Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Mormons Cannot Trust Their Own Church Anymore -- by Matty Jacobson


In response to the recent court battles over equal rights and the outpouring of calls for marriage equality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Jan. 10 bolstering its doctrine that marriage is between one man and one woman. No exceptions. According to the statement:

"Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society. Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation. Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established."

It's a proclamation from the headquarters of the prophet himself. And, as all faithful LDS members know, the prophet communes with God himself, so this news might as well have come from the Lord Almighty. And we'll return to that in a moment.

In the meantime, let's take a look at another proclamation released from the church in 2013. This one tackles the scandalous topic of race and the priesthood. According to that statement: 

"[In 1852] Brigham Young announced a policy restricting men of black African descent from priesthood ordination. At the same time, President Young said that at some future day, black Church members would 'have [all] the privilege and more' enjoyed by other members. ... The curse of Cain was often put forward as justification for the priesthood and temple restrictions."

This information, found on the official LDS website, goes on to say that "... Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter the policy and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done. After praying for guidance, President (David) McKay did not feel impressed to lift the ban." 

So, in black and white (pun intended) on the Church's website, we see that a prophet of God prayed and was, essentially, told not to allow black men to have the priesthood. 

The statement continues and tells us that the prophet Spencer Kimball received a revelation in 1978 that God was finally cool with the descendants of Cain receiving the priesthood. 

What's interesting is what follows in the statement: 

"Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form." 

What the LDS Church is saying here is that the proclamation to exclude black men from the priesthood was not an act of God, but an act of man. Furthermore, when a so-called prophet of God prayed on the matter decades later, he was "not impressed to lift the ban." 

Should God have not related to the very men who are his mouthpiece on earth sometime between the rein of Brigham Young and Spencer Kimball that this was not his word, but merely the bigotry of a racist man? 

Interesting. And today, the LDS church acknowledges that this was not an act of God. Yet, for nearly a century, it was treated as such. The faithful members were left to speculate as to why God would deny black men the priesthood. And the church itself never stepped in to denounce any of those speculations until just last year. 

So, how many other proclamations that come from the mouths of LDS prophets are actually rooted in the biases of the prophet himself and not of God? How can any critically-thinking Latter-day Saint not look at the proclamation that family is only reserved for a man and woman and not think, "God supposedly told the prophet black men weren't allowed to hold the priesthood, either, but we now know it wasn't God." 

And for men who profess to speak on behalf of God, it sure is interesting how it took nearly 100 years for God's voice to actually come through. So what's stopping the current LDS leaders from professing to speak on behalf of God, but only speak their own bigotry? 

The answer: not much. 

Faithful LDS members may say they pray and have a testimony that what the prophet says is true. Well, prayers and testimonies were also "true" from the time blacks were denied the priesthood up until last year. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has proven itself. It presents doctrine based on the feelings of a single man, and woe be unto those who fall under the bigoted biases of that man. 

More importantly, and sadly, woe be unto those who follow blindly without question. They are the ones who are hurting their fellow humans, destroying live and tearing apart families.

God gave them reason. Maybe He did that so they could save themselves from being conned at such a grand level. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Petition Delivered! -- by Matty Jacobson

Aimed at those who seek to destroy our families, this
sign was a little ironic since it was displayed by
Matty Jacobson, who attended the rally without his
family due to conflicting schedules.

Who would have thought that the petition started to make a simple point -- don't spend $2 million on hate -- would make it all the way to Utah's Capitol Hill?

Well, it did. Of course that petition piggybacked on the bigger success of another petition, started by Tim Wagner, which calls for Gov. Gary Herbert to let marriage equality stand. But together, the two petitions garnered at least 56,000 signatures at the time of delivery.

And the signing continues.

With the help of, I was able to make the trip to Salt Lake City to see my petition was delivered. And what an experience it was.

