Mormon Church: It’s Tearing Families Apart

Son of Prominent Yes on 8 Leader Quits Mormon Church Over Prop 8

by: Andrew Callahan

Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 11:54:02 AM EST

Matthew Lawrence, 28, of Santa Ana, California is just one of approximately 500 people who have contacted Signing for Something ( http://www.signingforsomething… )in the last few days to announce his resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of the Mormon Church’s handling of and involvement in the gay marriage issue. Matthew is gay and is the son of Gary Lawrence, 67, who is the “State LDS Grassroots Director” for the state of California. (See http://yesonprop8.blogspot.com… ).

Matthew Lawrence, in an e-mail interview with this diarist, said that although he is “extremely upset and frustrated” with his family and that he has “cut off communication with them,” that “at the end of the day, I do love them.” The elder Lawrence was also the Mormon Church’s point man for the Prop 22 campaign in 2000. Matt says, “I love my family so much, but it’s hard to not take this personally. We had a brief falling-out over Prop. 22, but that got mended. But two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it’s impossible not to feel attacked.”

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Sworn Complaint Filed Against Mormon Church with California FPPC and 2 State Attorneys General

LOS ANGELES, CA – Fred Karger, Founder of Californians Against Hate, today filed a Sworn Complaint with the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). In the complaint he accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) of not reporting numerous non monetary contributions to ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8, A Project of California Renewal I.D. # 1302592.

Karger contends that The Mormon Church organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho, sent direct mail to voters, transported people to California over several weekends, used the LDS NewsRoom to send out News Releases to promote their activities, walked precincts, ran a speakers bureau, distributed thousands of lawn signs and other campaign material, organized a “surge to election day,” had Church leaders travel to California, set up very elaborate web sites, produced at least 9 commercials and 4 other video broadcasts and conducted at least 2 satellite simulcasts over 5 Western states. All of these actions were geared toward nonmembers.

In addition to the formal FPPC complaint, a letter was also sent today to FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff expanding on the complaint.

In the letter, a copy of which is below, Karger stated that 2 other organizations that were also involved in the Yes on Prop 8 campaign, reported substantial non monetary contributions to ProtectMarriage.com. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) of Princeton, New Jersey reported $210,634,75 and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family of Colorado Springs, Colorado reported $83,790.00. No non monetary contributions could be found from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here is the full text of the letter:

November 13, 2008

Chairman Ross Johnson
Fair Political Practices Commission

428 J Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Office of the Attorney General
Utah State Capitol Complex
350 North State Street Suite 230
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2320

Dear Chairman Johnson, Generals Brown & Shurtleff:

Today we filed a formal complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) aka the Mormon Church of Salt Lake City, Utah for not reporting various non monetary contributions to ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8, A Project of California Renewal I.D. # 1302592. The Mormon Church has been highly secretive about its massive involvement in the campaign, but we managed to piece together evidence of some of their more visible activities done directly to communicate with California voters, including:

· Church organized phone banks from Utah and Idaho
· Sending direct mail to voters
· Transported people to California over several weekends
· Used the LDS Press Office to send out multiple News Releases to promote their activities to nonmembers
· Walked precincts
· Ran a speakers bureau
· Distributed thousands of lawn signs and other campaign material
· Organized a “surge to election day”
· Church leaders travel to California
· Set up of very elaborate web sites
· Produced at least 9 commercials and 4 other video broadcasts all in support of Prop 8
· Conducted at least 2 satellite simulcasts over 5 Western states.

All of these unreported contributions by the Mormon Church were on top of its massive fund-raising effort; the largest ever undertaken on a social issue ballot initiative.

Under California Election Law organizations such as the Mormon Church are not required to report activities if they strictly constitute “member communication.” We will explain why we feel that the activities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went far beyond “member communication,” and were instead specifically targeted at California’s 17 million voters. By not reporting any of these non monetary contributions, the Mormon Church violated the Political Reform Act.

The only mention of compliance was a news story stating that the Mormon Church reported a single non monetary contribution of $2078.00 for Church Elder L. Whitney Clayton’s travel expenses for one trip to California. Was there only one trip? Were no other Church officials traveling to California for such an important campaign?

