A Kiwi-Mormon comment on the US-Mormon election

So its election year in the US.  It’s the year that we get to trust the American public to select the ‘leader of the free world’ (whatever that rather presumptuous aphorism means?).    It’s the year that our news programmes at the ends of the earths are clogged with the latest from the US hustings which will dump endless medium shots of Romney with his immaculate pompadour, and Obama with his smug smile on us.  We New Zealanders get to look on as who knows how many millions and millions of US dollars are stuffed down the proverbial drain to support two campaigns to elect yet another impotent American President.  A President whose most aggressive opponents in bringing about reform and transformation to America will not be sitting on the opposite side of the house from him, but will consist of a voracious commercial sector, a rapacious industrial military complex, and the intransigent mythologies of America’s halcyon days long since past that will buzz incessantly in his ears from the pulpits of thousands of congregations across the continent.

For us New Zealand Mormons the contest leading up to November is even more interesting because of Romney.  In the last six months I’ve actually been asked for whom I would cast my vote in the American Presidentials more times than I was asked about my political preferences in my own country’s recent elections.  It seems very difficult for people outside our faith tradition to disaggregate our religious identity from the country from whence that faith tradition was born.  Just as Catholics are a bit from Rome, and Jews are a bit from Jerusalem, Mormons all over the world are just a little bit from Utah and are therefore a bit American whether we like it or not.

I don’t particularly like it all.  Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting the US and adore my American friends.   I love ‘In and Out Burgers’, and the cute way Americans say ‘swap out’ instead of ‘change over’.  I adore the way they are nostalgic about the Imperial System of measurement while  the rest of the world has gone metric.  I love that most Americans would be largely unaware of the fact that the rest of the world has gone metric.  I love the way the Americans can talk with a pitch, pace and volume that I can’t possibly replicate.  I love their good teeth and the way they whoop and holler when they go to the bowling alley as if all future joys in life depend on the ‘strike’.  I think its sweet that they blush when they hear ‘hell’ and ‘damn’ and of course I’m an ardent consumer of many of their books and media which have provided hours of pleasant distraction for me over the years!  To borrow a maxim from the many American visitors to our New Zealand podiums;

I love the people of America so much.  What a beautiful country you have!!

But as one helluva proud Kiwi sometimes it’s difficult to feel wholly like a New Zealander while being a Mormon at the same time, and I feel ever so slightly peeved about it.   This, I think, is largely because our religion calls upon us to perform our faith like Americans;  to sing American songs;  to use daft American titles like ‘President’; to be required to understand a cultural logic that doesn’t quite fit in over my own;  to always feel like we are waiting for permission for something from America;  to frequently tell or listen to American stories about Americans in America; and now to get caught up with an election that should be but a passing interest but feels rather like the future of the Mormon church.

But then again I am resigned to the fact that it wouldn’t be possible to grow a church anywhere in the world without the attendant cultural inscriptions borrowed from its host nation.   I just think we could be a bit smarter about it and a bit more conscious of it.  If the way we made sense of our religion was (as much as possible) mindful and cognizant of the way in which our national cultural habits shape our faith experiences, Romney and his republicans wouldn’t be positioned as a religious option or a spiritual possibility, they would be understood as politicians – pure and simple.

Yet when I was in the Utah a couple of months ago that’s not the impression I got from the punters. There was a startling conversation rumbling around the wards that has positioned Romney as ‘the one’ (because he is Mormon); to pray America out of its woes; who would prepare America for the second-coming; whose extraordinary wealth was a blessing from God for this moment!  My sense was that there is a strain of American Mormon who seems to have glommed on to the notion that because Romney is wealthy he possesses the requisite skills to set America on its financial feet again and restore the fat to the land – which is apparently a precursor to the second-coming of Jesus to the Midwest?

There must be some alarmingly unhinged folk in certain Mormon circles for these kinds of notions to be so apparent to someone just passing through the Valley.  Sure there is a vague possibility that Romney might be able to cook the books but its highly unlikely that Romney has any notion of how, or any will to deliver or even restore wealth to the entire country.  He didn’t do it for Massachusetts (where I think  the gulf between the rich and poor increased exponentially  under Romney’s governorship) so one wonders why the faith in his disposition to do so nationally?

