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Mormonism is not a Political Monolith

February 23, 2012, 8:30 am | Posted by Kristin Ford

mormon tabernacle

Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has attracted a lot of attention in the presidential campaign and shone a spotlight on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For many Mormon voters, Romney’s run is a complicated matter– some are excited to see someone who shares their faith in a position of such political prominence and some worry about the backlash for other Mormons.

Now, there’s a growing drumbeat of Mormon voters breaking with the GOP (and Romney’s) stance on immigration issues.  An Associated Press article yesterday notes this trend:

As Romney continues to seek the Republican presidential nomination while rarely discussing his faith, a growing number of vocal Hispanic Mormons say they intend to use Mormon teachings as a reason to convince others not to vote for him. They have held firesides (equivalent to a tent revival) on immigration, protested outside of Romney campaign events and have traveled across state lines to help defeat other Mormon politicians with similar harsh immigration stances.

Given the LDS church’s evangelistic efforts internationally and within the U.S., it makes sense that their members would come from a wide range of ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. It also isn’t surprising that Mormons aren’t a political monolith. While they are a more conservative group than the general public, political pundits who assume all Mormons are Republicans are mistaken.

In fact, the church itself is debunking this myth – last week Mormon churches across Utah read an official church letter reminding their congregants to participate in the state’s political caucuses regardless of partisan affiliation. The letter said that “Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties. We encourage members to attend their precinct caucus meetings.”

As conservative allegations of President Obama’s “war on religion” grow, commentators should refuse the simplistic narrative of secular liberals vs. religious conservatives. All religious groups, including Mormons, have significant diversity within their ranks about political issues and partisan identification.

Photo credit: Cook Cottage, Flickr

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