LDS Church asks members to vote against legalizing recreational marijuana, assisted suicide

File photo: Marijuana in the Browse region of the Dixie National Forest, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 24, 2012 | Photo by Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asking members in four western states to vote down ballot measures proposing the legalization of recreational marijuana and assisted suicide in a pair of letters sent out Wednesday.

A letter related to the recreational marijuana bills – signed by the First Presidency of the church, Presidents Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring and Deiter F. Uchtdorf – were sent to LDS leaders in Arizona, California and Nevada. The letter asks LDS members in those states “to let their voices be heard in opposition to to the legalization of recreational marijuana use.”

Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, and the dangers of marijuana are well documented,” the letter states. “Recent studies have shed light particularly on the risks that marijuana use poses to brain development in youth. The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is a danger to children.”

Earlier this year the church also opposed a bill sponsored by then Republican Sen. Mark Madesn, of Eagle Mountain, that would allow the whole of a marijuana plant to be used for medicinal purposes. Church leaders said they were worried about “unintended consequences” if the legislation passed.

After making the statement of opposition to Madsen’s bill, it died in the Legislature. A related bill in the Legislature that was more restrictive – which the church did not oppose – and only allowed access to a marijuana-infused oil also failed to pass.

Many of Utah Legislators are members of the LDS Church.

The second letter, which was sent to LDS Church members in Colorado, opposes a ballot measure that would allow for physician-assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients if passed.

“The Church maintains a firm belief in the sanctity of human life and opposes deliberately taking the life of a person even when the person may be suffering from an incurable disease,” the church leaders said in the letter. “Life is a sacred gift and should be cherished even in difficult circumstances.”

Though assisted suicide is permitted in some counties and states, the letter continues, church leaders claim it “can endanger the vulnerable, erode trust in the medical profession, and cheapen human life and dignity.”

However, the request to oppose the ballot measure in Colorado is followed up with the statement that church members should not feel obligated to extend someone’s life through “unreasonable” means.

An assisted-suicide bill was proposed in the Legislature last year and did not pass. The LDS Church also opposed this bill.

It is anticipated that end-of-life legislation, along with medical marijuana, will return during the 2017 Legislative session.

Churches and nonprofits are prohibited from engaging in activities that could potentially endorse or intervene with the campaigns of political candidates in order to maintain their tax-exempt status.

However, according to the IRS:

Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

As long as the church is providing what amounts to nonpartisan voter information in a neutral manner and does not favor or oppose any political candidate, its tax-exempt status is not considered violated or at risk.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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34 Comments

  • Bob October 14, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    legal weed will be far less damaging than alcohol has always been. And everyone with terminal illness should have the right to end their own lives. These mormons need to butt-out of ppl’s business. Go straighten out your mormon pedofiles up in short creek before u go trying to dictate everywhere else

    • ladybugavenger October 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      You tell em Bob!

    • mesaman October 14, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Sorry Bob, but your opinions are as important to me, and probably the majority of Mormons, as the lint in your navel. Get over it or leave it.

      • Mike October 15, 2016 at 10:17 am

        actually, you are quite wrong about that.
        The majority of LDS members are for the legalization of medical use. And that’s in Utah alone. You might check your facts before you post passive comments about bellybutton lint. Which BTW you wouldn’t get if you washed properly.

        • mesaman October 15, 2016 at 8:40 pm

          So cite your references. You seem to think you have the facts but I don’t believe you. You might even be one of those liberal liars, for all I know.

      • 42214 October 15, 2016 at 3:14 pm

        Mesa, I thought you would be more interested in assisted suicide than marijuana.

        • .... October 15, 2016 at 8:09 pm

          422…nice shot ! ☆☆☆☆☆ 5 Stars for that one

    • Samuel October 14, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      After watching the leaked videos of their leadership, I cant believe people still follow them religiously… IMO. They should stay out of affairs that dont concern them for sure well said brother

    • digger October 15, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Yes Leave Your Religion OUT OF THIS TOPIC< Cannabis IN NATURAL MEDICINE! God Given By Te Way!!
      Legalize It and You Wont Have To Worry About SUICIDES. The Rate Will DROP, They Medicate Instead Of OVERDOSE ON Opiates Utah!!!

      • .... October 15, 2016 at 8:14 pm

        Amen to that digger. Praise the Lord ! may God bless you and watch over you. my prayers are with you. Jesus is your salvation.

  • ladybugavenger October 14, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Ok, if your members have to be told what to vote for or be told what to believe well then they don’t have it in their own heart. Mormon is such a cult. We all know mom who forgot baby in car and it does was not charged because of the influence of the church. But it wasn’t right, by any means, for her to not be charged with something.

  • Real Life October 14, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Baaaaaaa. Baaaaaaaa. And the sheep will do as the good shepherd says.

    • .... October 15, 2016 at 9:30 am

      It seems RealLowLife Sheep is still looking for a job. Baaaaaaaaaaa Baaaaaaaaaaa my prayers are with him. Praise the Lord !

  • .... October 14, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    terminal illness ? then Real Life should use it for his personality disorder and anger issues. my prayers are with him. Praise the Lord

    • Real Life October 15, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      Well, well. Looks like I hit a nerve, again. Was it the pill jab? The no job? The troll? All three? You are a pathetic loser. Praise the Lord.

      • .... October 16, 2016 at 8:14 am

        LOL ! Got you again. you should seek professional assistance in solving your anger issues

        • Real Life October 16, 2016 at 9:18 am

          Do you really not see it? Surely you can’t be that stupid. That’s why it’s got to be drugs. And with this much time, no job. Dumpster, you account for over 1/3 of all comments, and very little or no substance goes into it. Don’t worry though Dump, it’s not you, it’s everyone else. LOL!

          • .... October 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

            Godo bless you my fellow brethren. I really get to you don’t I ? LOL ! my prayers are with you. Praise the Lord !

  • 42214 October 14, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    If assisted suicide was legal the Quorum of the 12 would be prime candidates for it’s use.

    • .... October 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

      and Real Life also LOL !

  • Kristi October 14, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more Bob!!! They need to take care of their own and ask why so many are leaving the Mormon church and becoming Seekers??? Is it just maybe they are finding out the real truth about the Mormon church??? They don’t ask their members they tell their members to vote NO!!!

  • digger October 15, 2016 at 7:03 am

    This Is Not NEWS! ITS PROPAGANDA!

    • .... October 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Only in your pink colored sky world !

  • Mike October 15, 2016 at 8:05 am

    TAX POLITICAL CHURCHES!

  • JOSH DALTON October 15, 2016 at 9:12 am

    I vote Bob for Governor! GO FALCONS!!

    • .... October 15, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Vote for Bob ? LOL it takes more than just 1 vote to win ha ha ha ha ha

      • ladybugavenger October 17, 2016 at 6:10 pm

        I’ll give him a second vote.. ..Bob wins!

  • ladybugavenger October 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Legalize Marijuana. Hand the people that want to commit suicide a joint.

    • ladybugavenger October 15, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      And a Bible 🙂

      • .... October 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        and a Coke and bag of Cheetos cuz they gonna get the munchies ! LOL

  • think4urself October 15, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Seriously, only in Utah! It’s simply ridiculous. The “brethren” should be more consistent and ask members in every state to do this, not just in Utah. Oh but wait, that’s right…the only reason they ask members in Utah is because it’s the only state where members can really affect the outcome of the vote. Whatever happened to the belief in free agency?! Just because you make something illegal doesn’t mean the people who really want to do it aren’t going to and yes that includes many members of the LDS church. The church needs to butt out of politics and focus on their own people as the religious institution that they are and stop trying to force their personal beliefs upon everyone else.

    • Mike October 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      The Mormon church had a huge impact in California 2008, being a political force to sway the vote on Proposition 8. Just like they tell their members not to drink coffee, they can tell their members not to smoke pot. People who think for themselves, and are church members will know how they’d like to vote without the church needing to tell them, or campaign against it. Church and government decisions should be separate, or be taxed.

  • bradleywilliams October 15, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    The Colorado promoters of assisted suicide are guilty of false advertising. Their bills do not deliver as promised. If they are really supporting individual choices and rights they would provide an ordinary witness to the self administration of the lethal dose. Without a witness they are promoting forced euthanasia. I learned after caring for my wife’s last 18 months of declining autonomy. I learned that you can work on 4 hours sleep. I am focused on how this Prop 106 is written, it’s omissions and how it could be administered to my wife.
    Colorado Prop 106 provides no ordinary witness to the “self-administration of poison”.
    Even as the promoters have inundated us with their chant that the lethal dose “must be self-administered” and mentioned it 9 times in their 11 page Prop 106 they do not provide an ordinary witness to the act. That omission effectively eviscerates all of the so called safeguards. The difference between having a witness to “self administration” and no witness is that one honors individual rights and the other is non voluntary euthanasia. A promoter was once asked “why don’t you just legalize euthanasia?” He said “the public is not ready to accept euthanasia.”
    The process seems to be full of requirements on the front end up until the script is written. Then an heir can pick up the script and administer it without oversight. Know that only 2% of the doctors have attended these events in other states.
    Even the front end “requirements” have fatal flaws. A predatory heir may be a witness to the initial request along with a staff member of the facility. Does that sound like good public policy?
    The rest of the family is not required to be contacted. And everyone involved gets instant immunity. The death certificate is falsified by this law which makes it impossible to prosecute a murder when the death certificate states the underlying illness is the cause of death. There really is no transparent reason not to post poison as the cause.
    This bill Final #145 Article 48 provides that a predatory heir can facilitate the signup process, murder the individual and receive immunity all before the rest of the family is notified. This is neither reasonable nor prudent public policy. This is dangerous public policy that puts the entire population (all ages) at risk of exploitation by the medical-industrial-complex, organ traffickers and predatory heirs.
    I encourage people to read the Oregon model bill before taking a, or expounding on their position. We will agree no matter our starting position that this Prop 106 does not deliver.
    This bill is not the one.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Bradley Williams
    President
    MTaas dot org

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