 25 Dec.
[Anointed Quorum] Brigham Young performed a monogamous marriage for Anointed Quorum member Levi Richards. This was recorded in "Meetings of anointed Quorum [] Journalizings," even though his wife was not endowed and there was apparently no formal meeting of the quorum. Perhaps members of the Anointed Quorum held a prayer circle as part of the marriage ceremony (MAQ, MHBY).

-- 25-Dec 1843
Orson Pratt returns to Nauvoo.

-- December 25, 1843
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith was serenaded in the morning by Sister Lettice Rushtons family, and later that evening he and his wife, Emma Smith, hosted a dinner for 50 couples.

-- 1846 25 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] William Smith writes Strang that Emma Smith "would not let him [Joseph Smith III] have anything to do with Mormonism at present."

-- 1925 25 December
South America dedicated for missionary work by Melvin J. Ballard.

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prop8 in the California Supreme Court

Here is a page with information regarding Proposition 8 cases before the California supreme court.

Earlier I posted posted that Ken Starr was representing the church in defending Proposition 8, but this is not correct.   Actually he submitted a brief for the the church last fall regarding Proposition 22, rather than Proposition 8.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Today in Church History - Dec 22

-- Monday, December 22, 1828
[Book of Mormon Translation] Manchester, O Cowdery, no school Christmas week.

-- 1834 December 22
Heber C. Kimball

-- 1834 December 22
Heber C. Kimball starts attending a six-week grammar school taught by Sidney and William E. McLellin .

-- 1834 December 22
The Twelve § and the Seventy § are organized; Joseph obtains Egyptian mummies and scrolls §; the first Doctrine and Covenants is published §; pay for church leaders is formalized §; war department is organized §; Joseph relates the First Vision to a visitor §, begins marrying couples contrary to state law §. Joseph's conflicts with Orson Hyde §, Almon Babbit §, and William Smith §.

-- 1834 December 22
William was reproved for complaining about Sidney to his wife. Minutes of September 26, Kirtland 1834

-- 22-Dec 1834
Grammar School opened; Sidney Rigdon and William E. McLellin teachers.

-- 1835 December 22
my scribe also is unwell O my God heal him and for his kindness to me O my Soul be thou greatful to him and bless him and he Shall be blessed {of for ever} of God forever I believe him to be a faithful friend to me therefore my Soul delighteth in him Amen / Joseph Smith Jr Diary-2, 88.

-- December 22, 1836
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith held a conference of the Church in the Kirtland Temple.

-- 22 Dec (Fri) 1837
Armed dissenters seized the Kirtland Temple. Apostle Brigham Young left Kirtland on account of the LDS reformers, who reportedly threatened to kill him because publicly supported Joseph Smith as a prophet.

-- 22-Dec 1837
Brigham Young flees Kirtland in consequence of the fury of the mob against him for supporting Joseph Smith [per Brigham Young].

-- After 22-Dec 1837
Brigham Young meets Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and George W. Robinson (in Dublin, Indiana), who also fled Kirtland because of the mobocratic spirit prevailing. Joseph Smith told Brigham Young that he was destitute and ask him for counsel. Brigham Young has member Tomlison sell his farm. Tomilson does for $500 and $250 in goods. Tomilson gives $300 to Smith [per Brigham Young].

-- 1837 22 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Armed dissenters seized the Kirtland Temple and forced Apostle Brigham Young to flee for his life. Young had been acting as self-appointed bodyguard for Joseph Smith.

-- December 22, 1841
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith received the first supply of groceries for his store in 13 wagonloads that had been detained in St. Louis, Missouri.

-- 1844 22 Dec.
[Anointed Quorum] Sunday prayer circle meeting; first ordinance meeting of Anointed Quorum ("the first quorum") under the Twelve's leadership. Ruth Moon (Clayton), Sarah M. Bates (Pratt, Bennett, Pratt), and Mary A. Frost (Stearns Pratt) were voted in as members of the quorum but not actually endowed. Mary L. Tanner (Lyman) received her anointing and endowment (WC-S, DMQ).

-- 1844 22 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Young reconvenes the Quorum of the Anointed which begins initiating new members into the endowment ceremony.

-- 1856 December 22
[Wilford Woodruff] With Orson Hyde, Lorenzo Snow, and Franklin D. Richards, urges first seven presidents of Seventy to resign

-- 1857 December 22
[Utah War] Pres. Buchanan presented his nomination to the Senate for Alfred Cumming to be governor of Utah Territory which was approved Jan. 18, 1858. Cumming had been appointed Governor July 11, 1857, took oath of office July 27 and had been representing himself as Governor. (Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate 10:275, 294)

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Today in Church History - Dec 21

-- about December 21, 1830
[Joseph Smith] Fayette, New York. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon received Doctrine & Covenants 37, a revelation calling the Saints to gather in Ohio.

-- 1833 December 21
Joseph files a complaint against Doctor P. Hurlbut for threatening to kill him. Papers 2:19n1.

-- 21 Dec (Sat) 1839
Smith arrives in Philadelphia by train from Washington, D.C. Parley P. Pratt also arrives in Philadelphia, having traveled there from NYC. Pratt remains in Philadelphia until Jan 1st.

-- December 21, 1839
[Joseph Smith] Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Joseph Smith arrived in Philadelphia by railway and spent several days preaching and visiting from house to house, among the brethren and others.

-- 1843 21 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo's elected officers petition Congress to give territorial status to the city and to authorize Joseph Smith to call on federal troops to defend the Territory of Nauvoo.

-- 1845 21 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Kimball and Taylor tell a temple audience about Joseph Smith's order in June 1844 to destroy the endowment garment and acknowledge that he died without his. George A. Smith tells the congregation: "We are now different from what we were before we entered into this quorum [of the anointed]Speedy vengeance will now overtake the transgressor."

-- 1846 21 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Young performs marriage sealing "by permission, not according to law, as the sealing ordinances were stopped," then officially resumes performing sealings on 24 Jan. 1847.

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ken Starr files brief for the church to defend of Prop 8

Ken Starr (who investigated President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky) is the chief counsel and author of the amicus brief for the church and three other religious institutions defending Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court.


 Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 8.200(c), amici curiae The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, California Catholic Conference, National Association of Evangelicals, and Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America respectfully request permission to file the accompanying brief in support of Respondent State of California.  The brief will assist the Court by setting forth the uniquely important perspective of four major faith communities with respect to marriage.  Amici have a profound interest in the established definition of marriage and in the outcome of this case:

 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian denomination with approximately 800,000 members in California.  Marriage and the family are central to the Churchs doctrine and beliefs.  The Church teaches that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God and that the traditional family is the foundation of society.  (See The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (September 23, 1995), available at,4945,161-1-11-1,00.html [The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.  Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.].)  The Church believes that marriage and family supply the crucial relationships through which parents and children learn to live basic moral norms and acquire public and private virtue.  The Church opposes changing the traditional male-female definition of marriage because of the harm such a change will cause to marriage and the family.

Today in Church History - Dec 20

-- 1825 Dec. 20
[Oliver Cowdery] The Joseph Smith, Sr. family lose the the title to their farm in Manchester. Lemuel Durfee, Sr., the new owner allows the Smiths to remain on the property as tenant farmers.

-- 20 Dec (Fri) 1833
The Kirtland Township Council served the last of its "warnings out of town" upon targeted Mormons in the township.

-- 20 Dec (Fri) 1833
The Wayne Sentinel published its "Mormon mystery developed" article, which was essentially a press release composed by D. Philastus Hurlbut before he started back to Ohio (probably written on or about Dec. 14, 1833. The article said that Hurlbut was from "Kirtland, Ohio" and that he had "been engaged for some time in different parts of this [New York] state, but chiefly in this [Palymra] neighborhood, on behalf of his fellow- townsmen, in the pursuit of facts and information concerning the origin and design of the Book of Mormon..." The editor passed on Hurlbut's proud notice, saying "that he has succeeded in accomplishing the object of his mission..." and then concluded the first, sketchy publication of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon.

-- about 20 Dec (Fri) 1833
According to his lawyer, James A. Briggs, D. P. Hurlbut "had some trouble with the Mormons at Kirtland... and he had the prophet, Joseph Smith, arrested on a warrant of a justice of the peace for assault and battery..." If this is correct, Hurlbut probably filed his complaint against Joseph Smith with a Justice of the Peace in Painesville, several miles north of the Mormon stronghold. But according to Kirtland Justice of the Peace, John C. Dowen, "Hurlbut said he would "kill" Jo Smith. He meant he would kill Mormonism. The Mormons urged me to issue a writ against him. I did... He was brought to trial..." What probably happened was that Hurlbut and Smith brought charges against each other almost simultaneously. A combined pre-trial hearing was scheduled to take place before two Justices of the Peace in Painesville. This caused Smith to file a complaint on December 21, 1833 against Hurlbut before the Justice of the Peace in Kirtland, J. C. Dowen. A warrant for Hurlbut's arrest
was issued Hurlbut appeared before the Justice of the Peace in Painesville.. [on] the 13th and 14th of January 1834 that the case was heard Hurlbut staid at my house every three or four days for as many months. I read all of his manuscript, including Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," and compared it with the Book of Mormon; the historical part of which is the same as Spaulding's "Manuscript Found"... The trial lasted several days, and he was bound over to appear at the Court of Common Pleas at Chardon. Hurlbut let E. D. Howe, of Painesville, have his manuscript to publish. I should not be surprised if Howe sold Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" to the Mormons. (88) 18 Dec (Wed) The Mormons' new printing press was installed in the upper story of the Church office building at Kirtland. Oliver Cowdery ran off a proof sheet for a reprint edition of the Evening and Morning Star.

-- December 20, 1838
[Joseph Smith] Liberty, Missouri. Emma Smith visited her husband, Joseph Smith, in Liberty Jail.

-- December 20, 1840
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. After being called upon by the high council to decide a case, Joseph Smith acquitted the charges against Robert D. Foster.

-- 1842 20 Dec.
[Joseph Smith] Lorenzo D. Barnes is the first Mormon to die on a foreign mission.

-- 1888 Dec 20
[Polygamy] Manifesto test draft
A document worded to relieve political pressure, similar to the later to be released Manifesto, is presented to the interim leadership of the Church. It was eventually rejected, because it was thought that it should be worded as a revelation from the President of the church for it to be credible. Wilford Woodruff, who was in the midst of a 2 year struggle with the Quorum of the Twelve to get his choice of George Q. Cannon approved as a member of the 1st Presidency, rejected any statement and affirmed his belief that "The Lord never will give a revelation to abandon plural marriage," noting that "we cannot deny principle." (Edward Leo Lyman, "Political Deliverance. p. 106. and Quinn, "Extensions", p. 48.)

-- December 20, 1996
[U.S. Religious History] Reflecting on his failed lawsuit against Larry Flynt because of the parody Flynt published in the magazine "Hustler," Jerry Falwell stated: "If Larry had been physically able and were not in a wheelchair, there'd have been no lawsuit. I'm a Campbell County, Virginia country boy. I'd just take him outside the barn and whip him and that'd be the end of it."

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gay rights group calls for Mormon Church support

Excerpts from Gay rights group calls for Mormon Church support by JENNIFER DOBNER of the Associated Press

A national civil rights group for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has launched a national letter writing and e-mail campaign calling on the Mormon church to publicly support equality legislation in Utah.

The two-step lobbying effort by the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign began Dec. 12 with a letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese to Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

That was followed this week with an e-mail from HRC board member and Utahn Bruce Bastian asking the 750,000-plus HRC members to contact the church.

In his letter, Solmonese said Monson can lend "credibility and force" to a November church statement that it does not oppose civil unions or some non-marriage legal rights for same sex-couples.

"While we will always be in opposing camps regarding marriage equality under the law, I ask that you now join our community in supporting legislative change in Utah that offer(s) real protections to LGBT citizens and families," Solmonese wrote.

Five bills that propose equal treatment or establish legal protections for the LGBT community are expected to come before the Utah Legislature for consideration during the session that begins in January.

Three of the bills address equity in employment, housing, hospitalization, medical care or probate rights. A fourth would establish a domestic partner registry and a fifth would repeal part of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage.

The church declined comment when the bill proposals were announced last month by the gay rights organization Equality Utah.

In an e-mail Thursday, church spokeswoman Kim Farah also declined to comment on the HRC letter.

Utah has banned gay marriage in its constitution and previous attempts to pass equality legislation have failed.

Since the ]prop 8] vote, Mormon church buildings have been picketed or targeted for vandalism and the church has been denounced by many as bigoted.

Church leaders rejected the label in a postelection day statement posted on its Web site, saying it "does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."

As of Thursday morning, tracking by HRC staff showed nearly 26,000 members had used a link on the organization Web site to send a letter to Monson through several public e-mail addresses listed for the church, HRC spokesman Trevor Thomas said. The group is able to track the number because the e-mails are essentially being sent from HRC's server, he said.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today in Church History - Dec 18

-- 1832 Dec. 18
[Oliver Cowdery] Oliver Cowdery married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, daughter of Peter Whitmer, Sr., in , , MO.

-- 1833 18 December
Joseph Smith Sr. became first patriarch to the Church.

-- 18-Dec 1833
"The Evening and Morning Star" press dedicated and publication resumed until Sep 1834 with Oliver Cowdery managing. Joseph Smith praises Oliver Cowdery at the dedication but says he has "two evils" that he must overcome.

-- about 18 Dec (Wed) 1833
[Joseph Smith] D. P. Hurlbut arrived back in Kirtland and made arrangements to meet with the anti-Mormon "Committe" at the Corning house in Mentor. With or without their permission he scheduled a lecture in the Methodist chapel located a few yeards north of the Temple.

-- December 18, 1833
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith saw Jehovah appear to Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

-- December 18, 1833
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. The elders assembled and Joseph Smith dedicated the printing press. Later he pronounced blessings on his parents and siblings.

-- 1833 18 Dec.
[Joseph Smith]  Joseph Smith offers a blessing-prayer for Book of Mormon witness and "second elder" Oliver Cowdery concerning the "two evils in him that he must needs forsake." This refers to Cowdery's recent transgression of entering into a polygamous or adulterous relationship.

-- 1833, December 18
[Joseph Smith] Joseph Smith Sr. is ordained Patriarch to the Church.

