Illegal Immigrant Mormons - "Lawmakers should show more compassion" - Could your Bishop or Full-Time Missionary be illegally in the USA and still serve in the Church?
Post Date: 24th Jan, 2008 - 4:19pm
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Mormon Church And Illegal Immigrants
LDS Church And Illegal Immigrants
Now, isn't this interesting? Is it me or the Church (since Romney has been a Presidential candidate) is becoming more and more "open" on politics and others issues even though we are supposed not to get involved? Read the parts in bold particularly.
Amid an increasingly rancorous debate about immigration, LDS leaders have urged Utah representatives to be compassionate in their push for legal reforms.
Â Â "The basic message was that we need to step back, not be so reactive and let cooler heads prevail," said Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, who met on Jan. 11 with LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard and other church officials. "The anti-immigrant community has become hateful and vilifies all undocumented workers." The LDS leaders said, in essence, "We must remember that we are talking about human beings."
Â Â Litvack, House minority whip, considered that valuable advice for lawmakers who are considering a number of anti-immigration bills, including a push to eliminate in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants.
Â Â Though many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, take a hard-line view of any people in the country illegally, others believe kindness fits better with the church's beliefs about treating strangers as if they were Jesus himself. They say a compassionate stance also is less hypocritical for the church, whose early members were almost all immigrants. Today, many of Utah's estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants likely are LDS.
Â Â The church remains neutral on immigration legislation, said spokesman Scott Trotter, but it does send missionaries among undocumented immigrants, baptizing many of them without ever asking about their status. It also allows them to go to the temple and on missions.
Â Â "The blessings of the [LDS] Church are available to anyone who qualifies for and accepts the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Trotter said. "Federal law allows undocumented persons to provide volunteer church service, including missionary service, within the United States."
Â Â The church has more than 500 foreign-language units in the U.S., made up almost entirely of first-generation immigrants.
Â Â "I look back on dozens of people we taught and baptized, and I personally can't think of one who did have legal status," said Rebecca van Uitert, an LDS immigration attorney in New York City who was a Spanish-speaking Mormon missionary in rural southern California from 1998 to 2000. "There were even some undocumented bishops and stake presidents. Basically, everyone was undocumented."