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To all Utah Mormons
who vote Republican:
To all Utah Mormons who tend to vote Republican in the
we would like to make an appeal to you to reconsider the way you vote. You are rarely exposed to Democratic candidates and their ideas because they often don't even bother to visit your state. What you know of them is only what is presented to you by slanted television stations, right-wing newspapers and talk radio programs. You are cut off both geographically and socially from a very diverse world. Your own history and the persecutions that you endured are a testament to your desire to keep the freedoms you have. However, forgetting that history may jeopardize the future of that very freedom.
On March 8, 2000 When Gordon B. Hinkley
was asked by the National Press Club " Given the platform and positions taken by the Democratic Party, can you be a good church member and a Democrat?" he responded "Yes...I don't know why you couldn't... We've got lots of Democrats in the church, lots of them, and they are good people. I don't worry about that too much."
You might be surprised to know that the Senate majority leader in the U.S. Senate is a faithful Mormon Democrat, Senator Reid. He is the most powerful LDS politician in the government. Recently he quipped, "I think it is much easier to be a good member of the Church and a Democrat than a good member of the Church and a Republican."
On May 3 1998, One of the seven presidents of the Seventy, Marlin Jensen, a lifelong Democrat said, "One of the things that prompted this discussion in the first place was the regret that's felt about the decline of the Democratic Party [in Utah] and the notion that may prevail in some areas that you can't be a good Mormon and a good Democrat at the same time. There have been some awfully good men and women who have been both and are both today. So I think it would be a very healthy thing for the church -- particularly the Utah church -- if that notion could be obliterated.''
Then only four and a half years ago, the Salt Lake Tribune interviewed Elder Marlin Jensen. Referring to Chris Cannon's unopposed run for the U.S. House of Representatives, Jensen lamented, "Surely there's got to be another good and wise man or woman out there who could have taken him on. And he would have benefited from it as well as everyone else."
Many other church leaders, including Neal A. Maxwell, James E. Faust (who served in his state legislature as a Democrat), Matthew Cowley, Hugh B. Brown, Henry Moyle (click here for Signature Books' release of his religious and political memoirs: Mormon Democrat), Anthony W. Ivins, Charles C. Rich, B. H. Roberts, Heber J. Grant (who publicly supported the league of Nations--see appendix 1 at the end of this page), have all been life-long Democrats.
Now, from a Mormon perspective we would like to briefly add discussions regarding the twelve areas of morality outlined on the main area of this website and show how they relate to Mormon doctrine. Please read the discussions on the twelve areas on the main website as well. The following only supplements these others for a Mormon audience. To skip down to a certain moral area, click on a topic below.
The Poor War Animal Rights Economic Morality
Abortion, Stem Cell Research
Civil Rights/Other Nations The Environment
The Death Penalty The Sick and Afflicted Final Thoughts
Mormon Democrat Links
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Mormon General Authority Theodore M. Burton lamented, "I am concerned about some of our prosperous people who are beginning to criticize the poor for being poor. Some of our own church members believe that only shiftless, lazy people remain poor in this prosperous day and age and that welfare is necessary only to sustain those who are not competent enough to work." (from "A Disease Called Pride," Ensign, Mar. 1971)
King Benjamin said best in the Book of Mormon in Chapter 4 of Mosiah:
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just--
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
As Mormons seek a Zion society, they will note throughout their scriptures that each time this kind of society was achieved, the one thing that described their unity was that "there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)
So what was Sodom's real sin? Ezek. 16:48-50 states:
48 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
So the sin was not homosexuality, but rather pride, and ignoring the poor. A society that desires to do the will of God takes care of its poor.
Finally from the Book of Mormon (Mormon 8:34-37):
34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
Approaching Zion, volume 9 of the collected works of Hugh Nibley (also a Democrat, and one of the most highly respected scholars in the church).
Click the book or click here if you wish to obtain a copy of this famous work.
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In D&C 98:16 The Lord commands the saints to "renounce war and proclaim peace."
Also in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites are told that if they pre-emptively strike their enemy, the Lord will not be with them. Here is the passage from 3 Nephi:
19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge.
