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I’m a Democrat Because I’m a Mormon

A couple of weeks ago my bumper sticker arrived, the one I had to special order. “I’m voting for Obama,” it proclaimed, “…and I’m a Mormon.”

In the last year, the LDS Church’s popular “I’m a Mormon” ads have created a brand with Mormons identifying themselves in an unexpected way (e.g., “I’m a drummer in a rock band!” or “I’m a competitive motorcyclist!”) and then following it up with the tagline, “and I’m a Mormon.”

But in my case, a different conjunction is in order. “And” is not enough. I’m voting for Obama because I am a Mormon.

I’m not alone in this, though as a Mormon Democrat I am a minority within a minority. There are more of us than people assume, even though in the current election, with a fellow Latter-day Saint running for president, approximately 84 percent of Mormons say they’ll be voting for Mitt Romney. This is significantly higher than the 60-odd percent of Mormons who self-identified as Republican in the 2006 Faith Matters Survey.

It hasn’t always been this way. In fact, at one time Mormons swung very much in the other direction. In the 1896 presidential election, 51 percent of the nation’s popular vote went to Republican William McKinley, but in the spanking new state of Utah McKinley captured only an anemic showing of 17.3 percent. According to Notre Dame political scientist David E. Campbell, Mormons went heavily for populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan that year instead.

The Democratic trend continued. From 1932 to 1948, Mormons echoed national sentiments by repeatedly electing Democrats FDR and Harry Truman to office, often by a larger margin than the rest of the nation. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson carried Utah by ten percentage points, and throughout the 1970s the Utah state legislature was solidly Democratic. (And there is evidence from sociologist Armand Mauss that Mormons outside of Utah were more liberal than their Utah counterparts on political and social issues, so the Utah voting patterns are probably a bit more conservative than American Mormons more generally.)

So. What happened to my people?

The LDS Church is careful as an institution to remain politically neutral, so how did the vast majority of American Mormons veer so far to the right?

Since the 1970s, Mormons have increasingly allied themselves with Republicans in matters political, as if the GOP is, as the old joke goes, God’s own party. Utah has become so reliably Republican that neither major party even campaigns there in force for presidential politics. For Republicans, winning Utah is a fait accompli, so why spend time and money there? For Democrats, winning Utah is an outlandish fantasy, so why spend time and money there?

Most everybody loses in a single-party system, so I’m proud to stand in a long tradition of Mormons who have voted on the other side. But it isn’t just history that drives me to be a Mormon Democrat; it’s belief.

As a Mormon, it’s my job to ensure that the poor are cared for. I believe the Book of Mormon’s explicit claims that our standing with God rests upon how we treat the poor—not just as individuals, but as societies. (King Benjamin’s sermon is a case in point.) As a Mormon I am called to vote for candidates who won’t stomp on the poor.

Romney does not look promising on this score. In fact, he appears more concerned with lining the pockets of the rich. According to the Tax Policy Center (as reported in the October issue of Money magazine), people earning more than $500,000 a year will get an 10% increase in after-tax earnings under Romney’s plan.

As a Mormon, it’s my job to protect life. This means all life, whether it’s ending the war in Iraq (thank you, President Obama) or decreasing the number of actual abortions that occur in America (thank you, President Clinton).

Republicans talk a big game about outlawing abortion, all while implementing policies that effectively contribute to abortion’s tragic proliferation. They want to cut health care, including programs like WIC; make contraception less available to women; end sex education in schools; and have no federal subsidies for child care. Those are all policies that chip away at women’s non-abortion options, particularly since women who live below the poverty line are four times as likely to have an abortion as women who do not.

As a Mormon, it’s my job to be a good steward of the earth. For all that Romney belongs to the same church I do, he does not seem remotely concerned about our planet’s future. He has mocked forward-thinking attempts to invest in clean energy sources and raising the standards for gas mileage in new cars. He calls the EPA “a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system.” His views on the environment are short-sighted.

Let me say it again: I am voting for Obama because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it.

Topics: Politics, Election
Beliefs: Mormon
Tags: abortion, contraception, david e. campbell mormon politics, flunking sainthood, jana riess, mormon democrats, mormon republicans, mormon voting patterns, mormons and mitt romney, mormons and politics, mormons for obama, sex education, war in iraq

Comments

  1. It is wrong for someone to justify their political beliefs and to condemn others’ beliefs on the basis of religion. Whether it is Pat Robertson or Kana Reiss, it is wrong.

    Furthermore, this post isn’t well thought out and, Jana, it seems that you cannot fathom any reason for a Mormon to vote Republican. To your points above, an Amecan Repulican Mormon could respond that s/he feels it a personal responsibility to ensure that the poor are cared for, to protect life, and to be a good steward of the earth. Indeed, Mormons, Republican and Democrat alike, volunteer more time, and give more money to charity (even if you remove tithes) than the average American.

    Regarding the war in Iraq, the plan Pres Obama followed is one negotiated by Pres Bush. Moreover, plenty of American Republican Mormons disagreed with that war.

    Regarding stewardship over the earth and its resources, just compare the state of state lands in New Jersey to those in Utah. Utah is very clean, especially in those Mormon havens, and land responsibly managed and exploited.

    American Mormons may, in fact, vote Republican because they fear the heavy hand of the state. Indeed, many American Repulican Mormons are turning libertarian because of the actions of the Republican Party of late.

    Mormons may also feel that state aid to the poor is a moral hazard; it produces dependency while reducing volunteerism and charitable engagement. Indeed, one may compare he volunteerism and charitable giving of Utah to a country with a strong social safety net like, say, France, to see that stark reality.

    The point is, Jana, how can you condemn another’s faith or faithfulness because they do not agree with you on the proper role of government? And how can you do so without a careful, reasoned analysis of the reasons why you disagree?
    For shame.

