My dear fellow Mormons,
I have been applauding you the last few weeks leading up to last week’s election for being in the front of the anti-Trump movement. You were there at the beginning with Brother Romney worrying about Mr. Trump’s “trickle down racism, bigotry and misogny.”1 I’ve praised you online and here in Oregon amongst my non-LDS collegues; the latter were very impressed. Heck, even Bill Maher was impressed.2, 3
But what happened on November 8, 2016? Seriously. Sixty-one percent of Mormons voted for Donald Trump! That’s higher than any other religious group in America.4
Mr. Trump explicilty has expressed ideas that conflict with what our Church teaches. Allow me to review:
LDS Church, June 10, 2011:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.
“The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.
“In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.”5
LDS Church, April 15, 2014:
“Our principle, I declared to the president, is that we love our neighbor, which means we love all people, in all places and at all times,” President Uchtdorf said. “One of the core values we stand for is families. The separation of families (in U.S. immigration policy) isn’t helping…First we need a just and caring law balanced with the values and principles that we love our neighbors, that families stay together, and enforce just and compassionate laws.”6
Donald Trump, April 18, 2015:
“I don’t think they have American citizenship and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers — and I know some will disagree — but many of them agree with me and you’re going to find they do not have American citizenship. We have to start a process where we take back our country. Our country is going to hell…No. 1, the 14th Amendment is very questionable as to whether or not somebody can come over, have a baby and immediately that baby is a citizen. OK?…You have people on the border and in one day they walk over, have a baby. And now all of a sudden we’re supposed to pay the baby … medical, Social Security,”7
Donald Trump, June 16, 2015:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”8
Elder Russell Ballard, August 20, 2013
“I feel certain that men who demean women in any way will answer to God for their actions.”9
“Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”10
Donald Trump, December 7, 2015:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”11
The following day, December 8, 2015, in response to Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, the LDS Church published statements from our founding Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., and reiterated his teachings and the Church’s stance regarding religious liberty:
“Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city …
—Ordinance in Relation to Religious Societies, City of Nauvoo, [Illinois] headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1, 1841″12
On October 16, Church-owned Deseret News did something it hadn’t done in 80 years. It spoke out against a presidential candidate:
“Accordingly, today we call on Donald Trump to step down from his pursuit of the American presidency…We prefer to stand for something rather than against someone. But this is one of those rare moments where it is necessary to take a clear stand against the hucksterism, misogyny, narcissism and latent despotism that infect the Trump campaign even as we hope for a more auspicious future of liberty, prosperity and peace for the nation.”13
Do you see any disparities? I do.
But I know. Hillary’s emails. You know, you could have voted for a third party or not voted at all.
The Monday before the election while at work, the non-LDS surgeon with whom I was working said to me, “Well, we will see tomorrow if Mormons are really about family values. We will see if they really beleive it.”
I guess we Mormons don’t believe in family values. Congratulations. We had the oportunity to do the right thing, but instead we clung to our politics more closely than our principles. We saw our allegiance to the Republican party as greater than our allegiance to our Church and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are no better than the Evangleical sell-outs. No, we are worse, because I expected better. And many in the media sold us as better.
Today I’m reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s (1892–1984) words:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
His words perhaps are prophetic to our people. This week we learned that President-elect, Donald Trump’s, appointment of chief strategist is Stephen Bannon. He is a known white supremacist and anti-Mormon.14, 15
“Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
So next time I say something pro-marriage equality, or pro-gender equality, or point out institutional racism, keep your mouths shut. You have no right to speak now.
Your Brother in Christ Jesus,
Such a sad situation. I sure hope you are wrong, but I do think you are going to have some chances to say, “I told you so”.
And there’s this: D&C 98: 9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Mormons went down the rabbit hole on election day!
You to an article that shows that 61% of of Latter-Day Saints voted for Trump. However, I’d like to offer a contrasting point view. I couldn’t see where the spread of 24,537 religious respondents came from, but look at Utah’s result with me.
In 2012, 72.8% of the popular vote in Utah went to Romney and only 24.9% went to Obama. The third party candidates were at 1.2% or below.
Compare this to this year’s election results in Utah. Trump only received 45.9% of the popular vote with Clinton at 27.84%.
Clinton gained a few points on Obama, but Trump lost a much bigger percent compared to Romney. Third parties had a much bigger showing. McMullin was 21.05% and Johnson at 3.36%.
Now Utah isn’t all LDS of course, but a lot of Latter-Day Saints I know (not just in Utah) did exactly as you asked of us, and voted third party.
