I am all for freedom of speech in this country. I have worked in politics for over 40 years to preserve this cherished right.
As an Orange County, California resident, I for one would like to welcome Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) to our county. He will be speaking to students at Chapman University tomorrow on "Faith, Family and Religious Freedom."
I do, however, have a beef with the ongoing duplicity of the Mormon Church which Apostle Holland represents.
Mormon Church Funded Proposition 8
I discovered the Mormons Church's massive involvement in the Proposition 8 campaign. I tracked the nearly $30 million that Mormon Church members contributed to pass California's ban on gay marriage seven years ago. I turned over all my research to the Wall Street Journal which broke the story on September 20, 2008.
The Mormon Church adamantly denied any involvement in running and funding the Prop 8 campaign. Mormon Oakland Temple spokesman, Don Eaton told ABC TV News, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put zero money in this."
Church spokesman Scott Trotter stated "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has fully complied with the reporting requirements of the California Political Reform Act. Claims that the Church had violated the Act and failed to report political expenditures made by the Church are false."
Mr. Eaton and Mr. Trotter both lied seven years ago and the Mormon Church has been continuing its deceptive ways ever since.
Mormon Church Guilty of Election Fraud in California
Ten days after the Prop 8 election, I filed a sworn complaint with the California campaign ethics' office, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
The FPPC took the case. It prosecuted the Mormon Church and conducted an 18 month investigation into all the Church did to pass Prop 8. The FPPC found the Mormon Church guilty on 13 counts of election fraud and fined them.
The Church amended its political expenditure filings and admitted to spending $190,000 that it had never reported. It produced documents with the names of 75 Mormon Church employees in Salt Lake City who had worked on the campaign. It turned out the Church had run phone banks from Utah and Idaho to call California voters. They had 25,000 Mormon Church members walking door-to-door all over California on the nine Saturdays before the election. They bused in Church members from Utah for rallies. The Mormon Church made 12 slick commercials, hosted elaborate web sites and even organized a massive lawn sign program for their members.
Mormon Church Created NOM
In fact, Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland and his son Matthew S. Holland personally helped create the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in May of 2007 as a front group to qualify and pass Prop 8. This was done to shield the involvement of the Mormon Church in the Prop 8 campaign, just like they had done in several other states going back to Hawaii in 1995.
The Hollands, along with Matthew S. Holland's political mentor and close friend, Professor Robby George, were the ones who hired Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown to run NOM. NOM is still in business, and has become the most vehemently anti-gay marriage organization in the county raising and spending millions of dollars each year.
Mormon Church is Bleeding Members
The Mormon Church's 20 year fight against gay marriage, and the way it demonizes its gay and lesbian members, have cost the Church an untold number of members. When forced to choose between the Church and their gay and lesbian sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, thousands and thousands of Mormons have lost their faith and quit the Church.
It's no coincidence that according to a recent study conducted by San Francisco State University, Utah has eight times the attempted youth suicide rate of any other state.
Mormon Church Tries to Right the Sinking Ship
Ever since the Prop 8 campaign caused a huge national backlash against the Mormon Church, it has done everything in its power to improve its greatly tarnished image.
It did extend an olive branch in 2009 and supported a nondiscrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City, Utah. The law passed quickly, and gays and lesbians in Salt Lake City could no longer be fired or refused housing because of their sexual orientation.
Now six years later, at a flashy press conference in a Mormon Church building in Salt Lake City recently, Jeffrey R. Holland and two other Mormon Apostles announced that the Church was extending its support for nondiscrimination laws and protections to state and federal governments for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
Hooray we thought. That was significant. But before we could pop the cork on the celebratory champagne, the Mormon Church backpedaled. There was a catch to its support for LGBT nondiscrimination laws. It turned out that's not what the three Apostles meant.
A Mormon Church Double-Cross?
The Mormon Church now says that it won't support these nondiscrimination laws unless even more onerous Arizona type "religious freedom" laws are passed, too.
The Mormon Church wants laws on the books that would allow a Mormon apartment building owner who doesn't want to rent a unit to a gay couple, the "religious freedom" not to do so. Or a Mormon business owner the right to fire a lesbian worker simply because of whom she is, not because of the quality of her work.
So Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, this wolf in sheep's clothing, is coming to Chapman University tomorrow to speak on "Faith, Family and Religious Freedom," code words for the Mormon Church's campaign to pass laws allowing their members to discriminate against LGBT Americans.
This is wrong and will make matters worse, especially for those thousands of LGBT kids who commit suicide or try because Apostle Holland and his Church tell them that they are evil and not loved simply because of who they are.