I know that Tuesday night’s election results were very discouraging for a number of my friends. I know a lot of them, mostly Mormon, invested a lot of time, effort, (possibly money), and emotion into Mitt Romney winning the Presidency. Well, he didn’t and now they are left with a lot of questions and disappointment. I’m very sorry for that. I know how they feel. It’s exactly how I felt in 2000 and 2004 when I had to lick my wounds after the person I voted for for President didn’t win. In fact, I probably feel more disappointment on election day more often than they do every 2 or so years because, being a blue liberal in red Utah, no one I ever vote for wins. Except that one time I voted for John Huntsman for a second term as Governor. Out of 10 or so races this election day only one person I voted for won. One. That’s it. And yet, being a blue liberal in red Utah, I’ve learned and dealt with since 1996 (the first time I could vote) how to very quickly accept reality, move on, and get on with my life. And I can do it without demonizing or casting aspersions on my fellow citizens for not being as “intelligent” as me to mark our ballots the same way. I mean, there is something to be said about being a gracious loser and a gracious winner.
And as hard as it is for my Mormon friends who voted for Mitt Romney right now, I’d like to invite them to walk in the shoes of a Mormon who doesn’t fall in line with the status quo politically speaking. Have you been told you should be excommunicated for your political beliefs? Have you had family members call you names, write you hateful emails, or unfriended you on Facebook because of your political beliefs? Has anyone ever suggested to you to your face or in the written word that you should have your temple recommend taken away and face disciplinary counsels for your political beliefs? Have your friends posted things on Facebook saying that the way you vote is a vote for Satan, is an evil choice, or are not righteous because of which box you marked on your ballot? All of these things have happened to me and not just this election cycle. Some of these things have been said to me since I was a teenager.
Being a liberal Mormon means swallowing your pride, biting your tongue, and putting up with your fellow brother and sisters in the Gospel judging you on a regular basis. It’s enough to make me want to move out of the country where my fellow Mormons don’t define their faith with their politics. But I stick it out because I love my friends and my family. My feelings for them have nothing to do with who or how they vote. We expect children playing sports to be emotionally mature enough to accept the outcomes of wins and losses, congratulate each other on the game played, without throwing temper tantrums or accusing the other side of cheating/being evil/stupid. And yet, I haven’t seen many grown adults behaving this way since Tuesday night. I understand the disappointment…what I don’t understand is demonizing your friends who voted differently. Let’s cool it with the hyperbole and vitriol, please? Oh, pretty please?
I’d like members of my church to please read the statement the First Presidency of the LDS Church released the night of the election. Mormons care very much about what their leaders think, say, and behave.
The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Tuesday:
We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.
After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people.
We also commend Governor Romney for engaging at the highest level of our democratic process, which, by its nature, demands so much of those who offer themselves for public service. We wish him and his family every success in their future endeavors.
If church leaders aren’t making any prophetic judgments about the end of the world due to an Obama presidency, then it’s members probably shouldn’t either. If the LDS church leaders aren’t casting aspersions on the President or calling him the anti-Christ, then it’s members probably shouldn’t either.
Finally, I’d just like to say to my conservative friends, I’m sorry you are disappointed by the results of Tuesday’s election. I’m sorry that you’re sad that who you wanted to win didn’t. But please, stop calling me names or questioning my testimony or righteousness for voting differently than you. And I’ll give you the same courtesy in all the local elections that didn’t turn out the way I wanted to or the next time a Republican is voted in as President (which I’m pretty sure will be in 2016 since that’s usually the way the cookie crumbles). I don’t think you’re evil, or stupid, or unrighteous, or all the other things I’ve been accused of the last 48 hours. I think we as citizens all vote our conscience and I respect you all enough to know that you are all thoughtful, intelligent, researched people who are doing what you think is right. So am I.
I’m going to continue the long-standing LDS tradition of praying for my leaders to make good choices and decisions regardless of who is in office and whether or not they represent my values. I hope you can do the same.