Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Why Mormons should vote Democratic"

Why Mormons should vote Democratic
By Fred Voros
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:10/28/2006 03:55:02 PM MDT

"Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of all major political parties," declared the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is certainly true of the Democratic Party.

Mormon descriptions of a just social order read like a Democratic manifesto. The Book of Mormon decries a society in which every man prospers according to his genius, and every man conquers according to his strength (Alma 30:17). It condemns those who ignore the plight of the hungry, needy, naked and sick (Mormon 8:39).

This brother's-keeper principle animates government programs pioneered by Democrats. In 1937, Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw "one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished" and acted.

LDS scripture warns incessantly against economic stratification: " . . . it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin" (D&C 49:20). Yet Republican tax cuts on one end of the economic spectrum and aid cuts on the other have widened the gap between rich and poor. Thanks to our Republican Congress, the world lies a little more in sin.

LDS scripture also calls us to "renounce war and proclaim peace" (D&C 98:16), and condemns offensive wars (Alma 43:45-47; Mormon 3:8-16). Yet the Republican administration misled America into invading Iraq, a nation that had not even threatened the U.S. Nor does LDS teaching justify the administration's fall-back rationale that the invasion was justified by our attempt to impose democracy.

In 1942, Church President David O. McKay declared, "Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government . . . however better the government . . . may be."

Astoundingly, the Republican Congress is borrowing money - from China, Saudi Arabia and federal trust funds - to cover the war, lavish tax cuts and their own profligate spending.

Even on abortion, the Democratic position is friendlier to LDS Church teachings. Mormonism does not teach that life begins at conception. President Gordon B. Hinckley declared that abortion inevitably brings "sorrow and regret."

Yet Church policy makes allowance where pregnancy results from rape or incest, where the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or where the fetus suffers from fatal defects. In such cases, Latter-day Saints are to consult with priesthood leaders and seek confirmation of their decision in prayer before proceeding.
The 2004 Democratic national platform says Democrats uphold Roe v. Wade; "strongly support family planning and adoption incentives"; and believe abortion "should be safe, legal and rare." This position grants Latter-day Saints freedom to follow the prophet.

The Republican position does not. The 2004 Republican platform declares that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." In other words, it would prohibit all abortions. Consequently, a Latter-day Saint's decision to seek an abortion may be allowed by church policy, approved by priesthood leaders, confirmed by the Lord in prayer, but forbidden by the Republican Party.

We need both parties. As the First Presidency foresaw in 1891, "The more evenly balanced the parties become the safer it will be for us in the security of our liberties; and . . . our influence for good will be far greater than it possibly could be were either party overwhelmingly in the majority."

This will never be achieved in Utah, however, until Mormons see the light and vote their values. By which I mean, of course, vote Democratic.
* FRED VOROS is a lawyer living in Salt Lake City.


Jessica said...


Anonymous said...

"I cannot help but think that there is a direct relationship between the present evil trends and the very marked tendency of the people of our country to pass on to the state the responsibility for their own moral and economic welfare. This trend to a welfare state in which people look to and worship government more than their God, is certain to sap the individual ambitions and moral fiber of our youth unless they are warned of the consequences. History is replete with the downfall of nations who, instead of assuming their own responsibility…mistakenly attempted to shift their individual responsibility to the government." – Letter from David O. McKay to the President Of BYU – Wilkinson, circa 1960]

Anonymous said...

When will you religious people get over your superstitions? Let me ask you: do you believe in the Iliad or Buddhist scripture, or do you think they're just ancient writings of one group of people's best guesses about the meaning of life? Think maybe that has some relevance to Joey Smith? The North Koreans claimed Kim Il Sung could levitate; do you believe it or were people just making it up to make him look good? Maybe that happened with Jesus too, huh? Use your brain. Religious belief stunts your growth.

Anonymous said...

Voros is an idiot, a prime example of twisting the scriptures like the pharisees. He is ably dismissed at

Peter Nguyen said...