20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
Also the Nephites were taught to only fight in defense. From Alma chapter 48:
14 Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives.
15 And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;
16 And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.
You will remember the children of Aamon (the anti-nephi-lehis) that rather than kill, they allowed themselves to be killed in Alma chapter 24 of the Book of Mormon:
21 Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword.
22 And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God.
23 Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword‹
24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.
Elder Russell M. Nelson urged Mormons during a conference just before the Iraq war to "renounce war and proclaim peace."
In April 2003, the prophet, Gordon B. Hinkey gave a talk on War and Peace in response to our invasion of Iraq. He was in a difficult position because as leader of a worldwide church, many people in the church were on both sides of the invasion issue. Although he stated in the talk that troops are subject to the country to which they have sworn allegiance, he carefully tried to walk a tightrope during his talk. Here are some of his remarks:
"As I discuss the matter, I seek the direction of the Holy Spirit. I have prayed and pondered much concerning this. I recognize it is a very sensitive subject for an international congregation, including those not of our religious faith.
The nations of the earth have been divided over the present situation. Feelings have run strong. There have been demonstrations for and against. We are now a world Church with members in most of the nations which have argued this matter. Our people have had feelings. They have had concerns.
War, of course, is not new. The weapons change. The ability to kill and destroy is constantly refined. But there has been conflict throughout the ages over essentially the same issues....
We sometimes are prone to glorify the great empires of the past, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and in more recent times, the vast British Empire. But there is a darker side to every one of them. There is a grim and tragic overlay of brutal conquest, of subjugation, of repression, and an astronomical cost in life and treasure....
There have been casualties in this terrible conflict, and there likely will be more. Public protests will likely continue. Leaders of other nations have, in no uncertain terms, condemned the coalition strategy....
One of our Articles of Faith, which represent an expression of our doctrine, states, "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" (Articles of Faith 1:12).
But modern revelation states that we are to "renounce war and proclaim peace" (D&C 98:16).
We can give our opinions on the merits of the situation as we see it, but never let us become a party to words or works of evil concerning our brothers and sisters in various nations on one side or the other. Political differences never justify hatred or ill will..."
According to Mormon Doctrine, it was Satan's plan from the beginning to force mankind to "do the right thing." War is often a means of such force.
In 1976, Church President Spencer W. Kimball warned that we have have become a "warlike society" that equates war with patriotism. He said the national quest for security in weaponry was a form of idol worship and urged all people to turn their hearts to Christ, not to armies and weapons. On April 29 1995, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, spoke to hundreds of local priesthood leaders in Milwaukee and warned against the type of extremism that leads people to stockpile weapons and join militia groups.
On the FARMS website (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) is one of the most scathing Mormon rebukes on war by Hugh Nibley. It is titled "Warfare and the Book of Mormon." Here is the link:
Dallan H. Oaks stated in his talk "World Peace" (1990 Ensign) "For over fifty years, I have heard the leaders of this Church preach that peace can only come through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am coming to understand why.
The peace the gospel brings is not just the absence of war. It is the opposite of war. Gospel peace is the opposite of any conflict, armed or unarmed. It is the opposite of national or ethnic hostilities, of civil or family strife.
In the midst of World War I, President Joseph F. Smith declared:"For years it has been held that peace comes only by preparation for war; the present conflict should prove that peace comes only by preparing for peace..."(improvement Era, Sept. 1914) This is in stark contrast to those who believed that building up arms or ideas of "mutually assured destruction" was the methodology for peace.
Elder John A. Widtsoe said:
"The only way to build a peaceful community is to build men and women who are lovers and makers of peace. Each individual, by that doctrine of Christ and His Church, holds in his own hands the peace of the world. That makes me responsible for the peace of the world, and makes you individually responsible for the peace of the world. The responsibility cannot be shifted to someone else. It cannot be placed upon the shoulders of Congress or Parliament, or any other organization of men with governing authority." (In Conference Report, Oct. 1943, p. 113.)
