Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Fallen Hero

Someone on Recovery from Mormonism posted a link to this video a few days ago:
This is Lance B. Wickman, a now-emeritus general authority of the LDS church. I met Wickman about ten years ago when he was a visiting authority for our stake conference. My dad was the stake president at the time, so we drove him from his hotel to the stake meetings and back again.
I remember being in semi-awe of him. He obviously wasn't one of the twelve apostles or anything--I'd never even heard of him until then. But he was old and distinguished and comfortable being in a position of authority and everything he said was so damn wise. I thought he must have been one of the most reasonable and most spiritual people on the planet. I guess it helped that I was playing the role of dutiful son to near perfection--Elder Wickman was clearly impressed with me.

Elder Wickman had this gentle, pensive way about him. He spoke with a measured pace, as though he'd thought out each word carefully before speaking each sentence aloud. It made him sound as though everything he said had to be right.

This, of course, was not the case. I just didn't know it then.

This video disgusts me. Wickman disgusts me. I understand wanting to keep marriage between a man and a woman. I don't agree with it, but I get where Proposition 8's supporters were coming from.

However, to go so far as to praise the "sheer heroism" and "medal of honor service" of those who are campaigning to limit other human beings' rights is hateful, closed-minded, un-Christlike, and deplorable to an unspeakable degree. I can't think of enough negative things to say about this.

What's worse, is Wickman's blatant lie about the members rallying to the cause. He undermines his own point by explaining that the First Presidency had a letter read in sacrament meetings "urging" members to be involved. Trying to claim that the church itself had no hand in Mormons' participation because they only "urged" instead of "ordered" the membership to join the cause is absurd--especially if you know anything about Mormons. When the Brethren "suggest" something, it's stated as though it's optional or elective--but you do your best to fall in line with it (which Wickman calls being "galvanized") lest you be deemed to be not fully invested by your peers or by your bishop. This is the de facto influence, however oblique, of the church leadership.

But worse than what he accidentally admitted was what he completely omitted. Another member of RFM pointed out that the church was fined for failing to report all of its contributions to the campaign (which he legitimized with a link to the Salt Lake Tribune article about it). And not only did funds come directly from the church, but almost two hundred thousand dollars came directly from the church.

Wait, roll that back. What did Wickman say? "It was the members, not the church."

I guess maybe that's true, considering the church probably used the money that it extorted from the members on the flimsy promise of eternal salvation to fund their attempt to keep the gays from being able to do something completely innocuous with each other in the state of California.

Things like this throw into sharp relief how misinformed I was and how deep my programming went. How could I have thought this man was so great? How could I have thought the church he represented was so wonderful?

It doesn't seem right to me.

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