Sunday, July 06, 2014

8: The Mormon Proposition (2010)

Note:  This is a review that was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Every so often, I get the urge to watch a documentary.  I usually chose something on religion or homosexuality mostly because it amazes me how far some people will go in the name of one or the other.  (It’s odd considering that I’m a straight atheist.)

When I first came across 8: The Mormon Proposition, I decided to rent it from NetFlix.  As you might imagine, it’s about a proposition numbered 8 and was backed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes abbreviated LDS.  (You may know them better as Mormons.)  California had passed a law allowing for gay marriage.  Proposition 8 aimed to repeal that law and define marriage as between a man and a woman.  The Mormons had had some success in Hawaii with similar issues and had moved on to California, despite the fact that Mormons are mostly in Utah.

Surveys and studies showed that it was probably best not to advertise that the proposition was backed by the Church of Latter-Day Saints, so a coalition was formed to put a different name and face on it.  When Mormons were asked to go door to door, they were told not to wear the attire usually associated with Mormons.  The Catholic Church was also invited to be part of a coalition to put a more mainstream face on the cause.  Their position on homosexuality is different than that of the LDS.  The Catholic Church had to step out, as they felt that the LDS position was incompatible with theirs.

This left the Mormons to raise money on their own.  Since they had records of what members gave to the Church, they had a good idea of what people could contribute to the cause.  Since Mormons are supposed to obey what the leaders tell them to do, they would send the requested amount of money to a P.O. box.  As a result of the campaign, the proposition passed by four percentage points.

The movie did bring up some interesting points.  They showed how Mormon parents who defended a gay child could be cut off from the group.  Also, what is a group found primarily in Utah trying to take away rights from people in California?  They explained the Church’s position on homosexuality and why they’re against it, but I felt that the documentary could have been done better.  The movie ran for 80 minutes and seemed to have a lot of filler.  There was stuff on the suicide rate among gays in Utah.

The movie could have been done better.  It seemed like the producers could have talked to more people or gone more into the religious aspect.  I think part of my interest in documentaries like this is a need to understand what people have against other people.  I don’t think the movie did enough to really focus on that.

I have yet to see a serious argument against homosexuality other than a religious one.  This isn’t some guy going around on a personal crusade.  This is an actual religious organization doing this.  It seems so odd that one group of people would be so demonized that they’d be willing to put in that kind of effort.  I suppose every group needs their demon.

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