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‘Mormon Women for Ethical Government’ is growing fast and standing firm

A guest post by Mette Harrison

On March 24, I attended the first annual conference of Mormon Women for Ethical Government at the Tanner Building on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah. It was a day-long choice of workshops ranging from a tutorial on how to write op-eds to “Immigration Myths” and other activist-themed talks.

It was sold out.

The speakers, all of whom were female, pleaded with women to get involved in government, to run for office themselves, to write to government officials, to join marches, and to consider themselves powerful. They also encouraged members to donate to a drive for diapers for refugees, either by bringing diapers to the event or sending monetary donations online.

Listening to these women talk at the conference and the dinner following, I was impressed with how often they spoke from both sides of the political spectrum. Some thought of themselves as Democrats and cheered for other openly identified Democrats, but they were not necessarily in the majority. Many were Republicans who felt betrayed by their party and no longer saw it as representing their values.

Many spoke about the need to talk about families. Instead of referencing how families looked (nuclear, immigrant, brown-skinned?), they focused on what issues need to be addressed to help all families: alleviating poverty, facilitating access to clean water, restricting guns, preventing abuse, and so on.

A bipartisan commitment to ethics and justice has been a hallmark of MWEG in its first year of history.

Shortly after the inauguration of President Trump in January of 2017, a group of Mormon women came together to work toward more ethical government.

At first, they simply started a Facebook group and invited others to add themselves. None of the original founders of the group had any idea of the magnitude of what they were starting. They imagined it would be dozens, or even a few hundred women.

It now has nearly 6,000 members all over the United States, using civility to navigate the current political landscape, focusing on what brings people together even in a time where politics seems to be about dividing us into rabid, outrage-focused combatants.

In some ways, these women were not the kind of people I might have expected to found a political movement. They were children’s writers, musicians, teachers, stay-at-home mothers, and businesspeople.

But they also were frustrated with what seemed a new lack of ethics in government. One of the mottos of the group, printed on their T-shirts and the postcards they encourage members to write to their Congressional representatives, is “We will not be complicit by being complacent.”

Is MWEG anti-Trump? They insist they are not. They are a non-partisan group but have come out in favor of some things Trump has opposed, such as allowing DACA recipients to remain in the country and permitting immigrant families to remain together. They have drafted numerous official statements, including an “Open Letter to President Trump,” explaining Utah’s history as a state created by refugees who were once rejected by their own government.

Some of the MWEG’s recent actions include:

  • A march and email campaign (with BetterDays 2020) to ask for Martha Hughes Cannon, the first woman senator in the country, to be honored with a statue in the U.S Capitol to represent Utah in Washington, D.C.
  • Protests on behalf of immigrant mothers who were being deported away from children
  • A letter-writing campaign asking for the congressional delegations in many states to reconsider repealing ACA and repair it instead
  • Sending kind notes (in the purple color that is now the brand color of the movement) to former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz to get better soon following foot surgery so he could return to D.C. and his job as chair of the oversight committee
  • Hosting rallies to promote voter participation and clean air
  • Lobbying on Capitol Hill and in various state legislatures
  • Writing numerous op-eds
  • Organizing phone call and letter campaigns to Congress

And they’re far from done. This month, MWEG is publishing a new book with By Common Consent Press about their peacemaking principles, titled “The Little Purple Book.”

There will be an explanation of how the group came into being, as well as an essay on each of the organization’s six principles, which are:

  1. Peacemaking is proactive and courageous.
  2. Peacemaking seeks to unify instead of divide.
  3. Peacemaking demands great tolerance for people and none for injustice.
  4. Peacemaking views human suffering as sacred.
  5. Peacemaking chooses love instead of hate.
  6. Peacemaking believes that ultimate love is not only possible, but sure.

I’m currently working with MWEG as their newsletter writer, and I’ve also attended several rallies. I’m a registered Republican, but couldn’t vote for Trump and have been unhappy with his lack of morality in office. This group has been a great way for me to feel like my opinions matter, and that I can actually do something to help change the world for the better, combined with other women who make me feel like a sister.

If you’re a woman who is interested in joining MWEG, click here.

Mette Ivie Harrison is a novelist, triathlete, and regular guest blogger at Flunking Sainthood.


Other posts by Mette Harrison:


 

About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church," which will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2019. She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

42 Comments

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  • Keep doing what you’re doing. Hopefully this can build to a coalition of “Americans for Ethical Government” that can bring some civility to politics and encourage problem solving instead of gamesmanship.

  • It sounds like the group is doing some great work. The one small hiccup I saw was hoping Jason would get back to Washington. He seems to be a conservative hack who knows when his time of divisive politics has run dry. I hope more people come out to vote this year who are appalled by the corruption of Trump and his minions.

  • If Mormons want “ethical government,” they need to stop voting for unethical people, such as POTUS 45.

  • Good luck, ladies.

    Orrin Hatch opens his hatch and declared that Trump is a good man.

