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Doctrinal divide confronts Mormons on immigration

Here in Utah, the push toward tougher immigration laws has become increasingly tangled in Mormon doctrine as divided Latter-day Saints defend their politics by pointing to conflicting interpretations of what Jesus would do.

Would God, one side asks, demand strict obedience to the law — and penalties to those who transgress it — as suggested in Mormonism’s Doctrine and Covenants 58:21? “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.”

Or would he, the other side counters, look beyond border violations and extend a hand toward the nation’s undocumented population under principles preached in Matthew 25:40? “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The “What Would Jesus Do” question isn’t easily answered in a scripture-laden debate that has pitted biblical passages from Exodus to Ephesians against one another and placed the parable of the good Samaritan on the opposite side of the ideological debate from an anecdote delivered by LDS President Thomas S. Monson about Saints behind the Iron Curtain.

So where does the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really stand?

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