I wasn’t sure what she meant at first. And then I realized, “Oh. You mean Mitt Romney? Nope. I didn’t hear his name brought up even once during the four hours I was there.”
That surprised her. Considering it was two days before the election, I think it would surprise many not of my faith.
You see, other churches might tell their members to vote for a certain candidate–say, Mitt Romney. And many have. Religious Leaders down the street from me may publicly endorse Mitt, but ironically, his own church, my LDS/Mormon Church, won’t. Nor will its leaders.
Why? Because the LDS church remains politically neutral.
Lest, in our zealousness to have the first Mormon President, we Mormons forget that small little fact, our congregation received several letters this year from Church Headquarters reminding us that our faith remains politically neutral.
Officially, there is not and will not be any endorsement of candidates on either side of the aisle.
Not even when we have a former LDS Stake President (regional leader of around 7-12 congregations) running for President.
With that said…
The LDS Church strongly encourages their members to be active in the political process. We are asked from the pulpit to research candidates, both local and federal, and make our best informed decision. That is the case this year, as it has been every year.
What does that mean?
Many Mormons will be voting for Mitt Romney tomorrow. In fact, I’m guessing that the majority of Mormons in America will be voting for Mitt Romney tomorrow. I’m one of them. While I might not have heard his name brought up in church yesterday, that doesn’t mean people weren’t discussing him. It was just done privately. Individually. Not over the pulpit. Officially.
Which also means there are Mormons who won’t be voting for Mitt Romney tomorrow. And that’s okay. I think. (Just kidding. That’s the Republican in me talking. The Mormon in me says it’s okay.)
In the same breath, I hope Mormons who are voting for Mitt are doing so because of his policies and political stances, not because of his religion. I think it’s safe to say Mitt Romney feels the same way, because to do so would, in a way, be violating his/our beliefs.
The LDS Church remains politically neutral.
Here is the official statement from the LDS Newsroom.
The Church does not:
- Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
- Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
- Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.
The Church does:
- Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
- Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
- Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
- Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.
It’s ironic. The first potential Mormon President will not be endorsed by his own church. I just hope people understand why.
To read more about LDS political neutrality, go here.
To read my articles on Yahoo! Voices discussing religion and politics, go here.
What are your thoughts on the LDS Church’s stance on political neutrality? Are you for or against it? Should more churches remain politically neutral? If your church encourages you to vote for a certain candidate, do you listen? Comment here.