  2. Love this so much.  I feel the same way.

  3. YAY, Jana!  Me, too!!!

  4. Someone seems to have not bothered to do her homework: the Democrats and Republicans have shifted their respective ideologies almost 180 degrees in the last 100 years!  Abraham Lincoln for example was a REPUBLICAN fighting AGAINST STATE RIGHTS; and William Jennings Bryan, whom you site above, is mostly famous for having LOST THE SCOPES MONKEY TRIAL!!

    In fact until the Southern Strategy of blatant racism by the Republicans the Deeply Racist South was solidly Democrat (the called them Dixi-crats for a reason); such a shock, then, that the reactionary racist religious conservatives from Utah would vote so consonantly for the last century for the ... reactionary racist religious conservative candidates!  Truly the mind boggles.

    Next time perhaps the author could spend 15 minutes on Wikipeida doing some BASIC RESEARCH before hitting the submit button?  Please?

  5. Whatwhatwhat??: Voting for the New Deal & Great Society and then the Ryan Budget is, however, a substantial shift amongst LDS voters in Utah over the last 50-70 years.

    Thanks for this piece Jana! Even though we’re just 13% of U.S. Mormons, that still means there are 400,000 of us Mormons for Obama.

  6. As a Mormon, and an Independent, I am voting for Romney. Not because I am a Mormon, but because I do not believe having the federal government redistributing money is an efficient or moral way of caring for the poor. I do not believe that Obama believes in the sanctity of life, based on his voting record in his home state and in the Senate, nor does the Democratic party. They say one thing (life is sacred) and do another (vote for partial-birth abortions, disallow caring for infants that survive botched abortions, allow women to kill their unborn for no reason other than selfishness).
    I believe individuals, in concert with other individuals, are the best sources of care for the poor, the unborn, the community and the planet. It’s our personal righteousness and sense of responsibility that is the impetus for all good works, and government largesse is no substitute for it.
    Besides, the Democrat Party has a lousy record of standing for individual rights. They are the party of slavery (it was Republicans that were anti-slavery), Jim Crow laws (enacted by Democrat majority legislatures in the South), the KKK (started and financed by Democrats), and the Nazi-loving eugenicist Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood, the single largest death camp for unborn black babies).
    The Progressive platform embodied in the Democrat Party has become almost an exact counterfeit of the gospel. I’m not extolling the Republican Party, as there are problems there as well. But vote for a Democrat? I voted for Kennedy, but have not felt comfortable with national Democrat candidates since then.

  7. Hear hear! Well said. As a fellow Mormon Democrat, I totally agree. I’d also add that I value honesty in my elected leaders and, well, let’s just say Brother Mitt has had problems with the truth for quite some time now.

  8. A test post

  9. Thanks for articulating these points, Jana.  I am a socialist and a political leftist *because* I’m a Mormon, not despite my faith.  Though my voice seems pretty small at the moment in my community, I’m delighted that Mormons are responsible to choose as seems most aligned with their beliefs—and feel grateful to live in a country where those choices and beliefs can be as varies as we are as individuals.

  10. Thank you.  Sometimes I feel so alone and downright hated by members of my own Mormon faith here in Utah.  It is nice to know there are others out there.  Once, my home teacher asked me how I could possibly look myself in the mirror knowing I was a Democrat.  Being a democrat is not the reason I have a hard time looking in the mirror - - middle age is!  smile  I have to admit I had decided not to vote because there was so much hatred and criticism.  I just didn’t want to be part of it anymore.  But knowing there are others standing against it gives me some hope again.  So, thank you.

  11. Thanks for your post Jana! While I do agree that of course the ideology of the parties have vastly changed since the 1800’s, I too feel compelled as a Mormon to vote democratic. I also wholeheartedly with your examples citing specific reasons why this is so. On the issue of abortion, for example (I have lONG been pro-life, and was raised Catholic, and also spiritually/metaphysically inclined before joining the Mormon church). I do CRINGE however at the thought of pro-lifers who coin “pro-choicers” as people who are PRO-abortion. Nothing could be further from the truth. No ONE favors abortion…however the complex mix of painful decisions that go into a woman’s right/ability/choice to bring a child into the world I truly feel ultimately, has to be her own (& btw, I now feel much STRONGER on this point since becoming LDS, as the emphasis on AGENCY is so strong!!) I believe strongly in the separation of church & state & don’t feel we can or SHOULD impose our religious views upon anyone else (just as we wouldn’t want them to impose theirs on us). Examples cited are EXTREMES such as partial-birth abortions, etc. and I’m sure are much more the EXCEPTION than the rule. I also shutter at the thought of them- however ultimately, I DO feel that w/all the UNWANTED & abused children in the world (whom I don’t see conservatives storming the fronts to try to adopt/take care of) ultimately, the decision as to whether to give birth to this child, MUST be the mother’s. I also feel that consistently the domestic social and foreign policies of the right, also don’t reflect the teachings of the Gospel, the caring for the poor, and the treating everyone as our brothers & sisters that sincere membership in our church, requires. Just some food for thought & thanks again Jana for this inspiring piece!

  12. Thank you for your article Jana! I joined the Democratic Party because of my Mormon religious beliefs. My husband rarely lets me talk about politics in public (especially around our Mormon friends) because in the past he has been harshly judged by other members of the Church for being a Dem. It’s sad that politics can be so polarizing, even among Church members , despite leadership saying over and over that the Church doesn’t take sides…

  13. Rita:

    If you don’t believe in “the federal government redistributing money” to the poor, then you shouldn’t vote for Romney, because what Romney wants is a continuation of Bush’s (and previous conservative) policy: redistributing money to the rich, which I think anyone ought to find more morally objectionable than redistributing it to the poor. Oil, coal and agricultural subsidies, tax cuts that disproportionately favor the wealthy, constant expansion of the military-industrial complex, rolling back environmental regulations so that businesses can make more money—what do you think this is, if not redistribution?

