The Mormon Church is politically neutral. This is something to remember during this election year in the United States. Even though there is a member of the Mormon Church running for president (Mitt Romney), he is not the Mormon candidate. He is running under his own initiative. He speaks for himself.
Furthermore, by not having an official candidate, this empowers me to make my own decisions. God gave me a brain. I have common sense. I can figure out the issues on my own. I appreciate this freedom of thought and freedom of action.
One help I use is the Political Motto of the Church. In March 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith (who was the founder of the Mormon Church) and some of the leading members of the church (including Brigham Young) signed a statement encapsulating their core views on politics
“The Constitution of our country formed by the Fathers of liberty. Peace and good order in society. Love to God, and good will to man. All good and wholesome laws, virtue and truth above all things, and aristarchy, live forever! But woe to tyrants, mobs, aristocracy, anarchy, and toryism, and all those who invent or seek out unrighteous and vexatious law suits, under the pretext and color of law, or office, either religious or political. Exalt the standard of Democracy! Down with that of priestcraft, and let all the people say Amen! that the blood of our fathers may not cry from the ground against us. Sacred is the memory of that blood which bought for us our liberty.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 117)
That is a powerful statement. I am impressed with several things. First, it focuses on broad moral issues, and does not pettifog about specific legislation. It does not focus on specific parties. It emphasizes small and simple things: the Golden Rule, personal integrity, and “good order in society.”
It contrasts the good with the bad in politics. There have been and are many good politicians. America was blessed with many of these high-caliber candidates in 1776 and 1789. But sometimes there are also those of a lower quality. As I read that part of the motto, it seems all too familiar.
Political corruption, tyranny, mobs, anarchy, and such are all too common in the Twenty First Century as they were in the Nineteenth. But that may be the reason why they wrote this motto. We need to be reminded about what is good and what is bad.
The motto, however, ends on a positive note. We are reminded of the Revolutionary War, and that age’s heroism. If I ask myself, “What Would Washington (or Jefferson or Madison) would do?”, then we can have a touchstone for truth.
And sometimes I could use that help.