Looks like a posted up a sore spot for some people. Please everybody, don't have a heart attack over one person's opinion.

Even with Voros's mistakes, he does bring up some excellent points that are worth civil discussion.

Blake Roberts said...

Mr. Anonymous #2,

You may think what you like about religion. But when you express yourself in the way that you did, you make yourself sound just as absurd and irrational as the images you are trying to paint of others. Regardless of what ever point you are trying to make, you have chosen to voice it with the same logic and attitude as a drug crazed homeless person, wandering the streets with a sandwich board sign declaring the immanent invasion of earth by super intelligent deodorant sticks.

Please, in the future try not to embarrass yourself.

The Jazz Singer said...

Those over at aren't interested in civil discussion. From the looks of their site, they don't do much besides get pissed off at those who don't agree with everything they have to say. In response to Voros, they say...

..."LDS scripture also calls us to "renounce war and proclaim peace" (D&C 98:16), and condemns offensive wars (Alma 43:45-47; Mormon 3:8-16). Yet the Republican administration misled America into invading Iraq, a nation that had not even threatened the U.S. Nor does LDS teaching justify the administration's fall-back rationale that the invasion was justified by our attempt to impose democracy."

Voros selection of scripture out of context to fit his agenda is pretty smarmy, even for a lawyer. He asserts as fact that the administration misled us into war. Alma 43:47 states

"And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion."

Voros does remember 9/11 I assume, and the fact we were attacked by Muslim extremists that resulted in a war with an ideological group rather than a country?...

Hmmm. I'll go out on a limb and say it's a pretty safe bet Voros remembers 9/11. And that we were attacked by Muslim extremists who - get ready for it - WEREN'T from Iraq! And isn't that what Democrats have been complaining about all along? Why go to war with Iraq when that's not who we were up against? A group of people so out of touch with politics shouldn't have something so bold as "Mormon Politics" posted across their website. If everything they post is as angry as what they've posted here and their Voros story, they're just another group of uber-conservatives who don't do much but make the Church look bad.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Mormon Politics site has a point. No, the terrorists were not from Iraq. They pointed out that the war is against an ideology, not a country, I think that is word for word. You apparently did not get the point. Many of the insurgents in Iraq are not from Iraq either, they are from Iran, Syria, all over the middle east. Iraq is the place, muslim extremism is the enemy.

Peter Nguyen said...

I really didn't want this to turn into a "chicken or egg" debate — especially involving Iraq.

But, according to the 9/11 commission report, Iraq was not a major breeding ground for terrorists until after the invasion.
On a different note, I object with "Mormon Politics" as a name for a conservative blogsite.

This particular blogsite is representative of "BYU-I College Democrats" We maintain this site and we monitor what goes on here.
The name "Mormon Politics" could be a misnomer for the following reasons:

1. If "Mormon" refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, than we must assert the fact that the Church tries very hard to remain politically neutral. Perhaps the site should add a disclaimer noting that the site does not speak for the Church.

2. The site can easily lead someone to believe that all Mormons are politically conservative. This is not necessarily the same as morally conservative. For example, Libertarians are politically conservative yet many may take issue with their stances on moral issues.

3. The site appears to be in the habit of defaming individuals with harsh language. While this site has been guilty in the past, I have tried to keep this site away from mudslinging. "Mormon Politics" has the Angel Moroni on their banner, yet their rhetoric appears, to me, to be vitriolic.

Cameron said...

Obviously Mr Voros is not alone in seeing the possibility of Mormons as Democrats.

Richard Davis, a professor at BYU, wrote about it in the Deseret News back in 2004.

Did you know that there is a Mormon Democratic Congressional Caucus?

And Steve Olsen, of whom I read is a bishop, is running for Congress in Utah as a Democrat and wrote a very interesting pamphlet titled, Most Utahns Are Democrats, They Just Don't Know It Yet.

Anonymous said...

