LDS Democrats


October 3, 2011 by Robert Poort

Not exactly about radical politics, but very interesting nevertheless:

Salt Lake Tribune 26 September 2011:
The Utah Democratic Party has 15 caucuses within its tent, ranging from women, labor, educators, the LGBT community, African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders and Latinos to rural and veterans and military families.

Now comes another, perhaps unexpected in Republican- and Mormon-dominated Utah — the LDS Dems Caucus.

Emboldened by the election of Jim Dabakis, who is gay, to the party chairmanship, a band of like-minded moderate and progressive Mormons decided they want “a room of our own,” says Crystal Young-Otterstrom, the caucus’s interim vice chairwoman.

“There have been many people for a long time who wanted to do something like this,” she says. “We want to find the closeted Democrats out there.”

At present, the caucus will focus on education, environmental issues, immigration and compassionate service to those in need, which is one of the LDS Church’s four main purposes.

By way of introduction, the caucus is hosting a pre-LDS General Conference breakfast on Saturday at Murray Park, where Mormon Democratic elected officials will be cooking. The party’s central committee is to vote Oct. 15 on the caucus’ application.

In early Utah history and today, we’ve learned that LDS people, like anyone else, are not monolithic. Faithful Mormons, Democratic and Republican, have and do occupy political seats in the Utah Legislature, the U.S. Congress, federal and state governments and mayorships and city council seats.

Former governors Cal Rampton and Scott M. Matheson were LDS Democrats, as are Matheson’s sons, one a sitting congressman, the other a federal appeals court judge. Still, the last presidential election when Utah leaned Democrat was in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson was elected. The Utah Legislature remains overwhelmingly Republican, and many members in both parties are LDS.

The LDS Dems have a new web page with further details and with quotes from both the scriptures as well as from church leaders:

13 thoughts on “LDS Democrats

  1. seedofjapheth says:

    The differences between republicans are largely cosmetic.

  2. Brooks W. Wilson says:

    If I lived in Utah, I’d be involved. We need this in California too. To Seedofjapheth, as someone who is outspoken, I have to disagree about the difference in d and r. Most of the r in my ward will vote for Perry if nominated, or Christie, Bachmann or Palin. More than cosmetic when you support someone spewing out their hate.

  3. Robert Poort says:

    I guess that given the political reality in Utah, the reddest state, supporting LDS Dems can be seen as radical politics, and I’m not kidding ! So, I agree with Brooks Wilson that a big difference can be made here. But is there any moral basis for supporting the LDS Dems, or are we talking about “realpolitik” ? Realpolitik (I had to look it up again) is German, and refers to politics based on reality:

    “politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism. The term realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian.”

    Don’t the radical notions of the gospel of Christ hold us to a higher standard? Wasn’t Christ nailed to a cross precisely because he chose not to support the establishment of the powerful, who defined morality strictly in narrowly defined religious terms? Likewise, present-day Mormonism has narrowed down morality almost exclusively to sexual purity, with the exclusion of equality and social justice. Equality and social justice require a radical approach as practiced by early mormonism, anything less has proven to lead to accommodation to capitalism, inequality and destruction of our environment.
    Didn’t the early pioniers aspire to something higher than realpolitik? Yes, politics in general require compromise, but the Democrats are not compromising but collaborating. One only has to think of the wars that are being perpetuatedby a Democratic president who clings to power. So, I think Mormonism and Radical Politics are a clear alternative.

    • seedofjapheth says:

      Henry Kissinger was into realpolitik but I am not sure if he practiced realpolitik as its original meaning meant of if he maybe made up his own version of realpolitik.

      In what ways was the socio-political economic situation of the early mormon pioneers different than the rest of America? Were there some ways of doing things in the rest of America that the early pioneers found repugnant?

      • Robert Poort says:

        I’m referring to the many social practices and experiments of early mormonism.

        Dr. John A. Widtsoe, President of the University of Utah in the 1920’s and 1930’s said, that: ” the Latter-day Saints in the Territory of Utah aspired to construct something new; a new society, a new economy, a new governmental system, even a new alphabet (the Deseret Alphabet).”

        So, yes, the early pioniers clearly found many things repugnant in the rest of America.

