I was really surprised by this post over at Nine Moons.
It’s understandable to me that a church would suggest to its congregants that they pay attention to a particular political issue or even be involved in the political process. But it starts raising flags with me (and perhaps many other people) when official church representatives, acting in their capacity for the church, show up at members homes and tell them, to the dollar, how much they should contribute to a political campaign. Even more surprising that the church may be using tithing record to determine what each member can afford.
I can’t imagine this is going to work out well for the LDS church. Particularly if the mainstream press catches wind of it. I’d be interested to know how high up the chain this idea goes in the Mormon hierarchy. If it’s just a Stake President who got a little over ambitious with the suggestion that members participate in the passing of Proposition 8, it will raise some eyebrows. But if it’s discovered that this “game plan” came from Salt Lake City it will not mean good news for the LDS church.
On the one hand, the LDS church is taking a definite side on perhaps the most controversial issue in the country right now. I can’t really blame them for that and churches will always take their lumps on moral issues that may be unpopular in the rest of the culture. But it heightens the press for the second issue. Church leaders making individual appointments to tell members how much they should give to a political issue is outside the church experience most people are familiar with (even if it is voluntary). It will come off as way too aggressive and way too controlling to most people.
I expect some bad press for the LDS church on this one. If you know an LDS missionary you might be able to guess what they’ll be discussing with contacts in the coming months.