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Mormon leaders warned on electioneering

SALT LAKE CITY, June 28 (UPI) -- With two Mormons seeking the U.S. presidency, the Mormon Church has warned full-time leaders to stay out of politics.

In a letter dated June 16, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said the ban on getting involved in political campaigns also applies to spouses, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday. Specific activities include making political contributions and endorsing candidates.

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Part-time church officials can be politically active, the church said. But they were warned they can only participate as individuals and must be clear they are not speaking for the church. They also were told to avoid political activity focused on their congregations.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have launched campaigns for the Republican nomination in 2012. Huntsman's father, a part-time church official, will be able to contribute to his son's campaign, but the new policy would have prevented his late grandfather, David Haight, who was a church apostle, from making the donations he did to Huntsman's 2004 gubernatorial campaign.

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