What’s wrong with Lewis Black’s anti-Mormon rant

Print More

Lewis Black Mormon rantLewis Black has become the king of the rant, and part of his comedy routine is just to allow other people to rant. They send in letters that he reads aloud with comic asides liberally dosed with profanity.

One Black video that has gotten a lot of play in the last week and a half is a letter from Trevor Sepulvida, an 18-year-old from San Diego who resigned his membership from the LDS Church as soon as he became an adult. Black read Sepulvida’s resignation letter earlier this month as part of his The Rant Is Due: Part Deux performance.

Sepulvida sent his letter to the church just before the news broke about new Mormon policies that will prevent some children of LGBT families from being baptized. But, as he says, the idea that “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam only if my parents aren’t gay” doesn’t exactly sit well with him. (I am toning down the language significantly here, people. You’re welcome.)

In the letter, Sepulvida shows a strain of wry humor that’s similar to Black’s characteristic noir wit. “There’s a difference between eating McDonalds hamburgers and having to sell them,” Sepulvida says of his decision not to serve an LDS mission.

While I’m sympathetic to the frustration and anger Sepulvida feels about LDS policies on LGBTs and other issues, it’s worth exploring which of the claims he makes about Mormon history are factual and which are not. For example:

1. “This is the very church that institutionalized racism in both policy and scripture. It’s no coincidence that the prophet of the church received revelation about the membership of blacks the same week that President Jimmy Carter threatened the church’s tax-exempt status in 1978.”

This rumor has been around for some time now despite the lack of actual historical documentation to support it. FAIR MORMON does a debunking of the urban legend here, tracing the first time the allegation appeared in print in 2001 and exploring each piece of “evidence” of a threat from President Carter – like a  photo of Pres. Carter and LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball together.

VERDICT: False. Although there are a number of good historical reasons to think that the 1978 revelation had some human components, such as a 1974 lawsuit brought against the LDS Church’s scouting program by the NAACP (See Hawes, The Mormon Image in the American Mind, 70), there is no evidence that President Carter ever “threatened the church’s tax-exempt status in 1978.”

But bonus points should be awarded for creativity! I’ve never seen the ante upped like this by claiming that the threat occurred in “the same week” as the priesthood revelation. That’s a new one.

2. “This is the same church that institutionalizes homophobia, and continues to outwardly demonstrate how bigoted it is. Remember Prop 8? . . . I would like to see where the $20 million they spent on Prop 8 are now. Did they magically make their way to the Official Bank of Planet Kolob?”

VERDICT: False in the financial details, possibly true in the overall conclusion of bigotry. The “Church” did not spend $20 million defeating Proposition 8. In her essay on Proposition 8 in Mormonism and American Politics, author and scholar Joanna Brooks estimates that “individual Mormons contributed between 50 and 70 percent of the $40 million raised by ‘Yes on 8.’” (198)

The key distinction is that the money was donated by individual Mormons, not the LDS Church as an institution as Sepulvida’s letter implies. This may seem like a subtle difference, but try telling that to the IRS . . . .

Also, for the record, just focusing on the $20 million monetary figure also ignores the huge non-financial support that individual Mormons provided. “Acting on instruction from LDS Church leaders, LDS members had also been mobilized as precinct walkers, phone bankers, zip code area supervisors, and child care providers, in voter identification and get-out-the-vote efforts for a far-reaching and professionally orchestrated ‘grassroots’ campaign.’” (192) So in this way Sepulvida has actually underestimated Mormons’ responsibility for the passage of Prop 8.

3. “A leader of the Church actually referred to a young man’s penis as his ‘little factory’ in an anti-masturbation sermon.”

VERDICT: Totally and humiliatingly true.

Here is a link to Boyd K. Packer’s “To Young Men Only” talk from 1994.

I am still traumatized.

  • Marion F. S.

    I LOVE people that fact-check!
    Thank you Jana for fact-checking. 🙂

    (My jaw dropped out of amazement when I head the Carter-claim. He is a Saint already, but I had never heard this claim. Glad to know it’s not factual before I share it further.)

  • Danny S

    Jana, feel free to edit or just remove my last post. I didn’t realize how raw some of these memories are even now. I don’t want to poison your post.

