Importance of the Study of and Participation in Government and Politics:
-“..the Elders of Israel begin to understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious, and to seek to know and comprehend the social and political interests of man…” [President John Taylor, JD 9:340]
-here is another reason why prophets don’t tell us everything: Mormon 1: 15-17
15 And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.
16 And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and I was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had wilfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity.
17 But I did remain among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them, because of the hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake.
–why is the word on government quite for a while it seems? Perhaps the tares are being allowed to grow up with the wheat to not choke out the wheat while it is young and tender. Perhaps, as President Benson said, they speak little of politics at General Conference because we are a worldwide organization being watched by evil forces who seek ways to bring us down.
– “The science of government is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take place of, indeed to exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” (John Adams writing to his wife; Quoted in Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment [New York: George Braziller, 1965], pg. 188). (*Also Scott Bradley quoted this to Elder Oaks of the 12 Apostles who seemed enthused by it.)
– October 1987 general conference talk “Our Divine Constitution” (see Ensign Magazine, November 1987) President Ezra Taft Benson quotes Joseph Smith, saying: “The Prophet Joseph Smith said: ‘t is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. ‘Tis right, politically, for a man who has influence to use it. … From henceforth I will maintain all the influence I can get'” (History of the Church, 5:286).
-For digussion on the true meaning of separation of Church and state, see book library.
-The LDS Church is politically neutral, yet they encourage members of the Church to be politically involved in a way that coincides with their religious values. (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/official-statement/political-neutrality)