LDS Public Affairs false flag op?

Public Relations

The latest from Utah’s ABC4:

Mormon church documents headed to Prop 8 trial:

“ABC 4 News is … being told that copies of these documents were sent by special courier to the [San Francisco] City Attorney’s office [co-counsel in the California federal case] and they were sent in just the last few days.”

And now the latest from California’s CBS13:

With federal Prop 8 trial under way, cue Mormon PR stunts:

OK, admittedly, that’s not the headline that CBS13 used for this story. But just maybe it should’ve been.

Aaron Call is the Mormon kid in the clip. Here’s his brother:

“If one group can claim racism, or sexual discrimination, then another can claim religious discrimination.

Case in point, the story of Rebekah Rice (my wife’s cousin). She was being teased in class when one of her classmates found out she is Mormon.

They said: ‘So, how many moms do you have?’

Her response: ‘That’s so gay.’

Guess who got punished?”

Whiners with an ax to grind.

Vandalism is wrong and should always be condemned, but I’m calling false flag PR op. Anybody from LDS Public Affairs wanna step up and deny it? Sonja? Bart? Glen? Kim?

x-posted from: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/1/13/824678/-Mormon-false-flag-PR-op

35 thoughts on “LDS Public Affairs false flag op?

  1. I’m not taking sides in the Prop 8 thing Chino.

    But calling the victim a “whiner” is almost always the prime mark of a bully.

    They all think the victim is being hyper-sensitive. That’s why they are bullies. Because they don’t get it.

  2. And here I am. Glad to be back.

    What I saw in that quoted anecdote was the repetition of a maddening Mormon-vs-Gay Oppression Olympics/zero-sum gamesmanship that I then, unfortunately, parroted in my line of commentary.

    My beef is not with those kids. It’s with those who’re using them to amp up the Ressentiment in a target audience.

  3. Everyone is jockeying for position. I’ll agree with you there.

    But that doesn’t mean Mormons don’t legitimately get a lot of crap from people. I’ve been incredibly depressed by the sheer hatred I’ve been encountering online in the past year.

    If I had a nickle for every time I read someone spell our denomination “morons” or had a crack about “magic underpants” or been told that Mormons are all too stupid to be allowed to vote…

    Usually with tons of expletives thrown in (I assume because they think it will “offend the Mormon”).

    I’m serious, it really is getting to me. I’ve been engaging in Mormon issues online intensely for almost 3 years now (more if you count the time I was in the bloggernacle), and I have NEVER seen it this bad.

    I thought this kind of language was reserved for KKK rallies.

    And I know you know exactly what I’m talking about Chino, because you get a lot of this kind of stuff over on Pam’s House Blend, or Daily Kos and other places I’ve seen you advocating for gay rights in the LDS context.

    Just very discouraged right now.

  4. Yeah, I know. But frankly speaking, yours seems like a harder row to hoe, and maybe that’s simply because I’m unsure as to what you’re looking to cultivate. As I’m sure you’ve gathered, Mormonism is more curio than commitment as far as my personal concerns go – which doesn’t blind me to the boorishness of so much anti-Mormon commentary, but does relieve me of the stress that feeling compelled to mount a defense might bring. At the risk of sounding glib, perhaps what’s called for now is serious reflection on your compulsion to defend the Mormon project online. Is it worthwhile? Is it healthy? Is it sane? Certainly, the hatred and the idiotic jabs and the salacious cracks aren’t going away any time soon, so what to do in the meantime? If you intend to keep engaging in Mormon issues with virtual strangers, what are you looking to achieve? It strikes me as a project to be approached with either very low expectations or none at all if you want to come out as anything other than a wreck.

  5. There are very few blogs were my intended audience is actually the people I’m debating with.

    Usually my message is actually directed at the silent majority of any particular blog’s readership who tend to be much more reasonable and measured in their views.

    Besides, I can’t just let ignorant and bigoted statements an uncontested slam dunk. People might get the idea that no answer is possible.

    I also want it plain that the gay issue is not the only, or even the defining characteristic of my people. But some seem to act like it is.

  6. What’s the fuss with haters teasing about magic underwear when we give them the ammo? G’s will inevitably go the way of the Dodo. If were bothered by the teasing, I say beat a future church Pres to the punch and just ditch them in mass now.

  7. I don’t like the RfM crap either. On the other hand, look at how we treat our gentile neighbors. It’s little wonder that many Americans do not trust us.

    Even worse, there are patterns of exploiting each other with MLM schemes, investment fraud, and other white color crime. Those dysfunctions are typical of communities with strong boundaries.

    But they make life miserable for outsiders and even more so for the insiders who get suckered or who find themselves relegated to the bottom of the pecking order.

  8. I am glad that the Sacramento police is investigating this hate crime. If you don’t respond to this stuff forcefully, it will lead to violence.

    It is ironic, of course, that the most dogmatic and the most Republican Mormons oppose hate crimes. Thank heavens for minority rights.