  • Elder Anderson

    It’s comedy and artistic license, so I personally don’t expect Lewis Black to be factually correct. I’m originally from the South and I enjoy Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” routine. He paints a caricature of southerners and life in the South. Is it 100% factual? No. Is it hilarious? Yep.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I’m not comfortable with (the late) Elder Packer’s remarks from 20 years ago for multiple reasons, including the paucity of any doctrinal grounds to treat masturbation as a transgression, let alone a serious one. But I think it is not accurate (FALSE or MOSTLY FALSE in fact-checker argot) to say that Elder Packer referred to a man’s penis as a little factory. It is evident from the text that the “factory” is the testicles and entire male reproductive system. Calling the reproductive system a “factory” seems impossibly cute to our ears today, but I bet that was not an uncommon metaphor in the 50s and 60s. (Not so much the 90s, but Elder Packer was an old-fashioned kind of guy.)

    I suggest that mocking a dead man for being out of touch with contemporary pedagogic style is poor taste and that the specific claim here about the penis is false. (On the other hand, go to the Urban Dictionary and look up “sperm factory.” Maybe it’s not so old fashioned as I thought.)

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Well, maybe in the process you want to take back your insult to me (different thread) about being “unhinged.” “Spit on their corpses” doesn’t sound very well adjusted to me either, not to mention the disgusting profanity. Unhinged indeed.

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Jana wrote: “The key distinction is that the money was donated by individual Mormons….”

    At the insistence of their ecclesiastical leaders.

    I was there, Jana. Bishops and Stake Presidents were calling in members and telling them to contribute money and committing them to specific amounts. I personally know one individual who was told, by his Stake President, to donate $10,000 to Prop 8.

    If the church did that for refugees you would be gushing about how magnanimous they are, and giving them all the credit. In fact, recently when the LDS Church asked Mormons to help refugees that’s exactly what you did — you were positively glowing about how wonderful and loving the church is.

    So why the double standard when it comes to the church’s coordinated attempt to wring money out of members to support Prop 8?

    The church is good when members are good, but not responsible when members are bad?

  • Jen K.

    Thanks for fact-finding, Jana. I’m not sure bringing attention to the rant is helpful.
    (I’m not convinced Mr. Black and his audience are all that interested in precision or class.)

    I’m equally traumatized by the factory talk (it will be a long time before I can use the word ‘tamper’ without feeling super creepy).

    I’m more concerned that this remains on the church’s website:
    “There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just ‘that way’ and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men—masculine, manly men—ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.”

    Lives are lost over…

  • Jen K.

    Truncated comment. I ended with:
    Lives are lost over comments like these.

    Want to add: Just a few months ago in RS someone claimed they still believe being gay is a choice. Talks like this on lds dot org just bolster their opinion.

    This belief is killing people and tearing families apart. Literally.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It is still a key distinction in assessing the truth, or not, of the specific claim. Absolutely members were encouraged, even directly asked, to donate and to walk precincts and so forth. And if they didn’t want to (many did not) they didn’t.

    And why not? That wasn’t “being bad,” and I am very sick of self-righteous … well, I won’t sink to Danny S’ level. I am very sick of self-righteous persons heaping abuse on American citizens for the free exercise of political rights, such as the right to vote and to participate in political processes. This business of demanding that those with unapproved viewpoints just shut up is contrary to the founding principles of American democracy.

  • Sue

    Nope, Try. You WERE a little inhinged in your 3 part comments. And Danny has the grace to offer retraction.

  • Jay

    Carter may not have threatened to end the LDS tax exemptions because of their racism, but many universities threatened to refuse playing football against Brigham Young if the Church did not change its policies. Just as the University of Missouri football team successfully toppled a university president, so the threat of refusing to play racist schools in football successfully forced a change in LDS racial policies.

  • Danny S

    Sue, your comment is much appreciated. Nice try, err Try. The distinction between my comments here and your comments in the other post is that I directed my comments to the subject matter of the post rather than toward another commenter. Angry? At times, yes. Unhinged? No. I will go home tonight and love my family, have a couple of scotches and water, practice my golf swing, and relax. But after 50+ years of knocking myself out for a series of false premises and, frankly, non-sequiturs, I am touchy about some things, including the church’s condescension and paternalism. Comments by Packer, Kimball, McConkie, and their ilk, rankle me because fully conscious of their rock-star status they opine knowing that TBMs will drink that cool-aid and ask for even more. Then it turns out their “inspired” comments were nothing more than mere opinions given doctrinal status. But since this is a church that doesn’t offer apologies, the casualties are simply dismissed. Give Joseph a break!