    Democrats DO vote for things like “partial-birth abortion” (a political term), yes. This is mostly because Republicans are ideologically motivated against abortion, wholly without regard for the arguments in favor of it:
    - Roe v. Wade has been found to be primarily responsible for the huge drop in crime in the ‘90s; the vast majority of abortions are of children who would be born into poverty or single-parent households (both among the strongest predictors of a criminal future).
    - Having an unplanned child can destroy your life, at least in the near term, forcing you to miss work to have the kid (but but but maternity leave? Hourly employees don’t get maternity leave in most cases) and abandon your dreams and goals to raise this kid. The opponents of abortion seem to not understand that NOT EVERYONE HAS MONEY. Not everyone can afford to raise a kid, and if you have to work two jobs just to put food on the table for you and your kid, your life is basically ruined unless the kid grows up to be a professional athlete or something. Good luck with that one.
    - It’s THE WOMAN’S BODY. Whatever is growing inside her, it is not a person until, at the very least, it starts to resemble a human being. What she wants to do with her body—be it in the interest of her own health, the potential child’s health or her own fiscal situation—is HER OWN GODDAMN BUSINESS.
    - Whether abortion is legal or not, IT WILL HAPPEN ANYWAY, just as it did before it was legal—except that these illegal abortions will be conducted cheaply and unsafely, and the end result is that the abortion rate will not change at all, but the mortality rates of mothers and children will rise.

    You want to talk about being anti-life? Then we need to talk about Republican beliefs. How about starting unnecessary wars in foreign countries, killing hundreds of thousands? How about starting torture centers for suspected terrorists? How about always being in favor of the death penalty? How about fighting against legal abortions even in cases of rape and incest, and where the mother’s life is at stake?

    You totally ignore that the Democrats and Republicans switched platforms around the time of FDR, and those conservative Democrats who opposed civil rights were a remnant of a previous era. They in no way resemble today’s Democrats. Find me a KKK member TODAY who self-identifies as a Democrat. Go on. I’ll wait.

    Yes, Lincoln was a Republican. Would he be a Republican today, though? Absolutely not. Lincoln (a nonreligious guy, by the way) wouldn’t even win a nomination from today’s Republican Party.

    Here’s a quote from Lincoln: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

    WOW, doesn’t that sound familiar? Think you could find a Republican today who would say something like that?

  14. NJ, I think you need to reevaluate your post.

  15. I agree with most of what you’ve said.  It’s why I’ve stuck with the democratic party to this day.  The axe I have to grind with President Obama is his record on civil liberties.  Though he’s been painted by his party and others as the proponent of equal rights and protector of the rule of law, his record shouts something quite the opposite.  I hesitate to quote Bill Maher, who is so often full of bile, but this time I happen to agree.  Commenting about Obama’s record, he said, “On civil liberties, he’s been just as bad as Bush, which is even scarier because imagine the worst of George Bush’s policies implemented by someone who’s smarter than a raccoon.”  To my mind, all of the other forward thinking policies are founded on civil liberties.  So to hear others tout Obama as the defender of these liberties is on par, for me, with hearing them call Marie Antoinette a regular at her local soup kitchen.  Let them eat cake, indeed.  It is also true that Mitt Romney has gone on record saying he would act similarly to Obama on some of these major issues, such as signing the NDAA, pushing the TPP trade, executive powers overreach, but the fact is - to date - he hasn’t actually done any of them.  Obama has, actually, done all of them.  I can only hope that, in the name of circumstances when it is healthy to flip-flop, when faced with actually enacting these things - Mitt Romney will flip.

    I’m a Mormon.  I’m a Democrat.  And I’m voting for Mitt Romney.

  16. This is the dumbest article yet! How one sided can you be? Your argument show no understanding of the others knowledge or viewpoints. What an idiot!

  17. Rita,

    You said it as I would.  Just want to add that an in-depth study of the LDS welfare program might be in order.  My biggest problem with self-adoring liberalism is that IT DOESN’T WORK!  I believe wholeheartedly in King Benjamin’s injunction.  In his scenario, it is the INDIVIDUAL decision to give alms or not that is condemning for the Christian being solicited.  It is far too easy to “delegate” that responsibility to the compassion “professionals” thus robbing the Christian of the agency to contribute or not. 

    I voted for Obama last time.  I will not do it again.  Not because of his high-minded actions on abortion rights or gun control.  I believe one of the biggest reasons there is a marked reduction in enthusiasm in the Democratic party this cycle is because he has not delivered on the long list of promises he made while campaigning.  I believe both sides make promises that FAR OVERREACH the government’s responsibility. 

    I am a pragmatist.  I am voting for Romney. and (most importantly) I am a Born Again Mormon!

    I love you Jana.  Keep keeping us honest and enticing us to think….

  18. It sounds like you are voting for Obama because you are liberal, not because you are a Mormon. You don’t have to vote for big government to take care of the poor. i am compelled to give generously to the poor because of King Benjamin’s sermon, not to vote for Obama. When bush took office, did government spending go up or down for poor and elderly? Conservatives want to take care of the poor too! Jana, what is your carbon footprint? Lip service is all liberals give to issue of cleaning our planet. CO2 is down not because of the billions waisted on green energy but because of the increase of nat gas as a source of energy that has been produced on public land. Life!? You may want less abortions but expanding access to it is not the answer. I don’t know why as a Mormon you say you respect life and so you are pro abortion. You are not pro abortion because you are mormon, you are pro abortion because you are a liberal. Less war? Will there really be less war with Obama? Has there been? Has there been less war under demarcates or republicans? Do republicans just love war or something?! I could use the scriptures to defend voting either way. I don’t think we should use the scriptures for that reason. They don’t say to vote to vote for Obama because he takes care of the poor, earth and life! They don’t say to vote for Romney either! I respectfully submit that liberal Mormons are not liberal because they are Mormon but because they are liberal. There used to be conservative democrats but no more. That is why the party change. Not because Mormons used to be pro abortion, and now they are anti abortion. The same party shift happened in Texas for the same reasons, the conservatives left the Democratic Party. You need a new bumper sticker that says ” I am a democrat because I am liberal and I’m voting for Obama” that would be more accurate.

