The recent warning from top leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints against straight-ticket voting — which they called a “threat to democracy” — continues to stir up discussions, debates, even disputes both inside and outside the faith.
The June 1 letter from the governing First Presidency was to be read in Sunday sacrament meetings across the U.S. — a separate message went out to international members — but that has yet to happen in a number of congregations.
Here is the text of that letter, followed by a digital version of it:
To: General Authorities and the following leaders in the United States: Area Seventies; Stake, Mission, District, and Temple Presidencies; Bishoprics and Branch Presidencies
(To be read in sacrament meeting)
Political Participation, Voting, and the Political Neutrality of the Church
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Citizens of the United States have the privilege and duty of electing officeholders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects their communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs, always demonstrating Christlike love and civility in political discourse.
We urge you to spend the time needed to become informed about the issues and candidates you will be considering. Some principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles. Members should also study candidates carefully and vote for those who have demonstrated integrity, compassion, and service to others, regardless of party affiliation. Merely voting a straight ticket or voting based on “tradition” without careful study of candidates and their positions on important issues is a threat to democracy and inconsistent with revealed standards (see Doctrine and Covenants 98:10). Information on candidates is available through the internet. debates, and other sources.
While the Church affirms its institutional neutrality regarding political parties and issues, it may occasionally post information about particular issues that directly affect the mission, teachings, or operations of the Church or that Church leaders believe are essential to preserving democracy or the essential functioning of the United States Constitution.
Political choices and affiliations should not be the subject of any teaching or advocating in Church settings. Leaders ensure that Church meetings focus on our Heavenly Father, our Savior, and the gospel.
Russell M. Nelson
Dallin H. Oaks
Henry B. Eyring
The First Presidency