  • Elder Anderson

    While we’re on the topic: I personally think we play a bit fast and loose with the “anti-Mormon” tag. In my view, it makes us sound insecure and touchy. Comedians are going to make fun of us, the media is going to be critical, folks are going to say stuff that’s factually wrong. As my old dad used to say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” We need to learn to laugh at ourselves and loosen up a little, in my opinion.

  • JD

    * 1970 The IRS mails a letter regarding racial discrimination to non-profit private educational institutions warning them their tax except status may be in jeopardy if they have racially discriminatory policies
    * This letter was the resulted in the Supreme Court decision Bob Jones University v. United States revoking their tax exempt status.
    * Solicitor General of the US Rex Lee(famous Mormon lawyer, BYU president) recused himself from the Bob Jones case because of a conflict when he represented the church when they “faced a problem like Bob Jones’s”. (The Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law [Lincoln Caplan] , Ch. 5)

    There weren’t many private schools in the United States in the 1970’s with discriminatory racial policies. Bob Jones and the LDS schools like BYU and RIcks would be ones with possible problems.

  • Danny Robertson

    There is likely a lot more that could be debunked in that screed, but I noticed that his basic number comprehension was weak. He was baptized at 8 but said he had to wait 8 years to legally resign (8+8 ≠ 18); 2). Also, he says that there are 12 lost tribes, instead of 10. I’ll give him 6 out of 5 for effort though 🙂

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    I think you’ve misunderstood what I’m trying to say.

    When they are trying to excuse the LDS Church for its very active role in Prop 8, Mormon apologists play the distinction that the church isn’t responsible for what the members do — even when the church is commanding the member to do it.

    But when they are busy promoting the church as a great philanthropic organization they don’t play the distinction at all — instead they aggressively promote the idea that the church deserves the credit whenever a member of the church does the tiniest good deed.

    I’m not saying the distinction between the church and members doesn’t matter, I’m saying that Mormon apologists are dishonest in applying the distinction in some instances, and not others.

    It’s a matter of consistency and not being hypocritical. Something that’s easier to internalize if your only mission isn’t to make others see it your way.

  • Joel

    JD,

    Spot on. Interestingly, the 1983 Bob Jones opinion from the Sup. Ct. arose from an underlying district court decision in 1978. So threats to BYU would have been in the background.

    Bob Jones came up during the Obergefell gay marriage case. Alito asked whether the precedent might threaten religious schools. The solicitor general conceded “I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is going to be an issue.”

  • Elder Anderson

    You guys seem to have some legal expertise, so I’ll ask you this: does the Church’s status as a corporation affect its legal standing and obligation to the U.S. government? As a corporation sole, might the Church risk a lawsuit or loss of its tax exempt status if it runs afoul of fundamental public policy? For example, if a party filed suit and demanded the Church perform same sex marriage ceremonies, might the Church (as a corporation sole, not a religious institution) be bound to do so?

  • Danny S

    Huge LOL. Well played, sir.

  • Joel

    Short answer: No.

    If the First Amendment stands for anything, it would prevent the government from punishing a religious organization (even with tax policy) for choices regarding sacraments and ordinances, selection of ministerial leaders, or unpopular doctrines —as long as there’s no criminal conduct, like polygamy, illicit drug use, animal sacrifice, etc. The ACLU would be the first to file an amicus brief in support of the church.

    Step outside the house of worship, however, it gets murkier. You could easily have issues with a church owned hospital, university, gym, adoption agency, etc. In that domain, the church is more likely to be regarded as an employer or owner, which merely happens to be a religion. Foreseeably, Church schools could also face difficultly qualifying for government grants and access to federal student-loan funds.

  • Jen K.

    Agree. I hardly know what to think of the term anti-Mormon anymore. The label has been so reactively overused to discredit any story or fact not faith-affirming, its definition has been rendered nearly meaningless.

  • Jack of Hearts

    To Young Men Only was actually given in 1976, not 1994. Though you are correct that it was reprinted as a pamphlet in 1994. But those additional 20 years may also help explain the verbiage.

  • Joel

    Elder Anderson,

    I failed to address an aspect of your question.

    Virtually every religious body/church interfaces with the government through a corporate identity. Catholics also use the corporation sole model. For instance, in the Chicago Archdiocese all diocesan property is held by “the Catholic Bishop of Chicago” as a corporation sole.

    Think if it this way, a group of people talking about the bible cannot own property. There has to be a name on deed.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    First, that wasn’t a retraction. He didn’t withdraw a single hateful thing he said; he just seemed to recognize that they might be “raw” and perhaps not the image he would like to project. We see how hateful he really is. “Spit on their corpses,” he said. Then he used explicitly obscene words directed to the deceased church leaders. There was no apology for that, Sue, so don’t lecture me. You go ahead and quote anything I wrote that justified the term “unhinged.” I responded with temper, to be sure, but none of this “spit on their corpses” hatred or anything even remotely like that. I even invented a sort of goofy euphemism (as I admitted) for the kind of people who deliberately leak confidential material to fuel unwarranted criticism, AND I explained why his snarky criticism of the LEGAL DRAFTSMANSHIP (for heaven’s sake) was unwarranted. THAT’s what you call “unhinged,” in comparison to the bitter, hateful, despicable language in that same gentleman’s…

  • trytoseeitmyway

    … that same gentleman’s comments here.

    (The “available characters” counter must be off. That’s regrettable because if a comment spills over into more than one field, people think it is “unhinged” or something.)

  • trytoseeitmyway

    So your comment was intended to be off-point. No surprise there.

  • Maddy

    Agree.
    “At the insistence of their ecclesiastical leaders.”

    Our stake leader(s) made a point to make an appearance during sacrament meeting to tell us we weren’t “doing enough” to support Prop 8.

    I haven’t heard anything about helping the refugees from local leaders.

  • He included another common error: that the church ended polygamy because it was denied statehood. The major impetus behind the change was clearly the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which contained harsh punishments for the church, its leaders and the members who practiced polygamy. The act was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court a few months before Wilford Woodruff’s announced the end of the practice.

    Also, if I heard correctly, the joke about selling McDonald’s hamburgers was a quote from a column in Newsweek, not the young man’s own words, although Lewis Black praised him for coming up with it and berated the audience for not laughing hard enough.

    And finally, Mormons did not pass Proposition 8. They *may* have made a critical difference, but that all. Mormons have been made scapegoats for a result that about half of Californians wanted.

  • Nice try. The university sports kerfuffles were from 1969 to early 1971, after which the public pressure virtually disappeared. The revelation was seven years later.

  • HarryStamper

    Prop 8 was the second proposition banning gay marriage in California. In the year 2000, prop 22 passed with 61% of vote, and eventual nullified. The church did very little in regards with that prop. Banning gay marriage was the will of the people in California …twice. Prop 8 passed with 52%…perhaps the church’s involvement hurt the passage, perhaps it did nothing in getting prop 8 passed.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Gee, you need some fact checking of your own. Possibly a typo, you didn’t post a valid URL. But you meant to refer to a 1997 (!) Time magazine article that breathlessly told its readers back then that the Church was growing and had a lot of assets. Wow. That’s like, amazing. Who knew, right? The article also mentioned that “Roman Catholic holdings dwarf Mormon wealth,” so I’m not sure what the real point was supposed to be. If the Church and its members were poor, you would surely comment adversely on that; the fact that you comment adversely because they’re not just shows your bias and unfairness. Thanks.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Predominately African-American inner-city churches and their members were also a major part of the campaign, as was the Catholic Church, but no one throws insults at them on account of it. The people throwing the insults prefer softer, more marginalized targets. They don’t dare scream their abuse at AME and others.

  • Garson Abuita

    And if a young man were to “tamper” with his “little factory,” what part of himself would he use to so tamper? The tl;dr for the speech could have been “Don’t Touch Your Penis.”

  • Larry

    He does not misunderstand your point Debbie. He is deliberately misrepresenting it for the sake of apologia by the LDS Church.

    It was well documented the church from the highest levels supported Proposition 8. But they didn’t feel like being accountable for doing so. Hence the very weak form of “plausible denial” by claiming it was merely individual effort. Pretending that the official stance of the church was to support it, that the church devoted organizational resources towards it and helped market the measure.

    Their rhetoric continues to support discrimination of gays both within the church and in our laws (which must have rational and secular purpose behind them).

  • Larry

    Harry, EVERY discriminatory law is passed by a majority vote. Calling it the “will of the people” and claiming it was above criticism is disingenuous and ignores the principles of the Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment. That the will of the majority is not license to attack the rights of a political minority.