I find BOTH Clinton and Trump deplorable, morally bankrupt individuals, and I hate that the election came down to these two. But please don’t paint us all as such awful people.
I will stand up for rights of other while at the same time trying show my support for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the teachings that we are given. There is a middle ground, things are not binary here, we just need to be understanding of others and work to find it.
In spite of your disclaiming my right to speak, let me tell you why I voted for Trump and why I believe many devout Mormons did likewise. Your implication that the Deseret News editorial calling for Trumps resignation reflected the opinion of the Church as whole or even the thoughts of the leadership, I believe was amiss.
I am not a fan of Trump. I do not want my name on the memorial plague at Trump Tower. He was not my choice as a Republican candidate for president. I too believe he can be bombastic, rash and untactful in his remarks, comes off egotistical in some of his claims, and is capable of taking advantage of others in achieving his goals; in fact I believe he has been his own enemy in not exercising some thoughtful restraint in his speech, but he has not been his worst enemy. His real lynch-mob has been the liberal media and the Clinton campaign operatives who have consistently taken his sometimes clumsy comments out of context and twisted his meaning by substituting their own interpretation of his words in their headlines and analysis. Or knowing Trumps penchant for spontaneous defensive remarks, they have deliberately engineered situations in interviews and debates to elicit those unmeasured responses, and then insisted that they had nefarious meanings, which it was obvious to me he did not intend. This I have witnessed time and again by listening to him, considering the context, and then seeing and hearing the reports and interpretations of the liberal media and his political opponents. So I think if ones assessment of Trump comes in any measure from liberal TV, most internet commentators, interviewers, newspapers and political opponents, he will come off looking much worse than he really is and with having viewpoints attributed to him which he really does not have. That is why I have made it a point as far as possible to listen to live or unedited rebroadcast events, listen carefully to what is said and in what context it is said before making a judgment about what Trump really said or meant to say. I cannot trust all observers and commentators to give me a true perspective of circumstances and meaning of statements or an accurate reporting of the whole story. I could point to many examples of such occurrences, but will not in the interest of Brevity.
I point these things out not to defend Trump as a suitable candidate for the President, but as protest against those who would attack him by misinterpreting his words, make false statements and tell half-truths to make him appear more reprehensible or make it appear that he has opinions which he does not have. I would extend the same defense to Hillary Clinton who like no other woman in politics has been charged with being a perennial pathological liar, not above graft to further her political and financial ends, and with exhibiting extremely poor Judgment in her political career by her detractors.
I do think however that Clinton’s subtle, undercover, devious maneuverings and evasions with several accomplices are far more dangerous than Trump’s solitary bombastic outbursts which are tempered afterwards. Hillary is far more likely to be the wolf in sheep’s clothing from which we have been counseled to turn away or the evil foe appearing as a beacon of light to deceive even the very elect, than is Trump, who in no way outwardly or subversively is posing as a sheep or an un-flickering beacon of light. Trump’s campaign exaggerations are easily perceived and taken with a grain of salt.
As to Trump choosing leaders for his political administrative team, that he would choose decent, well-meaning, courageous, highly-capable people to help make good decisions is very likely because he already has chosen a fine VP and has a list of respectable Supreme Court nominees.
When I look at the pool of Trump supporters who likely will fill other positions, I see no other individuals like Trump, only men like Ben Carson whose moral compass cannot be questioned and a host of retired military leaders whose leadership and judgment in the area of defense and international relations has been proven. I know Trump will be an outspoken unreserved President, but I believe he will listen to his chosen advisors.
When I look at the pool of Hillary’s supporters likely to be nominated for or retained in leadership positions, I see individuals already in political positions who are very like her, a Nancy Pelosi who would pass an unpopular bill to see what it contains, Barak Obama who has repeatedly tried to circumvent legislative processes by issuing executive orders, a group of Forced Union leaders and their operatives on Labor Boards who take advantage of the forced dues of workers to support extravagant life styles and fund self-serving political agendas not supported by dues paying workers, and Harry Reid like politicians who would back them up in seeking to repeal Right to Work Laws already adopted by many states and which have proven to be advantageous in respect to productivity and economic health.
When it comes to the issue of Supreme Court nominees, many who have opted to back Trump in spite of his ineptness and lack of political experience feel it may be the most significant issue because some of the major differences in the platforms of the two parties on social issues (abortion, same sex marriage, I am opposed to both) are predicated on supreme court decisions which were far from unanimous, margins of a single vote in some cases. So the dispositions of Judges appointed to life time positions on the Supreme Court are very important to both parties.
