An interesting piece from Arizona on the LDS missionary effort in the illegal alien community:
"Latinos overwhelmingly are raised Catholic, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is aggressively reaching out to them by touting the religion's heavy focus on family and community, pillars of the Mormon faith that are also at the center of Hispanic culture.
As a result, Latinos are joining the Mormon Church at a greater rate than members of any ethnic group, even Anglos, church leaders say. " . . .
"Some state lawmakers, on the other hand, are trying to drive illegal immigrants out of Arizona.
(Sen. Russell ) Pearce said his immigration legislation, including the state's 15-month-old employer-sanctions law, is rooted in the Mormon Church's 13 Articles of Faith.
"We believe in laws and the sustaining and obeying of the laws of the land," Pearce said.
At the same time, Pearce said he is sympathetic toward illegal immigrants.
"I tell you, most of these are good people," he said. "But you are still taking jobs from Americans, suppressing wages and breaking the law. We can't tolerate that."
Still, he doesn't believe Mormons are undermining his efforts by reaching out to Latinos.
"They are not providing sanctuary policies for them, unlike some folks who hide behind their religious status and are (promoting) sanctuary policies. This church simply doesn't ask (about immigration status)."
Some Mormons, though, think the Pearce-led crackdown hurts immigrant families, including the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, and goes against the Mormon faith's emphasis on families and compassion.
Pearce's role in the immigration legislation has fueled perceptions that the Mormon Church is behind the crackdown.
Wilford Andersen, a member of church's Southwest governing body, said Pearce does not speak for the church.
"Just like any church, there are people with different opinions," Andersen said. "People have the right to disagree on political issues and the right to consider issues carefully and come to their own conclusions, and we respect that, as do other churches."
The church has not taken a position on immigration, Andersen said.
"But we feel it is our responsibility to minister to all of God's children, regardless of (immigration) status," he said.
Immigration has touched off a "quiet revolution" within the Mormon Church, said Garcia, the Brigham Young professor.
The church sees Latinos as the best opportunity for growth because of their numbers and openness to new faiths, but there is resistance from Mormons who tend to be conservative Republicans, he said."
A plethora of comments have been made on the online article.