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"Surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands." (JST Gen 9:11)
Killing for sport is wrong...One day, to while away the slowly passing hours, I took my gun with the intention of indulging in a little amusement in hunting turkeys... From boyhood I had been particularly, and I may say strangely, attached to a gun. Hunting in the forests of Ohio was a pastime that to me possessed the most fascinating attractions. It never occurred to my mind that it was wrong-that indulging in "what was sport to me was death to them;" that in shooting turkeys, squirrels, etc., I was taking life that I could not give; therefore I indulged in the murderous sport without the least compunction of conscience. (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.188-189)
I never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life. I have known men--and they still exist among us--who enjoy what is, to them, the "sport" of hunting...I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food... I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong... (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.4, p.48 Joseph F. Smith)
We should by every means in our power impress upon the rising generation the value of life and how dreadful a sin it is to take life. The lives of animals even should be held far more sacred than they are. Young people should be taught to be very merciful to the brute creation and not to take life wantonly or for sport. The practice of hunting and killing game merely for sport should be frowned upon and not encouraged among us. God has created the fowls and the beasts for man's convenience and comfort and for his consumption at proper times and under proper circumstances; but he does not justify men in wantonly killing those creatures which He has made and with which He has supplied the earth. (Gospel Truth, Vol. 1, p.30 George Q Cannon)
President Joseph F. Smith said, "We are a part of life and should study carefully our relationship to it. We should be in sympathy with it, and not allow our prejudices to create a desire for its destruction. The unnecessary destruction of life begets a spirit of destruction which grows within the soul. It lives by what it feeds upon and robs man of the love that he should have for the works of God. It hardens the heart of man... The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creation. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. ...Love of nature is akin to the love of God, the two are inseparable." (Juvenile Instructor, April 1918, p. 182-3)
D&C 49:21 And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.
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Jacob 2:18'19 "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches...for the intent to do good‹to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
D&C 56:16, "Wo unto you rich men,... for your riches will canker your souls."
President Brigham Young said: "The worst fear... I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, kick themselves out of the Church, and go to hell... My greater fear.... is that they cannot stand wealth."
President Gordon B. Hinkley stated in the March 1990 Ensign,
"There have been many changes in this world since that time, but human nature has not changed. I have observed that there are many in our present generation who with careful design set out on a course to get rich while still young, to drive fancy automobiles, to wear the best of clothing, to have an apartment in the city and a house in the country‹all of these, and more... They covet that which others have, and selfishness and even greed are all a part of their process of acquisitiveness."
Paul wrote: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:10.)
Elder Joe Christiansen: (May 1999 Ensign) "avoid debt as if it were a plague"
Joseph B. Wirthlin said, "Remember this: debt is a form of bondage. It is a financial termite. When we make purchases on credit, they give us only an illusion of prosperity. We think we own things, but the reality is, our things own us. " (May 2004)
In October of 1921, the prophet of the L.D.S. church, Heber J Grant, said "From my earliest recollections, from the days of Brigham Young until now, I have listened to men standing in the pulpit... urging the people not to run into debt; and I believe that the great majority of all our troubles today is caused through the failure to carry out that counsel."
2 Nephi 9:51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
2 Nephi 26: 31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
Alma 11: 20 Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them.
Mormon 8:37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Abortion, Stem Cell research
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The shocking thing for many Mormons is the fact that the church is not in line with the Right to Life movement in its core platform. The Right to Life organization argues that because an unborn child is alive and worthy of full human protection at the moment of conception, that it is not the unborn child's fault if a girl is a victim of rape or incest. As a result, those who push this agenda, do not include exceptions for rape or incest in any legislation. In fact, the life and health of the mother is most often also not taken into consideration, basically saying that legally, the unborn child's life is more valuable than a woman's life.
The LDS church's position on the subject from the church's website states that abortions can be performed (the woman given a choice) if "the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother." This statement is clearly at loggerheads with the Right to Life movement. The prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley, reiterated this on Larry King, when he stated that abortion should be a legal choice for those who are victims of rape and incest. With no mention of the party line that "the unborn child is not responsible" for the rape or incest, the church came clearly down on the side of the woman. In fact, mentioned specifically, is anything that "produced serious emotional trauma in the mother." This refers not only to the physical health but also the emotional health of the mother‹something that the Right to Life movement vehemently opposes. The church handbook of instructions adds one more allowable case for abortion. If "the fetus is known, by competent medical authority, to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth."
