Mormons on opposite sides in immigration fight

No matter how much the LDS Church would like to remain neutral on the issue of illegal immigration, Mormon activists on opposite sides draw on their faith's doctrines or practices to buoy their positions.

Russell Pearce, the Arizona senator who proposed that state's tough anti-immigration law, is LDS and hails from Mesa, a stronghold of Mormonism.

Pearce did not return messages seeking comment for this story. But, according to Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, the Arizona lawmaker builds his case on the Utah-based church's 12th Article of Faith, which says Mormons believe in "obeying, honoring and sustaining the law."

That also is a key belief for Sandstrom, a Mormon who has met with Pearce several times and hopes to introduce a similar bill in Utah.

"We are a country with the rule of law," said Sandstrom, who served an LDS mission in Venezuela. "That's the only way a country can prosper."

On the opposite side are Latter-day Saints who argue for a more complex and humane approach to immigration. They point to church teachings about taking care of one's family, being hospitable to the stranger and building the kingdom of God.

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