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Last November, I wrote a post entitled “The Democrat Party is Satan’s Plan?” and relayed an experience I had in Sunday School class with conservative members openly discussing politics and how they thought Democrats were following Satan.  Needless to say, the article created a stir among both Republican and Democrat Mormons and Christians alike.

One of my friends I’ve met through this blog, who happens to be a Mormon Democrat, emailed me personally about the article I wrote and wanted to have a Democrat point of view heard on the blog.  Although we differ in political views, we share many common religious views and as I’ve stated over and again, one of the purposes of this blog is to bring people together and closer to Christ regardless of our religious and/or political views.  Therefore, I decided to interview him via email responses since he is a Mormon Democrat and I am not.  Also, since today is President’s Day, I thought it would be good to share this.

Before I get into the interview questions, I’ll share a little bit of his background.

Background of my Mormon Democrat Friend

My friend lives in the Philedelphia area and is currently serving as the Stake Sunday School President.  He works as a regional manager and is successful in his field.  He and I have talked on occasion since we are in the same field of work and the conversations we’ve had have helped me.

He is married and has raised 4 children.  Three of whom have served full-time missions.  He has served throughout his life in the church accepting callings as Gospel Doctrine teacher, Young Men’s leader, Seminary instructor (similar to leading a bible study), and other callings.

He also serves his community and is currently the Judge of Elections in his town that is just outside of Philadelphia.

The reason why I share his background is because I think most Mormons (at least the ones in the West where I live) are Republican and assume that all Mormons share the same political view.  If we saw my friend actively working in his church callings and community service, you probably wouldn’t be able to distiguish if he were Republican or Democrat unless you engaged in a political conversation with him.  My hope is that this interview can open up some dialogue, tolerance, and understanding between Mormon Republicans and Democrats and that we can do a better job of working together respectfully in spite of our political differences.

The Interview

Initial response when asked if he would do an interview

 I’ll discuss them with you but I won’t get into a debate, argument or fight over them. One, that’s not me and two, my positions are constantly changing and evolving.  As I gain new understanding and light, my positions change and evolve.  This approach has served me well as it has allowed me to not just use the light and knowledge I’ve been blessed with to keep me on the right path but I’ve leverage the insight I’ve been given to deepen my understanding and see farther.  I will say though, that I leave open the possibility up front that my views are wrong and may need to be abandoned tomorrow.  Most of us make more bad decisions than we make right choices, are wrong more often than we’re right, myself, especially myself (!) included.

1.      How have you been able to “keep the faith” so to speak while being surrounded by conservative Mormons who oftentimes say things very derogatory about your views?

It’s been challenging at times.  I give as well as I get so I go easy on those who want to put me or my political party right up there with Satan.  I know they are wrong.  What else matters.  Fact is most members of the church haven’t thought deeply about their political positions as they relate to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are more Republican and conservative than they are Mormon and Christian.  I don’t see that changing anytime soon despite the very best efforts of the brethren to yank us back and get all of us to be more reasonable and patient with each other.

2.      How do you see your political affiliation lining up with your religious beliefs?

As Harry Reid said in a BYU devotional last year, “I’m a Democrat (and a liberal) because I am Mormon.”  That says it all.

I do take it a step further however.  I pay very close attention to everything the First Presidency says or does on every critical social and political issue of the day.  I’ve never met anyone that pays closer attention than I do.  I won’t bore you with details on how I stay so close but I do.  By following everything they say and do I am able to keep myself on a political straight and narrow.  While my conservative church friends wonder off the path and wallow in the Republican mud on their way to wherever, I’m quietly following the brethren’s footsteps trying as best I can to match them step for step.  Most conservatives would be amazed at the so called moderate to liberal positions the Brethren have taken and continue to take on gay rights, stem cell research, immigration, even abortion.  I just smile and go my way knowing I’m holding the same rod the Brethren are holding.

3.      What is your perspective on people of the same faith who are of a different political party?

They have as much right to be wrong as I do.

4.      Where do you think Christian and Mormon Democrats and Republicans can find common ground?

Simple answer; We should unite around the church’s three fold mission, to which “caring for the poor and needy” was added last year making it a four-fold mission.  Except it’s not called the mission of the church any more. Rather the handbook refers to the four functions as “divinely appointed responsibilities” Look it up in the Handbook of Instructions, I believe Chapter two, Section 2.2 to be precise.  If more of us, especially me, would stop pontificating about the evils of the federal welfare system ( and it is evil!) and actually use the inspiration and the guidance of the sprit, to which we so often pat ourselves on the back for possessing, and do something significant and substantial to help the poor and the needy, poverty would be reduced and Zion would be established a lot faster.