    Banning gay marriage was an attack on the rights of gays in California. Especially since it nullified about the marriage of about 20,000 couples in the state. More importantly there was absolutely no rational and secular purpose to the law (a mandatory requirement to avoid running afoul of the Establishment Clause).

    To this day those who seek to ban marriage equality can’t cough up rational and secular purposes behind such bans. This is why they lost in the Supreme Court.

  • Josh Dobbins

    False. The talk by Elder Packer is appropriately titled. The spirit of his talk addresses a delicate subject masterfully. When you read his whole talk from the perspective of a young man it is clear that he is addressing the importance of guarding the sacred power of procreation. This talk could be a great help to a young man in 1955, 1975, 1995 or 2015.

  • Garson Abuita

    Josh, that has nothing to do with Try To See It My Way’s apologetics for the Packer talk. Do you really think any of the males present had any misunderstanding as to what not tampering with your little factory meant?

  • Maddy

    Harry,
    The LDS church, through its members, was heavily involved with the passage of Prop 22 just as it was for Prop 8–ask any LDS member living in CA at the time. President Hinckley issued a letter, read in every congregation which urged members to donate time and money for the passage of Prop 22. Prop 22 was overturned because it was found to violate the state constitution. Prop 8 was an effort to amend the state constitution.

    On a side note, I’ve heard members claim that the Proclamation on the Family (issued in 1995) was a result of amazing inspiration to leaders warning of same-sex marriage. But what many members don’t know is the issue of same-sex marriage and LDS church awareness began in 1993 in Hawaii and a statement by the First Presidency in 1994.

  • HarryStamper

    Hi Maddy, very aware of what you said. My point only being, in my opinion, the effort by the membership in Prop 22 was 1/3 of what it was for Prop 8. The vote margin was 9% less for prop 8. The LDS Church seems to get all the blame (or credit) for passage of Prop 8. Perhaps not so, one could conclude that the heavy church involvement retarded the turnout (no pun intended). Also as another pointed out, the Catholic church and African American community supported Prop 8. I’m not advocating for or against it at this point, I don’t think the facts support the only reason prop 8 passed was due to the heavy LDS church involvement

  • Ben in oakland

    Not half of Californians, not by a long shot.

    Half of the eligible voters who bothered to vote. Election turnout was 33% of eligible voters. 17% for prop 8, 16% against.

  • There is good evidence that the cases against schools like Bob Jones University in 1970 (because of prohibiting interracial dating) caused the LDS hierarchy to consider the policies affect on BYU and that was part of the 1978 change. Rex Lee Mormon lawyer and later president of BYU had to recuse himself in 1981 in the continuation of the Bob Jone litigation because “he had argued (between 1970 and 1978) that the Church should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case. (see, ‘The Tenth Justice,’ [by] Lincoln Caplan, Knopf, 1987, p. 51,

    In 1974 a suit was brought against the LDS Church for excluding boys from scouts (priesthood) based on race. President Spencer W. Kimball “had been subpoenaed to testify” in November 1974 but the suit was dismissed after all parties to the suit signed an agreement stating the alleged discrimination ‘has been discontinued.

  • There is good evidence that the cases against schools like Bob Jones University in 1970 (because of prohibiting interracial dating) caused the LDS hierarchy to consider the policies affect on BYU and that was part of the 1978 change. Rex Lee Mormon lawyer and later president of BYU had to recuse himself in 1981 in the continuation of the Bob Jone litigation because “he had argued (between 1970 and 1978) that the Church should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case. (see, ‘The Tenth Justice,’ [by] Lincoln Caplan, Knopf, 1987, p. 51,

    In 1974 a suit was brought against the LDS Church for excluding boys from scouts (priesthood) based on race. President Spencer W. Kimball “had been subpoenaed to testify” in November 1974 but the suit was dismissed after all parties to the suit signed an agreement stating the alleged discrimination ‘has been discontinued.

  • JD

    Joel,

    I’m glad you also see the connection to the Bob Jones case. I wanted to clarify a few points for others reading along here.

    * LDS Church institutions like BYU, Ricks, BYUH, & Polynesian cultural center were likely the type of entities in any sort of tax jeopardy. Not the church itself.

    * The conflict of interest with Rex Lee was not the well known Corporation of Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. Amos(1987).

  • Debbo

    That was hilarious! Lewis Black is very funny and the letter writer was too.

