Are All Mormon Owned Businesses Fair Game?

Posted on 18 November 2008 by admin

The Desert Sun has an article about boycott efforts and suspicion of Mormon business owners, and reports that some are advocating a boycott of all LDS owned businesses — regardless of financial support to passing Proposition 8.  “I didn’t make a contribution. I’m just so exhausted explaining myself,” said Rick Seidner, who has owned Rick’s in Palm Springs for 23 years. 

Perhaps I’m guilty of profiling or stereotyping, but I think it’s reasonable for me to use caution when I encounter Christian fish symbols, confederate flags, gun racks in trucks and now Mormons.   And considering that I came close to not speaking to my parents for awhile because of their position on Prop 8, the slightest bit that triggers my memory of this travesty is enough for me to find somewhere else to do business.

This poses a dilemma for me.  On one hand, there’s my Mormon family, and I don’t want to see them harassed, threatened or hurt.  Plus, some of my Mormon family was against Prop 8.  On the other, as a Gay man, I have always been uneasy patronizing businesses where I feel a need to be “in the closet” because it’s apparent that they might not like my sexual orientation. Perhaps I’m paranoid, but I’ve sometimes even allowed incorrect assumptions about my orientation so as not to put a haircut underway at risk.

I don’t think there is an easy answer to this, but here are my thoughts:

  • Businesses that supported Prop 8 are certainly fair game, both for protesting and boycott.
  • It seems entirely reasonable to want to patronize businesses where you are comfortable being yourself and feel fairly certain you’re not being judged, or worse, funding support of hateful causes.
  • I think that it’s totally appropriate to let Mormon people know that you oppose what the Mormon church did with Prop 8. If one thing has changed since the election, I hope that it will be more people speaking up about gay and lesbian discrimination.
  • Any business, Mormon or otherwise, can take the simple step of posting a sign on the premises urging the repeal of Prop 8, or make a public statement against it.
  • Even if a businesses can’t bring themselves to come out against Prop 8, they can put a small rainbow flag next to the credit card stickers on the door as a discreet branch to reach out to the gay and lesbian community.  It could help, and yes, I suppose this could be misused.  At least it would be a nice gesture.

As unpleasant as this is, for me as a gay person, I want to know if someone is against me.  As much as possible, I want to know if someone wants to rule my life, or if they respect me as a fellow human and understand that it isn’t their place, or the governments place, to do so.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Daniel Says:

    I find it hard to understand any Mormon who is opposed to Proposition 8 be able to stay in a church that openly discriminates against the gay and lesbian population. In fact it is my belief that while some members might not have participated directly with the Yes on Prop8 campaign, their mere acceptance of the Mormon principal and following of the Church that basically tells them that they must obey their philosophy or be excommunicated tells me that they either directly or indirectly support such action that was no doubt preached to them. It is every person’s right in business or religion to accept its philosophy or not. One cannot pick and choose what to and not to believe and still be true to his religion. If they were to stand up to their preacher or minister whatever the case is in this religion I am sure they would be met with resistance and possible excommunication. Thus I believe they accept the church’s position on Prop 8 and I disagree with that.

  2. PJ Says:

    Then you have absolutely no clue as to how the Church has tradtionally not delved into the political scene.

    As an LDS member I remember Gordon B Hinkley stating in Conferences several times about the wisdom of keeping the Church out of political turmoil. There is a part of me that really wishes he had still been kicking during this and might have been more of a voice of reason and calm.

    I might think homosexuality is wrong, but I might also want gay peoples rights protected. I don’t believe in Islam, but I wholeheartedly condemn post- 9/11 beatings and ‘retribution’ that some folks decided they had to give as part of this tragedy, and I recognize the rights of mosques to exist in this ‘land of the free’. When we take away the rights of one, we diminish the rights of all — and as the LDS faith was technically outlawed in several states and labeled secessionist by James Buchanan, I’m all about protecting EVERYONES rights.

    This also means I condemn the 20 year old LDS Samoans who tried to give a beat down at the LDS Temple in LA. And those who spray-painted the temple.

    Where’s the boycott of black businesses for the 87% of blacks according to the exit polls, that voted for Prop8? Oh, but that would be racist– and we can’t be bigots and still throw stones. . No, this sounds like its a convenient way to do a lil retribution and not feel guilty because the target is legally not a minority.

