Today is election day in the USA. And, this year is considered a “big election”. In addition to choosing local and state leaders, we are choosing who our President and Commander-in-Chief will be for the next 4 years. As a US Citizen, and a Mormon, I’ve been asked several questions about my role in the voting process this year. The two most popular:
#1. Will you be voting?
#2. Are you voting for Mitt Romney?
I’m going to address each of these questions in separate posts. Let’s start with the first question:
1. YES, [of course] I will be voting!:
Apparently, some people are under the misconception that Mormons don’t or can’t vote. [some even think we don't or can't serve in the military].
The truth is, Mormons are extremely patriotic people! We vote. We serve faithfully in the military. We get very involved in local and national politics (including record Caucus turn-outs).
“We believe in…obeying, honoring and sustaining the law”. – Article of Faith 12
I remember the day I was finally old enough to register to vote, and how excited I was to carry my voter registration card around in my wallet. I felt like I’d finally become a “real American”. I continue to feel passionately that every legal citizen [of any country] should not just be a registered voter, but turn up on voting day and exercise this great right and responsibility! Voting is a sacred privilege. This is something that my family has taught me, and my church also teaches.
“We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel. We must take part in local precinct meetings and select delegates who will truly represent our feelings.” – Pres. Ezra Taft Benson
Free To Choose
The Church encourages its members to play a vital role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections. However, the church has always taken a strong stand as Politically Neutral.
“The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.”
This entertaining whiteboard video was created by LDS Church public affairs to explaining our view on the election process.
It is a fact that Mormons are Politically Diverse. We don’t talk politics over the pulpits at church meetings. We respect everyone’s right to think and feel differently about the candidates and the issues at hand, and to vote our conscience.
“That the Lord may help [the candidate] to think straight, and to pursue a straight course regardless of personal advantage, factional interest, or political persuasion, should be the daily prayer of every Latter-day Saint.” – President Heber J. Grant, Feb. 1940
I love my country. My grandparents were part of the “Greatest Generation”. My Grandfather, Commander Dallis J. Christensen, served valiantly in the US Navy, working himself up from Seaman first class to an airman and then Commander. He flew many important missions during WWII, including the Berlin Airlift. My grandmother June kept the home front strong by supporting her husband’s service and raising 4 children often by herself for months at a time, always with the very real possibility that her sweetheart might never return. My heart swells with pride when I think of their selfless service to our country, and the legacy that they have given our family. Grandma June and Grandpa Dallis passed away this summer, just 20 days apart. I know that they are watching over all of us, and hoping that we take care to cherish and protect the liberty they sacrificed so much for.
Love Of Constitution
It is a God-given right to be able to exercise our freedom of conscience, and raise our voices. Living with freedom of speech/faith/religion/expression without threat of persecution and tyranny is something that Mormons feel very strongly about. For decades, these rights were shamefully denied to our people - a time that my own ancestors suffered through. However, Mormons never stopped loving their country, despite failed leadership. They believed then, as we do now, in the divinely inspired Constitution, and the sacred land of America.
“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D&C 101:78, 80.)
“After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them. No wonder modern revelation says that God established the U.S. Constitution and that it ‘should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles’ (D&C 101:77)” Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Divinely Inspired Constitution, Ensign, Feb. 1992, 68
“It is our firm belief, as Latter-day Saints, that the Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is our conviction also that the God of heaven guided the founding fathers in establishing it for his particular purpose. – Ezra Taft Benson
An American Prophesy
Six hundred years before Christ, ancient American prophets foresaw the coming of Columbus and those who followed. These prophets saw the establishment of the colonies, the war for independence, and predicted the outcome. All of these prophecies are contained in a volume of scripture called the Book of Mormon. The prophesies included a warning for those people who would read the book someday [us]:
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, . . .
“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands, wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God….” (See Ether 2:12, 10 - emphasis added)
Mormons serve God for many reasons. One of them is specifically to preserve and protect their country. We know that it is a privilege God has given us to live here, and where much is given, much is expected.
Every Vote Counts
Living in Utah, a firmly entrenched “Red State”, I sometimes hear people grumble about how they won’t be voting because their “vote doesn’t count anyway”. Say what?! Yes, I understand the electoral college for presidential elections, however,everyone’s vote “counts”. Whether the candidate we want to win actually is predicted to win or lose or not is certainly not a determining factor of whether one should visit the polls! We must not forget our history, nor the legacy of the generations who have gone before us sacrificing the last full measure of devotion so that we can go to the voting booth.
“Guarantees of political freedom maintain their force only if citizens are willing to exercise that freedom in their own behalf. If men and women of character fail to participate in the political decisions that shape their lives, others with more selfish motives will inevitably rush in to fill the void.” – Sister Cheryll Lynn May
Oh yes indeed, I will be joyfully voting! – MoSop
- Why Mormons Make the Best Presidents (therightofthepeople.wordpress.com)
- 12 myths about Mormonism that persist despite the ‘Mormon moment’ – Articles (religionnews.com)