    As someone said in an earlier comment, lighten up!

  • HarryStamper

    Larry…..”will of the people” is what it is…..majority vote twice, also 30 other states voted to support traditional marriage at that time in 2008. It may not be right but it was the will of the people…..just facts…..has nothing to do with being disingenuous.
    Arguments…??? you say it must be rational and secular?…
    Okay….my rational argument for voting for Prop 8….Presidential candidate Barrack Hussein Obama was against Gay marriage and spoke out during his campaign. In support of our first African American President I followed his lead. Secular..??? well that’s a problem…..if you use only secular arguments….I supposed you nullify the whole Declaration of Independence and the Constitution….remember nature’s god, endowed by our creator, we rely on the protection of divine providence……..also President Barrack Hussein Obama would agree….he was a constitutional scholar and law professor…..he mentions this numerous times.

  • HarryStamper

    Ben…your wrong….State of California list’s the official turnout at 79.42%….over 13.7 million people voted…..In fact, this was one of the best turn out’s in decades…..thus supporting the argument…”will of the people”….they wanted to be heard.

  • Bernardo

    No not bias just rational thinking. An example of rational reviewing and conclusions:

    And the infamous angelic/satanic cons continue to wreak horror, terror and stupidity

    Joe Smith had his Moroni and Satan/Perdition/Lucifer. (As does M. Romney)

    “Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God and of course Satan and his demons.

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tin-kerbell” got around) and of course the jinn.

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Continued below:

  • Bernardo

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty wingie/ugly/horn-blowing thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

  • Bernardo

    Very strange blog when comments are routinely placed out of chronological order.

  • That was exactly my point. There is no way of telling why elections turn out the way they do. It is possible that the church’s involvement affected the vote by some small amount, but even that is not certain. There is no way of knowing. And I totally agree with trytoseeitmyway that Mormons are targeted because they are a small, already-unpopular group.

  • “…it’s worth exploring which of the claims Mormonism makes are factual and which are not…”

    It is worth it:

    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  • Not An Elder

    If the test for religion is going to be facts then a lot of faiths are in trouble. Where, for instance, are the golden plates on which the Mormon faith is based? As to racism, the central point is that blacks had second-class sainthood for more than a century of church teachings.

    Lewis Black is a comedian, a social commentator. He is not writing textbooks. Get a life.

  • Mike

    Rather than rely on cynical speculation, here’s the best and most complete explanation I’ve seen about the change in priesthood policy. https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/7325/6974

  • Larry

    In your attempt to justify discriminatory laws, you are failing to understand that there are certain things you are not allowed to become laws, even with the majority vote. Laws which attack the fundamental civil liberties of various groups falls under that category. Think about it this way, such principles of law what kept people from banning the LDS church through legislative means.

    ” It may not be right but it was the will of the people”

    I am glad you are acknowledging it was not right. Jim Crow was also the will of the people in the same respect. 🙂

    “Arguments…??? you say it must be rational and secular?”

    The Supreme Court came up with that one. (See Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971) You really don’t understand my point with that one at all and have gone off the deep end. A law which has no rational and secular purpose can only be seen as a form of sectarian discrimination &/or a violation of the Establishment Clause. Our laws are not there to further your faith.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Garson, I don’t know how you would read the first sentence of my comment and still describe it as “apologetics.” I was striving for accuracy. A concept foreign to you, I realize.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    “They didn’t feel like being accountable for doing so.” That’s baloney. The Church is and was perfectly accountable for everything it actually did. What you shouldn’t do is claim it did things it didn’t. That was, and remains, the original point.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I bet they don’t allow you near sharp objects.

  • HarryStamper

    Larry…you say..”Our laws are not there to further your faith.”…..I couldn’t agree more. But……..The passage of Prop 8 protected my faith, my religious beliefs….. a duty of the government to protect. Christians view marriage as between a man and woman……it’s now been bastardized by all these changes, now as a practicing Christian, I feel marginalized, I feel persecuted, you have no idea how many Christians you have hurt with your hate and bigotry, I even know many who prefer remaining in the closet than telling their co-workers.