The Mormon Church made the Yes on Prop 8 campaign a national priority beginning on June 20,, 2008 when Church President Thomas S. Monson sent his now famous letter to be read in every church building, where he said, “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment (Prop 8) by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.” http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/california-and-same-sex-marriage This was their call to action, and was undoubtedly designed to get members to begin the outreach to nonmembers.

Two other organizations that were also involved in the Yes on Prop 8 campaign, reported substantial non monetary contributions. The National Organization for Marriage of Princeton, New Jersey reported 49 separate non monetary contributions between 02/01/08 and 4/16/08 totaling $210,634,75. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family of Colorado Springs, Colorado reported non monetary contributions between 12/7/07 and 10/15/08 of $83,790.00.

Phone Banks

On October 8, 2008 the Associated Press reported that “Mormons Recruit Out-of-State for Gay Marriage Ban. Mormons living outside California have been asked to volunteer for a telephone campaign to help pass a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in the state.”

The Mormon Church announced one week before the November 4, 2008 election that it was canceling its phone centers in Utah established to call California voters. Were these in operation before they were canceled? What were the costs of these phone centers? How many calls were made to California voters from these massive call centers?

News reports said that students at BYU – Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho were using a call center in that town every Thursday evening to call voters in California. This type of interstate phone network requires a lot of setup, supervision, voter sheets, scripts, training and the price of the calls. Call centers are used to communicate with
nonmembers. Phone centers in place to contact nonmembers would constitute a contribution. No contribution was reported.

Gary Lawrence – State LDS Grassroots Director

Veteran political operative Gary Lawrence http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/CompanyDetail.aspx?CompanyID=55969576&cs=QHDVgcoxQ was based in Orange County, California. His title was State LDS Grassroots Director. Lawrence’s mission was to direct all Mormon activities in California (attached). He had a web site set up expressly for this purpose: http://yesonprop8.blogspot.com/2008/08/gary-lawrence-grass-roots-coordinator.html

Gary Lawrence’s operation had a timeline beginning on August 16, 2008 though election day of 12 Saturday precinct walks. All walkers were to be Mormons leading up to the election day surge of 100,000 Mormon volunteers and they went door-to-door to canvass nonmember voters. Was the Church actively involved in this massive recruitment? Here is a copy of the Mormon Organizational memo: http://wikileaks.org/leak/lds-proposition8-notes-2008.pdf This directive from Church Elders Ballard, Christopheron & Clayton detail Church plans for yard signs, schedule, volunteers, out of state calling teams, speakers bureau and voter registration. More internet communications are available on this site: http://www.p8california.com/Job.html Did the Church participate financially in this massive voter outreach? If so, all of these voter communication activities to nonmembers constitute a contribution. No contribution was reported.

Saturday Rallies

These took place throughout California on the 3 Saturdays prior to the election. Thousands of yellow T-shirt clad Yes on 8 supporters were lined up for miles with signs in targeted areas of the state yelling, chanting and screaming at passing motorists. There were reports that these demonstrators were mostly Mormons, and that many were bussed in from Utah and surrounding states. We have heard that some of the busses had out of state license plates. Who paid for the buses, travel costs, meals and other expenses of all the Mormon participants? No contributions were reported.

Satellite Broadcasts

It appears that the first satellite simulcast was on October 8, 2008 and was beamed to 5 Western states. Apostle Robert D. Hales led this broadcast on various aspects of the campaign, including how to deal with the issues and how to conduct yourself. http://www.meridianmagazine.com/churchupdate/081010prop8.html

Another satellite broadcast took place at a later date, and was led by Church Elders M. Russell Ballard, Quentin L. Cook and L. Whitney Clayton. It addressed the Church’s doctrine of marriage and participation in the Protect Marriage Coalition. Then the Newsroom of the Mormon Church issued a Press Release (attached) about this broadcast making it available to California voters and anyone with internet access. This video was not password protected and was promoted by the Church and available to nonmembers. Here is the press release about it as well as other Mormon activities:
http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/same-sex-marriage-and-proposition-8 Satellite broadcasts to hundreds of locations are very expensive, and by making it available to nonmembers, it is a contribution. No contribution was reported.