  9. Hellmut – Well, my suspicion is that this is not actually a case of vandalism. If it is, I’m still surprised that a local TV crew would make the trip to cover such a story. By the time the TV crew arrived, the words had already been cleaned off the car. The whole thing seems staged to me.

    Seth – I think your people have much bigger problems than what outsiders are saying about them. Did you check out the comments at Times & Seasons when Harry Reid won Mormon of the Year?

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2010/01/times-and-seasons-2009-mormon-of-the-year-harry-reid/

    Talk about mean-spirited. That link is scary.

  10. You guys really think being “hated” for your ideas is a serious problem? I don’t think applying the term “haters” to people who severely disagree with a religion and express their thoughts impolitely is correct. I’d call them dramatic, or disruptive; and if they vandalize, I’d call them criminals or something, but not “haters”.

    All this pretending that religious affiliation is somehow in the same realm of any physical aspect of human experience is ridiculous and intentionally misleading. You can’t join a religion, say and do a bunch of stuff the world thinks is nonsense, and then excuse it by saying it’s just part of who you are.

  11. Nope Seth. Btw, your “KKK rallies” comment above is proving my point. The KKK hated the black race – race being a physical human trait.

    Hating a religion is not the same as hating a race, or a sexual orientation. That’s all I’m really saying.

  12. Actually, I would question whether hatred is ever particularly useful.

    Sorry Troy, I’m afraid you’re not going to find me all that up with defenses of people stereotyping, dealing in insults, misrepresenting, calling for discrimination against entire classes of people, and generally acting like jackasses.

    I consider flaming to be the mark of stupid people – no matter whom it is directed at.

  13. Troy & Seth — That’s actually kind of an interesting set of analogies:

    How are anti-Mormons like/unlike anti-semites?

    and

    How is judging people for affirming membership in the CoJCoL-dS like/unlike judging people for affirming membership in the KKK?

    If the first comparison (which implicitly lumps the Temple Square protesters with the perpetrators of the holocaust) isn’t out-of-bounds, then the second one shouldn’t be too shocking either. In both cases there are very real, legitimate parallels that we can learn from.

    I’m almost tempted to open this question up for discussion in a top-level post. Unfortunately, there’s no way we could keep such a question from degenerating into a circus of rants against faithful members and against ex-members…

  14. I don’t think I’d wind up being all that civil in such a conversation, so I tend to agree that it’s probably not a topic that would end well.

  15. I don’t think that there is anything inherently hateful about Mormonism. Mormonism is not a hate group, which probably even holds true of the FLDS.

    I do think that the most extremist protestant communities are hate groups. That includes at least some of the Temple Square protesters.

    With respect to the Prop 8 protesters, if you sow the wind, you shall reap the storm.

    In light of the fact that the Brethren did their utmost to tear other people’s families apart, the blow back is really very modest.

  16. In the context of “if you sow the wind, you shall reap the storm,” there is no way that you can justify the brethren’s actions during Prop 8 in light of the gospel.

    In fact, the gospels contradict the entire family values agenda.

    First, Jesus admonished us that even the heathen love their own. Christians need to love their enemies. That means, there is no bonus for loving your family. That’s just the base line.

    As humanity has not gone extinct outside of Utah, the notion that Mormons somehow have a special claim on family life is a delusion. On the contrary, my gentile peers in Germany typically were better cared for than most Utah kids.

    Second, Jesus himself said that he did not have a mother and siblings. Instead, he embraced his followers at the expense of his family.

    I don’t know if I agree with that particular behavior. But one thing is for sure. Jesus is not the God of family values.

    That’s an invention of people who are cloaking their traditionalist agenda and fears into Christianity.

  17. #20 I would just like to add that these questions are very difficult ones that IMO require a lot of research. If I were to really make a comparison of say, the KKK vs. Brighamite mormons (and at different points in history) – it would take quite a bit of time and information.

    Personally, I think a basic comparison with each group is over-simplified. What has changed over time? What’s the same? What’s the same with any group? It’s a very difficult topic.

    As I’ve been open about here before, I was dismayed by the official LDS response to proposition 8. But it’s worth noting that there were/are plenty of active LDS who did not support the campaign for (?) prop. 8 and also those (lots of bloggers I can think of) who has disaffected from active mormonism over this issue. There were many on the other side as well.

    I simply do not think that this issue is black and white – not that anyone was suggesting that. I fully support the right of individual LDS to support prop. 8 (which does/did split up families and IMO deny human rights) and I also fully support the right of individuals to peacefully proptest on temple square.

    When we stop allowing peaceful dissent, no matter how distateful the views, I fear for this country.

  18. Chanson,

    I think a post devoted to discussing the aforementioned analogies is a great idea. And as long person attacks are avoided, I think it should remain civil.