  19. Mormons who think the Democratic agenda of Socialist programs is justified by King Benjamin and other LDS teachings clearly are ignorant of long-time teachings which compare such government programs of force to Lucifer’s Plan in the pre-existence.  Our charity is to be of our own free will, not under threat of imprisonment by a government which siphons away from your paycheck.

  20. Wow,  I agree with you RITA.  Very good points.  VIVA MITT ‘12!

  21. You misspelled “moron.”  Try spell check next time.

  22. Jana,

    Here’s the fundamental difference between comparing Mormon Christianity and Democratic Democracy:

    As a Mormon you know that the entire Plan of Salvation is based on human agency. It was Satan who wanted to take away agency so that all people could be equal and happy. It was Heavenly Father’s plan for all of his children to pursue happiness and eventually return to him but it wasn’t his plan for them to be guaranteed happiness. They had to choose Jesus Christ! We can’t be compelled.

    The reason many Mormons don’t align with democrats isn’t because we don’t believe in helping the poor! Quite the opposite. We think that a society where freedom and liberty abounds without excessive government leads to the greatest happiness of all people and gives the poor the best chance. Remember, being forced to give to the poor doesn’t qualify as charity.

  23. Being a Mormon and a fan of LDS history I of course have a very healthy distrust of government and power.  President Kimball warned about the USA becoming a warlike nation and people, trusting in false patriotism and military might.  Now we see his warnings coming true. Instead of getting rid of The Patriot Act Obama turned around and expanded it! He has waged wars of aggression against those who did not attack us (Libya) and has killed countless Pakistani people in drone attacks. We have TSA sticking their grubby hands on our women’s breasts and reproductive areas and grabbing men’s testicles. Our phone calls and e-mails are monitored…yes, the USA under Obama is becomming a police state.

  24. Adults tend to think the events that took pkace when they entered adulthood had historic significance, but in this area of the relationship between religion and politics I think it is true. I grew up in Utah in the 1950s and 1960s when the Mormon citizens were pretty evenly divided between the two parties, which was also reflected in the distribution of major offices between the two.  But the 1968 Demicratic convention in Chacogo was a confluct among Democrats, between the left wing of the party and its more centrist core and the Dixiecrats on the right.  In 1972, with the McGovern nomination, the Democratic Party had moved under the control of that left wing, and it took on a tenor of opposing not just theVietam War but even having the capability to prosecute war.  Despite the efforts to identify with proecting the righrs of minorities, the Democratic Party took the anomalous pisition of endorsing a total disregard for the humanity of unborn human babies and guarantering the right of mothers to kill their own children, a throwback to the long history of Democrat tolerance for slavery.  The growing environmental movement took a negative attitude toward responsible use of publuc lands and nationalized private lands through regulation under the wetlands provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered bSpecies Act. 

    It was not Mormons who changed their political views, but the Democrats who moved their median pisitions to a much more Left Wing position that was hostile to many of the traditinal values of Americans. Eventually the Republucan Party seized the opportunity to differentiate itself in the political marketplace and became “anti-Democrats”. 

    In Utah, as many Mormons became alienated from the Left Wing dominsnce of the Democrats, the Democratic Party began being identified with the secularism of tge Left, exacerbating the identification of Republicans with Mormons and Democrats with the non-Mormon minority.  In the past, some of the most religioysly conservative leades in the LDS Church, like Bruce McConkie, had been closely identified with the Democratic Party, where both his father and brother were Democrat Speakers of the Hoyse of Representatives.  But the way the national Democratic Party has turned any party member who oppises unlimited abortion and the endorsement of sexual activity outside martiage, into an anathema, has made it difgicult for Mormons to take seriosly both their religion and the Democratic Party. 

    The explicit identification of voting for Obama with fornication in the latest Demicrat campaign commercial is indicative of the expectation of the Democratic Party that its suppirters do not take traditional sexual morality seriously. 

    Let me acknowledge that as a faurly conservative Republican and Mormon, I think, any of the positions taken by the party are off the deep end, but the Democrats are so intent on enforcing political orthodoxy that I know I would never be tolerated there.  I was a community columnist for two years in Idaho, writinf op ed pieces for a newspaper with very liberal owners in a veryconservative community, and they clearly did not appreciate my viewpoints.

  25. All that is needed to turn a moral good into a moral wrong is the application of force.

    Worshiping God is a good thing. Forcing others to worship your God makes it a bad thing.

    Creating a communal society is a good thing. Forcing others to join your commune makes it a bad thing.

    Taking care of the poor is a good thing. Forcing others to take care of them makes it a bad thing.

    When trying to decide what political philosophy you are going to follow, it isn’t good enough to look at the moral principles they advocate.

    You must look at how they are attempting to implement those principles. If it is through the use of government force, then it is a bad movement, no matter how enlightened the principles.

    A lot more of us Mormons would be Democrats if they were seeking to help the poor through voluntary means (and if they weren’t slaughtering their own children, and were advocates of personal morality, of course).

  26. I think many Mormons are too trusting of what is told them by the government. Watch the video “Dark Seduction - Why We love Psychopaths” on YouTube to get an eye-opener on politicians and their personality traits today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U5nZOXxlL8
    I am especially distrustful of both individuals and politicians who promise the world and then deliver a disaster, who claim compassion but opt for policies that inflict misery on their own populations and those outside our borders. Is Obama a good man? I seriously don’t know. Are his policies those which bring goodness to people’s lives? Absolutely not!

  27. Amen to Cory’s comment!  Well said.

    To expand, the essence of Satan’s plan, as we’re given to in understand it, is coercion, force.  Forced support of Government charity is precisely the wrong way to help the poor. 

    Mormon’s of both political parties should be able to stipulate that helping the poor is a duty.  Now, let’s restrict the conversation to what ways to go about that are best: the Government dole or voluntary individual and group contributions?

  28. Mormons have not moved one iota to the right.  Rather, they have simply moved to the left at a slower pace than has the rest of society.

