Church Members Receive Counsel on Political Participation
May 1982

“Church Members Receive Counsel on Political Participation,” Ensign, May 1982, 104–5

Church Members Receive Counsel on Political Participation

Counsel regarding the involvement of Church members in political activities was given by President Gordon B. Hinckley, counselor in the First Presidency in an April 2, meeting of Regional Representatives. His remarks summarized the Church’s attitude toward institutional involvement:

“The Church has now reached a strength and stature widely recognized and appreciated. Scarcely a week passes that we are not importuned to lend our voice and strength to one cause or another of significance on a state, national, or international level.

“It is frequently tempting to do so. But we must restrain ourselves lest we become diverted from the great central mission of the Church given us by the Lord, and in so doing weaken the strength of the organization and our people to causes that are not related to that mission. Of course, there are occasionally great issues with overtiding moral implications in which we properly should be involved, but the decision regarding such involvement as an institution, in contrast with individual involvement, must rest with the First Presidency.

“We should encourage our people to be involved as citizens in matters which concern them and their families. Our people have been taught correct principles, and they are in a position to govern themselves in such involvement. But we must be extremely careful about involving the institutional Church. …

“In the heat of political campaigns it is difficult for some Church officers to resist the blandishments of campaign workers to give political endorsement to particular candidates or parties. I recognize a very delicate and sensitive situation when I say this. As individuals, our people, including local leaders, are free to act as citizens, but they must act with great care lest there be a public perception that they are acting as Church officers.

“As has been said many times in the past, Church premises must not be used for political gatherings, nor should announcements be made in Church meetings that might be construed as favoring one candidate or party. It is proper for Church officers to encourage members of the Church to participate in mass meetings and to vote at the polls, but always without designating any preference for party or candidate.

“Church printing facilities should not be used for the publication of literature for political purposes.

“At times the temptation is great, particularly when the issues appear so clearly drawn as to indicate that in a particular area the resources of the local Church organization ought to be exerted in behalf of a candidate who patently stands for those principles which are compatible with the doctrine and standards of the Church. However, the temptation must be resisted.”