  • Bad news indeed. The link you provided says nothing about the race or religion of the people who attacked others. Meanwhile, in our country, two state legislatures Passed bills stating that any organizations which receives state funds can deny gay people the right to adopt As long as it is based upon their “sincere religious beliefs.”

  • Actually the laws say that private agencies cannot be compelled to facilitate the adoption of a child or children by a same sex couple.

    In both states that same child or children can be adopted by the identical same sex couple through another agency without religious scruples.

  • We are 100% in agreement there.

    There is nothing in scripture that says children should be denied loving homes.

    My scruples say make sure those children have a home with parents that love them. Your mileage obviously varies.

  • When it comes to public policy, Trump is a good man, and he is reflecting the goals of the people who elected him. Therefore, he is one politician who lives up to his campaign promises. That’s being moral also.

  • Tax cuts for billionaires. A border wall. That will never be built at a cost of billions we can’t afford. Your healthcare abrogated, threatening was with Iran and North Korea. Cont8nung our involvement in the Middle East. Lying virtually every day.

    He’s all yours.

  • Just your opinion – not mine. obama abrogated healthcare – not Trump. Apparently you’re happy with NK developing missiles to deliver nukes to the US. I hope the border wall is built because I don’t want illegal drugs from Mexico coming into this country. I’m happy to support Trump. Too bad you don’t.

  • “He seems to be a conservative hack who knows when his time of divisive politics has run dry.”

    Do you even see the irony in this sentence?

  • “I hope the border wall is built because I don’t want illegal drugs from Mexico coming into this country.”

    Not a prayer (no pun intended on this website) of the wall making any apprecible difference. The vast appetite for illegal drugs is not being fed by mules walking across the border. It comes from semi-truck loads and shipping containers. The cartels are able to identify customs agents and offer them silver or lead. Silver usually gets its way.

  • Not my opinion. But fact. Mr. bama brought health care to many people who did not have it before. NK has been developing nukes for a long, long to,e.cRrump didn’t stop them, just paid them off. Like Bush did in 2005. The wall will not stop drugs, any more than anti drug laws do now. I notice you didn’t address the tax cuts for billionaires that will add trillions to our deficit.

    But you are entitled to your opinions.

  • I have no doubt he would not have resigned if Clinton had won. Instead, he is left dry because he is not interested in actually pursuing corruption against Trump and his crooks. That would not sit with his base who are blinded by the snake salesman and his friends at faux news.

  • Interesting that an article about Mormon women is sparking a lot of derogatory comments about Trump from men. Hmmmm! What makes you think, Danny, that if the wall is built and more border patrol agents are able to focus their attention on semi-loads and shipping containers that more drug shipments won’t be stopped? That’s totally logical. By the way, how much of your tax money do you want spent on social services for illegals? Just look at CA’s budget…..that speaks volumes of the debt CA is incurring, not to mention the serious decline in CA’s educational system.

    Maybe, just maybe, the ‘vast appetite for illegal drugs’ has to do more with supply than with demand.

  • You seem to forget, Ben, about all the health insurance companies that have disappeared after obamacare was passed, and there is now less choice in choosing a health care insurer than ever before….thus leading to higher costs for those who are not poor enough to qualify for tax credits. And those who do qualify for tax credits are now getting the American taxpayers to pay for their health costs. Think about the whole picture, why don’t you?

    As far as the billionaires go, when those guys make money they seek to invest in more business ventures to reduce their own tax burden….thus leading to more JOBS. Apparently the tax cuts for billionaires and COMPANIES are resulting in very, very low unemployment rates for EVERYONE, as verified by the jobs report last week.

  • No one is arguing with you about children and the advantages of loving homes.

    The same sex couple has access to adoption through agencies that do not have religious objections, and the same children are available to all agencies.

    Where we differ is that, consistent with your orientation and intense dislike of religion, your preference would be to quash participation of agencies with religious beliefs that might be inconsistent with your personal disbeliefs.

  • The “Never Trump” Mormons are the ones who can still claim the high ground on ethics in politics.

  • Snazzygirl, I agree that on paper your argument for more agents, a barrier, etc., should help interdiction efforts. But our national experience (empirically speaking) is that efforts to interdict drugs only work temporarily. Because prohibition and interdiction ignore a fundemental point, which is human behavior adapts to obtain what it wants. (Think alcohol prohibition. It was hugely unsuccessful.) Many Americans want drugs. Heroin is cheap and widely available here in central Indiana. Meth, come and get it. Mushrooms, LSD, pharmaceuticals, no problem. How do I know? I represent people who are charged with crimes, mostly drug offenses. Finally, I would argue that drug cartels, though violent, are economically rational. They are in the market for a profit. They would not risk prison or worse for no gain. But there is profit in the US, because there is demand. The fact that drugs are relatively cheap is because law enforcement is mostly ineffective in interdicting the supply. Basic economics is that demand drives supply. Not the other way around.

  • Disagreements on policy can and should happen in ethical government. Policy competition is ethical and improves policy.
    The problem with both political parties right now is that they have the attitude that the ends justifies the means. Anything goes to win. Lies, cheating, name calling, vulgarities, false accusations, attacks on institutions, divisive insults, interference with law enforcement, payoffs and hush money, taking business from those who want to influence policy, promises to the highest bidder or to whichever angry group will vote and offer power, demands for personal loyalty above conscience, and self-aggrandizement and grandstanding, make up only the short list of recent examples of NOT ethical government occurring in both parties. However, a president, who takes all the credit, takes all the responsibly.
    It is especially disappointing that those who claim to belong to moral religions have adopted an ends justifies the means attitude and often cannot distinguish between ethical government and their own favored policies. They cast those who disagree with their policy preferences as evil–policy preferences which were in many instances different only a few short years ago. Their wiliness to defend immoral conduct in and out of government in order to achieve some policy win is very sad. At this rate one begins to wonder if Satan himself is electable, if he just offers the right set of policy promises and is sure to denigrate and insult the other tribe enough.

  • I agree with you to some extent – but supply vs demand is a revolving door. Until there is a supply (a cheap supply according to you), someone may not decide there is a demand on his or her part. In other words, someone may not avail themselves of the ‘opportunity’ to partake of cheap drugs until the ‘opportunity’ is presented to him/her.

  • Except that they generally enable Trump by holding their nose and saying/doing nothing about him.

  • He reflects the values of the people who elected him which make him the opposite of a good man. He was elected on the promises of being the most racist, corrupt, dishonest and spiteful leader one can bring to public office.

    Your support of him speaks badly of your values and goal.

    He is a terrible man supporting terrible people. Might as well stop trying to polish that turd and just go all in with being upfront about such things.

  • So making healthcare more expensive and less accessible is a good thing?

    Trump got excluded from substantive talks between the Korea’s and China. Meaning we have no leverage at all. We can’t threaten NK because China has put them under nuclear protection and sanctions are already being lifted by NKs neighbors. Plus Trump just announced that the US signature on any kind of treaty or agreement is worthless.

    The border wall will never happen because it is wasteful useless and a waste of potential resources.

    You are happy to support a spiteful ignorant fool. I guess you all need to stick together.

  • You mean the policies which were expensive but couldn’t meet bare minimum standards of care. But all in all healthcare was more accessible and cheaper for most. It was replaced with? Making policies more expensive and less accessible.

    Trump wasn’t a self made man. He inherited his wealth and has been squandering it ever since

    That tax giveaway to corporations didn’t create jobs but allowed them to simply consolidate wealth at the top.

    Unemployment rates have been on a steady decline since before Trump took office. The continuing of the trend merely marks his inability to implement economic policies. He hasn’t been able to mess up what is already in motion.

    It’s amazing how much you have to lie to make Trump look even mildly competent.

  • Last month $17 million in pure cocaine from Central America arrived at a UPS facility here in Kentucky. Shipments of similar size made it though customs at other facilities. How is your feckin’ wall going to stop that? Drugs shipped through the customs checks at the border are minuscule compared to what’s sitting in cargo containers. It’s the DEA you need to be supporting, not some tinker toy wall.

  • “Maybe, just maybe, the ‘vast appetite for illegal drugs’ has to do more with supply than with demand.”
    Supply side economics …for drug dealing and use? Just what are you smoking?!

  • We were having a civil discourse, and you choose to insert a nasty comment. Shame on you!

  • Very true. Political hypocrisy is an unofficial “article of faith” for many Mormons.

  • Well, what were you smoking to generate that type of suggestion. Nasty? Whatever…I’ve been the edge of drug interdiction and learned enough from gang task force educators to now that demand is always the issue.

  • Once you insert a nasty comment, I really don’t care what you think…or do for that matter. You’ve already betrayed yourself as someone who is not worthy of civil discourse.

  • I guess you haven’t heard that 3 prisoners from North Korea came home today…..under Trump’s leadership…..something no other president has done.

  • Under Trump’s leadership? LOL.

    We played such hardball with NK over them and forced them into such a result as Trump kept crowing he would do with them?

    Nope. We asked politely and because they are playing nice for now. Probably involving the kind of payoff which got you up in arms when a Democratic administration did the same thing.

    “something no other president has done.”

    Except for the last 3 of them who had Americans released by NK.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_foreign_nationals_detained_in_North_Korea#List_of_detained_US_citizens

    Your foolishness is best addressed in the form of a comic strip (totally safe for work)
    https://boingboing.net/2018/05/02/what-trump-supporters-see.html

  • You don’t need to worry. They added that detail to the list to present themselves as non-partisan. You’d agree with all their actual political action items.

  • Groups like MWEG will remain effective as long as they remain bi-partisan (or nonpartisan) and do not allow themselves to become echo chambers for one political agenda or ideology. (This from a Republican non-Trump voter).

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