This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Congregational leaders in the LDS Church should provide welfare assistance to undocumented Mormon immigrants as they would to any other church member, according to a purported policy paper from the Utah-based faith.
The June 2012 guidelines were posted on the MormonLeaks website earlier this week. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would not comment on whether the three-page document was authentic, but other materials posted the same day by MormonLeaks drew cries of copyright infringement from an LDS official. Previous leaked Mormon materials on the site have proved to be credible.
The immigration document comes at a time when the Trump administration is cracking down on the flow of refugees into the U.S. and the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country.
It underscores the fine line the LDS Church treads regarding immigrant members.
According to the nearly 5-year-old document, Mormon leaders do not have an obligation to ask or report an immigrant's residency status. It further states that welfare aid should be divvied to undocumented immigrants as it is to all members as spelled out under church guidelines.
"The bishop is entrusted with the responsibility of using the resources of the Lord's storehouse to care for the poor and needy members of the ward [congregation]," the document states. "Bishops may draw on the general fast-offering fund as needed to provide short-term shelter, medical assistance and other life-sustaining aid."
The document notes that, whenever possible, bishops should provide other types of assistance before paying rent for known undocumented immigrants because that could violate immigration laws.
Although church members may provide "incidental transportation" to immigrants for such things as trips to a grocery store or doctor, they should not "assist undocumented aliens to move out of state or to travel to obtain illegal work."
Church leaders should never "explicitly or implicitly encourage aliens to reside illegally in the United States," according to the paper. "Priesthood leaders should encourage members concerned with their status to seek legal advice."