A bright spotlight is shining on the LDS Church as more people are made aware of Mormons participating in politics, and the BYU Political Review strives to engage students in this conversation with its most recent publication.
The BYU Political Review recently produced a special edition about Mormons in politics with a goal to alert readers of the significance Mormons could have in political office. Their articles included the relationship between Mormons and the media, Joseph Smith’s political career, how Mitt Romney could impact Mormon liberals and other viewpoints. This unique publication captures local, national and global perspectives from student and faculty authors.
Bryce Johnson, an English major and editor-in-chief of the BYU Political Review, said the purpose of their publication is to refute a common misconception that LDS members have no obligation to be interested or involved in politics. To illustrate this, their latest issue focused on Mormons in politics from Joseph Smith’s experiences to the present.
“We put this issue together so it would be interesting to BYU students and broaden their perspectives as they saw examples of their fellow Mormons out in the public sphere making a difference,” Johnson said.
David Cramer, a senior from McLean, Va., majoring in economics, is part of the review’s staff. He said this issue was geared toward evaluating how a Mormon in the White House could change politics. Cramer said submissions to the review came from students and professors to encourage political conversations about the world outside of Provo.
“To write about Mormons in politics is our special comparative advantage,” Cramer said. “It shows that we have something special to say that other news outlets can’t produce.”
Emily Evans, a sophomore from Washington, D.C., majoring in mechanical engineering, said she reads the BYU Political Review and thought the recent issue made relevant points about the current political climate. One article dissected the relationship between Mormons and the media and Evans said discussions like those should help the religious barrier Mormons have in politics.
“I don’t think Romney will misrepresent Mormons, but he will provide a more balanced view of Mormons when contrasting it with Harry Reid,” Evans said. “It’s interesting to see how Mormon views get distorted when one Mormon is a certain way and people think that’s how they all are.”
Johnson said the next issue will highlight elements of Romney’s campaign and all students are invited to submit their articles for publication to share with the BYU community.
“We strive to be a forum to talk about issues that are important for our campus, the nation and the world,” Johnson said. “We are trying to expose students to new ideas and allow them to express themselves.”