AZ Mormons – Calling my Bluff

Christian J - November 10, 2011

I’m wondering what the recent election in AZ says about the political power of the LDS Church. As a political liberal, its good news to hear that AZ Mormon Republicans have bucked the party line in favor of what I believe are more reasonable and compassionate solutions to immigration. BUT, I don’t believe its a coincidence that the AZ Mormon shift was preceded by recent legislation in Utah (heavily influenced by the LDS church).

Are you following? If my hunch is correct (that many AZ MOs are following the church’s lead on this), does it not serve as further verification that the LDS church can hold tremendous political sway on its members (even if its a *gasp* liberal proposition)? Does it not also mean that a Mormon President feeling some pull from SLC on certain issues is a higher probability than presented by Romney, Huntsman and the Church? Something else to think about – Is a Mormon following their church in a liberal direction (immigration) less sheep-like than the opposite ala Prop 8? (some liberals seem to suggest as much)

As a Mormon growing up in a politically liberal home, I have longed for moments like these – when conservatives have to do the kind of soul searching that has been a staple for me and many others. Yet, many AZ Mormons seem to have called the bluff – allowing political ideology to take a back seat to the council of church leaders. As to future discussions of politics and matters of conscience, am I now forced to concede them the moral high ground? (at least as it relates to institutional obedience)

12 Comments »

  1. I could also not be giving AZ voters enough credit (them voting their conscience pure and simple). I’m open to that possibility.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — November 10, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  2. I could take this more seriously if you didn’t have that final paragraph. Soul searching is a staple for liberals but an unknown for conservatives? Please.

    Comment by KLC — November 10, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  3. KLC, maybe it came out wrong. I meant, a certain KIND of soul searching often evades conservative Mormons – not soul searching all together. In other words, liberals often find more that they have to reconcile between their politics and the teachings of the Church. That’s not a knock on conservatives at all – just a reality of American Mormon life.

    Comment by CJ Douglass — November 10, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  4. If I understand CJ correctly, he’s talking about the kind of soul-searching that’s required when one takes a political position at odds with the majority of one’s co-religionists, and perhaps at odds with the apparent position of the “apolitical” church.

    But, a few things about the Arizona race: both of the candidates were Republicans, and many of their differences were more tone than substance, although Mr. Lewis was significantly more moderate and open to compromise than Mr. Pearce on immigration.

    Comment by Mark B. — November 10, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  5. OK, that makes sense. I took it at a more general level, the brave progressive thinker in a sea of unwashed conservative non-thinkers, instead of the familiar cognitive dissonance of a liberal in a conservative church washing over their conservative brethren for a change.

    Comment by KLC — November 10, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  6. In response to some similar thoughts I expressed elsewhere, I received this response:

    As an Arizona resident, I think you might be overstating the Church’s political influence. Pierce was an asshole and that got exposed in a big way. I’m pretty damn conservative and most in my circle of friends lost trust in Pierce, starting with the Fiesta Bowl and Pierce’s connection to the event. The statement made by the Church was not influential in this district or election. It mainly had to do with Pierce and a complete rejection of who he was and the political mud-slinging he constantly engaged in.

    Good to know…

    Comment by CJ Douglass — November 10, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  7. I agree with the statement in comment 6. It looks like to me that this race came down to personalities as much as AZ Mormonms voting with the perceived stance of the Church.

    My assessment of conservative Mormons in Utah and elsewhere is that they are not really buying into the kinder and gentler stance the Church is peddling on immigration.

    Comment by MCQ — November 10, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  8. I like that term – AZMO.

    The AZMOs I know are mostly reactionary hicks, bless their hearts. When the illegals left, a lot of businesses were left hurting. It sunk in for enough people that there was some pushback.

    But seriously, anyone with real compassion would have to take exception to the crackdown. Such as: Illegals have no legal protection against predators and thieves, the cops use them as a personal piggy bank since the only place they can store their cash is on their person, their property can be stolen at any time under color of law, etc.

    Comment by Brad — November 10, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  9. There’s no question that the Church’s public influence will grow with an LDS President (without an LDS President, too), but I don’t foresee any more influence than say, Halliburton had.
    Is political influence by the Church any worse than toeing the party line (pick a party)?
    I, for one, have much more confidence in policies developed by apostles than those suggested by Chris Matthews or Rush Limbaugh. I’m even more comforted by the fact that the Church is financially independent and isn’t at risk of being bought out by other special interests.

    Comment by Thaddeus — November 15, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  10. I don’t foresee any more influence than say, Halliburton had.

    So, enough influence to start a war and make millions in defense contracts? I’ll take it.

    Comment by MCQ — November 15, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  11. You are so interesting! I don’t think I have read through anything like that
    before. So nice to find someone with a few genuine thoughts on
    this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

    Comment by Demetrius — February 8, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

  12. Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and
    i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you
    stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so
    much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

    Comment by Stephen — March 5, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI