Category Archives: Religion

A Bishop’s Political Judgement

Recently an over-zealous LDS bishop wrote an op-ed piece which sparked some debate in the Mormon progressive community. Given the man’s position and the use of political questions as a litmus test for temple worthiness, a discussion has emerged around the separation of politics and LDS Church doctrine. Instead of writing an unproductive response to the bishop calling into question conservative platforms that are blatantly anti-Christian, I am instead addressing one of the article’s attacks; Democrat’s pro-choice position. As a

The Tyranny of Gross Wealth Inequality

In a 2012 General Conference address, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, expressed concern about “the ever-growing gap between the rich and poor.” Elder Ballard’s concern about gross wealth inequality has been shared by many of his predecessors. Elder Orson Pratt once observed that “an inequality of property is the root and foundation of innumerable evils; it tends to derision, and to keep asunder the social

Stop Subsidizing Walmart: Raise the Minimum Wage

A recent study of Wisconsin’s Medicaid program revealed that Walmart ranked first on state’s list of Medicaid enrollment by employer. In other words, Walmart employees in Wisconsin comprise a plurality of the state’s Medicaid recipients. Altogether, a single Walmart Super Center costs Wisconsin taxpayers about $900,000 per year in poverty subsidies for its employees, such as food stamps, Medicaid, school lunches, and housing assistance because the employees are paid significantly less than what is reasonably required to survive at a

Putting the ‘Conserve’ Back Into ‘Conservative’

During my freshman year at BYU, a conservative friend of mine tried to explain to me why recycling, and caring for the environment in general, were scripturally unsound practices. He cited the LDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 59 verses 16 to 19, which, in a nutshell, indicate that the Lord provided all of the natural things on the earth “for benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and

A Supreme Precedent for Gun Laws

In the aftermath of any mass shooting in the U.S., an all-or-nothing rhetoric about guns typically infects the public discourse regarding what ought to be done to prevent such tragedies in the future. In many communities, inhabitants are warned that the government has a hidden agenda seeking to ban all future gun sales and intends to confiscate privately owned firearms. “Obama wants to take your guns away,” we are warned. Far too many Americans have accepted the all-or-nothing gun law

The Constitution Hangs by a Thread

“You will see the Constitution of the United States almost destroyed. It will hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber…. I love the Constitution; it was made by the inspiration of God; and it will be preserved and saved…” – Attributed to Joseph Smith, May 1843 Across congregations of the Mormon Church the above quote has become a rallying cry among the conservative members. I have been approached by several wanting to discuss the destructive nature of

Church Leaders’ Political Opinions Aren’t Official Doctrine

In past decades, there have been a few General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have been outspoken on American politics. Some Church members frequently quote from these politically outspoken former General Authorities in order to justify certain right-wing political views, often implying a doctrinal quality to such views, and, on occasion, attempt to question the faithfulness of members who disagree. President Ezra Taft Benson’s political statements are perhaps the best example of this. I

Political Neutrality – Church Website

Since we constantly are barraged with questions in regards to the Mormon Church’s stated political positions, this should serve as a reminder: The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established. The Church does not: Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms. Allow its

The Mormon Who Was Almost President

When Mitt Romney takes the stage in Tampa this week to accept the nomination of the Republican Party, it will be an historic moment for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Perhaps not as historic in the grand sense as the first Catholic nominee was, or African-American nominee was, or female nominee will be, but anticipated and relished nonetheless. As a rabid fan of science fiction, comic books, and most everything else in the nerdosphere, one

Politics and Mormonism Q&A

I was asked a series of questions about Mormonism and the progressive wing of American politics by a UK periodical.  I typically try to separate religion and politics in my essays, but given this election and the nature of our blog, I thought these responses should be shared. Written to Denis Campbell, Editor in Chief, UK Progressive Denis — Answers to your questions are below.  Before I begin, I need to add the caveat that these responses are not official

Race and LDS Religious Identification in the 2012 Election

As some of you may know, I was raised on Chicago’s South Side and attended a multiracial Mormon ward (congregation) for 15 years where many of my leaders and teachers were black. Our ward was also full of people across the political spectrum so I guess it is about time the NY Times caught up with the racial and political diversity among the LDS population. After all, it has been a reality in my faith and in my life for

The Church Needs a Two Party System

“I also support what has been said by the Brethren–that it is in the interest of the Church to have a two-party system and not to have one party that is exclusively LDS and the other party exclusively non-LDS. Both locally and nationally, the interests of the Church and its members are served when we have two good men or women running on each ticket, and then no matter who is elected, we win.” (James E. Bell, In The Strength of

Sage Election-Year Counsel from the First Presidency

Each election year, the Church predictably issues statements affirming its political neutrality, which I find both refreshing and reassuring amid all of the mingling of scripture with the philosophies of men that we see in many churches. A few decades ago, during a presidential election season, President Hugh B. Brown of the First Presidency stated the following at a BYU commencement address: You young people are leaving your university at the time in which our nation is engaged in an

No Politics in Church!

Have you ever been in a Church meeting where someone, a speaker in sacrament meeting, or a teacher or student in Sunday School, Priesthood, or Relief Society, makes a blatant political statement? Perhaps it was only a facetious but degrading comment about a particular Obama Administration policy. If it occurred a few years ago, it may have been a statement of support for President Bush or the Iraq war. Too often, I’ve heard people make political comments in Church meetings,