Tuesday, July 6, 2010

8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION (2010)

Written & Directed by Reed Cowan


Where & When: Laemmle Sunset 5, West Hollywood, CA.  June 30, 2010  5:20PM


This documentary brings to light the involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the passing of the California proposition that would define that marriage would only be between a man and woman and change the California Constitution.

We first meet Tyler and Spencer, a young couple who decided to get married during the brief time it was legal for gay and lesbian couples before it would be decided by a vote in November 2008. We see the joy on their faces when they are pronounced legally wed but their happiness is short lived when the proposition is made in to law. It also turns out that Tyler and Spencer are both former Mormons and can't believe or understand how the church could have done this.

Before the election, Thomas Monson, a Mormon Prophet, was concerned that this might not happen so he decided to take action and organize the church to do all they can to make sure that proposition 8 passed. They secretly teamed up with the evangelicals, since the Mormon Church was not seen favorably by the public, and gave money and resources to aid in this battle. It is estimated that the church gave more than 22 million dollars for the cause.

The film uncovers classified documents, videotaped meetings and a largely concealed money trail of coerced Mormon followers that shows how far the church went into making sure they did not fail in the passage of this bill.

This film also touches on the conditions that gay and lesbian youths in Utah have to endure when they are turned away from their Mormon families. That was the original plan for this documentary before Mr. Cowan, a former Mormon missionary, decided to turn this film in to exposing the church's illegal involvement in California's political race.

The issue of gay marriage touches me personally. I have friends who were married during this time and although Dean and I don't feel the need to be married, I think no one should be denied that right for their relationship to be legally recognized in the eyes of the law. If you have a problem with the word, "marriage", that's fine, call it something else but it has to be completely equal to heterosexual marriages.

I think the Mormon church's beliefs are just as repugnant and ridiculous as they feel about homosexuality and that is perfectly all right. The problem is when they take the money of all of their hard working members and use it to get involved in politics is wrong, morally and legally.

The Mormon church may be claiming victory but let us not forget that it was won only by a 4% margin which is far from a landslide and I'm sure the outcome would have been much different if they had not put out completely false advertisements.

Despite pedestrian film making, corny re-enactments and Oscar winner, Dustin Lance Black who may be a very good writer but leaves a lot to be desired as a narrator, the message of  "8: The Mormon Proposition" is very important and needs to be brought to people's attention.