Sunday, January 14, 2007
It's very FRUSTRATING to say the least. I get really tired of having to defend my position so frequently. At the same time though, I'm really thankful for it all.
Here are some articles that help explain a lot about the issues:
And here is an article I have copied ver batim that I have a hard time locating on the internet sometimes. It's interesting. It doesn't really advocate for being either a democrat or a republican but rather explains that certainly there are BOTH types of mormons in Washington DC.
"They sipped fruit juice and dined on filet mignon
while chatting about baptisms, weddings, missions -
and running the country... Condoleezza Rice's newest
assistant at the State Department? Mormon. The lawyer
who wrote the famed "torture memo"? Mormon. The CIA
analyst who provided the agency's estimate - faulty,
as it turned out - about weapons of mass destruction?
You guessed it..."
LDS take capital steps
Members increasingly influential in Washington scene
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
and Robert Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:04/11/2005 06:53:25 AM MDT
WASHINGTON - Last month, 800 Mormons packed a ballroom
in the Georgetown Marriott for a meeting of the
Brigham Young University Management Society. They
sipped fruit juice and dined on filet mignon while
chatting about baptisms, weddings, missions - and
running the country.
This is D.C. table talk - Mormon style. And its echoes
can be heard in the halls of Congress.
Though their numbers are still relatively small,
legions of Latter-day Saints are tucked into every
corner of the nation's capital. And we're not just
talking about Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Harry Reid and
Mormons are key figures in the Peace Corps, the
Bureau of Land Management and
Profiles of Mormons in D.C.
Romney's faith in the spotlight again, (4/10/05)
D.C. Mormons: The Players
D. Kyle Sampson
Rodney J. Brown
Richard L. Hanneman
the Treasury Department. They oversee the White House
law office. They advise Congress on international
affairs, religious freedom, Social Security, housing,
land use, education reform and matters of war.
Condoleezza Rice's newest assistant at the State
Department? Mormon. The lawyer who wrote the famed
"torture memo"? Mormon. The CIA analyst who provided
the agency's estimate - faulty, as it turned out -
about weapons of mass destruction? You guessed it.
The Salt Lake Tribune talked to nearly 40 Mormons
in the D.C. area, power brokers who quietly serve the
interests of their country and of their church. Their
presence is a boon to the Salt Lake City-based Church
of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, which maintains a public
affairs office just down the street from the White
House and has a high-powered advisory committee to vet
national and international issues that affect the
church's vital interests.
And yet, Utah church officials would rather not
talk about it. They refused to allow their D.C.
counterparts to be interviewed, saying the church
wants to maintain "a low profile."
That could change very soon. Massachusetts Gov.
Mitt Romney is considering a run for the U.S.
presidency in 2008. Already, Mormons are rallying
around him, raising money, even as journalists
speculate on how the "Mormon network" might help or
hurt his candidacy.
It's quite a turnaround for a church and a
government that, just a century ago, seemed
incompatible. And it didn't happen by accident.
The art of networking
Kay Atkinson King spends her days discussing the
arms embargo on China, reading about Libyan weapons or
examining European/American antagonisms. She's a
senior staff analyst to Rep. Tom Lantos, a California
Democrat whose wife also happens to be Mormon. King is
smart, sophisticated, indispensable.
She's also quintessentially Mormon - a devoted
grandmother who sings in the choir and is the first
woman to be president of the BYU Management Society in
its 21 years.
King grew up in Salt Lake City, graduated from the
University of Utah and earned a doctorate in
linguistics at UCLA. While working in an MIT research
lab, she met her future husband, Bob King, who was
studying international relations at the Fletcher
School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston.
The couple moved to D.C. in 1983, just as LDS
visibility hit its apex during the Reagan-Bush era.
You had White House domestic affairs adviser Roger
Porter, national security adviser Brent Scowcroft,
National Institute of Health Director James Mason,
U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee, Education Secretary
Terrel Bell, pollster and political adviser Richard
Wirthlin. Dick Richards was chairman of the Republican
Today, the Mormon influence of people like the
Kings is less obvious, but broader.
The LDS population in greater Washington has
swelled to 50,000, with about 20 congregations,
including four singles wards. There are 10 times that
many Catholics in D.C., and many more Protestants than
Mormons in Congress. But what makes Mormonism unique
is its ethos of helping fellow believers, a practice
that goes back to Brigham Young's cooperative
Any Mormon who moves to Washington has an instant
group of friends at church, where members talk freely
about their jobs and lives. There are dinner groups,
book clubs, political cliques and even Daughters of
the Utah Pioneers.
