There’s trouble in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While church leadership is urging its followers to vote against the slew of marijuana legalization propositions appearing on ballots Tuesday, some Mormons have reservations about the church’s stance.
Last month, the three top leaders of the church (termed the “First Presidency”) signed a letter sent to church members in Arizona, California and Nevada, three states that may legalize recreational marijuana after this year’s election. The letter, as reported by KUTV News, reads in part:
“Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented… The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is also a danger to children.
“We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use.”
The LDS church showed some flexibility in the issue when it only opposed one of two medical marijuana bills floated through Utah earlier this year. One, which would have legalized most forms of medical marijuana for patients, was opposed by church leadership (it also wasn’t passed), while another which permitted the use of CBD oil for patients with severe epilepsy was not officially opposed (though not endorsed either) by the LDS.
But some Mormons are acting against the church’s stance on cannabis. One of them is LDS member Senator Mark Madsen, who passed one of the medical marijuana laws in the Utah Legislature. Enedina Stanger, a Utah Mormon who was busted for using pot to treat a rare and painful bone disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, said she prayed for something with the relieving effects of medical marijuana and called it “a miracle.”
Twin brothers Nathan and Aaron Frodsham recently got some press for their vocal support of medical marijuana, despite their church’s views. Nathan, like Stanger, has an advanced degenerative disc disease. “Cannabis helps significantly,” he said. “Probably better than anything I’ve used before.”
Aaron, a physician, was late to come around to medical cannabis. “I only knew it in the negative side and always believed it was a drug that was very dangerous, and that it was addicting,” he said.
Maybe the LDS will come around too. The church has softened up in the last few years. Members can even drink Coke now.