5.      You brought up an article from 1998 that mentioned one of the church General Authority’s stating that there should be more Mormon Democrats.  Why do you think they advocated this?

According to Elder Jensen, and I take him at his word since 1) he is a General Authority or was at the time of the interview anyway 2) the interview was conducted in the Church Office Building in SLC giving it an added emphasis and endorsement and 3) the interview was authorized directly by the Prophet and Quorum of the 12, he stated the brethren thought it wise the church not be perceived to be aligned with any one party, that there were times when the church would need the help of both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republican and that if 80 to 90 percent of the members are Republican, Democratic lawmakers would be less likely to come to church’s side in times of need.  Now doesn’t that make a lot of sense!   Don’t you just love the Prophet!  Wouldn’t it be cool if more of us paid attention to what he and the Q of the 12 said and did?  Just saying.

Conclusion

Although I don’t agree politically with everything my Mormon Democrat friend(s) believe, I think that it is good to try and understand their perspective.

This interview is just a first step, but an example of how we can open up and try to learn from others who may not have the same views that we have.  The main thing I learned from this interview was that my friend has a sincere desire to follow the Lord as well as the prophets.  Also, I definitely agree with his views that we should be more patient with each other since we are all fallible and imperfect.

If you are a Repbublican, what are your thoughts of this initial interview?  Are there other questions you would have asked?

If you are Democrat, does this represent your views or are there other things you would have discussed?

Why do you think Elder Jensen pointed out that we need more Mormon Democrats?

Finally, what other suggestions do you have on how we can not only tolerate each other, but love each other as Jesus would have us do?

I teach a class to new Mormon converts and people investigating joining the Mormon church called Gospel Principles.  The past few weeks we have been discussing the LDS perspective of a pre-existent life where we had freedom to choose and make decisions prior to coming to earth.  Our discussions have included the LDS perspective of a council held in Heaven and a War in Heaven happening prior to our earthly lives.  For those not familiar with this doctrine, it is included below (as per the LDS Bible Dictionary):

War in Heaven. This term arises out of Rev. 12:7 and refers to the conflict that took place in the premortal existence among the spirit children of God. The war was primarily over how and in what manner the plan of salvation would be administered to the forthcoming human family upon the earth. The issues involved such things as agency, how to gain salvation, and who should be the Redeemer. The war broke out because one-third of the spirits refused to accept the appointment of Jesus Christ as the Savior. Such a refusal was a rebellion against the Father’s plan of redemption. It was evident that if given agency, some persons would fall short of complete salvation; Lucifer and his followers wanted salvation to come automatically to all who passed through mortality, without regard to individual preference, agency, or voluntary dedication (see Isa. 14:12–20Luke 10:18Rev. 12:4–13D&C 29:36–38Moses 4:1–4). The spirits who thus rebelled and persisted were thrust out of heaven and cast down to the earth without mortal bodies, “and thus came the devil and his angels” (D&C 29:37; see also Rev. 12:9;Abr. 3:24–28).

The warfare is continued in mortality in the conflict between right and wrong, between the gospel and false principles, etc. The same contestants and the same issues are doing battle, and the same salvation is at stake.

Although one-third of the spirits became devils, the remaining two-thirds were not all equally valiant, there being every degree of devotion to Christ and the Father among them. The most diligent were chosen to be rulers in the kingdom (Abr. 3:22–23). The nature of the conflict, however, is such that there could be no neutrals, then or now (Matt. 12:301 Ne. 14:10Alma 5:38–40).

Democrat Party is Satan’s Plan?

After we covered some of the key points to this doctrine, especially that of agency, some people in the class started talking politics.  One lady, who is a relatively new Cuban immigrant, emphatically declared that Satan’s plan was like the Democrat Party in the United States because that party tries to take away our agency.  (Her comment reminded me of an article I had read declaring the Democrat Party to be from Satan because of the people who booed at the Democrat Convention this year when asking if God should remain on the platform.)

At that point, I had to reel in the comments and nip the political conversations in the bud so to speak.  Despite me telling them that discussing politics was off limits, like little children trying to push a parent to the edge, I had to keep reminding them throughout the class to keep it focused on doctrine, not politics.

Points to Consider

Her comments caused me to reflect on some things.  Obviously, she has had much more troubling experiences with dictators since she is from Cuba.  Is she just overly sensitive, or does she have some evidence that the Democrat Party is taking away agency from the citizens of the country?

If the Democrat party is indeed Satan’s plan, then there are many Christians, Catholics, and at least 15% of the Mormon population (including some Church general authorities) who are all on the highway to Hell, so to speak.

However, if the Democrat party isn’t Satan’s plan, then thoughts and comments like this are very divisive and do not cause unity, but enmity between people of the same faith, which is not productive.

Is it right to combine religious belief with political views?

Is it right to compare the Democrat Party to Satan’s plan?

If you do believe the Democrat Party is Satan’s plan, how is the best way to help others “see the light” so to speak?

If you are a Democrat and you hear that your party is from Satan, how do you help those telling you this to “see the light”?

There are so many points to consider.  What are your thoughts?

For me, as a conservative Mormon guy living in Washington state, the 2012 elections were rough in a number of ways, starting from the top down:

  1. Romney lost the election.  I had spent a year volunteering for his campaign and truly thought he had a good chance of winning.  He nearly pulled it off, but him losing was like me watching the Seahawks lose in Super Bowl 40.  Not fun.
  2. Washington State legalized marijuana.  Not only for medicinal purposes, but also for daily use.
  3. Gay marriage was passed in our state as well.

All of these things hit me like a tidal wave on election night and I had a hard time sleeping as I considered my children and the hearts of people around me in society.  I wondered where we are as a society in putting God first.  Obviously, we’re not where we need to be and it scared me.

As I saw what my friends and family members where writing about on Facebook the next day, I saw quite often comments such as “I’m moving to a different country” or “I like the idea of living like the Amish do” and “Let’s move away from society and have a compound”.  These were written out of frustration and not in complete seriousness (I hope), but it caused me to think.

Do I want to raise kids in this environment?  If not, where and why would we run?

How can I support my new leaders of the country, even though I do not hold the same political views?

What do we do Now?

Other concerned citizens provided great examples of how we should unite as a nation and make the best of the situation.  Also, the scriptures have excellent recommendations too.

2 Examples

My first example is Mitt Romney.  In his  concession speech, he set a very good example of being a gracious person.  He discussed his love for country and the people who had supported him.  He gave some advice and most importantly, he told Obama that he would pray for him.

When he said this, I was very impressed.  This man (Obama) had slandered his (Romney) name up and down and painted him as a beast to the American people for most of 2012.  Obama had attacked Romney as a person, not his policies.  Romney showed what we as citizens should always remember to do and that is pray for our leaders of the country.

The next example I have is a less-known citizen in my state who was running for Congress.  His name is John Koster.  I had supported him in the elections as well.  I’ll quote some of what he said in an email I received from him today:

Like many Americans, I am stunned at the tough night so many on the conservative side had around the country on Tuesday, and that Barack Obama was re-elected as President. Sean Hannity remarked yesterday that he wondered if the “allure and appeal of socialism and redistribution of wealth has taken hold.”

I hope he is wrong.

I am equally stunned that we have legalized marijuana right here in our home state of Washington; and if the slim margin favoring the pro Referendum-74 vote holds up, we will have legalized same-sex marriages as well.

It seems obvious to me that we have swung wildly in the wrong political direction and that we are now at a point where our society WILL suffer the consequences inherent with bad law and liberal representation.

Ben Franklin challenged future generations of Americans when he said “we have given you a Republic if you can keep it”. To heed Franklin’s wise words, it will be important in the coming days that each and every one of us continues to do our part in defending the Republic – as we are likely in for some difficult times!

We must, however, keep the faith and keep our chins up. We must dig down deep and continue the battle for truth wherever possible, working to defend our values and way of life through our community involvement, church outreach, clubs and social gatherings. We must remain in the battle if we intend to win the war.

Hard as it may be at this moment, we must also pray for our leaders at all levels of government as we are commanded in the Holy Scriptures. Pray that they would govern with honesty and integrity; that they would understand and implement justice through constitutional law as endowed by our Creator.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…” -1 Timothy 2:1-3

Again, I humbly thank you for your loyal support as well as your continued friendship. It has been an honor to have run for the United States Congress intent on representing people such as you. May God continue to bless this great nation and may we as a people remain worthy of those blessings for many generations to come.

Both of these men are excellent examples of how we as concerned citizens should support our leaders.  I intend to heed their advice and pray for our leaders, even if I do not support all of their views politically.

The Scriptures

As I pondered things on election night, my thoughts were turned to the scriptures.

Although society is not even close to the events that happen in the Book of Mormon, during the prophet Mormon’s life, I thought about him.  His whole society was collapsing and his people were being wiped out.  He was tempted to leave them, but he chose to fight with them and pray for them and he even gave his life along side them, never giving up hope that they would repent and turn towards God.