Each ward and stake (like a diocese) has an
"employment specialist" who shares computer lists,
phone numbers and job openings. Mormon convert Angela
Bay Buchanan, the former U.S. Treasurer, sister of Pat
Buchanan and conservative activist, held this position
in her Virginia stake for years.
"Our assignment was not only to find people jobs
but to help them connect," says Carolyn White, an Air
Force attorney who has lived in D.C. since 1987.
BYU is another pipeline. In addition to the
management society, it also sponsors the J. Reuben
Clark Law Society, which helps place Mormon lawyers.
Last year, Justin Harding, a staffer in Utah Rep. Rob
Bishop's office, founded the Latter-day Saint
Congressional Staff Organization. It has more than 90
Greg Prince's biotechnology company created an
internship with Dixie College. Omar Kader, a
government contractor who helps small businesses in
the Middle East, looks for returned missionaries at
Weber State, the University of Utah and Utah State
University; now 14 percent of his work force is LDS.
Of course, there are the Marriotts.
Since 1927 when J. Willard and Alice Marriott set
up their first A&W Root Beer stand near downtown
Washington, the hospitality company has been a magnet
for LDS workers. The company's ethical reputation has
helped every Mormon who came later.
Mormons are disproportionately represented in the
Central Intelligence Agency, which has long sought out
Latter-day Saints with language skills.
This link started with LDS Apostle Neal A.
Maxwell, a former CIA employee who set the example for
future Mormon agents. It was an easy fit, says a
Mormon who recently retired as a senior official in
the agency. Mormons are patriotic in the extreme,
accustomed to respecting authority and not too likely
to have secrets or embarrassments in their history.
Plus, the official says, they can pass the
polygraph and drug tests.
Mormon lobbyists also use the network to promote
their causes. At church, Hatch and Bennett are
sometimes approached by members eager to get a
hearing, an appointment or at least a nod from a
And it goes both ways. When a lobbyist told
Bennett he couldn't reach a federal bureaucrat who was
blocking a terrorism insurance bill the senator was
pushing, Bennett replied, "I'll just talk to him at
There's nothing conspiratorial about such
connections. It's how everyone in D.C. does it.
"My work now intersects with Congressman [Jeff]
Flake from Arizona, who happens to have studied in my
same program at BYU," says Kathleen Moody, senior
adviser to the assistant secretary of state for
African Affairs. "He's on my African subcommittee. His
legislative assistant happens to be my [LDS] home
Church is church and work is work, Moody says, and
such links are not a big deal.
Not all Mormons use the network, though.
"I don't look for anyone's religion and I don't
depend on a religious network to accomplish my work,"
says Cynthia Hilton, of the Institute of Makers of
Explosives. "I think it's almost an abuse to use a
religious association to advance a political agenda."
Serving the church
For some, it is natural - and legitimate - to try
to help their church.
"You have a desire to give your time, talent and
energy to building the kingdom," lobbyist Bill Nixon
says. "It doesn't end at the chapel door or the office
door. It's part of your life."
Mormons throughout the government have resolved
tax problems, property issues, visa denials, religious
discrimination and the like.
Randal Quarles, assistant secretary of the Treasury
for International Affairs, discussed discrimination
against the LDS Church with the government in Ecuador.
Kader used his Middle East contacts to get the church
a toehold in Jordan. Nixon smoothed the way for LDS
humanitarian efforts in places like Afghanistan by
linking it up with some of his clients.
But their church is extra sensitive about asking
for official help from members, they say. They often
have to find out its needs from other sources.
"It doesn't want to be seen as using its influence
with church members," Bob King says.
In 1997, the Russian Parliament passed a law that
would have severely restricted the activities of some
foreign faiths, including the LDS Church. Bennett went
there representing all those that would have been
disenfranchised. Fellow Mormon Sen. Gordon Smith of
Oregon introduced legislation requiring Russia to be
fair in how it implemented the law before it could get
When Bennett was first elected, he met with
Apostle Maxwell, who told him: "We won't bother you
very much. We don't have many issues that involve the
federal government. But when we do, we would
appreciate it if you were responsive."
Since then, Bennett says, the LDS Church has
"never, ever come to me and said, 'I hope you vote
this way on a particular bill.' "
Except once: Martin's Cove.
LDS officials gathered Bennett, Hatch, Reid, Smith
and Mike Crapo of Idaho and laid out the church's
desire to lease federal land in Wyoming where 200
Mormon pioneers perished in a blizzard. Each senator
promised his support; Congress granted the lease.
Orders from Salt Lake are rare, but the very
possibility worries critics.
In 1998, when Ernest Istook, a Mormon convert of
30 years, was running for re-election in his Oklahoma
district, his opponent questioned the congressman's
vote for an appropriations bill that included money
for Salt Lake City's light-rail system. His opponent
claimed he was beholden to Utah because of his church
"It succeeded in offending a lot of people,"
Istook said. "But it wasn't much of a factor."
Parties at church
Like most Mormons, D.C. Saints lean to the right
politically. Scot and Maurine Proctor, editors of the
online Mormon magazine Meridian, are exploring the
possibility of organizing Mormons to push family
values legislation. Charles Carriker owns an
international fund-raising and advertising agency
specializing in pro-life and anti-pornography issues.
Attorney Lew Cramer helped the Republican National
Committee recruit 1,000 Utah students, mostly Mormon,
for President Bush's re-election campaign in
"battlefront states." Then he called "Jeopardy" phenom
One problem. Jennings is a Democrat.
That puts him in good company. House Minority
Leader Harry Reid, the most senior Mormon elected
official, is also a Democrat. Reid joined the church
while attending USU in Logan, but rose to prominence
as Nevada's gaming commissioner. Knowing his church's
opposition to gambling, he dutifully sought his
bishop's advice before taking the job.
"The bishop said, 'if you don't take it, I will,' "
Reid recalls fondly.
He knows that some Mormons question his religious
commitment because he's a Democrat, saying
sarcastically, "Yeah, after work I go out drinking and
carousing with women." Not so. He has always been
worthy to enter a temple, his stake president says,
and regularly attends General Conference in Salt Lake
Reid has organized the Mormon Democrats in
Congress with all of four members. They take their
Mormon beliefs to build a case for defending the
uninsured, protecting social services and fighting for
human rights abroad. One ward features "a hotbed of
anti-war, anti-Bush, even pro-choice members," with a
high councilman who "puts out e-mails on a daily basis
taking the president to task for being a war monger
Democrats are the subject of good-natured ribbing,
but political antagonism rarely emerges in D.C. wards.
There's more tension between Cougar and Ute fans in
the metropolitan wards, quips Scot Proctor.
That could be because Mormons don't have any kind
of political hegemony. They feel and act like a tribe
- with internal loyalty that crosses party lines, a
common lifestyle and language that binds them.
"Harry Reid is one of the most genuine, good
individuals in the U.S. Senate," says Nixon, a
lobbyist on the other side of most issues. "He is an
invaluable and gifted leader. Such diversity is
extremely healthy for the church."
From the outside
Still, Mormons in D.C. find their faith
misunderstood, or even, demonized. Most politicians
know about polygamy (abandoned in 1890), the Osmonds
and the Olympics, but very little else.
That's among the reasons for the church's public
affairs arm in D.C. - to increase its visibility and
burst stereotypes. At its invitation, Jim Towey, White
House director of the faith-based initiatives,
attended the BYU dinner, for example.
Ann Santini, wife of former Congressman James
Santini of Nevada, helps organize lectures and
exhibits at the temple, which has become a D.C.
landmark. She hosts 50 to 60 ambassadors at the annual
Christmas tree lighting ceremony there and at an
autumn party at the Marriotts' luxurious ranch in
It's slow, but worth the effort, says Bill
Marriott. "I just got off the phone with an Arab
ambassador who was at the Christmas lighting. He now
has a better, more favorable image of the church."
Sometimes, the LDS prohibition against coffee,
alcohol and tobacco sets Mormons outside the often
well-lubricated social flow.
Mormon convert Paul A. Yost Jr. spent nearly four
decades in the U.S. Coast Guard, eventually rising to
the very top as commandant. While serving as an
admiral, Yost invited Eddy Hebert, chairman of House
Armed Forces Committee, to a reception at his home.
