The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent a letter in English and Spanish to members of the Church this morning. It was signed by Presidents Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, and Henry B. Eyring. I was a little surprised when I saw the letter, even though I know that they regularly send out a letter at election time. Maybe I read more into the letter than what is written, and maybe my surprise came because President Dallin H. Oaks spoke about politics in General Conference address on Saturday.
President Oaks reminded his listeners that one of our articles of faith is about politics. The articles of our faith were written by the Prophet Joseph Smith after early members of our church were persecuted by officials in Missouri. President Oaks quoted the following article of faith: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Articles of Faith 1:12). He then enlarged upon it.
This does not mean that we agree with all that is done with the force of law. It means that we obey the current law and use peaceful means to change it. It also means that we peacefully accept the results of elections. We will not participate in the violence threatened by those disappointed with the outcome. In a democratic society we always have the opportunity and the duty to persist peacefully until the next election (“Love Your Enemies,” October 2020).
This statement by President Oaks clearly says that the riots after the last election were not acceptable for members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It also tells us that we should work to change any law that we do not like. As a last resort, we can make our voices heard in an election.
The letter from the First Presidency urged American citizens to vote in the November 2020 election. It noted that “principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles.” I must say that some political parties have more “compatible principles” than others.
The wording of the first paragraph in the letter caused me to reflect on things people have said and/or insinuated. Maybe the wording is the same as in previous letters, but it had a different meaning for me. The first thing the letter says is that citizens of the United States have a “privilege and duty” to vote because it is by voting that we elect people to office and influence the public policy of our municipalities, states, and nation.
Citizens of the United States have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects their communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.
The letter continued by encouraging Latter-day Saints to study the issues and
candidates and to be informed voters. I could not help but wonder if the Brethren have heard or read some of the comments that I have heard and read by good members of the Church who are trying to decide to vote for Biden or not vote at all.
The letter also affirms that the Church of Jesus Christ maintains its political neutrality toward parties or candidates. However, it urges members to be active in the political process and to demonstrate “Christlike love and civility in political discourse.”
I agree that it is the patriotic duty of all Americans to participate in the political process. I encourage every American to study the issues and candidates and vote your conscience. There are those that claim that they are tired of “voting for the lesser of two evils” and threaten to vote third party. However, I encourage all such people to change their thinking and “vote for the best candidate that can win.” I, of course, believe that President Donald Trump is the best presidential candidate who has a chance of winning.
In 2016 I voted against Hillary Clinton because I considered her to be evil – and I have not changed my opinion of her. I liked the fact that Donald Trump promised to nominate constitutional judges, and I hoped that he would keep his promise. I did not know what kind of President that he would be, but I knew in my heart that he would not be as bad as Hillary.
Trump has kept numerous promises, including the one about judges. He nominated three constitutional judges to sit on the Supreme Court, two of which have been confirmed and one is awaiting confirmation. He has also nominated approximately 300 other federal judges who make their decisions according to the Constitution.
I expect that a second term for Trump will be much like his first term. He will continue to work long hours and days to serve the American people and then accept no salary for doing so. He will continue to nominate constitutional judges. He will continue to support law and order, education for all, right-to-life, and family units. He will continue to move America to higher levels of greatness.