        “SeedofJapheth” I just read the description of your blog, and I don’t think many MW bloggers can identify with your statements which state:

        “This is a blog which advocates a moderate approach to white pride, having white pride on a cultural level. Being proud to be white doesn’t mean creating a totalitarian nightmare as Hitler did in Germany. Society is multi-racial and the races can inter-marry if they want. If certain people do not want to engage in race-mixing they don’t have to do that. Being proud to be white doesn’t mean being unable to appreciate non-white cultures. This blog condemns the genocide of Native Americans by white people.”

      • seedofjapheth says:

        Which statement do you disagree with? Basically my blog is just sending the message to white people that if they want to be proud of their heritage that they don’t have to hate non-white people and they don’t have to oppose multiculturalism.

        I have no idea who identifies with that sentiment and who is indifferent to that sentiment but I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with such a sentiment.

  4. Robert Poort says:

    Expressions like: “white pride” are provocative, especially when used in the same sentence with Hitler, even if you state it “doesn’t mean creating a totalitarian nightmare as Hitler.” Does it imply that perhaps a somewhat more moderate South-African style “apartheid” could be acceptable? Racial and/or nationalistic expressions are the very trademark of Adolf Hitler.
    “Engaging in race-mixing” is not a very tolerant expression either for folks like me with a Polynesian spouse and two African-American grandsons. We simply fell in love with someone from a different race and a different culture, nor does it imply that we do not appreciate our own background. Your blog “condemns the genocide of Native Americans by white people.” Does it also condemn the introduction of slavery by white people? And does it give reference to the social destruction slavery caused in black families? Why not simply stand up for common human values like love and mutual appreciation and cooperation without racial divisions? White pride or black pride (whatever that means) are expressions of fear for others, even though in my humble opinion blacks historically have more reason to be fearful of us, than the other way around.

    • seedofjapheth says:

      I am against politics involving itself in race in anyway. So yes I would be against apartheid and any sort of political policy that has anything to do with race.

      I am against all forms of racial discrimination and I support people being proud in whatever race they are or whatever mixture of races they are. People of all racial heritages should be proud of what they are and any sort of government policy that discriminates based on race is something I condemn.

      Yes my blog condemns the slavery of African Americans and my blog celebrates the cultural contributions African Americans have made to the USA.

      • Robert Poort says:

        Wonderful, but I still don’t get the “white pride” thing.
        Especially in the Intermountain West where white supremacism flourishes, and where mormons sought to theologically justify their blatant racial discrimination, and called Martin Luther King a dangerous communist, it is hard for me to understand where you come from.
        Whenever groups in society call for “Pride” like for example in “Gay Pride” it is in reaction to the particular group being persecuted. But white pride?

      • seedofjapheth says:

        I like Martin Luther King. I am not really anti-communist or pro-communist. I am ideologically flexible. All I am saying is that people of all kinds whether they are mixed or if they identify with a single racial category have a right to appreciate their heritage as long as they do so in a way that is respectful of other sorts of people. White people are not any better or any worse than other sorts of people. If you want to discuss this topic further I request that we do so here:

  5. I’m also in the boat that there’s not much difference between the two parties. I understand where Brooks is coming from, but more than prettier rhetoric is necessary for meaningful difference. The current president spoke much more nicely than his predecessor, yet continues the policies of wars of aggression, a national-security state without regard for the rights of individual citizens, and preference for spending government money to save corporations rather than the actual human beings that are suffering on the bottom rungs of society.

    That being said, I think an LDS Democrats caucus is potentially a VERY GOOD thing. The Church feels too much like a Republican church sometimes, which can leave those of us who don’t buy into neoconservative politics feeling sort of like outcasts, or like we don’t belong. A quick search for “Liberal Mormon” ought to turn up hate-filled comments on blogs that those with left-leaning sympathies can’t be “real” Mormons and are following the devil down to hell. In a previous ward I’ve had to listen to stake leaders promote Republican candidates and ballot measures during a combined priesthood/Relief Society meeting. Forcing the members of the Church to open their eyes to the reality of the existence of good Mormon Democrats and the fact that the leadership really means it when the Church doesn’t dictate parties can only be helpful to us nonconformists.

    On the other hand, there remains the risk that even if the members are pushed into accepting Democrats, they might latch onto Hugh B. Brown’s statement: “Beware of those who are so lacking in humility, that they cannot come within the framework of one of our two great parties.” That’s about as much the doctrine of the Church as Hinckley’s statement that we should support the war in Iraq because the president has access to better intelligence than us (that turned out well, huh?), but it tends to be natural for people to look for any excuse to paint everyone who disagrees with their politics as evil.

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