Too often today’s political discourse reduces politics to partisanship, whether one affiliates with this or that political party. It’s a much broader topic, however, encompassing big notions about citizenship in a society, how we as a group of people make decisions, how we navigate our responsibilities to each other, to our government, and to our consciences and deepest religious convictions. When we weave in a particular group of people, such as Mormonism, it becomes even more clear that the political sphere is ever evolving—that even as certain themes maintain some influence in how each period of history unfolded, change concerning what Mormons wanted both for and from government was and is always the norm. Mormonism has a wonderful history of thinking fresh about government, about economic forms such as cooperative economies versus free-market capitalism, in wondering about how heaven is governed and if the way it is governed here on earth is truly the ideal. For any who think today’s super-conservatism or uber-Republicanism is built deep in the fabric of Mormon theology or thought is deeply mistaken—yet even as our history tells tales of great latitude, Mormonism really hasn’t yet articulated a clear sense of what it means to approach the political sphere as a Mormon, to live in community, to live in peace. It’s a much needed project!
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