Gary Lawrence: Familiarity breeds contempt (for Mormons)
Gary Lawrence, director of Proposition 8’s Mormon grassroots effort.
The Brethren [the top echelon of Mormon leadership] have felt that the best way to organize and pass the Proposition is to have an Ecclesiastical arm and a Grassroots arm to the organization … The senior folks who run the grassroots are LDS at the coalition and are headed by Glen Greener and Gary Lawrence.
Here’s Gary, back in August, firing up his Mormon brigades …
Why Mormons Are In This Fight:
If same-sex marriage advocates [win], the whole structure collapses — the family, the nation, and in time civilization itself. The time has come for those of us who believe that God, not man, created marriage … to take a stand and defend it.
Here’s Gary again from the summer, this time calling on Mormons from across the land to join the battle …
How Mormons Are Going To Win:
While we … are mobilizing thousands to walk precincts, you can help us from the comfort of your homes … if you live in the Eastern or Central time zones, you can use free late-evening minutes on weekdays to call when Californians have just finished dinner.
And how is Gary celebrating his victory? By promoting his latest book, of course:
How Americans View Mormonism (Seven Steps To Improve Our Image)
Here’s the author taking his turn on KSL5 TV:
My favorite piece of advice from Dr. Lawrence to his fellow Mormons: “Just be yourself.”
Perhaps the good doctor might consider that “being yourself” is a poor prescription for winning friends when “who you are” is someone willing to lead a campaign to strip your own child of his civil rights. Meet Matthew Lawrence:
“Matthew is gay and is the son of Gary Lawrence, 67, who is the “State LDS Grassroots Director” for the state of California.”
It’s absolutely mystifying that Gary can believe that his efforts are “pro-family” when they’ve caused a breakdown in relationships in his own family. It’s right up there with his astonishing belief that he’s got a good strategy for improving Mormonism’s image. He just doesn’t get it, though his own comments (from the KSL interview) should have provided him with a clue:
“Thirty-seven percent of all Americans do not know a Mormon, and 55 percent of all Americans do not know an active Mormon. In fact, those who know one Mormon have a worse opinion of us than those who don’t know any Mormons.“
Gary, if you were the only Mormon I knew, and if I thought for a second that all Mormons were just like you, you can bet I’d have a pretty low opinion of Mormonism.
Considering how your own research indicates that the more people get to know you, the less they like you, how can your writing another book about Mormons (not to mention your going on the teevee to promote it) be viewed as anything other than a boneheaded move? Your own findings would seem to suggest that your brand of publicity — and advice from Mormon PR flacks like you — are a big part of the problem.
Here’s my advice, Gary: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Why not climb out of that hole, use some of the $212,463 that the Prop 8 campaign has so far paid you and Lawrence Research, and take the entire family on a nice vacation somewhere?
Your loved ones might appreciate that, and it would free up the airwaves for all those decent Mormons out there who we need to be hearing from … and who are the only hope Mormonism’s got for repairing the damage you’ve done.
Here’s what your image-enhancing strategies have done so far, Gary:
Jan Shipps: A “Perfect Storm” of Bad PR for Mormon Church
Aravosis v. Utah
And you still want to do more?
I followed the link to his book’s website — it’s kind of interesting. It looks like about one article’s worth of data and research, spread out over the pages of a glossy postum-table book.
This sample page is particularly interesting (it’s the one with the graphs about how people’s impression of Mormons vaires with the number of Mormons they know). Lawrence indicates that people who know only one Mormon are more likely to know an inactive Mormon than an active Mormon (since active Mormons tend to socialize among themselves). You might think that inactive Mormons might actually make a more favorable impression: in Lawrence’s own example, a non-member reports liking his beer-swilling jack-Mormon friend. But the less-faithful Mormons are also more likely to tell friends how the Proposition 8 efforts have torn apart their own families (as they did for Gary Lawrence’s family), which probably doesn’t help Mormonism’s overall image…
As a follow-up, I’ve uploaded Gary’s answers to four questions about Prop 8 that were posed after a talk he gave recently at the U. of U.’s Hinckley Institute.