Wow. A blog entitled BYU-I College Democrats takes isue with the name Mormon Politics? O thou easily offended. Look at the beam in your eye before criticizing the mote in another.

Oh, and don't base fact on the 9/11 report. The Council on Foreign Relatiions refutes that no Iraq terrorists tie claim:

Anonymous said...

The problem with Olsen is he touts that Democrats believe in a healthy middle class. So, let's look at the longest running Democrat social state in America - New Orleans. Tell me where is the New Orleans middle class? I see plenty of poor on the government teat, and a few very rich, but the middle class seems to be a distant third. Just sayin'.

The Jazz Singer said...

Wow. A blog entitled BYU-I College Democrats takes isue with the name Mormon Politics? O thou easily offended. Look at the beam in your eye before criticizing the mote in another.

Wow is right. Read Peter's post again. This site, BYU-I College Democrats, can say that it represents the political views of the BYU-I College Democrats. cannot claim to represent the political views of Mormons, or the LDS Church. It usually helps to read things slowly, and then think about them before formulating a response.

Jessica said...

Government teat? Why don't you explain that for me. New Orleans isn't a state and for you to use New Orleans as an example of what a Democratic run CITY would do would require proving causation and when you can meet the four requirements of causation, then we can discuss New Orleans...

Anonymous said...

Jazz Singer is exemplifying the kind tone Peter described? You make my point that while libs clamor for tolerance, they are the worst group at name calling and vitriolic speech. Example: Cindy Sheehan wishing she could go back in time to kill George Bush so he would never become President. I don't see where MP claims to represent all Mormons, but says it is a forum to discuss politics with an LDS view. Can this site claim it represents every Democrat at BYU-I? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

(Government teat? Why don't you explain that for me.

Government teat - well known synonym for welfare.

(New Orleans isn't a state

It is indeed a political state, not a State of the Union. Just as a Communist state is not a state of the union.

(and for you to use New Orleans as an example of what a Democratic run CITY would do would require proving causation and when you can meet the four requirements of causation, then we can discuss New Orleans...

Ok, I'll play and assign that study formula to a social condition.
1. Mechanical - through legitimate or illegitimate means, New Orleans has voted for and elected Democrat politicians for the past 40 years going back to the Huey Long era.

2. Intentional - The assumption is that the voters intended to select their Democrat politicians through the mechanical result.

3.Formative - Through political machinations, the Democrat political regime developed a reliance on the government. New Orleans is one of the largest welfare dependent cities. Through forming that dependency, which is a Democrat platform plank of social responsibility, voters would be dependent upon Democrat welfare for their subsistence.

4. Resonant - Total government care resonated among the poor class, which was kept poor as evidenced by the Katrina situation.

New Orleans has been the petri dish of Democrat social reform, and you can see where it led.

Discuss away.

The Jazz Singer said...

So were you showing us all how we should speak to our fellow man when you called Voros an idiot?

I have a feeling that this site represents the BYU-I Dems much better than represents members of the LDS Church. Perhaps a disclaimer on your homepage claiming that you don't actually represent the Church as a whole? If you need help with that, there's a good example on the right side of this page.

Anonymous said...

Jazz - but see, that's where libs get it wrong. You have a feeling... feelings do not trump facts.

And of course, you are assuming that I have anything to do with the Mormon Politics page. You err again.

Peter Nguyen said...

(Can this site claim it represents every Democrat at BYU-I? I doubt it.)

Let me clarify. The BYU-I College Democrats are an organized academic society at BYU-I.

This site belongs to the organization: BYU-I College Democrats, therefore, it is representative of what members of the BYU-I College Democrats believe.

We do not represent all Democrats at BYU-I. We also do not require strict adherence to this silly blog.

Please, everyone, we should first seek to understand, not to be heard or even to be right — I'm a Steven Covey geek.

The Jazz Singer said...

Wow anonymous, way to sidestep. Does represent the political views of the LDS Church?

