In 2012 when Mitt Romney was the Republican candidate for President of the United States, there was talk about the situation being a “Mormon moment in time.” Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long been known to support the Republican Party, at least most of the members did so. However, the 2016 presidential election saw the Latter-day Saint support for Republicans fall from the steady 80 percent to 61 percent. Now the Latter-day Saint vote is sought by both parties.
In this imperfect world populated with imperfect humans, Latter-day Saints and all other Christians are faced with a serious conundrum about who deserves their vote. The two main players in this political game are Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, and neither man has lived a spotless life.
There are other candidates, but none of them has the smallest chance of winning the election. A vote for any of them is truly a wasted vote – unless done purely to make a statement. So, the real choice comes down to Trump or Biden.
Although numerous Christian churches are active in the political contest, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains a neutral stand. In a letter dated October 10, 2020, the First Presidency urged “Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.” The letter encouraged “members to seek candidates who embody principles compatible with the gospel.” It also encouraged “members to become educated and informed on current issues and political candidates.”
Once members have educated and informed themselves on the issues and candidates, they should study out the situation in their own minds and make the best decision that they can. Then they are commanded in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 to ask God if the decision is correct. If the answer comes back “yes,” they can move forward with confidence. If the answer comes back “no,” they should go through the process again until they receive a positive answer.
A part of studying out the issues and candidates should be making a list of the principles that is pertinent to that individual. For example, anyone who believes that killing a baby is a sin should vote Republican because the Democrat Party supports abortion for all nine months. Anyone who enjoys law and order in their community and state should vote Republican because the Democrat Party supports defunding police.
Sometimes people do not take the time to study out the issues, and they vote on other things, such as the color of skin, how a person looks, on their personality, or the number of divorces. Sometimes they judge a candidate on what he/she said or did ten, twenty, or thirty years ago and not on what they are doing at the current time for the good of the country. They simply forget two of the basic teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church – repentance and forgiveness – and refuse to give second chances.
As I noted in previous posts, I find it strange that there is so much diversity in the Latter-day Saint vote. Even though the Church and its leaders will not tell us how to vote, we can know for ourselves who the best candidate is. We know the importance of making good decisions and the way to do it. Even little Primary children can tell us that we should study out the issue, make a decision, and ask God for confirmation before we move forward with a decision.
We know that God cannot lie, so whatever He reveals will be the truth. Since God knows the hearts and minds of all candidates, He alone can determine who would be the best person for the job. It makes sense to bring God into the decision and to follow His counsel. If you want to know what Jesus wants you to do, then ask Him!