There are planks in Hillary’s platform that pledge to advocate and support abortion and same-sex marriage. Those statements alone are sufficient for me to reject the platform as not reflecting the ideals and doctrines of the LDS Church that I have adopted and pledge to defend. There are other ideas in their platform that I think are amiss, but there is no need here to discuss them.
I must vote for a platform of what I consider correct principles, ideals and objectives and not for any person or I would not vote for either major candidate. I have every reason to believe that voting for a third party, no matter how honorable or popular with Mormon voters, or not voting at all would have the same impact on the outcome of the national election; and while voting for the third party candidate may appease my personal conscience, I cannot in good conscience not vote for the platform that I believe will have the highest probability of benefiting our society both nationally and internationally. Trump has pledged to stand on that platform with others who I deem capable of endeavoring to implement it. So I have no regrets or compunctions about having abandoned my moral convictions or my Mormon ideology when I say that I vote for Trump’s platform as most nearly representing my convictions and with the highest probability of being adopted by the vote of the United States electorate.
Very well said, Lee.
As to the original article, anyone who believes Hillary’s only issue was the emails is either blind or disingenuous.
Well Mr. Porter suffice it to say, rather than write an equally long comment I will just offer this observation. You don’t use the same ruler to measure the candidates. The ruler is “flexible” for Trump’s public statements and rigid for Hillary. We didn’t have even have a single tax return from Donald, let alone 55,000 pages of emails to scrutinize. (But there are the court records of 1300 that have sued Trump for non-payment, see “How USAToday is tracking Trump’s Court Records”).
(btw Roe v Wade was decided 7-2)
Michael it was disheartening, shocking, actually to see so many Mormons vote for Trump. I quit believing conservatives really care about the unborn because they oppose the most effective means to reduce abortions–comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives. It is hard for me to believe at this point that Trump voters really about moral values.
But anyway, church leaders say that “principles compatible with the gospel can be found in various political parties and members should seek candidates that best embody those principles.”
Yet again, most Mormons (like most Evangelicals) voted Conservative first, then Christian distant second.
I can’t help wondering if the Church’s policy on same-sex couples and their kids helped “soften up” Mormons for this election. The policy is, at it’s heart, mean-spirited and fear-based, just like Trumpism, yet most Mormons support it.
Are you seriously suggesting that voting for Hillary Clinton is voting for Christianity first and liberalism second?
Sounds like you might have a beam and mote situation, friend.
I have felt for a bit that we must own our decisions. We are asked to during repentance. We should at all times.
If we voted for Hillary Clinton, it means fully acknowledging her emails and her history. For Donald Trump, it means all of his -ist behaviors and statements.
We have to look at our candidate and see the bad. And admit that is also what we voted for. To expect only the others to do that allows us to hide our heads and pretend we only voted for a newcomer or for experience.
I think a lot of people voted for Trump to see if change was possible, that, and to stick it to a Washington DC establishment that takes in public servants and converts them to afterwards become millionaire lobbyists and “consultants.” Can business-as-usual be disrupted? Who can blame these voters? They proved decisive, coming out of the woodwork as it were, in PA, WI and OH. A lot of people think very little of the current government or of either party. Can Trump stir things up, effect meaningful change? Maybe, maybe not. If his administration is a mess, then in two years a wave of Democrats will arrive in the House and the Senate. I did not vote for either Trump or Clinton.
I think you’re right. I think the majority of the people who voted for Trump did so with a “Brexit” / “Let’s burn down the establishment” kind of mentality, rather than a reflection of racism/sexism/etc. (That’s not to say that the latter isn’t real. I just think it’s overstated.)
Mike, we know who you and many writers on this site voted for. Suggesting that other Mormons shouldn’t have voted for Trump because things he has done/said run counter to what our Church teaches is perhaps the most disingenuous thing you have ever written on this site.
You can’t think of a single thing that Hillary Clinton has done or said– not a single political platform she endorses– that run counter to the Church? You seriously want us to believe you have credibility on this if you can’t be even the slightest bit objective? Barring that, at least attempt to be consistent.
If you’re a liberal and voted for the most liberal candidate what sin do your fellow Church members have for being conservatives voting for the most conservative candidate? It would make sense to leave it at that, but nope, we gotta judge ’em and tell them they’re poor Church members.
This probably ranks #1 on your hypocrisy list. Well, Top 5, anyway.