This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The semi-annual conference of the LDS church is coming up next week. Thousands of Mormons will gather in the Conference Center to receive instruction from our leaders on the best way to get to heaven.
Meanwhile, demonstrators will gather outside and loudly insist that we are instead going to hell for all sorts of reasons, but mostly just for being Mormons.
In the past, anti-LDS demonstrators have come mainly from the ranks of ultra-conservative Christian groups protesting what they see as our heretical approach to the Bible.
But this conference could have been different. Mormons and the Christian Gestapo might have actually been forced into a tenuous alliance had a third group decided to demonstrate.
For months, Mormons have been bracing for a conference demonstration from gays angry over the church's support of Prop 8 in California, which effectively denied them the right to throw rice at each other.
Or maybe it was something about wearing white or tying tin cans to the backs of their cars. I can't remember for sure because it's been so long and, honestly, I wasn't paying attention anyway.
Unfortunately, gays won't be demonstrating this conference. I'm disappointed because getting yelled at by messengers from a loan shark Jesus has gotten old. I was hoping for something new and exciting.
Instead of waving signs and shouting invective, the gay community says it will turn its efforts to community service projects.
Let me see if I got this straight. Gays plan on changing attitudes through behavior that promotes genuine concern for the well-being of others. Hmm, I've heard that theory before but can't remember exactly where.
We have to put a stop to this. Seriously, what's conference attendance going to be like if this behavior catches on and no one is mad enough to yell at us?
It would be nice if some of the country's larger breweries would demonstrate during conference. The church has thwarted lots of alcohol reform in Utah. Why aren't the Budweiser frogs hopping mad around the Conference Center?
Vegans should have a real bone to pick -- oh, sorry -- with the LDS church. Mormons are serious carnivores. The church owns huge welfare farms including some with cows. The bread we use in our Sacrament is made with real dairy products.
Hollywood should get on our case. Who knows how much money the movie industry has lost because avoiding R-rated movies is considered by many Mormons to be the 11th commandment?
Given the nature of Mormonism, plenty of groups besides those should be downtown next weekend carrying signs. In fact, I'm one of them. There are things about my church that bug me.
Rather than tackle larger issues like the three-hour meeting block, mandatory white shirts, and the right to cross examine testimonies, I'm going to start slow. I've already made my sign. It's huge and says "Excommunicate Larry Erdmann Now!"
Larry hasn't done anything bad other than be a Mormon. But according to some people, that's enough.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.