The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

The Token Conservative

The Democratic Party platform and Mormonism do not support one another.

My time on The Chronicle’s editorial board is almost over, and I want to take the opportunity-while I still can-to set the record straight.

I’ve been at The Chronicle for more than three years, and in that time I’ve seen a column get published each year on how Democratic values can be supported by LDS beliefs.

It simply isn’t true. A good Mormon can be a good Democrat-and there are many-but they cannot look to their religion for support of their politics. The two don’t necessarily contradict, but one doesn’t support the other.

Columnists have argued that Jesus promoted helping the poor, respecting all persons, forgiving offenses and magnifying the light within.

They claim that these values are the foundation of the Democratic Party. By promoting welfare programs, protecting the rights of minorities, reforming the justice system to rehabilitate instead of punish and funding education, Democrats are being good Christians.

The flaw in this reasoning is that it completely ignores the unique brand of Christianity that Mormonism teaches.

LDS prophets have promoted a form of welfare that is unique and favorable to Republicans. The LDS form of welfare requires recipients to earn their support, thereby maintaining their dignity.

Brigham Young used to hire the poorest of the poor to build a stone wall around his property. Once it was built, he hired the next batch of needy to tear it down and restack the stones. Young repeated this process not to waste people’s time but to allow them to work for the money he gave them.

LDS prophets have supported the “hand up, not hand out” strategy favored by Republicans.

Another unique aspect of Mormonism is its suspicion of government. The story of the LDS church includes several instances in which state and federal leaders proved themselves untrustworthy and ineffective.

LDS people are supposed to manage their resources so that they do not need the government. This attitude is shared by Republicans who advocate “less government.”

The duty of government, LDS teachings explain, is to protect equal rights. These ideas have led some people to oppose laws that give certain groups special treatment. These same people agree with Republicans who dislike affirmative action and hate crime legislation.

Some LDS leaders have gone so far as to encourage students to pay their own way through school and not apply for government grants and scholarships.

LDS teachings on repentance also encourage people to serve criminal sentences willingly as part of the redemptive process. Accepting punishment for mistakes is one of the steps of repentance. Policies that appear “soft on crime” can be interpreted as contradicting this teaching.

I’m an independent. I refuse to register with either party because I don’t believe they have the best interests of Utah at heart. But it is clear to me that a good case can be made for claiming LDS beliefs support the Republican platform.

Mormons can be good Democrats, but they can’t quote scripture or LDS church teachings as support for their positions.

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