Letter to the Editor: Silencing the Opposition
Should LDS missionaries be allowed by law to enter your property, knock on your door all hours of the day and engage you in a conversation? Should they be able to do so even though most do not want to hear their message? Having been an LDS missionary and hearing the experiences of other LDS missionaries, I assure you most do not let missionaries in and flatly tell them they are not interested and some get down right upset about it.
Evangelizing is evangelizing and some religions have the idea that it is best to go to a large gathering of their potential converts and present their message. Representative Douglas Aagard, Republican (Kaysville) decided (with a little help from his friends) that after watching the actions of street preachers toward members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attending general conference last year, "to look for a way to bring things in order." (see article Deseret News 2-10-05) Enter House Bill 131 (HB 131).
HB 131 "...Provides that knowingly approaching within eight feet of a person for the purpose of passing out literature, displaying an object, or engaging in protest or counseling without the other person's consent is a class B misdemeanor if the person is within 100 feet of an entrance door to a place of worship or health care facility (abortion clinic).\" (lines 13-18,) HB 131 also allows any passerby to sue the person or persons who pass out fliers, attempt to engage them in conversation, etc. (lines 19-21 and 24-25) Of course HB 131 destroys the inalienable right of Americans to free speech.
Obviously street preachers armed with numerous contradictions in LDS theology and the latest evidence modern technology can provide, are taking their toll and LDS advocates have plenty they would like to keep covered up. For example: Spencer W. Kimball, the prophet who died in 1985, taught, "We have repeatedly affirmed the position of the church in unalterably opposing all abortions" (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 189). President Gordon B. Hinckley the current prophet however has a different policy and allows abortions when; "pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known to have serious defects" (Ensign Nov. 1998 pg 71) The same language and position as Roe Vs. Wade by the way.
Technology? Microbiologists (several of them LDS) did extensive DNA research (you know the kind of research that proves beyond doubt your guilty or innocent in court) on Native Americans. Of course LDS doctrine has proclaimed from the beginning that Native Americans are Lamanites (descendants of Israelites) and therefore should have Semitic DNA. However DNA testing proved what you were taught in school, that Native Americans are actually 99.6 percent of Asiatic origin and .4 percent European mixed.
Or how about the one where Joseph Smith claimed that he translated the book of Abraham from papyrus written on by the hand of Abraham himself (see the foreword to the Book of Abraham), and Joseph even made an Egyptian alphabet and grammar (symbol on the left translation to the right) which the church has in its possession to this day. Only problem is LDS Egyptologists and others can read those symbols Joseph put in his alphabet and grammar book today and they all agree the translation is not even remotely correct. LDS Egyptologist Michael Rhodes writing in the church's magazine, The Ensign, July 1988, pp. 51-53, concluded; "Joseph Smith did not have the actual text of the Book of Abraham before him, but that it was revealed to him."
Bottom line, I personally don't foresee large numbers of LDS leaving their religion overnight nor do I foresee LDS women going into an abortion clinic being deterred from their church allowed abortions, so what are LDS legislators so upset about? After all they can take comfort in the monthly pep rally where everyone can stand up and say they know the church is true (and little else mind you), or in the Spielberg effect. You know the warm fuzzy emotional feeling you get watching some Spielberg movies that bears witness that Spielberg is God's prophet and the movie is his word, even though all facts prove otherwise.
Even if LDS legislators don't believe this will be enough to get most members through their confrontation with preachers armed with facts or get LDS women safely through the door at the abortion clinics. I hope some spark of their love of freedom of speech survives in them and will cause them to take a second look before they fearfully remove something as precious as freedom of speech.