Pandora’s Box: LDS Church, Illegal Immigrant Amnesty, And Eroding Doctrinal Values
About two years ago, I wrote on the LDS Church’s (Mormon Church) Public Affairs lobbying for passage of HB116 (Utah’s unconstitutional amnesty law). In the article, I discussed the precedent amnesty would set and noted the dilemma:
How would an admitted US citizen ID thief vs an illegal immigrant ID thief fare in admittance to a temple? Has the Church policy regarding the US Constitution and sustaining the law changed?
A few weeks ago, the church doubled-down on amnesty, sent the church’s Second Councillor in the First Presidency, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, to a meeting at the White House. He exited the meeting endorsing President Obama’s illegal immigration amnesty plan. He also disclosed that some current LDS bishops (local ecclesiastical leaders) are illegal immigrants:
[Obama] was talking about his principles and what he said was totally in line with our values.
They are bishops in our church, but they never became legal residents because the system was not right for it and all of a sudden we are having changes even though they were more or less invited here to come because their work was needed.
While this is not an official doctrinal change (all in the church’s presidency must agree and sign a statement), it sends a clear signal that the church is embracing a one-sided approach on compassion (victims of illegal-immigrant identity theft are ignored). It also opens a can of worms and a serious double standard.
If the aforementioned bishops work for reputable employers who require completion of the I-9 forms, they have engaged in identity theft, document forgery, and document fraud (all serious felonies and likely to involve a victim). The very same bishop, while continuing to commit felonies, are tasked with judging the eligibility of members under their care to attend the LDS Temple. Eligibility is determined based on an interview conducted by the bishop reviewing various religious commandments and ethical behavior (including “Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?”). Effectively, this means if you commit identity theft for employment you are deemed worthy for temple attendance or to be a Bishop but if you drink coffee etc you will be denied…unless you can rationalize it.
The new standard appears to sent the message that standards and expectations are flexible based on circumstance, especially if upholding such may impact finances and family. I remember one convert who gave up a lucrative wine business placing his family in financial hardship – I guess he have it up a decade too early. If this new standard is officially embraced, equivocation will be a much larger temptation especially as members come to the realization of the double standard allow select groups get passes for questionable if not illegal behavior. Further, this will cloud many previously held doctrines I’ve noted before:
- What determines the applicability of the 12th Article of Faith (“…obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” – see also here for a more recent citation thereof by Apostle Holland). It is also an item in the Church’s latest missionary publication, “Preach My Gospel” – see page 80 (pdf). This doctrine was firmly established in1831 (D&C 58:19-23, among others): “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land”.
- Is the Church Handbook Of Instructions (church leadership policy) under review regarding immigration policy.
- Current policy per “Preach My Gospel” (page 80) is that if a serious crime is committed, no baptism may be performed without clearance from the mission president. Are document and identity fraud (felonies) considered serious crimes.
- As noted in church doctrine (and in “Preach My Gospel” page 60) individual responsibility, justice, and restitution and are part of the repentance process. Do those remain applicable for document fraud, forgery, perjury, and identity theft (and victims thereof).
- If identity theft and these other felonies are waived as a serious crime, what other felony crimes are also not applicable and are lesser violations such as tea/coffee consumption also under reconsideration for temple attendance.
- How would an admitted US citizen ID thief versus an illegal immigrant ID thief fare in admittance to a temple. What if the identity thief stole the identity of a child member (a very plausible scenario – estimated minimum of 50,000 Utah children are victims).
One wonders how the confusion will be handled and the impacts thereof when double-standards are the most effective form of internal destruction.
Exit question: If amnesty and the above is embraced what is the next issue to be embraced by an increasingly progressive church? Gay marriage, gambling, liquor by the drink, etc.?
EDIT: Added additional scriptural citation.