Today’s edition of “Getting It Right” features two articles that include discussions of the Church and politics. The Church is politically neutral and does not allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes. Two additional articles note the diversity of political thought within Mormonism and the heterogeneous personalities of Latter-day Saints.
CNN’s Peter Hamby writes about how some Mormons use a Church-produced smartphone app to contact potential voters. Hamby correctly clarifies that the Church prohibits “the use of [Church] resources for political purposes.” Piggybacking on CNN’s article, Mashable’s Neha Prakash includes a similar line in her story.
Indeed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
Both articles could be enhanced, however, with a clarification that the Church is neutral in matters of party politics. For more information, see the Church’s political neutrality statement and accompanying whiteboard animation.
Boston University: Mormons have diverse political views, believe in the common good
In an interview with Boston University’s Rich Barlow, scholar Cristine Hutchison-Jones captures the variety of thought within Mormonism when she says that the Mormon historians she knows “are not in any kind of political lockstep. There’s a wide diversity of opinion.” She also notes, “Mormons have a very strong sense of the common good.”
Patheos.com: Mormons are a heterogeneous group
Taylor Petrey, an assistant professor of religion at Kalamazoo College, describes the diverse personalities of Latter-day Saints when he says, “The image of Mormon conformity to some imagined ideal not only engenders its uglier cousin, the stereotype, but also fails to accurately capture Mormonism as lived religion. ... Mormonism does not produce homogenous automatons, but real human beings, with all the good and bad that entails.”
Petrey also exposes the flawed rationale employed by those who label the Church a cult. “Such easy ways of making judgments about large and complex groups of people may function as common ways of making sense of the world, but they fail any ethical standard and empirical experience,” he says.
Frequent interaction with Mormons gives those unfamiliar with the faith an increased understanding of its diversity and also prevents reductionist thinking that hinders full engagement with Mormon thought and community.