Skip to comments.Why I'm a Mormon Democrat
Posted on 09/07/2009 11:23:19 AM PDT by Colofornian
When I was growing up in Utah, Calvin Rampton and Scott Matheson were our Governors, Frank Moss was one of our Senators, and Gunn McKay was our Congressman. All were Mormon Democrats. My father was a steelworker who believed that the Democrats were the party that ended the Depression, won the War, and fought for the rights of working people.
Evidently many Utah Mormons agreed with him. It was not until the mid- to late-1970s that the Democratic party fell out of favor among Utah Mormon voters. That shift resulted, I believe, because the public debate about morality became more narrowly focused on sexual issues like abortion. But the Mormon retreat from the Democratic party has been detrimental to both the party and the LDS Church. Furthermore, there are moral issues that, I believe, are better represented by the Democrats than by Republicans.
At election time each year, a Church statement of political neutrality is read in LDS congregations throughout the nation, which "affirms [the Church's] neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and candidates." Importantly, it also stresses that, "principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties." Implicit in this statement is the notion that gospel truth may be found in the Democratic party's platform.
In an interview in 1998, Elder Marlin Jensen, a Mormon Democrat, spoke of the need for political diversity in the Church. Jensen outlined three main concerns Church leaders have with the misconception that the Republican party is the Church party: First, the Church's reputation suffers with the waxing and waning tides of national political fortunes. "There is a feeling that even nationally as a church, it's not in our best interest to be known as a one-party church," stated Jensen.
The late Elder James E. Faust, also a Mormon Democrat and a counselor in the First Presidency, reiterated this point: "It is in the interest of the Church to have a two-party system . . . . Both locally and nationally, the interest of the Church and its members are served when we have two good men or women running on each ticket, and then no matter who is elected, we win."
Second, Elder Jensen suggested that the overwhelming Republican affiliation of Mormons in Utah and throughout the intermountain West weakens the checks and balances of good democratic government. As Elder Jensen put it, "any time you don't have the dialogue and the give-and-take that the democratic process provides you're going to be poorer for it in the long run."
Third, Elder Jensen stressed that it would be "very healthy for the church -- particularly the Utah church" if the common misconception that one cannot be a good Mormon and a Democrat "could be obliterated." Elder Jensen continued, "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 in the past."
Jensen's call for political diversity recognizes an important truth about political parties and public morality -- there are many moral issues and none of the political parties has a monopoly on them. "I am a Democrat," stated Senator Harry Reid, "because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it."
Like Reid, I believe that the Democratic party takes the strongest position on many moral issues. For example, King Benjamin's address in the Book of Mormon admonishes us to prioritize, "feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants" (Mosiah 4:26). I believe the Democratic party works harder to protect and defend these moral priorities.
Elder Faust stated that his reading of the Book of Mormon also influenced his political views: "I believe what is said in the Book of Mormon, that the Lord values all of his children equally -- black and white, bond and free, male and female, Jew and gentile." As a result, Elder Faust said, "I like to see all people enjoy every advantage, every blessing, every opportunity that comes to them by reason of citizenship."
Furthermore, the LDS scriptures' call to educate ourselves, "to seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith" (D&C 109:7), is, I believe, more constantly supported by the Democratic agenda. I also believe LDS scriptures' insistence that the world and all living things were created spiritually prior to their physical creation calls us to environmental stewardship, another moral issue defended more robustly by Democrats.
Finally, I am a Democrat because I believe LDS scripture and prophets have urged us to live within our means, to be fiscally responsible. Democrats believe we need to pay for any programs we create, and Democratic administrations have, since the Great Depression, consistently lowered deficit spending, while the Reagan and two Bush administrations have greatly increased it. Democrats have a strong record of fiscal responsibility.
Many Mormon Democrats like me are pro-life, and find no pressure to change that view. Senator Harry Reid once told how, when an abortion issue came up for a vote during his first year in the Senate, some senators were expressing to him the importance of his vote. Reid recalled how Senator Barbara Mikulski, "at that time the only woman in the Senate and one of the nation's feminist leaders, told everyone to leave me alone, my vote was a matter of character." Reid's pro-life stance in the Senate has not hurt his career -- in 2006 he became the Senate Majority Leader, the highest-ranking Mormon in Washington.
I believe Mormon Democrats can make a difference, not only like Reid in Washington, but in their own local party. I have witnessed first-hand how Mormon Democrats in Utah county have worked to make the county platform more in-line with LDS values.
