“I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.” – Joseph Smith, explaining to a legislator how he managed to govern so many Mormons.
In two days the nation’s Jews and Mormons will join their fellow citizens in electing political leaders to local, state, and national offices. While I try to document on this blog where the two communities converge, there is no denying an obvious difference: Jews are second only to blacks in their support for Democrats, and Mormons are probably the reddest religious group in the country.
While many rabbis believe that they are following in the “prophetic tradition” by speaking out on the issues of the day from the pulpit, LDS leaders – who actually believe they are led by prophets – almost never address political issues in their sermons. Many of my non-Mormon friends were surprised to learn that the one place where former presidential candidate Mitt Romney could not deliver a political speech during his campaign was an LDS chapel. In my lifetime, I can only recall our leaders asking members to vote a certain way on two political issues that we considered to be primarily moral issues: gay marriage and the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), both of which were viewed as threats to the traditional family.