The LDS Church: From Proposition 8 to Religious Freedom
For a Church whose God has commanded, "say nothing but repentance unto this generation" (Doctrine and Covenants 6:9), and proclaimed that it should teach "all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people" (Doctrine and Covenants 42:58), such developments would be anathema. The LDS Church will be very active and engaged on the issue of religious freedom, have no doubt.
Finally, there is a form of engagement that this observer hopes the Church will emphasize more than it has to date. While the Church has begun, through very successful ad campaigns such as "I'm a Mormon," to demonstrate that Mormons are normal people exhibiting a wide diversity of backgrounds, interests, and opinions, and while it musters abundant resources to make plain its beliefs (see, for example, Mormonism 101 FAQS), and even nuance its position on controversial issues (see, for example, its website on "Mormons and Gays,") perhaps one of the best forms of engagement is explanation. But ask any young person on the Brigham Young University campus, as I have, why the Church opposes same-sex marriage, or why women do not hold the priesthood, and there's not much of a response. That renders them mute when these issues are debated and discussed in the public square, a lamentable situation for them personally as well as for the Church. Church efforts to engage politicized issues should involve inculcating in its members a deeper understanding of their own doctrine, as well as the ability to share that understanding bilingually—to members and non-members of the Church alike.
Valerie M. Hudson is Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. In 2009, Foreign Policy named her one of the top 100 Most Influential Global Thinkers. Her published books include Bare Branches and Sex and World Peace.