I also looked up scriptures in the Bible and there are numerous scriptures that talk about our role as citizens is to support our leaders of the nation, yet continue to lead moral lives and be a “light on the hill” as Jesus says.

Conclusion

While it is tempting to through up our hands when we see our society choosing paths that are not consistent to what we believe to be true, the scriptures and others around us give us good examples of what our roles truly are.  I believe that we should do all we can to raise our children up in truth and we need to do all we can to keep ourselves in line with the Lord.  At that point, we can then be used as an instrument in God’s hand to provide light and guidance to those around us.

 

While I was talking with one of my family members, they mentioned that some Mormons were baffled with the fact that Romney had lost.  Especially since signs had been pointing towards the fulfillment of some parts of the “White Horse Prophecy”.  (For those of you not familiar with this prophecy, it is described in detail here).  They felt our constitution is “hanging by a thread” (as do I in many respects) and all signs were leading towards Romney winning.

Since the “White Horse Prophecy” is so en grained into Mormon culture, it seems that any time a Mormon does anything significant in politics, many Mormons jump on the bandwagon of wondering if the prophecy is about to be fulfilled.

I feel that there are flaws with this way of thinking.  First, the prophecy has not been cited as something definitely prophesied by Joseph Smith.  Secondly, there is not a clear definition of what is meant by the “constitution hanging by a thread” and how the elders will participate in saving the constitution.  I get a feeling that Mormons assume it means a Mormon in the White House, but the prophecy does not state this and is rather vague in defining exactly what role the elder will play.

Even though there are flaws in the prophecy, and LDS public affairs has even publicly denounced the prophecy, I’m sure that many Mormons will still hold this “prophecy” to be true merely based on the fact it has been told so many times and become a part of Mormon culture.

That being said, let’s have a little fun.  Now that Mitt Romney is out, who do you think will be the next Mormon politician to be dubbed as the Elder who will fulfill the White Horse Prophecy?

I’m having a hard time coming up with anyone.  Jon Huntsman is probably out of the picture.  Marco Rubio was a Mormon in his youth, but is now a Catholic….is there anyone in the foreseeable future that you can think of?

Please share.

 

In a revelation to Joseph Smith, God says (in Doctrine and Covenants section 98:4-10):

 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

 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.

From this revelation, we can pick out a few key points we should consider when electing people to represent us in the way God would have us do:

  1. Make sure laws that are passed are constitutional
  2. Laws that are passed that support freedom are justified before God
  3. Elect righteous leaders or else the nation will mourn
  4. Leaders elected should be good and wise men.

Based on these criteria, who do you think lines up best between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama?  Why do you believe this?

Romney’s win in the debates last week and his surge in the polls is seen by many political analysts as something unprecedented in US Presidential history, this late in the elections.  For those who support Romney, this is inspiring and an amazing feat. and has charged many conservatives up around the country.  Those who do not support him are also inspired to try harder and are also charged up more than before to support Obama.

Since I am a conservative, Mormon Republican I obviously lean towards Romney and associate with mostly people who are of the same opinion.  Being somewhat of an “insider” so to speak, I’ll share with you some of the things I’ve seen and heard among Mormons leading up to and after the 1st debate that lead me to believe the majority of Mormons feel God helped Romney win the first debate.

1.  People sharing their “testimony” of Mitt Romney

For those who are not familiar with the monthly Mormon “Fast and Testimony” meetings, I’ll briefly describe what they are.  On the first Sunday of each month, Mormons fast usually from food and water, for a day and use the money they would have used to pay for food and donate it to those who are less fortunate.  During the “Fast and Testimony” meeting in church, Mormons are encouraged to stand up and share their “witness” or “testimony” of Jesus and the gospel.

Although discussing politics in church isn’t a normal occurance, I have heard some Mormons getting up recently and testifying of how God is leading Mitt Romney and praising Romney for being such a good man.

While I do not condone testifying of men at the pulpit, I appreciate that people are excited for a potential leader of our country who they feel is a righteous person.

2. Fasting for Mitt Romney

For those who are not familiar with the Mormon concept of fasting for someone, I’ll briefly explain.  Occasionally, Mormons will unite in prayer and fasting to pray for a person who is sick, a situation to improve, etc.  The concept is that through fasting and meditation, one comes closer to God and the powers of Heaven are brought down upon the person or situation.