-- 1833 December 18
[Joseph Smith] Joseph Smith Jr., "first elder and first patriarch of the Church" blesses his father, Hyrum, and brothers Samuel, William, and Don Carlos; also Oliver Cowdery, Frederick G. Williams, and Sidney Rigdon. Oliver records the blessings. In his blessing, he and Joseph have fulfilled the biblical Joseph's prophecy that a Seer and his Scribe would be ordained "by the hand of the angel in the bush, unto the lesser priesthood, and after receive the holy priesthood under the hands of those who received it under the hand of the Messiah." Patriarchal blessings, in Authority, 23.
        William Smith
        Everett: Melchizedek Priesthood Restoration

-- 1833 Dec. 18
[Oliver Cowdery] Oliver's brother, Erastus Cowdery, died June 16, 1833 in Youngstown, Trumbull, OH. He was survived by his wife Rebecca and their two daughters. Rebecca Cowdery later lived in Liberty twp., Trumbull, OH. She probably died there c. 1855.

-- 18 Dec (Fri) 1835
[Joseph Smith] Joseph Smith received an apologetic letter from his brother William. No copy of the letter survives other than the printed version, according to its contents, William was unsure of being able to fill the office of an LDS Apostle, but still wished to be a Mormon. [LDS Church History Vol II, pp. 338-339]

-- December 18, 1835
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith received and promptly replied to a letter from his brother William Smith in which William asked forgiveness for his abuse at a debate on December 16.

-- December 18, 1841
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith sent a statement to James Gordon Bennett of the New York Weekly Herald, expressing gratitude for an unbiased publication concerning the Saints.

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Mormon Chronicles / Mormon Issues

Mormon Chronicles / Mormon Issues

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Q-Salt-Lake names Thomas S. Monson "Person of the Year"

Excerpts from "Person of the Year Thomas S. Monson"  written by JoSelle Vanderhooft, for QSaltLake


When new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas S. Monson signed the now-infamous letter urging California Mormons to "do all you can" to support efforts to pass Proposition 8, he could not have anticipated the effect that signature would ultimately have.

Monson's call for his flock's help in passing what gay activists quickly dubbed "Prop H8te" had consequences neither he nor even most gay people could have predicted. Heartened by Barack Obama's presidential victory on the same evening, protesters took to the streets in several U.S. cities singing, waving signs and chanting Obama's ubiquitous campaign slogan, "Yes we can!"

Two such demonstrations even took place in Salt Lake City.

As strange as it may seem, we at QSaltLake believe that Monson and the Mormon Church are somewhat responsible for this resurgence in U.S. gay rights activism now known as "Stonewall 2.0."

As in Monson's case, it has been a lot of good and ill, not just for gays in Utah and California who now have to deal with Proposition 8's aftershocks, but for the Mormon faithful as well.

Because of one ill-advised letter, we may one day look back on Proposition 8 as not only an unfortunate chapter in U.S. history, but a chapter that also allied gay people.. in the ongoing fight for social justice.

Today in Church History - Dec 17

-- December 17, 1835
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. After Orson Hyde read aloud a letter of complaint to the Prophet, Joseph Smith “explained the objections he had set forth in it, and satisfied his mind upon every point, perfectly.”

-- 1835 December 17
[Joseph Smith] I told Elder Cahoon, of the Temple committee, that we must sustain the Twelve, and not let them go down; if we do not, they must go down, for the burden is on them, and is coming on them heavier and heavier. If the Twelve go down, we must go down, and we must sustain them. MS 15, no. 32 (Aug. 6, 1853): 521. A gloss-does not occur in Diary-2.

-- 1835 December 17
[Joseph Smith] Joseph discusses Orson's letter with him "and satisfyed his mind upon every point." Orson Hyde's 1835 Complaint

-- 1835 December 17
[Joseph Smith] Joseph Sr. and Lucy, "sorely afflicted in mind" by the difficulty between Joseph and William, call on Joseph >. He persuades them that "I was not to blame" and invites them to move in with him. They agree. Diary-2, 75.

-- 1838 December 17
[Joseph Smith] In Jefferson City, David H. Redfield presents petition to General Atchison and others, meets with Governor Boggs, urges legislation to right the wrongs inflicted on the Mormons. HC 3:234-235.

-- December 17, 1842
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois, wrote Joseph Smith a letter denying him protection while traveling to and from his court trial.

-- Dec 17,1913
[Utah] Death of Joseph Smith's last surviving plural wife, 03y E. Rollins Lightner. She helped save the still-unbound Book of Commandments from printing office set afire by mob in 1833. She witnessed adoption of 1835 D&C, which prohibited polygamy, and became secret plural wife of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo while still living with her non-Mormon husband.

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chronology of Pre-1999 LDS Involvement in Same-Sex Marriage politics

Chronology of Mormon / LDS Involvement in Same-Sex Marriage Politics

by Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University

  • 1988 - The Church contracts the Hawaii marketing agency, Hill and Knowlton, to monitor and promote the Church's stance on gay issues in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. One function of working through a nonmainland marketing agency was that the name of the Church was separated from the legislative efforts that the firm undertook.

  • Dec 1990 - Three same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses at the Hawaii State Department of Health and are refused. They file suit in a case now known as Baehr v. Miike (originally Baehr v. Lewin).. The Hawaii marriage law does not specify anything about the sex of the parties, because the Hawaii constitution forbids any laws that discriminate by sex. They argue that since the refusal to issue a license was because they are not couples of two sexes, this refusal is sex discrimination under the law. Nota bene: their suit does NOT raise any issue concerning discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Indeed, their sexual orientation is NOT indicated in their suit. So sexual orientation is not technically an issue in the case.

  • Sep 1991 - Circuit court Judge Kevin Klein dismisses the case, and the couples appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

  • Oct 1992 - The Baehr case is heard before the Hawaii Supreme Court.

  • 5 May 1993 - The Hawaii Supreme Court rules that the state's refusal to issue marriage licenses constitutes sex discrimination under Hawaii law. As such, the discrimination may only be practiced if the state can demonstrate a "compelling public interest" in denying marriage to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court returns the case to the circuit court to issue a new decision based on whether such a compelling interest exists.

  • 5 May 1993 - Apostle Boyd K. Packer gives an address at a meeting of the All-Church Coordinating Council and refers to homosexuality as one of the three major social problems that represent a danger to members.

  • 1993 - present - Following this court decision, the Hawaii legislature becomes embroiled in competing measures, including a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions. Generally, none of the proposed actions is successful because the Senate and House are unable to agree on whose version should be accepted. Typically, the House versions are the more conservative.

  • 14 Feb 1994 - The First Presidency issues a statement that reads, in part, "We encourage members to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender."

  • ca Feb 1995 - Brigham Young University President and later Regional Representative Rex E. Lee allowed by LDS headquarters to serve as a legal counsel to aid the state of Colorado in it's defense of its recently passed constitutional amendment forbidding laws which grant civil rights protections based on sexual orientation.

  • 23 Feb 1995 - The Hawaii Public Affairs Council issues a news release under LDS Church letterhead. In it church spokesperson Ms. Napua Baker announced that the Church had decided to petition the court to be admitted as "codefendants" with the state in the Baehr v. Lewin case in order to "protect freedom of religion to solemnize marriages between a man and a woman under Hawaiian law." LDS Regional Representative Donald Hallstrom reinforced the importance of this move by the church, saying "There are times when certain moral issues become so compelling that the churches have a duty to make their feelings known."

  • Feb/Mar 1995 - In the petition which was filed soon after the announcement by the Hawaii Public Affairs Council, the church argued that if same-sex marriage were legalized, (1) it feared that the state would revoke its ministers' licenses to perform marriages, (2) the church would become subject to lawsuits charging discrimination when its ministers refused to perform same-sex marriages, and (3) because the church could help the Attorney General's office to present a more complete case than would otherwise be done, given the limited time and resources available to the AG.

