Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

» Peggy Fletcher Stack E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)

Some Mormons chime in against Arizona’s religious-freedom bill

The Utah-based LDS Church has taken no official stance on Arizona’s hotly disputed and now-vetoed religious-freedom bill, but more than 100 Mormons sure have.

They’re against it — and said so in an open letter this week to Gov. Jan Brewer and state legislators, according to a blog on the Human Rights Campaign website.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"As Mormons, we feel a call to ‘mourn with those that mourn ... comfort those that stand in need of comfort’ and protect the persecuted from persecution," they wrote. " … We express sadness that many LGBTQ individuals, even in our own community, have endured significant pain when encountering conflicting beliefs, misunderstanding, and often fear from Latter-day Saints. We are appalled to see this fear codified into Arizona statute under the guise of protecting religious freedom."

SB1062, which Brewer vetoed Wednesday, would have provided legal protection to people who, on religious grounds, refuse service to gays.

The letter — "facilitated" by HRC’s Religion and Faith Program, writes blogger Paul Guequierre — cites a painful episode in LDS history: the 1838 Extermination Order by Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs in which he declared Mormons "enemies" who needed to be "exterminated" or "driven from the state."

"We were unpopular, part of a minority, and unable to fight for fair and equal treatment. We lived in a country founded on freedom of religion, but were not permitted to practice our own," the Mormons wrote in opposing SB1062. " … We strongly feel we should be able to exercise and protect our own religious rights. However, it is also in our culture not to use government to impose our will on anyone who worships differently."

The letter writers added that they "do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied."

" … It is not our place to judge others," they wrote. "Nor is it our place to cast our own beliefs on to those who see differently than we do. This bill, however, allows us and others to do just that."

While high-level Mormon leaders have been at the forefront in the fight for religious liberties — apostle Dallin H. Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court justice, addressed the issue earlier this week in a speech at Brigham Young University-Idaho — the LDS Church has been silent on the Arizona measure.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not taken an official position on AZ SB1062," said Cindy Packard, a church spokeswoman for Arizona. "However, members are encouraged to be responsible citizens and become informed on the issue, then decide for themselves what their own, personal stance may be."

That is precisely what this group of Mormons did.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.