It is one thing to have different understandings of the role of government
– how much should the government tax or spend, be involved or not involved
in peoples’ lives etc. Reasonable people can disagree. Of course these
different modes of government have consequences, and well intentioned liberal
policies, which make their proponents “feel good” nearly always have
unintended bad consequences. I could list dozens of actual examples. But
I’d categorize these as “mistakes” rather than
“sins,” using Elder Oaks’ paradigm. Conservative principles
generally agree with what LDS know about man’s agency and accountability.
Not that conservatives always get it right, nor are they perfect, but at least
conservatism is more grounded in reality – what actually works and
doesn’t work, using empirical evidence rather than utopian idealism. But it is another thing to actively support a party that wholeheartedly
encourages abortion on demand, gay marriage, removing God from public life,
forcing employers to act against their conscience, and foisting incredible debt
on our grandkids etc.
"Where did this kind of thinking come from?" Professor Davis, I have
some notions in this regard. Back in the mid-1970s while a student at BYU I
distinctly recall the then President of the Quorum of the Twelve, being quoted
in a newspaper interview that it would be very difficult for an active LDS to be
a Democrat. Granted, he didn't announce that he was speaking as God's
oracle at that moment but the message was clearly conveyed to many. I would have
loved to see your article appear in the DN the following week.
Mr. Davis i would agree with much of what you say.However, the LDS
church gives the appearance, despite what leaders say over the pulpit, of an
endorsement of the Republican party through the pages of Deseret News. Deseret
News doesn't carry a single op-ed from the liberal side. Its coverage of
the 2012 campaign and election was one-sided. Sometimes local church leaders
and teachers can and do mix politics with what they teach, again giving the
message to ward members that the Republican Party is the party for Mormons.Additionally, you didn't mention liberal issues such as same-sex
marriage and abortion. Many Mormon Republicans believe one can't
liberal/Democrat and a church member in good standing because of these issues.
But, one can hold different views and still be a Democrat, unlike the Republican
Party where one becomes labelled a RINO and is then unable to get re-elected.
The continual narrowing of the Republican Party will be its demise. Mixing
religion and politics will turn many away from religion.
An excellent article. We need to be sure that we always understand that absent
direct statements from the First Presidency, our political opinions are our
own.Too often I see folks say things like "Elder X said this in
(fill in favorite year before most of us were born), that issue is kind of
similar to this one, so therefore the prophet would say this about that."Please.What I have seen is that the First Presidency have no
hesitancy in speaking about tough issues and saying precisely what they want to
say. We do not need to "look through a glass, darkly" when we have the
full image given in the plain light of day. Here is what they have said:"Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold
leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest. Principles
compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties. . . . The
Church affirms its neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and
candidates. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on
political and social issues."We have been given the wonderful
gift of agency. God expects us to use it wisely.
"Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been
a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our
nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by
faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith- based
organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face
our nation and our world—from domestic and global poverty, to climate
change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do
amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in
lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where
possible....There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and
respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is
essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country."2012 Democratic Party Platform
"No true Latter-day-Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a
communist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil
philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus
Christ." Ezra Taft Benson
@RG – “But it is another thing to actively support a party that
wholeheartedly encourages abortion on demand, gay marriage, removing God from
public life, forcing employers to act against their conscience, and foisting
incredible debt on our grandkids etc.”Abortion - I don’t
know of anyone who “encourages” abortion. The real issue there is
who gets to make that deeply personal decision. Gay Marriage –
I have yet to hear one ethical argument for not granting gay people the same
rights as everyone else. All the arguments against it are purely “faith
based” as if that somehow ends the discussion. Which of course leads
to…Removing God from public life – sorry, that was done
at the founding (thank you wise men of the Enlightenment!) and one side has been
upset, and trying to reassert it ever since.Incredible Debt –
You honestly believe the guilt on this is one sided? Do you not recall Reagan,
Bush, Bush II? The last time we had a balanced budget was under a Democratic
I have a friend who is both a liberal Democrat and a good Mormon. She lives in
the Harvard/Yale area of SLC. I once asked her if her politics came into
conflict with her religion. She said "no, almost everyone in my ward is a
liberal Democrat."If you look at demographic data for
Harvard/Yale it is dominated by highly educated professionals, a core Democratic
group. It seems that education and occupation may trump religious affiliation in
choosing a political view.
