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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended October 27, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 02Nov00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Utah Lawmaker Says Good LDS Church Members Can't Be Democrats

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- An LDS lawmaker in Utah has caused a controversy by claiming that it is not possible to be a good Mormon and a Democrat. Bill Wright, a member of the Utah House of Representatives who is running for a seat in the Utah Senate, made his comments in a recent column in the Payson, Utah Chronicle, soon after the LDS Church released its regular letter affirming the Church's political neutrality.

Wright's comments came in the paper's point-counterpoint feature, in response to Democrats citing Elder Marlin K. Jensen's 1998 interview on being Mormon and Democrat and President Hinckley's comments at the National Press Club earlier this year that "good Mormons can be Democrats." Among those listening to President Hinckley's comments was active LDS Church member and Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.

Wright claims that the agenda of the Democratic party are simply incompatible with LDS beliefs, "The issue is whether faithful members can in good conscience support the official tenets and substantiated agenda of the Democratic party," Wright said in the column. "The answer, of course, is NO." He also wrote in another column, "While the LDS Church officially allows its members to support the Democratic Party and carry a Temple recommend, that alone does not suggest Church endorsement of Democratic ideals."

But under criticism, Wright claimed that his comments were in reaction to Democrats writing in the same feature and citing the comments of Elder Jensen and President Hinckley, "They were telling everybody they should be Democrats -- they were the ones touting the Church," Wright said.

Ironically, Wright's comments came just day's after the LDS Church sent a letter dated October 4th to local bishops and branch presidents to be read in sacrament meeting. The letter reaffirmed the Church's political neutrality in most cases. "We reaffirm the Church's long-standing policy of political neutrality. The Church does not endorse any political party, political platform, or candidate." The letter also prohibits the use of Church resources for political purposes and says that Church members and leaders shouldn't indicate that any candidate represents the Church or has Church endorsement.

The Church's letter also urges Church members to "study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully," and encourages members to serve in public offices as circumstances permit.


A SMALL TENT: Lawmaker Says No Room for Demos in LDS
Salt Lake Tribune 27Oct00 T2
By Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune


First Presidency Reaffirms Political Neutrality
LDS Church Press Release 23Oct00 T1


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