Anonymous said...

Jazz, I'll bite on your straw man. Does Mormon Politics claim to represent the political views of the LDS Church? From what I can see, no. But then you can probably see that for yourself, so why ask the question?

Peter Nguyen said...


I have seen examples of what you consider the "government teat". I believe that to a certain extent you are right, and your argument is not wholly unbelievable.

But, I think the weakness of your argument is that you seem to blame the entirety of the New Orleans issue on Democrats. This is unreasonable. While Democrats have certainly played a part, I'm not certain that it could even be argued that Democrats were the MAIN reason behind the issues with N.O. Either way, I believe there is an argument for both sides.

Do you agree that there are situations in which welfare works? Are you for zero welfare?

Here in Rexburg, I know plenty of married LDS students who have used WIC and Medicaid to care for their families. I've stayed in touch with a few of those people after they graduated and they are now off both programs working good jobs.

I'm happy that they were able to start their families young and that they were able to get assistance when they needed it. Because they're responsible, when they didn't need it anymore they got off of it.

This is one example of how government welfare can work. My opinion? My opinion is that there are weaknesses and abuses built into the welfare system. However, I don't want to get rid of it, I want to endeavor to fix it. If that means breaking it down to build it back up, than I guess that has to happen. Maybe I'm too idealistic.

Anonymous said...

Actually Peter, I believe well managed welfare is crucial. The New Orleans case is frowned upon because welfare was used as a means to keep a voting bloc tied to a political party. When the failing result of that was exposed by Katrina, the Democrats blamed who? Bush and the Republicans. Republicans have had no say in N.O. politics for over 40 years.

Welfare is a boon if it is used to provide support while the recipients are allowed to better their situation. Welfare is a detriment if it replaces ambition. The Perpetual Education fund is an example of good welfare. I too would rather fix than abolish the welfare system.

Cameron said...

President Benson has a speech that's splashed all over the internet about the proper role of government, and in it he talks alot about welfare. It's quite interesting.

Peter Nguyen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter Nguyen said...

I agree with 90 percent of what President Benson says here. I'm really a big fan of this speech.

Anonymous said...

Here are some classic talks on welfare by lds students as well.

ANd his talk at byu on students using welfare.

Jessica said...

No, you didn't prove causation.

I want:

a statistical association, the independent variable must occur before the dependent variable, you must eliminate rival independent variables, and there must be a theoretical link between the IV and DV. There should be a logical argument for assuming that two variables covary.

Thomas L said...

That's interesting. I appreciate the attempts from individuals of any affiliation to try to bring more balance to politics in states like Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, where it seems like one party has ruled for a long time. The same could be said of some areas of New England I think, but this isn't really my specialty.

I wonder how well he addresses what I would guess would be a big concern for many republicans reading the article: when is it appropriate to apply force to solve problems at the expense of free will. I think many republicans see democratic positions on poverty, helping the needy, social justice, etc as forcing individuals to do "the right thing", by taking their money, or coercing behavior, rather than letting them decide how to spend it to help others. On the other hand, they would see it as appropriate to use force to save lives, and despite what it says here, I believe many right to life advocates do believe life begins at conception, or if not, that there's enough uncertainty about when it begins, that it isn't worth the risk.

I think most people agree both parties are often disingenuous and/or corrupt, but what's interesting is the different ways they're disingenuous [people obviously go with who they believe to be less corrupt in sum, or the form they believe is likely to do more good].

Many republicans act as the party of corruption for business, under the guise of capitalism and free markets, many democrats act as the party of corruption for the individual, under the guise social justice and helping the individual. Neither group is being honest (although they may be sincere).

If they were they might do a few things like institute effective lobbying reform or maintain a budget. Full transparency in lobbying and contributions would be nice start. Shielding politicians from the contribution process is an altertnative, although perhaps a weaker one in my opinion (either way, some politicians will always take bribes)

Also, link promises to consequences voters actually care about, or set up structures to do so. Why is the social contract such that we accept that all politicians make promises they will not keep. I don't accept that. Should anyone? The social contract should be that every politician offers consequences for promises they fail to keep which the voters consider fair and actionable.

