The Mormon Church, formally the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has long maintained a neutral position regarding political parties and candidates. They do, however, explicitly reserve the right to call attention to issues that they feel have a significant impact on church members.
A local leader of the Mormon Church in San Clemente, California exercised that right last month, ahead of an information session held by the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD), to discuss the proposed adoption of a new comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum for middle school students. The proposed curriculum change is part of ongoing efforts by many California school districts to comply with the state’s California Healthy Youth Act, which took effect in 2016.
According to an email obtained by the Truth & Transparency Foundation (TTF), and published on MormonLeaks, a Mormon leader, known as a Stake President, asked members to attend one of the three information sessions and express their opposition to the proposed curriculum changes. According to the Stake President, the proposed curriculum contains “...highly offensive, controversial, age-inappropriate and inaccurate material that would be inconsistent with the standards of any home, family or parent in our stake.” It is unclear what specific proposal he is referring to and requests for comment from the Mormon Church have gone unanswered.
Recipients of the email are told to visit the home page of United Parents, a local organization that helps parents fight against the CSE curriculum changes. The website provides scripted comments and questions that parents can ask at informational meetings or during other interactions with politicians involved in passing the curriculum. Additionally, the email instructs the recipients to not identify as members of the Mormon Church and to not make any statements that would suggest they officially represent the church.
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