California is very different from Canada, it seems…

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So in following some of the press about Proposition 8, I came across THIS STORY which also led me to THIS OTHER STORY.

I don’t recall the LDS church being quite so forceful in defending the traditional definition of marriage in Canada, but they sure are pushing it in California.

Does this say something about how much they pay attention to Canada, or is it just the the ‘States are more important?

50 thoughts on “California is very different from Canada, it seems…

  1. I’ve been wondering about this, too. I’m in Ontario, and remember absolutely no Church comment/direction before, when, and after Canada legalized gay marriage. It was always clear that the legalization meant just that, that gay marriages could be performed under the law, but that churches could decide individually whether to perform/bless/solemnize/etc. gay marriages. Is the situation any different in California? I can’t understand why the Church is more concerned about preserving man-woman marriage in California than in Canada, Spain, the UK, etc…

  2. We had a different president of the church then. It could be that Pres Hinckley didn’t want to take an official stance, but Pres Monson does? I don’t know, just speculation.

  3. I was in S. Alberta and we had a few locals who organized some kids. I think the group was called the ‘Young Defenders of Canada’. They sang quite well, but didn’t do much in terms of protesting. There might have been a few nasty letters sent, but Mormon Canadian = 10(Minnesota Nice)

    NIMBYism, pure and simple. (not in my backyard)

  4. It’s called the Family Proclamation to the World.

    “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

  5. It’s more than the Family Proclamation. What they’re doing in California is a surprise to me. They’re organizing themselves in the church building: handing out flyers, planning who’ll knock on which doors, etc. My understanding was that the church always stayed out of political issues – but for some reason they have chosen to be VERY involved in the California debate right now. I’m frankly glad that I don’t live there. I wouldn’t be comfortable with this kind of stuff going on in the church. I’ve thought a lot about it and wondered if I just don’t have a strong enough testimony of the prophet….it’s a strange situation to me. We had the exact same thing going on here in Canada and we certainly didn’t have the church’s arm reaching in like it has there. Once again, we see that although we claim to not be an American phenomenon….we really are a worldwide church they say….well, they say…..hmmmm….

  6. I hadn’t read the article before I responded. I just wanted to add…I feel for this man. I am one who doesn’t understand the big issues over allowing gays to marry. I don’t understand how it lessens my marriage. If they’re in committed relationships I don’t understand why we don’t want them to have the ceremony. Am I a coward if I don’t share these thoughts in church? Would it mean I’d be excommunicated too?

  7. They figured it was a lost cause in Canada given the realities of politics and political perception here.

    And yeah, I think to the Church given our view of the American constitution there is a difference.

  8. Dawn,

    “Am I a coward if I don’t share these thoughts in church?”

    No your not a coward, but you need to understand why the church opposes the union of same sex couples.

    What is the mission of the church? How could a married gay couple join the church? They would first have to be divorced and then they would have to prove to the church that they fully repented – all of which would take a very long time. The church has a mission for the salvation of everyone. Making gay marriage allowable under law would ultimately frustrate any work among people who choose this course and the many gay apologetics. Gay marriage apologetics will become more and more prevalent as society becomes more accepting of the practice making the work of the Lord more difficult.

    The world will continue to move farther and farther into darkness as time goes on. Good will be considered evil and evil be considered good in these last days. It is evident to me that the very elect will continue to be deceived.

    Why didn’t the LDS Church act in Canada like they are in California? First off you need to understand that this is a movement from many churches and organizations. The Project marriage coalition invited the church to participate. When Canada had its legislation in the works there was no coalition like this and no invitations to our church.

    ~~Remember, the church did not organize this coalition, it just accepted the invitation to participate.~~

    I guarantee that if this coalition was there at the time of Canada’s movement, the church would have participated then too, if invited.

  9. So, do you mean to say that all it would have taken in Canada (to get a reaction like this from the church) was an INVITE?

    The church needs to be INVITED to participate?

