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Latest from Mormon Land: Latter-day Saints go to bat for Joe Biden’s agenda

Also: The Giving Machines will be back this holiday season.

(Susan Walsh | The Associated Press) President Joe Biden speaks outside the White House on Oct. 8, 2021. Members of Latter-day Saints for Biden-Harris are calling on people to back Biden's "Build Back Better" framework.

These are excerpts from The Salt Lake Tribune’s free Mormon Land newsletter, a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Want this newsletter with additional items in your inbox? Subscribe here. You also can support Mormon Land with a donation at Patreon.com/mormonland, where you can access, among other exclusive gifts and content, transcripts from our “Mormon Land” podcasts.

‘Build Back Better’ — all in favor?

Members of Latter-day Saints for Biden-Harris are seeking a sustaining vote, of sorts, from Congress for the president’s “Build Back Better” plan.

“As Latter-day Saints, we long for public policy that supports children and families, providing everyone with the opportunity to achieve self-reliance and to live in safety and peace,” writes Robert Taber, the grassroots group’s national director, lauding Biden’s framework for “moving us to a country that rewards work, not wealth.”

Taber and his organization point to the proposed act’s:

• Money for early childhood education.

• Funding for community college and technical training, noting that the church’s Perpetual Education Fund is evidence that “even small investments in adult education can make a large difference in creating lifelong opportunities.”

• Investments in climate protection, clean energy, clean air and home care.

• Tax breaks for the “working class” and tax increases for the “largest corporations” and “wealthiest individuals.”

Taber calls on the House to pass Biden’s proposal and urges federal lawmakers to address paid family and medical leave.

He also takes a partisan poke at the nine Latter-day Saints, all Republicans, in Congress — by name — accusing them of opposing “these measures designed to ‘maintain and strengthen the family.’”

“[We] encourage our friends and neighbors,” he concludes, “to vote accordingly in the upcoming midterm elections.”

On another political issue, Mormon Women for Ethical Government reminds all Americans to “actively participate” in efforts to protect the freedom to vote and warns against “threats to this foundational right.”

“Voter restriction is often enacted using laws that appear neutral to majority populations but are nonetheless carefully constructed to exclude specific communities,” MWEG writes on its website. “...We believe restrictive voting laws are an expression of enmity against our neighbors….As a society, we must guard against every social, political and legal effort that seeks to deny anyone the right of self-determination. We are all equal before God.”

Give, said the big machines

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Giving Machines open at University Place Mall in Orem in 2019. The machines are returning this year after a 2020 COVID-19 hiatus.

They’re like the Redbox of charity — and they’re back.

After being pulled last year due to COVID-19, the Yuletide Giving Machines — large crimson vending kiosks that allow people to buy and donate food, water, medial services, school supplies, even chickens, goats and pigs — will be placed in the following 10 cities, according to a news release:

Las Vegas; Nashville, Tenn; Honolulu; Orem, Utah; Salt Lake City; Oakland, Calif.; Gilbert, Ariz.; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; and New York.

With the simple swipe of a credit card, the machines make contributing to local and global charities as easy as buying a Kit Kat or a Coke. In the 2019 holiday season, they racked up nearly $6.3 million worth of donations.

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