  29. I prefer to follow a prophet and look at the men running and then judge what they say and see if it squares with our teachings, Obama is 180 degrees out so I will vote for Mitt.

  30. As evidenced by the political split among American Christians, this is a challenging topic for Christians generally.  But the Mormon subset of Christians has more guidance in the form of both more scripture and the words of the modern prophets.  Fortunately, there is specific instruction from a prophet on the proper role of government, so Mormons need not be confused:

    “... the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess.

    By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. No individual possesses the power to take another’s wealth or to force others to do good, so no government has the right to do such things either. The creature cannot exceed the creator.”

    Ezra Taft Benson, 1986 (when he was the prophet, in a formal address for a BYU Devotional).  Check out the entire context here:
    http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=87

    Of course, with our agency, we may each choose good or evil.  And we may each elect to pick and choose among the doctrines and from among the clear teachings of the prophets.  But that doesn’t make it a good idea to, for example, embrace King Benjamin and ignore Pres. Benson.

    Pres. Benson taught truth.  Apparently, only about half or so of the posters here believe that.  But that doesn’t make it any less true.

     

  31. As a conservative Mormon (much more so than Romney), I have occasionally struggled over the years wondering how some members of the Church could support candidates who’s party platform has stands on abortion, gays, welfare programs that (to me) teach people to take the dole rather than work, and many other stands. On the other hand, I agree with their approach to immigration and on other issues, though rarely. I vehemently oppose not only Harry Reid’s liberalism, but the tactics (means) he uses to achieve his ends. As a student at BYU over 35 years ago, I remember wondering “how can LDS Democrats have allegiance to both?” 

    I consider myself fairly well informed on political matters, having been raised in a Hollywood-CA home in the 1960’s where, if the dinner conversation wasn’t about the gospel/Church, it was about politics, given that our parents were (unknown to anyone of us) undercover FBI agents rising high within the Communist Party-USA throughout the ‘50’s, the Vietnam war days of the peace-nik ‘60’s and into the ‘80’s. I am especially concerned about the erosion of the Constitution. 

    Having said this, I have discovered two things over the years and I hope it’s okay to share these thoughts. first, the vast majority of those found within both political parties are loyal and patriotic Americans, loyal to our Constitution, whose sincere allegiance to our country and flag cannot be questioned, who I see giving their lives for our freedoms. How dare I question their patriotism after I witness their ultimate sacrifice?

    Second, one of the things I observe amongst Church members (not the Church hierarchy, but its members) is the tendency to judge the worthiness or faithfulness of staunch Democrat-members. Though I struggled with understanding this in my younger years, I have discovered that worse than almost any sin (yes, ANY sin), is our natural tendency to judge others.

    Judging others is founded in pride, is not Christ-like, and damns our own progress. Indeed, we’ve been taught that judging’s necessary corollary, our not forgiving others, is indeed “the greater sin,” worse than WHATEVER the other person has done. Yes—really, honestly, truly, WORSE than whatever they have done, because we are denying Christ’s atonement and grace for that person, and damning our own progress. Best to live with an attitude of acceptance, love, and advance-forgiveness of ALL others, recognizing that our own shortcomings puts us in a position to judge no-one. Only pride in our own self-righteousness (un-admitted) has the audacity to judge others.

    Having an attitude of never judging others liberates us from ever having to forgive others, because we become non-offendable “in advance,” saving ourselves from many hurts and evicting from our personalities the victim mentality (“why me?” “what did I do to deserve this?”) which is pride-based, putting ourselves above Christ. When did He ever say, “why me? what did I do to deserve this?”  What if He had said this? He innocently, and purposely chose, to suffer the consequences of other’s decisions. The grave, grave mistakes of others, often purposeful. Why should we expect less if we’re to learn to become like Him?

    I have heard of stories where Church-members would not stand in a circle to pray with Harry Reid, withdrawing from the circle due to ill feelings towards him. This is sad to not embrace a brother.As I have learned more about his childhood and life, I can understand and sympathize with where many of his stands and attitudes come from. However well we might think we know someone, even a sibling or a parent, in truth we know NOTHING of what that person’s life experiences has consisted of. Everyone has their story.

    (Parenthetically, another possible manifestation of this is the fear of having our children socialize with those not of our faith. Growing up in California, I guess we had no other option. Our Church and family activities too often has us appearing cliquish to others, and too often they are right. Raising our family in SLC, many of our seven children’s best friends were not LDS, and our children’s lives were blessed because of this. But then, we had a lot of confidence in our children. We simply focused on asking our children if they were choosing good friends when they were 3, 5, 7, 10, and by their teens we knew we didn’t need to worry about their choices. They chose exemplary friends, whether LDS or not. We also discovered we never had to worry about rebellious teenagers because we always let them make their choices. Of course, we also had weekly family night lessons for over 30 years to teach them how to make decisions. Maybe these were just blessings.)

    Well, enough for my two cents. I hope we might all show a little more acceptance, especially during this political season, and focus on all those commonalities that unite us and not the diversity that can be so divisive. 

    —Hank Brock, St. George, Utah

  32. I know a lot of great Mormons who are Democrats and they have very valid reasons for their choice.  The arguments that you list here are surface and are not well thought out.  They are akin to saying “Democrats are kind and Mormons should be kind, so I am a Democrat because I am Mormon.” 
    There were very good reasons to support the war in Iraq, but I think most Americans are glad that it is over.  Bush and Obama both followed essentially the same time table and plan for withdrawal.  But no matter what the rationale for war was or should have been, it is unquestionably the case that more lives were saved because of the war.  So valuing life is siply not a valid reason for regretting that war.  And it seems that Iraqi’s might actually have a real shot at a better life now. 
    I can’t really think of any argument for abortion that a Mormon can champion, yet it continues to kill millions.  It is not the fault of Mormon democrats, but it is something for all to carefully consider. 
    Republicans and Democrats alike, want to preserve the Earth and be good stewards of its resources.  We just don’t want to worship it, like so many democrats do.  Throwing money and resources at impractical ideas has not been fruitful.  Bush was a shining example of personal responsibility in that regard.  His carbon footprint was one-tenth the size of Gore’s.  The idea that democrats are the only ones who care abouty the Earth is childish and incorrect.
    It is the responsibiility of all Christians to care for the poor.  To expect government to do that for us is wrong.  We forfeit all of the blessings that come from that service when we cede that responsibility to government.