Multi-media Program

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appeared to have done a tremendous amount of work in this area. A very slick web site (attached) http://www.preservingmarriage.org/ was developed specifically for the Yes on Prop 8 campaign. The title is “Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage.” This web site states that it is “An Official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” c 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

PreservingMarriage.com is primarily a showcase for 9 separate Yes on Prop 8 commercials that are very professionally produced. They feature mostly young people talking about why same-sex marriage is wrong. There is an email update request box, and another to send feedback. The viewer is encouraged to share this site and “spread the word.” Site visits are not limited to just Mormons, and everyone is “invited to share these videos with others.” There is even a very prominent “Vote Yes on Prop 8, Support Traditional Marriage” banner on the home page. Certainly this web site was put in place to reach California voters. It is on the internet, and therefore available to all.

This web page on PreservingMarriage.com has 13 very professionally made commercials and videos:
http://www.preservingmarriage.org/videos.html (attached).
All of these commercials as well as their web site were clearly designed to communicate with the public. No contribution was reported.

Church Denial

On November 9, 2008 Don Eaton a spokesman for the Mormon Church was quoted on ABC – KGO Television stating, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put zero money in this (election).” When I personally spoke with him Monday, November 10, 2008 and asked him if the PreservingMarriage.com web site was sponsored by the Church, he quickly said that it was not, but was “a part of the campaign.”

In 1998, the Mormon Church directly contributed $1.1 million to ban same-sex marriages in Alaska and Hawaii, and received widespread criticism for that. So this year in California it appears that the Mormon Church was trying to avoid any direct contributions to Yes on Prop 8, and instead raised millions from its member families. That is legal, but all the money spent to communicate with nonmembers must be reported if it exceed $100. Clearly the Mormon Church has vastly exceeded that threshold. We ask that the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Attorneys General of California and Utah immediately begin a full and thorough investigation of all campaign related activities undertaken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah to determine if there were any reporting violations.

Thank you very much for your prompt attention to this very important matter.

Sincerely,

Fred Karger
Founder / Campaign Manager
Californians Against Hate
http://californiansagainsthate.com/619-592-2008

cc: Commissioner Timothy A. Hodson
Commissioner A. Eugene Huguenin, Jr.
Commissioner Robert Leidigh
Commissioners Ray Remy

Attachments

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Meet Terry Caster – $693,000 to Yes on Prop 8

Californians Against Hate Targets Mega Donor Terry Caster — The 2nd Biggest Donor In the Country

Terry Caster owns A-1 Self Storage Company A-1 Self Storage has 40 locations throughout California with over 4 million storage units. Mr. Caster and his family have contributed $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign. That makes the Casters the 2nd largest individual donors to Yes on Prop 8.

“This guy must really not like same-sex marriage,” said Fred Karger, Campaign Manager of Californians Against Hate in his
published blog in The Huffington Post. “Mr. Caster and many of his eight sons and daughters and their spouses have given a combined total of $693,000 to the Protect Marriage campaign between January and November 4, 2008.”

We are curious as to why Mr. Caster saw fit to contribute so much money to this campaign of fear and hate. We are asking our millions of friends and supporters all over the United States to help us by Calling Terry Caster and asking him why he and his family are so strongly against marriage equality.

Call Terry Caster at A-1 Self Storage Toll Free

Corporate Office Number: 800-219-4854 ext. 106

Customer Service Number: 800-210-8979

When you call, please be respectful and courteous to Mr. Caster and his associates. It is a free country and Terry Caster and his family have every right to contribute as much money as they want to this effort. Lots of people just want to know why.

Californians Against Hate officially kicked off its campaign to identify the major donor funders of Proposition 8 on Friday, July 18, 2008 in San Diego with a lunchtime demonstration and rally against hate. We announced our first action against one of the largest donors to qualify Prop 8, Doug Manchester, CEO of the Manchester Financial Group.

