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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remind its leadership to steer clear of politics
June 29th, 2011
03:39 PM ET

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remind its leadership to steer clear of politics

By Padmananda Rama, CNN

(CNN)– The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is reminding its leaders to stay away from endorsing political candidates or offering political statements.

In a letter dated June 16. LDS President Thomas S. Monson provided LDS members with "further clarification of the church's position on political neutrality."

The letter comes at the early stages of the 2012 presidential campaign in which two Republican contenders - former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman - both have strong affiliations with the Mormon church.

"General officers of the Church and their spouses and other ecclesiastical leaders serving full-time should not personally participate in political campaigns," read an excerpt from the letter posted on the LDS official website. The statement goes on to explain this applies to fundraising, financial contributions and endorsements.

Church leaders see the letter as a reiteration of a long-standing policy.

"We've had the political neutrality statement on the website for a number of years, so this is merely a further restatement of policy and practice," LDS spokesman Dale Jones told CNN.

Many religious faiths advise leaders to stay away from political endorsements. Political activity from the pulpit could jeopardize a faith's tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.

The LDS policy also distances itself from the decisions of elected representatives. "Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated church position," the policy explains.

One example is Huntsman, who while governor of Utah signed a law introducing civil unions for gay couples. The church formally opposes same-sex unions.

In the U.S. Senate there are two powerful senators who are Mormons but sit on either side of the aisle. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, are both members of the church.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • United States • Utah

soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    They are right, they will stay clear but will put their money where their mouth is, smart.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  2. True Friend

    All Zelda on this page are fakes.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Zelda

      And True Friend lies again trying to quiet me.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • True Friend

      False Zelda, the matter of truth will be found out in time. Give up. You can NEVER imitate Christian.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Zelda

      False friend of Zelda and it is obvious what you are doing and who you are. You cannot quiet me or the voice of God. You are the wolf amung the sheep and I see through your lies.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Link

      What do you mean not the real Zelda, I got the Triforce and kicked Gannon's a$$, I want me some real Zelda!! Now take these fish and cook them for me while I go play with my Ocarina...

      June 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Navi

      LOL@ Link: Hey! Listen! Oh please don't. I have a hard time reading her posts as it is without picturing her as the princess.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  3. Rennes

    I think all religious organizations need to stay clear of political candidates. If there is a separation with the church and state and they are getting tax breaks, they shouldn't be involved with pushing their own agendas on their congregations.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  4. Mac

    I'm surprised to see so many people harping on about Prop 8 as though the LDS church made an "exception" to its apolitical stance by supporting the measure. There is a big difference between supporting a party or candidate (which is inappropriate for a church), and standing behind a particular issue or ballot measure (which is completely allowable).

    If the Catholic church spoke out against abortion or supported a pro-life ballot measure, would anyone blink an eye? It's the same thing with Prop 8. Yes, the church encouraged its members to support the movement because it was about principle, not "politics." And good on them for standing up for something – a rarity in this day and age.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  5. PJ

    I thought Mitt Romney was a Bishop of the Mormon Church. I also read he is trying to push the Utah Primary to an earlier date in order to give him a push.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  6. oprmm57

    Wow, lots of ignorance in these comments. The point of this article is that the LDS church does not tell it's members they should or should not run for office (and Jesus never said his followers should or should not run for office either), it does not tell them who or what to vote for, and it does not tell them who or what they should support with their money. The church teaches correct principles for living and its members should vote for and support the candidates and measures that will uphold correct principles.

    I'm LDS and the church did not ask me to contribute a single penny to Prop 8 or any other political measure. There is a difference

    June 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Bee

      yes, but many CA church leaders asked church members to contribute, following advice from SLC

      June 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Bee

      and supporting prop 8 is different than endorsing cadidates or funding party politics

      June 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • JimS.

      Yes, Prop 8 was different from endorsing a candidate, but it was still political. The statement regarded political neutrality in general, not just as related to specific candidates. The LDS Church was certainly not neutral on Prop 8. They found it convenient to toss aside this policy when it suited them.

      The only reason they're bringing it up now is because there are potentially 2 Mormons in the race, and they don't want to take sides to the detriment of either of them.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • ColinO

      They didn't ask you, because they didn't need to. You contribute to the Church through your t-ithe, and they take that money to support Prop 8. So whether or not you contributed directly, you did contribute to it.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Floyd Mayweather is a duck and he likes to quack quack he is now pretending to fight Manny Pacquiao to market his upcoming fight against Victor Ortiz.

      @ColinO...

      Do you have any evidence that they are using the church fund for political purpose?

      June 30, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • They Have This Thing Called Google, And You Use It To Look For Information

      Here yopu go, Floyd:

      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/01/top-officials-w.html

      June 30, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Peace2All

      @oprmm57

      Hey there -oprmm57...

      You Said: "The LDS Church does not tell them (members/congregation/followers) who or what to vote for, and it does not tell them who or what they should support with their money. The church teaches correct principles for living and its members (should) -vote for and support- the candidates and measures that will uphold correct principles."

