Church Calls for More Diversity

Posted by Heather , 10.29.2008 9:38 AM

I swear this is my last post before the election. I was sent this article this morning, and I feel compelled to share it. It is an article from the Salt Lake Tribune about an interview with Marlin K. Jensen. The interview took place in 1998, but I think it is just as relevant for today.

Here is an excerpt from the interview.

"Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation.

"We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say, [parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.

"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."

"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."

Here is a link to the article: LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity

I really appreciated his insights. I wanted to share because I have a gut feeling there are a few of you out there who are considering voting for candidates other than those affiliated with the Republican Party. Like me, you may feel hesitant/unsure about the "okayness" of doing so. Here you have it from a church authority. Be bold, be brave. Vote your heart!

Regardless of who you support locally and nationally, get out and vote!!! Early voting in Utah ends on Friday. Let your voice be heard!

3 Response to "Church Calls for More Diversity"

Krus Says:

Nice one. I'm glad someone finally put into words the things I've been thinking!

JTE Says:

Fear God more than man. Very important. I pray for those people in California who gave money to support Proposition 8 who now have angry mobs picketing in front of their houses with signs like "Bigots live here!"

Bruce Young Says:

My wife and I know and love Elder Jensen. He was encouraged to do that interview by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who--along with at least some of the other leading Brethren--were (and I believe still are) very concerned at the lack of political diversity among members of the Church, especially in Utah.

Though we've made progress, a lot more needs to be done, especially in Utah Valley. The Utah County Democratic Party has worked very hard over the past few years to develop a moderate platform and to encourage the best people they could find to run. I've been told (and I'll phrase it carefully since I have it second hand and I don't believe it's supposed to be public knowledge) that Church leaders at the general level, meeting with potential candidates, not only encouraged them to run as Democrats but encouraged them to be open about their Church service and to emphasize the Church's political neutrality.

This year, the Utah County party fielded an exceptional group of candidates, including former mission presidents and other highly qualified people with unquestionable Church credentials. Several of them were clearly superior to their opponents. I'm afraid none of them won.

I worked very hard for one of the candidates--Claralyn Hill--who I would say is clearly 3 or 4, maybe 5 or 6, times as qualified as her Republican opponent. She was endorsed by Stephen R. Covey, Truman Madsen, Susan Easton Black, and other well known residents. But it appears she's lost.

I'm not sure what combination of bias and lack of awareness is at work. But it's frustrating to feel like nothing could get a Democrat elected--that even Joseph Smith would lose in Utah County if he ran as a Democrat. (Read his presidential platform, and I think you'll find he might just lean in that direction.)

I don't know what more could be done--apart from either having the Church assign people to be Democrats or having somebody with enormous wealth provide the resources for an educational effort to change people's attitudes.

Anyway, that's my one feeling of frustration on a morning that I am otherwise very, very happy about.

For more of my thoughts on the Church and politics, see (1), (2), and (3)

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