Why does the Mormon Church Meddle in Politics?

A personal answer from Gerald.

First Presidency Mormon LeadersThe LDS Church has a long standing policy on politics. It has three components to it:

  1. Political neutrality,
  2. Involvement in issues of moral or community,
  3. Individual involvement.

Political neutrality

The LDS Church is neutral in party politics. It does not endorse nor oppose any political party or candidate. Prior to national elections in the USA, the Church reminds its members of its neutrality and encourages them to prayerfully consider each candidate and issue on the ballot.

Involvement in issues of moral or community

The LDS Church does occasionally become involved in issues that it believes are a matter of morality. Its recent stance on Proposition 8 in California is one instance where involvement was encouraged. The Church views the traditional family with father and mother at its head to be divinely established by God, and a key to salvation, as well as to the soundness of society.

The Church occasionally is involved in community issues as well. Downtown Salt Lake City was deteriorating, so the Church invested millions of dollars to beautify the area and encourage development. Working with the local government, they were able to create a family friendly area for all to enjoy.

Individual involvement

The LDS Church does encourage members to be informed on the issues and involved in their communities. Elected officials, who are LDS, are not directed by the Church regarding their political decisions. Each official makes his or her own decisions regarding policies and laws.

In the United States, while many Mormon politicians are considered conservative, they are found in all political parties. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada, often disagrees politically with Republican Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate. Yet both are active and faithful LDS, who are allowed the freedom to make their own political choices without Church interference.

In other nations, LDS often are less conservative than their American counterparts, and are also encouraged to be prayerfully involved in their own communities and nations.

These policies are guided by LDS doctrine. Doctrine and Covenants 134 is a declaration of beliefs regarding government.  Its contents contain the following guiding precepts:

  1. Governments were instituted by God for man’s benefit.
  2. God holds politicians and rulers accountable for their exercise and creation of laws.
  3. Government must work by rule of law and ensure that individual rights are held inviolable.
  4. Government should restrain crime, but not control the human conscience.
  5. All men are to uphold their government, while protected in their inalienable rights.
  6. Sedition and rebellion are unbecoming of citizens whose inalienable rights are protected.
  7. While freedom is key to a good government, anarchy only supplants freedom with violence and terror.
  8. Religious freedom must be upheld by government, and no religion should be given deference or special favor over another religion by civil servants.

The Church’s official policy can be found at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org, search the term “political neutrality.”

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