8: The Mormon Proposition (2010)
In 2009, thousands of LGBT citizens are denied almost 200 civil rights their straight, married counterparts enjoy through civil marriage. Some states have signaled progress. But amid the progress, The Mormon Church, with its front-group THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE, has been coordinating, financing and leading the effort to stop the advancement of marriage equality for more than three decades. As an organization worth hundreds of billions of dollars, the Mormon Church has been able to wage this war in secret. Not until the California Fair Political Practices Commission launched an investigation into the Mormon's involvement in Proposition 8, did the secrets of the Mormon effort become a matter of record. Through never-before seen documents, recordings & insider-interviews, 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION, exposes the efforts of the Mormon Church and its members to halt nearly every piece of LGBT legislation on the desks of lawmakers from Hawaii to New York. 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION makes these efforts a matter of record and challenges viewers to demand more of government officials in requiring religions more transparency in their efforts to influence public policy. Emmy-award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan is a former Mormon who served a two-year mission door-to-door for the Mormon Church. His access to high-level Mormons & Mormon communications on the matter, coupled with his OUT status as a gay man and father of two adopted sons has provided a compelling and at times shocking look at the Mormon way of doing business against LGBT people.
A scorching indictment of the Mormon Church's historic involvement in the promotion & passage of California's Proposition 8 and the Mormon religion's secretive, decades-long campaign against LGBT human rights.
- As California's anti-gay marriage proposition 8 languished in the polls, Mormon Prophet Thomas S. Monson issued a call from Salt Lake City to millions of Mormons all over the world. His was an order to action containing the secret code language of the highly secret Mormon temple ceremony. The action alert commanded Mormons in and out of California to do all things necessary to insure the passage of California's Proposition 8. Within days, hundreds of thousands of Mormons all over the United States funneled thirty million Mormon dollars in to California coffers to purchase the passage of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8.
Before the Mormons and their participation in the passage of Proposition 8, evangelicals were flopping in the fight. After Mormons got involved, the fight flourished.
During the fight, the Mormon Church media-engine, including mega-million dollar public relations and political consulting firm support, barraged Californians with a suffocating number of misleading television and radio ads and door-to-door campaigns manned by the Mormon NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE.
When Prop. 8 passed in California by a slim margin, Mormons were quick to take credit for the success. But when backlash from LGBT citizens targeted Mormon temples throughout the United States, the Mormon Church was the first to complain that they were the ones being persecuted.
In the wake of it all, documentary producer Reed Cowan was collecting secret recordings, secret documents and never before seen footage exposing Mormon efforts to quash ANY rights for LGBT citizens anywhere in the world. 'As a former Mormon missionary, I am appalled in knowing that a church which itself worships the practice of alternative marriage (polygamy), would become so vehemently involved in the marriage debate,' says Director Reed Cowan.
8: The Mormon Proposition follows the story of many LGBT citizens seeking marriage equality. One of the couples Cowan follows is Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones. Barrick is the direct descendant of Mormon founder and Prophet, Joseph Smith's right hand man Fredrick G. Williams.
The Barrick-Jones family history tells tales of Mormon ancestors chased from state to state because of their own practice of alternative marriage (polygamy). Now, decades later, the Barrick-Jones family is experiencing cultural and governmental discrimination of the same kind that haunted their ancestors. Only now, they're at war with their own religion of Mormonism and the people their religion seduced in to voting against their union.
'When 8 passed, I called my mother crying--why did the Mormons do this to us? Why would our own people do this to us? They have turned their backs on us, ' says Barrick-Jones.
8: The Mormon Proposition exposes decade's-long campaigns against LGBT rights, not only working behind the scenes to unseat political leaders who advocate for marriage equality, but also abuse against their own people through electric shock therapy and frontal lobotomies for BYU men arrested by Mormon security police. For the first time in history, the film goes on record about alleged prurient meetings between Mormon Prophet Spencer W. Kimball with a secret group of gay BYU students who called themselves 'Spencer's boys.' The film chronicles the hundreds of gay-Mormon suicides, including the story of Mormon Stuart Matis, who shot himself on the steps of a California Mormon Church during another of the church's work against marriage equality during the days of California's Knight Initiative.
Long before its official completion, 8: The Mormon Proposition has already received considerable international press coverage. During the filming of 8, Reed Cowan interviewed Mormon Bishop and Senator D. Chris Buttars, who compared gay people to radical Muslims and said 'gays represent the greatest threat to America going down today.'
Buttars characterization of gays engaged in so-called pig sex, brought on an HRC action alert, a scolding from GLAAD, and the eventual ouster of Utah Senator Buttars from his position as chair of Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee.
In the days during the media backlash following Buttars interview with Cowan for 8, major media outlets and programs like FORBES, WASHINGTON POST and THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW picked up on the story with considerable coverage that resulted in thirty thousand e mails to the Utah Senate President and the crashing of the Utah Senate computer server for three days.
8: The Mormon Proposition also reveals the truth about Utah's gay homeless youth and the fact that the lions-share of hundreds of homeless teens on the streets in Utah, are LGBT youth who have been kicked out after coming out to their families.
Finally, in the telling of the Mormon Church's risk of losing their tax-free status, 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION is a call to action not only to LGBT citizens, but all citizens everywhere to not only stand up for human rights, but also to pay attention to where the money and the information is coming from whenever a ballot measure picks up uncommon speed, money and heat.
In the words of Reed Cowan, '8: The Mormon Proposition puts on record one of the greatest election shams in the history of the United States. If the Mormon church gets a pass on this one, we're in grave danger as a society of letting other groups purchase votes and we're putting power behind their so-called 'secret combinations' to do it again. This can never happen again. Never.'