As to the question of life in the womb and conception, things get a bit more complicated. Joseph Fielding Smith said that "Stillborn children should not be reported nor recorded as births and deaths on the records of the Church." Also, children are not sealed to their parents when stillborn. Even less is said regarding miscarriages. Some church leaders have intimated that if a woman miscarries or has a stillborn child, that that child may come later in another body to be raised by that family or another family. Although official church doctrine is unclear on the subject, the connection of a spirit to a mortal body happens at an indeterminate time and nowhere in Mormon theology does it state that that connection occurs at conception.
Since Mormons believe in the pre-mortal existence of these spirits, a number of theological doors are opened regarding the unborn. This may be why the church has allowances for rape and incest. But the bigger question, is although the church generally denounces most abortions as immoral, it also denounces many other immoral, yet legal practices. The church does not support the idea that all immoral choices should be illegal. Therefore the question of immorality regarding most abortions, doesn't clearly, allow anyone to clearly legislate all abortions away. There are clearly theological and doctrinal differences from religion to religion on this subject and Mormons are clearly to the left of the Right to Life movement on this subject.
Of note as well, there is more room for disagreement among democrats on this subject than in the Republican Party. For example, many Democrats, including Joe Biden and Daniel Moynahan voted against "partial birth abortion" calling it "infanticide." In other words, there are more Democrats caring and considering the life of the unborn than there are Republicans considering and caring for the life and health of victims of incest and rape. There are those trying to find middle ground, like the Mormons (abortion in certain cases), but they are mostly Democrats.
Since Mormons do not have a belief that zygotes or embryos are yet attached to their spirits, there is more openness among Mormons regarding the use of infertility clinics, test tube babies, and stem cell research. Orrin Hatch, a prominent Republican Senator and Mormon, is a complete proponent of stem cell research. According to Newsweek, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) argues that "a frozen embryo stored in a refrigerator in a clinic" isn't the same as "a fetus developing in a mother's womb." He argues that the DNA content of a skin cell, a stem cell, and a fertilized egg are exactly the same. The difference between what they are and what they could become is the environment in which their DNA is found. Of note, is the fact that he has joined the Democratic Party on this subject against the wishes of many of his Republican colleagues. Certainly Mormon doctrine has played a part in his decision.
Church and State
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Mormons should never forget their own history.
Many may be surprised that Gordon B. Hinckley declined to support the Bush administration's faith-based initiative. The church has forever been adamantly opposed to government interference in religious affairs.
Certainly, Mormon's have learned from their past. In 1838, Governer Boggs, the Governer of the state of Missouri, signed the infamous "Extermination Order," the American version of ethnic cleansing. The mobs killing the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois were led by Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian ministers. After being forced to leave the United States, and escape to Utah, the government of the U.S. sent troops to Utah to harass the Mormons. Anyone familiar with Mormon history knows and understands the need of a church and state separation. If Mormons don't support everyone's right to believe what they wish, they will find their heads next in line on the chopping blocks again. For example, here are where the fundamentalist "friends" of Mormons are going with this:
In 2004, Mormons were specifically excluded from participation in the National Day of Prayer organized by Shirley Dobson (wife of James Dobson, leader of the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family) because their theology was found to be "incompatible with Christian beliefs."
Southern Baptists have been particularly vocal about labeling the LDS Church a "cult." In 1997, the denomination published a handbook and video, both with the title The Mormon Puzzle: Understanding and Witnessing to Latter-day Saints. More than 45,000 of these kits were distributed in the first year; the following year‹in a throwing down of the proselytizing gauntlet--the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. Around the same time, a speaker at the denomination's summit on Mormonism declared that Utah was "a stronghold of Satan." When Richard Mouw, president of the evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary, tried to repair relations with the LDS community by apologizing on behalf of evangelicals during a speech in the Mormon Tabernacle last year, his conservative brethren lashed out. Mouw had no right, they declared in an open letter, to speak for them or apologize for denouncing Mormon "false prophecies and false teachings."(Amy Sullivan editor Washington monthly).
Utah Mormons are being used by Fundamentalists to promote their agendas of forced morality. They are actually denying that the Constitution implies a church/state separation in spite of the fact that Thomas Jefferson said, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
On Austrailian television, November 9. 1997, Preseident Gordon B. Hinkley said,
"We draw a strict line of separation of Church and State. The Church institutionally does not get involved in politics. Does not endorse candidates, does not endorse parties. We encourage our people as citizens of the land to exercise their franchise as individuals. And to be active in these things, but as an institution the Church maintains a strict line of separation of Church and State..."
Interviewer: And you'd advocate greater prohibitions in society generally?
Gordon B. Hinckley: I would think that we would advocate those values which have made of this a great nation in the past. And which have made of America a great nation. And those values are slipping unfortunately.
Interviewer: And the way to correct that is to ban certain things?
Gordon B. Hinckley: The way to correct that is to teach. Joseph Smith the founder of this Church said 'I teach the people correct principles and they govern themselves'. That's the essence of the thing. Teach the principle and learn and let people govern themselves.
D&C 134:9 We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government.
Relationships to Other Nations, Racism and Civil Rights
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"Unfortunately, racism‹the abhorrent and morally destructive theory that claims superiority of one person over another by reason of race, color, ethnicity, or cultural background‹remains one of the abiding sins of societies the world over. The cause of much of the strife and conflict in the world, racism is an offense against God and a tool in the devil's hands." (Elder Alexander B. Morrison, sep 2000 Ensign "No more strangers")
"There is some danger in failing to differentiate between Mormon culture and Anglo-American culture. This failure is often seen in the speeches of some Anglo-American Latter-day Saints who exalt Anglo-American society in its entirety as a divine society. Also, at church meetings they sometimes improperly overemphasize their roles as Americans when the more relevant role on such occasions might be the more universal role of Latter-day Saints. Such ethnocentrism, of course, is sometimes offensive to Latter-day Saints of other nationalities." ("The Universality of the Gospel", Ensign, August 1971)
"And he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile" (2 Ne. 26:33)
Howard W. Hunter, prophet of the Mormon church stated, "It is clear that all men are invited to come unto him and all are alike unto him. Race makes no difference; color makes no difference; nationality makes no difference. The brotherhood of man is literal. We are all of one blood and the literal spirit offspring of our eternal Heavenly Father...We have members of the Church in the Muslim world. These are wonderful Saints, good members of the Church. They live in Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Sometimes they are offended by members of the Church who give the impression that we favor only the aims of the Jews. The Church has an interest in all of Abraham's descendants, and we should remember that the history of the Arabs goes back to Abraham through his son Ishmael...Do you imagine our Heavenly Father loving one nationality of his offspring more exclusively than others? As members of the Church, we need to be reminded of Nephi's challenging question: "Know ye not that there are more nations than one?" (2 Ne. 29:7). ...A cabinet minister of Egypt once told me that if a bridge is ever built between Christianity and Islam it must be built by the Mormon Church. In making inquiry as to the reason for his statement I was impressed by his recitation of the similarities and the common bonds of brotherhood. Both the Jews and the Arabs are children of our Father. They are both children of promise, and as a church we do not take sides." (Howard W. Hunter, "All are alike unto God", 1979 Feb BYU address)
From the "Statement of the First Presidency Regarding God's Love for All Mankind" issued 15 February 1978:
"The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammad, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals."
Cultural ideas regarding Islam and our relationship to Muslims can be discussed in an Ensign article by James B. Mayfield, "Ishmael, Our Brother," Ensign, June 1979. Click here for a link to the article.
Finally, In April Conference of 2006, the prophet, Gorden B. Hinkley said in Priesthood Session,
"Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ...
Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity...
Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such."
The Environment, Care for God's Creations
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Mormons believe that people should be stewards over the earth. One of the biggest moral political problems of our day is the destruction of our planets natural resources. Much of this discussion goes hand in hand with the section on Animal Rights.
The church published one of the first very comprehensive articles on the environment in 1971's August Ensign. Titled "Our Deteriorating Environment," it stated that "In the name of 'progress' and 'growth,' we have plundered our planet and despoiled our environment...pollution and environmental deterioration are primarily moral and spiritual problems, rather than problems of technology." In explaining some of the spirituals failings of man in this regard, the article exclaims that "Many of our environmental problems arise from the fact that our society has become obsessed with materialism." It continues by asserting that "The reason we are in trouble ecologically is because of our inability to see ourselves as a part of nature. We have not seen ourselves for what we are: part of the web of life and part of the biological community; a portion of an incredibly complex ecological system; and intimately a part of the total environment. Our ability to acquire and apply technical information has far outstripped our biological ability to adapt to the changes technology has brought." The article continues with the scathing assertion that "this reflects a misinterpretation by conventional Judeo-Christian philosophers of God's injunction to Adam about subduing the earth." Finally the article states that the earth "must not be misused or looted, for we are stewards entrusted with its care" and also that "The serious ecological problems which face us have as their basis a disordered spirituality." A. B. Morrison, "Our Deteriorating Environment," Ensign, Aug. 1971, 64 " (read the entire Ensign article by clicking here)
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Gordon B. Hinkley stated,
"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are."
On the church's website, the church affirms that it "opposes same-gender unions and any other sexual relations outside of marriage." It is important to note that Gordon B. Hinkley and the church equate homosexual behavior with all other violations of the law of chastity including "sexual relations outside of marriage." However, nowhere does the church say that those that violate the law of chastity or have sexual relations outside marriage should face litigation or state discipline.
There is a vast difference between naming something immoral, and making something illegal. The church allows the legality of personal belief systems and clearly believes that church and state need to be separate (see above section on church and state). The church also often supports the idea that something can be immoral, and yet not illegal. The state doesn't decide what is moral or immoral by legislating. It can legislate against immoral behavior, but the legislation doesn't make the behavior immoral. (Read the main section on Homosexuality from the homepage regarding equal protection under the law).
D&C 134:2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience.
The Death Penalty
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Nothing is more familiar to Mormons than the Book of Mormon story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis (Ammonites) who were known murderers but were forgiven by God for their murders. They refused to go to war for fear they would lose that forgiveness. They were not subject to a death penalty but rather lived and became the parents of the famous 2000 stripling warriors.
Because some early church members, seeking to justify their belief in the death penalty, used to preach a doctrine called "blood atonement" (in that a murderer needed to offer his own blood as some kind of partial payment for their sin) some Mormons believed this was some kind church doctrine. However, the church in 1978 officially addressed the issue and repudiated any idea that Christ's atonement could not completely cover the sins of the repentant murderer. It was because of these ideas taught early in the Utah territory that Utah had a firing squad option so that a murderer's blood could literally "be spilt" to atone for their own sin. In order to obliterate the idea that this is or was an official doctrine of the church and not simply a wrong-headed tradition, the church denied its support of the practice on May 27, 2003 where it states on the churches website (http://www.lds.org/newsroom/mistakes/0,15331,3885-1-16708,00.html):
Following is the Church's position on capital punishment:
A number of recent press reports regarding capital punishment in Utah have incorrectly implied that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorses the state's practice of using firing squads to carry out the death penalty. Following is the Church's position on capital punishment:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regards the question of whether and in what circumstances the state should impose capital punishment as a matter to be decided solely by the prescribed processes of civil law. We neither promote nor oppose capital punishment."
Forgiveness has always been a part of Mormonism.
D&C 134 teaches that
"WE believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of manŠfor the good and safety of society. We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life."
This protection of life was even afforded to Cain after murdering Abel: Genisis 4:15
And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Since 1 John 3:5 states "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." As all sin an fall short of the glory of God, how does answering death with death, teach a man anything?
