23 January 2008

Richard Bushman discusses the Mormon Church and government

A friend (and one of my mission companions) forwarded me this link, and I'd like to share it with all of you. Here it is.  It is an article by famous LDS scholar and historian Dr. Richard Bushman, who is a history professor at Columbia University, and is now living in Los Angeles while he works as a visiting scholar at Claremont College.  The article was published about a year ago in The New Republic. Regarding the LDS Church's political neutrality, Dr. Bushman writes:
"We can judge the actual dangers of the Mormon Church to national politics from the historical record. Have any of the church presidents tried to manage Smoot or other Mormon politicians like Harry Reid and Gordon Smith? The record is innocuous. Like other denominations, the church has taken stands on political issues it considers to be moral concerns, but it does not pressure politicians to close ranks as Mormons. In fact, it explicitly releases Mormon politicians from compliance with the church's political positions. According to the church's website, 'Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position. While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent.' "


Herb said...

Thanks, I never knew that, but it only makes sense!

andrew said...

I didn't know that! That's actually a very interesting tidbit which brings further clarity to the separation of church and state (but this time from the church point-of-view). Knowing this could definitely have some influence on how I vote.