Mormon leader visits, talks Romney, other issues

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

INDIAN SPRINGS — A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ national leadership team recently spoke about Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate who is also Mormon, as well as other current issues facing the church during a visit to Indian Springs.

Larry W. Gibbons, a church general authority, said during a visit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on U.S. 119 that while Romney’s presidential run has brought much attention to the Mormon church, the church will not take a stand on any political candidate.

Larry W. Gibbons.

“I think it’s important to understand that the church separates itself from any political party or candidate,” Gibbons said. “The church will take a stand on a moral issue, such as gambling, but not a political candidate.”

Gibbons also said the church works to help families stay together and find common ground in faith.

“We believe that families are the most important unit, not only in this life but in the next,” he said. “We don’t want to see divorces. We want to see families stay together.”

Gibbons also denounced pornography and its effect on young people, urging them to be “morally clean.”

“We want our youth to be clear of the effects of pornography. We want them to have clear hearts,” he said.

Lanny Smartt, president of the Bessemer stake, said the church defines marriage as between a man and a woman. A stake in the Mormon church is similar to a diocese in other Christian denominations.

“Our culture has struggled, and we feel the greatest response we can provide is to help mothers, fathers and grandparents,” Smartt said.

Gibbons followed up by saying that, contrary to what some believe, it is not permissible for Mormon men to have more than one wife.

“Anyone who has more than one wife is not allowed to continue their membership in the church,” he said.

Gibbons was in Indian Springs to speak during a conference for the local stake. Several other Mormon congregations from the area, totaling about 2,000 people, watched a live broadcast of the conference in their home churches.