Friday, October 14, 2016

Rant About Politics And LDS Members

This is a letter I've sent to family and friends. It explains where I stand and implores LDS members to think about their politics.

Politics makes me crazy. I don’t like it because it causes too much contention. But the political process is something we should be involved in.
On October 5, 2016, the First Presidency sent a letter to be read to Church congregations throughout the United States:

It basically says to participate in the voting process. But it gives us some guidelines.

"Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles."

I find it hard to be able to honestly say that the two main candidates embody “principles compatible with the gospel.” If only a small portion of what they are accused of is true, then we should not be voting for evil.

Hyrum Smith said:
"We engage in the election the same as in any other principle; you are to vote for good men, and if you do not do this it is a sin; to vote for wicked men, it would be sin. Choose the good and refuse the evil. Men of false principles have preyed upon us like wolves upon helpless lambs. Damn the rod of tyranny; curse it. Let every man use his liberties according to the constitution. Don’t fear man or devil; electioneer with all people, male and female, and exhort them to do the thing that is right. We want a President of the U.S., not a Party president, but a President of the whole people; for a Party president disfranchises the opposite party. Have a President who will maintain every man in his rights (History of the Church, Vol. 6, Ch. 15, p. 323; emphasis added).

I have heard all the justifications and rationalizations. I’ve even done it myself. I’ve voted for the lessor of two evils. Think about that statement for a minute. You’re STILL choosing evil! As LDS members and professed Christians I think that we should be ashamed of ourselves!

I have a quote from President Benson but it is not a public, confirmed quote. It was a personal conversation when he was an Apostle. It goes like this:

“Pres. Benson, when we were sitting in his office in the Church Office Building many years ago told me this after discussing many issues: ‘Mike, if you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil and you will be judged for it. You should always vote for the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not. Then, even if the worst possible candidate wins, the Lord will bless our nation more because more people were willing to stand up for what is right.’”
Mike Thompson
Mike is a lawyer who lives in Orem, UT. I do not know him so I don’t know anything about him or this quote. But I do know a lot about Pres. Benson’s teachings. I’ve studied them for years and this quote fits with his thoughts on government and voting. He had strong feelings about government and that’s what made him not so well liked by liberal members.
Even if this quote is not really from an Apostle, you can always quote me as saying it. I agree with it wholeheartedly.
I have been disgusted with politics ever since watching the Watergate hearings in the 70’s. Very few politicians are not tainted in scandal. So I am an Independent. Both of the main parties are hard for me to support. I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Libertarians.

As LDS members we must subscribe to this scripture:

“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.”
D&C 98:10

Brigham Young said:

“Are we a political people? Yes, very political indeed. But what party do you belong to or would you vote for? I will tell you whom we will vote for: we will vote for the man who will sustain the principles of civil and religious liberty, the man who knows the most and who has the best heart and brain for a statesman; and we do not care a farthing whether he is a whig, a democrat, a barn-burner, a republican, a new light or anything else. These are our politics.”
President Brigham Young, 1869, JD-13:149

Are these your politics? Or do you do what I have done before. “Well I agree with their stance on this or that, so I will vote for them.”

I think its high time members step up. I think it’s time we stop upholding evil and find something good to uphold. Please do not try and convince me that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are good people. There are way too many things that they have said, things they support, and their track records. If that is your definition of “good” then I guess I’m questioning your tolerance of evil. I know we must live in this world but more and more we are supporting the Gadiantons.

Ether 8:22
22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.

We know Gadiantons destroy governments: (3 Nephi 7:6)
6 And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.

Lest I sound like a conspiracy theorist let me give you a quote from Conference, then Apostle President Benson:

“Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon —it is a conspiracy fact.”

I’ve used this quote before and I’ve heard all the baloney from members trying to justify their position. If we do not have Gadiantons in our government, then tell me where they are? The mafia? Gangs? Surely they are there. But I believe there are Gadiantons in our government. I also think that in 1973 when he gave this quote, Ezra Taft Benson would have been an authority on the U.S. government. Can you imagine having an Apostle serve in our government? As Secretary of Agriculture President Benson served with distinction for 8 years! He understood how government worked. He had first-hand experience. I think he would be considered an “expert” in our government.

President McKay was prophet during the turbulent 60’s. He understood many of the realities that we are now dealing with. Have you ever heard someone say “It’s the 60’s all over again”?
Many of the same ideas that caused so many problems then, are popular now. We must take a higher road as members of the Church.

“Let us in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as citizens of this beloved land, use our influence to see that men and women of upright character, or unimpeachable honor, are elected to office.” (President David O. McKay, CR-4/64:6)

“Gadianton robbers fill the judgement seats in many nations. An evil power seeks to overthrow the freedom of all nations and countries.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, speaking in the April 1980 General Conference)

Gadiantons believe they are good. Like many politicians. 3 nephi 3:9
9 And behold, I am Giddianhi; and I am the governor of this the secret society of Gadianton; which society and the works thereof I know to be good; and they are of ancient date and they have been handed down unto us.

The Brethren are not silent on this either:

“It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down. We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference, October, 2001)

“Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the President of the United States…it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, pp. 314-315)

“The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, First Presidency Message, Ensign, August 2005)

We cannot sit back and try to convince ourselves this is not happening to us. It is as real and it is destructive. I beg of you, please don’t ignore what Prophets, Apostles, and God through scriptures is trying to tell us. As a Church we like to say “The Book of Mormon was written for our time.” Do we really believe it?

Please vote. Be involved with politics but don’t get caught separating your beliefs from your politics. That is impossible but we try to do it all the time. Find a good person who is running and vote for them. Be honest in your judgement of their goodness. Will someone who is not main stream win? Probably not. Are you more interested in winning? Or doing what is right?

The following incident from church history helps resolve this question from a Latter-day Saint perspective. In 1844, the prophet Joseph Smith ran for the office of President of the United States. The Saints knew the improbability of Brother Joseph being elected to this high station, yet their conscience told them they would rather vote for a man they knew to be good and honest, than for either of the two candidates at the time, under whose leadership the wrongs committed against the Saints would continue. John Taylor published an article about the presidential election in the Times and Seasons in which he stated that if the Latter-day Saint people would cast their vote for Joseph Smith, they would have the "satisfaction of knowing that we have acted conscientiously and have used our best judgment; and if we have to throw away our votes, we had better do so upon a worthy, rather than upon an unworthy individual."

Showing the Lord where you stand is not throwing away your vote, I believe.

“We must never give up. We must not become discouraged. We must never surrender to the forces of evil. We can and must maintain the standards for which this Church has stood since it was organized. There is a better way than the way of the world. If it means standing alone, we must do it. But we shall not be alone. I am confident that there are millions of people throughout the world who grieve over the evil they see about them. They love the virtuous, the good, and the uplifting. They too will raise their voices and give of their strength to the preservation of those values which are worthy of maintenance and cultivation.”
(Gordon B Hinckley, Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, January 10, 2004)

It is time to make a difference. It is time to stop kidding ourselves. Also, I have very strong feelings about the media. Mainstream media seems to get worse every day. I don’t care what “party leanings” you have. Mainstream media reports what they want you know. Editors and producers decide what you need to know. Find news sources you can trust. That is not easy. As for mainstream media I have a saying that matches them: “No news in the truth, no truth in the news.”

Semper Paratus
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