Mr. Manchester, who owns three hotels, contributed $125,000 this year to take away marriage equality in California. Californians Against Hate called for a
boycott of all three of Doug Manchester’s Hotels. They are the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Grand del Mar Resort both in San Diego and the Whitetail Club and Resort in McCall, Idaho.
We believe that the truth should be known about exactly who funded their campaign of hate.
Related Links

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Laguna Beach Demonstration

Saturday night November 8th over 2,000 men, women and children demonstrated to show their opposition to hate, and their support for equal rights in downtown Laguna Beach. A short program began right at 5:30 pm at City Hall.

Speakers included Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly, organizer Audrey Prosser, ECCO President Jeff LeTourneau and Dr. Jorge Rodriguez. Then everyone marched down Broadway to Main Beach. After lots of cheering and honking along Coast Highway, the growing crowd marched back to City Hall. No one wanted to go home, so most stayed and waved signs, chanted and received more support from passing motorists.

Here are some photo highlights from that extraordinary night.

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Mormon Money Watch

NEWS RELEASE November 2, 2008 Contact: Fred Karger 619-592-2008

Out of State Mormons Just Gave $3 Million More to End Gay Marriage
New Mormon total = $22 Million!!!

LOS ANGELES, CA – With days to go before the second most watched election in the nation, the really big Mormon money has been pouring in from Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona like never before.

Led by Alan Ashton of Lindon, Utah who gave $1,000,000 on October 29th, the Mormon Power Grab by funding 77% of the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign has gone off the charts. Ashton is a Mormon and grandson of David O. McKay, President of the Mormon Church from 1951-1970. He made his fortune in software.

The new Mormon money total contributed to pass California’s Proposition 8 is now a staggering $22 million dollars!

Just 8 out of state Mormons have given $2 million of the $3 million total in the last week alone. These are the 8 who have given $100,000 and more:

Alan Ashton, Lindon, Utah $1,000,000
Hartford Holdings, Provo, Utah $300,000
David Moon, Alpine, Utah $200,000
Michelle Adams Watterson, Cache, Utah $100,000
Roger Bayer, Salt Lake City, Utah $100,000
Katharine, Garff, Bountiful, Utah, $100,000
Belinda Vandersloot, Idaho Falls, Idaho $100,000
The Vineyard Group (Cardon & Haitt Families), Mesa, Arizona $100,000

There are dozens and dozens of more Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona individuals and businesses that have given between $1000 and $50,000 since our last Mormon Money Watch on October 24th for an additional $1 million. They are listed on the California Secretary of State’s web site: http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Campaign/Candidates/list.aspx?view=intention

Now with the additional $3 million of late Mormon money contributed over the last 9 days added to the $19.15 million previously given by over 59,000 Mormon families, the new total is over $22 million. This makes Prop. 8 the largest Mormon political undertaking in the 178 year history of the Mormon Church.

There were reports circulating on the blogs recently that the big out of state Mormon money was going to come in late to avoid scrutiny, and that of course is just what has happened.
On June 20th, three days after same-sex marriage became legal in California, the top leadership in the Church, known as the First Presidency, sent a letter to be read to all Mormons to “do all you can to pass Proposition 8.” The Wall Street Journal reported on September 20th, that church members were told “their souls would be in jeopardy” if they do not donate money. Since then they have pushed the other leadership of the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign aside, and have taken over all facets of the campaign.

Please take a minute to read this excellent column from today’s Salt Lake Tribune by Columnist Rebecca Walsh:
http://www.sltrib.com/News/ci_10879061 It details why the Mormon Church has taken over this campaign and raises many questions as to its motivation.

Californians Against Hate was organized by veteran political consultant Fred Karger in July of this year to act as a truth squad, and tell the world who is funding California’s Yes on 8 campaign. It has recommended certain actions against some of the major contributors, and continued to publish its “Dishonor Roll” of all the $5,000 and over contributors to the Yes on 8 campaign which it posted on its web site:
http://californiansagainsthate.com/
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