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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mormons and Patriotism

Yesterday I saw a comment expressing doubt whether Romney would be capable of serving under the oath of office requisite for the President of the United States, because as a Mormon he has made covenants with God and how could he reconcile the two? A responding comment informed this person that Mormons are fiercely patriotic, so much so that several times as the LDS Church has sought permission to proselytize in a new country (for them), they have been denied access because these countries viewed the LDS Church as so pro-American that they didn't want that to infect their populations! That is a true story, by the way. Yet slowly the LDS Church opens more doors and sends more missionaries to more places throughout the world. We are a patriotic people wherever we live.

As a historical note: Given that Mormons were chased entirely out of the United States in the 1840s I find it quite amazing that they remained so patriotic. Years before that, their homes in Missouri had been burned, Church leaders were put in jail, the governor of Missouri signed an extermination order, and the Saints were chased by mobs until they left the state for safety in Illinois where they built their own city, Nauvoo. Joseph Smith was unable to find a politician willing to guarantee the Mormons their religious rights, so he ran for president himself. After he was murdered by a mob, the Mormons were harassed out of Nauvoo, Illinois so they fled to safety in the mountains. Many died after each episode as a result of hardship from the lack of food, clothing, and shelter, disease, and the weather. When they fled to safety in the Utah Territory led by the second president of the Church, Brigham Young, they were thousands of miles away from other settlements. Statehood in the United States didn't come until decades later but was a cause for celebration which Utahns commemorate annually.

The twelfth article of faith of the LDS Church says, "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." In each country where the 14.5 million Mormons in the world are found should be found law-abiding citizens of good character. We are encouraged to support our governments and do our part if we live in a democracy, participate in our communities, strengthen them with strong family values, and we are certainly not discouraged from becoming politically involved.

I believe Romney when he quotes his father's advice that if he ever found himself in a position to serve the country he should do so. This country needs someone of his business experience like never before to save us from impending fiscal meltdown with a skyrocketing deficit. I trust a man of his character to do just what he says he would do, if he can get Congress to go along with him. Given his track record in Massachusetts with a liberal legislature, I say we'd be in great hands with Romney serving as President of the United States.

Would his Mormonism shape his actions as president? To the extent that he is honest, hardworking, patriotic, willing to serve above and beyond, and truly concerned for the people of the United States, I say yes, as well it should. Would the Church leadership try to direct his actions as president of the United States? Absolutely not, just as they do not try to influence the actions of Harry Reid in the Senate. We Mormons believe in a strict separation of church and state, with the state protecting the God-given right of freedom of religion as laid out under the Constitution.

1 comment:

  1. nice blog and comment that got picked up over at Breitbart. Great thoughts and writing.