  19. Hellmut — I don’t think that the CoJCoL-dS is a hate group. OTOH, I’ve never spoken to a KKK member — for all I know, maybe they’d claim that they also aren’t a “hate group” but that there’s more to them than that, and that they’re about tradition or whatever.

    By choosing to pay tithing (as temple-worthy members must), LDS members are supporting an organization that has repeatedly provided the backbone of institutional leadership behind legislation to disenfranchise gay people. And note that the CoJCoL-dS deliberately avoids getting involved in most political battles, so one can’t claim that this is just one of a range of issues that they’ve organized for. The last major political campaign that the CoJCoL-dS has had such a hand in was the fight to keep equal rights from women in the 70s.

    Additionally, since members who support gay rights are encouraged to leave or get ex’d, the leadership is creating a situation where the connection between homophobia and LDS church membership can’t be dismissed as some sort of unfounded stereotype.

    Regarding the temple square protesters: I meant the large political demonstration that followed in the wake of Proposition 8. I wasn’t talking about the regulars who wave garmies around and harass members with threats of hellfire.

    Aerin — Very true. It’s a complex issue, and both analogies wildly oversimplify the issues. Yet, as Seth explained on another thread, we can learn from history by making comparisons, even if the situations aren’t identical.

    Troy — You may be right. But, even though the question could potentially be discussed in a reasonable and civil manner, the reality of Internet dynamics turns such a question in to a red flag labeled “bring on the rants!” 😉

    Chino — Thanks for seconding my suggestion!!!

    Everybody, please go to the Niblets and nominate Main Street Plaza as Best contribution to Mormon/atheist conversation. Thanks!

  20. I didn’t formally nominate on those grounds because this website has broader interests than just dialogue between the two camps. Oh well…

    “The last major political campaign that the CoJCoL-dS has had such a hand in was the fight to keep equal rights from women in the 70s.”

    Well, there was the time we ruined Ronald Reagan’s MX Missile project too….

  21. I didnt formally nominate on those grounds because this website has broader interests than just dialogue between the two camps.

    Just because this site has broader interests, it doesn’t keep us from providing an excellent contribution to Mormon/atheist dialog. 😉

    Well, there was the time we ruined Ronald Reagans MX Missile project too.

    Interesting. I don’t remember that one.

  22. There’s more info coming out on that Sheldon Killpack DUI story. Not only is he Senate majority leader, Killpack chairs the Utah Senate Ethics Committee. So, of course, the passenger in Killpack’s car was former Rep. Mark Walker, a lobbyist who had pleaded guilty to an election law violation for attempting to induce his opponent to drop out of the 2008 state treasurers race. Walker resigned from the House on the eve of an ethics investigation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrjAo1mXPkI

    Are atheists allowed to believe in Karma?

  23. Basically, Reagan wanted to tear up the entire West Desert in Utah to create a massive network of underground rail tunnels and missile silos.

    The idea was kind of like that game where you hide a pea under one out of three thimbles and then mix them up so the person can’t find it. The idea was that Reagan’s new MX nuclear warheads would be shuttled constantly and rapidly underground (hidden from satellites) to keep the Soviets guessing. This would force them to create even more warheads to compensate – which would contribute to Reagan’s overall plan to drive the Soviet Union bankrupt in an arms race they couldn’t win. It would have been the largest public works project in US history and probably would have stirred up massive dust clouds coating the Wasatch Front.

    Well, Governor Matheson (1977 – 1985) didn’t much care for the idea and allowed a couple reporters to sit in on some negotiations he was having with the military brass. The reporters immediately went public with it.

    Then LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, and other general authorities didn’t like the idea of painting a “nuclear bullseye” next to Temple Square and issued a rare public statement calling on Utahns to vote against the project. That sealed the deal. Utahn turnout was huge and the vote was decisive. Reagan had to do something else with his missiles.

    Just speculation, but I think LDS history may have had something to do with it.

    If you’ll recall, during the Manhattan Project, the US government deliberately waited until the winds were blowing toward Utah before detonating their nuclear devices in the desert. Rural folk in southern Utah were encouraged by government representatives to actually sit out and watch the blasts go off. A couple days later, government employees would come by with Geiger counters to check out the results on the kids.

    Back in the 1980s, about 30% of the population of St. George had cancer.

    One or two of the Brethren came from “downwinder” families. These memories tend to stick around.

    Sometimes it just astonishes me that we’re as patriotic, as a people, as we are.

  24. Seth,

    I’m pretty sure that it was actually the Carter Administration that proposed the mobile MX system.

    Sometimes it just astonishes me that were as patriotic, as a people, as we are.

    I’ve always been amused at how seldom it’s mentioned in church that a main reason the Utah pioneers went there was to get out of the United States.

  25. You may be right on Carter. I think the other details were fairly accurate though (although the cancer rate in St. George may be a bit off).

    You can read the full account in the book “Canaries on the Rim”. It’s about environmental problems on the Wasatch Front. I thought it was alright when I read it about ten years ago.

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