I do believe that our awareness, consciousness and attention as to the texture of  our respective national cultures might offer us some spiritual liberty and the impetus to have a conversation with each other about what our special Mormon brand of Christianity means in practical terms. Perhaps we would be actively working to construct the ideal faith community, our Zion,  instead of conflating things like the material benefits of upper middle-class incomes with the blessings of personal religious observance.

Perhaps we could freely answer the question as to why Mormons in the US are largely Republican, and be at liberty to have a decent chat about it in a Pleasant Grove Sunday School without folks getting white knuckled and watery eyed.

We might be able to wonder out loud in our sacrament talks about the efficacy of supporting what looks to be a tendency for the US to get involved in illicit and wasteful military campaigns across the world, and we’d allow the words of Mormon to inform our thinking as we pondered what it meant to:

…delight no more in the shedding of blood.

We might be able to openly consider the state of health care and social services in our respective countries and in discussion with each other we might speculate as to whether or not Alma was talking to our generation when he asks:

…will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?

Perhaps Mormons might be able to deeply and seriously take to heart the injunction to have (as did an ancient faith community Mormons should be aware of):

…all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.


If we were a bit more awake to the tendency for our mortal political institutions to go spectacularly pear-shaped we’d bring a healthy skepticism to national leadership because we are aware that:

…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


Perhaps we would be able to have a healthy retort for any politician who gauged the prosperity of a nation by  the NASDAQ  or the Trade Weighted Index by asking them them if:

…ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted?


I’m sure there will be the predictable Rush Limbaugh fans who will try to poke holes in my ‘oh so obviously socialist’ ideology.  But inasmuch as the Book of Mormon belt looks set to go Red in November and while there are small pockets of Mormons across the American continent and large pockets across the world  saying ‘hang on a cotton picking minute!  What’s that it says in my beloved scriptures??’  it would seem that we clearly have an ideological contest within our own ranks that some robust conversation could help us map.  But sadly this won’t happen – at least not in Utah – where it should happen.  Unfortunately we Mormons will be bullied along in a certain ‘cultural-political’ direction because there isn’t enough ‘raho’ (a Maori word –look it up) in the upper echelons to confront the possibility that treading the sacred territory of the right might upset donor revenue in the Basin.  And here in New Zealand that will matter in terms of our religious/churched experience as these dominant ideological trajectories reach out to us in Othered places and work to shape our spiritual identities.  America has been made to matter in non-American LDS places but it feels like an unwieldy beast, intransigent, bullish and utterly entitled.  So from my soap-box at the bottom of the world I have a hope beyond hope that one day we’ll get to a place where our spaces, regardless of our geography,  freely admits the kind of debate  that seeks to work out our discipleship in a world full of ‘isms’.  Where Mormons in the US are honored for being a people who manage the aggregation of their theology with the political terrain and are honest about the ripples it creates among their own across the world.


Just for fun and because few Mormon’s in New Zealand will never be vilified for not loving Mitt Romney and his straight teeth, I’m daring to play the lone down-under off-shore pundit.

Romney will be creamed in the Presidentials not because he’s a neo-liberal Mormon brat but because he can’t do Al Green, or slow jam the news, AND because he ain’t half as hot as Obama. And note this too, all you good ole boys who thought your wives to be the ideal sweet conservatives that you had married when she was 17, when you are out at work she’s on the internet getting all squiffy on that fine black man with his liquid eyes and his smart behind.

  • John

    The only thing I know about New Zealand Politics is from Flight of the Conchords!

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      You are a funny guy John! I love it. And so true, so true!!

