The fallout over the LDS Church’s upcoming 9-story MTC building continued over the weekend with an editorial from the Daily Herald. (Disclosure: I work for the Daily Herald but had nothing to do with the editorial.)
Much like my post from last week, the editorial focuses on the church’s not-so-subtle “invitation” to its members:
… church members were rather unceremoniously cracked into line to support the project through language that Mormons understand to be more than mere suggestion. They were asked to “sustain” their leaders.
The editorial also points out that the “invitation” to sustain church leaders was really something more:
Of course [Neighborhood chair Paul Evans] did not accept the invitation — not really. He responded to a message whose soft-spoken delivery did not obscure its underlying warning.
Among other things, the piece goes on to note that the church’s involvement effectively discourages civic engagement — something that it officially endorses — and runs contrary to past approaches to civic issues. And perhaps even more significantly, the editorial teases out even further reaching implications:
Does all this have any broader implication? Perhaps. Concerns have been raised, for example, about former stake president Mitt Romney’s susceptibility to religious influence. What sort of invitation might cause an LDS president of the United States to reverse his independent judgment on some issue of importance to the brethren? Once that possibility enters the picture, as it now has at the MTC, the questions could reverberate far beyond Provo.