Utah reporter says politics are driving Mormons now — not their faith
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at an event hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

For many Christians, service is a key tenet of their faith. Acts of good works and service to the church are ways for some to embody the teachings of Jesus Christ. But one Utah reporter thinks that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has turned toward politics instead of toward God.

Writing for The Salt Lake City Tribune Thursday, Robert Gehrke explained that members of the church are near the top, with 46 percent nationwide who believe the right-wing conspiracy theories behind the "Big Lie."

"In Utah, it turns out, the numbers are almost exactly the same, according to a recent Y2 Analytics poll that found 46.5 percent of LDS voters in Utah believe that the election was rife with fraud and the outcome is illegitimate, compared to about a third of non-members," wrote Gehrke. "And while it might be tempting to assume there is some correlation between religion and doubting the election outcome, it takes a back seat to partisan identity when it comes to buying into what has been dubbed Trump's 'Big Lie.'"

Last week, CNN interviewed several evangelical pastors who say that their churches have been taken over by conspiracy theories. It's such a strong driver that Russell Moore, former leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that the church is no match for "24 hours of Facebook." The LDS church hasn't escaped a similar crisis.

Y2 Analytics founding partner Quin Monson explained that it indicates partisan identities are driving people's views more than their religious beliefs now.

"It also points to the challenge for church leaders' recent attempts to tamp down belief in conspiracies — adding a section on misinformation to the church handbook in December — a statement condemning the January pro-Trump rioting at the U.S. Capitol, and a prominently featured speech by President Dallin H. Oaks at General Conference in April cautioning members against strident partisanship and devotion to a political leader," noted Gehrke.

"We are to be governed by law and not by individuals," Oaks said, "and our loyalty is to the Constitution and its principles and processes, not to any office holder."

The LDS church also advocates a dedication to God and to Jesus Christ over devotion to a political leader.

"You can't counter a steady drumbeat from Donald Trump of 'Fraud! Fraud! Fraud! backed up by a good number of the national party leadership with just a General Conference talk or two," Monson explained of the church's efforts.

Read the full report at The Salt Lake City Tribune.