Mormon political power is restrained, law professor Nathan B. Oman says

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  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    May 31, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    re: sergio | 10:00 a.m. May 28, 2011

    There are IMO enough legislators who feel proscribing the beliefs of a shrinking majority is the best way to govern.

  • working class Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2011 8:48 p.m.

    "Mormon political power is restrained." In light of the prop 8 dust up this is an entirely false statement - flat out false.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2011 3:08 p.m.

    With Free Agency being a cornerstone of Mormon theology, why doesn't the Church encourage members to vote for politicians who support Free Agency? Must we (voters) be commanded in all things by politicans, or are we free to choose rightesously?

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    May 28, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    re: Stenar | 6:25 p.m. May 27, 2011

    We all know nothing good comes out of the shadows.

    If the influence were good; wouldn't policy from 50 E North Temple have nothing to hide and be out in the open?

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    May 28, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    Sergio, Utah's doin' just fine. We have a stronger economy than most states, a lower than average unemployment rate, and we always do well with our tax dollars. You can thumb your nose at us, but with an over-all view, we're doing better than most. No white horse mormon needed, thank you.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    May 28, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    To those who believe that it will be those either in Congress or a President that will save the Constitution are partially right. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a whole will do that. Alt is right in that the LDS Church did not approve of the ERA Amendment and so it was defeated. To some but not as many as he thinks this has been disarming. More members supported the LDS Church leadership on Proposistion 8 because of its stance with the Family Proclamation. Though many condemn us for that stance, many support us as well. Even with only 2% of the vote in California but with the greatest organization of manpower we were able to get many to vote against it. Our political power rests with the membership alone.

    For those who say we need to have classes on the Constitution should really step back and see what Elder Dalhin H. Oaks has stated not only in General Conference but to legal graduates. It is already being taught you just to sit back and listen to the members of the First Presidency and the Quroum of the Twelve to hear it.

  • sergio Phoenix, AZ
    May 28, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    Perhaps Mr. Oman needs to move to Utah, where the Mormon church runs state politics, so that he may have better insight as to church influence. And for the others who are waiting for the White Horse Mormon to save our constitution and country, well it sure hasn't worked all that well on the smaller state scale (utah). So why do you thing it is a better model at the national level. I think it is just politics all gumed up with religious thinking. Good luck.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    May 28, 2011 9:00 a.m.

    The LDS church is anything but restrained. When the state legislature scampers up to Temple Square to get permission on changes to the alcohol laws it demonstrates very clearly who owns Utah politics.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    May 28, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    As far as I have been able to discern, the "Constitution hanging by a thread" is not an acceptable LDS doctrine. The brethern may have discussed it, but it is not doctrine. The fact that that moment has come does indicate our time was acknowledged way back then. We are in church to spiritually be uplifted. If that happens, we can then be strong when the need arises. Yes, we can gather in groups and work toward a "common" goal, but what that might be would probably be destroyed by our political differences. I prefer discussing those things that have been sanctioned by the prophets, trusting that the spirit will touch my soul when difficult questions come to light and learning to love my fellowman in spite of our differences. There is a difference between supporting traditional marriage and supporting non-discrimination for all people.

  • Mike in Texas Allen, TX
    May 28, 2011 5:20 a.m.

    I find it interesting that the Author did not mention the Church's opposition to the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) The Church actively opposed it and history will show that, rightly or wrongly, they played a significant role in its defeat. That opposition bacame public and to this day has been a problem for many in the Church.

  • Sinder Stansbury Park, Ut
    May 28, 2011 12:36 a.m.

    People feel like they have camaraderie at church because they feel as though their beliefs are shared with other members. Burst that little bubble with a political pin and things go to the swine really quick. Especially when people justify their political beliefs with their interpretation of scripture.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    May 27, 2011 11:56 p.m.

    Haha. Good one.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2011 11:18 p.m.


    "I could see discussing the history of how we became a country, the Declaration of Independence and the history behind the Constitutional Convention, but now the politics of running the government."

    I agree, the more... general statements are fine. It's when getting into details where you'd end up with conservatives vs libertarians vs liberals vs the patience of people who don't care about politics and finds everyone else annoying when they're arguing about it.

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    May 27, 2011 9:45 p.m.

    the LDS church should tend to its church buisness and stay out of politics and that also includes any religous group

  • MiP Iowa City, IA
    May 27, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    Render unto Caesar....

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    May 27, 2011 8:51 p.m.

    I did some research for NeilT: Canada did not have a constitution until 1982 and Brazil until 1888. Obviously the constitution mentioned is the United States of America's. If the leadership wants this discussed in church, then we'll know about it. Teaching of the Constitution is part of the state core curriculum.

  • jmort SLO, CA
    May 27, 2011 8:36 p.m.

    Does anybody posting here realize the LDS Church is an international church with more foreign members (who do not ascribe to our particular constitution) than domestic members?
    I bring this up because the Church seems to be interested in projecting consistent messages and curriculum across national boundaries. Therefore it is a 'non-starter' to imagine the Church incorporating study of the US Constitution in its meetings or teaching materials.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    May 27, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    Which countries constitution should we teach, Canada's, Brazil's, or the United States? Just wondering. I wonder how members in Canada would feel about this. Maybe they believe they have an inspired constitution.

