Monday, July 19, 2010

LDS Church Issues Revised Statement On Immigration On The Eve Of Utah Governor Gary Herbert's Immigration Roundtable

On the eve of a immigration summit to be chaired by Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a revised statement on immigration that goes beyond mere neutrality; it specifically calls for lawmakers to to find solutions in the best interests of all whose lives will be impacted by their actions.

Scott Parker of the LDS Church's Salt Lake Public Affairs Council will be one of 30 community leaders participating in the Governor's roundtable on July 20th. Others identified specifically include Dee Rowland of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem), who is crafting an Arizona-style immigration enforcement law for Utah; see the complete list of participants HERE. Referred to as the Utah Immigration Roundtable Discussion, it will take place at the Utah Senate Building from 10 a.m. to noon. To promote civil discourse, the Church issued this statement:

"The complex issues surrounding immigration are a matter of increasing concern and debate for all in this country.

"Elected individuals have the primary responsibility to find solutions in the best interests of all whose lives will be impacted by their actions.

"We repeat our appeal for careful reflection and civil discourse when addressing immigration issues. Finding a successful resolution will require the best thinking and goodwill of all across the political spectrum, the highest levels of statesmanship, and the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God's children."

KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

Two sometimes passionate opponents in Utah's immigration debate both praised the Church's statement. Ron Mortensen, spokesman for the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, said his group agrees with Church leaders. They will unveil a plan before the legislative session that will coordinate a guest worker program with America's developmental assistance program overseas. Tony Yapias of Proyecto Latino de Utah praised the Church's statement as being direct, strong, and compassionate.

Mormons favoring more vigorous enforcement of immigration laws cite the church’s 12th Article of Faith in support of their position. That article says Mormons believe in “obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.” On the opposite side are Mormons who argue for a more complex and humane approach to immigration. They point to Church teachings about taking care of one’s family, being hospitable to the stranger and building the kingdom of God. The latter are part of a group dubbed "social justice Christians" by Glenn Beck. The dialogue between the two sides can be contentious, as both sides sometimes seek to moralize their positions.

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