For the most part, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has only provided vague statements dancing around illegal immigration with no clarity. That changed a bit when President Dieter Uchtdorf came out of a powwow with President Obama and declared Obama’s values lined up with the Church’s and specifically noted that several (number unknown) LDS Bishops are also illegally in the US.
I’ve contacted the LDS Church’s Public Affairs department several times in an attempt to determine if official policy and doctrine have changed. This is important as for such to occur, all three members of the LDS Church Presidency must sign off. So the question is if Uchtdorf was speaking for himself or finally iterating a policy and doctrinal shift. It would be no small doctrinal shift, either. If official policy and doctrine, it will rock the boat, but also carries the expectation that members will need to accept/adhere to the new terms to remain in good standing (particularly vis-a-vis LDS Temple attendance).
After getting a single response, it looks like were back to cryptics…
Thank you for your email. All I can offer is to point you to the information you’re likely already aware of on the Church’s Newsroom website addressing immigration and the interview with Pres. Uchtdorf: [links to articles I included in the specific questions I emailed]
The email answered nothing (basically just provided links to articles I had already cited in my questions). I followed-up and Public Affairs has apparently refused to respond.
Effectively, this continues to leave members in limbo as to what expectations are. It also places local church leaders in limbo as to how they are expected to administer Church policies and advise their congregants. Right now, they are looking at maintaining membership activity by looking the other way as a double standard remains in effect with illegal immigrant converts and bishops are granted privileges doctrinally unavailable to others committing similar crimes (felony ID theft etc. which, ironically, likely includes LDS victims). By enacting vague statements, the “average” members remain largely unaware of the unspoken policy and don’t feel the need to evaluate the situation nor the implications thereof. The church appears to be embracing insinuation and confusion.
Exit question: Is Monty Python the inspiration behind this policy? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink…
UPDATE: I also specifically asked if Uchtdorf’s statement was his personal opinion or policy shared by leadership; no answer to that question either.
I suppose the flip side of the refusal to describe this as official policy means members are welcome to fight tooth-and-nail for or against the amnesty push…who knows…see the above skit for clarification.
Then again, the skit ends with an answer; that’s more than I’m getting here.
UPDATE (May 22): I finally, got tired of the stonewalling and called again. This time I talked to Mr. Tom Owens who actually answered the simple question (maybe now it is ok to ask since two months have passed). Mr. Owens stated that Pres. Uchtdorf’s statement supporting Pres Obama’s immigration policy “is not Church policy” and should be considered “a personal statement”. He would only say that Pres. Uchtdorf was likely limiting his comment to the “humanitarian aspects” of the policy that is reflected in the Utah Compact.
Truth be told: I think the Church HQ is full-on supportive of amnesty but wants to beat around the bush and play both sides of the issue (let’s have our cake and eat it too). It is also noteworthy that it took several calls/emails over the course of almost 2 months to get them to answer a simple question. I’m quite certain Public Affairs and leadership know that most members interpret what a church Apostle or First Presidency member states as an official chuch position. They understand this perception and were careful not to state that Uchtdorf’s statement was personal in nature. They want to play the manipulation game that works smashingly on those who don’t pay attention.