It was awe-inspiring to see the capital rotunda packed with supporters of equal rights. There were glorious stories of family values being told, beautiful examples of family success, and it all hopefully got the attention of the state. But we'll see about that.
All the couples who were legally married
in Utah during the brief period of time
when the state had equal rights gather at
the rally Jan. 11 to show their support for
family values.

Through the efforts of Salt Lake City-area radio personality Troy Williams, the rally was put together with only a couple of days notice. But just after noon on Jan. 10, roughly 1,800 supporters gathered inside the capital.

Wagner spoke to the crowd about the importance of letting love rule the day. He told me later that he hadn't intended for his petition to snowball into the behemoth it is today, but that he's glad it did.

I also had the opportunity to speak to the crowd, although I was wholly unprepared to do so. I wish I'd have written something down, but I tried to get my point across as briefly as possible that Utah, like any place or person on this planet, could stand to be improved. And while $2 million might not mean a lot to the governor, it could mean a world of difference to students, the poor, the hungry, the unemployed and the environment.

So I enthusiastically called for those in attendance to help me let the governor know that we don't want our taxpayer money to go toward hate.

Pictured is the printout of the combined
petitions. Numbering thousands and
thousands of pages, at least 56,000
signatures were delivered to the governor's
office Jan. 11.
The rally was filled to the brim with an array of speakers from every walk of life. The Kitchens, who first filed the lawsuit against the state of Utah, talked about the changing opinions in the public arena. Schoolteachers talked about how their daughter was being harmed because of the governor's action. The child of a same-sex couple defended his parents and made it a point to tell Herby that he's doing great, and the only thing he has to fear are the rights and protections he doesn't have because his parents aren't legally recognized as married in the state of Utah.

But the rally wasn't without its downside.

I travelled alone because my husband had to work. Unlike the state of Utah, we don't have the funds to throw money at whatever we want. Luckily, I had the day off, so I could make the trip. Sadly, I had no one by my side.

For a governor who's so concerned about family values, he doesn't seem to care that he's breaking up all these families who showed up, or that he made me leave my husband (which, as ridiculous as it may sound, was incredibly painful considering the situation) to demand I be afforded the same dignity and rights the governor enjoys on a daily basis.

But despite my loneliness, I couldn't help but leave with a feeling of accomplishment. Despite the fact that Herby the No-love Gov. has yet to release a statement that he even knows about our petitions.

Let's keep up the good fight. We can't be ignored forever.

Below the Facebook comments is a video shot by Dominique Storni, which shows the majority of the rally.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tell Utah to do good with its $2M and not waste it fighting marriage equality - Matty Jacobson

Said every Utah taxpayer, apparently.

Two million dollars is a lot of money. It's more than the majority of Americans will ever see in their lifetimes.

Whole generations of families can live and die and never see anything close to that amount of money.

There's a lot that can be done with $2 million, and the state of Utah thinks it knows the best way to put said money to use: by fighting marriage equality.

Rather than allow two people who love each other to sign a contract and be allowed the same benefits as anyone else, our state is taking taxpayer dollars and using to hire additional attorneys, in addition to our newly-appointed attorney general, so the state can have the best representation possible when it goes before the Supreme Court.

Go anywhere on the Internet, and you'll find arguments both for and against this. In the end, I have no doubt Utah will lose. And Utah isn't too sure of its chances, either, or else it wouldn't have dedicated such an obscene amount of money to fight the battle.

What I don't understand is why the average Utah taxpayer isn't up-in-arms over this. After all, it's not money that magically appeared out of nowhere. These are dollars that were earned by the retail salesman who worked overtime, by the sanitation workers who pick up trash, by the teachers who educate our children. Am I to believe that these people want the money they worked so hard for to go toward a losing -- and morally corrupt -- cause?

But let's say that you do. Let's say your dedication to religion is so great that you would spend ridiculous amounts of money to make sure two people who have literally zero effect on your life can not reap the same benefits you enjoy.

Are you not being a hypocrite, then? There are few parts of the Bible that I take with me. But there was one thing that seemed to stick out. Jesus said that he had one commandment before all others, and that was to love one another.

