When we speak of unity it is often difficult to understand exactly what we need to do to achieve it. The teachings of Lorenzo Snow in the current Priesthood/Relief Society lesson manual (lesson 16) try to address this, but I’m not quite sure that they give the specifics needed. Should we be united politically? What does such unity mean? There are many elements of society today that are by nature divisive, and politics is clearly one of them. Does the gospel offer a better way to decide political questions, a more united way? The author of the following poem seems to think so.
[The third part of a translation of an article written by Emanuel Santana and published on the Brazilian group blog, Vozes Mórmons. The article raises many questions about politics and the Church—questions we are familiary with in the U.S. and perhaps Canada, but which are new territory for Mormons in Brazil and elsewhere around the world. Part one of this series was published Tuesday.] . Moroni Torgan and the Church in Fortaleza by Emmanuel Santana The 2004 race for mayor was more exciting. The “Juraci Era” had put Fortaleza’s voters in the mood for change. Inácio Arruda and Moroni Torgan both again sought the office, along with two others who debuted in the election: Aloísio, the candidate supported by Juraci Magalhães, and Luizianne Lins, who, even without the support of the national leadership of her party, launched her candidacy as the Workers Party candidate. From the beginning of the race polls placed the Mormon in front. The barbs exchanged between Aloísio, Inácio and Moroni made it easy for the Workers Party candidate, who, against expectations, jumped from fourth to second position in the first round. Shortly before that political turmoil I moved, changing ward and stake as a result. In my first interview with my new bishop, I was asked who I would vote for. In Brazil, voting has been secret since the thirties, but since in church even your sex life is the subject of questions by local leaders,…
One comment I saw recently, after Senator Bob Bennett lost the Republican nomination to retain his seat, approved the move by the Utah Republican Party, saying that Bennett is a RINO.
Tyler Cowan revisits the topic in a post today (HT: Sheldon). I vaguely remember someone in the bloggernacle posting on this in years passed, but my cursory search didn’t turn up much. So, as I’m curious what others make of the research, I thought I’d throw it out to the wolves again. Cowan quotes a new article that states in relevant part: Washington (2008) finds that, controlling for total number of children, each additional daughter makes a member of Congress more likely to vote liberally and attributes this finding to socialization. However, daughters’ influence could manifest differently for elite politicians and the general citizenry, thanks to the selection gradient particular to the political process. This study asks whether the proportion of female biological offspring affects political party identification. Using nationally-representative data from the General Social Survey, we find that female offspring induce more conservative political identification. We hypothesize that this results from the change in reproductive fitness strategy that daughters may evince. (Perhaps this plea is laughably in vain, but let’s avoid the banal partisan tit-for-tat).
Stewart Udall, U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Kennedy and Johnson and a prominent member of a prolific Mormon political dynasty, passed away Saturday morning at his home in Sante Fe, New Mexico, according to a statement from his son, Senator Tom Udall. Known affectionately as “Stew,” he was ninety years old and the last surviving member of Kennedy’s original cabinet. While he did not remain an active Latter-day Saint in his later life, he nevertheless kept close ties with the Church and continued to self-identify as a Mormon, claiming that he was “Mormon born and bred, and it’s inside me… I prize my Mormon heritage and status.” More than that, throughout his adult life he served as an important intermediary for the Church on both political and religious matters. Background and Public Life Stew was the son of former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Levi S. Udall. He was born in the small town of St. Johns, Arizona in 1920 and attended the University of Arizona before leaving on a mission to the Eastern States in 1940. After his mission, Stew enlisted in the Air Force, serving as a B-24 gunner and flying fifty missions over Europe during World War II. Upon returning from his service, Stew attended law school at the University of Arizona, graduating in 1948. He also married Ermalee Webb that same year, his life-long companion with whom he had six children. In the 1950s, Stew entered politics…
A Utah County today’s residents would hardly recognize: A onetime famed FBIman, Reed Ernest Vetterli, whose career could yield a dozen detective yarns, is in the middle of his hardest case: trying to get elected to Congress as a Republican in Utah’s heavily New Deal Second District. His platform: support the President in the war; get new blood into Congress…. Republican Vetterli, with State G.O.P. backing, practically has the nomination in his pocket; so has the Democratic incumbent, stocky, stodgy J. Will Robinson of Provo. But G.O.P. chances in the election are—according to the recent past—slim: many a former WPA worker has moved to the Second District for war work to strengthen the strong Democratic forces. “Utah’s Vetterli,” Time Magazine, August 10, 1942 Vetterli later ran for Governor of Utah on the Republican ticket where Utah County again proved problematic. “In Utah County we are much concerned about the nominee for Governor.” (Deseret News, June 21, 1944). (Hat Tip: Sheldon)
When people talk about Prop 8 or gay-Mormon relations generally, a common theme is that a smaller, less powerful group is the victim of an unfair attack from a larger and more powerful aggressor. This theme is used repeatedly on both sides of the debate. It was a central theme in Elder Oaks’ recent talk about religious liberty. And it was immediately raised in criticisms of that talk, with church critic Fred Karger telling the Associated Press, “They are trying to be the victim here. They’re not. They’re the perpetrators.” It’s clear that this basic framing is employed by both sides in the argument. This raises the question — who is the bully here? Whose ox is being gored? Interestingly *both* the LDS and gay communities have plausible evidence to support the claims that they are the victim group.
