Political Neutrality – Church Website

Since we constantly are barraged with questions in regards to the Mormon Church’s stated political positions, this should serve as a reminder:

The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

The Church does not:

  • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
  • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The Church does:

  • Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
  • Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
  • Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
  • Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

In the United States, where nearly half of the world’s Latter-day Saints live, it is customary for the Church at each national election to issue a letter to be read to all congregations encouraging its members to vote, but emphasizing the Church’s neutrality in partisan political matters.

Relationships With Government

Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position. While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent.

Modern scriptural references to the role of government: Doctrine and Covenants, Section 134

Political Party Participation of Presiding Church Officers

In addition, the First Presidency letter issued on 16 June 2011 is a re-statement and further clarification of the Church’s position on political neutrality at the start of another political season. It applies to all full-time General Authorities, general auxiliary leaders, mission presidents and temple presidents. The policy is not directed to full-time Church employees.

“General Authorities and general officers of the Church and their spouses and other ecclesiastical leaders serving full-time should not personally participate in political campaigns, including promoting candidates, fundraising, speaking in behalf of or otherwise endorsing candidates, and making financial contributions.

“Since they are not full-time officers of the Church, Area Seventies, stake presidents and bishops are free to contribute, serve on campaign committees and otherwise support candidates of their choice with the understanding they:

  • Are acting solely as individual citizens in the democratic process and that they do not imply, or allow others to infer, that their actions or support in any way represent the church.
  • Will not use Church stationery, Church-generated address lists or email systems or Church buildings for political promotional purposes.
  • Will not engage in fundraising or other types of campaigning focused on fellow Church members under their ecclesiastical supervision.”

 

One Reply to “Political Neutrality – Church Website”

  1. I find this whole idea of political neutrality on the part of the LDS church an interesting dichotomy of ideas. The “Church’s” official position is one of strict political neutrality and from its published statements essentially expects the same of ts full time general authorities except in their private voting. It should be noted that this has not always been the case as is clear from its past history.

    I was not aware until a recent publication in the SL Tribune that our formal registered affiliation with a party was public information. How naive of me. Now we know of the party affiliation or lack of affiliation of each individual member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Three were unafiliated, one waffled and the remainder were Registered Republicans. There were no registered Democrats in this group. I’m sure that most people in Utah already suspected as much. One doesn’t have go very far into Mormon psychology to understand why most Mormons vote republican. Being a registered Democrat puts one on the fringe of the Mormon community, no matter what Church leaders preach about neutrality. The Church is made up of members and members are not neutral and members try to follow the examples of their highest leaders.

    Many members of both parties are very passionate. Passion can lead to geat accomplishments for good as well as suffering as history will also attest. Not unfrequently does passion lead to disdain, bitterness and hatred. Forgiveness is not easilly given even after elections. Sometimes it worsens the contempt. These attitudes often flare in LDS individuals, wards and communities and at times may lead political bullying outside of the church house and occasionally within. This behavior is no respector of party.

    LDS leadership needs to set the doctrine and the tone and the example. LDS general authorities need to remain unaffiated to party politics, should not contribute to campaigns, lend their names or endorsements to candidates. Registering with a party constitutes an endorsement of it. Hopefully their voting may remain private.

    Initially I supported the LDS Dems because I thought there needed to be more of a balance in Utah politics. I thought was a means to a good end. Now I regret that decision because I would hate to see other groups labeled LDS Republicans, LDS Tea Party, LDS Libertarisns, etc. These titles connote endorsement by the LDS Church even when it does not have it.

    Utah would have a better more diverse political system if we left religion out of politics and politics out of religion. If we truly loved our neighbors as ourselves without regard to politics, race, ethnicity, gender or gender attraction and worked across the isles and through our differences to find common ground that could bless all of our lives how much happier we would be.

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