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May 8th 2007

Mormon Politics

This article was recently submitted to all-encompassingly for publication. It is one of a series of informational posts intended to address widely-held misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. –Admin

Mormons, as individuals, are very interested in the political world. As an early Mormon leader put it 1896, “We cannot as a people close our eyes or our ears to that which is going on around us.” Mormons are constantly encouraged to vote and to be active in their communities, including politics. Each one of us it part of the world around us, and each one of us is responsible for what happens in the world. However, although Mormons are encouraged to participate in politics, the Mormon Church has no official political stance, nor does it encourage its members to vote for particular candidates or along certain party lines.

Although many believe the Mormon Church to secretly endorse the Republican Party, such beliefs are false. In the political scene in the United States today, there are prominent Mormon political leaders of both the Republican and Democratic Party, and it is clear that these leaders differ drastically on pressing political matters. Despite their differing political views, these leaders can be in good standing with the Church.

Official Mormon doctrine comes from the First Presidency of the Church, the Mormon prophet and his two counselors. Statements from the First Presidency regarding politics have come over time, and all have had the same message: members should vote, but we do not tell you how. Here are some examples:

1910: We claim no authority, and have no desire, to use the power of the Priesthood which we hold, to dictate or compel any member of the Church, or other human being, to unite with or oppose any political party or faction . . .

1963: We believe in a two-party system, and all our members are perfectly free to support the party of their choice.

1988: We have no candidates for political office and we do not undertake to tell people how to vote.

This position is still true today. Gordon B. Hinckley, the current President and Prophet of the Mormons, has stated on several occasions, that Mormons “believe in the separation of Church and state. The Church does not endorse any political party or any political candidate, nor does it permit the use of its buildings and facilities for political purposes.”

Even a Mormon candidate for public office would not be endorsed by the Mormon Church. Like any Mormon, a candidateÂ’s political choices are his or her own. Since the Mormon Church takes so few stances on any political selections, Mormons as individuals, or as public representatives, are free to vote as they believe best.

Although in general, the Mormon Church will not take a political stand, there is one exception to this rule: if the political question is a moral one, the Church does speak out. This is also stated by President Hinckley: “We become involved in politics only when there is a moral issue at stake.” The most prominent moral issue over the past few years has had to do with same-sex marriages, but other moral issues that have arisen include alcohol, gambling, and other similar things. Although the First Presidency officially endorses a certain stance in these moral issues, no test exists to ensure a member votes that way. People do not get excommunicated from the Church or have restricted privileges because of the way they vote, nor are they ever asked if or how they voted—even in situations when the leadership of the Mormon Church advocated a certain stance.

It is common to see individual Mormons supporting certain stances in politics. This is good, as Mormons should always be aware of the world around them and be involved in the political scene, like any citizen of the United States should. Just remember that when they do this, they do so as individuals, not as representatives of the Mormon Church.

9 Responses to “Mormon Politics”

  1. Samantha

    Proof positive that Mormons can hold a wide range of differing and even contradictory political views (even on “moral” issues): Mitt Romney.

    😉

  2. travis

    indeed, proof positive that humans are sentient beings: their opinions can change over time, unlike trees and rocks.

  3. Brandon Burt

    If you live in California, pay close attention during next Sunday’s sacrament meeting; on June 29, your bishop or mission president will read a statement from the GA instructing you how to vote on the marriage amendment issue.

  4. First, I doubt Church leadership would need to tell Mormons how to vote on this (unless there is a shift from pro-traditional family to pro-any family). Second, I think you must mean branch (not mission) president. Mission presidents do not preside over congregations except perhaps where no stake is organized. Since Mormons helped settle California, I would imagine the Church is well-established there and thus mission presidents do not oversee any congregations. Finally, why would the state of Georgia instruct California Mormons on how to vote, anyway?

  5. […] I keep asking myself ‘why’ the Mormons would put so much time and money into trying to narrowly define marriage as ‘between a man and a woman’, particularly when they openly practiced polygamy, and Mormon doctrine states the following: “We claim no authority, and have no desire, to use the power of the Priesthood which we hold, to dictate or compel any member of the Church, or other human being, to unite with or oppose any political party or faction . . .” 1 […]

  6. Melinda Wallace

    As much as I would love to believe that the LDS is not a branch of the Republican Party, it is simply not true.

    KSL radio, owned by the church, broadcasts and promotes
    Republican only venues. BYU stadium is rented out for July Celebrations only to Republican hosts.

    Utah Eagle Forum is 100% Republican and has free use of all LDS Church copyrighted materials and resources to promote Republican candidates and slander Democratic candidates including President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton.

    It is 100% clear that the LDS church is a branch of the Republican Party and takes all marching orders from the Eagle Forum and other Republican lobby groups.

  7. KSL radio, owned by the church, broadcasts and promotes Republican only venues.

    KSL is a business. Why would it have liberal programming in the reddest of red states? For comparison, Bonneville Comminications owned the top 40 station for a few years in Washington DC.

    BYU stadium is rented out for July Celebrations only to Republican hosts.

    Is Stadium of Fire an LDS church affiliated entity? Are you aware of BYU denying use of their stadium based on the political views of a performer or host?

    Did you know that in 2007, in addition to Vice President Dick Cheney and Chief Justice John Roberts, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid visited and spoke on BYU campus?

    Utah Eagle Forum is 100% Republican and has free use of all LDS Church copyrighted materials and resources to promote Republican candidates and slander Democratic candidates including President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton.

    Provide examples please! 😀 I’d love to see how primary songs or the topical guide were used to “promote Republican candidates and slander Democratic candidates.”

    It is 100% clear that the LDS church is a branch of the Republican Party and takes all marching orders from the Eagle Forum and other Republican lobby groups.

    As a member of the LDS church, through a lifetime of experience, I know that the article as posted is 100% accurate.

  8. Melinda Wallace

    Log on to “Facebook”, then search for:

    Utah Coalition for Traditional Families

    You will see Gordan B. Hinkley’s “Proclamation on the Family” is used as the official Facebook icon.

    Now look at the members. You will see endorsements for Utah State Senator Chris Buttars and a Republican U.S. Senatorial Candidate running against Senator Bob Bennett, (she has posted a total of 70 pictures of herself on this site).

    Now review Eagle Forum’s E-Mails that were sent out by Eagle Forum President, Gayle Ruzicka. Ruzicka uses the Doctrine and Covenants to promote specific candidates and legislation. Next, you will see the name of the Church is used in the “Common Sense Initiative”. Please look for yourself.

  9. I think a fundamental premise from your original comment is mistaken:

    Utah Eagle Forum is 100% Republican and has free use of all LDS Church copyrighted materials

    Any group using official church materials to further a political cause is not evidence of church sponsorship or support. This would have been clear upon contacting the church regarding the Utah Coalition for Traditional Families’ facebook page back around July 4th.

    From the original article.

    It is common to see individual Mormons supporting certain stances in politics. This is good, as Mormons should always be aware of the world around them and be involved in the political scene, like any citizen of the United States should. Just remember that when they do this, they do so as individuals, not as representatives of the Mormon Church.