Thursday, February 13, 2020

Donald or Jesus?

In a revelation given to Joseph Smith on August 6, 1833, we find the following: “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” (D&C 98: 9–10)
On an October 5, 2016, the LDS First Presidency released this official statement: “Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties, and members should seek candidates who best embody those principles.
Given these statements, I can’t help but wonder how so many Latter-day Saints justify in their own minds their support for Donald Trump as president and will doubtless vote for his reelection.
Just for a thought experiment, I’m going to list two sets of opposite character traits. As you read them, I want you to ask yourself which set of qualities describes Jesus and which set describes Donald Trump.
Love                              Animosity
Compassion                Vindictiveness
Selflessness                 Egotism
Honesty                       Dishonesty
Humility                      Arrogance
Chastity                       Infidelity
Benevolence               Spite
Kindness                     Cruelty
Decency                      Crudeness
Loyalty                        Deceitfulness
Serenity                       Anger
Honor                          Corruptness
I think it’s fairly obvious that the first of each pair of qualities describes Jesus. And I think it’s also fairly obvious that the second of each pair quite accurately describes Donald Trump. To argue otherwise, you would have to be living in a cave, or perhaps in the Fox News bubble. So, if these terms accurately describe Trump, why, I ask, do so many Latter-day Saints want this man to be president? Would these people tell their children that they want them to emulate Donald Trump in the way they live their lives and treat other people?
Frankly, I can’t imagine a less Christlike man. This past week, at the national prayer breakfast, Trump directly contradicted Jesus. When Arthur Brooks spoke, he reminded his listeners of Jesus’s commandment to love our enemies. Afterward, Trump openly disagreed with this and then proceeded to attack his perceived “enemies.” And this is the man Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints want as the leader of their country.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here: I believe many Latter-day Saints today are more Republican than they are Mormon. They would choose their Republican tribe over the principles of their religion. Somehow they don’t understand that support of corruption is the same as complicity in it. We are not blameless when we support candidates who do not “embody those principles” that are “compatible with the gospel.”


  1. Why don't you post this in a "letter to the editor" in the Deseret News?

  2. And some of us can't support the candidates that make a sacrament of abortion and enslaving the people through disarmament. Get back to us when you've fixed that in your hallowed party.

    1. Did I say anything about the Democrats? And the abortion issue is a little more complicated than you're assuming, which the Church recognizes in its official stance.

  3. How dare the CoJCoLDS make a sacrament of free agency...! And I don't recall Jesus recommending that his disciples arm themselves anywhere, with the exception of his prophecy about the eventual Siege of Jerusalem. I don't think we can take that as a general recommendation for all times and all places. More general is your basic "turn the other cheek" instruction.

  4. It is true that Trump is appalling. Ignorant, crude, impulsive, vain, vindictive, petty, egocentric, corrupt, deceitful (15,000 lies and counting since taking office, let alone the lies he told up to that point...) His ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal said in an interview with the New Yorker before the election that he would now call the book "The Sociopath". Even if abortion is legal for the moment, it is not required for anyone, let alone an obligatory sacrament. And I cannot see how my not owning an assault rifle and a bump stock makes me a slave. Are the rates at which American gun violence, vastly exceeding that in all other developed countries, to be considered a sacramental freedom tax? Are Parkland, the Tree of Life Synagogue, and Las Vegas, and Orlando, and the others, Holy Symbols of sacred freedom or of a toxic culture? However, the kind of debt that predatory lending causes, and low wages, and tax cuts that benefit the rich who, contrary to promises, did not pass that along to their workers, a suddenly rising national debt to a trillion plus, and a 90% decline in prosecutions of white collar crime, and the removal of important environmental protections that directly cause thousands of premature deaths and health problems, concurrent with the ongoing assault on health care and protections for pre-existing conditions, a president who boasts of a wonderful economy at the same time that he proposes to reduce wage increases for Federal Employees due to the current financial crisis..., that can lead to financial bondage. Mnuchin, it will be recalled, was involved in over 1000 violations of foreclosure law when he was at OneWest, forclosing at twice the rate of their competitors. Drain the swamp? Or swampify everything?

    The thing with Trump is that range of toxicity, from his abuse of scores of women, his campaign financial crimes, his using Barr as his personal Roy Cohn to corrupt the Judiciary, his kowtowing to Putin, Erodigan, and Un, his disruption of our most important alliances, his white supremacy approach to immigration, his cruel policy of separating families and caging immigrant children as a deliberate deterrent, his emoluments violations, his boasts about being too busy to play golf morphing into excessive golf at his own resorts costing taxing payers well over 100 million so far, his reckless assassination on Iraqi soil that we now know did not involve an immanent threat, his turning the Republican Party from a set of unifying principles into a cult of personality devoid of principle... other than that embodied in the self righteous declaration that "Am I my brother's keeper?" as well as master of the great secret that turns other lives into personal gain.

    Kevin Christensen
    Canonsburg, PA

  5. Perhaps we should spend a little more time learning about neoliberalism and what it has done to our country and the world, especially third world countries. That might cause us to think a little more about our own view of politics and whether our current beliefs mirror those in the left column. I'm not persuaded any of the leading candidates of the big two really care about their fellow man or the world in general. Most of the money is in the hands of the few, and more and more are still struggling, one paycheck away from the streets. Poor people don't shop for cars; they have to shop for a car payment they can afford and hope the car doesn't fall apart before they are done paying for it. There is a cutting lack of compassion and an abundance of greed, and it runs deep in most of our political leaders.

    1. If you've read my blog for the past several years, you'll know where I stand on economics. I've written extensively about the failings of corporate capitalism and our need to return to a more equitable form of capitalism, where wealth doesn't accumulate at the top.