LDS Church takes public stance on immigration legislation

The LDS Church stepped from the sidelines on immigration reform and squarely onto the playing field Tuesday by sending Presiding Bishop H. David Burton to attend and speak at Gov. Gary Herbert’s signing ceremony for four bills passed by the Utah Legislature.

“Our presence here testifies to the fact that we are appreciative of what has happened in the Legislature this session,” Burton said at the signing, indicating it was no accident or private decision. “We feel the Legislature has done an incredible job on a very complex issue.”

Burton, who oversees the Utah-based church’s financial affairs, joined key legislators, business leaders, activists and religious figures such as Utah Episcopal Bishop Scott Hayashi and homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson in the Capitol’s Gold Room for the signing.

Burton’s presence was an extraordinarily public endorsement for the LDS Church, which typically prefers to work in the background. And it has supporters and critics from within the faith scrambling to know how to react.

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