As most readers know, M* supports the Church and its leaders. This means that most readers and commenters are what we will call (for lack of a better term) “conservative Mormons.”
On many issues like same-sex marriage or abortion, this does not create much stress for conservative Mormons because the Church seems to support our views.
But what about the issue of the Syrian refugees? And what about immigration?
The Church issued a letter two weeks ago asking members to assist the refugees. How did you respond to that letter? Did you contribute other offerings? Did you participate in local relief projects?
Here is what the Church said:
It is with great concern and compassion that we observe the plight of the millions of people around the world who have fled their homes seeking relief from civil conflict and other hardships,” states the letter.
The letter explains the Church is assisting migrants and refugees in several countries “thanks to the generous help of our members.”
Mormons have been providing aid to refugees in the Middle East for more than a decade, providing hundreds of thousands of blankets, clothes, emergency medical supplies, food and other resources to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Syria.
In response to the recent crisis in Europe, the Church made an additional commitment in September of $5 million to help displaced families.
The letter continues, “Members may contribute to the Church Humanitarian Fund using the Tithing and Other Offerings donation slip. We also invite Church units, families, and individuals to participate in local relief projects, where practical.”
“May the Lord bless you as you render Christlike service to those in need,” the letter concludes.
Let me state quickly that this is not a post intended to scold anybody. I want us to “reason together.” I don’t have all the answers, and I think people of good will can disagree. But if we support the Brethren, shouldn’t we support humanitarian efforts to help the refugees?
How about on immigration?
Here is what the Church said in 2011:
As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas.
What to do with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing in various states within the United States is the biggest challenge in the immigration debate. The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.
The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.
As those on all sides of the immigration debate in the United States have noted, this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.
The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.
In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.
Here is my opinion of the Church’s position on immigration: the Church seems to be clearly against mass deportation. The Church seems to be in favor of some kind of immigration reform that allows people to stay in the U.S. and work. But the Church also is in favor of the rule of law. In this statement, the Church makes it clear that nations have a right to secure their borders.
I will make a personal comment. I favor some kind of immigration reform, and I have been pro-immigrant since the 1980s. So, the Church’s position on this issue causes me no concerns. But here is something to consider: most of the immigrants coming to the U.S. right now are compatible with U.S. culture. Yes, many of them speak Spanish or Portuguese, but their children very quickly assimilate into U.S. culture, and they generally accept the values of the U.S. Constitution and our republican system.
Do we feel this way about Syrian refugees? Would they assimilate into U.S. culture as quickly as people from Mexico or El Salvador? Is it completely outrageous to have some security concerns regarding Middle Eastern refugees? I have seen claims that Middle Eastern refugees are not security threats, but what about these guys? And what about the Boston Marathon bombers, who were Muslim refugees?
So, there you have it. The Church is urging compassion, not hatred, for refugees. The Church is urging compassion, not hatred, for immigrants. My sincere question is: how do my conservative Mormon friends square this with their personal philosophies?
NOTE: Comments that attack other commenters in personal ways or use over-the-top language will be deleted. This is an emotional subject, but I want commenters to be honest and to try to reason through this issue without fear that somebody is going to attack them. If you want to comment here, keep your comments on topic and be kind to other commenters and to the author of the OP. Thanks.