Letter to the Editor: LDS Church members can learn from different political views

OPINION-EDITORIAL – Political diversity.  It’s not something that is very common or popular in Southern Utah, and, for the most part, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“LDS Church”)  are no exception.

In anticipation of the critics of this article:  Yes, I am fully aware that the LDS Church’s official policy formally insists that, “The Church does not:  Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms,” (and, for what it’s worth, I am also a practicing LDS Church member without an axe to grind).

This official policy notwithstanding, at a local level, this political neutrality seems to be forgotten or even ignored because many presumably Republican or conservative LDS Church members often — not always — treat their fellow Democratic brothers and sisters with hostility and contempt.  This is unfortunate and uncivil on so many different levels, both culturally and spiritually.

Why do I make this assertion?  It is not something that I heard third-  or fourth-hand through gossip, Facebook, or those ridiculous chain e-mails that everyone chuckles at but nobody believes.  Rather, I have personally witnessed multiple snide and disrespectful remarks on several occasions while participating in church functions, and so have my close family members.  I suppose that it is bittersweet to me because such inappropriate comments were not directed to me or my family members, but really, should such comments be directed at all?  Obviously not.  And, (again to the critics who may be prone to jump to conclusions), for the record, no, neither I nor my family members are Democrats.

Indeed, the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate, Harry Reid, (like him or hate him) is LDS, and he also happens to be a Democrat.  In fact, Mr. Reid is on record as explaining that he is a Democrat because he is a Mormon; not in spite of being a Mormon.

Congressman Jim Matheson is a so-called “Blue Dog Democrat” in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also LDS.  Many other LDS Church members either have served, or are currently serving, in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government as Democrats at the local, state, and federal levels.

Aside from politicians, many well-known LDS General Authorities, such as Marlin K. Jensen, Steven E. Snow, Larry Echo Haw, and even the late James E. Faust, subscribe or subscribed to the Democratic party.  In fact, Larry Echo Hawk, who headed up the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Obama Administration until this past April when he was called as a General Authority, delivered a stirring address on Saturday afternoon during the LDS Church’s Semi-Annual General Conference.  His unique perspective was interesting and informative, particularly his candid pleadings to other Native Americans.

Even Dallin H. Oaks, (a speaker whom I enjoy, and who frequently speaks out about religious and social issues), worked as a law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren at the United States Supreme Court in the 1950s.  Conservatives generally criticize the Warren Court’s liberal-leaning decisions such as the famous “Miranda v. Arizona and Griswold v. Connecticut” (which formed the constitutional basis for abortion by recognizing a constitutional right to privacy), among others.

I am not suggesting that Dallin H. Oaks was then a Democrat and is now a Republican at all.  Indeed, I have no idea which political party (if any) Dallin Oaks subscribes to.  But what I am suggesting, in light of his more conservative speeches in recent years, is that it would appear that Dallin H. Oaks probably developed a good deal of wisdom from different points of view while working with Chief Justice Warren, which (among other things) surely helped him develop into the wise leader that he is today.  This is a healthy example for anyone to follow.

What then is the point of this writing?  Well, it is to simply demonstrate that there is common ground between the two major political parties and LDS Church doctrine, which is consistent with official LDS Church policy, yet sometimes inconsistent with local attitudes and behaviors.  LDS Church members —including myself — and for that matter, everyone, can disagree with different ideas without being disagreeable or rude to one another.  Hearing varying points of view is how knowledge is learned, wisdom is developed, and personal values are solidified; and, as a result, our lives, communities, and country will be better off because of it.

Submitted by: Trevor C. Sanders is a resident of Hurricane, Utah.  He can be contacted with comments and critique at [email protected]

Letters to the Editor are published “as is” without any editing. Opinions stated are those of the writer and not representative of St. George News.

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  • Murat October 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Yes, in general I have found Mormons to be a miserable, intolerable bunch where rampant ignorance and psychological disorders are the norm. Of all the religions designed to manipulate the peasants, however, the Mormons have a most impressive hierarchical structure, and their mindless deference to dubious authorities, one of whom is laughably dubbed a ‘prophet’, is an excellent example of competently applied mind control techniques, of which I am a fan.

  • urbandesert October 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    The dominant religion of this state would vote Republican REGARDLESS of how intact and knowledgable he was. It’s a ‘sin’ to vote otherwise. smh!

  • Steve October 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Murat’s defamatory and rude (and untrue) message should be removed from this website, and he should be banned from further commenting.

    • Murat October 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      It appears I have struck a nerve.

      • Dghws October 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm

        You are just being called out and exposed for what you are…a bitter, negative, lonely man who will remain such because you insist on trying to make a point by calling names and dribbling hate. The silent majority is just tired of your filth.

        • Murat October 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm

          I’m glad you’re enjoying my comments and thanks for the feedback! Have a nice day!

  • Mike Parker October 15, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I should point out that it is intolerant to describe every person of a group one does not like as “intolerant.” Bigotry seems ever more the norm by people of self-professed intelligence.

    • Murat October 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      If you were even remotely perceptive, Mike Parker, you’d have noticed that I did not describe every Mormon as intolerant. (In fact several of my dear friends are Mormons and I would describe them as not bad people.) Rather, I observed that IN GENERAL, meaning, NOT IN EVERY SINGLE CASE, but GENERALLY SPEAKING, Mormons are a miserable, intolerable bunch where rampant ignorance and psychological disorders are the norm, and the figures back me up on that point, which means I’m not a bigot. Next time try not to sound like a simpleton, and I may take you seriously.

      • Gunther October 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        Are you talking about Utah Mormons, Washington Co. Mormons or Mormons across the globe? Having been born and raised in STG, I am smart enough to realize that this area has some very unique people with some very strange thought processes going on regarding various issues. Not all of these unique folks are LDS either but most are. Maybe it’s just the area or something. Still trying to figure that one out.

        However, please elaborate. Of all the places I’ve seen to comment on the web, your comments on this site are by far the most intelligent I have ever seen. You must have Phd degrees in just about every subject available to man and be a member of MENSA and so on ………. So please give us more knowledge. I can’t wait to hear what else we can be schooled with.

        • Murat October 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

          I may or may not be a certain defense contractor’s project to create fake personalities on the internet.

          • Dghws October 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

            You aren’t…but your mind and your mouth (fingers) continue to run circles around yourself until you think you are first.

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