Mormon meeting likely to thrust civility amid campaign vitriol

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 6:31 AM

The church is concerned to support political neutrality by refraining from backing one party or endorsing candidates, but Mormon leaders sometimes weigh in on what they consider crucial ethical issues, said Armand Mauss, a Mormon scholar and retired Prof of sociology and religious studies at WA State University.

Mormon meeting likely to thrust civility amid campaign vitriol

Mormon leaders aren't expected to mention presidential candidates by title at this weekend'south church conference, but they may reiterate their thrust for more public civility and compassion amid a campaign marked by explosive rhetoric and bickering.

The church is concerned to support political neutrality by refraining from backing one party or endorsing candidates, but Mormon leaders sometimes weigh in on what they consider crucial ethical issues, said Armand Mauss, a Mormon scholar and retired Prof of sociology and religious studies at WA State University.

That allows members of the faith to conclude which candidates the church favors by comparing leaders' positions on key topics with the campaigns, Mauss said.

This presidential cycle, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has defended religious liberty after Republican front-runner Donald Trump suggested banning Muslims from entering the U. S. The church also renewed calls for an finish to culture wars where people stake out extreme positions.

Church leaders urged a conference of Mormon women latest weekend to assistance refugees in their communities — striking a different tone than Trump and Republican candidate Ted Cruz.

When the church offers guidance on issues that affect political races, members of the faith generally listen, said David Campbell, a political science Prof at the Univ of Notre Dame. He and two others researched the topic for the two thousand fourteen book "Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics."

"We found quite consistently that Mormons do 'chase the leader,'" Campbell said, "even when the statements would seem to contradict their normal political predisposition."

Most members of the religion are Republican, and they don't seem to love Trump. Cruz, a TX senator, has defeated the front-runner in Utah, ID and Wyoming — all states with large Mormon populations.

Members likely don't get to the billionaire'south brash style, which is jarring in a culture that values politeness. The church'south statement pushing back against Trump'south Muslim rhetoric also probably influenced members, Campbell said.

The message on refugees is the latest sign the Mormon church isn't in lockstep with the GOP. In recent years, the religion has been more open to immigration reform and discrimination protections for the homosexual community than most Republicans, said Patrick Mason, associate Prof of religion at Claremont Graduate Univ in CA and Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies.

"They don't perceive trapped by the Republican Party platform," he said.

At the conference Saturday and Sun that'll bring 100.000 Mormons to Salt Lake City, with millions more watching on TV, Mason expects leaders to advocate for less annoyance and provocation and more tolerance and respect.

Any message will be vague and open to interpretation, he said.

"I don't think any Mormon who supports Trump is going to hear a call for civility and say, 'Wait a minute, I'm going maintain Hillary (Clinton),'" Mason said.

Before an election, the church instructs lay leaders to a read a letter in their congregations encouraging members to vote and to select candidates who'll act with "integrity and are wise, good, and honest."

The church isn't likely to crack tradition on political neutrality this weekend.

"If they didn't endorse Mitt Romney, they're not going to endorse anybody this time around," Mason said of the two thousand twelve Mormon presidential nominee.

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