Hebert asked for a bourbon and water, but got only
"Admiral doesn't serve alcohol in quarters, sir,"
his timid aide explained.
Standing in the midst of a hundred guests, Hebert
bellowed, "How the hell'd he make admiral then?"
There is, though, a subtler challenge coming from
In caucuses, committees and Congress, Mormons and
Evangelicals have united to oppose gambling, abortion,
euthanasia and same-sex marriage. But the two part
company over theology. Evangelicals define Mormonism,
with its extra scriptures and alternative view of God,
as non-Christian. That view proscribes close social
ties between the two, says political scientist John
Green of the University of Akron.
At a White House gathering of religious leaders in
the aftermath of Sept. 11, LDS Church President Gordon
B. Hinckley was not invited to join a smaller group
meeting with Bush. Apostle Dallin Oaks pointed out the
exclusion to Bush adviser Karl Rove, assuring him that
the LDS Church could be a strong ally if treated well.
And the 2004 National Day of Prayer organizer,
Shirley Dobson of Focus on the Family, refused to let
a Mormon offer a prayer.
"A lot of Evangelicals in Congress participate in
Bible study, prayer groups and other worship
activities," Green says. "It might be difficult to
include a Mormon."
That's simplistic, says David Gribbin, a top aide
to Dick Cheney during his days in Congress, the
Defense Department and Halliburton. Gribbin was
trained as a Methodist minister and had been invited
to lead a weekly Bible study on Capitol Hill when he
decided to join the LDS Church. Gribbin called the
Senate chaplain, thinking the invitation might be
rescinded, but was told to go ahead so long as he
focused only on the Bible.
Kyle Sampson, deputy chief of staff in the Justice
Department, speaks fondly of his interaction with
former Attorney General John Ashcroft, perhaps the
highest-profile Evangelical in government. Sampson
says he and Ashcroft had long talks about God, mercy
"We're building bridges and making progress with
the Evangelicals," Mormon attorney Cramer says. "But
we have a ways to go."
Editor's note: Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher
Stack is the niece of Sen. Bob Bennett.
Mormons in D.C.
Mormon founder Joseph Smith seeks redress of LDS
grievances from President Martin Van Buren, who
reportedly responds: "Your cause is just but I can do
nothing for you."
Smith runs for president to challenge federal
policies hostile to Mormons. In June, he is killed by
President James Buchanan sends 2,500 soldiers to
Utah to replace Territorial Governor Brigham Young,
believing that Mormons were disloyal to the country.
Church President Wilford Woodruff issues a
"Manifesto" discontinuing polygamy. Six years later
Utah becomes the 45th state.
B. H. Roberts, an LDS general authority and
convicted polygamist, is elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives but it refuses to seat him because of
LDS Apostle (and monogamist) Reed Smoot is elected
to the Senate but is seated provisionally while
hearings scrutinize the church, its doctrines, temple
practices and loyalty to the country. He served five
terms before being being defeated by Mormon Democrat
Elbert D. Thomas.
First LDS branch is organized in D.C. J. Willard
and Alice Marriott set up an A&W Root Beer downtown.
That would come the multinational, multibillion-dollar
Marriott Corp., and a Mormon chapel modeled after the
Salt Lake Temple is completed.
LDS Apostle Ezra Taft Benson serves as secretary of
Agriculture for Dwight Eisenhower. From 1961 to 1969
Stewart Udall serves as secretary of Interior for John
F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings at Lyndon Johnson's
inauguration and will sing at the inaugurations of
Michigan Gov. George Romney, father of
now-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, makes a run at the
U.S. presidency but falters in the primary with a
comment about being brainwashed by generals on
J. Willard Marriott organizes Richard Nixon's
inauguration; David M. Kennedy is named Nixon's
secretary of the Treasury and George Romney is named
secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Washington, D.C., temple in Kensington, Md., is
dedicated, first U.S. temple east of Utah. Within a
few years, the church launches its annual Christmas
Tree Lighting Ceremony at the temple as a way to raise
the church's profile, especially among ambassadors.
Sonia Johnson denounces the LDS Church efforts
against the Equal Rights Amendment before the Senate's
Constitutional Rights Subcommittee. In December 1979,
Johnson is excommunicated from the church for
allegedly "preaching false doctrine, undermining
authority of church leaders and hurting the church's
Gordon B. Hinckley receives the Medal of Honor in
the White House.