Mormon Church Hates Gambling: Mormon Politics Does Not

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Mormon Church

Two of the contenders for the Republican nomination for President of the United States are members of the Mormon religion: former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman.

Other top American politicians are also Mormons, including Harry Reid, a Democrat who is a U.S. senator from Nevada and the Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate.

With Mormons in such positions of political power, Gambling911.com readers might be wondering just what is the Mormon position on gambling?

The short answer: they're against it.

No surprise there as the strict Mormon church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is against many things, including alcohol, tobacco, drugs, caffeine, profanity, pornography, being in financial debt, body piercings, tattoos and any sex outside marriage.

But why exactly are the Mormons so opposed to gambling?

It can't just be a religious thing--other religions embrace gambling and raise money from it, such as churches that hold Las Vegas Nights to raise funds for charity.

So why the bee in their bonnet over betting?

A check of the official website of the Mormon religion at www.lds.org reveals the answer: Mormons think gambling is bad because it enables one to get something for nothing.

Also, according to the website, gambling is bad because gamblers who lose might steal from others to cover their gambling losses.

There's no mention of the fact that the overwhelmingly majority of people who gamble do so for entertainment purposes only, do it responsibly and don't suffer any significant consequences from it.

Nor is it mentioned that most people who gamble and lose don't steal to cover their losses.

Here's what the gambling page--or more accurately, the anti-gambling page--from the Mormon website states: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is opposed to gambling, including lotteries sponsored by governments. Church leaders have encouraged Church members to join with others in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of any form of gambling.

"Gambling is motivated by a desire to get something for nothing. This desire is spiritually destructive. It leads participants away from the Savior's teachings of love and service and toward the selfishness of the adversary. It undermines the virtues of work and thrift and the desire to give honest effort in all we do.

"Those who participate in gambling soon discover the deception in the idea that they can give little or nothing and receive something of value in return. They find that they give up large amounts of money, their own honor and the respect of family members and friends.

"Deceived and addicted, they often gamble with funds they should use for other purposes, such as meeting the basic needs of their families. Gamblers sometimes become so enslaved and so desperate to pay gambling debts that they turn to stealing, giving up their own good name.

"If you have never been involved in poker games or other forms of gambling, don’t start. If you are involved, then quit now while you can do so. Those who gamble risk more than just money. Their lives and families are at stake too."

So do Mormons practice what they preach?

Not necessarily.

Gambling911.com earlier reported how as governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported the expansion of gambling in the state, including legalizing casinos.

(He later flip-flopped on the issue and said he opposed expanding gambling, but that was only after he decided to run for President and needed to be anti-gambling to appeal to the Christian Conservative voters who voted in the 2008 Iowa Republican caucus.)

As for Huntsman, the state he governed--Utah--is one of only two states in the U.S. (Hawaii is the other) that has no forms of legal gambling.

No casinos, no racetracks, not even a scratch-off instant lottery ticket.

Being very Mormon and very anti-gambling, Utah isn't going to permit gambling regardless of who's governor, so Huntsman running the state had no effect on that issue.

As for Reid, how can a politician represent the State of Nevada and not be pro-gambling?

The answer: he can't.

Reid, who professes to be a devout Mormon, takes tons of money in campaign donations from gambling interests, and in return he treats them right, helping them get just about anything they need to make Las Vegas and the rest of the state the gambling mecca it is.

Reid even supports the legalization of online gambling, including online poker.

So despite the anti-gambling stance of the Mormon church, Mormon politicians aren't necessarily anti-gambling.

Unless they decide to run for President, that is.

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer


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