  33. “I am a Democrat because I’m a Mormon.”

    I thought you were quoting Sen. Harry Reid’s address at BYU, 9 Oct 2007.
    See: 20:11 here: http://byutv.org//watch/04b49add-d01f-4e28-9348-3af7539d90bc

  34. The reason so many LDS members are now aligned with the Republican Party is not because the membership has shifted to the right; it is because the Democratic Party has shifted dramatically to the left.  My father and grandmother were strong democrats, and I even self-identified as a democrat as a teenager in the 60’s; however, after the 1972 takeover of the party by the left-wing loons we all rethought our party affiliation.

  35. “I am a Democrat because. I am a Mormon”.  However our theology does not necessarily favor one political party.  It is really more of a matter of political philosophy than theology.  However some religious principles does affect political out comes and decisions.
     
    Matters of political philosphy

    It is a case what ones feels as important - either equality vs. liberty.  Fair distribution of wealth will take away some economic liberty .  More economic liberty such un regulated free enterprise will take away some economic equality. Wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the few.  The problem is trying to balance the two perspectives by trying to find the optimum end game of government responsibility.  To me it is matter of practical government.  Government is best when it govern the least however society has a mandate to avoid extreme poverty and the abuse of corporate power.  Hence government does have a role to bring about fairness. Although too much goverment can erode agency to make choices and can be abusive .  It can over regulate and stifle enterprenuralship.
     
    Matters of theology affecting political out comes.

    I for one favor sanctity of pre born life and universal norm of marriage between man and woman. This is definitely influenced by my LDS theological traditions.  However this norm may be in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

    I also believe we should prepare for peace and war is only used as a defense of our national liberties and those we have treaties with .

    We are also warned by our earlier LDS leaders about concentration of economic power and how it can threatened individual freedom.

    We as LDS also have a green theology which is protecting the earth and replenishing it.
     
    here are instances of where intrusive government power can threaten religious liberty.
    I also believe in economic democracy or social justice follows the theological Zion traditions of worker and consumer own industries. This is contrary to majority ownership by capitalist .  The former controls capital and uses it for the equitable benefit of the whole of its members.  The latter is when capitalist controls labor and treats it as a commodity.

    I also think social business enterprises is compatible with a Zion economy where as the botton line is not to maximize profits for the stake holders but the end purpose is to provide a social good .

  36. And I’m a deeply conservative Republican because I’m a Mormon! There are good things in both parties, but I see the Republican party more willing to tackle fiscal problems and set America’s economy in order, most willing to allow freedom instead of impose freedom-limiting rules and regulations, and that Republicans are more charity-oriented, probably because they don’t see government as filling their own role in helping those in need.

    Read both sides, folks, because the news only has half the story. Mitt Romney is not the man they say: dozens of personal accounts agree he is kind, caring, helpful, honest, hardworking, humble, thrifty, and funny. Thanks for listening.
    http://www.conservativemormonmom.blogspot.com

  37. At BYU in order to participate in politics I joined the Democrat party just because there were so few of us.  There were too many Republicans and I thought I would learn more about the whole process in a smaller organization.  I majored in Political Science undergraduate and found part time jobs doing surveys and statistical analyses for both parties.  And I admired the people that I associated with in both groups.  Eventually I decided I found more in common with Reagan than Carter, but decided I was an Independent and no longer claim a party affiliation.  The platform of the democrats troubles me, and the great society that LBJ pushed through was clearly the wrong idea along with the free love and multiculturalism movements..in hindsight.  All sounded good but the results speak for themselves..but the democrats seem to keep their heads in the sand on social issues and keep pushing for more of the same or worse.  Add on the unionization of public employees and their self dealing at the expense of the rest of us and as a country we now are burdened with the proverbial millstone around our necks .  When I hear Obama speak, the former community organizer, what I hear is the demands of unions and socialists..not his original ideas but it seems that is what he genuinely believes in and represents.  His administration in its entirety has been less than promised on results and more than expected on blaming others.  I enjoyed the common sense encouragement at general conference to continue to serve others and do our best to be a positive influence in our communities.  I feel more of that spirit of encouragement coming form Romney than from Obama.  For myself, he has broken trust and needs to be replaced.

  38. I sincerely do not understand how a practicing Mormon could vote democrat when the democratic party and it’s president has added support of Gay Marriage and Abortion to the parties platform.  Both of these go directly against the church’s doctrine.  I am not saying you have to agree with them.  It’s just hypocritical to say I think “those guys speak for the Lord” and then go vote for people to lead the country that support the exact opposite of what “the prophets” say.  I totally get a mormon voting democrat on welfare, health care, etc…, but the moral issues for practicing Mormons should trump all, unless they do not believe that their leaders are “prophets” like they say.  My point isn’t wether the Mormon Church is right or wrong.  It is this.  You can’t have it both ways.  You can’t say people speak for God and that you follow them just like people did Moses and Abraham and then support the exact opposite.  That is why most of my Mormon friends vote Republican.  They believe voting for people who support things that destroy the family will be bad for the country, just like their leaders say.