  • Mar 1995 - The Circuit Court of Hawaii rejects the church's petition to become a party to the Baehr case. The judge ruled that the request was without merit, since nothing in the licensing law REQUIRES a minister to perform ANY marriage in behalf of the state, rather it merely PERMITS them to do so when it is in harmony with their religious practice and belief. Any requirement of the kind feared by the LDS church would be a violation of freedom of religion. The judge further pointed out that although the LDS church, like any individual or organization, might be the subject of a frivolous law suit, the grounds stated in the church's petition would be without legal merit and thus, this fear, did not constitute grounds for being considered a party to the case. The church had, in other words, failed to demonstrate that it had any "property" in the issues under consideration. Finally, the church, according to the judge, failed in its petition to demonstrate that its arguments against same-sex merit were ones that had not already been raised by the state. The Church appealed this decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

  • Mar 1995 - Apostle Dallin Oaks begins work on an article on same-sex attraction (personal communication) that will be published in October.

  • 17 Mar 1995 - Utah's LDS governor, Michael Leavitt, signs the country's first DOMA legislation which indicated that the state of Utah recognizes only marriages between persons of different sex, including those that might be performed in other states.

  • early in 1995 - Hawaii Governor John Waihe`e organizes an eleven-member Governor's Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law and specifically includes two LDS and two Roman Catholic members to represent their religions' views.

  • Apr 1995 - Hawaii legislature rewords Revised Statue 572-1 to define marriage in terms of one man and one woman.

  • Sep 1995 - Original Governor's Commission disbanded after the appointment of Mormon and Catholic members was successfully challenged as a violation of the separation of church and state, and a new seven-member commission is set up, using a different procedure.

  • 23 Sep 1995 - The First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles issue a joint "Proclamation on the Family" in which they "solemnly proclaim that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children" and further declare "that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."

  • Oct 1995 - "Same-Gender Attraction" by Apostle Dallin Oaks published in the Ensign. The article makes the point that the concept of "homosexual" or "lesbian" as a kind of person is incompatible with LDS theology. Rather the terms should be reserved for use as adjectives that refer to kinds of behavior.

  • Nov 1995 - General Authority Loren C. Dunn, member of the First Quorum of Seventy and president of the North America West Area, formally appoints a Salt Lake City advertising executive and his wife to do several months of volunteer work for Hawaii's Future Today. This is part of a process in which other families with expertise of use to political action campaigns are being "called" on short-term missions to support the work of Hawaii's Future Today. The date for the first of these "calls" is not clear.

  • 8 Dec 1995 - Report of the Governor's Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law is issued. The 400+ page report concludes that the state of Hawaii has no compelling interest in refusing to recognize same-sex marriages.

  • late Dec 1995 - An announcement is made that Jack Hoag (the Church's lawyer in Hawaii, CEO of First Hawaiian Bank, the President and Chairman of Hawaii Reserves, Inc., and member of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, Manoa) is working on something important, possibly the creation of Hawaii's Future Today (personal communication from Bill Woods, organizer of GLEA (Gay and Lesbian Education and Advocacy) FOUNDATION and the HAWAII MARRIAGE PROJECT that brought together the three couples that initiated the court case in behalf of same-sex marriage.)

  • January 1996 - First press release from Jack Hoag and Debbie Hartmann (chair of Hawaii's Future Today and a staff member of BYU-Hawaii campus and prior member of the Board of Education, currently finishing her PhD in psychology with a focus on gay parenting)concerning legislative issues (personal communication from Bill Woods)

  • 23 Jan 1996 - The Hawaii Supreme Court rejects the church's appeal of the circuit court's denial of the church's petition to become a party to the Baehr case, and the court reiterates the reasons given by the circuit court as valid.

  • 28 Jan 1996 - North America West Area Presidency (Loren C. Dunn, President) sends a letter to be read in all California wards, urging members to express their support for legislation against recognition of same-sex marriages being considered in the state.

  • Feb 1996 - President Hinckley travels to Hawaii and confers with Catholic bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo on plans for a common campaign against same-sex marriage. The meeting takes place on LDS property in Laie on the north shore of Oahu.

  • ca. Feb 1996 - The LDS church instructs its contracted marketing agency in Hawaii, Hill and Knowlton, to develop a plan for setting up a group, now known as Hawaii's Future Today, to serve as the formal lobbying group which will approach the legislature, the courts, and the public on issues regarding same-sex marriage. Hill and Knowlton had been contracted several years earlier by the Church to monitor and promote its efforts in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. It's top heads are now offered "unlimited funds" to develop and conduct the marriage campaign in Hawaii. The marketing agency completes the initial planning and then bows out of further work, fearing potential repercussions from its other clients, who include gay-rights interests. Linda Rosehill, a professional lobbyist and employee of another marketing agency was contracted to carry out the implementation of the original plan. Later, the agency itself disavowed any company connection, although the staff member had worked on the project using company office facilities. The staff person was also the National Committeewoman of the Hawaii Democratic Party. When her role in creating the Church lobbying organization came to light there was a move to find a replacement for her Democratic position. She lost the next election in about a 70-30 split of votes by the convention body. The sole issue in the race was her covert work in creating the lobbying organization, Hawaii's Future Today, an activity which was held to be unethical by her opponents.

  • The costs for setting up Hawaii's Future Today and facilities for its use were provided by the church and by Hawaii Reserves, a property management company that is solely church-owned, and which took over the properties previously managed by Zion's Securities. Hawaii Reserves paid the initial bills from the first marketing agency and the consultant's fees from the Democratic party's National Committeewoman. One of the largest contributors to Hawaii's Future Today is the political action committee Hana Pono (named for the LDS hymn "Do What is Right!") which had been organized by the LDS church on 21 August 1977 to spearhead its anti-ERA political efforts in Hawaii. Hana Pono contributes $1,869.95 during first year's efforts.

  • Once organized, Hawaii's Future Today, under the direction of Jack Hoag and Debbie Hartman, began its public advocacy of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and of a constitutional convention to write this same ban into the Hawaii state constitution. (Currently the Hawaii constitution bans ANY law that uses sex as a distinction. This is why the marriage law does not specify anything about the sex of applicants for marriage licenses.) It also files amicus curiae briefs along side the LDS church in the court cases that follow, a bit odd, since both groups make the same points in their briefs.

  • After Jack Hoag's LDS connection is highlighted in the media, he is replaced as President of Church-owned Hawaii Reserves. The new President is Dan Ditto, the Church's lawyer who supervised the marketing agency's work in planning the establishment of Hawaii's Future Today. Reports about the activities of Hawaii's Future Today in LDS affiliated newspapers, such as Garden Island, avoid mentioning the organization's LDS origins and affiliation, so this change was perhaps to help perpetuate the image of Hawaii's Future Today as a grass-roots movement.

  • HFT reports receiving $31,000 in donations prior to 11 May 1996. Of this, one donation is in the amount of $29,000. There is a $1,000 donation cap on moneys received by political-action groups in Hawaii, so this donation would be problematic if HFT is defined as a political-action organization.

  • 16 Feb 1996 - Rex E. Lee, issues a position paper arguing for the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex partners.

  • 9 May 1996 - Hawaii's Future Today places political ads in Hawaii's two daily newspapers at a cost of over $1,000. Representative Terrance Thom, supported in these ads, wins his reelection by 54 votes. The Senate Judiciary Chair who opposed this group's political position and was opposed by the ad lost his re-election bid.

