In just a few short weeks, millions of Americans will be gathering at the polls to elect our nation’s president. For the first time in history, one of the presidential nominees from a major political party happens to belong to the Mormon Church. Since many American are unfamiliar with Mormonism, religion is playing a role in the minds of the electorate. Questions are being asked that are similar to the one’s posed in JFK’s candidacy in 1960. Some key questions being considered are to what authority a Mormon U.S. president must answer to if he is to be faithful in his beliefs and to serve our county? Can a Christian vote for a Mormon?
Due to the nature of Truth in Love Ministry, we receive requests on how our ministry feels about the upcoming presidential election. Since TILM is a recognized non-profit organization, we cannot endorse nor suggest on how to vote, but we can give our observations towards this historic election.
With any candidate running for an elected office, a concerned voter ought to know the views of the candidates and where they stand on key issues. Quite often, Mormons will have conservative views as it pertains to public policy. Living in Idaho, we have voted for Mormons. They make up roughly 25% of the population in Idaho and have proven to be very good elected officials. The same evaluation can be applied to presidential candidates. We encourage every person to study the policies and platform of each candidate and allow that to be a major influence on their decision.
There are some Christians who are concerned that a faithful Mormon will be required to obey the Living Prophet of the Mormon Church since his words are considered by Mormons to be divinely inspired and take precedence over all LDS Scripture — including the Bible. Out of fear, some Christians are choosing to sit out the election. Even though this is what Mormons teach, we don’t share the same level of concern for the following reasons: 1) The LDS Church believes the U.S. Constitution is divinely inspired. Current writings from Mormon authorities suggest that the U.S. President is sworn to uphold the constitution and that oath will be given great respect; 2) In our democratic government, there are still many checks and balances. If the U.S. president attempts to carry out anything that is detrimental to our nation or to the office of the presidency, there are strong courses of action that can override previous decisions or actions by the president, and 3) the Mormon Church is very smart and savvy. We are confident they will not put a Mormon president into any compromising position that will cause the nation, or their church, to be cast into a bad light.
The thought of having a Mormon U.S. president still gives us cause for some concerns. The office of the U.S. presidency still carries great weight and influence throughout the world. With that influence, a Mormon president can provide far greater windows of opportunity for the LDS church to advance its mission activities throughout the world. A Mormon president will also provide even greater credibility to Mormonism. Mormons consider themselves Christian and believe their church is a Christian denomination. The teachings of Mormonism do not follow orthodox biblical Christianity in any sense of the term. So much so, that Mormonism cannot be considered either Christian or even a Christian denomination. Left unchecked, Mormonism can further its cause in being considered a valid Christian church that was birthed in America. With its teachings emphasizing works and progression, it resonates with the American Dream of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Mormons believe they are the one true Church. The election of a Mormon president could continue to sow the seeds for the U.S. to eventually become a Mormon nation with a new ethos that redefines Christian thought and teachings. This concern resonates with many people out west who are familiar with Mormonism. Perhaps a Mormon president will shed new light and expose its teachings.
No matter what happens on election day, Christians can take comfort in knowing that we have a Sovereign God who appoints rulers and authorities, who allows all nations to flourish or dissolve, and will guide the results according to his purpose and will. Whoever is elected, it will be for our good and will be carrying out God’s will and purpose. God has supremacy over all created things. Sometimes God blesses nations by allowing power, influence and worldly wealth to overflow. Sometimes God takes away. Sometimes he listens to the prayers of his people, and sometimes he turns his face away from those who have turned their back on him. God knows what is best for the good of his people.
In the meantime, we exercise our faith by trusting in the promises of God no matter who is elected as U.S. president or any other elected office. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Psalm 20:7-8) As Americans, we exercise our citizenship by going to the polls and voting, by giving voice to policy, and by praying for our nation. As Christians, we exercise our citizenship in heaven by giving greater credence to what is most important: God’s election to the heavenly realms, our prayers and concerns for the salvation of all people, and growing in grace and in confidence that all of God’s promises are true.
This article appeared in the Fall 2012 newsletter of Truth in Love Ministry