The Deseret News has taken lots of liberal stands. I learned about human rights
from reading the Deseret News. They frequently write editorials about women
being degraded as sex objects. In the 1960's there were X-rated movie
theatres in Salt Lake and it was the Deseret News that would not advertise
because they were demeaning to women. What about their recent views on
immigration?As marriage is a powerful tool for fighting poverty,
their views on supporting traditional marriage is a liberal position because it
fights poverty.They don't take a dogmatic viewpoint so if some
consider the dogmatic political view as the 'official' way that
'liberals' should think then, in that case, the Deseret News is not
liberal, by that narrow definition in the same way that Mormons are not
Christians by a narrow Evangelical 'official' definition.
Democrats I know love to tell me that the party isn't defined by abortion,
but they are the only ones supporting it, upholding it, giving it the time of
day. I find it disturbing how Americans can cry out in collective pain and
outrage over 20 children shot dead in a school shooting, but let an estimated
1.6 million abortions happen every year. There is an amazing lack of distinction
between fetus and child. When they are very much both the same thing...a child.
You wont find me supporting either party though. Both are full of people willing
to compromise value for votes. So, really why does anyone support either party?
@Tyler DAbortion: Obama voted to let victims of failed abortions die. Most
dems support NOW and NARAL which are viciously proabortion; they really do
“encourage” it.Gay Marriage – Your point is mostly
granted. Most good arguments against gay marriage are indeed faith based. But
that certainly doesn’t make them wrong, and gay marriage remains immoral.
While there are worse situations to grow up in, gay parenting is not ideal. Why
would LDS (who are the topic of this article)encourage it?Removing
God from public life – This was NOT done at the founding. Rather, the
free exercise of religion was protected. The founders would roll over in their
graves to find that nativity scenes on public property are now prohibited. Read
what the constitution actually says; “wall of separation” is not
there.Incredible debt - Yes the naughty GOP has run up plenty of
debt, but Obama’s debt dwarfs former debts. (Plus, the stimulus $ was
mostly wasted.) Speaking of budgets, which leader of which party has not
fulfilled his obligation to pass one in nearly four years?
RG,It is interesting that the author chose to ignore the hard core support
for abortion on demand for anyone age 2 and older up to and through the 41st
week of pregnancy, and for gay marriage that appear to be the twin pillars of
liberalism.Tyler D,While liberals may not ENCOURAGE abortion
on demand, you cannot deny they support it.Gay marriage – RG
not talk about whether or not there are ethical arguments for opposition to it,
he said support for it is contrary to LDS doctrine. And gays have no fewer
rights than anyone else: find someone of the opposite gender who is of age and
not married, and they can marry them – the same rules apply to
straights.Removing God from public life – the founders did not
do that, they specifically said NO laws could be made concerning the
establishment of religion. That means none supporting it and NONE forbidding
it. Jefferson wrote the Virginia statute specifically so the Baptists COULD
have a place in public life.And you really compare BO’s debt
to Bush? BO accumulated more in 3.5 years than bush did in 8
Let's see...Praticing Unorthodox marriages, Abolish
Slavery, Women's Rights, Universal Healthcare, Increaed
Social Reform Policies, Immigration Funding, Re-Distribution of
Wealth, United Order, Stronger central Federal Government, Anti-War, etc., I'm Liberal BECAUSE I'm Mormon,
not inspite of it!
@RGAbortion – I’ll grant that what most Dems support is
keeping this decision with the mother (and so by extension, the groups that
support that) against the side who’s ultimate goal is to criminalize any
termination of pregnancy one nanosecond after conception. Gay
Marriage – Thanks for granting my point. And I didn’t say faith
based arguments were wrong… I just think people should be honest about it
and not claim something is “immoral” when what they really mean is,
“it goes against my religion.” Those are not synonymous unless you
believe one cannot be moral unless one is religious. And I’m happy to have
that debate…God & Public life – sure, people can be
as religious (or not) as they want to be in private or public. What they cannot
do is dominate the public arena with their religion, at the objection of others
who don’t share their views, and have that domination be sanctioned or
protected by the government. Debt – we agree… there’s
blame on all sides.
@lost in DC – “And gays have no fewer rights than anyone else: find
someone of the opposite gender who is of age and not married, and they can marry
them...”Really? That’s your “equal rights”
argument? This is going to be hard to type with my jaw on the ground, but here
goes…First of all, equal rights does NOT mean everyone is
‘free’ to do what only one group says. Equal rights means (in this
case) consenting adults, not harming anyone else either directly or indirectly,
are free to live/do as THEY choose. You may think it is “yucky” (as
I do) but that doesn’t give you (or me) dictatorial rights.But
back to your “logic” – so by your reasoning we should be free
(assuming it was constitutional) to set up one religion and then say
“everyone is ‘free’ to come to our church or not.” Or we could establish a society where everything works only for
right-handed people, and then say “everyone is ‘free’ to use
these right-handed golf clubs… even you left-handed people.”
As I read this, I was holding my breath in anticipation of some of the comments
that would result from the regular crowd. And sure enough.... the same tried,
and many time over proven wrong. For example, the claim that most
liberals support abortion. A recent Pew research showed that over 60 percent of
democrats don't agree with abortion. On the other hand, nearly 40 percent
of republicans do support abortion. What this simply shows is that there is no
standard democrat - and that there is no standard republican. People are just
more complex, have different life stories than the over simplified comments
would lend one to believe.Locally, two of the three stake presidents
are Democrats. One represented the Church and the Democratic National
convention in Charlotte.People need to separate Ezra Taft
Benson's political views with his spiritual calling. He was a man, with an
opinion. No where will you find his comments in any doctrinal publications of
the church. He was entitled to his opinion... but that is all it was.I am glad to see comments like this, breaking the myth that you must be a card
carrying NRA Republican to be a good LDS member.
Should I believe the author, who takes the view that Mormons are pretty much
like everyone else? Or should I believe the numbers, which tell a different
story. One quarter Obama approval means up to three quarters DIS approval. Utah
votes almost 3-1 for Romney over Obama, and in Utah County it's closer to
9-1. I guess I'll believe things are evened out when Joe Biden speaks at
The truth is that it is impossible to align entirely with either party and the
church at the same time. None of the few political topics the Church has
currently taken a stand on line up exactly to either party's platforms.
Republicans allow no abortion--the Church allows exceptions. Immigration--you
know the furor the Church created among both parties when they approved of the
Utah compact. Even their stance on homosexuality doesn't line up to either
party.I decided eventually to be an independent because I see too
many Mormons putting party before the gospel. When the church and the party
disagree, they decide the prophet got one wrong. I don't ever want to be
tempted to let a party become my religion, so I now study what the church says
and, when it doesn't say, what it does, as in global warming. I follow the
prophet, not a party leader.George Washington, in his Farewell
Address, warned that parties would destroy our nation someday. I agree.
For what it's worth, the conservative, Republican "group think"
which I have witnessed among Mormons is not any worse than the liberal
Democratic group think which I previously encountered in the Unitarian church.
"To each his own," as they say.
re: LledravSo, the church is going to withdraw from Venezuela,
France, Bolivia, China, etc...? re: Roland KayserInteresting. I'd bet there many professors who live in the H/Y area that
work at certain nearby state run institution of higher learning.
Hey Mark B.. same numbers apply to Alaska..... guess by your analysis Alaska
must be majority Mormon. And evangelics... same there.... they must also be
the True Church as well then as well....Oh, and last I checked more
Mormons live out side of Utah, and if not already, more live out side the US.
Now hows that going to work....?
One extra data point here: Canadian church member, active, faithful, living in
the US for the last 4 years. Card-carrying member of the New Democratic Party,
a socialist/social democratic party in Canada that currently serves as the
Official Opposition (#2 party) in the federal Parliament. Many Canadian Mormons
are almost as politically conservative as their American counterparts, but
certainly not all.
Well, the topic was Mormons, not Alaskans. Utah has the greatest Mormon
percentage of the population, more so than anywhere else. Mormons may vote like
other selected populations in lots of places, but they don't seem to be
much like the rest of the country as a whole.
Conservatives and liberals look at Christ's teachings. Conservatives tend
to focus on the commandments by supporting the banning of gay marriage, shopping
on Sundays, gambling, smoking, etc...Liberals focus on compassion, love,
equality, etc... Both believe in using force to promote their agendas through
law. In this, both emulate Satan's plan in the preexistense. The Gospel is actually libertarian. God told Adam that he forbade them from
eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but also said that
they could choose for themselves. Libertarians likewise believe that people
should be free to choose how they live their lives and likewise reap the natural
consequences for their choices. No forcing anyone to live subjective morals.
The D&C says that we are to use kindness, gentleness, meekness and love
unfeigned to encourage people to live righteously. No force. Force is
condemned. Conservatives and liberals are equally condemned due to
their use of force. Both are condemned for trying to serve 2 masters.