  39. UtahKer: please, enlighten me.

  40. Part 1:


    Well, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but have you ever thought about this:
    Do you believe it is alright for an individual to take money from the pocket of another individual and spend it as they see fit? Seriously. Does that seem morally sound? What about agency and individual accountability?
    How is it any different that a government does the same thing “on behalf of all those who really need it”? You’ve used King Benjamin as an example. He is one of the most beloved Prophets of the Book of Mormon and definitely one of my favorites. Please consider these points:
    King Benjamin is the perfect example of a righteous servant of the people. In The Book of Mosiah chapter 2 verse 12 he says,
    “I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you;”
    verse 14,
    “And even I, MYSELF, HAVE LABORED WITH MINE OWN HANDS THAT I MIGHT SERVE YOU, AND THAT YE SHOULD NOT BE LADEN WITH TAXES, AND THAT THERE SHOULD NOTHING COME UPON YOU WHICH WAS GRIEVOUS TO BE BORN…”
    Knowing how King Benjamin felt about burdening his people with taxes I can’t understand how anyone could mistake his sermon to be encouraging the government to tax the people so the government can take care of the poor. It seems clear to me that he is speaking to INDIVIDUALS and reminding them of their sacred responsibility to reach out to those around them who need their help. These are two VERY different things because King Benjamin’s way (the Lord’s way) is to allow men to exercise their AGENCY and be accountable for their actions (good or bad). Consider how the church handles tithing, fast offering, etc. They do not go to a church member’s employer and set up a 10% withdrawal from the members paycheck! (Like our governments do with the city, state, and federal taxes they demand from us). They allow the individual to be accountable for their responsibility to pay the tithe they have covenanted to pay to the Lord.
    Another righteous example is King Benjamin’s Son Mosiah. In Mosiah chapter 6 verse 7 it states:
    “And King Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth. AND HE ALSO, HIMSELF, DID TILL THE EARTH, THAT THEREBY HE MIGHT NOT BECOME BURDENSOME TO HIS PEOPLE, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things.”
    These two (and there are others) examples of righteous leaders did not expect the people to support them. They truly were volunteers, like this Nation’s Founding Fathers (who gave their fortunes and even lives in their service) and our church leaders!! Bishops, Stake Presidents and all the different ecclesiastical leaders in all the church are not supported financially by their congregations even though they work very hard. They all have regular jobs and pay their own tithing, etc. It’s interesting to compare the Church’s leadership pattern with that of our governmental leaders.

  41. Part 2:

    King Noah is a great example of what a government should NOT be like. In Mosiah Chapter 11 verses 3-7 we read,
    3) And he (King Noah) laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth art of all their grain. (Just a reminder, one-fifth is a 20% tax)
    4) And all this he did take TO SUPPORT HIMSELF, AND HIS WIVES AND HIS CONCUBINES; AND ALSO HIS PRIESTS, AND THEIR WIVES AND THEIR CONCUBINES; THUS HE HAD CHANGED TO AFFAIRS OF THE KINGDOM. (!)
    5) For he put down all the priests that had been consecrated by his father and, and consecrated new ones in their stead, such as were lifted up in the pride of their hearts.
    6) Yea, AND THUS THEY WERE SUPPORTED IN THEIR LAZINESS, AND IN THEIR IDOLATRY, AND IN THEIR WHOREDOMS, BY THE TAXES WHICH KING NOAH HAD PUT UPON HIS PEOPLE; THUS DID THE PEOPLE LABOR EXCEEDINGLY TO SUPPORT INIQUITY.
    7) Yea, and they (the people) also became idolatrous, because they were deceived by the VAIN AND FLATTERING WORDS OF THE KING AND PRIESTS; FOR THEY DID SPEAK FLATTERING THINGS UNTO THEM.
    So, when I compare the examples in our scriptures to the living examples we have among us now, I have to say that it’s MY OPINION that we, the people of these United States, have been listening to the vain and flattering words of our wicked government for far too long! Both parties!
    It’s nice to hear from our elected leaders that they care about the poor and want to help them. This sounds like a great plan! However, let’s look at the actual track record of the government’s “help”. When the income tax first started in 1913 (A graduated income tax was originally restricted by the constitution -Article I, Section IX-because it was a direct tax.) it taxed THE RICHEST 1% OF CITIZENS EXACTLY 1% OF THEIR EARNINGS ABOVE $3,000. Since then, it has grown to include ALL income earners. So, it seems that for all it’s “helping” the government has only succeeded in BROADENING poverty in this country. NOT ERADICATING IT!.
    President J. Reuben Clark’s statement, “Always and ever the more you feed a government the hungrier it gets” really says it all, in my opinion.
    Yes, this is a long-winded response to your blog Jana, but I wanted to make sure we read the same scriptures together. I am by the way NOT a republican! I believe the third most important message from the Book of Mormon is it’s warning to us of the secret combinations that are plotting to destroy our agency through overtaking our government just as they have in those past civilizations of the ancient America’s. Both major political parties seem to be working together to this evil end.
    To sum up: While I agree with you that we are responsible to take care of those who are in need I do not believe, nor do I believe that the Book of Mormon supports, your assertion that as church members we are obligated to do this through the programs of the Democratic Party, or any political party. In fact, as you may have noticed, I believe that the Book of Mormon expressly warns us of the dangers of falling into the sway of such reasoning. Our covenants with the Lord were made individually and thus need to be honored by each individual. We cannot shirk that individual responsibility by passing it on to our government leaders and it is morally wrong to FORCE others to help.
    Remember, God’s way is always to allow us to use our agency and satan’s way is always to negate it!

