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Winning the LDS Vote in Nevada
Winning the LDS Vote in Nevada

AIR DATE: February 3, 2012

Religion has taken a prominent place in the presidential election. Mitt Romney is a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The church's members have received tough questions about his faith and the history of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Nevada has a diverse and politically active LDS voter base but how much will those voters' religion influence who they vote for? In a recent Pew poll, 46% of LDS members said they believe a lot of discrimination exists toward them. We talk with local LDS members about what it will take to win their vote in Nevada.
David Campbell, Assoc Prof of Poli Sci, U of Notre Dame
Aaron Anderson, local  LDS member and Realtor
Sara Nix, local LDS member
Michael Bennion, local  LDS member and graduate student at UNLV
    comments powered by Disqus
    Lance Spindler Feb 2, 2012 11:16:45 AM Concerning your statement about Brigham Young dividing the congregation half democrats and half republican, I'd love to know your source. I've been looking all night and would love to show my daughter-in-law. Pres. Johnson, after meeting Prophet David O McKay, frequently called Pres. McKay to discuss different matters and enlist Pres. McKay's advice.
    Mary Ann FawcettApr 4, 2012 21:39:04 PM
    a person cannot be a devout mormon and vote democrat. otherwise, you're a big fat hypocrite who does not believe in the bible. please, omitting certain commandments to adhere to your political beliefs is nonsensical, almost as absurd as believing that jews sailed to the americas's and native americans killed them off...
    tomFeb 5, 2012 19:42:01 PM
    For "don't want to say"...The fact that Mormons sustain a leader as a prophet does not mean they suddenly become mindless zombies and unaccountable to their various roles in life. Church doctrine also encourages us to be subject to government and the laws of the land and reflects a belief that the founding fathers were inspired in the draftIng of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence. LDS political leaders are accountable to their constituencies and the counter-balancing powers of our system. These "Mormon Conspiracy" ideas that revolve around the Mormon temple are a false, tired and invalid argument. The self proclaimed enemies of Mormonism are much better at conspiracy in my experience. There are no shadowy agendas here.
    Chris JonesFeb 3, 2012 04:43:37 AM
    Then would you agree that this subject is something that the general public should be allowed to know about fully and openly or not. I think it is only fair that people from other faith backgrounds should understand exactly what it means to be an LDS member in order to make a fair assessment of who they vote into office. As far as conspiracy, the LDS history has brought that upon themselves. From The Meadow incident , Prop 8, secret handshakes and backroom deals. It is just the history. You say there are no shadowy agendas here, but the history proves otherwise. You personally may not be involved in them, in fact the majority of the members are not, but that does not in any way prove that they do not exist.
    Don't want to sayFeb 3, 2012 14:47:04 PM
    There is a general assumption, especially among Mormons themselves, that most of them are republicans. As a Mormon democrat, I was very impressed with your panel today, and was grateful that you included a Mormon democrat. As Aaron Anderson and Michael Bennion noted, many Mormons rely on principals of self sufficiency and agency when they correlate their religious values with their political leanings. I just want to add that there are Mormon scriptures that validate the idea that governments should have a role in taking care of the poor too.
    PauletteFeb 2, 2012 11:42:21 AM
    Paulette, I'd be very interested in studying up on the scriptures that support that idea. Can you give me some references? Thanks!
    Aaron AndersonFeb 2, 2012 22:33:38 PM
    The mere fact that the LDS church has such a vast welfare system of their own speaks volumes to this idea. The LDS believe in safetynets for themselves (e.e. church welfare and programs for provident living). Surely if Mormons need these safetynets, others do as well. For those who do not have a church welfare system available to them or family that can help, society is surely obligated to provide something. We can debate what they should look like and how the system could best help people gain self-sufficiency, but there has to be something! Recently Elder Oaks gave an address on Religions Freedom in the United States. He spoke of the need for both religious and secular laws. Though he was speaking primarily of governance, I think his ideas also apply here. We need both secular and religions answers to society's greatest problems. As he pointed out, some citizens will respond to/benefit from one and some from the other. Both are necessary to reach all people in a diverse population. The scriptures are definite in the idea that it is a sin to not help the poor in some way (so many references). Deuteronomy 15:7-11
    SaraFeb 3, 2012 10:43:40 AM
    A good friend of mine reminded me of a passage in The Book of Mormon (Helaman 6:39). The first thing the Gaddianton Robbers do when they get into government is "turn their backs on the poor." From this it is clear that governmental neglect of the poor is a sign of corruption. As my friend pointed out, from there we might extrapolate that the righteous government that proceeded them must have been reaching out to the poor in some way. We should note that according to this passage, just allowing the poor the freedom to pull themselves up by their own boot straps does not a good government make.
