Let’s say you’re the head of a huge, international religion with membership in the millions. But not only are members of your church “leaving in droves”—a fact which a prominent member of your church acknowledges—but a few years ago, you invested* significant time and money to impose your religious beliefs on others, only to have Proposition 8 ultimately ruled unconstitutional.
It was a gamble, admittedly. You had tried your best to stay out of the political spotlight in the past, but that whole gay-marriage issue was just too important. So given the fact your strategy failed in California and your base is dwindling, what do you do?
You double down!
The LDS Church recently sent a letter to all Utah congregations, encouraging local leaders to cancel any meetings that may interfere with the upcoming caucuses being held in March so Utahns everywhere can have the opportunity to participate.
Why this recent encouragement? I’m, of course, speculating**; but here are my thoughts.
Perhaps the LDS Church realized it will probably be easier to impose their beliefs on others if they just stick with Utah. They tried to sway those hemp-wearing, hemp-smoking, hemp-loving liberals in California, only to be made fools of. They likely won’t meet that kind of resistance in the Beehive State.
Perhaps the LDS Church is a little worried because they were unable to
sway legislation meet with legislators before this most recent session (as they’ve been doing for decades) to give some ultimatums words of encouragement. They’re going to have to rely on their loyal followers to do it for them.
Perhaps the LDS Church thinks that if their members don’t have to go to a church meeting they would love to, instead, go to some stupid political meeting filled with overzealous weirdos in tri-corner hats. I bet all those Young Men’s and Young Women’s leaders who now have a weeknight off are going to march right over to their local caucus to pay the church back for its generous gift of not having to deal with acne-encrusted teens for one night.
And why just Utah? If the caucus system is so important, wouldn’t the LDS Church encourage all of their congregations, across the country, to cancel meetings on nights of caucuses? Or are they more concerned with keeping Utah a bastion of Mormondom than they are about actually standing for Democratic principles?
It seems the LDS Church’s influence is beginning to wane and, like any organization, losing power is tough. They don’t talk directly to legislators anymore and they can’t come right out and influence legislation (since that would be unconstitutional), so they’re instead going with the strategy that didn’t ultimately work in California.
And, of course, there’s nothing insincere about
demanding encouraging your followers to campaign for you so you can maintain your political influence all while maintaining your political neutrality.
But at the end of the day, when all these Mormons show up to these caucuses and ensure the LDS Church has a voice, it sure will be nice for the LDS leaders to say, “The people have spoken! And it turns out, we were right all along! Isn’t Democracy great?”
*Indirectly invested, according to you.
**You’ll need to pray to know if I am right.