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The news comes too late to provide poor Corianton with some solace, I imagine. I suspect you are right about the cultural chasm.

I do believe that the Church is too easy on white-collar sin, however. Perhaps we are desensitized by a rabid entrepreneurial culture replete with pyramid marketing schemes?

I wonder if the perspective outside the church might be that white collar sin often adversely affects many people, while an affair (at least on the surface) only affects those directly involved.

I can see that being a very real point of view, bandanamom.

Consider too, that taking bribes is something more unique to a public official than having an affair. Any schlub can commit adultery--it takes power and prestige to be worth bribing in the first place.

(the article doesn't state whether the question was ranking sins in general population or strictly among politicians, that would make some difference)

Far too many members of the Church mistake an opportunity to commit white-collar crime as a blessing (divine providence for one's needs due to righteous living and all that), rather than the temptation that it is.
C'mon, Steve, it's just good business, right?
[insert evil winking emoticon here]

If the 97% of members would vote for adultery being the greater sin, something is seriously wrong. I could see 80 / 20 as a reasonable response given cultural background, etc.

This sort of comparison is a tough question, but committing a crime that potentially defrauds millions of people and could get you sent to prison for a decade really ought to engender a response higher than 3%.

Of the business frauds that don't result in jail time, I agree that we seem to be too weak. One of the problems is evidentiary - without a conviction, how do we really know that fraud actually occurred?

Personally though, if I knew of someone who was committing adultery, I would think of it as a serious weakness they needed to remedy to avoid severe consequences. If I knew of someone committing business fraud, I would despise them and avoid them like the plague.

After some serious clicking, I found the original poll question. This is how it was worded:

WHICH DO YOU THINK IS WORSE: married politicians’ having affairs or politicians’ taking bribes? Or are both equally bad? Or don’t you care because they are all doing one or the other?

The AP story is misleading on three counts: (1) the question does not refer to "sin"--which would drag God's opinion into the picture--only to the respondent's own opinion; (2) both alternatives relate only to the behavior of politicians--not the general public; and (3) the actual winning response was "both equally" with 44%.

While the Mormon population might certainly think that extramarital affairs in general are a greater offense to God than politicians taking bribes, I suspect that far more than 3 percent (including myself) would be more upset if somebody who was supposed to be representing their interests was betraying them than if that same person was betraying his or her spouse.

Thanks for the info, Lemming. I think it's fair to say that the article did misrepresent the question and the responses.

The whole question seems like a false setup. No choice is necessary. We can distrust embezzlers and adulterers. I can't think of a time that I've had to choose to trust one over the other.

Maybe we need to stop looking at sin the way we look at movie ratings and judge individual sins on their merits. For example, back in the 1950s former Congressman Douglas Stringfellow did irreparable damage to the church and to the state of Utah by lying about his war record. As far as I know, he committed no sexual sin, nor did he embezzle anything.

Intriguing. Has LDS tolerance of sexual sin been increasing as the years go by?

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