The LDS Newsroom notes that a recent decision by Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. to resign as U.S. ambassador to China has people speculating about whether Huntsman, a Mormon, will run for United States president in 2012. There are many who think Mitt Romney, also a Mormon, may be giving a presidential run another try.
We agree with what Karl Rove (George W. Bush’s senior adviser) recently said in a brief interview — that undo focus on a candidate’s church or religious beliefs is inappropriate. We would hope that people would vote based on a person’s capabilities and positions on issues, not because of his/her religion (whether voting for or against a candidate).
That said, we know that the Mormon faith these men share will still likely raise some questions, both about Mormonism and politics and about Mormon life and belief in general.
First, below we address a few questions related to the LDS Church and politics.
Would the Church try to encourage Mormons to vote for a Mormon candidate or dictate to a Mormon governmental leader?
The answer is no.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is politically neutral. You will not find the Church supporting any specific candidate or party, telling Church members whom to choose as they vote, or seeking to “direct or dictate to” a government leader. We as LDS Church members are encouraged to be involved in the political process, be informed about important issues, and make educated decisions about whom to vote for and we are free to choose whom we choose. This policy is universal in all nations where the Church has a presence.
If the Church is politically neutral, why does it get involved in political issues, like gay marriage?
Being politically neutral on partisan politics should not be confused with being politically or socially inactive. It is a constitutional right in the United States to express opinions on social and political issues. The Church sometimes chooses to exercise this right about some public issues that the Church “believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.” We have seen this happen with gay marriage or, more recently, on the topic of immigration reform in the United States.
That said, it’s worth noting that even when the Church does share an opinion, Mormon church members will end up expressing a variety of opinions about such social issues such as the ones mentioned.
Which leads us to the next question.
Are all Mormons are politically conservative?
The answer is no. You can see the following post at Mormon Women answering this question. (The short answer is no. There are Mormons all along the political spectrum, from conservative to moderate to liberal. Mormons are actively involved in all the major U.S. political parties. We are reminded by our leaders that “Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties.”)
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For more information from the LDS Newsroom about Mormonism, please see the following links:
The Religious Experience of Mormonism
The Grand Enterprise of Mormonism
This article by Michael Otterson at the Washington Post might be of interest: