Mike Reyes

The 11th Commandment: Be a Republican

I am still looking for a scripture in the standard works that says, “Jesus is a Republican.” The more I search, the more I am convinced that scripture does not exist.

So, when a former roommate of mine found out that I am a member of the Democratic Party, I was a little shocked by his response.

“You know, members who are Democrats or liberals should not be allowed to hold a temple recommend,” he said.

When I asked why, he said the Democratic Party supports teachings that are against church values and that affiliation with it should be reason enough to make someone unworthy for the temple.

That hurt. I felt that because of my political convictions I hold true to, my roommate was suggesting I should not be a fully participating member of my faith.

It is no secret that many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the U.S. lean more conservative and Republican.

But that does not mean it is some sort of commandment that all members of the Church only affiliate with the Republican Party.

“The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians,” according to Mormon Newsroom. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.”

If this is the official Church stance on the manner of political parties, then where did my roommate get this belief that Democrats should not be considered worthy temple recommend holders?

There are too many instances where minorities in the Church feel unaccepted because of their differences. Statements like the ones my roommate made to me damage and hurt instead of uplift and inspire. I believe that in church culture, we say the differences of others should be embraced, but is that really true if statements like these are being made to members who are not of the “Mormon mold” majority?

Diversity among people is something that should be valued. The characteristics, beliefs, culture and other aspects that differentiate us, help us view things in a new perspective, should be embraced, not rejected.

We are all individuals. Each of us is the person we are because of experiences we have gone through. How one person perceives an issue will likely be different than how another person perceives it, and that is OK. As members of the Church, we should help create an environment and culture where people who are different feel loved, accepted and welcomed.

The teachings and mission of Jesus Christ implement this in so many ways. If we claim to be the only true church currently on the Earth, should we not emulate Him in every way?

I hope those who find themselves feeling unaccepted among church members because of their differences understand that the Savior loves them as they are and that they are welcome in His Church.

I would also hope that members of the Church fulfill the second greatest commandment by loving their neighbors and those around them.

If anyone does end up finding a scripture that says, “Jesus is a Republican,” let me know. Until then, let’s stop assigning Christ a political party.

Mike Reyes

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll