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.