    I am grateful the church took a moderate position on immigration. Demonizing and villifying people for fleeing an impoverished country is not consistent with my belief system. And since when did we start punishing children for the actions of their parents? There is a man in Draper whose wife was brought here as infant by her mother. Technically she is here illegaly. There are some members who would deport her in a heartbeat. Tear her from the arms of her family just to satisfy their need for justice. When it comes to immigration those on the far right have lost their humanity. If you think I am exaggerating just listen carefully to the rhetoric. I truly believe there are some in the church who are motivated by fear and ignorance. That is my humble opinion. Feel free to disagree. After all isn't that what makes America great. The freedom to criticize our government and express our opinions withoutr fear of retaliation.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    May 27, 2011 7:40 p.m.

    I could see discussing the history of how we became a country, the Declaration of Independence and the history behind the Constitutional Convention, but now the politics of running the government. It could be a series of firesides for a stake.

    How will the Elders save the constitution? By running for office and remembering the purpose of government and not forgetting personal integrity. Remembering what this nation went through to become a great nation. And last of all remembering that God set up this Nation and brought forth great men to accomplish it.

  • jmort SLO, CA
    May 27, 2011 7:32 p.m.

    The Church is an international church with more foreign members (who do not ascribe to our particular constitution) than domestic members.
    The future LDS church will be full of communists, socialists, and many other "ists" that many domestic members do not understand or want to acknowledge.
    I bring this up simply because it is a 'non-starter' to imagine the LDS church ever incorporating any study of the US Constitution in its meetings or teaching materials.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 27, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    If the time comes that the Brethren think it is necessary and appropriate to discuss the Constitution at Church meetings, it will be done. Until then, we all need to just know that these are inspired men and that our Constitution was inspired by God. We need to prayerfully study the Constitution, political candidates and issues on our own. The fact that the vast majority of us tend to generally agree on most issues, should say something.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    May 27, 2011 7:01 p.m.

    tomsmartforyou -- you do realize that the church does not endorse any political candidate or party because if it did so, it would risk losing its non-profit status, which would also mean that its members would not be able to write off their tithing as a tax deduction? This is the same for any church. Taking positions on particular issues is allowed, however.

    To The Rock, by teaching the constitution, whose interpretation do you propose should be taught? The US Supreme Court's, which is the ultimate "legal" interpretator? Or some particular group of conservatives who may or may not agree with the ultimate interpretator from time to time? I think this would be a nightmare. The church would have to create a lesson plan on what to teach, which would mean the church would have to give its interpretation of what the words in the constitution mean.

  • spudlydoright McCammon, Idaho
    May 27, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    I would love any opportunity to have a constitutional discussion. However, I think that in church is neither the time or the place. In our ward we have occasionally had discussions of a political nature and they never seem to lead to anything uplifting.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    May 27, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    I found it interesting to study politics in Hancock County in the 1840's and find that whoever ran for Governor of Illinois needed to win Hancock County. Candidates didn't like that, but tried to do it anyway, because the Mormon's tended to vote as a block. They are accused of being "blind" and doing the same thing today in large measure. What their critics fail to realize is that members view issues similarly so why would they vote differently from one another?

    The Church is very careful to not endorse any political party and emphasizes the need for voters to carefully (and prayerfully) select the best candidates for whom to vote. The fact the majority of members are conservative just happens to be where the chips fall.

    The only time headquarters takes a position is when they consider something to be a moral issue, like Prop 8 and the MX Missile debate, which is rare. When the LDS position is endorsed by the membership it somehow creates nervousness and uncertainty among nonmembers, unnecessarily.

    I'd expect churches to take a position on moral issues, which several different ones did on both Prop 8 and Illegal Immigration.

  • Stenar Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    Most LDS church political power is expressed behind the scenes, influencing people and groups quietly, out of sight, not in the bright light of day.

  • B Logan, UT
    May 27, 2011 6:05 p.m.


    "I do not think that a discussion of the Constitution is appropriate in Church."

    Then you better not read Doctrine and Covenants 101:80. For that matter, you probably should steer clear of Ezra Taft Benson's writings.

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    May 27, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    Agreed JNA, my son taught priesthood in his ward recently and the subject went off into politics, and it went quickly into, shall we say, a discussion that was not at all uplifting.
    I do like the idea mentioned by the rock, to begin to examine and understand the original intent of the constitution lest we all drift further off center.
    Just not on a Sunday setting when most of us are wanting/needing something positive and uplifting.

  • JNA Layton, UT
    May 27, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    @The Rock

    I see your point, I truly do. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion. I do not think that a discussion of the Constituition is appropriate in Church. I know in my Ward there are staunch conservatives, Staunch liberals, and moderates. It would be my concern that there would be heated debate, which is good, but not in Church where so much relies on the Spirit. I would like to say that it could be done, but I just don't have the faith that these types of discussion could happen in a spiritual setting.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    May 27, 2011 4:20 p.m.

    It is undeniable that the constitution now hangs by a thread. If the Elders of the church are to bear it off to safety the LDS church will have to become a lot more politically active.

    In as much as it is LDS doctrine that the constitution is inspired of God it would be entirely appropriate to begin by teaching the constitution in some way in the church, perhaps on the fifth Sunday. Standardized lessons that teach principles with scriptural backing rather than politics.

    I see other Christian groups doing far more.