2008: Students Urged to Vote Yes on Prop. 8 / BYU Newsnet

See the original of this article on the BYU Newsnet website at this link.

Thanks much,

Steve St.Clair
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Students Urged to Vote Yes on Prop. 8
By Caitlin McCain10 Oct 2008

BYU students from California listened in Provo stake centers on Wednesday, as LDS Church leaders led a broadcast regarding the church’s support of Proposition 8, the California amendment overturning same-sex marriage.

“You don’t expect the church to get behind things like this,” said Chelsea Martinez, 20, a statistics major from Gonzales, Calif., who viewed the broadcast at a local stake center.

Similar to other students attending the broadcast, Martinez’s parents have participated in the church’s effort by going door-to-door to identify voter preferences and are working to persuade undecided voters to help pass Proposition 8.

During the broadcast, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles focused on the importance of family and marriage and encouraged both single and married students to “use their unique position to influence the world for good.”

Speaking to young members, Elder Ballard said “You are critical in this effort because so many of you are connected.”

He urged listeners to join in the conversation through the Internet and to “be strong in defending our position.”

Elder Ballard admitted he didn’t understand how the Internet works and said it is the responsibility of young members to work together to share the message of Proposition 8 and protect what is “most sacred.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles reminded young adults to be respectful of others’ opinions as they share their own and he reinforced the principle of tolerance.

He said the world’s definition of tolerance has come to mean condone. However, tolerance “does not require abandoning one’s standards,” he said.

Members can love someone without forfeiting their standards and beliefs in exchange for friendship, Elder Cook said.

He presented three specific consequences that would occur if Proposition 8 failed. He said curriculum in public schools would change, resulting in young children being taught about same-sex marriage; religious adoption agencies that refuse to let same-sex couples adopt will be forced to shut down; and religious tax-exempt status will only apply to religions complying with same-sex marriage.

Elder Cook reemphasized Elder Ballard’s encouragement of sharing the gospel through the Internet.

“It is my hope that you will engage. It is my hope that you will go viral,” he said.
Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy presented additional resources available to members and described the grassroots effort of the church.
He explained three phases the church is undergoing to help Proposition 8 pass. The first phase involves members canvassing to identify voter preferences. The second phase is advocacy and persuasion of undecided voters. The third stage is to “get out the vote.”

Other Catholic and Evangelical churches are also inviting their members to join the coalition, so it is the responsibility of church members to enlist the help of their own people, Elder Ballard said.

The broadcast ended with a summary urging California members – especially students living out of state – to register and vote absentee, to contact family and friends in California who can vote and to use their Internet skills to share their opinions regarding Proposition 8.

Some young adults in attendance at stake centers in Provo responded immediately.

“I think I’ll try to do a few things,” said Kellie McGrath, 22, a teaching social science major from La Verne, Calif. “First, make sure I am getting my absentee ballot and vote, also maybe put a little something up on Facebook and talk to a few of my non-Mormon friends back home.”

The broadcast proved to have the intended effect on many of the listeners.

“I feel very motivated, which I usually am not, by the way,” Martinez said.

Anyone interested in receiving more information regarding the church’s participation in Proposition 8, are invited to visit http://www.preservingmarriage.org/.
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