      So, apparently from your posting 'you' have not had any 'overt' direction on 'who' or 'what' to vote for, yes...?

      Then, in the following sentence/s you say...(paraphrase here)..."Church teaches 'correct principles... and it's members (should) vote for and support the candidates and measures that will uphold 'correct principles.' "

      It appears that in actuality that there truly is, by your own statement, an 'expectation' that members (should) vote for 'correct principles' which the LDS Church says are the 'right' 'true' 'correct' etc... one's, yes...?

      So, in reality here... is there truly any big difference from overtly telling you to vote yes on prop. 8 because gay marriage is wrong, vs. saying... It is a 'correct principle' that marriage should (only) be between a man and a woman...?

      So, do you really believe that non-sense still that they (The LDS Church) is really 'not' telling you what you 'should' do or not do...?

      Of course not, because they are. They are just telling you what you 'should' do in a basically 'indirect' way.

      You Said: "I'm LDS and the church did not (ask) me to contribute a single penny to Prop 8 or any other political measure. There is a difference."

      Right... so they didn't overtly 'ask' you, however if you and the other members are living by 'correct principles' then not a big leap to decide for yourself about the evils of gay marriage and contribute money yourself... which, in fact... many of you did, yes...?

      So, tell me about this 'difference' that you speak of again...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 30, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Ted M.

      -Peace2All-
      Nice post.

      June 30, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  7. Bee

    I live in CA. Most people here are happy about Prop 8, based on the results of the popular vote. All the crybabies that claim the LDS church poured money into the effort are wrong. It was the church members who poured the money–and thank God for it.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Navi

      @Bee: Whether something is popular or not should never be the benchmark for who gets equal rights and who does not.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Navi

      Nice post there, my friend -Navi 😯

      Peace...

      July 1, 2011 at 2:44 am |
  8. Jim

    And such are the reasons that this country will never have a Mormon president. They simply cannot be trusted to do what they say. Nevermind that they cannot be trusted to put Country first.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • KatR

      You must be too young to remember the 1960 election when the electorate was told that Catholic candidate JFK should not become president because he would do whatever the pope said he should do.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  9. Darrel Texas

    What a joke. The Mormon Church is as Republican, Right Wing as you can get. Just look at the state of Utah. It's over 70% Moran and 70% registered Republican, the largest Republican majority state not a part of the deep, backward South. Their biggest concern is losing their tax exempt status.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  10. albert

    The Church is not serious. If it held true to the Bible (which they don't), they would excommunicate any of their members who ran for political office. Jesus was not political, nor did he advocate that his followers do so. He said to pray for his fathers kingdom, and to be no part of the world (in a political sense).

    June 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Zelda

      Mormons are not a Christian Church so you cannot hold them accountable to Christ. Their master is the Devil and his demons.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • JF

      I think Zelda must be another proud member of Westboro Baptist Church.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Zelda

      JF not a member but I think they are doing God's work. God Bless them.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • JF

      Troll

      June 29, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Jacob

    but Prop 8 in California? totally fine!

    June 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  12. Zelda

    Like the Catholic Church, the Mormon's master is the Devil.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Link

      I believe you are still being held captive by your master as well... Gannon!!

      June 29, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  13. Jim

    Neutral? Neutral you say? What happened to the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars the Mormon Church contributed to Proposition 8 in California? That was neutral?

    June 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  14. Mike

    I guess they already regret the Proposition 8 debacle.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  15. Artist

    How do you know when a mormon is lying? The lips are moving.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • GodPot

      How do you know when a mormon is lying down? The hips are moving.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Floyd Mayweather is a duck and he likes to quack quack he is now pretending to fight Manny Pacquiao to market his upcoming fight against Victor Ortiz.

      How do you know that atheist is lying? When they breath.

      June 30, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  16. Bob in LA

    This is the same church that poured millions into California to defeat gay marriage.Rather hypocritical isn't given the Bible's position on politics?

    June 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  17. Doug

    They are trying to stay neutral? This coming after they bank rolled Prop 8? After they filled their worshipers with ideas of hate and prejudice? I hope they stay actually neutral because if we didn't have religion in our politics we would be way better off as a nation.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  18. bradlee

    Stock photo CNN? Get a real picture of Mormons. Also, what if all churches were politically neutral! What a wonderful country we would have.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Bullcrap. They have been involved, and will continue to get involved because they have been grasping the reality of secular power since the Church was established. They can't help themselves.

    June 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  20. Reality

    "Thomas Spencer Monson (born August 21, 1927) is an American religious leader and author, and the 16th and current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

    As president, Monson is considered by adherents of the religion to be a "prophet, seer, and revelator" of God's will on earth."

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/thomas-s-monson#ixzz1QhCsZZzd

    And the Mormon "beat" goes on and on with another Joseph Smith in our midst. 🙂

    June 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.