The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints updated its political neutrality and participation statement on June 1, encouraging members to “engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner.” 

But how?

Here are six simple ideas.

1. Decide personal principles

It’s important to decide which principles matter most before anything else. 

Identifying important leadership attributes provides a foundation off of which to make decisions.

“Without engaged citizens in a democracy, nothing happens,” said Trent Rose, a political science professor at BYU-Idaho who wrote his dissertation on civic engagement. “(When) we don’t elect good officials, we don’t get good laws.”

Brainstorming attributes, morals, values and characteristics one would like to see in a candidate provides a standard to aim for while researching different options.

Compiling a list of issues which one considers important can help narrow down the options when it comes time to vote.

One voter might prioritize how well a candidate’s views align with the U.S. Constitution, while another cares more about the candidate’s stance on humanitarian aid, foreign policy, immigration or the economy. 

Doctrine and Covenants 134 offers expectations citizens should have for their government leaders and can help Church members form their own standards to make decisions.

Leaders that “administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people,” says Verse 3 of Section 134.

Citizens and members of the Church should be particularly concerned with issues such as freedom of religion, right to fair trial and separation between church and state, according to Section 134.

The Church provides a guide to religious freedom with training on basic principles, having respectful conversations and separate instruction for work and school environments.

2. Stay informed

Scrolling through a free news app like Reuters can replace time that might otherwise have been spent scrolling through Facebook.

BYU-Idaho students have free access to the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other publications through Flipster, provided by the David O. McKay Library. These resources are available through the library’s database here.

This 2024 presidential candidate tracker from CBS provides a simple bio on each candidate, which can be a great place to begin research.

3. Vote

The Rexburg City Hall. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.
The Rexburg City Hall. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.

“Everyone should vote. It’s easy,” Rose said. “It’s a low bar. I mean, learn about the candidates, learn about some issues. Don’t feel like you have to know everything, but if you know enough, you can go vote.”

Registration is the first step in the voting process. Idaho residents can click here to register.

Citizens from Idaho can check if they are registered to vote here.

A driver’s license or some other type of state-issued ID is required to vote in any state.

For voting while away from home, see these instructions for absentee voting provided by

4. Get involved

A Rexburg City Council meeting. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.
A Rexburg City Council meeting. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.

Attending a city council meeting is one way to get involved.

The Rexburg City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. every first and third Wednesday at the Rexburg City Hall and meetings are also streamed over Zoom.

Idaho residents can find out who their legislators are here and contact them with questions and concerns about upcoming issues and bills.

Meeting with groups one doesn’t normally associate with can provide a broadened perspective and expose different viewpoints on issues. Try searching social media for local groups with varying interests and political affiliations.

Learn how to become a Madison County poll worker here.

Not everyone can run for public office or attend every city council meeting, but for busy BYU-I students, there are great resources to stay involved in local politics.

Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill sends out a monthly newsletter on current events and issues in Rexburg that can be accessed here.

Anyone may also sign up for the City Council’s newsletter that goes more in-depth about city processes. 

Citizens can also check the Madison County Democrat and Republican party websites for upcoming events.

“You also have the Spirit that is guiding you,” Rose said. “And as part of that, that even 100,000 times, magnifies that whole thing. And so that’s when the power really gets going.”

5. Respect others

“Please listen carefully,” said President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church, in his April 2023 General Conference address, Peacemakers Needed. ‘“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy’ that we can say about another person — whether to his face or behind her back — that should be our standard of communication.” 

Quickly scanning a post before publishing it on social media or evaluating words before one speaks upholds the standard of “virtuous, lovely, good report, or praiseworthy” and can foster cooperation in the political world.

Angry, cutting retorts will not help, no matter how much someone’s words go against another’s beliefs, according to President Nelson.

“On contested issues, we should seek to moderate and unify,” said President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of the Church in his April 2021 General Conference address, Defending our Divinely Inspired Constitution.

6. Serve

Volunteers cleaning up Eagle Park in Rexburg. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.
Volunteers cleaning up Eagle Park in Rexburg. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.

“I told my students in 110 that aren’t political science majors that hey, voting is important,” Rose said. “You need to stay up with the news to some degree, but there’s all this other stuff. If you don’t like politics, go volunteer here or give money to this cause or, or do this other thing, and everybody can kind of find their own little niche within the kind of broad civic engagement.”

The Church encourages members to help others regardless of race, nationality, political persuasion or religious affiliation, according to the political neutrality and participation statement. 

One can find upcoming Rexburg community service opportunities on the city hall’s website here.

“I’m a sports guy,” Rose said. “I grew up playing. I played three sports in high school. I played college basketball. So one of the ways that I’ve given back over the years is I coach all my kids.”

BYU-Idaho students playing catch. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.
BYU-Idaho students playing catch. Photo credit: Cat Menlove.

JustServe is another great resource to find opportunities to volunteer. 
“Recognizing what your gifts are and how you can give back,” Rose said. “That’s the way to do it.”