Boyd Petersen is the Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies at Utah Valley University, the biographer of Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley, and a former candidate for the Utah State legislature.
 Quoted in James E. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [Salt Lake: Deseret, 1999], 86.
 Dan Harrie, "LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity," Salt Lake Tribune, 3 May 1998.
 Op. Cit., 86
This is so. Lds were highly focused on the Democrats going back to the late 1850s and early 1860s (even though they weren't officially a state until the 1890s). They were anti-Republican, in part, because the fledgling Repubs had labeled polygamy as slavery as the "twin relics of barbarism"
From the commentary: "I am a Democrat," stated Senator Harry Reid, "because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it." Like Reid, I believe that the Democratic party takes the strongest position on many moral issues. For example, King Benjamin's address in the Book of Mormon...
Hmmm...Doesn't take a cultural moral detective to render this statement as "suspect."
From the article: Finally, I am a Democrat because I believe LDS scripture and prophets have urged us to live within our means, to be fiscally responsible. Democrats believe we need to pay for any programs we create
(Oh yeah, that's what Dems are..."fiscally responsible...do we have "amens" from the Mormon Tabernacle?)
I thought it said “Why I’m a moron democrat.”
DEMOCRAT = No money for you. Fiscally greedy. (but it’s for the children /s)
“I believe LDS scripture and prophets have urged us to live within our means, to be fiscally responsible. Democrats believe we need to pay for any programs we create, and Democratic administrations have, since the Great Depression, consistently lowered deficit spending, while the Reagan and two Bush administrations have greatly increased it. Democrats have a strong record of fiscal responsibility.”
How long ago was this article written?
Sooooo a Mormon is allowed to be a Communist???? Interesting, i *was not* aware of that.
Harry Reid is his hero?
Sir . . .Boyd Peterson - Sir . . . The Democrats feed the poor by taking money from people who have earned it. Jesus never taught that, Sir.
In other words, seek and value truth. Not a widely practiced virtue by most Democrats. Nothing like ignorance and self delusion supported by outright mendacity in the written form. What irony.
From the article: "I am a Democrat," stated Senator Harry Reid, "because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it."
Well, this was the same message he gave at a BYU speech in October 2007.
How are we to reconcile the following October 2007 headlines posted on Freepublic:
Oct. 21, 2007: The Las Vegas newspaper ran an article the headline as it ran in a FReep thread (Nevada) Not so Wild about Harry Reid. [See: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1914425/posts ]
Oct. 10, 2007: The LDS church owned Deseret News in Utah ran an article headline in FReep thread: Reid gets WARM reception at BYU [See: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1909140/posts ]
So, can anybody xplain how it is that Reid is apparently more popular @ BYUrated by the Princeton folks as being the third most conservative campus in the countrythan he is in a state beholden to the gambling mecca, legalized prostitution?
How warm was the BYU response to Reids message by 4,000 of BYU faculty and students?
At the end of his speech, Reid earned a standing ovation from a small percentage of the crowd and applause from the rest. "I was impressed with him," said Stacie Borneman, a 22-year-old political science major from Farmington who said she is a Republican. "I thought he did a good job expressing his feelings and our responsibility to serve in our communities. It's good to hear differing opinions and to be respectful, even if you don't agree politically, and he gave both sides of the issues he raised."
I also found interesting this comment from the D.N. article: The Nevada senator attacked President Bush and evangelical Christians...Reid first spent 40 minutes delivering a well-received and sometimes tender BYU forum speech in the Marriott Center to 4,091 students, faculty, staff and visitors...Reid also told reporters the Republican Party has been driven by evangelical Christians for 20 years. "They are the most anti-Christian people I can imagine, the people from the Christian far right."
Wrong there and that's early in the article, gotta go back and see where else he's wrong.
Mormonism is heresy, plain and simple. It’s central theological axiom of Eternal Progression is so far removed from the truth taught by Jesus that it’s unrepentant adherent will be consigned to a Christless eternity. On the political front- how can someone who claims to believe in God support a party which has been hijacked by Godless Marxists who support a whole host of positions that run contrary to the word of God? (abortion,gay marriage,etc.) Wake up and smell the coffee!! “You will know them by their fruit”
Anybody who sees himself as a member of an interest group rather than an individual is bound to feel more comfortable as a Democrat.
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