Monday, November 15, 2010

More Observations on the Utah Compact

A Dan Jones poll has indicated that the majority of Utahns are still determined to have an Arizona style immigration policy.  This despite the fact that the LDS Church stood in support of the Utah Pact on Immigration. (Read their statement here.) 60% of Utahns are LDS. I find it interesting that the LDS Church consistently comes down more moderately on the issues than her members do.  This says a couple of interesting things to me.

First, there is room for disagreement in the church.  As Joseph Smith put it, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."  That leaves the door open to them to misgovern themselves as well.  Outsiders tend to look at us as being in a very restrictive society in which we all march to the beat of the Brethren.  The present issue seems to indicate otherwise.  I don't expect anyone will be excommunicated for disagreeing with the Brethren on this issue.  After the close of WWI Congress was embroiled in a debate as to whether the United States should participate in the League of Nations.  President Heber J. Grant was in favor of joining the League, Apostle and Senator Reed Smoot was not in favor.  Smoot, of course had more influence in the decision and voted against America's involvement.  There was clear and obvious disagreement between these two, and several other, church leaders.  It did not adversely affect their relationship as members of the highest councils of the church.

The second, item of interest is the very apparent fact that the members tend to be more conservative than their leaders on a number of issues.  My personal impression, indeed my belief, is that not only do these men in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve receive revelation; they are also astute, well educated and better yet, well informed on the issues.  Long experience has shown that we rarely get knee jerk reactions from Church Headquarters.  The last one I recall came during the Mark Hoffman forgery fiasco.  Lesson learned.  The Church's leaders are much more careful in their reaction to the events and circumstances that surround us.
My conversations with most radically right winged Latter-day Saints do not indicate that they are well informed.  They may be well indoctrinated by the likes of Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, but rarely do I encounter one who has rationally considered the alternative or even more moderate point of view. For this reason I whole heartedly applaud KSL radio for dumping Hannity in favor of less inflammatory Jay McFarland.

This is not to say that I entirely disagree with the big three conservative commentators.  I just disagree with the "us vs them" approach that they seem to be fostering.  Seldom to I hear these or other conservative voices consider the consequences to the poor, outcast, alien and disadvantaged among us.  Their mantra seems to be focused entirely on how this all affects ME.  They not only defend big business, they are big business.  Don't get me wrong I am all in favor or free enterprise.  It's just that is becoming more and more apparent that big money is running this country, not citizens.

I was so grateful that thinking people stepped forward with the Utah Compact in a rational and well considered way.  In doing so they acknowledge the existence of serious problems, but cautioned us to avoid throwing the baby out with the bath water.  There are real people involved in these issues.  People who put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do.  Fathers and Mothers who love their children.  Children who want stable families and a chance to grow and an opportunity to succeed.  When we consider cleaning things up in this country, let us please consider the baby.

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