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During the Prop 8 aftermath I watched as the manager of the landmark El Coyote restaurant sobbed through a community meeting, trying to stave off a boycott of her family business. Her Mormon bishop had told her to write a check to support Prop 8, and she did, even though she claimed she loved her LGBT customers and employees. It was stunning and appalling. 8: The Mormon Proposition takes us into the mindset of Mormon leaders and their followers like Margy who were just following The Prophet’s orders.
The film uses the wedding of Spencer Jones and Tyler Barrick as a linchpin, exploring their past and connections to the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints; as their story and those of others–including activist Fred Karger–unfold, we see the effects of Mormon politics and theology on individuals, states and our country. 8: The Mormon Proposition exposes a very ugly side of the political process, specifically how the Mormon Church carefully and successfully orchestrated a ballot initiative in Hawaii 1996 to quash same-sex marriages, and again 12 years later, in California using the same methods.
Filmmaker Reed Cowan reveals the Mormon machinations behind the scenes and in their temples, how Mormon leaders leveraged money, manpower and their adherents’ salvation in order to force their plans for, and vision of, Heaven onto America.
Interviews and archival footage combine seamlessly to prove the point: A theocratic putsch was at work during the 2008 election and is at work now to deny Americans equal rights. But the film goes deeper than just the political process; it gives a human face to the homophobia–oh let’s just call it by it’s name, “hatred,”–at work in the LDS.
Cowan, himself a former Mormon, also explores how Mormon theology has painfully destroyed the lives of many of their followers and families. Interviews with LGBT former-Mormons and their families, victims of Mormon reparative therapy, LGBT who have been forced out of their communities and families, and those who have lost loved ones to suicide, show a painful human side to the religion’s harsh dictates.
The film also raises questions about religions’ place in politics and their tax exempt status, as does this news article:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to pay a small fine for failing to properly report about $37,000 in contributions on behalf the successful effort to pass Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California…
In a statement, the gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign said the fine reflects “a pattern of blatant disregard for California election laws and provides ongoing evidence that the Mormon Church was a significant leader in the campaign to repeal marriage equality, even while it evaded standard reporting requirements and denied its involvement.”
8: The Mormon Proposition opens June 18 in select theaters and Movies on Demand.