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Seperation of Church and state
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints's official position is to not get involved in party politics or the support of a particular candidate. The church, however, from a historical perspective, allowed leaders of the church to run for and take office. Mormons have always been involved in politics and the government.
The Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. the first leader of the church ran for president on an antislavery platform. He did not assume to win the presidency, but he thought that he would make the plight of his people more public by doing so.
He also saw that a civil war was in the US future and wanted to bring it to the public's attention to end slavery by purchasing all the slaves from the South using money from the sale of lands in the frontier to cover the cost.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Stance on Political Neutrality
President Ezra Taft Benson
The church did not start out with the same policies that it has recently. Many of the policies are based on trial and error. Ezra Taft Benson, another leader and president of the church served as a cabinet member for President Eisenhower for eight years, 1953 to 1961.
What is unique about these two situations is the fact that both times leaders of the church who were running for and participating in high political office held the high office of apostle.
It would be uncommon for a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ to run for political office today, but not unfathomable.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney did not fit the description of Presidents Benson and Smith, Jr. He is just a regular tithe-paying member of the church with no general church position.
Because a member of the church was running for the highest office in the land, The Church of Jesus Christ wanted to make sure that the world knew that it did not tell its over 6 million American members to vote for Romney or any other candidate in a popular election.
Each election the church issues a statement to inform all that it is a neutral party in elections and encourages its members to vote their conscience on political matters.
It does so for each country in which it operates. Latter-day Saints are very politically-minded people internationally and are encouraged to participate in public affairs.
Yeah Samake in Mali and Mitt Romney in the US ran for president of their respective countries for the benefit of bettering their respective nations.
The church did not need to issue a statement for The Republic of Mali because the only group of Latter-day Saints in that nation at the time were the presidential hopeful and his wife and two children.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint currently claims over 15 million members in most nations of the world, with more non-US members. The church currently sends missionaries numbering in total to over 80, 000 who teach the doctrines of the church with all who are interested in learning.
© 2012 Rodric Johnson