Mormonism and American Exceptionalism

As a follow-up to “Why Mormons Make the Best Presidents”, here is my take on why Mormonism and American Exceptionalism go hand-in-hand.

First, you have to understand that Mormons get their name from a man they consider a prophet of God. The man—named Mormon, of course—lived on the American continent between A.D. 321 and A.D. 385. He was the editor and compiler of the ancient scriptural record called “The Book of Mormon”, which he put together as a spiritual record of his fallen people who were destroyed in a bloody internecine war.

And, he did wrote it as a prophetic warning to us for exactly this time in our history. He saw our day in a vision from God and compiled the book according to what he observed in the vision. This book is written for us and we would all do well to read it at least once.

Throughout the Book of Mormon you will find many mentions of how America is an exceptional and special place. The book tells us that it was hidden from the rest of the world as a “promised land” that could only be possessed by those who served “the God of the land”, which is Jesus Christ. The righteous could live there indefinitely while the wicked would be “swept off the face of the land”. It was to be a place of freedom and liberty to those who accept Christ and keep God’s commandments.

Centrally, the record focuses on the visit by the resurrected Christ to “other sheep” whom he said to those in Jerusalem “are not of this fold”. Christ’s appearance to those people resulted in their passing along the experience to their descendants with such conviction that they could not help but have 200 years of peace in that part of the land.

Mormons believe this record is true, even if others do not. It gives us great hope when personal storms arise, or when national tempests, such as this election, threaten to destroy everything. We believe God’s promises to the inhabitants of this land, that if the majority of its inhabitants are faithful and believe in God, they will be free.

So, quite naturally, we Mormons get a little excited when, during the most defining moment in our nation’s history, where we are on the precipice of choosing socialism’s slavery or Constitutional freedom, one of our own, Mitt Romney, is so close to being elected as the President of the United States of America.  We don’t believe Romney is anything more than a man, with liabilities like anyone else might have (and in spite of the disputable, non-doctrinal LDS “White Horse Prophecy”). But, we do have hope that what he was taught in his home and in church settings about this blessed land will have an influence on his term(s) in office, should he be elected.

You see, this election comes down to the answer to a single question: Is America exceptional, or should it be brought down to the level of other nations in the world?

Our current president is on the record as stating that he only believes America is exceptional in the sense that Greeks believe that Greece is exceptional or that the British believe that Britain is exceptional. He finished that thought by saying that “in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.”

The present occupant of the White House believes that America needs to compromise its values and principles to conform to the notions of governance that other nations adhere to. This presumably (because of his choice of the word “collectively”) includes implementing, under pressure or threat by other nations, principles of Socialism and Communism into the American experiment.

Mormons don’t vote in a bloc. Believe it or not, we’re not all white Republicans and we don’t all vote straight ticket conservative. There are Mormons who subscribe to the Democrat party platform, the Libertarian party, the Constitution party, and just about every other type of party. There are even Mormons who subscribe to the principles of the Communist party (however misguided that association might be). The Church is politically neutral, allows its members to vote privately for whomever the individual wishes, and does not discipline or excommunicate people on the basis of their political beliefs.

However, it is undeniable that the majority of American Mormons do vote in line with conservative principles (if not always on party lines). That is because, by and large, the principles found in their scriptures and revealed doctrines are overwhelmingly conservative in contrast to the increasingly permissive and “progressive” worldview promulgated by American popular culture.

As might be expected of a church that was founded in America, Mormons believe strongly in the First Amendment guarantee to worship freely.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

In our meetings, whenever the subject of discussion is what we call “free agency” (the unalienable right of every person to choose his own path in life), we often reflect with gratitude on the blessings of liberty granted to us under the Constitution. We remark on the many miracles that accompanied the founding of this nation and we marvel at how undeniably God’s Hand was in all of it.

When we pray, we thank God that we live in a country and political system where we are (still) free to worship and establish Christ’s Kingdom. We pray for our troops, who protect us, and we pray that our leaders, from the local to the federal level, will be inspired with wisdom and righteousness so that the country can prosper.

