Oh, please

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.

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36 thoughts on “Oh, please

  1. You’re fantastic, Risa. I’m going to share this on Facebook as soon as I get on a real computer later. I haven’t had any of that happen to me this time—possibly because I actually voted for Jill Stein, not Obama—or possibly just because everyone who used to do that has already unfriended me. I’ve seen plenty of the doom-and-gloom-apocalypse comments, though, and I just can’t understand how people can be so afraid of the guy who’s already been our president for four years now without the country burning to the ground. Sigh.

  2. Well quite frankly I am horrified that anyone has threatened you with things of a spiritual nature because of political beliefs. The church is quite frank in their non partisan approach to politics. But it makes me sad that there are those who take it upon themselves to make ‘decisions’ quite obviously that they have no right to. I’m glad you are the kind of person who rises above it.

    However I also feel those who are disappointed have a right to express it. Without belittling their hurt. After all you obviously understand it. 😉 there will be times for all us when we face disappointment or don’t get what we want. That is life. And hopefully we learn from the tough experiences of life. Whatever or however we feel about politics I did not appreciate the comment on TV this morning that America is getting ‘loose’ like a degrading disintegrating society is somehow cool and hip, and thats why Obama won. I am sure he wouldn’t want to think thats the only reason he is still the president!

    😉

    1. I agree, but I don’t feel like I’ve belittled anyone’s hurt. I very acutely know the disappointment of election results. What I’m hoping for is a little more civility in our discourse.

  3. Rissa, you rock! Very well said and right on the money. I’m so proud to have you as a family member. Keep it up girl.

  4. This articulates so well what I have been feeling. After being yelled at by a dear friend and being told that I didn’t have a testimony because I voted for an “immoral” man, I have been silently licking my wounds. However, you have put into words (so much better than I could have) how I have been feeling. Thank you.

      1. I’m here because of Kim. As a liberal Mormon in Utah myself, can I just say AMEN to all of this? My husband and I celebrated Obama’s win in the comfort of our home and then quickly shut up so not to “rock the boat”. It’s lonely. And we won’t even get into the names I’ve been called and the questions I’ve been accused. It’s so very tiring. And nearly sucks my love of politics completely.

  5. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m getting pretty tired of reading about how “evil” I am. Especially when I’ve gone out of my way to share my opinions in a positive way, and not tear down anyone else no matter what their opinion is.

    1. I’ve tried to be positive and open to everyone else’s ideas as well, but I draw the line at being called names. Thank you for all your comments today, Elisabeth.

  6. A friend posted this on her facebook…and I’m thankful that she did.
    My intelligence has been quesioned, I’ve had a finger wagged in my face and chastised for my liberal tendencies, and as recently as last night was emailed the following: “Maybe you should smoke some of that stuff the liberals legalized and call it a day ;)” I’m old. I used to work on Capitol Hill. I’m used to political party differences. But the hate and anger I’ve experienced this year is NOTHING like I’ve ever experienced before. I had to have a 3 hr come to Jesus meeting with my RS president just to talk me off the ledge.
    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    1. I’m sorry you’ve experienced this. My mom grew up in D.C. and spent all of the 60s and part of the 70s there being a first-hand witness to the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. If she were alive today I wonder what she would think of all this divisiveness and hate. I know she hated the 60s and I’m beginning to understand why if this much anger and vitriol was a part of her daily life.

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I live in Utah County and have pretty much gone through the same thing you have. I’ve been told I’m ignorant for voting for Obama, and as much as that was an insult, it was easy to brush off. What was harder was the judgment from family and friends who seemed to allude that I was as good or as righteous or as concerned about my children as they are/were. So yeah, I get you, I really do.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Celeste. It’s funny, I voted the way I did BECAUSE I’m concerned about my kids and their futures. And that’s for all the candidates I voted for and not just President.

  8. Well done, Risa, well done. No one should be insulted, mocked, or threatened for her beliefs. This is antithetic to what the church – any church – should stand for. If God = love, then love should be practiced by all. Thank you for your brave post.

    1. Thank you for you comments. Yes God = love. I wish we could all remember that from time to time and put away our differences and focus on the love.

  9. Thank goodness I’m not alone like I thought I was! I’ve been LDS all my life and not once do I remember being taught to judge so harshly! Yet its something I saw way too often during the election. When expressing this many tried saying I was against people sharing opinions. To me thats fine, but spreading hate and acting like the apocalypse is near is different. What made me very uncomfortable was the fact that many of my fellow mormon friends on facebook were actually treating Romney more like a prophet then a man. I’m talking flat out worship like “Thank you Lord for bringing us this man who will deliver us.” I was invited to a group called “Fast for Romney.” It made me feel so sick to my stomach! I feel as far as rights go, we’ve also been taught that we have free agency. Why would I be taught that but try to stand in others way to live life they choose? What if freedom of religion was taken away? People need to stop acting like this is the end of the world because I agree, our country looks like a bunch of spoiled babies who aren’t seeing all that we do have. And thank goodness for that statement from the church! Hopefully we can get back to being examples by not turning on others and instead always striving to lift and love no matter what.

    1. Thank you for you comment, Rachel. Until I wrote this I felt very, very alone and sad. I am overwhelmed by the response I’ve gotten from all of you today, mostly from people I don’t know. I’m glad that something I wrote resonated with you and made you feel less alone. Your comments makes me feel less alone too. Thank you.

  10. Thank you for your blog post. I’ve actually been treated disrespectfully and had hurtful things said to me because of my more conservative beliefs than some of my Mormon friends who were more liberal (none of us from Utah). I attended a very liberal college and my views were much more conservative in general than my fellow classmates. I’m actually pretty middle of the road politically and am registered as an independent, but I was told I was closed-minded, un-Christlike,etc. by the Mormons at this college just because I viewed things differently than they did. I assure you this was all very hurtful to me at the time. Honestly, the non- Mormon students treated me kinder and non-Mormons became my closest friends there because they actually were much more tolerant of other viewpoints. Since that time in my life, I am very hesitant to share any political viewpoints with anyone other than my spouse and immediate family since they will love me and treat me with respect even if we disagree (which we often do since I am more liberal thinking than most of my family). Looking back on my experiences of being treated meanly because of political beliefs, I felt very alone and hurt, but I realize now that I was actually the one who was not closed-minded since I have always listened and considered others’ points of view respectfully. This is reflected in my friendships with people from very different backgrounds and beliefs. I can imagine that you must feel very alone, as I once did, living in Utah being a liberal. Again, thank you for posting this. I hope that more respect and just simple kindness can be shown towards others in our church who have differing points of view. After all, we are taught that we are all one in Christ.

    1. Thanks A.C. I think it’s an important reminder that no matter where your political beliefs lie, it is important to be respectful and open-minded to other peoples’ view points.

  11. Thank you for your message. I am an independent, leaning more conservative than liberal. I have spent a good portion of my voting years (and there aren’t many), trying to weigh the values and morals of both ends of the political spectrum. I came to my own decision, after spending several years as a hard-core liberal, and I finally feel like I know what I believe and why. I, like so many, had always assumed that all members of the presidency, quorum, etc. were obviously (duh!) conservatives. It wasn’t until I recently watched a video that recorded Romney during a radio interview (where he was unaware that he was being videotaped). When they were off the air, he actually got upset with the radio host who asked him about abortion and questioned Romney and the fact that he could not openly support the idea that abortion should NEVER be allowed, as per the laws of his church. Romney corrected the radio host and cited the church’s stance on the matter, then went on to inform him that there are actually quite a few members of our church leadership who are pro-choice. I know that it is shocking to some members and that they skim over the fact that the church’s position on abortion isn’t the same as the catholic church or others that are completely against it, but I had never thought about the fact that there are…….*gasp* members of the leadership of our church who are…..*bigger gasp* liberals! Some of my dearest friends are liberal, and many assume I am because of so many of my beliefs. I have worked hard to teach my own kids (all 6 of them) about the importance of stepping across the aisle and understanding where the other side is coming from….and that is really much more imporant to me than how an election turns out. After all, the president doesn’t run our country, we run the president. Right? 😉 Praying that whomever is in office, whichever election, has integrity and can manage to help us to get back on the right track.

    1. Thank you for your comments, gypsyessentials. I think it’s an important reminder that “the church” is not as homogeneous as it appears. And I loved what you said about the President doesn’t run the country, we run the President. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be in a Democracy? A government by the people and for the people? Great comments.

  12. If you’re serious about leaving the country, I would just suggest out of state. Utah Mormons are totally different and somewhat crazier and more fanatic in a lot of ways than Mormons outside of Utah. Maybe it’s because they’re in the minority…? Either way, I am glad your candidate won the election and, as the Prophet, First Presidency, and other leaders have suggested, I will pray for President Obama and those he chooses to assist him in the governing of our country. And… Anyone who tells you that you should be excommunicated, have your temple recommend revoked, etc. should have their heads examined and remember that we’ve all been counseled to vote how we, as individuals, feel in our hearts. Hang in there!!

    1. I don’t seriously think about leaving the country, just the urge is there whenever I’m vilified again for my political beliefs. And it would probably help to get off the Wasatch front, but Utah is home. Thank you for you comments, Jim. I appreciate them.

  13. Congratulations on your victorious week. Because I am a conservative from Utah, I have not had a great week. I hope you don’t mind if I just ask a question, not to be hateful or judgmental. I really need to know your view and since we don’t know each other, I’m hoping we can remain in our neutral corners and that you will answer my question which is asked with all due respect. Here goes: How can LDS liberals vote for a party which supports in its platform, abortion -not just to save a mothers life- but second and third trimester abortions where babies are viable and a party which supports in its platform gay marriage when these are issues so vehemently condemned by our church leaders? I really want to understand and hope you know there is no malice towards you. These are just the issues I would like to have you explain so that I can find some peace. Thanks.

    1. Colleen,

      I’m an Independent and not a member of any political party, so I do not feel I can adequately answer your question. The LDS Church states that abortion is okay in the case of rape, incest, life of the mother, and viability of the child. If you’re speaking of the Democratic party, will you please link to their party platform where they say they are okay with 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions? In the Republican platform this year they did not put any exceptions for abortion leaving me to believe they would allow for no exceptions like rape, incest, and life of the mother. You can find that here http://www.gop.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012GOPPlatform.pdf

      Honestly, I don’t know a single liberal who is pro-abortion. Those who are pro-choice are most often those who want to reduce the rate of abortions through proven methods, like comprehensive sex education and availability of contraception. I know personally that I would like to see less abortions, and out-lawing abortions has never been proven to make them stop. In countries where abortion is illegal, the rates of abortion are just as high as they are in countries that they are legal. Furthermore I believe in free agency and not imposing my beliefs, religious or otherwise, on other people’s lives and bodies. I don’t know when abortion became the defining “issue” between conservatives and liberals, but I can tell you most politicians use it as a social issue to scare or coerce people into voting for them. If politicians really wanted abortion to be illegal, they would have done it by now. They’ve had almost 40 years and every year it stands.

      As for gay marriage, I believe that every person is a child of God. I believe that being gay is something you’re born to be, just like I was born decidedly straight. If you’ve noticed, the church has backed off their positions on gay marriage. They did not ask members to raise money against the same sex marriage propositions that happened in Maryland and other states this election season. I don’t believe that the state has the right to use religious doctrine to create laws because we have a separation of church and state in this country. I invite all those people who do not believe in gay marriage to not gay marry someone. We all have our free agency and we don’t have the right to impose it on anyone else. As for me and my house, we choose to follow Jesus who told us that the greatest commandment was to love God and the second greatest was to love one another. I cannot love someone while actively trying to take their rights away.

      And if you’re a conservative in Utah, I’d say you’ve had a very good week. Orrin Hatch, Rob Bishop, Gary Herbert, John Swallow, John Dougall, and Jason Chaffetz were all elected and/or re-elected to office. And they are all Republicans. Depending on your district, it is highly likely that your local state senator and representative are Republicans who were elected and/or re-elected. It’s funny, most people have assumed by this post that I voted for President Obama just because I said I did not vote for Mitt Romney. The other presidential candidates on our ballots in Utah this year were Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Gloria La Riva, Virgil Goode, and Gary Johnson. I believe firmly that it is only between me, myself, and my conscious who I vote for and who I voted for I left in the ballot box.

      Thank you for your comments, Colleen. I appreciate your willingness to engage in respectful discourse with your questions.

  14. I loved and agreed with everything you said. Every discussion with my husband turned into a fight because I was voting for the guy who ended up winning, again. I need him to read the statement from the First Presidency. What i love are the people who complain the loudest are the ones who don’t vote in the first place. In the past three weeks i have said to things, “if you dont vote, you don’t have the right to complain about the gov’t you didnt help elect. And, God is non-partisan.

  15. I’m not Mormon, but I feel the same way about a lot of my Baptist friends. I’m a moderate-to-liberal Baptist in a very red state, and it’s hard. I had people say similar things to me and at first I was appalled and angry. And then it just made me sad. Things like this are why so many people are turning away from organized religion as a whole.
    (btw…here via Kim Borchert. Glad she posted the link!)

    1. Thank you for your comments Bridget. I’m sorry that you have experienced the same things with people of your faith. My dad’s side of the family are mostly Adventists and very conservative and with him being a liberal, I’m sure he’s experienced what we have experienced too. I think this issue is endemic to all faiths. Today in church we had a lesson on kindness and on not judging others. Not only was it a very good lesson for me personally, I thought it was a very healing lesson after this election week. God bless!

      (And it looks like I have Kim to thank for so much traffic coming to my blog. I don’t know you Kim, but thanks!)

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