  • HarryStamper

    Larry…I gave you a secular reason…Barrack Hussein Obama…..his reasons were my reasons, I appreciated his wise constitutional background. In 2004, Obama called himself a “fierce supporter” of civil unions, but said he did not support gay marriage, suggesting his position was rooted in religious beliefs. In 2008 presidential candidate Obama told Pastor Rick Warren he sees marriage as being “between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” He added that as a Christian, he viewed that bond as a “sacred union. God’s in the mix.” On MTV on Nov. 1, 2008, Obama also said, “I’ve stated my opposition to this. I think it’s unnecessary. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. And, I’m not in favor of gay marriage.

  • MormonForever

    It is a choice a lifestyle choice

  • Larry

    Your denial flies in the face of available facts and smacks of apologia. Veracity impairment in its most obvious form.

  • Larry

    Harry, Prop 8 could not be justified as anything but supporting your faith. That is why it had no business existing on the books. Religious freedom means nobody ever has to be compelled to care what your religion says on a given subject.

    “Christians view marriage…” is immaterial to whether a law has a legitimate purpose.

    You feel persecuted because you were denied the ability to persecute others. Get bent! You don’t get to call people bigots when you support discriminatory laws. You don’t get to cry foul when your attacks on others fail.

    Your “secular reason” was partisan arglebargle. An appeal to authority which changed over time. Not an actual reason. You don’t have one. You don’t even get what “secular” means here. If people who supported gay marriage bans had rational and secular reasons for them, they would not have lost in Court. “My religion says so” is never a justification for our laws.

  • DrExCathedra

    This is a man, Reb Black I mean, who has taken his alienation and outraged sense of superiority and made it into a career of nihilistic ranting. Why anyone should care what he says about anything is beyond me.

  • Debbo

    DrExCathedra, Lewis Black is very funny. He rants are mostly about things we should be outraged about! He gives voice to the things we’d like to say. I don’t agree with all of his choices, but I appreciate his sense of the ridiculousness of some of the double speak blathered about.

    DEC, Lewis Black is no more superior or nihilistic than any of us commenting here, including both of us.

    Just for you: Comments made from one’s elevated equine are often ineffective.

    Lastly, don’t take Black’s comedy so seriously!

  • HarryStamper

    Larry as said before Prop 8 was meant to defend traditional marriage do to your attacks. For example, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco authorized gay marriages in defiance of California Law which prohibited it. Remember the clerk in Kentucky who was arrested for “defying” the law. For the most part, Prop 8 was a response to Mayor Newsom and others. You say Prop 8 is “discriminatory law”, not at all…the law applies to all, male and female, black, white, old and the young…you get the point. It applied to all citizens of California. It may be bad law…but to say it discriminated is simply not the truth. Also, Prop 8 was not law, it amended the constitutional definition of marriage “as between a man and woman.” One sentence…that’s all. Saying “my religion” is no justification for law. Yes it is, over 60% of all marriages are performed in churches or by a licensed pastors (Bishops) in America, maybe not in a church…but performed by. It’s not all civil.

  • Garson Abuita

    Trytoseeitmyway, please explain to me what I said that was inaccurate. Otherwise refrain from your childish insults.

  • clay

    The majority of his statements are true. The prop 8 fight was an end road around the law.The Jimmy Carter claim might be false, but the institutionalized racism claim is true. Their god is still a hateful bigot.

  • “VERDICT: False. Although there are a number of good historical reasons to think that the 1978 revelation had some human components… there is no evidence that President Carter ever “threatened the church’s tax-exempt status in 1978.”‘

    While is it true that the President Carter rumor is without substance, as you said well Jana, there is still substantial evidence that other “secular” factors were in play in 1978. For example as Jim Huston has noted well:

    “Indeed, it’s true that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not directly threatened directly by the changes in tax law during the 1970’s but their wholly owned schools were. The financial ramifications in conjunction with the possible political embarrassment made for an untenable situation – one that I wonder if was engineered in part by Spencer W. Kimball. He was a supporter of the change in 1969.”
    http://beggarsbread.org/2013/08/19/what-we-do-know-about-the-1978-revelation/

  • John Minagro

    I’m coming into this very late. But after reading the article and the comments I really have to say this: If the Mormon Church president had asked its members to support Prop 8, the membership would have bent over backwards to find a reason in their hearts to support and do what Monson asked them to do. This is what is so insidious about the Mormons and how they do things. They demand absolute obedience to their church and its teachings; it’s the first covenant they make in their temples. Either you do, or you’re not. And I maintain that Mormons, like sheep, DO what their leaders tell them to do or think. If Monson told them to support same sex marriage, they would. Because they do what they’re told.