Does Utah’s Far-Right Legislature Reflect Poorly on the LDS Church?

Authored by Jeff Swift, ABU Board Member 

I am tired of one-party control in Utah. It’s getting pretty old. In fact, it’s been old for a long time, even before Republicans slashed taxes on the wealthy and set the stage for our current education crisis.

One-party control has led to a tepid response to a deadly combination of geography and pollution — the Wasatch Front’s unique ability to trap toxins should have led our state to seek innovative and aggressive solutions to air pollution.

Instead, we built more roads.

Utah’s one-party rule is great for businesses. It’s great for polluters. But it’s not great for anyone who relies on education. It’s not great for those of us who have to breathe.

It was with the backdrop of this deep frustration that I read Larry Brown’s recent book about the history and impact of the close bond between the LDS Church and the Republican Party.

The bond wasn’t always this tight, and Utah wasn’t always this Republican.

I long for those days. I think we can get there again.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we got to where we are today, and why it matters, Larry Brown’s book is a great place to start. I wrote a full review of the book over at MormonPress. We’re not ever going to fix the problem until we understand it, and this book lays it all out in a very clear manner. Brown argues that American LDS Church members’ overwhelming affiliation with Republican politics has consequences, and that not all of them are positive.

The book is a much needed addition to the conversation about the LDS Church and politics. It should be read by any Mormon Democrat who feels alone in their ward and any Mormon Republican who can’t imagine what Mormon Democrats could possibly be frustrated about.

Jeff Swift, PhD serves on the board of ABU and on the executive committee of the LDS Dems. He lives in South Jordan, Utah with his family.

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