    That’s bunk, and you know it.

    The more I read about this topic the more I agree with post #3 above. Not in my back yard indeed.

    It’s also a shame that if the church feels this issue is SO important, they’ve shown that they don’t really care about Canadian members.

    I think they’ve incredibly close to losing their tax-free status given the amount of involvement in the Prop8 decision and given the amount of holdings the church has, you’d think they’d be plenty worried about having to pay taxes on it all; not to mention the chance of having the tithe they receive taxed.

    How would American members like to know that of their 10%, 5% is going to Uncle Sam?

  10. “That’s bunk, and you know it.”

    For one, there was no coalition in Canada. Are you saying that the church should have formed this coalition in Canada?

    They didn’t do it in the States and that is my point. I don’t see anything unfair about what they did do. My point is, they would have done the same for a Canadian coalition if there was one.

    I doubt, however, that the church will ever start one. Your argument is that they should lead out in this? Why? The media would eat them alive if they were the forefront of this coalition.

    I can see the argument if they formed the coalition for the purpose of rescuing California law – but they did not – The coalition was already made before the church pledged their support.

    How would it have looked for the church not to support the coalition? This post would have then read “The church opposes same sex marriage but would not support coalition in California so as to not offend Canadian members.” Your argument just doesn’t make since.

    Your other comments about taxes are just absurd. The other churches involved would all get penalized as well, which would never happen. It would be political suicide for anyone in the US government to impose that on all those churches.

  11. Frankly, we’re still a U.S.-centric Church, and it shows.

    Re: #7,

    And yeah, I think to the Church given our view of the American constitution there is a difference.

    The Federal Constitution isn’t at issue in California. The California Supreme Court’s decision and Proposition 8 both concern the State Constitution. As far as I know, the Church doesn’t have a particular stance on California’s Constitution (except, apparently, that it should define marriage in heterosexual terms).

  12. The Constitution applies to the degree that people see it outlining inalienable rights. However many look to the Constitution not on the basis of legal precedence but in terms of how they see the values of the Constitution and think those ought be reflected across the country regardless of whether courts impose them. Thus they look to the Constitution to help judge what kind of legislation be pushed and what be allowable in states as well as federal jurisdictions.

    Of course not everyone will agree upon their “ideal” view of the Constitution. But I think looking to the mere legal question kind of misses the role of the Constitution in American life. And this is hardly a Mormon or even conservative thing. It’s very common across all spectrums of American political activism.

  13. RE #10

    I see DA, the church isn’t an icebreaker, but they’ll pile on once the fight has started. That’s some kind of moral leadership…not.

    I mean if they whole venture is about optics that’s one thing – wouldn’t want to look bad in front of the other faiths, right?

  14. Rick

    You aren’t a member of the church and as entitled as you are to your opinions, some are way off base and the idea that the church doesn’t care about Canada is one of them. Church headquarters cares about Canada immensely.

  15. It’s wonderful when we don’t know the facts, and argue the point anyway. The fact is the Church was involved from the start in an inter-faith coalition.
    It was doomed from the start. They did not get good advice from some legal minds up here, because they thought they were bright enough to argue the point in court. When others tried to get involved in a significant way it was greatly discouraged by a few local authorities. When they saw the error of their ways, it was too late.
    The Church had a lot of interest up here. It just didn’t get any public acknowledgement of it.
    Besides, we’re Canadian. We would sooner talk about it, than do anything about it.
    It’s easier to sit in the comfort of an arm chair and criticize the Church, than to be bold enough to do something constructive. Right?

  16. I wonder if the human rights complaints filed against the Catholic Bishop of Calgary had anything to do with our church’s relative non-involvement.

    Also, I wonder if most nonmormon Canadians would have seen any church lobbying efforts as interference from a foreign entity.

    Have you seen Andrew Callahan’s YouTube video? I don’t think his membership is threatened so much by his opposition to Prop 8 as by his stance of correcting the church.