Now, you can still disagree that love is reserved only for you and the people whom you deem fit for love, but you cannot disagree that there are far better things $2 million can be spent on. After all, is charity -- love for one another -- not the commandment above all commandments?

Here's some acts of love that could be performed with $2 million.

Help The Homeless

There were around 15,000 homeless Utahns in 2012, according to this report. While only 3 percent of that number are chronically homeless, that makes me wonder: could $2 million do something to alleviate said percentage?

Increase Spending on Education

Did you know that Utah ranks last on spending per pupil? That's right. According to this report, "Utah spent less per student on elementary and secondary education than any other state in the nation." That's right. You'd think Utah would put a little more effort into providing its schools with the materials it needs to provide quality educations. Imagine the supplies $2 million could provide for some of our lesser-off institutions.

Feed The Hungry

According to this report, "Utah is one of 16 states nationwide where the number of families with children who have trouble accessing enough food is 9 percent or more." A Utah Food Bank spokeswoman even says that 117,281 Utah children were food insecure. How many meals to hungry children could $2 million provide?

These are just three examples. There are countless more. People in our state are in need, and fighting marriage equality is not bettering the quality of life of anyone. Nobody's existence on this planet will be more comfortable, nobody's empty plate will suddenly be filled, nobody's illness cured, nobody's naked body clothed, nobody's child's education bettered, by forcing a religious belief on people who don't subscribe to that belief.

So please sign this petition. Tell the state of Utah that throwing $2 million of your taxpayer dollars away on hate is something you won't stand for. Do good in the world. Make this planet a place that's worth living on. Support unity and love.

As it stands, the state gets the following rating for such frivolous spending. Utah, there's still time to fill in these empty stars.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

You're Gay? You're Fired - Matty Jacobson


With all the celebration over equal rights in the state of Utah, it actually occurred to me in the wee hours of the morning that, no, we're still second-class citizens.

The only difference is when we get fired for being gay, we'll still be legally married.

So yes, we can check one thing off the list, but we can't forget that there's still more to go.

This issue literally kept me awake this morning. As you may or may not know, I've been celebrating quite publicly the love I have for my husband and the joy I feel for all my friends who can finally get married and be recognized by our state as such. I've been posing rhetorical questions to naysayers who think we lowly gays should not have the same rights.

I have been asking, and have yet to get a real response, what rights of the opposed have been violated by allowing everyone the right to marry. I posted an example of this questioning on my Facebook page, and one my friends told me she knew of a woman who was going to cancel her subscription to the newspaper I work at because our publication hires gay people.

First of all, never mind that if that's what this woman does when she finds out a gay person works at an establishment she patronizes, then she's SOL with everything she purchases.

But what woke me up this morning before the sun peaked over my Utah home was the fact that it doesn't matter if there are a million gay people who work for my publication. My company, and almost every company in Utah, for that matter, could fire a person just for being gay.

Now, there is a map circulating the Internet that shows where a person is protected when it comes to employment and housing; it's pretty comprehensive. However, take a look at the lower left corner of Utah. That's Washington County -- my home -- in purple.

In my research for this article, I felt a moment of alleviation when I saw this map. But then I started thinking, when did my county pass an anti-discrimination ordinance? Where the hell was I? I mean, I work in the news industry. You'd think a piece of legislation that protected me would at least grab my attention.

But no, it's actually not true. The closest thing we have to protection here in Washington County is the progressive town of Springdale, which passed its anti-discrimination policy earlier this year.

So here's the thing: Actually, a lot of people don't realize that being fired for being gay is not only actually a thing, but it can and does happen. On one hand, that's good because most people think we live in a world where that sort of atrocity would have been long ago outlawed. (Which, duh, it should have been!)

But on the other hand, because so many people don't realize there aren't laws on the books concerning this type of issue, the people who would normally be outraged at such a thing aren't concerning themselves with passing such legislation.