So, if I assume there's any truth to any of this, how do I chose between these two forms of corruption, or what alternative do I chose?

The larger a power structure becomes, the more it's ability to influence generally (corporations, unions, etc.), both to influence legislation, as well as to influence the thinking of the people through various forms of marketing, education, and spin. People often implicitly assume that the best idea will eventually win out (an argument I hear from free market capitalists alot), although they may rationally know this is not true, particularly if they have business experience. Large structures of influence make this increasingly less likely. So although there are problems of undue influence in large groups of people as well as large corporate/organizational structures, I think society, individuals, small business, and the "victory of the right idea" are likely to be harmed less by corruption benefiting the individual, but it really depends on how far you go in either direction. Ideally you figure out ways to make sure 'good' information (information liquidity) not only gets to the people, but gets to them in an emotionally neutral / unmanipulative manner as possible, regardless of the size and influence of a power structures.

So a better solution may be for adults to make sure people are educated from a very early age in ways that make them interested in being informed and involved in their government, as well as in the ways their minds can be influence, and how they're psychologically manipulated and marketed to.


[Incidentally, have you ever wondered what, "I accept full responsibility" actually means, if nothing really happens. Often the only consequence to this is that the people know. Not always a fair or satisfying outcome for anyone but the person making the concession. Some are not even capable of this much.

I personally would be amused if a politician wrote up a contract to spend one night in jail for every campaign promise he/she fails to keep. If voter trust were an issue I'd do it. Alternatively offering voters the option to chose a fair consequence for promises. This might motivate some politicians to actually try, really, really hard. If you fail, you can always put yourself at their mercy. If they see you tried, they're likely to appreciate your efforts, if not, you benefited from the promise, they benefit from the consequence. Either way, there's a greater sense of fairness and control by the electorate. ]

Anonymous said...

My interpretation of Alma 37:10 is VASTLY different than yours. Your interpretation is not congruent with King Benjamin's teachings on wealth. King Benjamin teaches that there is no wrong in wealth as long as you use if for good. Yet many of the Democrats' proposed ideas would either diminish the ability of one to gain wealth and thereby use it to do good, or they would force the wealthy to use their money for what they call "good." Of course this comes in the form of taxing the wealthy to pay for welfare programs. Forcing one to use their money for good is Satan's idea of how things should work.

Regretfully there are those who seek wealth for the wrong reasons and "conquer" according to their strength. But the same agency they exercise is the one that many use to get wealth to help others. The entire plan of happiness hinges on the ability to choose--exercise agency--as we please. Most policies the Democrats set forth diminish our agency. Yes, many will seek riches at the expense of others, but that doesn't mean that those who seek riches to do good should be denied the opportunity to do so.

I do agree that we should not run around as a country imposing our values on the rest of the world. However, we do have a right to defend our own values. The war in Iraq was and is a HUGE disaster, but I lay that at the feet of both parties. Both Republican AND Democrats for the majority were on board with the plan to invade Iraq. (And to those who say the administration lied, please note that both Democrats and Republicans had the same information about Iraq having WMD. Yes, it ended up that the information was bad, but at the time it appeared good and certainly justified the US taking action.)

I also deplore the Republicans for their borrowing and spending policies. But keep in mind that Democrats are borrowing and spending just as quickly and feverishly as the Republicans. On this point BOTH parties have got it wrong.

When I view both parties, I must declare that "Mormon" values are more closely espoused by the Republican party, but that doesn't mean I support everything they stand for. And when I look at the Democrat party I see far more ideas that disagree with "Mormon" standards. Again, I do not totally agree with the Republican party, but their platform is much more congruent with the doctrines and principles of the gospel than are those of the Democrat party.