Libertarians are free of this condemnation. They promote individual agency
rather than trying to harm it. Read Connor Boyak's "Latter-day
Liberty: A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics"
Lledrav quoted President Benson as follows:"No true Latter-day-Saint
and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs
leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with
Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus Christ." Pray tell, does
this statement meet the criteria of "Church doctrine?" I think Elder
Andersen potentially put an end to a lot of confusion by clarifying what
constitutes Church doctrine this past conference:"There is an
important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is
taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is
not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught
frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find."If we are going to use President Benson's statement, then it follows that
every political party ever designed falls short, because none fully conforms to
the gospel of Jesus Christ. The political and economic model for which all
Latter-day Saints should be striving is the Law of Consecration. Perhaps we as a
people could be more productive discussing what we can do to approach Zion.
The defining factor is whether a political party is in line with the doctrines
of one's religion. For example:- if God's work is to bring
to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (and woman), does the political
party support life at all stages of life, including the unborn and aged? - if God's commandments are to not commit adultery, does the
political party defy that commandment in any way, including payments for having
children out of wedlock, same-sex marriage and relationships, etc.? - If God has given freedom of conscience, does the political party suppress
that freedom in any way, including forcing people who own businesses to provide
morning after pills, the freedom to not pay union dues if the union puts that
money into causes the payer does not approve of, etc.?There may not
be a political party that matches a particular religion's doctrine. In
fact, there may not be any political party that is even close. In such cases,
religious people must choose for the best possible candidate (or the least
harmful candidate). Democrats certainly don't line up with LDS
doctrine. Republicans are close but less so each year.
Tyler D,I’m trying to understand your comment.I suspect
you are arguing against what I said, but I don’t see it.I did
not say, as you indicated, that it means everyone is free to do what one group
says.I said the same rules apply to all, which is the case and which
is the very definition of equal.I did not say anything about being
able to set up one religion and say everyone is free to come or not. I did not
think I had to, that’s part of the 1st Amendment.Typical of
the left; when they cannot argue with what you say, they say you said something
other than what you said, then they argue with what THEY said you said.But if I understand the gist of your comment it’s:Same laws
applying to all is not equalWe cannot establish our own religion and
invite others to come if they want.But then, I don’t see what
your response has to do with Mormons being conservative or liberal.
@stuffYou forgot to include the following:-If
God’s commandment is to not kill, does the political start non-defensive
wars?-If God’s commandment is to love your neighbor, does the
political party consistently engage divisive and hateful rhetoric and is
vehemently disrespectful to large segments of their “neighbors?”-If God’s teaching is to take care of the poor, does the political
party instead show contempt for the poor and deride them as lazy moochers? -And if God has given freedom of conscience, does the political party
show a consistent tendency to legislate morality (and remove that freedom),
especially in the sexual domain?The separation of church and state
is looking better all the time, don’t you agree?
To "Open Minded Mormon" the things you mention are libertarian, liberal.
Unless you are looking at classical liberalism, which is the opposite of modern
liberalism.Unfortunately for you and your ilk, including
Roland's neighbors, you don't see that espousing the hard core liberal
philosophy is in direct contradition to LDS teachings. There are liberals out
there that claim to be LDS and claim to follow LDS doctrine, except when it
comes to socialism, communism, and moral relativity.Take an honest
look at liberalism and any of the collectivist philosophies, and you will see
more similarities than differences.To "UtahBlueDevil" look
into the LDS web site some more, and you will find that other Prophets have
denounced liberalism, socialism, and communism. Please don't remain in the
@ Tyler D: One more comment about the poor: I have read the bible
and LDS scriptures multiple times. I don't recall a single instance, story
or teaching that the government should tax the populous and redistribute money
to the poor and needy. In every case (or at least the vast majority, in case
I'm missing something) the commandment is to individuals to help those in
need. Not one is directed at a government, that I know of.
Up until the end of Ezra Taft Benson's presidency, from about the late 40s
through the late 80s, you had church leaders up to and including the president
espousing conservative philosophies over the pulpit and demonizing liberal views
under terms such as "communist" or "socialist" or any other term
they found as properly dehumanizing.Also, almost without fail every
church social policy and view has been aligned with the far right, including
positions on civil rights, equal rights for women, interracial marriage, birth
control, homosexuality, and abortion rights.Combine all of that with
the continued teaching that leaders of the church are representatives of
God's views and positions, and it's not hard to see how this article
is not accurately representing the situation. After all, D&C 1:38, right?
"38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself;
...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the
same."Kind of difficult to excuse the statements and opinions of
church leaders past and present, both spoken over the pulpit and in private
actions, with doctrines such as that, is it not?
