SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Just days after the LDS Church told its top officials to stay out of politics, ABC 4 News has learned just how active some LDS leaders appear to have been.
This includes, in one case, a reported email from a Church General Authority asking for a campaign donation.
The LDS Church recently released what some are referring to as “Political Neutrality 2.0,” a new and refined statement on the LDS Church, its leaders and political neutrality.
The Church’s new statement and policy mandates that General Authorities stay away from certain political activities.
But looking at documents ABC 4 discovered, LDS Church leaders seem to have been pretty involved in the past.
ABC 4 has obtained an email from a LDS Church General Authority which appears to have been written before the Church implemented its new neutrality policy.
It also appears to have come directly from a Church email account.
It specifically asks for a campaign contribution.
While this was allowed under old Church policy, things have now changed.
The Church’s new Political Neutrality statement makes very clear what General Authorities can and can't do,
"General Authorities and general officers of the Church and their spouses and other ecclesiastical leaders serving full-time should not personally participate in political campaigns, including promoting candidates, fundraising, speaking in behalf of or otherwise endorsing candidates, and making financial contributions."
ABC 4 News is being told that, previously, LDS Church leaders have made political contributions to candidates of both parties.
Using the website, OpenSecrets.org, ABC 4 checked which LDS Church leaders have been making political contributions.
We found several donors whose occupation mentioned the LDS Church.
Some contributed to Mitt Romney in his last presidential campaign and also to various Republican organizations.
On this website, ABC 4 also found two specific donations from a Craig and Jan Zwick, each for $2,300 dollars in 2007 to Mitt Romney.
It's believed this is the same Craig Zwick who is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Zwick also has a son who's a long-time, close political associate of Mitt Romney.
The LDS Church told ABC 4 its new political neutrality statement refines the old one and "plugs some gaps."
But clearly, the new policy is much tougher than the old one and the political activities we've just told you about are now forbidden.