The Ex-Mormon Factor
A little before 10 p.m. on Wednesday, the night after Proposition 8 was approved by the voters of California, Levi Jackman Foster arrives at the Los Angeles Mormon Temple with scores of protestors after marching four miles from a rally in West Hollywood, which drew several thousand. Foster, a handsome blond, is 22, gay and angry. He’s also an ex-Mormon, the great-great-grandson of Nathaniel Tanner, one of the founders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and a relation to Levi Jackman, who surveyed the land where the church created its national headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I completely abandoned the church because it abandoned me,” Foster explains on the sidewalk outside the temple on Santa Monica Boulevard. Now, he says, “Proposition 8 is tearing my family apart.”
Foster’s parents donated money and voted in favor of the ballot measure that eliminates the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in California. “They weren’t going to vote on it,” Foster says, “but the church told them to, so they did. They also gave money to ‘Yes on 8’ because the church told them to do that.” Members of the Mormon church contributed tens of millions of dollars to the “Yes on 8” campaign.
“The Mormons have been oppressed minorities in the past,” Foster says, as he looks through the temple gates, “and now they’re doing the same thing to us. It’s something the church doesn’t get.”