    I will, however, be freaked out if the people whose videos are here get disciplined:

    Wasn’t a Canadian gay mormon ex’ed for publicizing his same-sex marriage?

  17. RE #11

    “Frankly, we’re still a U.S.-centric Church, and it shows.”

    So missionaries only serve in the states? So there are only temples in the states? So there are only churches in the states? So the ensign only goes out in the states? So humanitarian aid only goes out to the states? So area authorities are only assigned for areas in the states? So the lds website is only created in english and no other country has their own I could keep going if you like?

  18. Re #16 Hmm, Johnna, I don’t know, I haven’t heard anything about a Canadian LDS being ex’d for marrying his same sex partner. Though I would think he wouldn’t be ex’d for marrying him but rather for having homosexual relations (and admitting to it).

    Larry, well speak for yourself, when I take a stand on something I do something about it, but then again I was torn on the whole same gender marriage issue. I believe in free choice, am against same gender marriage on the PRINCIPLE of it, since Heavenly Father says it is a no go (well that homosexuality is a no go) but at the same time, as long as they weren’t demanding temple marriage I wasn’t sure why I should openly be against it, since who am I to force someone to do or not do something. I am still torn about what exactly I should do. I am focused on teaching my children to do what is right, and since marriage has become, on an official level, a civic act, we already essentially gave up the rights to dictate who can or cannot get married. If the religions had kept it a religious matter that would be another story, but since marriage is also a legal matter…and if people are so vociferous about same gender marriage, how about other issues that REALLY affect the family, such as abuse. What are we as members doing to put a stop to that? Are we working in our own families to raise our children to have high standards and to treat their spouses properly? That is pretty important. Or promoting more family togetherness or preventing bullying in schools? Building up the individuals and creating honourable people who will contribute to society?

    Anyway just some thoughts. I don’t believe homosexuality contributes to the eternal plan, of course, Heavenly Father has said not, but there are many many other issues that erode the family, abuse (and I cover it all, from the minor seeming to the major…emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical), gambling, infidelity, selfishness, etc. Basically a lack of love and consideration for others. I don’t feel my family is threatened by same gender marriage and don’t rely on the gov’t to let my children know what is right and wrong. I teach them what is right and wrong backed up by the Gospel.

  19. Mary, my argument wasn’t with you. My point wasn’t that this was the premiere issue in the midst of others either. But if you think it isn’t going to impact or threaten your family, you are either turning a blind eye, or have not investigatd it thoroughly.
    I’ll give you an example. When abortion rights were being argued in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the argument was that it would only be legal in the 1st trimester. After it was made legal, the spectrum changed, and now they can abort a baby coming out of the womb.
    Why, for a moment, would you think that those advocating for same sex marriages would be content with simply legalizing it. The agenda goes way beyond that simple answer.
    I say this, not because all gays want this (I know they don’t), but the radical element has a far greater agenda than you could ever imagine. It was a radical group of fewer than 10 people that got it legalized here in Canada.

  20. RE #13

    rick, Are you serious? Your actually complaining that the church didn’t lead out in this as if you are calling on the church to be more mindful of Canada? I find that hard to believe. I think you could care less about the church doing good things but rather are looking for anything possible to find fault in the church for reasons only known to you.

  21. Larry

    I know that, sorry I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was targeting you either. I do agree, Canadians do have a tendency to have that attitude. It’s very frustrating.

    However, like I said, no I haven’t researched it thoroughly because I am not sure why it, and not other, very important issues is being held up as a premier issue. How would this impact my family directly, gays being married? And how could they extend that to anything more than what it is? I ask this sincerely.

    However, like I said, other issues really do impact the family. And they are ignored or brushed under the carpet.

  22. “Your actually complaining that the church didn’t lead out in this as if you are calling on the church to be more mindful of Canada?”

    No. I am saying that the church didn’t go as hard at this issue in Canada because it doesn’t care as much about Canadian members as it does American members.

    I’d like to know as well as Mary how same sex marriage is going to impact my marriage.
    I don’t think it is. I think it is a red herring thrown out for shock value.

    I can not conceive of any part of my life that would be impacted negatively by allowing same sex marriage.

  23. Rick

    You are wrong. The Church care as about ALL of it’s members, just because you are not in the know doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Canadian members are as important as American members.

  24. If that is true, Mary, how do you explain the difference in the church’s (non)reaction in Canada?

  25. I think some already mentioned there wasn’t a non reaction, things were done. Just because it wasn’t publicized doesn’t mean it was ignored. And besides that, if that is the ONLY criteria for judging how much the church cares about the church members, it is pretty feeble.

    And being a little more aware of what the leaders say to us, reading the Ensign, etc etc, I think I would be more qualified to know how they feel about us.

  26. “I think I would be more qualified to know how they feel about us.”

    Or more qualified to know how they want you to think they feel about you.

  27. Yeah, ok. No, I don’t think so. We aren’t all brainwashed Rick, and I wonder if you really think such things about the church and the church leadership, why you live in a small predominantly LDS community. Not having grown up in such a place, I have a rather broad view of the church membership and realise how broad the thinking actually is. Having live in BC, Ireland and here I am not Alberta or Utah centred when it comes to understanding the church leadership.

    I used to want to come from a small town, but realised it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Growing up in a larger town, close to big cities you gain a broader view of the world and realise the sun rises and sets everywhere, not just where you live.

  28. I’m trying not to take offense at the patronizing tone of that last post, Mary. I’m trying…

  29. Sorry it sounds patronising, not meant to, but it certainly sounds patronising when you suggest we are ignored and despised by the church and all brainwashed sheep. And I didn’t take offense, at least not major offense, just annoyed, wrinkle my nose and roll my eyes.

    What I WAS saying is that I have enough of a world view (not a lot, but enough) to know that the church does not centre around Alberta, Utah (and Idaho) but that we have wonderful church comradeship in other places. I was blessed to grow up in what started out as a branch and became a ward, to raise money for out new building by delivering papers (and developing a phobia of dogs that lasted for years, because of being literally attacked by a German Shepherd which was only half so, and was wolf, the other half, in the process) to listen to our church leaders who traveled to talk to us more than once and then to live in Ireland for a year and feel and know the same thing. It seems that for some reason, people here think that the church membership elsewhere is exactly the same, with the same way of thinking as it is here. Well, sure in some ways, but not in everything. I certainly wasn’t asked to rattle off my genealogy when I moved to Ireland, I was accepted for me, not my grandparents. And if you think that all the world is like small town Alberta, you’ve got it wrong.

  30. I’m trying not to take offense at the patronizing tone of that last post, Mary.

    Frankly, rick, that’s an odd statement coming from you.

  31. “ignored and despised by the church and all brainwashed”

    I don’t believe you are any of those things, but when you look at the actions taken on behalf of American members and compare them to actions taken on behalf of non-American members, there is a clear distinction.

    What I meant in my previous post is that no matter how many times you read in the Ensign that the church loves its’ members in other countries and how global their perspective is, it does not necessarily mean that is the way they act. They certainly want their non-American membership to feel that they are treated as well – I’m just positing that in truth it is not the case.

    “Frankly, rick, that’s an odd statement coming from you.”

    Yeah, it doesn’t sound much like me does it? Hmmm… I’ll think on that – maybe I’m staying up too late lately.

  32. Can you clarify some of those distinctions, beyond the same gender marriage issue?

    We are treated as well. Really, we are. And it is not just a ‘feeling’ it’s a reality.

  33. Rick,
    “Larry, I’d like to know as well as Mary how same sex marriage is going to impact my marriage. I don’t think it is. I think it is a red herring thrown out for shock value.

    I can not conceive of any part of my life that would be impacted negatively by allowing same sex marriage.”