@ Tyler D: Real happiness is the ultimate sense of well-being - for
both your current and immortal states. Do things that bring that sense of
well-being. It really does pay off. - There are at least 17
instances in the New Testament where Jesus himself called out hypocrites and law
(commandment) breakers. He didn't tolerate them at all nor did he talk nice
to them. He called them out on their wrongs. - There are dozens and
dozens of examples where the Bible states specific commandments - even
commandments legislating morality. - In the Book of Mormon and Old
Testament, there are many instances of legitimately going to war to defend
liberties. Joshua, King David and Captain Moroni in the BoM are just three
examples. Iraq and Afghanistan are known sources of terrorist training and after
being attacked multiple times abroad and on our own soil, it can hardly be
called a non-defensive war. We very much had cause to go to war to curtail that
training aimed to harm us - even if the real reasons were not always given.
I am troubled by some who claim that whatever a prophet says or series of
prophets have said constitute official church doctrine. They don't.
Harold B. Lee and Joseph Fielding Smith both stated that if they say anything
contrary to scripture, that scripture prevails and that ther own statements are
to be rejected. They and other prophets have stated that only the scriptures
constitute binding doctrine. We've even had revelations be ratified via
Common Consent to become canonized as binding scripture. If statements of
prophets are equal to scripture, why isn't every prophets' conference
talks added to the D&C? Even the Proclamation on the Family isn't
binding scripture. The prophets have stated that unless it's
in the standard works, it's just opinion.Sorry.
I am a Democrat because of my deeply held religious beliefs (having served a
mission and as a Relief Society President, now mother of 5), and not in spite of
them. My beliefs more closely align with what I see as a more Christlike,
compassionate view toward healthcare and immigration to name a couple of things.
I know that my Republican friends are equally compassionate, I just see
government as instituted by God to help people, where they see it as an issue of
freedom of choice (to be fair, I think we use our freedom of choice within a
governmental framework to help others). I feel badly when people automatically
label me or discount my views and automatically assume that I am for
"killing babies." I'm not. One trend that disturbs me is the
hateful rhetoric I see coming from otherwise good people-- this has not place in
a Christian faith.
As an independent I find good and bad in all the parties. What
saddens me is how politics sometimes causes divisions among church members.
We're supposed to be getting closer to Zion - becoming one in heart.
Politics is a temporal, worldly concern. We lose perspective if we take it too
seriously. We can also become blinded by it. I hope we can rise
above politics. The gospel is much bigger.
How can a God-fearing person support someone who aligns themselves with others
who shout down including God in the party platform, who support abortion, even
partial-birth abortion, same-gender marriage and refuse to acknowledge freedom
of conscience by forcing others to pay for their abortifacients?
I'm an active Mormon and a Democrat and never did I feel more out of place
than during the last presidential campaign. In my conservative area, I felt
judged and isolated as I drove into the church parking awash in Romney stickers
and people craned their heads to see who could possibly have an Obama/Biden
sticker on their car.I sat in meetings where members talked about
attending Romney rallies and helping out with the campaign. My kids were
ostracized for not being Romney supporters in seminary.Surely, this
isn't what our church leaders want. Surely, even Republican members of the
church can see that the church should be apolitical, a place where everyone can
go and feel welcome!And surely, we can see that this close alignment of
the church with one political party hurts missionary efforts, not to mention the
ability to participate in the political dialogue when Democrats are in power!
But most importantly, church should be a place of brotherhood and
sisterhood. A place where we can all be accepted. A place where our
commonalities as children of God supersede any differences we might have in
"Being LDS does not limit one’s political persuasions" if you do
not mind spending a minimum of three hours a week listening to a bunch of
right-wing authoritarian followers reciting the views of Rush and Sean and their
other "gods" during our meetings. If you do mind it, then you will be
less frustrated worshiping elsewhere.
Copied from another thread:There is in fact a single correct
political ideology that can be derived from a proper and complete understanding
of the Scriptures. God does indeed have his way that he would like to see the
world run. But it is not to be found in the platforms of either of the two major
American political parties, at least not in its fullness. And God has chosen to
let us simply exercise our agency on this matter instead of having prophets
force his way upon us. For that I am grateful, to some extent at least. The
world would certainly be a much better place if we would all just do what
we're supposed to. But then we'd never learn.All I have to
say about this is thank God I don't live in Utah, with all these
"cultural Mormons" who come to church but don't understand or
practice the Gospel at all. I hope I will never have to move out there, but if I
do, at least I will be prepared for it now. I got enough political pushback in
the last year from fellow Church members to last a lifetime.