Utah Senator Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, introduced a bill this year to the state legislation that would make pass non-discrimination laws across Utah. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Believe it or not, the mostly-LDS legislators (a religion that isn't always seen as favorable in the eyes of others, yet still enjoys the protections of anti-discrimination ordinances) refused to see the bill passed. Urquhart is trying again this year, but there could be even more opposition from the people you and I have elected.

With so many of the LDS faith up-in-arms over marriage equality, I fear the bill will be killed with extreme prejudice by those on Capitol Hill who disagree with marriage equality.

I pose the question to you again, to those who who think we in the LGBT community don't deserve to keep our jobs, our housing and our marriages: How are YOUR rights being infringed on when we are given the SAME rights that you have?

Please, include your answers in the comments section. I really, really do want to know.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Grump Who Stole Marriage (A Poem) - Matty Jacobson

The Grump Who Stole Marriage

Every YOU down in Utah liked marriage a lot, but the Grump, who lived on Capitol Hill, did not.

The Grump hated marriage (for those who weren't straight), he'd poo-poo and hah-rumph and refuse to debate.

He knew he couldn't get away with beheadings, but he had to find some way to keep gays from their weddings!

For the weekend before Christmas --and this is no joke-- a judge said marriage should be for ALL folk!

Judge Shelby declared in a statement so proud: It shouldn't be reserved for just some of the crowd!

This burned the Grump's panties, this made him go crazy. He barked and he drooled and his vision got hazy.

To see all the happiness from St. George to Salt Lake, it made the Grump boil and it made the Grump bake.

What's worse was the ruling came right before Christmas! The gays and the lesbos would be getting married en masse!

This just wouldn't stand, no he wouldn't let it be so. So he planned up a plan in the Wasatch Front snow.

"I know how to proceed" The Grump burped on Friday. "I'll call for the court to issue an emergency stay!"

"They'll stop all the licenses, they'll stop all the bliss! I'm the smartest man ever!" He proclaimed with a hiss.

So he called up the judge and he said, "Listen buddy! Put a stay on your ruling! Before things get cruddy!"

The judge, to be clear, would not grant the stay. He didn't want to discriminate against lesbians and gays.

So The Grump in his Grumpiness turned on his heels. "FINE!" he screamed, running to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

While The Grump's childish behavior made him look like a jerk, he also issued a letter to each county clerk.

He assured them in writing that seemed far less than formal, that pretty soon things would be back to normal.

"I know you're confused, and this is chaotic! I'm not being irrational, nor am I neurotic!"

His Grumpiness got airtime from Fox News to Rachel Maddow, and then came a response from the court in Colorado.

"No thanks" said the court when it came to the stay, "You didn't do things correct. You didn't them the right way."

The Grump saw the calendar was getting closer to Christmas. "NO!" He grumped loudly. "I want them to miss this!"

"They can't have their weddings! They can't have their cakes! Heck no on their families and those pesky tax breaks!"

He Grumped and he Grumped till his grumper was sore. Then he thought of something he hadn't before.

What if marriage, he thought, isn't cause for a war? What if marriage, perhaps, means a little bit more?

And what happened then, well in Utah they say, The Grump suddenly realized it's OK to be gay!

He called off his minions and he issued a statement: "My Grump!" he declared "Just had an abatement!"

"I see that these weddings do not harm my own, and this war on the gays is perhaps overblown!"

"The wonderful thing about America is, my beliefs are my own, they're not hers; they're not his."

"We can disagree and we don't have to see eye to eye, but that doesn't mean I have to Grump away the joys for the gay, lesbian and bi!"

"Ho hum to the ban! Merry Christmas I say! Let's rejoice! Let's unite! Please get married today!"

And although nobody quite knew why he changed his dark heart, there was marriage equality, and that was a start.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sign The Petition!

You don't have to live in Utah to be a part of history.

As you may or may not know, Utah's governor Gary Herbert (affectionately known as Herby the Love Gov here at The Skewed Review) immediately started his campaign to put a halt to all this happiness.