We pray this way because we take seriously the warnings left to us in the Book of Mormon. Here is the summarized list of those warnings.

  • We are to watch our leaders for their participation in “secret combinations” (lies, frauds, and conspiracies) and not let such things “get above” us or escape our notice. Apathy is the enemy of freedom.
  • We are to defend our lands, our families, and our freedom to worship, and to prioritize personal and national sovereignty and its defense so as to avoid physical slavery at the hands of those seeking power over mankind.
  • We are to avoid contentions and internal strife so that we will not be weak upon enemy attack. We are to be united in righteousness.

Because these concepts are threaded throughout the entire book, thus making it particularly difficult to adequately call out properly contextualized examples, and because it is partially my goal to encourage more people to read this uniquely pro-American book of scripture, I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to find these treasures of wisdom. You can start here with the story of a family who, seeking to escape societal collapse and Babylonian captivity, fled Jerusalem near 600 B.C. and were led to America’s promised lands.

In closing, I leave you with the following video montage to help encapsulate the concept of “free agency” as it is understood by Mormons.

Are these not the very principles upon which America was founded? Is not American exceptionalism, at its root, a belief that rights come from God, and not from government? Is that not worth fighting for with every vote and with every conversation we have between now and Election Day?

Any questions? Just ask me in the comments, or on Twitter @proud2b4family.

Please think about what you’ve read here as you cast your ballot on Tuesday.


Why Mormons Make the Best Presidents

Below are my thoughts concerning Mitt Romney as President of the United States. These are my own opinions and statements and are in no way official statements from my employer (thank goodness I still have one), the Romney campaign (which I don’t work for) or the LDS Church (which I belong to).

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaig...

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaign rallies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I woke up the other morning and found out that pastor Bill Keller is claiming that nearly 1.4 million Christians are writing in Jesus on their ballot.

I’m absolutely committed to the ideal of Jesus Christ being our leader. He is 100% + infinity the MOST qualified to lead us. But, He will never force His will on us.  We have to choose Him. Christ’s leadership of us doesn’t have anything to do with marking a bubble on a ballot. Keller’s insistence that Christians place Jesus as their write-in during the most important election in world history is a cynical, self-serving, and self-promotional publicity stunt. I’m sure he has a book in the works for when the initiative fails. It will sell tens and tens of copies.

From a Mormon perspective, there’s no use arguing with Mr. Keller’s tedious repetition of long-refuted anti-Mormon demagoguery in justifying his bigotry against members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There’s literally “nothing to it”.

Instead, because there are still too many people wondering if a Mormon can be a good president, I want to highlight why Mitt Romney—and indeed many faithful Mormons, male and female—would be the best president.

First, let’s focus on the word “President”. It’s an understatement to say that it’s a term that pervades Mormon vocabulary. The terms “presidents” and “presidency” are absolutely infused into its culture.

We have a prophet whom we address as “President”, along with his two counselors. There is a Presiding Bishopric. There are several presidents of quorums of seventy, of areas, of “stakes” (similar to a diocese), bishops of large congregations or “wards”, and presidents of small congregations or “branches”.

There are male and female presidents of ward quorums and relief societies. There are presidents of young men and young women’s groups. The Mormon Church is simply overflowing with presidents and presidencies. It’s how we roll.

“So what,” one may ask. “Anybody can call himself ‘president’ if they want. How does this prove Romney is presidential material?”

Mormon Ecclesiastical Presidents Personify the Founders’ Definition of Public Virtue

“President” in the Mormon church is more than just a title. In the case of prophets, bishops, and stake presidents, the title “president” is accompanied with a heavy dose of massive responsibility for a lot of people, and often, despite anti-Mormon armchair fiscal analysis, with limited, consecrated resources. And, this work is 100% voluntary in addition to the person’s vocation.

Men and women are called to presidencies whether they are corporate CEOs or middle school janitors or unemployed. They are not selected on the basis of their wealth, societal status, intellect, organizational skills, or innate leadership capabilities. Mormons believe their leaders are chosen by God, through 100% inspiration, via prayers of and revelation to other leaders. They are formally called in a public congregation setting, set apart (consecrated), and sustained voluntarily and, 99.9% of the time, unanimously by the congregations they serve.

Bishops and Stake Presidents bear the awesome task of caring for the physical welfare and spiritual needs of between 300-500 and 3,000-5,000 church members, respectively. They do so with the help of two counselors, a clerk, a secretary, and presidencies of auxiliary organizations at all levels and among all facets of church life:  a “presidential cabinet”, if you will.

It’s literally a second full-time job. But for those who serve in public office and work and serve in ecclesiastical positions, they are literally serving at 3 times the capacity of the average American.

And they do it without pay.

The term “public virtue”—as it was used in the era in which the Foundering Fathers built the structure of our nation—means to serve without regard to remuneration or one’s own wants and needs. It was to sacrifice everything to the noble service of the public good and one’s country. The Founders’ practice of public virtue is a shining light on a hill for all of us to look to, and a candlestick to pass along to each generation behind us.

Some may still not be convinced that being called a president in one’s church equates to being capable of being President of the Free World. In theory, that is a reasonable objection. In practice it is not. Though it would seem to some that theory and practice in that last sentence ought to switch places, Mormon presidents quickly find out that local groups of people are every bit as human and, at times, as difficult and as stubborn as people in the world writ large.

How Mormons Produce So Many “Natural” Leaders

You must understand that Mitt Romney didn’t arrive at his leadership excellence by accident, by caste, or by mere virtue of genetic inheritance. As he stated in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, his mother and father started out poor and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, with the grace of God as the wind in their sails.

In the Mormon church, leadership is taught from day one…through example. Fathers and mothers are taught, and are expected to teach, their children with love and respect. They work to correct them early, often and with loving compassion when they make mistakes. Children are taught to honor and respect their parents as their natural leaders in the family unit, which Mormons consider the bedrock of society. Mitt had both a loving father and mother, both truly devoted to each other, and he and his wife, Ann, have passed along those traits to their five boys through teaching by example.

Children, through their “Primary” (children’s Sunday School) years, learn songs and scriptures that are brimming with examples of Christ’s leadership as well as leadership of Biblical, Book of Mormon, and latter-day prophets. They hear histories of pioneers who made a barren desert valley bloom, where nobody thought anything could grow, under the leadership of the near-legendary, but very real Brigham Young.

At the age of twelve, their leadership training becomes “hands-on” as the young men are given position of authority and responsibility as Deacons, Teachers, and Priests and the young women take charge of their own personal development and activity programs to prepare them for motherhood, careers, or both if they choose.

Missionary work also plays a critical role in developing leadership, diplomacy, and intercultural communication skills. Mitt Romney served in France, where he undoubtedly learned how to manage cultural differences to get along with a series of companions and multiple individuals he taught and served.

Members are “called” to specific roles and responsibilities (known as ministry in other denominations). It’s a process of daily thought and prayer by, and revelation to, other senior leaders in the Church. Mitt participated in extending callings to numerous individuals based on “perspiration and inspiration”, and not desperation or expediency, resulting in voluntarily unanimous decision-making among he and his “cabinet”.

Does Mitt Intend to Rule the United States of America as a Theocracy?

Absolutely not. Church doctrine actually forbids even the prophet to attempt to establish a theocracy. That is because we believe that only Jesus Christ will ultimately establish His Kingdom on the earth and that such will conclude when he appears again at His Second Coming. We don’t claim to know when that will be but we try to live and prepare as though it will be tomorrow—even though it could be another century or more away.

And, rumors that the LDS Church will somehow seek to directly influence a Romney presidency are just that…rumors. The Church continues to boldly and publicly proclaim that it has no intention to do so. The Church news website asserts, “This is especially ironic considering the partisan political neutrality of the Church, which does not endorse candidates or party platforms, does not put out voter guides and has some of the strictest rules of any church in America in forbidding use of its buildings and membership rolls for political purposes.”

Mitt Romney Knows Welfare

The LDS Church welfare system is well-regarded worldwide for its sustainability, efficiency, economy, and ability to put people back on their feet with dignity. That’s because it is a hand up, not a handout. It is a means of sustaining life, not maintaining a lifestyle. Its main product is not dependency, but honest, productive, useful work.

Anyone who wishes to engage with the Church to receive welfare “benefits” must work for them in whatever way they can. Those who are not able bodied enough to work for their welfare are accommodated as well.

Some recipients are asked to fill No. 10 cans with dry goods and pack them into boxes for shipment to areas of great need. Others repair used clothing. Yet others offer skills from their prior vocational training to repair vehicles, help with child care, and even train other workers. In short, nobody receives Church welfare without lifting a finger to carry his load. “We all have work, let no one shirk. Put your shoulder to the wheel,” as a favorite Mormon hymn states. (Though, my kids like to insert “don’t be a jerk” whenever we sing it.)

Now, I don’t know just what Mitt Romney has planned for welfare. But imagine if Mitt Romney looked to the Church welfare model he has already administered many times as a Bishop as a new model for American welfare systems. EBT cards (nee “food stamps”) would probably still exist. Nobody would lose benefits they’re receiving, other than free phones and get-out-of-jail-free-cards on the taxpayer dime. And the only dependency left in the welfare system would be that you only get benefits depending on your level of effort. No effort, no benefits.

Mitt’s Church Leadership and Foreign Policy

Mitt Romney is part of a worldwide church that just happens to have started in America. In fact, there are more Mormons outside of the United States than in, and it’s been that way for quite a while. Mitt is used to thinking about the global picture as he helps people locally. His donations to charity have included many worthy global charities that have made a lot of difference for real people. Mitt can see through the veneer of national borders and recognize that human beings all have basic needs that must be met before they can fully participate in their own self-actualization.

Romney seems at this stage to reject the tyranny of U.N. dictates and the foolishness of sending money as “foreign aid” to our enemies to curry favor. He understands that there are corrupt individuals in the world who would use our generosity against us. I’m absolutely sure that he will seek out those instances of counterproductive aid and root them out for good.

Yet he is also wise enough to recognize a diplomatic relationship-building opportunity through disaster relief. Again, the LDS Church’s world-renowned aid system could serve as a model.

Mitt is also fiercely loyal to our military, many of whose soldiers are also Church members. He would not have let the Benghazi situation get so out of control and ultimately cost us the life of four Americans. Mitt personally knew one of the Navy SEALs.

How Mitt’s Presidential Attributes Help You

Throughout his years as a Mormon bishop (i.e. pastor), Mitt spent hours counseling families who were on the edge of financial ruin. He taught them self-reliant principles of provident living that helped many get out of debt and get back on their feet again.

The Mormon Church has imbued Mitt Romney with a penchant for selfless service. There are many examples of Mitt Romney giving of his time and substantial financial resources that have only recently come to light. From looking for a lost child to stopping spontaneously to help a stranger remove a tree stump from his yard, Romney’s record on helping “the average Joe” is unassailable and in sharp contrast with almost any politico in the beltway.

Because Romney is too humble of a gentleman to tout this service, I will quote, at length, Newsday’s article to do it for him. Again, this is probably only the tip of the mountain of good things the man has done for others.

— After Joey O’Donnell, 12, died of cystic fibrosis in 1986, Romney built a playground in his honor. “There he was, with a hammer in his belt, the Mitt nobody sees,” the boy’s father and Romney’s neighbor, Joseph O’Donnell, told Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, authors of “The Real Romney,” a biography of the candidate. A year later, Joey’s Park needed maintenance. “My wife calls me up and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but Mitt Romney is down with a bunch of Boy Scouts and they’re working on the park.’ … He did it for like the next five years, without ever calling to say, ‘We’re doing this,’ without a reporter in tow, not looking for any credit.” — In 1995, Romney heard about the Nixons, a family who moved to Boston. A car wreck soon left their sons paraplegic. Romney called and asked if they were available on Christmas Eve. Romney, his wife, and sons arrived with a stereo and other gifts for the crippled boys. Romney offered to put them through college and supported them through numerous fundraisers. As their father told Kranish and Helman, “It wasn’t a one-time thing.” Beyond generosity, Romney has demonstrated organizational leadership and personal courage while aiding others.

— Melissa Gay, Bain Capital partner Robert Gay’s daughter, vanished while visiting New York City in July 1996. Then-CEO Romney closed Bain’s Boston headquarters and jetted to Gotham to find the 14-year-old. Romney flew in his 50 employees and transformed a Marriott Hotel into a command post. He consulted the New York police department and recruited private investigators. He dispatched staffers to enlist Bain’s colleagues. Bain’s printer, R.R. Donnelly, produced 300,000 missing-person fliers.

Bain’s CPAs at Price Waterhouse placed the handbills all over town. Duane Reade, a Bain portfolio company, stuck leaflets in shopping bags at 52 local outlets.

Five days after Melissa disappeared, someone rang Bain’s tip line to ask about a reward. The New York Police Department traced the call to a New Jersey home, where a 17-year-old had hidden the disoriented and drugged child, unbeknown to his parents.

Romney’s focus and management saved Melissa. She now is a happily married mother who teaches fourth grade.

— A home once burst into flames near Romney’s residence. Kranish and Helman report that Romney “organized the gathered neighbors, and they began dashing into the house to rescue what they could: a desk, couches, books” until firefighters arrived.

— The Romneys were vacationing in New Hampshire in 2003 when screams shook the Independence Day air. Some 900 feet from them, New Jersey‘s Morrisey family and their leaky boat were sinking into Lake Winnipesaukee.

Romney’s sons Craig and Josh sped into the lake on a Jet Ski. “We tore out of there, and my dad hopped on the other Jet Ski and came out right after us,” Josh told the Boston Herald.

They found three men and three women bobbing in the water in barely buckled life vests. Massachusetts’ then-governor pulled the two younger women onto his three-seat Jet Ski, while his sons assisted their mother. They then whisked these women safely to shore, along with McKenzie, their Scottish Terrier. Meanwhile, the three men treaded water under the sons’ watchful eyes until Mitt made two more trips to rush them to dry land.

Previously, while spearheading the 2002 Olympics, Romney and his sons used a boat to rescue several kayakers when high winds slammed them onto rocks.

As well, a family the Romneys sold their Utah home to were stunned when Mitt personally took time to teach them about the home’s systems and quirks before handing over the keys.

Who does that? Mitt Romney does that.

That’s the kind of man you will get with Mitt Romney as president: a man who sees a problem or need and executes a plan to fix it.

In my next article, I’ll cover some of the philosophies of Mormonism that connect quite readily with American exceptionalism, and how a Romney presidency would start from that context to rebuild a torn nation while preserving its fundamental freedoms.

A Tale of Two Mothers

Or, “Liberals have no qualms about turning your mother into a political football”

Last night, my inbox showed I had two messages about Mother’s Day.

Time to put on your Politicized B.S. detector. Hint: only one of these is full of Politicized B.S.

Contrast that slick piece of navel gazing political marketing and pandering with the simple, heartfelt, and sincere message Ann Romney sent out.

I think the distinction is rather obvious. Michelle Obama, The First Mother, if you will indulge that as an extension of her official title, isn’t even mentioned in the White House email. Nope. It’s all about the administration’s socialist agenda and how mothers simply won’t be able to get along without the government.

The administration’s imagery is likewise disturbing. While I get that there’s a “military moms” angle to the message (again, as thinly veiled political pandering), wouldn’t that message be more convincing if there were, oh, I don’t know, an AMERICAN FLAG SOMEWHERE IN THE IMAGERY????????????

Instead, we get sugar-coated, post-modern socialist pabulum echoes of this:

Which do you prefer? Sending a Mother’s Day card laden with political overtones from New Motherland Amerika (and an administration at war with motherhood, which is much more than a “choice”)? Or an invitation to let your mother know she’s one of the most important people in your life?

Dreams of Obama’s Real Father: Frank Marshall Davis

I’ve long believed that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It’s natural, then, to see the smoke of secrecy surrounding Obama’s rise to the presidency and conclude that something is burning to the ground.

America is burning to the ground.

There is a new book and film out by Joel Gilbert (better read his Wikipedia entry before the Wikipedia leftists erase him) called “Dreams From My Real Father” that promises to reveal much more about the true relationship, mentorship, and influence between Frank Marshall Davis and Barry Soetoro/Barack Obama II. I urge everyone, including those inclined to disagree, to read the book and see the film.

This one’s for you, Mr. Brietbart. This president will be vetted!

Allen West vs. Soledad O’Brien on Communists in Congress – YouTube

So, Soledad wants to make it sound like Allen West is another McCarthy, huh? Well, the big thing she’s missing is that McCarthy had to go turning over rocks to find wormy Commies squiggling around underneath.

Since then, they’ve come out into the sunshine and renamed themselves every which way from Sunday to signal their battle cry and raise their sinister standard for their minions to gather under, yet avoid conflating their radical, leftist, communist positions with the dreaded (with good reason) label of Communist.

But, we know how to read their web site, folks. It’s chock full of taqiyyan statements about how they’re for “equality” and “civil rights”, which we all know from over a century of history are just code words for redistributing everything via a dictatorial Central Committee.

They are now brazenly stating their statism right on their very own public caucus web site. We don’t need Allen West to “name names”, Soledad. We just need the American people to print this list and take it to the voting booth so they know who NOT to vote for in coming elections for House and Senate.

Oh, and for President.  Even though he’s not exactly named on the list, the shoe certainly fits!

via Allen West vs. Soledad O’Brien on Communists in Congress – YouTube.

Awkward: Obama Excuses Chris Matthews During Panel With Latin American Presidents | Mediaite

Hey, Chris Matthews. How does that thrill feel in the leg now?

With the Summit of the Americas underway, President Obama was among three presidents of the Americas today to participate in a panel on energy and the economy, among other things, along with Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. Moderating this panel is America’s own Chris Matthews, whose idiosyncrasies, if somewhat confusing to a portion of Americans, was completely baffling for the Latin American presidents. After a particularly contentious question at President Rousseff, President Obama had to step in and explain: “this is what happens,” he tells the audience, when American journalists are unleashed on Latin America.

via Awkward: Obama Excuses Chris Matthews During Panel With Latin American Presidents | Mediaite.

Secret Service scandal reveals more about Obama’s character than it does about the Secret Service

United States Secret Service EOC COOP Desk
United States Secret Service EOC COOP Desk (Photo credit: martymadrid)

You can learn a lot about the king by watching the king’s guards.

via Secret Service scandal broadens; more military personnel might have been involved in misconduct.

Three comments and then I believe nothing more needs be said by me that would add any substance:

1. Haven’t these Secret Service officers ever seen a James Bond film? The girl is always going to bring you more trouble than you bargained for.

2. Would any of this have happened under GWB’s presidency? I know it didn’t only because the left-stream media would have been all over that.

3. Obama has only himself to blame. The most narcissistic president in United States history has ridden into the White House with the support of acolytes, enablers, and puppetmasters whose political culture requires them to navel-gazingly reject decency and traditional moral values at every turn. I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to find that this toxic culture has seeped even into the ranks of the President’s closest protectors.