Church Involvement in Prop. 8

Anyone else catch this post today on

A document from the Church of Latter Day Saints to the Proposition 8 campaign was revealed at the trial today, and contained this instructive:

Mormon With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved.

Julia Rosen, blogging for the Courage Campaign notes: “Get that? The LDS Church intentionally worked to hide behind the scenes to disguise their involvement in the public realm. The LDS Church is well aware that the general public does not have the most favorable opinion of them. Attention on their involvement could have hurt their cause, namely passing Prop 8.”

Rosen called the afternoon “explosive” as the attorneys battled over what documents could be revealed as evidence of the coordinated efforts between Prop 8 campaign and Catholic, LDS, and Evangelical churches.

It elicited this statement from Judge Walker: “Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.”


I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

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9 Responses

  1. It just goes to show that what folks were talking about in the previous post, “if you choose to pursue any more than what is in the manuals“, is how the Church conducts itself in external affairs, as well. I doubt anyone at this point is surprised by this news, Mormons and non-Mormons alike. But what is surprising is that it’s coming up in trial like this…. for national public record. Any thoughts on the consequences of this?

  2. Leah says:

    Nothing the Church does shocks me anymore.

  3. profxm says:

    Alan… The sad thing is that I’m not sure there will be “real” consequences. I hope I’m wrong and just jaded, but it seems like most of the big organizations today play the “sin now, repent later” game. Microsoft does this with software patents all the time – if it can’t buy them for cheap, it just violates them, pays a pittance fine later, and calls it good, having made billions in the meantime. LDS Inc. is just doing the same – do whatever is required to ban same sex marriage, then apologize later (assuming they get caught). So what if the court fines them? It’s not like they can’t afford a paltry fine of a few hundred thousand to even a few hundred million.

    And, yes, the sin/repentance metaphor is ironic! 😉

  4. Chino Blanco says:

    I’m so grateful for what Rob Reiner, Chad Griffin, AFER, Ted Olson and David Boies have managed to accomplish already with this trial.

    By the way, I just got a tweet from Jeremy Hooper over at Good As You that made my day: Hey, do u know one of ur posts is on the Prop 8 trial exhibit list?

    Wow, Jeremy’s right:

    Plaintiffs’ Trial Exhibit List in Perry v Schwarzenneger

    The referenced post:

    Ron Prentice Gets Rich Fighting Gay Marriage

    As Jeremy notes on his blog, fast forward a year and a half since I wrote that post, and now folks like Cindy McCain are climbing aboard.

    Where is this headed? Here’s a hint:

  5. Kaimi says:

    It’s a misquote (or rather, a mischaracterization). A statement by Plaintiffs’ expert is being portrayed as a direct document quote, which it isn’t.

    See discussion at

  6. profxm says:

    Thanks for the clarification. Good to have the facts.

    Not sure it changes anything, but I like to have accurate information.

  7. Oh, it’s not real. Well, that makes sense, too. =p

    I’m not following the trial in too much detail, mainly because as interesting as it is, my mind gets too frayed by the precedent that will be set. What’s the point in revealing sneakiness on the part of the Church, particularly since the Church was also not at all sneaky about its support for Prop 8? If the plaintiffs want proof of religious fervor for Prop 8, they could simply bring forward that letter from the First Presidency read to California congregations in late June 2008. That doesn’t prove exact dollars and cents, but it does point to a “religious” money trail. Is the goal to prove that the money from religious organizations unduly swayed Californians on the matter, through bias and fear-tactics? Is it to prove discrimination via stereotype? What exactly? This trial is curious: (1) because of its scope and (2) the fact that all this information and various perspectives will be filtered through one person, Judge Vaughn Walker, to decide “discrimination” or “no discrimination” for gays in America (or California, at least). It’s a rather strange process, IMO.

    And then, when it gets to the Supreme Court, aren’t people saying that the Justices will rule that it’s not the national norm, so it must be left to the states? I’ve read that the Justices are following this trial closely, so I’m wondering if all these professors of history and psychology are enlightening them at all…

  8. Hellmut says:

    It’s true that the phrase “plausible deniability” did not appear in the memo. But we have to remember that the brethren did not even properly declare their campaign expenditures.

    Clearly, they were trying to get away with something by hiding behind Catholics, Evangelicals, and, shamefully, even African Americans.

    The brethren did not like it when research uncovered that almost 80% of the contributions to Prop. 8 came from Mormons.

    “Plausible deniability” is a reasonable interpretation of that memo.

  9. Chino Blanco says:

    Hey, this is a blatant bit of blogwhoring, but … since the 2010 session is kicking off in Utah, I feel less need to apologize 😉 It’s topical! (and several of our nominees make appearances in the clips):

    Sundance exposure leads to Buttars meltdown

    If you’re a dKos denizen, pls feel free to tip and rec (you know the drill).

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