Every year at election time, the LDS Church sends out an official letter stating that the LDS Church does not support any particular political party. Recently, a letter noted that both parties contained elements in their platforms that were consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am sad to report that message has been ignored.
Since the last election, Utah Mormons who are Democrats have faced increasingly vicious verbal attacks in their wards and in their neighborhoods. Those of us who were openly involved in the campaign have been called "socialists" and "terrorists." Our Christianity and patriotism have been questioned by ward members. We have been snubbed and sneered at. We have been forced to listen to political diatribes against the president of the United States in our auxiliary meetings and testimony meetings. Racial jokes are being told in church foyers.
These attacks are especially hurtful since they come from people who have been our friends for many years. These are people we brought meals to when they were sick, whose children we drove to school, and whom we served with on ward committees and in school PTAs. We sat down together at potluck dinners and ice cream socials together.
Now we are being shunned. Some of us have even stopped going to church. We don't feel like we should have to defend our political beliefs every time we step through the church doors. We don't want to argue with ward members who spout lines from Rush Limbaugh in our church classrooms. Our bishops are trying to calm things down but they aren't having much luck.
There are tough times ahead. We need to come together. During the Great Depression, it was the LDS Church that set an example for the rest of the country, creating a generous and great-hearted welfare system that served as a model for the rest of the nation. Perhaps this time we could be the first in the nation to find a way to mend our political divisions. The entire country needs guidance.
Dynette Reynolds of Ogden is an adjunct teacher of history at Weber State University.