Evan Vucci, Associated Press
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017, before signing an executive order aimed at easing an IRS rule limiting political activity for churches. From second from left are, Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the Archbishop of Washington, Pastor Jack Graham, Paula White, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla. and Vice President Mike Pence.

SALT LAKE CITY — With President Donald Trump’s signing Thursday of an executive order easing political restrictions on churches, the LDS Church said it will continue its policies and practice of political neutrality.

"We are always grateful for the efforts of leaders to safeguard religious freedom and protect the beliefs and religious exercise of all people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been and remains committed to political neutrality. Today’s executive order will not affect that longstanding policy,” said LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

The president signed the executive order Thursday — the National Day of Prayer — in the White House Rose Garden. Although it doesn’t change existing laws, the order allows faith leaders to more freely endorse political candidates and allows federal agencies to back off on punitive punishments against religious meetinghouses and organizations.

Hawkins’ statement linked to the LDS Church’s Mormon Newsroom post on Mormon Newsroom “topics” post political neutrality, explaining its neutral stances as situations which call for church encouragements and efforts.

The neutrality — which applies not to the United States but all nations where the church is established — includes the church not making endorsements, promotions or oppositions to political parties, platforms or candidates; not making buildings, membership directories or other resources available for partisan politics; and not attempting to direct dictates to a government leader.

However, the church has stated it reserves the right to comment on issues that have “significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interest of the church,” the post states.

The church encourages members to be informed on issues and to be involved responsibly and civility in political processes, and it asks candidates and parties to not imply their candidacies or platforms have been endorsed by the church.