    It’s not your marriage you have to worry about. It’s your kids. In case you missed it you might want to look at what they are trying to get into the school’s in BC and California, as well as other areas. If that doesn’t send a shiver up your spine, then I guess nothing will.

  34. rick,

    Not everything in life is a conspiracy. What does a non-profit organization have to gain to lie like that? Nobody in the church has deep pockets as a result of church funds. So if it is not about the money, then what motive would the church have in proclaiming love to the entire world if that proclamation is only a lie?

    Why would Joseph Smith go through so much persecution, putting himself and his family on the line everyday, and ultimately get martyred, for what? What earthly possession was so important that he would put everything on the line like that his entire adult life and most of his teenage life – all for a lie???

    This church is not a conspiracy. Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. The only conspiracy is Satan leading the hearts of man astray and blinding their eyes that they see not and deafening their ears that they hear not the voice of the Good Shepherd calling them all the day long to repent and come unto him.

    People won’t believe truth, not because it is not true, but because truth invokes change in them. People don’t like change, and the Lord is constantly calling us to repentance.

    The fruits of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are everyday people who decide its time in life to change and come unto Christ. They pledge their life unto Him and do whatever it takes, and press forward in faith.

  35. DayAfter,

    This is just my opinion, like that last post was just your opinion, so you can take it for what it’s worth.

    I think many of Joseph’s actions can be explained by and are characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder.

    Many of his actions after the formation of the church of christ seemingly stem from this narcissism, with two of the main indicators being his efforts in the retention of influence within his community and the ways through which he satisfies his sex drive.

    “What does a non-profit organization have to gain to lie like that?”
    Given the LDS organization’s acquisition of assets and accumulation of wealth, I think the more prudent question to ask is why is a ostensibly non-profit organization operating more like a private business than a charity? The lack of transparency, considering the amounts of dollars we’re talking about is quite concerning to me not to mention the church’s accumulation of diversified assets. I’m surprised these are not more of a concern for members as well.

  36. DayAfter

    You are fighting a losing battle. Rick is adamantly against the church, it’s practices and anything to do with it. It’s easier just to restrain yourself from responding when he gets on an anti LDS church rant (I know, not easy, but it saves time in the long run). And as he says, he is entitled to his opinion. After all, it will all come clear eventually. He’s not anti Mormon in the traditional (‘Mormons are all going to hell!!’) sense, but in his ‘logical’ way of thinking.

  37. Hi just figured I would chime in a bit as I was involved in the Political process in Alberta on this.

    The church did fight the Gay Marriage legislation, as Larry said much of the hopes of the Church and affiliate organizations was the legal arguments. In this they were not along as Real Women, and other Christian advocacy groups thought the social conservative Liberals would defend against the legislation in Parliament while they fought it in the courts.

    At the end of the day the alliances of these varied groups of Chinese Catholics, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Born Again Christians and Mormons failed. So they decided to do activist stuff too late.

    Plus when the church, at least in Alberta, tried to motivate the various stakes they asked them to ask their people to send letters to parliament. Their was no real plan b.

    California seems like plan b is in heavy force.

    To give you an equivalent situation, the church fought against Video Lottery Terminals on a municipal basis. In Edmonton we had stake meetings, planning sessions, we delivered pamphlets, collect petition names. That was as proactive as I saw our church be and they still lost.

  38. Rick,

    “They” are the gay activists. I’ll say no more on it, because I assume you either don’t care, or you don’t see how they try to manipulate the system.

  39. Larry,

    I did some research and I can not find anything untoward being done specifically by any gay agenda activists in BC and California.

    Why don’t you just tell me what you’re talking about? That would probably save a lot of time.

  40. So I have this idea I would like to float by the group on why gay marriage is a societal threat. I am not speaking in terms of individuals or specific situations I am speaking in terms of the bigger picture. I know personally of situations that will make my opinion seem unreasonable but I think it makes some amount of sense.

    To start, acceptance and love of the individual should not be dictated by their actions or choices therefore this is not about acceptance of people but of practices.