I was sad to hear of the passing of Ted Kennedy this week. While his policy views often stood in stark contrast with those held by many Latter-day Saints in the United States, he was, nevertheless, a consummate legislator who truly knew how to put political differences aside and reach across the aisle to find common ground on pressing issues facing our country. More importantly, though, and in spite of whatever mistakes he may have made in his life, Ted Kennedy struck me as a good man intent on making America a better place. He is also one who seemed to take to Mormons
It’s been a good week for the gay rights movement.
The Sotomayor nomination has put the strangest ideas into circulation. The latest rallying cry is that — brace yourself — she is a judge who might have empathy. Oh, no! This is apparently a very bad thing.
A week ago, the New York Times joined the growing chorus of commenters calling for Judge Jay Bybee’s impeachment. Is impeachment really going to happen? And what should we think about the issue?
Presidential campaigns aside, one of the first political races I can remember paying attention to growing up was the 1990 congressional race between Karl Snow and new comer Bill Orton to fill retiring Rep. Howard C. Nielson’s 3rd District congressional seat. I was 12 at the time and delivered the Utah County Journal, a free area newspaper.
Lots of movement on the SSM front today (and this week in general). Today, Vermont’s legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage. Also, Washington D.C.’s city council passed a bill recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, last week the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry under the state constitution. And the California court will rule on the Prop 8 appeal in the next two months. (I don’t think the appeal will succeed.) There is no official statement that I’m aware of about these recent developments (the Newsroom is silent so far; the most recent releases on Prop 8 or SSM are two month old discussions of Prop 8 filings). Will the church weigh in on these new developments with official statements or California-like campaigns? One thing is for certain — the last word on the topic is not yet in, and there will probably be lots of news in this area within the next few years.
“We need to exercise our prayers and help [President Obama] accomplish the great objectives that he has set.” Discuss.
When I picked up my manual to prepare to teach Gospel Doctrine this Sunday, I figured it would be a lesson about the spirit of Elijah (second week = section 2 = turning hearts, etc). I was surprised and delighted to find that Lesson 2 is instead about the atonement, highlighting powerhouse passages in Doctrine & Covenants sections 19, 76, 88, and 93. While reading the material I was reminded of a favorite quote from Chieko Okazaki on the topic and had a hankering to share it.
A High Priest I know is in crisis. He is an immigrant who, like many other Church members, came to the US without a visa, according to what I understand of the situation. After arriving here he joined the Church, and eventually fell in love and married a U.S. Citizen, a wonderful, faithful Church member. This situation would normally put him on track for a green card and U.S. citizenship. But this brother is facing deportation, and his ward and stake are praying for a miracle that will keep him here in the United States.
The results are in, and the Mormon officials in congress is facing some changes as a result. From what I can tell, the new congress will include either 5 or 6 Mormons in the Senate and 9 in the House of Representatives. [FWIW, outside of the U.S., I only know of 1 LDS Church member currently serving in a national legislature, down from 4 eight years ago.]
The church issued a statement about alcohol laws in Utah. The last paragraph reads: â€œThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that Utahns, including those who work in the hospitality industry, can come together as citizens, regardless of religion or politics, to support laws and regulations that allow individual freedom of choice while preserving Utahâ€™s proven positive health and safety record on limiting the tragic consequences of overconsumption of alcohol.â€
Some of the thoughts of a commenter on my last post, got me thinking about Mormons, politics, and morality. My observation is that the issues that set off moral alarm bells for most Mormons are those that deal with issues relating to what I would consider â€œfreedom to sinâ€ or â€œprohibitions of obvious sins.â€
The Mormon conception of Zion has changed dramatically over the past century. Today’s members of the church are likely to define “Zion” as wherever the members of the church are: LDS homes, congregations, and stakes. While the conception of Zion in the 19th century may have included these elements, these Saints were determined to literally be Zion communities