It is not safe to be a Mormon who disagrees with the anti-gay political activism of the Church of Latter Day Saints.
When I wrote a blog post on the backlash against the LDS Church because of its activist role and financial support for California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, I received numerous responses from Mormons who said that they were afraid to speak out against the LDS Church’s anti-gay activism.
Many said that they were opposed to the LDS Church’s position on gay rights, but could not make their opposition public for fear of attacks on themselves and their families.
If their opposition to the church, and their support for gay rights, became known, “in Mormonland [it] could get me in a lot of trouble.”
Especially troubling to Mormons who disagree with the LDS Church’s position on gay rights are threats to their families if they dare to make their disagreement public.
One Mormon wrote: “as you may have perceived, the Mormon Church is highly centralized/organized and church members are easy to trace via computer records. Church members are free to say anything we like privately (of course), but once our critical opinions become public, we are setting ourselves up for estrangement and possible excommunication.”
“For those of us who have long been at odds with the church on issues of racism, homophobia, and sexism, this is no longer much of a threat. However we restrain ourselves out of consideration for family members who believe that excommunication means that we will no longer be together as an extended family in the hereafter.”
“Mormon authorities achieve [suppression of opposition] through the threat of disfellowshipment (a lesser form of shunning) or excommunication. Several of my acquaintances have been excommunicated for comments that became public, so I know from experience that this is not an empty form of retribution.”
At a time when supporters of Proposition 8 and the anti-gay activism of the LDS Church are now hypocritically accusing anti-Prop 8 supporters of bigotry, more should be known about how the LDS Church silences opposition within the LDS community.
If you are a member of the LDS Church, or have LDS family members, and are opposed to the official LDS anti-gay theology and activism, please comment, anonymously or using a pseudonym if you think it is necessary.