Over the weekend President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration prompted a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God's children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The Church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering."
While vague, it’s sparked some conversation. Especially at church owned Brigham Young University, where students were discussing the statement during a Religion and Politics class.
“These are our neighbors," says senior John Lahtinen. "These are people that we should be taking care of. And if we can’t reach out and help people to do that, then, who will?”
Fellow classmate Nicholas Roweton thought the statement was good but lacked something.
“I was surprised they didn’t use the term religious freedom," Roweton says.
Roweton thinks this may have been a missed opportunity. He would have liked the church to directly state the importance of religious freedom for all believers, especially those outside Christianity.
But their Political Science professor Quin Monson says the statement is vague by design.
"It stays at the 10,000 foot level in terms of reminding...this is what we have said and what we believe," Monson says.
While the church has weighed in on various Utah immigration bills in years past, typically they keep issues like this at an arm’s distance.
“It’s very consistent with the church in terms of something that Joseph Smith said about teaching them correct principles and letting them act for themselves," says Monson. "They’re at that level of principles right now.”
Monson says if the executive order expands the church could very well move from principle to a more active participant in the national conversation.