It is election time here on St Martin, and we have a member of the Church–our Elders Quorum President–who is running for office. To my knowledge he is the only member running for office here on the island (there are a number of members who work for the government here, but only one running for office).
Brother Somersall is a great guy, and would make a wonderful and honest leader for St Martin! We wish him the best. The election is just in a few weeks, the end of September…so we will just miss it!
Our landlady, Gracita Arringdale is also running for office! She even formed her own party: the PPA . She asked if we as missionaries ever got involved in politics…perhaps wondering if we would aid her in her cause? The answer, of course, was that we as missionaries could not get involved in local politics while serving a mission. We had to remain neutral in all things political so as not to offend anyone who might be seeking to hear and accept the gospel! Hearing and accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ was much more important than any political movement: the Gospel is eternal and never changes, while politics and other social issues can change–they can come and go, ebb and flow–depending upon the whims of the people and the times. It is why the Church tries to stay out of politics–other than to encourage people to get involved.
On very rare, and important, occasions the Church will get involved and make a stand for or against a specific issue (not for or against a specific party) when they feel that the issue directly effects the Church. Then, like any citizen, or any group, Union, Corporation, or other organization of people, they will get involved to make sure their side of the issue is heard and supported.
Most of the time though the Church will stay above the riot of political retoric and speak to issues that directly effect people. One of the proudest moments I have had as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was during last General Conference when the Church let everyone know that they would be giving aid to refugees. In spite of the harsh views on either side of the issue, the Church looked at the need, and chose to help!