A week or so before the debates, I received a Facebook message from one of my fellow Mormon friends.  She had joined a group to fast for Mitt Romney before the 1st debate so God could lift him up.

Judging from the historical leap in the polls Romney had after the debates, it is nothing short of a miracle.  I think many Mormons believe that through prayer and fasting, Romney shined in the debates.

3. Putting Romney’s name in the temple

In Mormon temples, there is part of the endowment ceremony where people come together joining hands in a circle and pray for a list of names of people who are in need of help.  The names are written down on little pieces of paper and put into a box and prayed over in general terms, not individually by name.

One of my friends was telling me that his parents, who are temple workers, saw Mitt Romney’s name on the pieces of paper numerous times as they were emptying the prayer box after the temple ceremony.

He then shared with me that he and many others feel that God helped Romney win the debates because of the prayers offered in his behalf in the temples prior to the debates.

Conclusion

While I do not have hard data, I do get the feeling that most Mormons feel that Romney was lifted up by God to help him win the debate and put him ahead of Obama currently.

I am also aware that those who do not support Romney feel that Romney cheated and lied his way through the debate to beat Obama.  Those who support Obama also feel that Romney didn’t really do that great, it’s just that Obama did so poorly that Romney looked better than he is.

In order to gather some hard numbers on this issue, feel free to take the short poll below and as always, feel free to leave a comment.

I just joined a non-profit Christian organization that promotes getting Christians out to vote. Last election 30 million Christians sat out on the elections and if even 1/4 of them got out, it would have made a difference, I think.

I know some of you are pastors and leaders for your churches. I encourage you to join the “Champion the Vote” initiative to help get more Christians out to vote this year.

For more details, visit the Champion the Vote website or see the video below:

I read a recent article that states the following:

On Wednesday Hudson…revealed that a group calling itself Catholics for Obama had been making push poll phone calls in support of the president’s re-election bid. Among the questions being asked, he said, was “How can you support a ‘Mormon’ who does not believe in Jesus Christ?”

The article goes on to mention some other shady things the campaign is doing in Ohio to drum up support for Obama.

What are your thoughts?

Over the past year or so that I’ve been following Romney, I’ve been waiting for a moment where the real Romney stands up.  I’ve heard his experience leading businesses and of his successes.  I’ve been impressed by the amount he gives to charity.  But when watching him, I get the sense that he’s too scripted and is holding something back.  He hasn’t openly spoken of his faith and he hasn’t openly countered attacks that have come his way.  This gives me (and I’m sure others) a sense that perhaps he’s hiding something.

I feel the same as many Americans do.  I believe in God and family and hope for a better future and I feel that we’re really not better off now than when Obama took office.  However, I feel that we crave leadership and someone who can inspire confidence.

Up until now, I feel that Romney hasn’t done a good job at all of letting people know who he really is and inspiring leadership based on core beliefs he has.  I feel he has played things too safe and has talked in cliche’s.  I feel, like many, that the real Romney hasn’t stood up.  That is, until last week at the Republican convention.

While I watched his speech, I sensed that he was speaking from his heart.  He spoke passionately of his faith and family and the future of America.  He referenced God a number of times.  He praised his wife and those who went before us.  Some of his words were so inspiring that I wrote them down, which I will share below.

Top Phrases from Romney’s Speech

  • All the laws and legislation in the world will not take place of the love a parents give children.
  • If every child could fall asleep wrapped in the love of a family and God’s love, this world would be a better place.
  • When quoting his mother: “Why should women have any less decision than men when making decisions about our great nation?!”
  • Ann’s job as a mom was a lot harder than mine.  Her job was also much more important than mine.
  • The strength and goodness of America is based on the goodness of the families of America and their faith.
  • If you felt excitement of hope and change when you voted for Obama 4 years ago, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?
  • You know there’s something wrong with your president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.
  • Is it any wonder why someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?
  • In America we celebrate success…we don’t apologize for success!
  • This president can tell us to be patient, he can tell us to give him another 4 years to get it right…but he cannot tell us you are better off now than you were 4 years ago.
  • President Obama pledged to slow the rise of the Oceans and to heal the planet.  My promise is to help you and your family.

Finally, I feel that the real Romney stood up last week.

If you didn’t watch the speech, I’ve included a link for it below:

Mitt Romney full convention speech

People are always curious about Mormons and what they believe, especially recently with Mitt Romney in the headlines.  He usually shys away from talking about it.  Personally, I wish he’d talk about it more because it would show his personal side of how he may have helped people.

This report is a little old (April 2012), but I thought it was a good report on people’s experiences with Mitt Romney as their bishop.

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