I have written a bit about Prop. 8 in California here and here. As most people are no doubt aware, Prop. 8 failed in California, thus denying the rights of gay people to get married. As a result, there have been a number of protests in California. Eventually I do think Prop. 8 will be rightly overturned and people of the same gender will have the same rights as the rest of us. But, since Prop. 8 was largely funded by the Mormon Church, it seems only fair to shine a little light on them.
It is ironic that, given the early Mormon sanctioning of polygamy that they would see themselves as the champions of defining traditional marriage being only between one man and one woman. Although they did change these practices in 1890, due to government threats to seize temples, 60 years after the founding of the religion, various sects are well known to still accept the practice. Mormons are well known for their wonderful temples, but perhaps they ought to be more concerned with glass houses.
What about the religion itself? Of course, much of the history of the founding has been roughly captured in a famous documentary called South Park, an analysis of which can be found here. The founder Joseph Smith was a glass looker apparently. A con man like others who claimed to be able to find things such as hidden treasure by looking into glass or a special stone. It seems he then took this idea and embellished it by “finding” golden plates and translated them with “seer stones”. There story written thereon was a story of the Americas. From Skeptoid.com
The Mormons, formally and properly known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is the same as any other more conventional Christian church, but with the additional element of a belief that after the Resurrection, Jesus also appeared to peoples in the Americas. The story goes that a man in Jerusalem named Lehi built a boat for his family and sailed across the Atlantic to the American continent in about 600 B.C., and they became the forebears of the American Indian people of North and South America. The history of the continent was kept on gold tablets, passed from generation to generation, compiled by a warrior named Mormon and finally buried in upstate New York by his son Moroni. A golden statue of Moroni, now an angel and holding a long trumpet, stands atop most Mormon temples — all unofficially pointing toward Jackson County, Missouri, which Mormons believe is the geographic center of the continent, and where they believe Jesus will make his Second Coming.
More interesting information is at the site quoted. The story from the original tablets was lost, and of course, unable to reproduce it exactly, Smith came up with the same far fetched story from a different perspective, and of course, worded differently. That should have tipped off anyone who could rub two neurons together, but I guess he was a pretty good talker. Of course, modern science has also conclusively shown that there is no direct genetic link between the Hebrews and native Americans, so that alone pretty much discounts the reliability of any of the information Smith “gleaned” from the tablets. Hard for us to verify what the plates said though, as Angel Moroni(sic?) allegedly took them back.
So, bottom line? A powerful religious organization based on an obvious con that has not one iota of rational or scientific evidence to back it up, has, in the 21st century, worked diligently to restrict the rights of other people that don’t concern them. Human history continues as always.