So please do your small part and sign this petition. It's a gentle reminder to Herby that he has rights not everyone in his state was afforded until yesterday.

Let our highest elected official in the state know that you support happiness. Even if he does growl with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming, tell him he will not stop marriage equality from coming. Click the red button below.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Utah lifts ban on marriage equality! - Matty Jacobson

I was at work when it happened. Where were you?

An article in Rolling Stone magazine predicted Utah could possibly see some kind of progress when it came to marriage equality, but the article predicted it would probably happen sometime in 2016.

And most of my buddies on Facebook predicted an even longer haul to the equality finish line. But today, Dec. 20, 2013, that equality came to our state.

Similar to California's ban on equality being lifted, a judge had to come in and slap our state on the hand and say "Share!" Also similar to the whole California debacle, some Utah lawmakers, including his royal Herbertness, the Governor, have already swooped down to reclaim their portion of the playground.

Even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which today saw its power grip on the state loosen -- like laces of a kindergartner who didn't have anyone to teach him how to tie his laces properly because he was an accident and Utah didn't allow him to be adopted by a same-sex couple and therefore he's been bouncing from foster home to foster home with no real guidance on shoelace-tying skills -- issued a statement saying it's sure a higher court will rule that marriage is something only a portion of the population get to partake in.

But here's where I'm baffled: Do the Governor and the LDS church not pay attention to the history books? And by history books, I mean that thing called the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act? Which happened this year?

That court looked at the California case and said, "PFFT. Don't waste our time!"

What makes Herby the Love Gov and (some but not all of) the Mormons think that the Supremes (of the Court) will look at Utah and say something different?

"I'll give you five good reasons why the gays shouldn't marry!
1: Cuz The Bible! 2: Eww, Gross! 3: I don't like guys that way, so
nobody should like guys that way! 4: How will babies be born since
everyone will be gay now?! 5: The Bible!"

The fact is they don't want to share. They like living their better-than lives adorned with tax breaks and legal children.

Here's what should have been stated by the LDS church:

"While our religion teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman..." (debatable) "...we recognize that the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees all citizens equal rights that are based in law and not religion. We may not agree with the decision by the court, but we are happy for all the couples who now get to enjoy the same freedoms and benefits married couples have been enjoying for years. The LDS Church, in accordance with our own Articles of Faith, respects the laws of the nation and would not attempt to force our religious laws into the nation's laws, especially considering not every citizen of our great state of Utah is Mormon."

And here's what the Governor should have said:

"While I support the traditional form of marriage..." (historically, that's one man and lots of wives, concubines, slaves, etc., but whatevs) "...I want to extend my congratulations to all our citizens..." (voters!) "...who have, up to this point, been second class citizens in our state. I want all our citizens, be they straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer, to know that they are welcome in our state and they are afforded the same rights as anyone else. Utah is a state that cares."

But, instead of respectfully disagreeing with the ruling and offering to build bridges to make this a greater state, the higher ups have chosen to wage war instead.

How sad.

Hopefully, the Republican't Governor and the LDS Church will take a second and think about what their lives would be like if someone tried to take their rights away. (Oh, you know, kind of like what happened to the Mormons when they were driven out of Missouri. But, you know, that's something completely different.)

My husband and I will raise a glass tonight in celebration of all the happiness and all the acceptance. We want to congratulate not just those who can now marry who have waited for so, so long, but we also want to thank the people who stood by us. They didn't have to, but they did. These people include so many Republicans and Mormons. These people include families, friends and acquaintances who could easily look the other way and come out of the whole thing unscathed.

We celebrate you.

And finally, thank you to Judge Robert J. Shelby. You, sir, are a good man. Thank you.

Our rating for Good Judge Shelby:

Our rating for the allies who supported those who deserved to get married this whole time:

Our review for the Mormon church (I've still got a little faith that the members have good hearts):

Our review of the Scary Gary: