They’re not wrong

They’re not wrong. Not about everything.

I disagree with their choice of candidate. What they want would have—has had—disastrous results, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely wrong.

And they’re not wrong only in the sense that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, although that’s true. Everybody can vote and campaign for the candidate of their choice, and there is no Master Election Supervisor who decides which reasons for voting are rational and appropriate and which aren’t. You can pull the lever for whomever you choose for any reason you want, and you don’t have to justify your choice to anyone, before or after. That’s just how democracy works.

And I don’t think their choice is irrational. Using a multi-dimensional utility function, we all get to choose how we weight the issues and various other factors, and if the factors you weight most highly lead you to vote Republican, that’s your call. I think that choice is already causing grievous harm to the country, but again, there’s no Master Ballot Overseer to make sure everyone is focusing on the correct issues before voting. It’s a democracy, etc., etc.

And I don’t think their issues are unimportant, at least not all of them. Looking at the “LDS for Trump” page, I don’t see much of a platform, but they mention a few issues. I’m not sure who “school-choice reform” is meant to appeal to. It seems like kind of a niche issue that comes up basically never in any church setting. The church doesn’t really get animated about “pro-life issues,” but it has at least taken a definite stand on abortion. It’s not one of the issues I care most about, but those who do care deeply certainly have some reasonable points. I simply don’t care about the premature expulsion of a blastocyst, but abortion takes place on a sliding scale between insignificance and horror, and I’m disturbed by the arguments for permitting late-term abortion—a euphemism for dismembering babies otherwise capable of life—in any circumstances. “It’s only a few hundred cases a year” is no more persuasive than it is for school shootings. The policies of each party affect the world in many ways, and I think the overall toll of maimed, starving, or otherwise harmed children and other people will be much lower with a Democratic president in office, but that doesn’t make all their issues vacuous. Voting for any candidate requires making compromises on issues of serious importance, and I will certainly make my own compromises (but this does not make both candidates in any sense a morally equivalent choice).

And I don’t think “LDS for Trump” is wrong to highlight concerns about religious freedom. There are certainly segments of society that disdain them and other traditional  believers in ways that impact their lives, and voting, campaigning, and politicking in all its forms is the correct way for citizens to seek remedies to indignities they have suffered.

And the members of “LDS for Trump” have correctly understood something crucial about how our government works today. Relations between citizens of different views are rarely a matter of legislative deal-making and compromise. Instead, the important decisions about what views are worthy of consideration and which can be banned from the public sphere are decided with Solomon-like presumption by judges. What’s the matter with Kansas? Kansans figured out, correctly, that being treated with dignity was more important than money or even health. People vote against their pocketbook because they’re voting for something even more basic: for being accorded the dignity due to a fellow citizen. And the key to that isn’t passing laws, unfortunately, but packing the courts.

So they’re not wrong about everything, even as their choices are destroying the country we live in. Liberal democracy, as others have said, is a hill worth dying on, but liberal democracy gives us a limited set of tools to work with: Argument. Persuasion. Discussion. Compromise. Free and fair elections. A free press and an informed citizenry. Unbiased expertise and equal application of the law.

And above all, empathy. It should be possible to reach workable agreements and compromises acceptable to most citizens on any issue, including abortion. Western Europe’s ban after 16 weeks in the context of comprehensive public and maternal health? Yes, I’ll gladly take that compromise. But compromise requires the admission that the other side is fundamentally legitimate. It means setting aside fantasies of one-sided political triumph and accepting legislative deal-making. And even persuasion is more effective if it begins by acknowledging the reality of political opponents’ concerns.

As fellow citizens, we owe the people who will vote for the opposing candidate our empathy. This is doubly true of “LDS for Trump,” whose burdens we have presumably covenanted to bear (but not: to affirm their fantasies).

So consider this a prelude of empathy to whatever else gets said in this election season where the choice between right and wrong is clear, the stakes are high, and the consequences for the fabric of our communities, whether political or religious, will be severe.

78 comments for “They’re not wrong

  1. The split has deeply divided my own family, so trying to reconcile with the church membership at large is, unfortunately, a secondary concern.

  2. Maybe it is time to split the church, dividing the sheep and the goats, along political lines which are also morality lines and religious lines. People who support life and constitutional freedom should not be required to affiliate and combine resources with those who don’t. They might stay friends, but they should not be required to unite forces with each other. This “big tent” church, designed to welcome everybody, really welcomes nobody, at least nobody who agrees about the important moral and ethical principles of the day. Perhaps it is time for this “big tent” to go. It is an imposition by the “big government” members upon the “little government” members. If some want to merge with Rome, let them do so, but let the others go their own way. “Empathy” sounds very elitist and condescending, unless I misunderstand this post.

  3. Some of the people who are interested in being treated with dignity will be surprised to find that some of these judges are more interested in the dignity of corporations than in the dignity of individuals. Others, of course, as students of history know, are willing to sacrifice quite a lot, as long as their supposed enemies, or other groups they consider to be inferior that may be increasing in size, influence, or prestige are kept down.

  4. Was there a time when some basic facts could be agreed on? It seems to have become much more divided in the last few years. So much has been politicised in America, that need not, be and isn’t elsewhere.

    There is a post by Jana Reiss, where she says she can’t understand why followers of Christ could vote for Trump, not just because of his behaviour, but also his policies.

    As an outsider, I am amazed at the lies being told by, and accepted by people on the right.

    Carona Virus worst results in the world so far
    Abortion high by first world standards
    Climate change Trump is winding back action to address
    Distribution of wealth Trump is redistributing to the wealthy the opposite of Christs teaching.
    Religious freedom guarinteed in the constitution
    Universal healthcare Trump and virus leaving many uncovered
    Socialism not sure what conservatives mean by this, same as markxism, or communism?

    In most of the world, these things are not politicized. They are agreed by all sides of politics.

    An example. In all ( most) first world countries both sides of politics agree that abortion is necessary, and should be a healthcare issue. It is agreed that the way to reduce abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and the way to do that is to provide honest sex education (so people know how not to get pregnant), provide affordable birth control, and respect women to not get pregnant if thay have the resources to manage their lives.

    Making abortion illegal, has very little affect on the number of abortions. The number of abortions in the US has reduced by half since 1973, but that reduction has nearly all been under Democrats. If both sides were doing what reduces the numbers it could be at least 2/3 as much, like Canada, or 1/3 like Germany. Universal healthcare also helps.

    US performance so far.

    Ronald Reagan 1981 – 1989

    Abortion rates hovered at 24-23 per every 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, ending at 24 in 1989.

    George H. W. Bush 1989 – 1993

    Abortion rates fell from 24 to 23 per every 1,000 women.

    Bill Clinton 1993 – 2001

    Abortion rates fell from 23 to 16.2 per every 1,000 women.

    George W. Bush 2001 – 2009

    Abortion rates hovered at about 16 per every 1,000 women for most of Bush’s time in the White House, then dropped from 15.8 in 2008 to 15 in 2009.

    Barack Obama 2009 – 2017

    Abortion rates plunged from 15 per every 1,000 women in 2009 to 12.5 in 2013, the latest year for which we have data. The abortion rate is now the lowest on record since 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade established a woman’s right to choose. It is also half the rate in 1980.

    As Amy Sullivan, a senior editor at Yahoo news, pointed out, these trends seemed to be a missed opportunity for the Democratic party to reach voters who want to see fewer abortions in the US.

    In addition when Democrats are in they fund NGOS that provide womens services in the third world. When Republicans are in they cut that funding resulting in 40million more abortions, and 10,000 extra women dying as a result of non medical abortions.

    With all this information available many members vote Republican because they claim they will make abortion illegal (and presumably zero). They have been selling this lie for 47 years, and produced nothing yet. The democrats, fund health services which reduce abortions by half.

  5. I missed out racism, which I don’t see Trump offering solutions for either. I say Trump, because the Republican conventions policy statement said our only policy is to support Trump.

  6. Oh, my — a purely partisan article, with only the thinnest veneer of empathy for those misguided Saints who won’t vote as the writer will. I think those other Saints will see through the veneer, and will assume the proferred empathy is disingenuous.

    I really don’t like it when anyone, of any political persuasion, claims that God is on their side and the other Saints who will vote differently are _______ [here, pitiable dupes who deserve our empathy]. I am equal opportunity, not liking it anywhere.

    I am grateful for our process, and for the dignity our process provides to all voters. I am less concerned about the outcome of any single election.

  7. I have come to the conclusion that the Republican approach to morality and ethics is (1) make it really hard to do the right thing, (2) exact severe punishment when they don’t, (3) unless they are one of the privileged few, then just slap the back of their wrist.

  8. I believe what GEOFF -AUS is saying is that the rest of the world is more in tune with the Marxist agenda than is United States, and I assume he is correct. I see it as a good thing that the United States has more residual Christian morality than the rest of the countries of the world. (The number of babies thrown into the “fires of Moloch” is a pretty dependable measure of the level of paganism in a society. The level in the US is about 1/3 of the rate elsewhere.) That lower abortion/infanticide level in the US simply means that the pagans have not yet completely overwhelmed Christianity in the United States. We might take note that the current negotiated Democrat platform document, which basically accepts Bernie Sander’s ideas, and even takes them a little bit further, is essentially a longer version of the more succinct Marxist Communist manifesto and checklist. If the Democrats win this presidential election cycle, then we can all rejoice in saying “now we are all Marxists here, just like the rest of the world. Christianity has finally been stamped out.”

  9. GEOFF -AUS tells us that “Abortion rates plunged from 15 per every 1,000 women in 2009 to 12.5 in 2013.”
    As a comparison:
    “The estimated global abortion rate in 2014 was 35, down from 40 in 1994. The abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44.”
    This is the rough comparison that leads me to the conclusion that the US has about one-third the world abortion rate. I am guessing that the general rule is that as Christianity declines, abortions go up, until paganism reigns everywhere.
    Worldwide Abortion Statistics

  10. student of history,

    I recommend to you the word’s of Michael Austin:

    “It is important to remember that Marxism is actually a thing. It has both a historical and a contemporary existence. There actually was a Marx, and he wrote things that anybody can read. We can look at what Marx wrote and what Marxists believe and see whether or not Joe Biden qualifies.

    “He doesn’t. It is not even close. Same with Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or any other Democratic or Republican politician today. When people say that this or that American politician is a ‘Marxist,’ or that they ’embrace Marxism, what they are really saying is, ‘I don’t know anything about Marxism, but it seems like a neat word to throw at anyone I disagree with because it sounds really scary.’ Over the past few weeks, people have been shouting this so loudly and so publically that I am frankly embarrassed to be an educator in the United States of America.

    “But let’s start from the beginning. A Marxist is somebody who believes that capitalist economic systems are fundamentally and irredeemably flawed.” (source “Joe Biden Is Not a Marxist — So Just Cut it Out”, Austin, Medium, 25 Aug 2020)

  11. Geoff AUS
    I have no idea why you are so obsessed with politics here in the US. Democrat-run cities and states are sinking and sinking fast. Do you support BLM and antifa? If you do, don’t think that they won’t come for you because they don’t care about you.

  12. Miranda & Student, I suggest you delay hitting that POST button until you’ve taken off the MAGA hat & cooled off a little. Your contributions to discussion make no sense.

  13. Yet Geoff -Aus is correct to notice the RNC convention did not produce any platform other than allegiance to Trump, and attempts to terrify the voters into believing that Joe Biden is a radical socialist. And as far as Christian morality goes,there is more to measuring that than equating legal (not, I notice, compulsory) abortion with throwing live babies into the fires of Moloch. If abortion is legal, then the only way to prevent abortion is to rely on persuasion and pure knowledge and love unfeigned, not to mention for men, self restraint and chastity. We have the utter failure of White House Leadership regarding the COVID-19 response, demonstrated in a willingness to sacrifice over 180,000 lives so far, and what turns out to be ongoing health issues for a significant percentage of those who recover, incuding heart and lung damage, all in the same of getting the economy going so Trump can get re-elected? Nations such as New Zealand and China and Iceland and even Italy where it was so bad, have managed things far better than has the US. This should be undeniable, but which Republicans will admit the systemic failure led by Trump’s ego? There are reports of White House decisions to punt on a national response being based on their perception that it was Democrats who were dying, so Trump could forgo a centralized reponse and blame the Governors. Now, of course, it is the Red states having the most serious outbreaks and rising case rates due to their following Trump’s whatever it is. A preacher has caused a serious outbreak in a Maine community that had no COVID by insisting on freedom of religion in the face of consequences. I don’t need to put my neighbors and friends and spouse at risk to practive my religion. The countless scandals of the Trumptocracy, including serious threats to the notion of Democracy (Read “On Tyranny”), are appalling. Easy question for Christian morality: Has Trump ever undertaken to “cover his sins, or to gratify his pride, his vain ambition or to excercise control or dominion or compulsion in any degree of unrighteousness?” Ask Michael Cohen. Read Paul’s description of charity in 1 Corinthians 13 and think about Trump’s personality. He is the exact opposite. Charity suffereth long, and is kind,charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself,is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in truth. One reason to focus on abortion as though it were the sum total of Christian morality is to avoid mentioning family separations as a deliberate policy of deterence engineered by white supremicists like Stephen Miller. To hurt people so cruely as to discourage them and others in need from seeing the promise of the Statue of Liberty and the American dream as if it could be offered to anyone who is actauly hungry or tired or poor or yearning to be free. Tax cuts for the rich, dropping environmental protections and undermining health care, and a side effect of the pandemic turns out to be the richest getting even richer, while an eviction crisis looms. Is this just social Darwinism to embrace? What would Jesus do? Besides tell about the Good Samaritan, and the Widow’s mite, and talk about the rich and camels getting through the eye of a needle (a literal impossibility, as Nibley reminded us), and having stories of Cain saying “am I my brother’s keeper?” and being master of the great secret that converts other peoples lives into profit, and Korihor saying “A man prospers through his strength and whatosever a man does is no crime” and God saying that rather than those philosophies, “Remember you were a stranger”, and Benjamin saying “Are we not all beggars?” And Jesus saying “Whatsoever ye have done unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me?” And think about gassing and beating peaceful protestors, to pose with an unopened Bible. “When the wicked rule, the people mourn. Wherefore honest men and wise men should be diligently sought” D&C 98:9-10.

  14. Well-expressed KC. The huge support “Grab ‘em by the p****” enjoys in Mormondom exposes deep and critical flaws in our culture. We took a bad turn somewhere and we’re obviously still wandering.

  15. “Liberal democracy, as others have said, is a hill worth dying on”

    Why is that? Liberal democracy does nothing to help persuade people to come unto Christ, and undermines the Church’s efforts to do so.

  16. Ryan Mullen – so let’s do it your way:

    “But let’s start from the beginning. A Marxist is somebody who believes that capitalist economic systems are fundamentally and irredeemably flawed.” There are other elements, but that is a good place to start.

    Biden has said over and over that he is against fracking, that is, he is against a free market in energy. He wants to implement the ruinously expensive “green new deal” in which the government controls basically all the sources of energy. The “free market” in energy will basically disappear.

    So, you tell me — does Joe Biden believe in a free market system, a capitalist system? He could not possibly believe that and be arguing for these other policies, thereby going along with AOC, and her followers.

    Joe Biden has very recently been trying to walk back all his prior statements on important political points, including fracking. But since nearly all of his supporters are Marxists, with BLM being explicitly and proudly and publicly Marxist, how likely is he to actually do anything they would disapprove of?

  17. The energy market has been distorted for decades by enormous subsidies to fossil fuels. And yet, coal jobs are still going the way of whaling jobs. If the true cost of the externalities of fracking and other drilling were accounted for, they couldn’t compete in a free market. Even a famous communist such as Richard Nixon realized the importance protecting clean water and air by government regulation of companies that would degrade the environment.

  18. “Democrat-run cities and states are sinking and sinking fast.”

    @Jon Miranda…what does this actually mean to you in reality/practice? Do you have some data or a citation to back up this claim? I’m seriously asking. What does this look like? Where do you live? Have you ever lived in such a place? I live (and have for 20 years) in a relatively liberal, educated and affluent suburban area of swing state is the southeastern US. I’m 50, politically unaffiliated, and doing just fine thank you very much. I don’t feel like I, my community, or my state Is sinking at all or in any way.

  19. “Charitable comments welcome.” Well, the last time that T and S made the mistake of allowing a post on the issue of abortion, by Nathaniel Givens, what had been a well-written essay was hijacked by the zealots of pro-choice and pro-life. and they expended tremendous energy shouting at each other through their vitriolic comments. It never occurred to them that the other side might have something worth saying.

    I can understand ji reading Jonathon Green’s post as a patronizing attempt to “understand the benighted class.” I could also read Green’s post more charitably. I will merely say that so-called “progressives” very often have a problem understanding the non-progressive mind; it is a genuine dysfunction that hurts our culture and society, even more than conservatives’ resistance to change.

    Having said that, for the record:

    (1) I can be called either a “never-Trump conservative” or a libertarian. For the first time in my life, I will vote for the Democrat, Biden. Aargh. It is like choosing between getting bitten by a rattlesnake (usually survivable) or getting bitten by a black mamba (almost always fatal).

    (2) I do agree with Green about adopting the European approach to abortion, which is very permissive up until 16-20 weeks, but after that, it is much more difficult to get one. I do not like abortion, but believe me, there are worse sins, chief among them insisting that abortion should never be permissible, and also insisting it should be available up to the point of delivering a full-term baby:

    The zealots of both sides will no doubt condemn me, as they often have in the past. I don’t care. Among his many famous quotes, Winston Churchill made the crack that a fanatic won’t change his mind, and won’t change the subject.

    For the moderators of W and T: please post another essay on a different topic. Quickly.

  20. @JonMiranda — I agree with TheMagicRat — I live in a community founded under the auspices of F.D. and Eleanor Roosevelt during the Great Depression, which thrives on the cooperative spirit. I live as part of a housing cooperative. Our mayor is African-American. Our cooperative community is thriving. It is not sinking fast. People in this community gladly sew masks for each other. This community is not incompatible with church membership–a number of faithful, active, contributing Latter-day Saints live in this cooperative community.

  21. It’s nice to see that “they” dropped the SLC temple background from their “who we are” graphic.

  22. TO: TheMagicRat and “What’s in a Name?”

    The bad effects on New York City of the virus, the business shutdowns, the collapse of the police force, the skyrocketing increase in crime should have made it an obvious example to point to of a collapsing Democrat-run city. Governor Cuomo is begging people to come back.

  23. student of history,

    “he is against fracking, that is, he is against a free market in energy” These are not even remotely the same thing. There are acres of political ideology between wanting to regulate a practice with a large environmental footprint and eliminating the private ownership of mineral rights.

    “But since nearly all of his supporters are Marxists, with BLM being explicitly and proudly and publicly Marxist,” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  24. Student of history. Your definition of marxism is wrong, and nothing the Democrats propose, or for that matter free first word countries do is marxist either.

    Good thing you are not claiming to be a student of maths. The article you quote on abortion says the world average is 35 coming down from 40, but it also says America is 20, Canada, Aus, UK about 14 and some countries like Germany 6.

    Your analasis “This is the rough comparison that leads me to the conclusion that the US has about one-third the world abortion rate. I am guessing that the general rule is that as Christianity declines, abortions go up, until paganism reigns everywhere.”

    FACT 20 is not 1/3 of 35 is closer to 2/3 than 1/3 (.57) I would have thought you would want to compare the US with the first world which is between 1/3 and 2/3 less than America.

    Your comment about Christianity declining looks a bit strange when all the first world, marxist (by your definition) countries have substantially lower rates of abortion than than the US, so by your reasoning, must be way more christian, as well as marxist. They are of course more christian, though by policy not noise, and not marxist at all.

    You might also considder the republicans defund birth control in the developing world which contributes a large portion of this higher number 35 for the whole world. Dems restore funding, and reduce the 40 million abortions, and the thousands of women who die as a result. Your understanding of christianity, and maths, are different from mine.

    My original response was to present some FACTS on abortion, because members say they hold their nose because they have to vote republican because they say they oppose abortion. They have been opposing it for 47 years, have done nothing to stop or reduce abortion, and members are willing to destroy the country, risk democracy, and vote again on this issue, especially strange when democrats reduce the rate quietly.

    Tiwan, You may think it is a mistake to discuss issues that concern how members relate to politics. I think it is vital to see whether there are some common truths, and question the lies. There is of course room for opinion, but opinion that is arrived at without truth, might possibly be informed?
    The conservatives on here are not saying the have to vote republican because of abortion, when there ate facts.

  25. It appears that a number of conservative members believed what Trump said about democrat governors and mayors. Now they have been told the truth by those who know.

    If they continuebto repeat the lie, their choice, but they know the truth now.

  26. Thank you, Jonathan. I admire your attempt to navigate this minefield as best as possible. The US presidential elections affect the whole world, hence, a lot of attention in the media abroad, also in Europe. But also within our “church abroad” the topic is stirring emotions.
    It’s safe to say that most converts and most long-standing members lean to the left, as research has established for some countries. Most members are from lower or medium socio-economic layers and tend to vote for socialist or green parties. So, overall, members in Europe who follow political developments are stunned to discover that there are Mormons in the US voting for Trump.
    But social media are bringing the US tensions to European church members. Since many have American friends—mostly returned missionaries—in their Facebook community, a number of these Americans are posting pro-Trump information, which is often more anti-Biden propaganda, and also conspiracy theories, apocalyptic warnings, antivaxxing, and the like. We now see that a small number of European LDS are picking up that kind of info and spreading it too, sometimes in combination with anti-migration or even racist rhetoric. Not appreciated by many other members. My view on the phenomenon is limited, so I wonder if such growing discord, as we now see among LDS in the US, is also noticeable in social media with mainly LDS participants in other countries. Any?

  27. Thanks for the fascinating responses. For now I’ll focus on just two of them.

    Geoff-Aus, the Aussie interlocutor,
    some call him an agent provocateur…

    Geoff, you’re very bad at persuasion. Your lengthy, ill-placed political screeds (under a post on a stage play for children? really?) are enough to make a die-hard Democrat turn Trump-curious. They’re so ill timed, so sure to generate contention, that I have to consider the possibility that it’s intentional. That you’re not, in other words, merely an Aussie interlocutor, but an agent of some foreign power with the goal of sowing dissension. If you’re actually sincere, what you’re missing is what my post was about: empathy. Spend some time trying to think like JI or “student of history,” reading them seriously, and giving them credit for what they may be right about. Try to convince them, not denounce them. It would be beneficial for everyone, and may help you with your eye pain. Caused by the beam jutting from it, I believe.

    * * *

    “Student of history,” by all means continue your discussion on abortion, since cross-aisle discussions are urgently necessary. And I don’t think you’re asking too much to use “Marxism” as a shorthand for “the enmity toward traditional religion found in Marxist writings and common to many Marxist regimes of the 20th century,” or whatever you meant by it.

    But I wanted to come back to your first comment, where you mention Rome and Moloch, because I think that’s getting at the heart of the problem. Our usual models for thinking about politics don’t work as well as they once did, as many have observed. And so in casting about for new ones, we also reach back to old models. I mean, I could enthusiastically vote for Rome, as Rome eventually turned out to be a fairly congenial place for Christians. I’d love to have a choice between voting for Rome or for Constantinople. But there’s that fear that a vote for Rome is really a vote for Moloch in a business suit, and I don’t think that fear is misplaced, although that’s a topic for another post.

    Something else in that first comment is more urgent. You write, “Maybe it is time to split the church, dividing the sheep and the goats, along political lines which are also morality lines and religious lines. People who support life and constitutional freedom should not be required to affiliate and combine resources with those who don’t.”

    The willingness to embrace schism alarms me. Before long, someone is certain to offer you that choice, to point you to a church where you don’t have to associate with any of those freedom-denying life-opposers. You have to – and I’m serious, you absolutely have to – be aware that it’s a scam, that this goat-free church doesn’t actually exist and that the conman selling it to you doesn’t care in the least about your spiritual welfare. Hoping to split the church along political lines is the cutting edge of apostasy, every bit as much as when progressives denounce the prophets for speaking out about sexual morality. If you go down that road, I will not follow.

  28. I’m still not convinced that our God has endorsed either candidate in the U.S. presidential contest.

    I did note from this morning’s Jerusalem Post: “Why Americans in Israel Must Vote for Trump.” Wikipedia calls the paper “a centrist broadsheet based in Jerusalem.”

    Last month, Israel Today (Israel Hayom) had an article: “A Joe Biden Presidency Isn’t Israel’s Worst Nightmare.” Wikipedia says the paper “is Israel’s most widely-read newspaper.”

    I didn’t read either article — I’m just sharing the headlines to show that the contest is about more than abortion. It is complex.

    I support Latter-day Saints caring enough to get involved. I like hearing rational and sound duscussuon. But I wish they wouldn’t directly or indirectly disparage their co-religionists who might vote differently. And, I wish they wouldn’t claim that God or right or decency is on their side. I wish they wouldn’t try to label (directly or indirectly) other Latter-day Saints as enlightened or benighted, depending on how they might vote.

  29. Ryan Mullen: I like your implied suggestion that we add the script for “Princess Bride” to our Canon of Scripture or wisdom literature or, at a minimum, put it next to a volume of Shakespeare. :-)

    With my 10-gallon tinfoil hat on, I’m going to claim that almost all “end of the world” scenarios that have ever been promoted (Malthusianism, for example), with “global warming” or “climate change” having recent prominence, are really nothing more than attempts to deny that God exists or cares about our world at all, leaving only the godless “Marxist” or “statists” or “humanists” left to save us from certain doom. (Evolutionists make similar claims for similar reasons.) Their consistent message over the history of the world is “give us all your money and all your freedoms and we will save you from destruction and create a heaven on earth.” Or at least we will create a pathway to heaven using something like the Tower of Babel. There have been millions of schemes of this sort, and they are all the same, and they never go away, and they never succeed. Human nature makes sure they always fail.

    There is a vast chasm between being good stewards of the earth and inventing another “Tower of Babel” one-world government to save the world, to uplift the downtrodden, etc. Do these atheists have it right, or do the faithful followers of Christ have it right, that the earth was put here for a very specific purpose and it will remain intact as long as it is needed?

    Jonathan Greene: I share your concerns about possible schisms. However, my more specific concern is that with an enormous range of opinions within the church, with one group, perhaps even the largest group, actually having more faith in “the arm of flesh” and related worldly ideologies and programs than they do in anything scriptural or gospel driven (partly because they have zero experience with a serious gospel program designed to improve society), then what we end up with is a totally paralyzed overall organization.

    For example, any large-scale charitable effort of any significance would come into conflict at some level with government programs. For example, as in Washington DC (or Chicago or Baltimore), the leftist local government there has forbidden any school choice options such as charter schools to even operate there, even if those school choice options were free to DC. This is a blatant interference with freedom of religion and freedom of speech, but the political leftists have no problem with that. That, in fact, is their strategy. I say this to point out that any serious effort to do good would be met with massive political resistance, as church-based solutions begin to show the foolishness and ineffectiveness of government-based solutions.

    Do we try to solve all the world’s problems with tax-and-spend government programs which cost at least three times as much as any charity-based program, while also further confusing people about gospel principles, or do we attempt to support a significant religion-based set of initiatives which attempt to meet the needs of individuals through religion-driven activities as opposed to atheistic government driven tax-and-spend activities? Staying “equally yoked” with die-hard statists means that there will never be developed a vigorous religion-based charitable solution to anything (at least not by that “big tent” group). If the choice comes down to paralysis versus action, as I think it does and has, then I want to go with the action option which is the religion-based charity option, not the tax-and-spend government force option which usually turns out to be counterproductive.

    I lived abroad for 14 years working with the US State Department, so I have some personal experience to rely on. We lived in Saudi Arabia, Mexico City, and Moscow and visited many points in between. Seeing the church operating abroad and seeing the differences between members in foreign lands and those in the United States was very instructive about some of these religious/political issues. Incidentally, I now have time to poke my nose into Blogosphere territory because I recently finished and published a book which amounts to my memoirs, my analysis of the church today and what it would take to get it out of the doldrums and into doing something effective. The book is entitled “Is the Church As True As the Gospel? A Constitutional Approach.” A large chunk of it can be read online for free if anyone wants to dabble in it. There are also four books I published earlier which serve as the underlying historical and theological platform for this fifth book. [Oh no, did I just commit a micro aggression? :-) ]

  30. GEOFF -AUS seems to have pointed out some statistics that I should follow up on. For example, we know that most of the European nations have their native populations dropping like a stone, giving rise to the need to invite millions of Muslims to pour into previously Christian countries such as Germany, just to man the factories to support all the old retired people. Since these Muslims have typically been taught in their home countries to hate Christians, things have not gone smoothly. Last time I read about it, Italy was the worst, with its population being cut in half at every generation, since women there have barely more than one child. I believe that is true in Russia, and there are similarly small numbers in Scandinavia, etc.

    Perhaps what is happening is that when these native populations have almost no children, or only half the number of children it would take to keep their population stable, then they also have many fewer abortions, since they avoid having children in the first place. (Or they are faking their abortion statistics.) There are religious questions going either way. Working out all the related statistics for these European “Christian” countries would be an interesting exercise.

  31. Student of history, As others have pointed out, the word Marxist that you keep throwing around has many, many meanings and uses in various disciplines, etc. You seem to be combining them all into one hell hole of a word that makes absolutely no sense in the practical world (as well the accusations you keep throwing around about who supports what in your broad-stroke, conspirator manner). I’m curious where you’ve done your studies of history, because almost all reputable programs wouldn’t bestow a history degree (and certainly not a graduate degree in history) without requiring a little more understanding of nuance in this regard. Perhaps, though, you received that training, but have simply jettison it for the much easier, less accurate path of knowledge you’re presenting here.

  32. “There have been millions of schemes of this sort, and they are all the same, and they never go away, and they never succeed. Human nature makes sure they always fail.”

    Replace the word “schemes” with “churches” and your preposterous statement suddenly takes on a semblance of reality.

  33. Jonathan, I am a real person. I am an active member, have spent 10 years on missions, and 20 years on bishoprics. I have an engineering background, and see truth/facts as important. 1+1 always =2. In your post, I would say the “election supervisor” would ask whether your choice was based on facts or lies. So much of what is believed in American politics is based on lies. In this discussion, abortion, and democrat governors, for example.

    I do not criticise people, but try to point out the truth, if their understanding/opinion seems not to be based on truth. What beam in eye did I display? That felt personal. But I did appreciate P comment, thankyou. It would be interesting if this site had up votes.

    I do realise I come from a left of centre position, certainly by American standards, which I arrived at because that’s my understanding of what Christ taught. That we should love our fellows, care for the poor etc (If government delivers that care most effectively, not a problem).

    Ji I am not saying God is a democrat, just I believe in the present situation he would be voting that way. Morality, in the broader sense. This week Trump told his supporters to vote twice, by mail and then in person. How is that not a deal breaker? He regularly attempts to undermine Democracy. 12 more years? Transferring wealth to the wealthy at the expense of the poor, etc, etc,

    As Wilfred tries to explain 2 things; there is no mainstream political party to the right of the democrat policies, where I live. There is a very small party, but they are seen as a joke (their leader has red hair and often makes a stupid comments). And 2 The US president influences politics, and life in general, throughout the free world. Not for good at present.

    Can you get from the last paragraph that members trying to go with the Trump line (as good members) do not help the image of the church. I understand you have a 60 minutes TV programme in America. 2 weeks ago on 60 minutes Australia there was a programme about a person who tried to take over a state branch of our conservative party and move it further to the right. He used mormons (mentioned 5 times) to stack branches. Secret recordings showed him to be foul mouthed. He has now resigned. The name of the church is damaged by this connection to extreme right politics.

    There need not be a connection between the church and the right of politics, and the church would have more potential to grow without it. Conservative politics has taken a leap furthur right in America, and members need not follow it.

    If Utah votes Trump in November, there is no point sending missionaries to first world countries, the brand of the church will be too damaged.

  34. Student. Countries like Germany did not invite muslims into their country because they needed cheap labour. They offered a home to refugees. Why would people who hate christians be going to christian countries as refugees? It is possible that these refugees appreciate their new country, and take on its morals? This is what I see.
    “Perhaps what is happening is that when these native populations have almost no children, or only half the number of children it would take to keep their population stable, then they also have many fewer abortions, since they avoid having children in the first place.”

    It is not difficult to find out reproduction rates US 1.77, Sweden 1.87, Norway 1.84. Germany 1.48, Australia 1.74

    Perhaps it would be better to look at the facts before trying to explain them.

    Perhaps too you might call democrats, democrats, rather than offensive names. Respect?

  35. Well, if we keep going, we might end up with quite a collection of political/religious commentary.

    Brian… My background is not a set of classic history degrees, but rather two law degrees (Federal economic regulation and taxation), plus many years of personal historical studies, mostly focusing on ideological, political, church, and religious history. I see this study of law as an important study of history, since it is basically a study of all the many foolish things people and organizations have done in the history of mankind and what has been done to attempt to adapt for that massive amount of human foolishness.

    Both fortunately and unfortunately, I have discovered that most historians are political leftists, perhaps hoping to use their profession to gain more power over their fellow citizens, possibly through the power of revisionist histories, changing the interpretations of history for political advantage. That is certainly true of LDS historians, as a rule. Do we accept atheistic dialectical materialism as a way of understanding history, or do we actually believe what God says in his scriptures about the history of the world and the universe and the gospel? I say “fortunately” because I would hate to have had to commit to being a fanatical Marxist to be allowed to pass through graduate programs in history, where conservative Christian principles and interpretations are taboo. This is like the situation in biology, where you would never be allowed to do graduate work in biology without totally accepting (or painfully feigning to accept) all the Marxist/Darwinian/atheist speculations on how to prove there is no God. The mind control in these academic areas is brutal and relentless, similar to studying to become one of the priests of Pharaoh.

    p… Actually I agree with you, since the history of the world has mostly been a history of what I will call “warlord religions” where religion is used as a mind control mechanism to convince people to give up their freedom and their money without a fight. It is just more efficient to have people surrender their minds willingly rather than have to crush them all with extreme force. Christ tried to end that pattern of “warlord religions,” but even his truly superhuman effort only lasted a few hundred years, and, apparently, can never last more than a few hundred years because of basic human nature. The residual affects of his restoration of the gospel did bring us Western civilization, but even that amazing long-term influence is about to disintegrate.

    GEOFF -AUS… I do agree with you that “So much of what is believed in American politics is based on lies.” With the committed leftist mainstream media spewing constant lies and intentionally twisting every public event and statement that can be twisted, it takes a superhuman effort to find out the truth about anything. I spent about 15 years living in Washington DC working for the federal government, and that has been very helpful in sorting out the wheat from the chaff. I honestly don’t know how anyone who hasn’t lived in that Imperial city could have any idea what’s going on there. I even spent two years working at the House of Representatives, two years at the Justice Department, one year at the Labor Department, eight years at the Census Bureau, one year at the Navy Department, etc., etc., up to 12 agencies. That was quite an education in and of itself.

    “That we should love our fellows, care for the poor etc (If government delivers that care most effectively, not a problem).” It seems like your heart is in the right place, but hiring agents of Satan (or even airhead “hirelings”) to do God’s work is really not an effective strategy. I know from extensive personal experience how messed up government programs always are. Waste and foolishness on a vast scale is the norm. Even in my tiny little parts of the federal government, we totally wasted $200 million in one case, $40 million in another, $30 million in another, etc. No one in their right mind would trust them to do anything important, certainly nothing charitable or religious in nature, except perhaps for military matters, where there is no obvious alternative.

    I interpret your comments about the “foolish right” as condemning anyone who promotes self-reliance and personal responsibility. Leftist politicians always promote individual dependence on others, especially the collective, and accept no personal responsibility for anything. There is such a thing as “sovereign immunity” which is a very convenient legal mechanism for giving government leaders absurd levels of power over others without any personal responsibility, and removing all political powers from the citizens. If people accept this chicanery, they become slaves of the state to that same extent. Their imagined “democracy” ends. “One man, one vote, once.”

    I argue that the first principle of the gospel is individual freedom. Without it, none of the principles of the gospel make an ounce of sense.

    I am sorry to be “offensive,” especially when I cannot imagine what I said that was offensive. Apparently I am too insensitive to catch these things.

    I will say something here that truly may be offensive. When the millions of refugees flooded into Germany, at German invitation, they committed huge numbers of disturbances and crimes because of their lack of respect for German women, especially. The German police were told to look the other way and let these crimes go on. That should let you know that these people were let in on that scale as a matter of economic and political desperation, not as a matter of Christian kindness.

    search “refugees attack german women”
    Mass attacks on German women: what does it spell for refugee crisis?

    “As almost 100 women report being assaulted by a mob of about 1,000 men at Cologne’s New Year celebrations, Germany is once again forced to consider its response to the migrant crisis.”

  36. Student of history, the myopic arrogance and ignorance, and the dangerous nature of your suppositions in the above post surpasses anything from the academic, Marxist, revisionist, power-hungry, deceiving, atheistic, hypocritical, “agent of Satan” institutions you so readily deride. It’s very difficult to seriously consider as genuine all the claims of goodwill in your posts when such derision pervades your every point.

    But, to entertain you, I have three graduate degrees, none from religious institutions and one from a foreign country, in humanistic fields, none of which required my acceptance of Darwinism or Marxism in any form. In fact, most of my professors were Christian and religious. Did they lean left? Yes. Though I realize you believe it impossible for someone to be on the left politically and still be a sincere Christian, you are mistaken. And, frankly, that you want to judge everyone’s testimony and faith in this regards is mind-bogglingly arrogant and denies both political and religious reality. Also, what you write about ‘warlord religions’ can easily apply to Mormonism, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As you know, in a court of law, perception is key, not facts. And what you perceive as dangerous in other religions can easily be applied to the organization of this church. In many ways, we demand money and freedom. In fact, we might do so more than other religions.

    Finally, that you can find leftist leaning tendencies and even propaganda in media does not prove much insight or acumen on your part, but that you can’t find the same (or least don’t mention any) on the right proves, indeed, a pretty-determined agenda on your part that is distorted from reality. Everyone should be able to find weaknesses on both sides. Especially as a ‘student’ of law, you should realize that the many blanket-statements you make do not help your cause, but instead hurts it.

    I could continue the discussion, but, it’s already apparent that you thrive on black and white, inaccurate, conspiratorial thinking as justification for your views, while deriding others and, indeed, reveling in your offensiveness. Good luck with that. But you stand on shaky ground. Reality is proving that if you valued the testimonies and faith of the younger generation, you would begin to allow more nuance into your system. The “gray” areas of the restoration are not a bug, but a feature of the gospel–a feature that allows for the further light and knowledge. And lest you think I’m some deluded atheist, you are mistaken. I grew up as black and white thinking as you are now. I, too, have lived in various countries (Ireland, Benin, Ivory Coast, Taiwan, Tonga, Italy) and have seen extreme political unrest. In fact, the US Embassy in the Ivory Coast even asked me if I would do a body count for them in 2000 during the instability leading to their civil war and division. This was after they’d already evacuated all but the most essential personnel. Ironically, even your own system of thinking demands that we take with a grain of sale your claims, simply because of your closeness to and long work within US political systems. So, I get it, you’ve had experiences. But I must push back against the one-sided conclusions you take from them simply because they fail on so many levels of both logic, and, frankly, charity. That you call for a purging of the Church is enough of a red-flag for almost anyone to be put on guard of your views. Such a call is extreme, unChristian, completely not your place, and demonstrates, again ironically, the very urges you so forcefully argue against in other religions and institutions. That you cannot see it as such serves as the capstone–warning others of the dangerous end they might succumb to if they follow the ideology you are proposing.

  37. I am reluctant to enter this discussion, but a correction of fact is needed. In the 1960s, the West German economy was booming, and the German government did not have enough Germans to fill employment demand. So Germany began importing large numbers of “Gastarbeiter,” or Guest Workers, from Southern Europe and Turkey, to work the more menial and low-paying jobs that native Germans were no longer willing to fill. The Turkish presence in Germany became a real social issue, because it was foreign, very different, and Muslim. Some integration and acceptance has happened over the decades, but the Turkish presence is still an issue, even though there are now many third-generation Turkish-Germans who speak only German. The whole thing caused a lot of nativist German resentment.

    Germany’s large-scale acceptance of Muslim refugees began in the 2010s, particularly from Syria.

  38. Taiwan Missionary…. Thanks for clarifying the historical situation in Germany. You obviously have more information than I have, but we seem to end up in about the same place.

    Brian…. Actually, I agree that the LDS church fits in with the broad categories I set out concerning “warlord religions,” and I consider that a very serious problem. The church today has indeed wandered far off the path which Christ set out during his lifetime, and which Joseph Smith emulated. The LDS church today has worked very hard over the last 120 years to become an Old Testament church, getting rid of all the most important aspects of a New Testament church which made it so exciting and successful, willfully choosing Old Testament tithing and almost complete lack of charity, over the original complete religious freedom concerning contributions and the vigorous charity activities of the New Testament church which provided a complete social safety net, far more effectively than any tax-and-spend government invention and imposition..

    I can indeed imagine that someone on the left can think of themselves as a sincere Christian. Many of them probably do. The Australian on this site probably fits in that category. The problem is, that if they support secular statist solutions to every social problem, almost totally uninformed by Christianity, as almost everyone does today, then they cannot actually ACT like a real Christian. It seems pretty basic that FORCED charity, as in a tax-and-spend government system, is not really charity at all. There is no “free agency” aspect left whatsoever, so how can anyone get any religious “points” for participating? People can’t even learn how to carry out charity properly, when they are basically prevented by law from doing so. (It has long been illegal in Russia for a Christian organization to perform charitable activities, lest people begin to think more highly of religion than of the government.) It is an atheist substitute for Christian charity, and it is a poor and extremely expensive second-best. All governments (except perhaps full-blown police states) tend to do this for the exact purpose of using force to insert and enforce their secular philosophies and block out and diminish religion. It has worked very effectively for them. Statist governments see it as in their interest to get rid of all competing loyalties, and one’s loyalty to religion is the most threatening of all, and must be crushed at all cost. We are now so far down that path, that most people can’t even imagine what a gospel-based, charity-based society would look like. In LDS terms, we seek for Zion, but at this point we haven’t the slightest clue what that would look like.

    People on the left love to argue about “moral equivalencies,” but until government-paid abortion on demand ceases to be the first commandment of the Democrat party, their most important religious sacrament, so to speak, no one should take any of their “moral equivalencies” logic seriously on anything.

    The leftist mainstream media has perhaps 10,000 people who spend their full time getting paid to say nasty things about our current president, most of those things made up out of whole cloth. A recent example involved Trump going to Walter Reed hospital for routine physical checkup purposes. The hostile press reported that he had had a heart attack and a series of strokes before he could even get back to the White House. They attack and twist everything he says and does to present the most heinous possible viewpoint. He calls them totally dishonest fake news, and it is a simple matter to prove that he is correct, often dozens of times in a single day. I don’t think most people in the United States can even imagine anyone spending tens of billions of dollars to destroy a person with gossip and innuendo and baseless allegations, since they wouldn’t do that themselves. The mainstream media is taking advantage of normal people’s good nature and goodwill to present tens of thousands of lies and indirectly attack his defense of freedom and life and especially religious freedom. Half the people in this country are led around by the nose by this “1984” absolute control of public information. My favorite t-shirt I have seen this year has emblazoned on it “Make Orwell Fiction Again.”

    It is true that I worked for nearly 30 years for the federal government, technically as an employee, but practically as a contractor. As a computer systems engineer, everyone wanted my services, so I simply went from one agency to another setting up new computer systems. It allowed me to see the best and worst of those agencies. Just in my little niche activities I saw hundreds of millions of dollars totally wasted on idiotic projects. Stupid people with lots of money can do terrible things in the mysterious computer area. When I couldn’t fix the situation, and things were totally doomed, I would simply leave rather than have anything to do with the inevitable disaster. No one in their right mind would commit any important function to centralized government except when there is no other choice, such as in the military realm.

  39. …[sigh]…

    So, how is the weather where you are? Seen any good movies lately? I recently watched Ballad of a Soldier, from 1959 or thereabouts — a Russian film. It reminded me of our common humanity and that mortal life can be wonderful even in difficult times — I’ll admit that it drew a tear. I have the DVD, but it is also available as a full movie on YouTube. It deals with humanity without demonizing the enemy.

  40. Ji:

    Nice try. I don’t think it’s going to work though, if this comment thread and the last “debate” concerning Nathaniel Givens’ post are any indication. But I, at least, appreciate your efforts. There is something about on-line sharing of opinions that seems to reduce the ability to understand where one’s opponent is coming from. The urge to smash the other side into submission seems much more powerful.

  41. It is probably a good idea to try to calm things down a little. These are some pretty raw and basic issues, which it would be nice if people could actually agree on, instead of being maximally polarized. Incidentally, I just went to a birthday party where we watched the new Mulan live-action movie. It was quite captivating. – – But then, again, surely there must be a way to politicize even that.… I know… it is all a trick to try to make us feel some empathy for China, even though the government of China, in today’s form, is more like the evil and marauding Huns than the brave and honorable Emperor depicted in the movie. Is there anything about our relationship to China that we COULD agree on? Supposedly an outside threat should bring us all together, right?

  42. Ji, In my part of the world, although it is now spring, today partly cloudy and12 to 24 is about average for winter. We enjoyed the Kings speech, and a NZ film called Wilderpeople recently, both of which I would recommend.

    The temperatures are in centigrade and I wondered whether I should convert them for Americans, and then how many countries still do imperial. Do you realise there are 3 countries in the world that still haven’t gone metric, America, Liberia, and Myanmar. Though some countries have bits of each, US have metric money, UK have imperial money, and miles, but otherwise metric, bolts etc.

    You didn’t tell us the weather where you are?

  43. “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion is a 2012 social psychology book by Jonathan Haidt, in which the author describes human morality as it relates to politics and religion.” This should be good reading for many of you here.

  44. Thought some of you might be interested in non political news

    A local state university (Qld uni), which developed the vaccine for cervical cancer, has developed a covid 19 vaccine, and my wife and I have volunteered to take part in the trial, starting next week.

  45. To me there appears to be a somewhat elitist tone in this posting. Look at these statements:

    “What they want would have—has had—disastrous results”
    “I think that choice is already causing grievous harm to the country,”
    “even as their choices are destroying the country we live in”
    “but not: to affirm their fantasies”
    “the choice between right and wrong is clear, the stakes are high, and the consequences for the fabric of our communities, whether political or religious, will be severe.”

    At no point in the post are the “disastrous results” nor “clear right and wrong” mentioned. My high school English class taught me that an editorial ought to acknowledge a point by the other side, otherwise no one would be debating the topic.

    As far as disastrous results go, where’s the outrage over the Democrats’ – including Joe Biden’s – attempt to overturn President Trump’s election victory?

    Before the 2016 election was even held, the Obama-Biden FBI was investigating Trump on false pretenses. One of the FBI agents even talked of having an “insurance policy” in case Trump won. Then, the Mueller Investigation was launched and found nothing after two years. Since those two attempts failed, the House Democrats impeached Trump, while listing exactly zero high crimes and misdemeanors in the Impeachment Articles.

    How are the Democrats by these actions causing anything less that “disastrous results”, “grievous harm to the country”, “partial destruction of the country we live in”, “affirmed fantasies”, and doing anything other than presenting the wrong choice when is comes to “the choice between right and wrong”?

    The Obama presidency caused the conditions that allowed someone like Trump to be elected in the first place (as Trump himself has said several times.) Why would anyone not liking Trump return Biden to power – only to have Biden prepare the ground for a second Trump-like figure?

  46. Actually the Russians, FaceBook and a high school education (or less), were all it took, Bryan. The FAB/GRU is hard at work on the credulous world-wide, and until recently undetected. Also: Mueller was careful to say that his report did NOT exonerate T.

  47. I am encouraged by the comments of “Bryan in VA” to boldly try a new direction and see what happens.

    To put it in the simplest terms, I support Trump because his concept of government will allow the creation of Zion, and Biden’s concept of government will make sure Zion never happens. If they knew what was best for them in the long run, every LDS person in the world would be supporting Trump. Now, I know that it will take at least one complete book to explain that simple statement, but it would be worth the time and the trouble if people actually had the patience to follow that logic to its endpoint.

    Of course, there is almost no living Mormon who seems to have the slightest idea of what it means to create Zion. We use that term occasionally, but in a totally mythical and uninformed, impractical way. As I see it, all that Zion requires is complete religious freedom, and therefore every other kind of freedom, and, with the gospel to guide the way, Zion will happen automatically. All one has to do is apply the principles of the gospel and the principles of the U.S. Constitution, which are incorporated by reference into the gospel, and you inevitably end up with Zion.

    “Constitutional law should be befriended, D&C 98:5-6. The Lord caused [the] Constitution to be established D&C 101:77, 80. Prayer that [the] Constitution be maintained, D&C 109:54.”

    The most important point is religious freedom. Trump vigorously supports religious freedom, and Biden (as demonstrated by the Obama/Biden presidency) will just as vigorously attack it. I don’t know how many of you have been following the repeated legal attacks on the Catholic Little Sisters of The Poor throughout Obama’s presidency, but that is the key issue, the linchpin of the difference between the two governments.

    search term — little sisters of the poor lawsuit

    Little Sisters of the Poor dragged back to the Supreme Court after nearly a decade of disputes

    I believe the Democrat logic was that if they could crush out the Little Sisters of The Poor and make them comply with the satanic attack on religious freedom embedded in the idea that every organization, even every religious organization which professes differing principles, must pay for birth control and abortions for any employees, then the battle to crush religious freedom would be over, with the satanic forces of government winning.

    If the LDS church and members understood all the consequences, the church should be vigorously assisting the Little Sisters of The Poor in this battle against government suppression of religion. The LDS church, at least at this point, has the resources to make a good fight of it. However, the LDS church has, worldwide, apparently decided to appease attacks on religious freedom on every issue rather than resist them vigorously. That is always a losing long-term strategy, because eventually appeasement leads to complete defeat.

    The government strategy presumably is to use the weak and unaided Little Sisters of The Poor to establish the legal precedent that the government can run roughshod over claims of religious freedom at every opportunity (especially concerning very personal healthcare issues) without any resistance being legally valid, and then having won that cowardly legal victory, apply it to every other religious organization in the nation. That would be when it would be applied to the LDS church, unless, of course, the church has already signaled that it is preemptively surrendering that issue. I don’t know the actual situation there, but I assume that the church has already surrendered, or could be counted on to surrender at the appropriate time in the future. The fact that the church is not a party to this critical case indicates that the church has already at least partially signaled surrender.

    Obama/Biden had their own idea of how to build Zion, and that was the same as Satan’s original view. You have absolutely everything centralized and under central command-and-control, including all forms of pseudo-charity such as with all of the “Great Society” programs, and then you have Satan’s version of Zion. The more you progress towards that fake communist heaven, the more intolerable life becomes, but that is exactly how it always works, as intended from the beginning by its deceptive proponents.

    Christ’s version of Zion would minimize government and completely dismantle all of these pseudo-charity/Old Testament-style systems for people supposedly caring for each other through corrupt and wasteful tax-and-spend government systems, and would instead allow a very vigorous system of non-centralized charity to take care of all the problems of the nation.

    It appears that the 10% number has a magical religious value, but it is not what we imagine it is. Apparently, it has always been true, and always will be true, that if a people or a nation will spontaneously devote 10% of their resources to caring for the poor, and otherwise improving their society, then that will put that people or that nation on the trajectory to reach Zion or a millennial condition on Earth, where things are as good as they can be in a human condition.

    I can imagine some on this thread will take all of this as the ravings of a maniac, but I am quite confident that I am right in this assertion, although my chances of success in having people accept these ideas are extremely small at the moment.

  48. Student:
    Zion will be built by those who love God and each other. If I were to select someone in the world most removed from this idea of self-less, unconditional love, it would be your hero, DJT.

  49. Student, Do you still believe in democracy? If Trump declares himself the winner before postal votes are counted, and refuses to accept those votes, do you still support him?

  50. Without irony, I think it’s nice to see how courteously student of history is treated here at BCC (which – witness the OP – is a well known beacon on the so-called religio-political “left,” whereas, presuming SoH remains Latter-day Saint, his/her comments reveal him/her to be a dissident within the Church whose sensibilities lie on the religio-political “right”).

  51. Clearly, the Book of Mormon musical guys screwed up on the “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” number: Johnnie Cochran is in it while Obama isn’t.

  52. “Attempt to overturn President Trump’s election victory”

    The last I checked, the outcome of the election was that until January 20, 2021, Mr. Trump would be president and Mr. Pence would become president if Trump failed to complete his term.

    Also, the last time I read the constitution, I couldn’t find anything indicating that Hillary Clinton would become president in the event Trump was removed from office.

  53. Wow. What happened to T&S? seriously… i missed the memo. This whole thing is batsh%t stuff. One day all the interesting permas disappeared, and no one ever talks about it. what really happened here? just curious.

  54. Well, as several people have pointed out, we shouldn’t have to worry about any boring lack of political diversity here. :-) Maybe I should eventually take my traveling circus to some other website, on the odd chance that there is a more conservative LDS Blogosphere site somewhere. But, for now, we’ll keep plugging here.

    I should mention that Ezra Taft Benson often came close to the truth. I assume his time in Washington showed him the folly of putting any serious faith in the people in control there. My wife and I used to babysit for Reed and May Benson in Washington DC area. Reed was the son of Ezra Taft Benson and was a true blue John Birch guy. Reed and May were very nice people, just trying very hard to do everything right. Reed later taught at BYU. May is still alive, but Reed has passed on.

    For GEOFF -AUS ….. The hysterical left has come up with wave after wave of absurd conspiracy theories, made up out of whole cloth, breaking many laws to implement those conspiracies, starting before Trump was even inaugurated as president. I believe the biggest problem we have in the United States is that the nice people here in our country (and elsewhere in the world) cannot conceive of the level of contempt and pure intentional evil found in the mainstream media, with only the rare exception. It is often said that politics is a “blood sport,” and that is especially true these days. No significant leader on the left would think twice about killing someone if it would gain them a political advantage. There are actually hundreds of examples, but the case of Seth Rich should be familiar to many people. There are probably hundreds of articles about this story. Here is one of them:

    Who Killed Seth Rich, DNC Staffer Who Leaked Emails to WikiLeaks? Were the Clinton’s Involved in His Murder?

    As a lovely bit of current irony, we have Hillary Clinton saying that Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances, no matter how wide the vote gap, and then in the same breath saying that Trump is a threat to democracy because, according to her always highly accurate hunches, we have to worry about Trump not allowing a peaceful transition of power. In case the irony is not obvious, she is saying that there should be no peaceful transfer of power under any circumstances if the receiver of that power is a conservative. So who exactly is the real threat to democracy?

    If she could declare martial law and take over the nation, she would do it in an eye blink. She is merely accusing Trump of what she would like very much to do herself. Since I lived in Washington for half my career, I am completely aware of the extreme level of cynicism and lust for political power among these swamp dwellers, these avid students of the power doctrines of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Clausewitz. I had to deal with some of them myself. I guess all I can say at this point, since I don’t suppose anyone will believe me, is that things are not as they seem. One would have to work heroically to find out the real truth about Washington politics. Basically, if you never lived there, you’ll probably never understand how bad it is.

    Maybe the “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” reference by “Mark N” should be applied to Washington DC. :-) I also spent two years in the other Imperial city of Moscow (I haven’t been to Beijing yet) which helps to understand a little more about realpolitik, propaganda, and power hunger. Most people do not have that disease, so they cannot comprehend how it twists the mind.

    I am guessing that the people on this website are used to accepting every conspiracy theory spun by Rachel Maddow, and dismissing every conspiracy theory that comes from somewhere else. However, this kind of automatic political filtering of the news makes sure that you have no idea what’s actually going on. All of the insane conspiracy theories of the left have been disproven, although you will probably never find anyone on the left who would admit that out loud. The Book of Mormon goes to great lengths to not detail all the strategies of the Gadiaton Robbers, but we can watch the Democrat party today and learn every one of the evil techniques of those Gadiantons. You can even read one of their handbooks by Saul Alinsky entitled “Rules For Radicals.” You can decide for yourself if the people who follow those rules are nice people or not.

    The conspiracy theories spun so far, with all of them having been disproved, are the “Russia, Russia, Russia” theory, the Ukraine theory which led to one of the many impeachment attempts, and several more I can’t even remember at this point. [Let’s see, we had Trump stealing all the mailboxes so no one could vote, we had the shock troops taking over Democrat-run cities, we had about 20 conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 Wuhan virus – Trump was trying to intentionally get everyone infected so we would have herd immunity, etc., etc. There is a new one almost every day.] How many of you are absolutely certain that Trump is a stooge of Putin at this point? Trump did send antitank weapons to Ukraine to defend against Russian aggression, when Obama would not, so, obviously, Trump loves Putin, right? [This is a trick question.]

    Or, alternatively, that Trump is a stooge of China and North Korea (and Russia as well), since he has actually been so treasonous as to speak with their leaders? He has put crippling sanctions on North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China, and has collected perhaps at least $200 billion in tariffs from China for their international trade cheating, showing that he loves China dearly, don’t you think?

    What I’m trying to say is that you can take it as a reliable rule that, with the rarest of exceptions, everything you hear from the leftist media in United States is a total lie which can be disproved, usually with only a small amount of effort. The goal is to remove Trump at all costs so that the march to the centralization of everything can be completed. But then we would have arrived at communist heaven, would we not, so what could go wrong with that?

  55. Sorry, I missed the “Left Field” comment. I can only explain that comment by assuming that “Left Field” completely missed about four years of 24/7 monomaniacal attempts by Democratic political leadership and the leftist mainstream media (two ways to say the same thing) to impeach President Trump and destroy all of his supporters, starting before he was even inaugurated as president. There was “Russia, Russia, Russia,” there was “Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine,” et cetera, et cetera. Roger Stone, Gen. Michael T. Flynn, etc. After impeaching Trump, then they would have to impeach Pence, and then, finally, Nancy Pelosi could be president. That is a long shot, but it is apparently worth her total concentration and dedication.

    On the nature of Mormon blogs, I am of the opinion that trying to isolate religion from politics is a very bad idea, since without Christian ethics to guide government, it will inevitably turn cruel and despotic. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

    This thread will eventually die out on its own, but who knows how long it will take?

  56. Supporting Trump is unacceptable. I don’t care whether you’re conservative, libertarian, evangelical, or whatever. Trump is a failure and always has been one. He has barely accomplished anything he set out to do. He could not build a wall. He could not ban Muslims. He could not kick out all illegals. He did not bring back coal. He used the government to make big giveaways to the already rich. He surrounded himself with criminals, and I have every reason to believe that he is a criminal himself. He helped polluters pollute the US even more. He set us on the war path with Iran. And worst of all, he destabilized the political climate in the US. There is no excuse to support Trump. None. Whatsoever. The US is going to pay big for having Trump as a president. It will take years to clean up the mess he has made. 4 more years of him will make the damage only worse. I don’t care what your opinion of Biden or the Democrats is. They are the only ones to end this nightmare. Biden Harris 2020.

  57. BlueRidgeMormon, I missed the memo, too, but have assumed those permas who went emeritus, and those who post rarely, have other interests and don’t have time for the [insert word of your choice] that gets thrown around in comments such as this thread. Any of them could correct or confirm my assumption, but I can’t imagine why they would read this thread far enough to find your question or my response. I could only stand to skim enough to note the vehemently judgmental and not enlightening expressions of conflicting beliefs and the common, though not universal, lack of charitable reading.
    But still there are those permas sometimes posting, and sometimes regularly posting, that make T&S a worthwhile place to check in.

  58. It’s against my better judgment to respond to all that, but I can’t help but note that DJT is the only person to have floated an idea (delaying the election) that would actually result in Nancy Pelosi as acting president.

    That’s what happens when you have a president who has apparently never read the constitution…

  59. Re: absence of permas etc: what happens when mods permit one individual to take over w/ appalling unhinged screeds. Where have you been JG?

  60. It looks like the political left got a great bargain for its about $20 billion in invented scandals and conspiracy theories it has used in a giant classic disinformation effort to try to get invented dirt to stick to Trump and try to get rid of him. The Russian KGB would be jealous of what the Democrats have done. I don’t believe even the Russians or the Chinese have that level of information control over their own people. Those populations at least can be certain right now that essentially everything they hear from the state media is a lie, so they are clearly forewarned. People in the US haven’t wised up yet to that reality.

    We have at least a few people that frequent this site who actually have no idea what is going on, although they smugly imagine that they do. There is evidence of a huge dose of the Mark Twain disease:

    Mark Twain — ‘What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.’

    Obviously, I can’t undo years of people absorbing and believing all the wrong things, but it is probably worth the effort and entertainment to clear up at least two very specific items.

    One that is very easy to straighten out has to do with the Mexican wall. As of September 1, 2020, 307 miles of new wall had been installed, including all the most strategic places. For an exact account of the current state of things, one can look at the detailed map which appears at

    Border wall system progress

    It is reasonable to expect 450 miles to be completed by the end of the president’s term.

    After delays, Trump on track to build more than 450 miles of border wall

    “The total length of the continental border is 3,145 kilometers (1,954 mi).” I am guessing after Trump’s 450 miles, that will still leave about 1000 miles of the border “open,” but all the places for easy access will be closed. Having to backpack across at least 100 miles of mountains and desert to cross the border and get to civilization will definitely slow down the flow.

    Any success of Trump is obviously very bad news for the hate-America left, so many will not want to hear any of this news, but burying one’s head in the sand certainly dulls one’s strategic vision of how things actually stand.

    The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona is likely to get a lot more visitors than usual. (And, sadly, lots of these travelers will simply die trying.)
    Voting… I’m sure I have not heard every lunatic charge made against Trump by the left concerning voting, so I can’t answer all the questions that could be floating around out there. I have never heard a thing that would indicate the Trump would do anything but follow all the normal procedures, to the extent possible. “To the extent possible” includes some things I will discuss here.

    Again, what many people imagine they know about today’s politics, is mostly not so. On the issue of voting, Trump has made it clear that the left’s plan to send ballots to every registered voter, in every state, without any voters having to request an absentee ballot (and thus clearly identify themselves and take responsibility for the ballot), will mean that, at a minimum in just a small number of states, 81 billion ballots will be sent out without being requested. Every state on the left coast is doing this, and I think Nevada as well.

    I believe in one recent case, Nevada sent out ballots to registered voters in its 3 million population. At least 200,000 of those ballots went to people and places that didn’t exist. All a political party would need to do, which was bent on cheating, as the Democrats clearly are, would be to collect up those 200,000 ballots and vote them in any way they would like. If we call that a 7% rate of error, and we apply it to the entire West Coast of 51.3 million people, that means that there would be 3.42 million ballots sloshing around in the system without any identified voter. (Incidentally, in Utah, after all the mail-in voting is over, you can actually check to see that your vote was registered correctly. I believe it is highly likely that no other state in the union has that tight of a system in place.)

    If it was done nationwide that would probably mean about 30 million paper ballots (out of about 150 million voters) would be mailed to all the people who have moved or died since the voter records were updated last. That sounds like a giant invitation to chaos.

    Since “ballot harvesting” is legal in California, it should be quite easy to take those 3.42 million left coast ballots and assign them wherever you like. That should certainly be enough to change the outcome of some close races. In other words, the only way to win today is to have a victory margin of 10%, to adapt for and overcome the at least 7% voting error rate. But, in New York, it would take at least a 21% clear victory margin to settle all the voting questions.

    1 in 5 mail ballots rejected in botched NYC primary

    Judge orders New York state to count previously invalidated mail-in ballots

    Trump’s only point was that with this kind of voting chaos going on, something the Democrat party is fighting fanatically to set up nationwide, there are likely to be hundreds of lawsuits started, and it could take months or years before those lawsuits can be ended. I believe the chaos in New York could lead to the need for a complete “do over” for a badly messed up race.

    It is obvious to me that people are not listening to what Trump says himself, but only what the spin doctors say he said. If you’re getting information from a talking head on television, you can be certain that at least 90% of it is not only wrong, but backwards.

  61. John W… (As I send this I see that I am behind on one of your posts. I will try to catch up later.)
    You have possibly offered me an interesting challenge, if you are willing to follow through on it, at least to some extent.
    If you happen to believe what the Washington Post says about Trump and his 20,000 false or misleading statements, then perhaps you could list a few of those specific false claims and we could analyze them together. Surely the highly competent and perfectly honest leftist media will have a list of these evil lies so that they can pull them out anytime they want, right? Surely they would not just make up these wild statements out of whole cloth, right? They would want to have everything carefully documented and sourced, don’t you think? That is what good journalists do. We really should have a “lie registry,” shouldn’t we? If the Democrat party were intent on trying to impeach Trump for a fourth or fifth time, since all the others failed, this would be good information to have available, wouldn’t it? We know that courts only deal in provable facts, so surely they have stored these items up for some future hearing or trial. Pick a few good ones, and let’s discuss.

    So, let’s turn the narrative around just a little bit. I assume you already know that the Washington Post which published the article is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, who is as close a case as we have in the United States of the evil “oligarchs” that we hear about in Russia — those people who work with the dictator Putin to control Russia. Bezos basically bought control of the newspaper just so that he would have his very own political publishing organization, his giant-size and very loud lobbying group in Washington DC.

    Contrary to many economic theory systems about the relationship of classes and political parties, what we have today is a whole class of billionaires fully supporting and mostly controlling the Democrat party. Basically, the middle class working people are out of the Democrat party, and now all you have is the billionaires and the poorer people. Is that desirable or sustainable? If you have the billionaires paying the BLM/Antifa people to riot and destroy Democrat-run cities around the country, where they already know that the local and state leaders will never do anything to stop the pillaging, burning, and murdering, then you can have quite a large control over the minds and property of US people. (You may not know that there are groups supplying armor and weapons and food to the BLM/Antifa for rioters – body armor, helmets, gas masks, commercial size firework explosives, ingredients for Molotov cocktails, etc. There are online news items on these issues.) So you might consider whether you are in the right place. Are you a billionaire or are you a rioter?

    As I see it, Jeff Bezos has gone a little bit crazy with his new wealth and power. If he has the money to buy an entire newspaper, then he has enough power to buy an entire political party, the Democrats, which means that he has bought the entire city of Washington DC, and with that he controls much of the Western world. Don’t you think some people could go a little bit nuts if they saw that opportunity dangling in front of them? Joe Biden has proven over and over that he will do exactly whatever his donors tell him to do.

    I should mention here that Donald Trump comes from a very different place. He already has a few billion dollars, so he doesn’t really care about making a lot of money at someone else’s political expense. Perhaps you didn’t know that he’s not accepting a dime for his work as president. He donates his salary to various charitable projects. If he were a megalomaniac like Jeff Bezos, he would behave quite differently.

    In other words, Jeff Bezos is a direct political competitor with Donald Trump. Do you think he would be perfectly honest in his editorials? The Democrats, especially Joe Biden, who is a career politician, are very susceptible to being bought by corporate interests. That is what you do if you are a career politician, and that is what has happened to Joe Biden his entire life since he was about 20 years old. He is the one who sent all of our jobs to China, and benefited by receiving back a few billion dollars in return. But that means nothing to Trump, so he can actually look out for Americans first, rather than trying to make his family rich by getting payoffs from Ukraine and China, for example, as the Bidens have done.

    In other words, with Trump in office, and looking out for the United States, Jeff Bezos cannot control the Democrat party and therefore control Washington and the country and the world. This is what is at stake. Maybe you can imagine why the people on the left tell landslides of lies in an effort to get rid of Donald Trump and get absolute control of the Democrat party and our entire nation. You might wonder where you fit into all of this.

  62. At this point, perhaps the T&S perms are considering opening their own press to compete with BCC, hoping to enlist Kent Huff (aka Student of History) as their bread and butter author? I mean, at this pace, he’ll have a book worth of text in this thread, which has now, quite clearly, become his own platform.

  63. Student, 2 explanations of your warped view of the world, and I am pretty sure you are saying if Trump refuses to accept the result of the election you will support him, and help to destroy democracy in America?

    If I have that wrong happy to hear your explanation.

  64. As Brian seems to realize, if this particular crowd is tired of hearing my viewpoint, expressed in too many words, all they have to do is to write a more interesting general post and start a new thread. So there is a challenge for you. :-) Perhaps you will let us continue for a while in our little corner discussion, and you can go on about your business. Or, maybe we will discover that political commentary in an important election year is actually of interest to several people. Or, as another suggestion by Brian, maybe “we” should compete with BCC and decide to publish a book or two this year. :-) Do we have any volunteers to do the collection and editing?

    John W …
    It’s nice that there was a report by the Senate, but you didn’t tell me what was in it that was so damaging to Trump. People do reports all the time, but it is their conclusions that are important. We start out with the reality that when we elect a president we expect him to be the head of our diplomatic relationships with the rest of the world. If he makes contact with Russians (and Chinese and North Koreans and Iranians and Germany, etc., about 200 countries in all) that is part of his job. Very specifically, General Michael Flynn, as the new security advisor, had the ASSIGNMENT of contacting Russians about sensitive diplomatic matters. (Obama had just discussed putting some sanctions on Russia, as one of his last actions in office, something he could not impose and directly administer himself because of the timing, doing it arguably for the very purpose of trying to make it difficult for the Trump administration to get along with Russia. You might recall that Hillary Clinton had earlier very gleefully offered a “RESET” button to the Russians in her attempt to become one of their best buddies. There was something unusual going on there. Her friendship with Russia looks far more culpable than Trump’s.)

    Going back to Gen. Flynn, every other presidential security advisor in the history of our country has had the exact same assignment, so it is sort of silly to say in his case that somehow it was all suddenly inherently evil. (Here I believe the disinformation specialists simply hoped that American citizens would all know so little about their government, that they can make these kinds of idiotic claims and get away with it.) (As you may recall, the corrupt FBI had illegally started surveillance of Gen. Flynn (and other Trump staffers) so that they had (and illegally leaked) the exact transcript of the discussion between him and the Russian ambassador, for the very purpose so that they could lie about what the two had discussed. Everything they did was illegal, but it was part of their plan to get rid of Trump, so it was “justified.” They were able to get Gen. Flynn fired for a fake reason. We are just now finally getting all the facts available. We even see a fanatical left-wing judge trying to continue the case after the Justice Department has dropped it. This is total madness, at least if anyone knows a crumb about how our justice system is supposed to work.)

    It appears that Manafort did indeed do some inappropriate things while in the Trump administration, although I don’t believe any of them were criminal in nature. He was strapped for money and was trying to sell inside information about some of the polling which Trump’s organization did. That was disloyal and foolish, but I believe it was not illegal. Most important of all, it was not Trump doing these foolish things but one of his advisers who was caught doing something that was inappropriate but not illegal. However, it provided a nice club for the hysterical and vindictive left to beat up on Trump. The left’s strategy was to destroy many of Trump’s advisers, and in that way make it so that no one in their right mind would work for Trump. They have been fairly successful in their excesses with Manafort and Roger Stone and Gen. Flynn, but, in the end, I think only their persecution of Manafort will have any lasting effect on anyone. (Except for the fact that part of their strategy was to destroy Trump advisers financially by endless frivolous lawsuits, and they have been quite successful in doing that.)

  65. GEOFF -AUS
    Sorry to seem cross, but perhaps it is impossible to explain something to someone who refuses to accept the content of the explanation. Explaining it 10 more times would probably not make any difference. “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” Apparently, you enjoy hating Trump, and I would “hate” to take away your enjoyment. Perhaps you also hate America, which would put you in the company of the entire leftist establishment in the United States. No one as evil as Trump could ever do anything right, right? If you feel like hating me, you are welcome to do that too.

    Maybe I can offer you a question to think about: Do you support the unlawful rioting and burning of American cities (all in Democrat-controlled cities, because they could not do it anywhere else) as done for a good purpose? Or, as seems more likely, are these the actions of a revolutionary organization which has made a bargain with the Democratic Party that they will frighten people in a way that can hopefully be blamed on Trump, so that Trump can be pushed out of office, using a different tactic than the so-far-failed multiple impeachment efforts? These Bolsheviks are arguing that they can use their terror tactics to get Trump removed, and then the Democrat party will owe its soul to these nihilists. Do you like their logic? Do you actually support democracy, as seems to be of great concern to you, if you also support Marxist revolutionaries who have destroyed about 1500 businesses around the country, causing about $2 billion in property damage, and have managed to injure numerous people and also kill quite a number of people?

Comments are closed.