Passage of Proposition 8, an amendment to the California Constitution banning same-sex marriage in the state has been followed by organized attacks on Mormons, their churches and temples by angry homosexual and lesbian groups. Most commentators credit the large turnout of new black and Hispanic voters, who supported Barack Obama, for the strong support of Proposition 8. Yet, no Hispanic or black churches have been attacked. Only LDS churches and members have been targeted.
Of course, since it was primarily the black churches of American, under Martin Luther King, that lobbied extensively for the Civil Rights bill in 1963 and led the political rally for it in Washington in August of 1963, had the opponents of Prop 8 attacked the black churches for "political action" they would undoubtedly have been laughed at.
It seems to me that logic would dictate that the best real friends the homosexual and lesbian community have are the Mormons. The only epidemiological study to date on the life span of gay men concluded that sexually active gay and bisexual men lose up to 20 years of life expectancy. Other studies show the average practicing homosexual in the USA has a life expectancy of 41, if he does not get AIDS and 39 if he does. The problem is not their sexual orientation. The problem for everyone, whether homosexual or heterosexual, married, single, divorced, young or old, is how sexually active they are and what kind of "sex" is going on. Homosexual sex is considered wrong by practicing Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists and dangerous by medical doctors who repair the damage they often do to each other.
As most people know, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has other Scriptures as well as the Bible. The Book of Mormon is the record of other civilizations on this continent, how they got here, thrived, decayed and were eventually totally destroyed. It warns all willing to pay attention, in or out of the LDS Church, that any group that follows the same path as those earlier civilizations will also be destroyed. If true, knowing why and how previous civilizations on this land were destroyed could give us some clues as to what we might avoid.
The Book of Mormon begins with the story of a Jewish family in Jerusalem, headed by Lehi, a minor prophet who was warned about 600 BC that the city would be destroyed. He was prompted to leave. They left, headed east, and eventually came to this land by boat, apparently by crossing the Pacific Ocean. They brought with them the records that had been written at that time containing parts of the Old Testament, including the Book of Isaiah. It also identifies this land as the "land of promise" that is preserved only for a "righteous people" (Book of Mormon, Ether 2:7-12). And it warns that any group of people who possess this land must serve "the true and only God," or they would be "swept off" this land."
How would that come about? Fairly early in the Book of Mormon two groups emerged - the followers of Nephi who remained a faithful follower of God and the followers of Laban, who was never much of a believer. The chapter titled Alma in the Book of Mormon, written about 526 years after the group arrived in this land and about 74 years before the birth of Jesus tells us about "A man of cunning device" and "of many flattering words" (Alma 46:10,13,17) named Amalickiah who led away "the hearts of many people to do wickedly, yea, and to seek to destroy the Church of God and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous sake."
At that time the Nephite people were free and the head of their government, the chief judge in the land, was Pahoran. Moroni, was commander in chief of the Army, who believed that the Savior would come as promised in Isaiah. Moroni raised a banner that he called "the title of liberty" and prayed that God would bless his people with liberty as long as there were true believers in Christ. Moroni armed himself and went forth among the people to lead them to "support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians." (Alma 48:10)
Those who were willing to stand and fight for their liberty, their lands, their wives and children, were called "Free-men" and followed Moroni. Those who refused to fight for their liberty, were demanding a king and allied themselves with the unbelieving enemy and Amalickiah, were called King-men. This quickly led to a contentious political situation as many people became weary of waiting for the signs that Christ had been born and began falling away from their church.
This led to "wars and contentions throughout all the land; for the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many of the people, and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land, that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them. (3 Ne 2: 11-12, 18)
Note that according to this account an increasing number of the nation's citizens were leaving the church and joining the Gadianton robbers who stole from others, often killing them, rather than working to produce their own needs. However, the righteous, faithful church members, followers of Moroni were building "houses of cement and keeping many records." (Helaman 3)
The major difference between the Gadianton Robbers and their followers and the righteous citizens of this ancient civilization appear to be the exact issues that are today dividing the people of the United States - and much of the rest of the world. It seems to be a tug of war between producers and non-producers; those who believe in God and the rule of law, and those that don't; those who believe that freedom and their religion are worth fighting for and those who do not. Once again we have a group quite like the Gadianton Robbers who prefer to murder and steal from others rather than work to produce what they need and who "dwell upon the mountains, and infest the land." We also seem to have king-men in America today who want a smooth, charismatic leader heading the government.
Four days after the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by modern day Gadianton Robbers, President George W. Bush told the American people: "Now we honor those who died, and prepare to respond to these attacks on our nation. I will not settle for a token act. Our response must be sweeping, sustained and effective. We have much do to, and much to ask of the American people. You will be asked for your patience; for, the conflict will not be short. You will be asked for resolve; for, the conflict will not be easy. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long.
"In the past week, we have seen the American people at their very best everywhere in America . Citizens have come together to pray, to give blood, to fly our country's flag. Americans are coming together to share their grief and gain strength from one another.
"Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others. Because this is America . This is who we are. This is what our enemies hate and have attacked. And this is why we will prevail."
Yet the great tragedy of 2001 has become just another political argument in 2008 and the words of President George W. Bush are now rejected by most of the American people. Since the election there has been very little condemnation of post election attacks where thousands of people have used LDS temples, churches and people as targets for their hate and demands for vengeance for passage of Proposition 8 in California. But there has been almost no rational discussion of a growing movement among homosexuals and lesbians that encourages and demands public approval of and even support for behavior that is known to cause premature death for its participants and has been condemned by most world religions and by the law for generations. Nor has there been much criticism of their threatening behavior, vandalism and hate speech towards LDS people, cars, temples and churches in this free land.
This does not bode well for future peace and prosperity for this great nation. Perhaps it will prompt thoughtful Americans, especially Mormons, to compare current news on their TV screens with Book of Mormon stories of other people who once lived on this land and failed to truly appreciate it.