The buzz on the Internet is that the Church has been "forced" to provide more information about its scandalous support for Proposition 8 - and now it turns out that a lot more support was given that previously admitted. Hmmm. Accounting for the labor of some employees as part of the new information required for a Jan. 31 deadline under California law might not be as scandalous as critics would make it seem. See "Church Clarifies Proposition 8 Filing, Corrects Erroneous News Reports."

I don't know the details of the laws and what information they require when. Would appreciate informed comments. I have not been following the financial reports and don't know the details of what was covered in earlier reports or what's up with the different deadlines and reporting requirements. Updating or revising numbers does not necessarily mean that earlier numbers were lies - I await further information about what happened here and why. In any case, $200k of labor and other support is still a pittance - the real impact came from individuals, both LDS and others, contributing directly and with time to support Prop 8. Like it or not, speaking out on something as fundamental as traditional marriage is entirely within the realm of propriety for any religious organization.

No matter what, the Church will be hated and reviled by some for taking a stand on that issue. There's a moral to the story. Californian Mormons seeking to avoid reprisals from angry crowds for supporting traditional marriage, next time don't bring the Church into this. Come on! Temporarily convert to Islam when expressing your views. No one is going to vandalize, say, the San Francisco Third Mosque of the San Francisco Stake when Imam Heber Kimball Young encourages the congregation to support Prop. 8. Islam - it's not just the religion of peace, it's also the religion of protected free speech. And I'm totally cool with that! Just wish everyone would get that level of respect.

Update: Am puzzled as to why Mormons are singled out among the many groups who support traditional marriage and oppose Prop. 8. (Well, the Catholics and Evangelicals got some heat, but I haven't seen any formal heat toward Muslims, black Americans, and others - thank goodness! No one should be exposed to the hate and intimidation I've seen expressed toward some for simply taking a stand on an issue up for a vote. Some even lost jobs just for making a donation!) And please note that not all Mormons agree with the Church's stance in California. So before you get your local neighborhood Truth Commission together to go after your Mormon neighbors, first check and be sure that they are guilty of having an opinion you disagree with. Me? Uh, no, no opinions at all. So put those torches down!

Getting accurate numbers out of a large organization takes a lot of time and persistence. It takes lawyers and accountants sifting through data determining what counts and what doesn't according to California law or other standards. I've seen how hard it is to get accurate data in a corporation when they know ahead of time what needs to be reported and tracked. For the ad hoc nature of the Prop. 8 effort, it is very easy for me to imagine that diverse groups and employees could have given time and effort that would later require a lot further time and effort to properly estimate in terms of in-kind contributions. Revisions in reports and different standards for different estimates are common in business, and we should have a little patience and charity in letting the Church get its accounting squared away to meet the particular requirements of California law. $200k is still a pittance - I would be surprised if deliberate lying were done by any organization of similar size to disguise such a small number in the first place. Easy-to-find numbers with good news are tempting to report, perhaps prematurely - a common problem, if there is one here. If am wrong and there has been some serious and deliberate distortion by someone, then we've got a problem to fix. I await further clarification.
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