The only argument left for the Death Penalty, may be the deterrent effect of the just punishment. However, capital punishment has not been shown to be an actual deterrent, and has in fact often had the opposite effect. Read the main section from the home page for more on the subject of capital punishment as a deterrent.
If after this you still believe in the Death Penalty, understand that at this point, it is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Bill Clinton was in favor of the Death Penalty. So, if you feel the need to exact a just punishment upon the wicked, you don't have to abandon it by voting Democrat.
Sick and the Afflicted of the World
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The Mormon church has been on the forefront when disasters strike.
Apostle Russell M. Nelson said in 1984, "Ministering to the sick and distressed seems to have been a central part of the Lord's earthly mission. And the Lord has made it clear that those of us who bear his name are to share this work. We are to "bear one another's burdens" and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort." (See Mosiah 18:89.)
President Joseph F. Smith wrote in 1905, "A religion which has not the power to save people temporally and make them prosperous and happy here, cannot be depended upon to save them spiritually, to exalt them in the life to come."
The church has a humanitarian website (lds.org/humanitarian). On the site, the church describes many of its humanitarian activities. There are major activities serving millions in administering vaccines, such as measles and polio. Advances bed nets, wheelchairs and other services are now available to 70 countries. Each year the church delivers more than 100,000 tons of food, blankets, medical supplies, hygiene kits, clothing, temporary shelter, and other materials to disaster-stricken people in many countries. The churches commitment to the sick and afflicted of the world is well known and transcends political boundaries.
Final Thoughts to Mormons
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All of these issues are moral issues. Perhaps at the very least you see why many faithful members of the church are Democrats. No political party is perfect to be sure, but questions of morality are deeper and more varied than is often portrayed by the Republican Party. No party has a monopoly on moral issues.
Democrats believe that true morality must include the freedom to make moral choices.
Democrats believe that issues of caring for the sick, afflicted, the poor, the infirm are moral issues.
Democrats promote the need of our nation's humility in dealing with other nations and see all people in the world as equal, deserving the same basic rights as any other human.
Democrats seek to defend all life; not only the life of the unborn, but the life of the born by expanding the defense of life from issues including war and the death penalty, to issues including the health and life of victims of rape and incest.
Democrats see themselves as stewards of the planet by protecting the environment and defending animal life as being more important than the protection of corporations.
Democrats celebrate the lessons to be learned from the diversity of the world.
Democrats believe that money is a moral stewardship not to be used to support consumptive attitudes, but rather to be seen (as expressed in Mormon 8:37) as a blessing that must not be loved more than the poor and needy.
Democrats defend the Constitution of the United States by making sure that every American has an equal voice, civil liberties, equal protection, and the ability to live their lives according to their own moral consciences.
Being a Democrat is obviously good enough for many of your most highly regarded church leaders. You should no more be a Republican for social or traditional reasons than you should be a Mormon for social or traditional reasons. Think for yourselves and seek your own revelations as to what you honestly believe supports the most compassionate, loving, and moral vote you can cast in the next election. We believe that vote will be Democrat.
Mormon Democratic Links and Articles
LDS Democrats Online Website
Mormon Democrats link up in Congress
Mormon Democratic Congressional Caucus holds first meeting
Mormon Democrats: An Oxymoron or Future Voting Bloc?
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"I have pleasure in joining ex-President Taft and other leading Americans in signing manifesto as outlined in your telegram of yesterday."
The sentiments contained in the above manifesto express my personal position with regard to the League of Nations; and since signing the telegram I have neither heard nor read anything that has in any degree changed my position on this important question.
I regret exceedingly that the standard works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been brought into this controversy, which has now become practically a partisan controversy. It is my opinion that this important question should have been kept absolutely out of politics.
On one important matter I desire to place the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fairly before the people. An illustrated hand-bill has been circulated and has been widely republished in newspapers under the heading: "Mormon Bible Prophecies Become Issue in Opposition to the League of Nations." The position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that the standard works of the Church are not opposed to the League of Nations._President Heber J. Grant Conference Report, October 1919 pg. 15-18
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