A bizarre email claiming that up to 200,000 gays and anarchists plan to disrupt the LDS Church’s General Conference in April has been making the rounds on the internet, much to the dismay of local gays.
The email, which KSL reported has been circulating for months, starts by urging recipients to pray for Mormons and for Salt Lake City.
The email’s author begins by saying that a friend’s father who works for the Salt Lake City Police Department is putting in long hours “doing riot control training” in anticipation for “an influx of 10,000 to 200,000 Gay [sic] protesters” who have “already … applied” for permits to protest during General Conference.
It then makes the claim that the gays will likely become violent.
“But what really worries the police are that the gay protest groups have aligned themselves with a couple of anarchist groups who make it their goal in life to cause as much trouble as possible,” the email continues. “These are the groups that show up at protests and you have anarchists running through the streets throwing bricks, Molotov Cocktails, and what not, breaking windows, burning cars and businesses, and attacking innocent citizens and by standers [sic]. Their only goal is to provoke a reaction from the police and the citizenry.”
SLCPD spokesperson Detective Dennis McGowan told KSL that the training mentioned in the email was nothing more than routine crowd control techniques the department conducts every year.
“You know, thanks for the opportunity, though, to get this out to everyone that, as far as our concern at this point in time, these are rumors and everyone can stand down,” he added.
As of press time, no gay groups have applied for permits to march during General Conference Weekend. However, an equal rights group called Equalnox had planned to hold an event in Salt Lake City on March 21 in which people of all faiths, religions, races and sexual orientations were invited to rally for universal equal rights.
The event was cancelled when organizers could not get a permit from the city.
Local gay rights group Equality Utah denounced the email as fear-mongering. Will Carlson, the group’s Manager of Public Policy, said that the only project the local gay community had discussed doing over General Conference weekend was “a service project for at-risk communities.”
“We know this is not true, but even if it were, we wouldn’t support it,” he said of the email’s contents.