  • John

    And I because I can’t resist:

  • John

    Ok fun aside. A couple of corrections. Mitt Romney was the Governor of Massachusetts not Michigan. George Romney was Governor of Michigan from 63′ to 69′ and was pretty moderate republican and a champion of the Civil Rights movement at a time when church leaders like Ezra T. Benson were telling members that it was a communist conspiracy. While I will probably vote Obama, I wish that Romney represented the legacy of his dad a bit more, who was against Vietnam and supported equitable housing and community volunteerism. Mitt however, comes out (at least to me) as a cold and un-feeling corporate fat-cat who seems willing to say anything to get elected and is bent on lowering taxes on the wealthy and pursuing a disastrous foreign policy. And I just want to point out to your Kiwi readers out there that not all U.S. Mormons are Neoliberal Warmongers, we are a vocal minority, and we seem to be growing. Ironically many Mormons I know won’t vote for Romney because he’s not perceived as conservative enough, especially coming from Liberal Massachusetts where he had to say and do things that would not be very popular in Utah.

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      Thanks – edition made. I actually knew that he was the gov of MA – I really truly did – and I agree whole heartedly George was the man!

      Of course I don’t think that about all US Mormons. However I would argue that the dominant discourse washing up on our shores is the ‘conservative’ one. That more left of centre political orientation that most New Zealanders might resonate with isn’t part of the US Mormon terrain that we are ‘officially’ familiar with. Perhaps that vocal minority could speak up a bit louder. I’m sure that most of the rest of the Mormon world at the periphery would appreciate it!!

      • lpf43

        “Perhaps that vocal minority could speak up a bit louder. I’m sure that most of the rest of the Mormon world at the periphery would appreciate it!!”
        Very difficult when one is met with table-pounding, mouth foaming “all our problems are Obama’s fault”. Where to begin in a discussion with those who simply aren’t willing to think beyond what Rush and Glenn tell them to think? Very difficult to have a rational discussion with irrational people.

  • John

    I think Ms. Brooks is doing all she can! Maybe when (or if) I ever get out of grad school!

  • Southernpuck

    An interesting blog as usual. I was puzzled when I goggled ‘raho’, the first definition I got from http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/ was “1. (verb) (-a) to cover with a floor of wood.” I then saw the definition I think you were referring to – it made me laugh.

  • Dasme

    Utah mormon here. 100% for Ron Paul.I don’t trust Romney at all. I actually haven’t heard much talk about Romney at all from my friends or ward. Maybe everyone just takes it as a given that he’ll be the nominee.

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      I thought he was the nominee??

      • John

        Paul will likely stay on the ballot as a third Party candidate. Likely under the Grumpy Old Man Party, or G.O.M.P :) All kidding aside, I love Paul’s foreign policy and I think he has some valuable insights on domestic policy. At least he has consistent arguments with a logic that fits a libertarian ideology. He is the only republican I know who understands at least a little about what it really means to be a libertarian from a philosophical and political standpoint. That being said, I can’t tolerate some of the racist and ethnocentric undertones in his speeches and political stances. He believes in the preservation of a “Christian Nation” which I think does not reflect the reality of 21st century Americans. Yes the founders were Christians or were at least shaped by that worldview, but not the kind of Christians we paint them as; especially Jefferson. Paul also is of the opinion that individual liberties and freedoms should never be trumped by collective, societal needs. This is reflected in his stance on health care and welfare programs. While I respect Paul for his integrity and that he actually has personal opinions he has thought about, he would not be an effective leader for the same reason that Ralph Nader wouldn’t, no compromise and no federal budgets would ever be passed.

  • http://bluemormonbreakdown.wordpress.com bluemormonbreakdown

    I enjoyed this analysis as a left-of-center US Mormon myself. But I am curious as to how exactly the rotten US political discourse penetrates Mormonism in NZ? Is it all Romney’s doing or does it pre-date him?

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      It pre-dates him. In my living memory it came in with McConkie and Benson (that’s the value of being published) and all of those mission presidents and visiting authorities who came to NZ and pitied us for our supposed socialism.

  • John

    The above clip is from John Wayne and Elder Ezra Taft Benson.

  • Bradley

    “Perhaps we could freely answer the question as to why Mormons in the US are largely Republican”

    It starts from the ground up: Be Obedient and Trust Authority. We don’t ask the tough questions because they are not ours to ask. To seek meaningful social change is to challenge authority, which is is seen as akin to apostasy. You can get away with it, but you become an outcast. Most people don’t do well as outcasts.

