The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not officially endorse political candidates, but it is urging its members to become involved in the election process.

The longstanding policy of strict political neutrality was reaffirmed this week by the church's First Presidency. In a message to be read in ward sacrament meetings, the church leadership said:"In this election year, we reiterate the long-standing policy of the church of strict political neutrality, of not endorsing political candidates or parties in elections and of not using church facilities for political purposes, including voter registration,

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not favor one political party over another. We have no candidates for political office, and we do not undertake to tell people how to vote," the message read.

However, the First Presidency urged all voters to "involve themselves in the political process and to study carefully and prayerfully candidates' positions on issues and to vote for those who will most nearly carry out their views of government and its role."

The church leaders reminded members that "the use of branch, ward or stake premises, chapels or other church facilities or equipment in any way for voter registration or political campaign purpose is contrary to our counsel and advice. This structure applies to speech-making, class discussion, fund-raising or preparation or distribution of campaign literature. Church directories or mailing lists should not be made available for any purpose to candidates for distribution of campaign literature of fund solicitation, or to those involved in voter registration," the leaders admonished.

"Those who attempt to use church meetings or facilities or equipment to further their own or another's political ambitions injure their own cause and do the church a disservice," the message read. "We appeal, therefore, to all candidates for public office to take notice of this instruction and to conduct their campaigns in strict compliance with this requirement pertaining to the church facilities, equipment, meetings and membership lists."

In conclusion, the First Presidency also called on all political leaders who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "neither to state nor imply the endorsement of the candidacy by the church or its leaders."