Thursday, December 6, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune Outs Political Affiliation Of Top 15 LDS Leaders: 11 Are Republicans, Zero Democrats

On December 5th, 2012, the Salt Lake Tribune published a story revealing the political affiliations of the top 15 leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The results: 11 are Republican, and the remaining four are not affiliated. Those four are identified as the First Presidency’s Second Counselor, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. and Elders David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook and D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. President Uchtdorf temporarily registered Republican to vote in the Utah Republican primary in 2012, but then switched back to unaffiliated. None are registered as Democrats or as members of any other party. This Republican dominance tends to reflect the political thinking of rank-and-file American Mormons as well; in December 2011, the Deseret News published the results of a study that indicated that 59 percent of American Mormons identified as Republicans.

LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter advised the public not to make a big deal out of it, saying "Party affiliation does not necessarily indicate how an individual votes. As an institution, the church is politically neutral. The purpose of the church is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ." And this is absolutely true; despite some questions in the past as to whether one could be both a good Mormon and a Democrat, some good can be found in the platforms of all political parties. From personal observation, Utah's Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson exemplifies LDS standards and, because of his own social conservatism, is known as a "blue-dog" Democrat, prevailing in a tough race over Republican Mia Love in Utah's 4th Congressional District, one of the "reddest" Congressional districts in the country.

Nevertheless, Tribune reporter Peg McEntee, a perennial thorn in the side of the Church, is not satisfied with the Church's explanation. In a separate story, McEntee points out that the Church urges its members to sustain the Brethren, and, because of this, doubts the ability of individual Latter-day Saints to reach their own political conclusions without the help of the Brethren. So she calls upon top Church leaders to drop their political affiliations. But what McEntee failed to acknowledge is that it was her employer, the Tribune, who decided to make their political affiliations a public issue in the first place by researching and publishing the information.

Of course, McEntee also appears to be one of those who, because she finds it difficult to make decisions without seeking the opinions of others, assumes everyone else has the same problem. Thus she projects her own limitations upon everyone else. While this problem can be manifested by both people on the left and the right, it is people on the extreme left who are most prone to do this. Evidence of this recently surfaced in the form of many critical comments appended to my post entitled "Carol Lynn Pearson Is Wrong: Gay And Lesbian Mormons Are Not 'Heroes' Just Because They're Gay" taking pronounced exception to my personal theory that homosexuality can be considered an emotional disability, notwithstanding the fact that I support the Church's policy of considering celibate gay members to be members in good standing. Not that the criticism hurt my feelings in any way; the Prophet Joseph Smith and the early Saints endured far worse.

Reaction: Numerous comments have been appended to both Tribune stories. Many commenters call out Peg McEntee for her hypocrisy in demanding that Church leaders eschew formal political affiliations when it was her employer, the Tribune, who decided to make it a public issue (after the jump).

phillipcsmith December 6th 11:00 A.M. (to the main story):
Individuals are required to register as a republican or democrat if they are to vote in primary elections one way or the other. Did they register simply to do so? I sense that the general authorities in general are much more issue and less party oriented though since they so rarely speak out on such matters as citizens I really don't know nor do others know.

As to the comment that members vote like the prophet does, I don't see this as operating at all. President Monson gives no guidance to members as to who or what they should vote for. We can assume that we should vote for issues that are in accord with our basic beliefs but the decisions on these matters are up to each of us individually.

Tom Call December 6th 9:00 A.M. (to the original story):
You ARE aware that 100+ years ago (Utah gained statehood in 1896), Democrats and Republicans were extremely different than they are today, right? You can't make an argument like that when the same principles don't apply. [Ed. Note: This is absolutely true. While the Democratic Party has been a working-class party since FDR, it's only since 1972 that it embraced social values designed to redefine all of our standards and destabilize society. Just try to run for office as a Democrat if you're pro-life or promote the traditional definition of marriage.]

me December 6th 9:00 A.M. (to the original story):
Does this really surprise anyone? Can you see any of them belonging to a party whose platform supports abortion, gay marriage and is increasingly at odds with supporting Israel? The Democrats are not neutral on those things and neither is the leadership of the LDS Church.

formerutahn December 6th 12:15 P.M. (to Peg McIntee's column):
This has got to be without a doubt the most stupid column I've ever read. It fails on so many levels its hard to imagine it was ever printed. First, I don't think anyone is surprised by the fact that most of the top leadership of the church are republicans. Second, I find it a little hard to take the column seriously when the Tribune is the paper that published the article just yesterday listing the political affiliation of the church leaders. Third, I've never seen in mentioned by Peg (or anyone else for that matter) that any other public figure needs to drop their political affiliation, where's the outcry over all of the Hollywood types who are overwhelmingly democrat? Why shouldn't they be encouraged to drop their democrat party affiliation? There are people that are at least as influenced by the opinions of Hollywood as any religious leader. Peg, now that you've had a chance to vent, perhaps you will think a bit next time before printing such stupid drivel

desert_rat December 6th 10:15 A.M. (to Peg McIntee's column):
Who cares with what party the general authorities are registered? If the Trib had not published their party affiliations I would never have known -- or cared. Why does Peg think we should?

1 comment:

Ben L. Kemer said...

First of all, I agree very much with the point given, "Who really cares?"

Second, I had a bishop who was a registered Republican. However, he never fell short of being the person who advocated respect toward any politician holding office, regardless of party, as well as advocated civil, sensible, behavior. He also was anything but telling of the fact that party registry dictating one's votes is a myth.

Taking this to the national scale, well, the General Authorities give a nice congratulations and outreach to every politician I know, so frankly, I doubt it matters what party they are when they uphold the law and public officers in say 180+ nations regardless of what party rules?!!!