Friday, October 24, 2008

Protesting the Marriage Amendment

My friend sent me this letter that her friend sent her, a Relief Society President near San Francisco:

"Dear family and friends,
I had a very disturbing experience yesterday that I would like to share with those of you that live outside of California (or outside of the San Francisco Bay Area).
This weekend we have stake conference. Our stake conference always begins with a stake temple session on Friday or Thursday night. Early Friday morning I received a call from the second counselor in our bishopric to let me know that there would be numerous protesters outside the temple, and to remind everyone to stay calm and to drive carefully.
The beautiful Oakland Temple is located right across the bay from San Francisco, very close to the city of Berkeley. Apparently the opposition to proposition 8, the amendment that seeks to make marriage in CA between a man and a woman again, has realized the deep involvement of the church and begun to protest right outside of the temple and harass temple patrons.
The fastest way to get to the temple from our house is to take the 680 freeway, but the exit is a bit tricky. The off ramp is extremely short and straight uphill. You then make an almost blind left turn, an immediate right and another left into the parking lot. As we approached the off ramp, I realized there would be trouble. There was a backup onto the freeway from cars stalled on the off ramp. As we moved forward inches at a time, we realized this was due to a large group of loud protesters who were standing on both sides of the street, yelling, screaming and waving signs. When we got to the top of the off ramp, ready to make our turn, one protester jumped out right in front of our car. It took my husband all his self control to carefully maneuver around him to the left and proceed to the temple. I tried not to listen to all they were shouting at us, but I was shaking as I got to the temple front door.
Several of the sisters, especially the ones driving on their own, were crying (which made me snap out of it and go into RS President mode to comfort them). Later, as I was sitting in the perfect quiet of the chapel, I couldn't help but think of Lehi's dream, and the people who mocked the Saints from the big spacious building but "we heeded them not."
It was a truly surreal experience, I'd never thought that I would have to go through an angry crowd to get to the temple. As we left late at night, the protesters had dispersed, temple security (who all looked very large and Tongan) stood by the gates. I never saw a single police man.
Please pray for those of us in California fighting for prop 8--it's getting kind of scary out here.

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