  • 21 May 1996 - Hawaii's Campaign Spending Commission mails a complaint to Hawaii's Future Today that indicates that the ads are in violations of Hawaii's regulations governing spending in political campaigns, indicates the fines for such a violation and explains that Hawaii's Future Today must file the required papers to register as a political-action committee. Follow-up letters dated 20 Jun repeats the information about the complaint. Hawaii's Future Today does not respond by registering as a political-action organization, but asserts that it does not plan to involve itself in lobbying or campaigning for candidates.

  • Jun 1966 - LDS headquarters acknowledges that it has been "calling" married couples with political action and advertising expertise on short-term missions to aid the work of Hawaii's Future Today.

  • 9 May thru 11 Jul period - Jack Hoag, co-Chair of HFT, made several public statements stating that HFT would be endorsing and backing political candidates.

  • 11 Jul 1996 - The Campaign Spending Commission sends another follow-up letter to Hawaii's Future Today about the complaint concerning its 9 May ads. It indicates that because it understands that it believed that Hawaii's Future Today "did not intend, nor plan to engage in any activity as" such a political organization it would not require their registration as a political organization.

  • Aug/Sep 1996 - The church and Hawaii's Future Today submit amicus curiae briefs to Judge Chang of the Circuit Court of Hawaii in the Baehr case making the same appeals against same-sex marriage. Both argue that "traditional marriage" is in itself a compelling state interest that justifies sex discrimination in marriage, an argument that had been explicitly rejected by the Hawaii Supreme Court earlier.

  • About this time, Jack Hoag and Mike Gabbard, LDS chair of Alliance for Traditional Marriage, cooperate to form a PAC called Save Traditional Marriage-'98 to lobby against same-sex marriage. Hawaii's Future Today donates $1,000 to Save Traditional Marriage-'98. Several principals of HFT also make personal donations. STM-'98 also receives a $200 donation from the Australian Consulate, a violation of Hawaii law that forbids accepting contributions from foreign countries. Linda Rosehill, the lawyer who set up HFT, becomes the coordinator of contribution efforts for STM-'98.

  • Sep 1996 - Baehr trial begins in Circuit Court of Hawaii, Judge Kevin Chang presiding. The trial lasts two weeks.

  • Dr. Richard Williams, a Professor of Psychology from Brigham Young University testifies as an expert witness for the state. Having examined 20-30 research studies of children reared by gay and lesbian parents, he critiques nine of them for having methodological flaws. He also testifies that he is generally skeptical of the social and behavioral sciences as valid sources of information about human families, that social science (including psychology) is so flawed that no fix, reconciliation or overhaul can correct it, that he doubts the ultimate value of psychology and other social sciences, and that he believes that there is no scientific proof that evolution occurred. He also admits that his own critique of studies regarding gay and lesbian parenting is a minority position.

  • 24 Oct 1996 - Hawaii's Future Today sends out a letter soliciting its members to participate in Save Traditional Marriage-'98's Steve Covey seminar dinners.

  • 5 Nov 1996 - Hawaiians vote on a measure to call a constitutional convention for the state. The vote is 163,869 in favor of the convention, and 160,153 opposed, with 45,295 ballots being blank and 90 marked both as in favor and as opposed. On advise of the Attorney General, election controller Duayne Yoshina declares the convention mandated, but the count is challenged by the AFL-CIO in a lawsuit filed on 25 November.

  • 03 Dec 1996 - Judge Chang of the Circuit Court of Hawaii finds in favor of the same-sex plaintiffs. Judge Chang explicitly rejects the "expert" testimony of Dr. Williams, saying that his testimony "is not persuasive or believable because of his expressed bias against the social sciences" and that his own testimony therefore impeached his credibility as an expert witness concerning social science. Judge Chang concludes that since the state has failed to demonstrate a compelling interest in denying marriage to same-sex couples, the plaintiffs prevail. The case is immediately appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

  • Jan 1997 - North America Northwest Area Presidency (Glenn L. Pace, William Kerr, and C. Scott Grow) send a letter to be read in all Washington state wards, urging members to express their support to government leaders for legislation against the recognition of same-sex marriages being considered in the state. The letter uses the same boilerplate as the 28 Jan 1996 letter mailed in California, indicating coordination of the action from a higher level than the Area Presidencies.

  • 21 Jan 1997 - Debbie Hartmann, chair of Hawaii's Future Today testifies before the House committee in support of a constitutional amendment permitting the legislature to limit marriage to "one man and one woman". Her testimony includes the following remarks concerning HB 118 (which would establish domestic partnerships for non-heterosexually married partners): "With respect to HB118, which would provide certain benefits to unmarried couples, as also noted in our testimony, while we do not support any type of legislation that would undermine the special relationship of marriage between one man and one woman, certain elements of the bill are acceptable. We support the type of humanitarian benefits the bill addresses and the fact that it applies to all people."

  • 3 Feb 1997 - Debbie Hartmann testifies before the Senate committee in support of the constitutional amendment and repeats HFT's qualified support for the Reciprocal Beneficiaries bill (HB 118). The Reciprocal Beneficiaries bill and the constitutional amendment are both passed by the legislature on the same day. It's final wording is, "The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples". This amendment must be ratified by a majority vote of the citizens in the next general election in November of 1997.

  • 7 Mar 1997 - President Gordon B. Hinckley formally discloses in a newspaper interview published in the LA Times that the church had made a commitment at the top levels to play an active role in the same-sex marriage issue: "`We're engaged right now in the same-sex marriage problem in legislation in Hawaii,' Hinckley said. `We just made a decision today concerning the filing of a brief in that case. That's spreading around the country now pretty largely and we've become rather actively involved in that kind of thing,' he said" (LA Times, 7 March 1997, Page B-1).

  • 24 Mar 1997 - In a decision written by Judge C.J. Moon, the Hawaii Supreme Court decides that a vote held during the preceding general election on whether to hold a constitutional convention failed to secure enough yes votes, since the Hawaii constitution requires the majority on any constitutional question to be the majority of all ballots cast, not just of all marked ballots. This decision is challenged by convention supporters in the federal courts.

  • 3 Apr 1997 - It is reported by the media that Jack Hoag and Debbie Hartmann have been telling legislators that they will implicitly accept domestic partnership legislation in order to prevent same-sex marriage from becoming legal.

  • 16 Apr 1997 - Debbie Hartmann states HFT's support for Gay family health insurance to legislators and reporters.

  • 16 Apr 1997 - Hawaii legislature passes an amendment to the Hawaii constitution that reads "The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples". This amendment requires ratification by a vote of the people. The vote is scheduled for the following general election, in November of 1998.

  • 28 Apr 1997 - Reciprocal Beneficiaries bill passed and will take effect 1 July 1997. The revised version of the bill which was passed has been expanded to include all domestic partners who may not legally marry (eg., a widowed woman and her co-resident son, a brother and sister, or two persons of the same sex).

  • Jun 1997 - Consistent with their prior qualified acceptance of HB 118, Hawaii's Future Today does NOT lobby for a veto of the Reciprocal Beneficiaries Bill.

  • ca 1 Jun 1997 - Duane D. Feekin, President and CEO of Bank of Hawaii, writes to Governor Cayetano requesting a veto of HB 118 because of its "flawed language that will create much confusion and mistrust within our communities", its early effective date (1 July 1997) "which does not allow for adequate research to fully understand the impact on the many sectors which make up the Hawaii community", and "the full [economic] impact of this Bill has yet to be determined." The financial impact concern is due to the fact that the bill has been expanded to cover more than the small number of same-sex couples that the bill was originally aimed at. Feekin's letter is written in his role as chair of the Hawaii Business Health Council and the letterhead lists thirty prominent businesses (mostly tourist-related) as members. The council is not listed in the telephone directory or registered with the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii or Small Business Hawaii, raising the suspicion that the council was formed to create the appearance of business opposition to the Reciprocal Beneficiaries legislation by an organization other than First Hawaiian Bank, the actual initiator of the letter (a charge made by an unidentified bank officer to Bill Woods.). Jack Hoag, cochair of HFT, is a member of the Board of the First Hawaiian Bank and its previous CEO.

  • 10 Jun 1997 - ITT Sheraton's Hawaii Region announces that it is terminating its membership in the Hawaii Business Health Council because it (1) was unaware of the letter to the Governor of Hawaii or the organization's position regarding reciprocal benefits and the same-sex marriage legislation, (2) was not advised or consulted on the matter addressed in the letter, and (3) had not seen the letter.

  • 23 June 1997 - Deadline for veto of Reciprocal Beneficiaries. Governor Cayetano allows the bill to become law without his signature in protest over its expansion to include couples other than committed gays and lesbians.

  • 1 July 1997 - Reciprocal Beneficiaries law goes into effect. Application forms are distributed by Governor's office.

  • 10 Jul 1997 - U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra orders Hawaii to hold a new vote on holding a constitutional convention. He finds that the U.S. constitutional guarantee that citizens have the right to know the effect of their vote has been violated because election judges had informed voters that unmarked ballots would not be counted in determining whether the majority of votes favored a convention. Judge Ezra orders the new vote to be held by 6 December 1997, which would result in a convention being held in June of 1998 if the measure passes.

  • 20 Jul 1997 - Hawaii's Future Today's chair, Debbie Hartmann, asserts that "The organization has always supported rights for homosexuals in areas traditionally covered by civil rights--equal access to employment, housing, and public services such as transportation. The issue of marriage, however, is something completely different." (Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii).

  • Unknown at this time Hawaii Supreme Court is expected to take up the state's appeal of the Circuit Court decision in the Baehr case. If this occurs and the Court upholds Judge Chang's decision, same-sex marriages will become legal in Hawaii.

  • by 6 Dec 1997 - Date set by Judge Ezra for vote on the holding of a constitutional convention. If passed, this convention would be held in June of 1998 and would likely alter the state constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

  • 14 May 1998 - W.E. Woods reports that Save Traditional Marriage-'98's report to the Hawaii Ethics Commission indicated donations from the following LDS sources: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ($4,225), POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER ($1,025), BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY - HAWAII ($1,200); HAWAII'S RESERVE, INC. [the LDS Church-owned land management corporation] ($1,000); and LAIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION [an appointed unit of HAWAII RESERVES, INC] ($1,000)). This does not include officers of said organizations which are also to be calculated in aggregate amounts - JACK HOAG, Chair of HAWAII RESERVES, INC. contributor of $400 and DEBI HARTMANN, BYU-HAWAII $400; GEORGE SHEA $200 (all known to be directly linked to these organizations). Total of $5,225 does not include others who may also be connected such as family members, staff and other personnel of Mormon owned or controlled entities.

  • abt Jun 1998 - Debi Hartman, co-chair of HFT becomes a candidate for the Hawaii Senate. Her campaign manager is Linda Rosehill.

  • 5 Nov 1998 - Voters will cast ballots on the constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to limit marriage to "opposite-sex marriage". If ratified, same-sex marriages may still be performed until the legislature imposes such a limitation, a limitation that the Senate is not likely to support.

Today in Church History - Dec 16

--1833 16 Dec.
Joseph Smith announces a revelation that "it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another." This guarantees five more years of conflict between Mormon settlers and their neighbors in various counties of Missouri.

--1833 December 16
D&C 101 (Kirtland): The Lord's sword will fall in behalf of his people. The people are not to sell their property in Jackson.

--16-Dec 1833
Joseph Smith reveals revelation to attack enemies.

--December 16, 1833
[Joseph Smith] Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith received Doctrine & Covenants 101, a revelation concerning the Saints’ afflictions in Jackson and Van Buren Counties in Missouri.

--16 Dec (Wed) 1835
At about this time, Orson Hyde (who had been disfellowshipped on Aug. 4) was fully reconciled with Joseph Smith. [LDS Church History Vol II, p. 337]

--16 Dec (Wed) 1835
William Smith resumed his semi-public debate with Joseph Smith, Jr. at their parents' home in Kirtland. Following its conclusion, William wished to carry on the controversy It seems that Joseph did not wish to continue the debate and was seriously beaten by William Smith -- so much so that he was "unwell" the next day. It was probably at this time that William threatened to expose the true origin of the Book of Mormon. [LDS Church History Vol II, pp. 334-335; cf. Frost statement]

--1835 December 16
Elder McLellin Elder B. Young and Elder J. Carter called and paid me a visit, with which I was much gratified. I exibited and explaind the Egyptian Records to them, and explained many things to them concerning the dealings of God with the ancients and the formation of the planetary system, they seemed much pleased with the interview. Diary-2, 69.

Original: McLellen

Joseph attends the debating school at William Smith's and apparently counsels the debates should end "fearing that it would not result in good." William insists on continuing and becomes "enraged" and "used violence upon my person," Jared Carter, and others >. Debating School Incident, 1835-1836

--1838 December 16
Joseph writes letter of encouragement to the church, condemning apostates and turncoats, denying charges leveled against him, and admonishing the Saints to remain steadfast and faithful. HC 3:226-233.

--December 16, 1838
[Joseph Smith] Liberty, Missouri. Joseph Smith wrote a letter of comfort to the Saints from Liberty Jail.

--16 Dec (Wed) 1840
The Illinois Legislature granted charters for the City of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion, and the University of the City of Nauvoo.

--1840 16 Dec.
The governor of Illinois signs the Nauvoo charter which Joseph Smith uses to make the Mormon capital an independent theocracy. Abraham Lincoln votes for the charter, even though Nauvoo's Mormons had voted as a bloc against him in the previous election.

--1840 16 December
Nauvoo Charter signed by Illinois governor Thomas Carlin.

--16-Dec 1840
Illinois grants charter for City of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion, and University of the City of Nauvoo.

--December 16, 1840
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. The city of Nauvoo was granted its charter from the state of Illinois, making it an official city with various government rights and protections.

--1843 16 Dec.
The Nauvoo City Council hears Joseph Smith say: "I prophecy by virtue of the Holy Priesthood vested in me [and] in the name of Jesus Christ that if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them. There shall nothing be left of them, not even a grease spot." Congress ignores the petition.

--December 16, 1843
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith signed a “Memorial to Congress for redress of losses and grievances in Missouri” and prophesied that if Congress would not hear the petition, the administration in power would be broken up.

/Mormon Church History Chronology/

Monday, December 15, 2008

Timeline: LDS involvement in Prop 8

A timeline of Church efforts towards passing Proposition 8, posted on Pam's House Blend.


March 1997: Leaked memo provides insight into the late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley's strategy for opposing same-sex marriage. It describes a meeting in which Hinckley gives the go ahead, but urged caution. According to the memo, "he (President Hinckley) also said the (LDS) Church should be in a coalition and not out front by itself." Also names Dick Wirthlin, who is related to Massachusetts couple in Prop 8 ads, as strategist.

October 1998: Of the $600,000 used to try to ban gay marriage in Alaska, $500,000 came from one big lump sum donation from the Mormon Church. It seems that they learned that they should have their members give the money in the future to avoid criticism.

September 2007: Mitt Romney, in an interview with Christianity Today, describes an earlier 2007 Salt Lake City meeting between Jerry Falwell and Gordon B. Hinckley to discuss their cooperation on a campaign against same-sex marriage in California.

February 2008: Mormon-supported National Organization for Marriage (NOM) makes their first reported payment to Bader & Associates, the signature-gathering firm hired to help get Prop 8 on the ballot. Due to its sizable early financial support of ProtectMarriage, NOM is chiefly responsible for the qualification of Proposition 8. Matthew Holland, son of LDS Apostle and former BYU president Jeffrey R. Holland, is on the board of directors. There are many Mormon donors to NOM that have not been identified because the focus has been on the ProtectMarriage committee.

May/June: The New York Times reports about this time in retrospect: "First approached by the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco a few weeks after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, the Mormons were the last major religious group to join the campaign, and the final spice in an unusual stew that included Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties."

June 29: A highly unusual letter from Mormon leadership was read from the pulpits in California (although it was leaked and posted on websites several days prior). It stated in part: "We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman." To most Mormons, a call such as this from their Prophet is the same as being called of God.

July 1: A letter later reports some of Mormon efforts during the coming month. "Congregations of LDS all having been taught the doctrine in July so that they may see the importance of fundraising and grassroots participation. Some Stakes have called all Stake Council and wives as well as several folks who may be able to contribute not on the Council. The Stake President, in that Cottage Meeting, has asked for their support. A great part of a fund raising effort, accomplished in one night."

July 7: Mormon Gary Lawrence, the California "LDS Grassroots Director" for Prop 8 and father of a gay son, writes in the online LDS oriented Meridian Magazine and compares opponents of Proposition 8 to those who sided with Lucifer against Jesus in a pre-mortal battle that is part of Mormon doctrine. His son later resigns from the church.

July 27: Top Mormon leaders participate in a meeting with "eight Area Directors in Northern California. These are amazingly powerful people. The Area folks represent the grassroots effort for the passage of the Proposition and their responsibility overlays each Coordinating Council. This was a great and powerful meeting. I assure you that the LDS folks who work closely with or who are on the Board directly of the coalition are very impressive and politically experienced folks." (ref)

July 28: Letter sent out to Mormon Stake (regional) Presidents to explain the structure they would be operating under along with other information that arose out of the previous day leadership meeting. "The Brethren have felt that the best way to organize and pass the Proposition is to have an Ecclesiastical arm and a Grassroots arm to organization." (See the letter here)

July 30: Member of LDS church states on blog, "I simply can't bear another Sunday of political announcements, talks, and constant references to the proposition in Relief Society lessons."

July 31: A few Mormon church members around the Internet have been wondering how "worthy" they would be if they don't fall into line.

August 1: "All Regional Directors have been called and contacted by Area Directors for training." (ref)

August 3: "Training of Regional Directors commences by the Area Directors." (ref)

August 6: is registered and a site is launched by Mormon Kenny McNett where he teaches young Mormons how to spam blogs. He later is featured in videos produced by the Mormon church and the church is later accused of not reporting contributions such as these production and video distribution efforts.

August 7: Local Mormon leaders continue soliciting donations. A Mormon blogger on reports that the previous night he had a call from his Stake President, a high level regional Mormon leader over multiple local congregations. "We knew it was going to be about California's Proposition 8 - that's all the stake's been talking about for the past month." The leader asked "about making a contribution- a rather sizable contribution. He already had a figure in mind." The blogger made the donation the next morning, and an hour later their realtor called to say that they got the dream house they had made an offer on. The blogger called this "an amazing testimony of obedience" in his post.

August 8: Sophia comments on (see Aug 7): "My father in law is a bishop in Southern CA. For those of you who want to know how much a family is expected to give to Prop 8 in his stake, it's $1000. A rich ward is expected to be able to come up with about $150,000 for Prop 8."

August 8: Tim says on nine-moons: "I think the majority are in line with the prophets and apostles on this one. Those who hold temple recommends have acknowledged that they support the general and local authorities of the church. Like me, they will be walking neighborhoods asking others what they think and sharing information."

August 9: An article written by Glen Greener, a Mormon with a controversial past ("citygate") in Salt Lake City government, and posted to the Mormon oriented Meridian Magazine website, claimed nine consequences if proposition 8 fails. The questionable claims in the writing are soon edited and distributed by Mormons in the campaign.

August 10: "Zip Code Supervisors are in place and are to be trained by Regional Directors." (ref)

August 16: If there is one thing that Mormons are known for, it's knocking on doors. "The First of three Saturday precinct walks are to be held under the direction of the Regional Directors." (ref) Jeff Flint, a strategist with Protect Marriage, spoke about this period after the campaign, estimating that Mormons made up 80 percent to 90 percent of the early volunteers who walked door-to-door in election precincts.

August 17: A somewhat mysterious and hard to decipher group called the Eagle Foundation joins the Prop 8 forces. It apparently is the evolution of the Eagle PAC which was formed to get Mormons financially involved in politics. One of the main players in Eagle, Bart Marcois, founded and chaired the RNC Advisory Council on LDS Outreach, and was responsible for massive volunteer surge team deployments nationwide in the 2004 and 2006 campaign cycles. He apparently used his talent for grass-root Mormon organizing for the Prop 8 campaign. The Prop 8 campaign reportedly paid Eagle $130,000 in October.

August 19: The controversial authors name is stripped from "nine consequences" and an anonymous document, called "Six Consequences if Prop. 8 Fails" begins circulating the internet, mostly on Mormon-related blogs. The document was filled with dishonest claims that are later rebutted for the few who would listen. Some blogs reference that it was provided by Mormon Gary Lawrence, the California "LDS Grassroots Director" for Prop 8 (see July 7). "Six Consequences" also starts to become widely available within Mormon congregations and as handouts during canvassing.

August 23: The second Saturday of walking and canvassing occurs in precincts. The 'six consequences' are mentioned in the news reports that followed - the LDS canvassers were carrying copies of the questionable "Six Consequences" with them door-to-door.

August 27: is registered by a private individual and launches as a clearinghouse for information about tracking the exploding Mormon contributions for Prop 8.

September 1: Sometime in September, Sonja Eddings Brown, a Mormon, is hired by ProtectMarriage and becomes the chief spokesperson for the campaign. According to a bio provided on her husbands website, "Sonja has served as a news media specialist for the Church in Southern California, but is now on leave from that assignment." On a side note, a student who came to know her some time ago found her to be rather unpleasant.

September 4: Fundraising calls by top church officials to high profile Mormons were already underway, according to the former president of Clorox in a Wall Street Journal story. He was invited to participate in a conference call of 40 to 60 potential donors, led by a high church official, known as a member of the Quorum of Seventy, where he was asked to make a $25,000 donation. The donation was recorded on September 4. The call likely occurred between this date and August 21, when his unsolicited donation of $3,000 was recorded.

September 7: Continued reports of much Prop 8 activity in Mormon churches. A blog reports that members were getting up to speak about it in testimony meeting, which is the type of church service held the first Sunday of the month. Someone comments on the blog, "It is mentioned in every meeting, donation sheets are passed around in RS and there are pleas for donations and volunteers in the announcements as well as impromptu testimonies during classes. It is EVERYWHERE!!!!"

