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Pro-Life Organizations Reject LDS Volunteers Over "Statement of Faith"

 

By: Luke Hanson, Editor-in-Chief


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often partners with other religious organizations to accomplish its social and humanitarian goals, but the gesture is not always reciprocated.


Clare Thomas, a Latter-day Saint living in Arizona, was excited to volunteer for a local pregnancy resource after attending their open house. [Note pregnancy resource centers are non-profit organizations that offer resources as an alternative to abortion]. In a statement to Ward Radio Thomas explained the good she thought she could do as a volunteer, "They told me a story of a woman who was just there the week before and was seriously considering abortion because she was a drug addict, she was worried her baby was going to be born disabled because of her drug use so why should she keep it. Our youngest we just adopted from foster care was born exposed in utero to meth and fentanyl, she spent 30 days detoxing in the NICU. I told the workers there I would love to tell these women who are in that situation that my daughter is thriving and substance-exposed babies end up having great lives! Don’t kill your baby because you are on drugs."


Thomas told Ward Radio that she prayed with the employees several times and that they told her she was "sent there to help from God." "I agree!" she responded.


Thomas filled out her paperwork, got her references, and submitted her application. She never got a response. Eventually, she called the center and was told they appreciated having her and that they would call back. They never did.


Undeterred, Thomas reached out to another pregnancy resource center called Choices. Their application contained a "Statement of Faith" and asked prospective volunteers if they affirmed it. It began "We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God (II Timothy 3:16). We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)." Latter-day Saints disagree with both the Trinitarian conception of the oneness of God and that God has limited his authoritative word to the Bible.


The questionnaire also contained questions about what Church the candidate attended, who their pastor was, if they had the assurance of salvation, and who they believed Jesus Christ was.




After submitting her application, Thomas was contacted by a staff member for Choices. "it appears it would not be a good fit for you or Choices to bring you on as a volunteer" she was told. The email concluded, "it is very important that everyone who represents Choices comes from the same doctrinal position regarding the Bible, how we express our faith, and how we share it with others." The website for Choices makes no mention of Christianity apart from the application to work or volunteer at the center. Choices did not respond to a request for comment from Ward Radio News about how a different doctrinal position about the Bible would deter from the pro-life work of the center.



Statements of faith are the norm in the mainstream-Christian-dominated pregnancy resource center space. Care Net, one of the largest pregnancy resource center organizations, has a statement of faith that all its employees and affiliates must sign to work with them. It includes the same two statements about the Trinity and the Bible that Latter-day Saints can't affirm.


Despite ostracism from many pro-life nonprofits, Latter-day Saints are participating in the national pro-life movement through organizations like Latter-day Saints for Life among others. Jessica Spackman, cofounder of Latter-day Saints for Life, spoke with Ward Radio about what it's like to work with Christian pro-life groups. She shared that she had also been denied from working in a client-facing position at an organization in Logan, Utah, which was at one point affiliated with Care Net.


Spackman, however, believes these groups "have every right to ensure that the messaging those women receive at each center is aligned with their faith, and I respect that." She explained that Latter-day Saints for Life also restricts membership based on faith because "it allows us to speak to, gather, and work together with fellow Saints in a unique and effective way. A pregnancy resource center with a particular faith mission can absolutely decide to keep staff and messaging aligned with their doctrines."


While she respects and understands each group's decisions about who to allow to volunteer, Spackman believes pro-lifers can save more lives together than separately and that there are many benefits to focusing on similarities rather than differences. Spackman hopes more Latter-day Saints heed the words of Russel M Nelson, the current president of the Church, who called abortion an "assault on the defenseless". "One way or another, we need to show up. You can do it," she concluded.


 

Ward Radio News is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church) and does not officially represent the Church. The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily represent the position of Ward Radio News.

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18 Comments


Jason Orton
Jason Orton
6 days ago

I respect that any organization can put into place whatever rules they want for their membership. I do find it baffling that the work of saving babies needs a statement of faith for volunteers rather than a statement of values surrounding the issue of abortion but that is their right. I would think that the greater goal of saving babies would trump religious dogma. If I was in that organization I would want to do some self reflection on this requirement. I would hope that they would come to the conclusion that saving a baby was more important but respect that it is their decision. There is nothing stopping our members from creating a similar organization that accepts all volun…


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These statements of faith are becoming more and more prevalent. They are divisive even amongst evangelicals. In 2018 a homeschooling Co-op in Saint Louis split up because the latter day saint members offered to teach U.S. history and were told that the co-op didn't trust what they would teach. They also thought that they were in violation of the statement of faith. But the statement was written in a way that you could interpret based on your background.

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Friends, I have been involved in the Pro-Life movement since 1973 - Phyllis Schlafly was the woman who championed this movement and until her death in Sept. 2016, she was the reason Trump appointed pro-life SCOTUS justices. Conservative leaders would not support him so she personally met with him and she said she'd endorse him if he agreed to be a pro-Life president and appoint those judges. He promised (and he did). She was the FIRST conservative leader (and Catholic) to speak out supporting him, and because she was held in such high esteem among the other groups, one by one they began to endorse him. On this issue during his first term, he was excellent. Phyllis was a …

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Is this religious bigotry in the grandest? Does the Center fear being proselytize? After 180 years, people still have misconceptions about LDS communities.

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Hope we get a morning show for this one

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