Mormon leaders urged church members last month to practice tolerance towards other religions despite apparent political differences, thereby offering the faith’s American members guidance during a church conference on April 2 amid a presidential campaign that was marked with harsh rhetoric and unwarranted bickering. The Church’s leadership also stressed that Mormonism is the one true religion and its leaders are really speaking on behalf of God. Henry B Eyring—a longtime member of a church leadership council known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—asked members to carefully listen to speeches delivered by Mormon leaders so they can move closer to God.
“This is the only true church,” he said.
Imploring members to be more sensitive and thoughtful towards children from different backgrounds, many of whom do not belong to ‘picture perfect’ families, church leaders acknowledged the religion’s international footprint by announcing the names of new members of a second-tier leadership council who hail from Argentina, Guatemala, Australia, Italy and New Zealand. Reportedly, over half of the Mormon Church’s 15.6 million membership resides outside the United States. Neil L Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles insisted that church members should embrace all children of the faith, irrespective of their family situations; thereby acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of children who live with only one parent or whose parents are not practicing Mormons. Stressing that Mormonism would continue to advocate for families led by married men and women who identify with the religion, Anderson said children from other kinds of situations would be welcome as well.
“While a child's earthly situation may not be ideal, a child's spiritual DNA is perfect because one's true identity is as a son or daughter of God,” Anderson said.
He did not make any mention of children of gay or lesbian parents, as the Church received a lot of flak last year after publishing new rules that banned the baptism of children living with homosexual parents. The Church eventually clarified its stance, saying even those children were welcome to attend church services and their prior intimation had been misunderstood as Mormon leaders were only trying to prevent children from being caught in a tug of war between what they are taught at church and home.
Thomas S Monson—88-year-old Church president who is believed to be the current prophet of Mormonism—delivered a speech during the event as well; but it was Kevin R Duncan, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, who made the comments pertaining to politics. He asked people to be careful of resenting others because they may belong to a different religion, have different political views or even cheer for a different sports team.
“Let us all remember that God looketh not upon the color of the jersey or the political party,” Duncan said. “In the competitions of life, if we win, let us win with grace. If we lose, let us lose with grace.”
While Mormon leaders refrain from endorsing any one candidate or party, they do weigh in on what they consider important moral issues from time to time. For instance, during this presidential cycle, the Church went on record to defend religious liberty after Republican front-runner Donald Trump recommended the banning of Muslims from entering the United States. At the same time, the Church also renewed its call to end culture wars, which has often pushed people to adopt extreme positions on the subject.
Photo Credits: History News Network