    Sara Feb 3, 2012 16:49:16 PM
    Here's some useful political LDS background which was not presented. 1 - Utah was denied statehood until the late 1890's because its residents were too much of the same mind. To comply with political demands from the US government, Brigham Young divided the membership of the Church down the middle and assigned them equally to either the Democratic or the Republican party. Both parties - as well as all other legitimate political parties are equally valid in the eyes of the Church. 2 - Our Church adds 300,000+ new members each year, many of whom are adult converts, which means their political opinions were formed while they were members of a different religion - or no religion at all. 3 - Many active LDS Church members have run for President from Joseph Smith, who was campaigning for President when he was assassinated, through George Romney & Morris Udall up through Mitt Romney and John Huntsman in the current year's campaigns.
    Lance SpindlerFeb 2, 2012 11:16:45 AM
    I'm an active member of the LDS Church who is looking for a President who can get things done. I'm fiscally conservative, but socially more liberal. Harry Reid, though a fellow active Church member, has failed to get much done in the Senate so I'm very disappointed with his performance. President Obama has focussed on the wrong priorities. While he was wasting time on a massive overhaul of the medical payment system, unemployment was continuing to rise and the economy was eroding. Only after he lost seats in the Congress did he start focussing on the things we needed him to focus on. I see Romney as someone who is focussing on the right things and who can make progress happen - regardless of party and regardless of religion. BTW, many of the LDS members are converts like I am, which means we were raised in a different religion. This makes us a very diverse group. Please stop stereotyping us.
    Lance SpindlerFeb 2, 2012 11:03:11 AM
    One thing that never seems to be talked about and should is that if Romney wins, he has already sworn that the leader of the church is the mouth peace of God. That being said, I am not comfortable with Romney meeting in private in the temple as a President.
    Don't want to sayFeb 2, 2012 10:55:53 AM
    Sorry to enlighten you, but the First Presidency of the LDS Church has met confidentially with virtually every US President during my adult lifetime. Holding those meetings in an LDS temple adds no extra weight to those meetings. If this bothers you, you need to be concerned with the current situation as President Obama has already met with Thomas S. Monson and other Church leaders in confidence. The meetings were covered in the Press, but the content and discussion were strictly confidential. Sitting US Presidents make it a common practice to meet confidentially with most major religious leaders during their tenures.
    Lance SpindlerFeb 2, 2012 11:23:28 AM
    Yes, but I believe you have missed my point. To be an active Temple Recommend holder, and I am making the leap and assuming Romney is, he has had to swear that he believes Thomas S. Monson to be the direct mouthpiece of God and in order for him not to sin against God, he must obey what he is told. None of the other acting presidents have had that belief. This is something that needs to be discussed publicly. As far as you assuming that I am not concerned about Obama, you have taken some huge leaps in what does concern me.
    Don't want to sayFeb 2, 2012 11:38:27 AM
    We have already seen that Monson has no problem pulling what ever political strings he feels need to be pulled with Prop 8. I fear, and so should most other U.S. citizens, that having Romney as President in reality puts Monson in the driver seat. The question is will Romney's stay true to the American people, or God if he is put in the hot seat from the LDS Church. I am sure that I don't trust all the back room deals that already go on with Church members. I have run into them many times, as I am sure others reading this have. Honestly, I did not get into the conversation until the end of the show, but I wish they would do an entire other show addressing just this.
    Don't want to sayFeb 2, 2012 12:01:48 PM
    Sarah: My complements... you are an articulate person who represents your religion and the Democrat party very well. You should be a candidate for the state legislature. Melinda: I also appreciate your comments. Good job in point out Mr. Romneys' former postions in Mass.
    Will SchroederFeb 2, 2012 10:44:46 AM
    Thanks, Will. Do I have your endorsment? :)
    SaraFeb 2, 2012 12:16:50 PM
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