Friday, July 10, 2009

Illegal Aliens as Mormon Missionaries

The Salt Lake Tribune recently wrote an article highlighting the problem the LDS Church is facing with it's missionaries who are illegally living in the United States, yet serving full-time missions. According to the Tribune, would-be missionaries who are "undocumented" are now being assigned only to "state-side" missions where they will have a decreased chance of having problems with immigration issues. Immigration attorneys are assisting to resolve these immigration problems.

We have also discussed this issue in the past, after Jose Calzadillas was detained by Customs and Border patrol agents in the Cincinnati International Airport for not having proper identification after attempting to fly home after successfully completing his mission in Ohio.

We have also discussed a separate yet similar topic of LDS missionaries knowingly baptizing illegal aliens into the Church and the moral issues that raises.

If the LDS Church continues to knowingly baptize illegal aliens and allows them to serve full-time missions it will put them in the awkward position of having to publicly defend their support of people who are not obeying the law.


  1. On the other hand, it really isn't the role of a church to enforce immigration status among its parishioners. And an individual may be out of status for a variety of reasons (seeking political asylum, out of status less than 180 days, etc.) without being subject to immigration or legal consequences. I don't think it is necessarily wrong for the Mormon Church to baptize people who are undocumented or out of status. The worst thing that could happen is that the individuals go back to their country of origin and have to attend church there. Since there are Mormon congregations in almost every country, that isn't much of a problem, ecclesiastically speaking.

    Permitting illegal immigrants to serve full-time missions is a tougher call, but once again, it isn't the role of a church (or any other non-governmental institution) to police immigration status. There is unquestionably an element of dishonesty associated with many (but not all) illegal immigrants, but that dishonesty may not lie with the missionary applicant. Many illegal immigrants were brought to the U.S. as young children. It seems that the LDS Church has decided to leave that matter between the individual and the government, and balance the religious goal of full-time missionary service with the risk and harm associated with potential deportation. Is this the correct approach? I don't know, but it's good enough for me, and I at least appreciate that the Mormon Church is cognizant of these issues.

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  3. Yikes, deleted the post when I was only trying to edit it. And now I even lost what I had typed. Suffice it to say that I agree with Peter R., and would only add that while the 12th Article of Faith is important, it's one of a number of scriptures on the topic. Moreover, I don't think it should trump the right of priesthood leaders to receive revelation, according to the exercise of keys each leader holds, to determine worthiness. Bear in mind that for a person to go on a mission, there had needed to be several worthiness determinations from baptism through receipt of the temple recommend, and I understand that the call itself is issued by the First Presidency. There needed to have been revelation during each step in the process. If the Lord considered a person's immigration status to be serious enough to affect worthiness, I would have anticipated revelation to have been patterned accordingly.

    Moreover, as Peter also pointed out, this is a worldwide church, and not all countries have the same immigration or visa policies. Guidance regarding mission calls should conform to the overall goal of fulfilling the Lord's commandments vis-a-vis sharing the Gospel and should not necessarily be restricted worldwide in order to conform to the policies expressed by one country in particular. --SJR

  4. Illegal Immigration and health care are heavily connected, believe it or not. Massive high taxes are imposed on the US taxpayer to pay for so called emergency hospital care for illegal immigrants and their families. Except foreign nation use the emergency room for their basic needs, such as the flue or a splinter in the finger. As always the taxpayer is the recipient? Health care revision can never happen while Taxpayer carry the heavy burden of paying for the millions of illegal workers and families, who have settled here. As an example 80 hospitals and clinics locked their doors for good in the Sanctuary State of California, because huge hordes of individuals came their for free health care. Why do you think California found themselves with a $24.5 billion budget deficit?

    Those who want to just follow the same old road, can do so with the profit taking commercial insurance. Those who would be satisfied with a government run health care program, can now start demanding it from the lawmakers. Those who see a Universal health care system, similar to most developed countries in Europe, should start informing every Representative and Senate politician starting today. Rationing in places like England, was caused by the major impact of uncontrolled immigration. I see--THE RATS--are coming out of the woodwork, using propaganda and downright lies about government run medical care? The Special interest lobby, status quo have very wealthy fingers in the pie and do not want Health care for everybody? It's a trillion dollar business like Cancer treatments.

    The pharmaceutical companies, AMA and others have very much to lose? Even many corrupt politicians are stockholders in this behemoth money machine. Most American working class can do--without-- high premiums, pre-existing condition clauses. deductibles, co-pays that is representative of the wealthy medical care insurers.

    Unless our politicians commit themselves to a strong E-Verify, Police enforcement 287(g) and enforce all federal employees are vetted, so illegal immigrant workers can be rooted-out. The push for AMNESTY, will even draw another invasion in to our nation once the word goes out.

    This free health care atrocity was placed on the unknowing American, years past and never been rescinded. This has favored the business community, because they pay--ABSOLUTELY NOTHING-- to a maimed or sick illegal worker, because it's passed on to the consumer. IF YOU DESIRE A NEW HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, WHERE YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR INSURER? WHETHER YOU WANT THE FOR PROFIT INSURANCE OR GOVERNMENT MEDICAL CARE SYSTEM? TODAY IS CRITICAL. SO CALL YOUR SENATOR OR CONGRESSMAN 202-224-312. Just like illegal immigration , we cannot afford anymore to subsidize the business that hire them or the millions of illegal families. GOOGLE--on the web to find the truth.

  5. I agree that it is not the church’s obligation to enforce the laws of any country. However, if the temple interview question / requirement to deal honestly with others including in our business dealings is a church doctrinal requirement and an individual is known to be here illegally working with false documents and is given a temple recommend (a requirement for US missionaries) then this policy says that the church does not require an individual to obey the laws of the church in order to be a church leader, missionary, or to be considered “temple worthy” and should in the same vein allow those who have word of wisdom issues also go on missions and have temple recommends, or those who don’t pay a full tithe, ect.

    The church can do as it likes however this policy is not in accordance with church doctrine no matter how you look at it.

  6. A person knowingly breaking our laws should NOT be worthy to be baptized or go on a mission until he repents and makes restitution. That means go back to the end of the line. The end of the line is in your own country. Now if that same illegal alien drank coffee. He would have the wrath of the church upon him.

  7. article of faith we believe in obaying the laws of the land.[unless it interferes with our profits]thats what the church is about.they breack the law hiring them the illegals to work on the farm at elberta utah,.the members hire them to do the same thing..bishop f.l johnsen

  8. the church is only interested in making money,if illegals join and pay a little tithing thats money in there pocket,if they go on a mission and convert some one and they pay tithing more money in there pocket.the church hires illegals as does there members,,its about very plane that the infr=ermation avalable on the internet that the lds church is false,lots of people are leaving because they found out its all a lye and has nothing to do with god or jesus christ..only money sex and lyes