September 11: Mormon leadership issues letter to be read in all congregations in the U.S. stating the church "affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues."

September 11: Mormon Bishop, at the direction of higher authorities, visits home of a church member who set up a website opposing the church position on Prop 8, and asks for resignation before threatening excommunication.

September 15: reports: "As of 5:00 PM PST, Sept 15, 35% of all donors to are identified as Mormons, and their total contributions make up 29% of the total money donated. The percentages are growing everyday. Please help out by checking the list to see if you can identify any other Mormon donors."

September 20: The Wall Street Journal reports in an article: "The Mormon Church encouraged its members to send their donations to a separate post-office box set up by a church member, said Messrs. Schubert and L. Whitney Clayton, a senior Mormon Church official involved in the campaign. Mr. Clayton said the church didn't keep track of how much individual Mormons donated, just the cumulative total. He said members bundled the donations and forwarded them to the campaign."

September 20: Wall Street Journal also reported, "The tally of Mormon contributions was provided by Frank Schubert, campaign manager for - Yes on 8, the initiative's primary backer. A finance-tracking group corroborated Mormon fund-raising dominance, saying it could exceed 40%."

September 22: Plans for "One million signs will be put up in yards around the state at 7:00am" (ref) did not come through. Apparently the Yes on 8 folks didn't buy American. An email from Gina Downey, the producer of a cult hit Mormon film GODS ARMY said: "The YES on Prop 8 yard signs have been delayed in route from China."

September 23: LDS Church Prop 8 campaign strategy "update" memo surfaces at WikiLeaks.

September 28: reports that Mormon donations make up the largest group of donors to Prop 8 at 40.4% of contributions.

September 29: ProtectMarriage runs first television ad with Mormon professor from Pepperdine University making false claims that teaching gay marriage in schools was a certainty, causing problems for the school in the process. The campaign later continues using the Pepperdine name despite objections from the school.

September 30: According to data filed with the secretary of state's office,, the main group backing Prop 8, had raised about $25.4 million. No on 8, Equality for All - the main group opposing the measure - had raised almost $15.8 million. Yes on 8 was flush with a cash balance of about $12.8 million, due by large measure to Mormon contributions, while No on 8 had approximately $1.8 million.

October 1: Mormon church registers the domain and launches a site with material to support the campaign. Questions are later raised questioning if the church reported non-monetary contributions such as this to the State of California, leading to an official investigation.

October 6: Mormon blogs about "zealousness" about Prop 8 within Mormon congregations and says "many bishops and other Mormons have circulated the document 'Six Consequences if Proposition 8 fails'" and expresses distress about the honesty of the claims.

October 7: "Ryan" who lives in Utah posts comment to blog and states he was in a propaganda video shot by the Mormon church with LDS leader Elder Bednar. He also says, "I live in Utah (though I'm from California) and the church has asked my stake to have 250 member ready to man a call center on the subject."

October 8: Top Mormon leaders made a televised satellite broadcast appeal to church members (view the transcript) to step up their already considerable efforts. They asked for 30 members from each California congregation to donate four hours per week to the campaign. They also called on young married couples and single Mormons to use the Internet, text messaging, blogging and other forms of computer technology to help pass the initiative, saying the church has created a new Web site with materials they can download and post on their own social networking sites.

October 8: The Associated Press reported that "Mormons Recruit Out-of-State for Gay Marriage Ban. Mormons living outside California have been asked to volunteer for a telephone campaign to help pass a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in the state."

October 8: No on 8 makes plea for $10 million in donations saying "our lead is gone" in an attempt to recover ground due in no small part to massive giving by Mormons.

October 12: Mormons distributing Yes on 8 signs from at least one church parking lot to cars leaving Sunday church services.

October 12: Mormon Jyl Holiday makes comment on blog that in her congregation "they have us knocking doors to warn people about it. Calling like telemarketers, and EVERY talk is about Prop 8, every RS, priesthood class is based around the proposition, it is starting to deter members from even going to church. I TOTALLY see why the general presidency is asking for us to fight here in CA, but some of the members feel that it is just too much of shoving down the throught for them to handle."

October 13: Sacramento Bee reports "[Mormon] Church members have donated about 40 percent of the $22.8 million raised to pass the initiative since July, according to Frank Schubert, campaign manager for, the primary backer of the "yes" campaign." Some have said that this article, and the Mormon couple interviewed, was a "wake up call" to the No on 8 campaign about the depth of individual Mormon participation.

October 13: Idaho television reports about organizing by the Mormon church in their area to operate phone banks to reach California voters.

October 14: had raised just over $26 million, according to new data filed with the secretary of state's office.

October 17: ProtectMarriage started running new ads starring a Mormon power couple, the Wirthlins, with a famous name and high ranking relatives in the Mormon church (which is not discovered by the public until later, including that one was a church strategist in their battle against same sex marriage). Their story, one of the most powerful scare tactics used in the Prop 8 campaign, is later reported on with their credibility called into question by some neighbors who suspect they went looking for this battle.

October 21: Lowell Brown, husband of the "yes" side's public spokesperson Sonja Eddings Brown, and himself an "Area Director" for the campaign, says on his blog that numbers for Mormon contributions are LOW. "I see lots of individuals on the list whom I know to be members of the Church, but who haven't been identified yet."

October 22: Around this time, ProtectMarriage sends blacklist threat letters to No on 8 supporters, which is defended by Mormon Sonja Eddings Brown, spokesperson for Protect Marriage, and is later talked about on Dr. Phil.

October 22: A Mormon blogger reports, "the Church has added even more resources to its new website, which has a sleek resign that's a little less conspicuously LDS, though still with the Church logo emblazoned at the bottom."

October 24: Sonja Eddings Brown on Bill O'Reilly. Says, "Since the dawn of time and through many current studies, we know that children do best when they come from a low-conflict home with a mother and a father." Such claims, uttered over and over during the campaign, outrage many authors of the studies because they do not apply to families with same sex parents.

October 24: Salt Lake Tribune: "LDS leaders have tapped every resource, including the church's built-in phone trees, e-mail lists and members' willingness to volunteer and donate money. Many California members consider it a directive from God and have pressured others to participate. Some leaders and members see it as a test of faith and loyalty. Those who disagree with the campaign say they feel unwelcome in wards that have divided along political lines. Some are avoiding services until after the election; others have reluctantly resigned. Even some who favor the ballot measure are troubled by their church's zeal in the matter."

October 24: Salt Lake Tribune states "literature written by Proposition 8 proponents is freely distributed in Mormon wards, giving the impression the church approves it, but much of it is "misinformation," said Morris Thurston, an LDS attorney in Orange County. Thurston has circulated a point-by-point refutation to an anonymously authored document that has been widely disseminated by Mormons, "Six Consequences . . . If Proposition 8 Fails." Thurston argues that most of its arguments are either untrue or misleading."

October 24: A blogger states, "There seems to be a disconnect between that straightforward counsel being given by senior LDS leaders and the reality of what is happening on the ground in California."

October 25: Media reporting that due to criticism, the LDS church pulls the plug on out of state phone banks.

October 28: Prop 8 announces $1 million matching donation by Mormon Alan Ashton, grandson of David O. McKay, President of the Mormon Church from 1951-1970.

November 2: Mormons end services with "keys of the priesthood" prayer for the passage of Prop 8, an extremely unusual act that causes some controversy in congregations.

FINAL TALLY: Mormons are believed to have contributed anywhere from 40% to 77% of the money for Prop 8.