  42. What a bunch of misguided rationalization.    I’m a Mormon and a Democrat and I would never drag my faith all over the place and search out scripture to post with a message saying ” and this is the reason I am a repulican or a demorcrat or anything else.  If someone is poor or sick or homeless,  and needs help,you don’t step over them or go around and say “well I have agency and I can do this only if I want to but if the poor are lazy than I would be going against my religious beliefs by helping them and giving them my money and let me find more scripture to prove my point”. What you do is just help them and support those who would help them or anyone who needs help for what ever reason.  But I do want to say one very important thing to my fellow Latter day Saints.  Stop telling Democrats they are bad people for voting for President Obama or any other Democrat.  There’s no prophesy that has come down from the Heavens that gave you the right to ridicule anyone for their choices.  This shouldn’t even be a religious thing.  I can’t imagine connecting my believe in God and Jesus and the scriptures and my believes in the Mormon Doctrine with my political believes.  We should at this point in time, know what the right thing is.  Why would any of you want to muddy your Christian waters with your mean spirited political arguments?    I don’t care if Romney is a Mormon.  I don’t believe in anything he says.  I have made it a point of being informed, to a point of going nuts with all the nonsense re: this election.  I have seen a lot of prejudice.  More than I have seen in a very long time.  And no matter how you conservatives dance around this issue, it’s coming from your side and it’s NOW not 30 or 40 or 50 years ago.  But you have a right to vote anyway you want.  I live in Utah which is pretty much a one party state.  Well that’s not right!!!!!!  This is a 2 party country.  It needs to stay that way.  You may not like us for being Democrats or Mormons or Mormon Democrats but we are here and guess what???  We are not going away.  There are a lot of reasons for going to hell, being a Democrat or a Mormon is not one of them.  Get over it, knock it off and start acting like a Christian.  Put Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior first and not your misguided beliefs in the importance of voting for a Mormon man as President.  Now you can respond if you want to but I don’t really care.  I’m not gonna read another long winded post on why conservatives are right and everyone else is wrong.  Not interested, don’t care, won’t be reading it.  I have had it with the hateful comments.  Besides I have already voted, for President Obama.  AMEN!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Part of the reason why I, as a Mormon, raised Republican, have recently turned towards the left is because the Right has become so willing to press religious based laws into effect.

    For 25 years I believed this was fine to do. Then I moved out of Idaho and met people who believed completely differently about the nature of things. These were good people though. Not evil as I’d been led to believe. I think of them as the not-yet-converted. I can share with them my philosophies and perhaps one day they may choose to adopt them.

    Meanwhile how can I force people who don’t believe that potential life is really human- to live by my personal ideals? How can I say that b/c my God condemns homosexuality that a same-sex couple can’t get a civic marriage licence?

    There is a scripture in the D&C that talks about making religious-based laws, and I suppose I’ve taken it to heart. I have decided that b/c I live in a secular based society that laws should be based on history, scientific evidence, and social studies. I have faith that God’s law will eventually win out in all these areas.

    So whenever I see the Republican Party made up of all the Christians, I can only see this as giving power to a group that will only abuse it. For example I wonder how many Mosques a Christian-based government will allow to be built?

    So people ask, “How can you be a Mormon, and a Democrat?” My Mom even told me I’d go to Hell. But it’s simply a matter of seeing my faith as a personal element that I hope someday to share, and my Government as a secular entity that protects my rights and OTHER people’s to worship, among other things. Keeping it secular is the only way to protect that right. I also support the redistribution of wealth (taxes) b/c it is how our secular government functions, and builds up society. It is simply a function of civics, imperfect, yes. But who wants to live in a “Lord of the Flies” every-man-for-himself society?

    Anyway. Once a Mormon can see what he/she believes in their personal faith, as something that shouldn’t be put into law, then we have a much firmer bases (history, civics, and science) to draw a conclusion about who to vote for- for the good of our Nation.

  44. Rita, your accusations about Obama and abortion have long since been debunked.  “Partial birth” abortions are a myth, and fetuses that “survive” abortions cannot live outside the womb.  Obama never voted in support of any such rubbish.

    Also, this nation has been built on redistribution of wealth.  It’s a fact of democracy.  Sometimes from the wealthy to benefit the poor, and sometimes from the middle class to benefit the wealthy business class.  It’s basic history, and it was written into the constitution.  To deny its existence, not to mention its benefit to our society, is either to be ignorant of over two centuries of redistribution or to live in a fantasyland.  Nowhere on earth will you find a thriving democracy that does not redistribute in some form or another.  And any nation that is not redistributing wealth through taxation is either in the thrall of oppressive dictatorship, or blowing itself to pieces via rivaling military factions (think Somalia and Sudan).

    Bottom line is, the wise redistribution of wealth is a time-honored principle of free societies.  Anyone telling you otherwise only has their own wealth and power to gain from the lie.

  45. As a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama was very explicit in opposing a law that required medical providers that conducted late term abortions to save the lives of babies that were still alive despite an induced abortion. Obama actually favored infanticide.
    The American Medical Association took an official position that there is no medical justification for partial birth abortions because the abortion process is just as hazardous to the mother as childbirth. If there isno such thing as partial birth abortion, why did women who had the procedure appear at news conferences to defend it? Why did Planned Patenthood get upset over state laws banning a procedure that is “never used”? 

    The LDS Church does not prohibit the use of contraceptives. People just think we do because we have more children than other Christians, but it is because we choose to do so. 

    Unless a woman has become pregnant through rape or incest, her pregnancy is a direct result of prior choices she has made. Having an abortion as a “do over” is not justifiable. It is a killing not just of one’s own child, but of one’s capacity for human empathy.

    There is no need to have medical insurance pay for conbtraceptives than there is to have insurance to buy our food, or our rent, or our gasoline.  They are all manageable and budgetable expenses. If a woman is on medicaid due to poverty, I can understand the government program including that coverage because by definition people who qualify for it do not have a lot of disposable income. But women whose families have a regular income can buy birth control pills and devices out of the same budget that covers beer and entertainment. There is no justification to force people and institutions who have moral or religious objections to contraceptives to subsidize you so you can use your own funds to go to a restaurant or pay for internet service on your smart phone.  Obama’s claim that women are being denied contraceptives unless someone else is forced to pay for them is not about the freedom of the women but the power of government to override the free choices of other people who are forced to subsidize things that people should buy out of their own pockets.

    If abortion is sacrosanct because it is your own body, why should someone else be required to pay for that, ir for contraceptives?it is YOUR body, and your financial responsibility.

  46. At fhe last night we had a mock election after a lesson on civic duty and the importance of decorum.  We are mormon and we are voting for the green party candidate jill stein.

  47. I am an anti-Republi-Democrite.  If everyone believed in agency the way the scriptures outline, the closest political choice would be a pro-life libertarian.

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