    • John

      This hits a key point. I think what ever Mormon doctrine is, for Mormons all truth claims are about priesthood authority. And for an Orthodox Mormon, authority is the only thing that separates us from the rest of the heathens. So you don’t question authority and that gets translated into politics as well. Mormons seek a leader that would exhibit the qualities that the culture celebrates, white, wealthy, moral, traditional values, family-oriented. Anyone who expands (or is perceived to challenge it) that paradigm is a threat, and will contribute to all the Mormon folklore surrounding the constitution hanging by a thread, etc. For Mormons questions of morality and personal worthiness will trump all other qualities, plus add Mormons penchant for not trusting big govt. self-reliance, and xenophobia, for such Mormons being a conservative republican is the only choice.

  • YvonneS

    I think there are so many conservative republicans in the church because after Hugh B. Brown and David O McKay died there was no moderate voice that was heard from the leadership. Then mentioning the needs of the world wide church the policy of not making any political statements except on moral issues was adopted. The result has been that the Benson view which is the Skousen and Glen Beck view via the John Birch society filled up the vacuum. That is why I think there are so many republicans. They think God agrees with them. Being in the minority keeps most of the rest of us quiet.

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      Great point! That resonates. Do you think the conservative wing of the church was privileged during the Cold War because it y positioned the church ‘inside’ rather than ‘outside’ the US political power base?

  • YvonneS

    That could be. I think the people in Utah tend to be one issue kinds of voters who on the one hand had, and may still have, an economy that is greatly dependent on businesses with government contracts,and on the other they profess to dislike like big government. It is like a parasite wishing its host would starve.

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      Good point YvonneS!

  • http://melodysgarden.blogspot.com melodynew

    “There must be some alarmingly unhinged folk in certain Mormon circles for these kinds of notions to be so apparent to someone just passing through the Valley. ” Unhinged is an understatement. I’m a politically moderate Utahan. I’m disturbed (also an understatement) by the Romney-will-save-the-constitution-which-hangs-by-a-thread folks with whom I find myself surrounded. I have no solution to offer as yet. Nor do I have time or talent to blog about my concerns. So, thank you for being a voice for a few of us “locals.” A voice from the other side of the world, no less. How cool is that?

    And I absolutely love your description of the effect Utah/American Mormonism has upon members of our faith who are far-removed geographically — brilliant and biting. And part of the reason you can speak for me and others like me. Thank you again.

    • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

      You are most welcome! Thanks for your comments. I can only imagine what its like for you over there in the Utah dealing with craziness. I have a friend (a BYU Professor) who went a black church to celebrate the election of Obama. She couldn’t bear to go to her own ward to hear the drivel about America going to hell in a hand basket. She loved it. So there’s an option for you if you find yourself standing alone!!

  • melodynew

    My lengthier comment may have been lost in the ether. So, I’ll just say, thank you for this post. From a moderate Utah Mormon. You represent a few of us remarkably well. So glad I found your blog.

    • melodynew

      And also: “There must be some alarmingly unhinged folk in certain Mormon circles for these kinds of notions to be so apparent to someone just passing through the Valley. ” Unhinged is an understatement. It’s beyond disturbing how many folks here belong to the Romney-will-save-the-constitution-which-hangs-by-a-thread Club. Way beyond disturbing.

      • http://kiwimormon.wordpress.com kiwimormon

        Once again! My commiserations! It might be time to go back East where the discourse might be a bit more nuanced.

  • Annie

    I wish I have time to read all 26 comments, so some of my comments may have already been said. Having arrived 13 years ago on US soil to live, I experienced my first Presidential Election while living in the US. Oh how niave back in those days. I am not a US citizen and for the first time I am contemplating becoming one as reality has set in, now that I have a US born child. But I still wouldn’t vote in this country. What I have learned are two simple truths. From all Mormon eyes, Republican Presidents are god given are devinely placed. Saw it with my own eyes when Bush was elected. He was the “one”. I couldn’t believe it. I was pretty connected politically in NZ and never dreampt that God would devinely place a politician. The connection in the US that a President is a moral compass, just flawed me. From my perspective all politicians including Mormon ones are rotten to the core. Can’t be a great politician without corruption, without being bought, morals and ethics are sold for a $$price. Now I hate it even more that a “Mormon” is running. This “one ” thingy keeps on coming up even stronger. I also hate the fact that the Church is connected with him. I had someone say the other day while speaking about the election and the he said “President Monson”. The connection with Romney and the Prophet running the US. Thats what I want. The Prophet to save the US behind the scenes with Romney. I think people need to sit back and take a look at themselves and start saving themselves instead of trying to find a savior in Romney, I mean, a politician. Heaven help us!

  • Joseph

    Reblogged this on Mormons for Obama and commented:
    This link was sent to me by a friend – what a refreshing look at our self-important and overblown elections! Amazing.

  • http://gravatar.com/lynngeri lynngeri

    What is the framework used in the article and where did it come from?

  • http://mphevents.wordpress.com Jordan

    Mormon from the “Book of Mormon belt” here and I’ll be voting for Obama! Saw this reposted on Mormons for Obama, totally cool perspective on the atrocity that our elections are (BILLIONS DOWN THE DRAIN!) and on the candidates. I want to see more perspectives like this, super cool!

  • Steve Warren

    Thank you, kiwimormon, for an insightful and entertaining article.

    I’d like to offer a few thoughts on “Mormons all over the world are just a little bit from Utah and are therefore a bit American whether we like it or not.” Living in Utah but being a native of Oregon, I’ve noticed that the Utah pioneer heritage gets center stage in Utah LDS meetings far more than in Oregon. With the Mormon pioneers arrriving in the valley on July 24, the whole month of July is heritage month in Utah church meetings, with three or four weeks devoted to the pioneers and another week to America, what with July 4 being Independence Day. My great-great grandparents were in the original 1843 wagon train on the Oregon Trail, sort of paving the way and making it easier for the 1847 Utah pioneers, but the Oregon pioneers never get any credit here in Utah. After all, few native Utahns descended from Oregon pioneers. Anyway, I have a great deal of empathy for your point of view.

    By the way, if the prophet issues a directive for us to trek back to Missouri, I hope it happens in June so that we can avoid another July heritage month in Utah.

  • Karen Pillow

    The New Testament can teach us a lot about how cultural or political differences can be a roadblock to spiritual unity in the church. Remember the great circumcision controversy after the gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles? The letters of Paul reveal that after that issue was settled by the Apostles, some Jewish saints continued to impose their cultural traditions (including dietary laws and other parts of the Law that had been fulfilled in Christ) upon the Greek converts. I’m reminded of those issues in the early church when I see Latter-day Saints confusing their cultural or political traditions with the doctrines of Christ. As a convert I feel a deep sense of gratitude and reverence for those courageous pioneers; their sacrifices paved the way for the church to be here, so that I can have fullness of the gospel. However, my salvation does not require my loyalty to a particular political view any more than I would need to partake of green jello to be saved. Sometimes I can see Political issues becoming the latter-day “circumcision” issue imposed on the expanding church. The brethren have emphasized the political neutrality of the Lord’s church and your post is a good example of why that neutrality is so important.

    A couple of years ago, after listening to a friends passionate rant against “socialists” and “progressives” I mentioned the fact that Latter-day Saints live all over the world, including nations with a more “socialist” economy than the United States. I asked her if she believed those saints were less faithful or worthy members if they supported the economic policies of their respective governments.

    I already mentioned this in a comment on another blog, but I don’t remember President Benson being too concerned about politics after he became the prophet . Presidents Benson’s message in every general conference during his administration was centered on the Book of Mormon.

    I was born and have spent most of my life in the American South, sometimes referred to as the “Bible Belt”, for it’s mostly conservative Christian values. It’s my home, and I love it here. There are absurd stereotypes, often perpetuated in popular culture, about the people here and there are also misconceptions here about the church that refuse to go quietly (Almost four decades after my baptism, my “Evangelical” mother is still hoping to save my soul from the “Mormons”.)

    I thought Romney’s speech at Liberty University was a once -in-a-lifetime missionary opportunity: address a graduating class of future Christian pastors who do not believe that Latter-day Saints are Christians, at a school that teaches that misconception. Governor Romney gave a safe, generic speech about common values in spite of our religious “differences”. It wasn’t my call, but I can’t help but wonder about the spiritual impact on his audience if he had included a brief but sincere testimony of Jesus Christ somewhere in that speech.

    Although Govenor Romney did say “y’all” and partake of “cheesy grits”, I’m voting for President Obama again. Romney’s saber rattling toward Iran and what sound like retro cold war policies worry me. His pandering and lack of political courage don’t inspire confidence, and frankly I wonder what he’s hiding in those tax returns. I like President Obama’s vision, intellect, and the cool, thoughtful temperament he brings to the job. I agree with most, not all of his policies. That he can sing Al Green is just a bonus.

  • anonymous

    I am an LDS Bishop in the US and I will be voting for Obama, and I can’t see how anyone can read those scriptures you quoted and support the anti-immigration and anti-health-care-reform policies of the Republican party. I often wonder if many US LDS empathize with Republicans because of social issues like abortion or gay marriage. Did Bush put an end to abortions? A republican in the White House wouldn’t be able to stop abortions or gay marriage, unfortunately.

    I would vote for Romney if he supported the DREAM and Affordable Care acts, not because his religion is a character reference for some.

  • Jay Rojas

    As a Hispanic Mormon I really enjoy all the posts. I was thinking about creating a blog for Mormons for Obama when I came across this site and I am great full that other are thinking like me and will vote for Obama. Great job guys.
    Let’s expose this even more so that we can build a stronger show of support for President Obama

    Many thanks again


    • Gina Colvin

      Just for the record – my post in ‘Kiwimormon’ was reblogged to ‘Mormons for Obama’ – which I’m happy about but I’m not actually American and am neither a supporter of Obama or a detractor. I just don’t like Romney!

  • Darren



    That’s a good intro for my post. Whenever in the world government injects itself into the economic and general welfare of the country (beyond providing “a common defense”) things turn out worse than before government came in to “fix” society. We the People can and do fix our lives far more efficiently than does the federal government. You want a dialogue about applying the teachings from the Book of Mormon on social issues? Where in the Book of Mormon, or the Bible for that matter, teach that government should be involved in providing things like healthcare? Did Joseph seek to sue the government because there was “no room in the inn” for Mary? That apparently no one would provide her the health care she needed, or did he carry on until he found a place for her? What of the good Samaritan? I don’t recall anyone calling for government to help. This goes righ along the line of the Biook of Mormon story. People helped others because they personally came unto Christ. While people must look to their morality to create laws and standards for society, tere is no explicit mandate in Christian scripture to obligate government to care for all nor to make them equal.

    Here’s a quick historical example. The United states is seeing a recession as bad as the Great Depression. What is to commonality between the two? Today the US has an admnistration with a willing Senate (House and Senate from 2008-2010) to inject massive government into the economy and into social justice. Under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the US government massively injected itself into the economy and into social justice. By no coincidence, the result is the exact same: longer term unemployment and less social fairness (while today the Japanese are not being rounded up in droves, the Black Panthers sure did get a big break from the Dapartment of Justice).

    Massive government injection does not work. Socialized medicine does not work. I’ve looked into countries such as Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Canada (two of these countries have much historical commonality with the US and New Zealand) and in all cases, universal healthcare results in a much higher debt, less, healthcare provided (less doctors and nurses available as well as less care paid for), higher taxes (much higher), and a higher mortality rate (via medical care, not personal lifestyle – as per health care, the US is the best despite american’s bad living habbits). I do not find such results desirable, nor promoted in the Book of Mormon.

    As per war, the best way to be secure war is to prevent it. The best way to prevent it is to creater a military to fear. This includes highly trained personel, the best fo weapons, and perhaps most important, a willingness to use it. Captain Moroni did not delight in the shedding of blood but he did not fail to use his military might against his enemies. Granted there is no example of premptive strkies in the Book of Mormon but that was the ancient world, we are the modern world where literally at the push of a button, a holocaust can be recreated. I’m simply not willing to wait until after thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of my countrymen (nor Kiwis) lay dead before acting on intelligence information. War is a very ugly business though it is quite possible and even has been demonstrated many times by many people to be a good servant of God and a valiant soldier. The Book of Mormon shows this as well.

    As for your charactature of Romney not caring for the poor, nothing could be further from the truth. There are many accounts where Mitt Romney dug into his own piggy bank to care for others. He’s also spent countless hours looking out forr the needy. You may well know that he did this in large part from serving as an LDS bishop and stake president. Note here that it was his personal testimony of Jesus Christ which was the driving force behind his acts of charity. There was not government involvement and thus didnot cost me or anyone else outside himself a single penny (1/10 of the (ost 1980s) 10c, if I’m correct). His efforts are far more effective than if governmnet granted its citizens rights. Romney’s care for the poor edifies, government’s tears people down and virtually guanrantees perpetual poverty.

    @Jay Rojas – Ojalá que todo esté bien contigo hermano mío. Governor Romney is all for immigration, just not illegal immigration. I agree with him completely. Immigration is a powerful strength ot the US but illegal immigration divides, weakens, and sbmits people.

  • Darren

    @ anon;

    “A republican in the White House wouldn’t be able to stop abortions or gay marriage, unfortunately.”

    The next US president will get to pick (nominate) one, perhaps two US Supreme Court justices. There is no way in the universe President Obama will nominate two anti-abortion judges. But Romney can and I’m 99.99% certain he will. But striking down Roe v. Wade will NOT make abortion illegal. It will only place the decision back to the states which is where it belongs. That means that states like California and New York will make it legal for most cases and states like Texas and Utah illegal in most cases.

  • April

    The current institute student manuals to the scriptures are full of answers as to why Mormons are conservative. Note especially the section on the United Order for the Doctrine and Covenants.. Scriptures.byu.edu is also an excellent resource. The search engine can be used to quickly see that across the board there is a unanimous consensus on government charity from LDS authorities spoken in general conference. It’s also easy to see that David O McKay is far from how he is being presented here. Look at the book he admonished the church to read. Benson also explained why speech on government dropped off after he became president. We have one living apostle as well who is on the record for some clear statements on government charity in general conference. The evidence goes far beyond Benson and McConkie. Do a few searches on the “isms” just in LDS.org. If you take the time to look through all of the results, there will probably be more information than expected. It also is educational to look at the book Prophets, Principles, and National Survival. The depth of conservatism imbedded into many many leaders of the church is surprising even to a strong conservative like myself.

    Aside from that, It is unfortunate for liberal and conservative Mormons to use scripture or recorded prophecies to publicly endorse a party or a candidate. It’s completely unnecessary..

    • Gina Colvin

      Well said April! But how relevant is this conservatism in cultural contexts in which this conservatism simply doesn’t adhere? Americans speak of their brand of religious and political conservatism like it was a universal – and its simply not. This is a political/religious dance that is unique to the USA. So how are we to interpret American conservatism at the periphery of the church? Is conservatism a doctrine of the church? Are we required as a sign of our faith to import a brand of American conservative Christianity here? I can tell you for one, that if it was ever insisted upon as a requirement of Mormonism, the church would find little fertile soil beyond the BOM belt. Thankfully however, I’ve never felt the need to be a politically nor a religiously conservative as an active member of the church here in New Zealand – regardless of what LDS.org or the institute manuals say!

      • April

        I think that a conversation on the relevance of conservatism, in the American sense, for the LDS Church could only be had logically when all parties have done a thorough job on their homework. It’s more than OK for members to have their private disagreements with church authorities. However, is it possible that we could learn from each other before we establish our own opinions on the specific positions and prophecies of the church by doing a sufficient search? We can’t discuss things that we are unaware of. I could easily throw out 3 main themes that are woven through all of the many sermons on government by the 12 and first presidency in answer to the relevancy question. While I was at it, I also would be inclined to add a specific global prophecy that I’ve never seen mentioned on any similar online discussion. However, in my opinion, that would be unproductive, and perhaps even inappropriate. Each member needs to learn for themselves what was said going all the way back to Joseph Smith himself. After that, if we feel the need to converse with other members about it, the scenario starts to make some sense. With concern for the faith of other member’s and the perception of those on the outside, it’s probably more appropriate to do it offline. That’s just my two cents.