    And where does it end? Do we start boycotting businesses over their associations to organizations that may disagree on the Abortion question? Or Sexual Harasssment? (i.e. Should we boycott all businesses of Democrats for supporting politicians who have flaunted sexual harassment laws?)

    You want the freedom to marry who you want. I want to exercise my freedom of religion. I think both are possible..

    I’m an LDS Member, and I approve this message.

  3. admin Says:

    Thanks for your post, PJ. I’m grateful that you understand why I’m so upset with the church — not only for its massive directive for members to back this but because I too remember many talks like you mention.

    “When we take away the rights of one, we diminish the rights of all” is such an apt quote here.

    As for the Black community, I think the initial exit polls said it was about 70% for prop 8, but since then I’ve seen some analysis saying that was very overblown. Regardless, they are not the community who put up a majority of the money to run the ads (and ads that must be objectively ruled as deceptive), and they were not the massive force on the streets that the mormons were. That’s what the gay community (and especially me personally) is upset about.

  4. PJ Says:

    The problem is that you are so upset, that you wish to become the opposition, and you only heard ***some*** of what I said.

    Personally, I think you’ve got a gripe, but its not my fight to fight. But if I am a small business owner and I am LDS, the movement is to now make me pay, and pay dearly. And mercy is only to be given, as some affiliate site you link to, etc, is if I go out of my way to vehemently publicly suddenly become a soldier in your army. Because if I am not part of the solution I am part of the problem.

    So we substitute one form of intolerance for another. And one form of bigotry for another. And things become wider and wider. Recently I was referred to as “One of those damn Mormons.” by someone I thought was a friend. Someone I do volunteer work with, helping some folks who help the homeless. And the only way I can redeem myself is if I go protest outside my place of worship? (That person has basically chosen not to speak to me outside of one time after the election.)

    Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way for me.

    Again, I think you’ve got a beef, but economically taking it out on individuals just becasuse of their membership is just as bad as if the Yes on 8 folks organized and decided to stop buying goods from anyplace that employed homosexuals, bi-sexuals or transgenders. Declaring war is the McCain way, and is how he basically lost the election.

    I also don’t buy the whole, well the black community didn’t spend the money, etc. They voted and voted hardcore against your efforts. That makes them the enemy by all you and your affiliate sites statements. But you can’t go against Black run businesses because you can’t run the risk of being seen as racist. But going after individual Mormons, that’s OK, because they are not seen as a ‘protected class’. Come on over here to Pittsburgh where we had one donor from the ward according to

    Im going to repost one of my paragraphs from earlier for emphasis:

    “And where does it end? Do we start boycotting businesses over their associations to organizations that may disagree on the Abortion question? Or Sexual Harasssment? (i.e. Should we boycott all businesses of Democrats for supporting politicians who have flaunted sexual harassment laws?)”

    Where does it end? It ends when we all say it’s over.

    When those who truly want Same-Sex marriages listen to Dr King. Dr. King never EVER advocated retribution, but the continued peaceful protest. March on Washington, hell, you’ve got enough celebs, where’s the 25 city (which will skip Pittsburgh like all *good* music does) tour for the fund raise for the next round? And you keep going each round, and if your cause is just it’ll happen. The second you drop to the level of an opponent that you claim to oppose on ethical or moral grounds, you then become them and surrender the high ground.

    “When we take away the rights of one, we diminish the rights of all” – Any infringment does not give the rights of the wounded to infringe on another! If you in your case for the right to marry, then decide to infringe on my right to practice my religion, you have then become what you yourself hate.

    So, since they are now counting all the absentee ballots– Does the Mormon Retribution only happen if the ballots don’t go your way? Or will you also bring the sword of vengence even in victory? I’d like to at least know what to expect in backlast to my own person.

  5. admin Says:

    Thanks for coming back to reply, PJ.

    I do hear where you’re coming from. I’m torn on the issue myself, with a large extended LDS family. My parents, small business owners and retirees, own a small business. Of course I don’t want to see them harassed even though they voted yes on 8.

    As I said in my original post, “considering that I came close to not speaking to my parents for awhile because of their position on Prop 8, the slightest bit that triggers my memory of this travesty is enough for me to find somewhere else to do business.”

    For me, my baseline position is it’s not about punishing the business or it’s owner as much as it is protecting me from being “triggered” to remember how deeply, deeply hurt I feel. It’s the same reason I’m not spending Thanksgiving with my family this year.