    Ok so now that I have all the C.Y.A. (or butts for those who are language sensitive) comments covered here is my opinion. If we look back into history we see that at the height of civilizations (Greeks and Romans for example) and just preceding their fall homosexuality became rampant in practice. Now I am not suggesting that homosexuality was the cause of their fall but a symptom of the ideology of the people at the time. As societies become more and more affluent their focus becomes increasingly self serving. As people get married, with the intention of starting a family, their focus changes from self to family which promotes the focus on the community rather than the individual. I think we can all agree that societies work more efficiently when the focus is not self serving, as the often quoted JFK said “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.

    Ok at this piont I have to reiterate I am not suggesting that homosexual people are selfish or self centered. What I am suggesting is that the focus on what is good for me, whether it be class seperation (increasing wealth with a corresponding increase in poverty), increased sexual perversions, increasing crime and a decreasing focus on prosecuting criminals or any number of self serving attributes, the general nature of society is changing and increasing homosexuality and gay marriage is a symptom of that change.

    I have noticed when family is introduced into the life of a self centered individual that that individual becomes less self centered. I am the perfect example of this change. What happens when less and less of us enter into a family situation and have less motivation to put our own wants and desires aside and focus on someone else?

    That is why we need to be careful when we decide whether or not to legalize homosexual relationships because we are decreasing our chances of decreasing our self centerness and therefore weakening our need for cohesiveness in our society.

    Defeating gay marriage is not going to stop the increasing trend toward self centerness on it’s own but we need to remember that unless we halt our progress down a certain pathway it will take us where we are headed.

    On a side note, I think that those who use this debate to spread hate for others because of their fear are making it harder and harder to have reasonable discussions as to the realities that we are facing. I don’t care if it is homosexuality or non monagamous heterosexuality the result is the same. In fact, I would argue that hetersexuality when not repected is far worse because then we not only have problems with those who are self serving but we also have children being raised in challenging and difficult environments, being abandoned and undiciplined, we are on a very sad and challenging path indeed.

  41. Tyler,

    The logic used in your post does not promote a ban on gay marriage – it demands that gays be allowed to marry and adopt.

    To follow your logic, it would be in the world’s best interest to allow gays to marry and adopt or in the case of lesbian marriages, allow for artificial insemination; if for no other reason than it would, as a whole, reduce the amount of selfishness in society.

    Now to address your ‘growth of homosexuality before the fall’ line of thinking. You must consider that as societies become more enlightened, they generally become more accepting and possess more empathy toward their fellow man.

    In an environment of acceptance and safety, it is much more likely that gay and lesbian couples would be ‘out’ and not hide their actual sexual preferences.

    The perception of an increase in the homosexual portion of these societies would be because when it was less safe to be homosexual, they hid their sexual identities. But as it was more accepted (like today in Europe and North America) more homosexuals felt like it was ok to be ‘out’ with their sexuality and the incidences of observed homosexual behaviours is higher and therefore there is a perception that there are more homosexuals.

  42. Why is it that there have been 43 responses to the original post, all full of personal opinion and speculation about the reason for the Church speaking out and actively supporting the proposed “marriage amendment” (proosed not only in California, but in Arizona and Florida as well), yet conspicuous by their absence are any references to the Church’s official position on the issue? Go to the Church’s Newsroom site on and click on “The Divine Institution of Marriage.”

  43. I just read the whole thing and it does not once give a single reason why they jumped all over this in California and NOT Canada.

  44. Maybe the involvement in California is due to a prevailing “as goes California, so goes the nation” line of thinking.

  45. I don’t know what the relative percentages are of the LDS vs. non-LDS populations of California and Canada, but my impression (which could be entirely wrong) is that there is a higher percentage of active LDS members in California than there are in Canada. If I’m wrong about that, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    It’s possible that the GA’s saw Canada as a lost cause, while California is seen as a possible win. But I’m just speculating.

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