Church statements on Immigration and Race relationships
Church Statement on Immigration — Church News, June 2011
Around the world, debate on the immigration question has become intense. That is especially so in the United States. Most Americans agree that the federal government of the United States should secure its borders and sharply reduce or eliminate the flow of undocumented immigrants. Unchecked and unregulated, such a flow may destabilize society and ultimately become unsustainable.
As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages it members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas. What to do with the 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 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 US have noted, this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.
The Church 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 US, the Church 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.
Church statement on The Church and Race: Following is an official statement released by the Church on February 29, 2012 titled “The Church and Race: All are alike unto God. “
The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. The Book of Mormon states, “black and white, bond and free, male and female:…all are alike unto God”. This is the Church’s official teaching. People of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the Church since it beginning. In fact, by the end of his life in 1844 Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Church opposed slavery. During this time some black males were ordained to the priesthood. At some point the Church stopped ordaining male members of African descent, although there were a few exceptions. It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church but it has ended. Church leaders sought divine guidance regarding the issue and more than three decades ago extended the priesthood to all worthy male members. The Church immediately began ordaining members to priesthood offices wherever they attended throughout the world. The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals, both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father In Heaven, who loves all of His children.” Recently, the Church has also made the following statement on this subject: “The origins of priesthood availability are not entirely clear. Some explanations with respect to this matter were made in the absence of direct revelation and references to these explanations are sometime cited in publications. These previous personal statements do not represent church doctrine.