    On a secondary level, if a business actively supported and funded prop 8, perhaps I do want to punish them… or make them aware of the hurt they’ve caused… or hope that by calling them out they’ll think about what they’ve done… or make others who have been similarly hurt know what the business has done.

    You say, “infringement does not give the rights of the wounded to infringe on another!”

    I don’t think that’s what is happening here — at least by the MAJORITY of the gay community. I feel we’re simply making our feelings about being infringed upon know, and hopefully most directly to the actual businesses that supported prop 8 and the infringement. As for other LDS owned businesses that have no record of support, I might simply stay away to avoid having the pain resurface by being triggered.

    You’re right: I do have a beef with the mormon church, and the vast support the members gave towards wounding me. While I don’t take joy in seeing the public become more negative towards mormons, I do think that this might be the only thing to get mormons out of their “bubble” to actually critically think about what has gone on here.

  6. admin Says:

    One more comment, PJ. I didn’t directly address your reply about the Black community. Again, I’ll stand by my position that I’m upset about the Mormon influence and the deceptive campaign that was run through mormon church members funding.

    I was out in front of the LA temple with a “stop the mormons” sign for two weeks before the election, before I had any idea how the black community was going to vote. I hope that you’ll accept that as proof of MY intentions, whatever you believe about the rest of the gay community.

    I’m further upset because this brings me into inner turmoil about the way I was raised, about the church having a prophet on the face of the earth. I can bear my testimony to you that God would have made the prophet aware of the deception in the campaign, and about how wrong it was to get the church into this mess.

    As you said in your first post, President Hinkley might have had a very different stance if he were still with us.

    What does all this mean about the truth of the church and having a prophet who speaks with god on the face of the earth? Those are the kinds of questions that really cause me a lot of inner turmoil. To me, it is evidence that the church is not true. And I spend a lot of time thinking about how without question, I was taught that it is true. And how I feel about my parents and family following a church that I think is wrong, untrue, and headed by a false prophet.

    I don’t mean to offend you or try to persuade you by telling you this. I’m just sharing my inner turmoil about it all.

  7. vance Says:

    Dear Daniel, PJ, et al;

    I would like to sincerely thank you for your insights, thoughts and comments.

    There was an important realization that I had to come to peace with or I would have walked away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, yet again.

    Please allow me to state my “Rat’s Ass” philosophy as formulated for my gay nephew in his response to an email my dear brother posted to our family in support of Proposition 8. It is simply that God doesn’t give a rat’s rosey little red behind about our politics. He is only concerned with our path back to Him. That is an individual path, it is tailored for each of us to expose our blemishes and allow us whatever resources we deem necessary to make course corrections we deem necessary.

    In other words, all roads lead Home brothers and sisters, however long or tortuous we make it is our decision.

    In my mind, it simply isn’t useful to allow myself to be knocked off balance by the actions of others. The High Priest Quorum is full of juveniles, for example. Did these guys get grade-promotions? But if I allow myself to dwell on that, I’m missing the point of life entirely.

    There is only one peace, and that is the Peace of God. He is within us. All the rest we do for pleasure are fun and games, satisfying to the mind, ego or body but are in reality distractions to the universal truth at the core of all religion philosophy. That truth is: Love is the most powerful force in the universe and is the basis of all other laws. Love moves mountains, composes symphonies and creates beauty and harmony.

    I don’t know why God does what He does. My only job in this life is to learn to love. Simple. Damn difficult.

    God is not a bigot. He is our Servant, our Creator, our Father (if you prefer), and our greatest lover. If we love Him and follow His example, other’s perceived foolishness will not be upstting but be recognized as part of our path. Life is hard. We don’t get polished with a feather-duster.


  8. Mike Says:

    You have a right to wanna protest anybody you want. However, I think you all are cowards. African Americans came out in droves and voted almost 70% against same sex marriage. Tom Hanks and gay america only look for the easy way out and go after a religion that is easy to pick on. Where is the out rage against blacks or latinos that voted against it? Stop being cowards and protest everybody that is involved. Why do you discriminate against the others that voted against you?

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Equality California estimates that Mormons donated as much as $20 million to Prop. 8, while the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal group, gave $1.25 million to the effort and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, $200,000.



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