At election time, there are many issues worth considering. We could choose our candidate based on their stance on foreign policy, immigration, taxes, health care, or managing finances. Of course all of those things are important. But sometimes we overcomplicate things by focusing too much on the lesser matters and overlooking a simple litmus test that trumps all else.
For me, the most important thing to consider when choosing the person to lead our country is character.
Honesty. Integrity. When I look at a political candidate, one of main things I try to analyze is: can I really take this person at his word? Has he lived his life with integrity? In his business dealings, personal life, and public life– across all domains–has he been true and worthy of trust? Does he keep his promises? Of course, no one is perfect. But you can usually tell which people are honestly striving to live lives of decency & honor.
Most importantly, is he is following God? Does this person live worthy of divine guidance? Does this person have a deep and abiding faith in God and the humility to seek heavenly help when making tough decisions? Sure, there are other things to consider, like leadership experience & knowledge, BUT at the end of the day, it still won’t amount to much without some serious help from on high. The issues a president faces in the oval office are far too numerous & complex for anyone- no matter how smart- to be able to know how to tackle perfectly. But the Holy Ghost knows more than all of that and can help someone make better decisions than they would if left to their own strength and wisdom. It’s just that simple.
“I always remember two young men who served in my mission. One was a superstar. He was educated. He was bright. He was quick. He was a little arrogant. We had another who was a sign painter. He came from a sign shop with very little education, but he knew his inadequacies and he relied on the Lord. When he prayed, you knew he was talking with the Lord. It wasn’t a rote thing, it was a conversation and that young man accomplished wonders while the other young man went through the motions. The power that was in the one and the absence of power in the other was so apparent.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)
There’s something to be said about living a life worthy to have the Holy Spirit constantly with you. It makes a huge difference. We shouldn’t overlook this at the voting booth.
Let’s take a lesson from ancient America:
“Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy” (or in other words, a righteous person). (3 Nephi 3:19). And there are lots of scriptural examples of when the people didn’t follow this pattern, which time after time, led to the failure of some great civilizations.
Not only that, but we learn that when unrighteous leaders were in power, their unrighteous influence permeated throughout all the land and tended to corrupt the minds and hearts of the people (see Mosiah 29 & Ether 9:6). This is what I think is the most dangerous thing – if someone like Trump were to take power, his ideals & manners could affect us without us even noticing it – and we may start to begin to accept & embrace certain negative ideas and attitudes in our society that we would have previously rejected.
So why is Trump winning? Perhaps we are all overlooking the most indispensable quality: living a clean, honest, and moral life in alignment with God’s commandments. I think it’s obvious to most Christians that in this thing there is something to be lacked in Donald’s resume. Not only does he treat others badly & not conduct himself as a good Christian should, but several of Donald Trump’s business endeavors support activities that are in direct conflict with the gospel, such as gambling, immorality, etc. He’s gone bankrupt several times in an effort to ‘make a profit’, cheated on previous wives, & been accused of fraud & various scandals in his business dealings.
And for those who say ‘who cares, that’s his private life. It doesn’t mean he’ll be a bad president,’ you cannot separate someone’s personal and public life. That’s ridiculous. The way you live in one sphere will inevitably spill over & affect the way you live in all others. And people who do are waving a huge red flag when it comes to living a life of integrity.
“Danger lurks when we divide ourselves with expressions such as ‘my private life,’ ‘my professional life,’ or even ‘my best behavior.’ Living life in separate compartments can lead to internal conflict and exhausting tension…Inner peace comes only as we maintain the integrity of truth in all aspects of our lives.” (Russell M. Nelson)
If you vote for someone who lives a corrupt personal life, no matter how impressive their worldly achievements may be, that person is not going to be worthy or in the right spiritual mindset to be in tune with & receive personal revelation from on high. Relying on God is the only thing that is going to preserve America as the great nation that it is. God established this nation, and it is only with His help that we will be able to maintain the freedoms we enjoy.
“I will fortify this land against all other nations” (2 Ne. 10:12)
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:10, 12).
Big Red Flag #1
Still many people like Trump because they feel like he’s got ‘good’ intents & the zeal to get things done. So I feel like this is an important quote to bring up:
(Remind you of anyone?)
“Let us not become so intense in our zeal to do good by winning arguments..that we go beyond good sense and manners, thereby promoting contention, or say and do imprudent things, invoke cynicism, or ridicule with flippancy. In this manner, our good motives become so misdirected that we lose friends and, even more serious, we come under the influence of the devil.” (Elder James E. Faust)
Yikes. Did you catch that?
Jesus Christ also taught, “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” (3 Nephi 11:29)
Who can dispute that electing someone who is under the influence of the devil is a really bad idea? How could that ever be a good thing?
“The Devil persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one.” (3 Nephi 7:17)
Not only does Trump do all these things (promote contention, say & do imprudent things, ridicule with flippancy, etc.) but it seems he relishes in it.
In contrast, the scriptures teach that “charity never faileth.” Now that’s the key to great leadership. But you won’t find that in Trump.
Big Red Flag #2
Donald Trump talks emphatically about lots of things. But not when it comes to the constitution. He doesn’t seem to place great value on it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him defend the constitution or even talk about how important it is to uphold. Same thing with the Bill of Rights. If anything, I’ve just heard him downplay the need for the first amendment.
In case you need a refresher, here’s the first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Trump aims to make it easier to sue the media when they say anything “purposefully negative and horrible and false.” This may sound harmless at first glance, but think about how subjective that is. If Trump is given the power to silence media companies that speak out against him, by suing them, this could have some scary consequences for our freedom of speech. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/02/26/donald-trump-issues-warning-to-dishonest-media-at-texas-rally-ive-never-said-this-before/
Trump also called for a ban on all muslims entering the United States and suggested the need for surveillance and a watch list. Again, lots of implications for freedom of religion there.
“No presidential candidate in living memory has ever demonstrated such blatant contempt for basic First Amendment freedoms.” (Deseret News, referring to Trump)
Guys, this is kind of a big deal.
What I have heard him say is that how we’re doing things isn’t working, “we don’t win any more,” and that he will “make America great again.”
Well wanna know why it’s not working? We haven’t been using the constitution the way it was intended. (Because of politicians who have been trying to ‘work around’ the constitution rather than through it as it was designed). This country was made great by the careful planning of our founding fathers, who I believe were inspired by God to compose the Constitution of the United States of America. It was nothing short of inspiration to devise such a brilliant system of government that could govern effectively while still protecting certain unalienable rights & freedoms from being infringed.
One man cannot make this country great again. No matter how great of a ‘deal-maker’ he is. The inspired constitution is what set up America as the greatest nation on Earth. We need to elect a leader who won’t dismiss/trample on the very foundation that made this country great in the first place.
Trump always says that he’s going to make America great again. But it seems to me that he’ll do so by trying to work around the system using his own ideas & perhaps creating his own new system. As Governor Chris Christie recently said, “He’s rewriting the playbook.” That should be worrisome to all of us. And frankly I think it is mockery to say that you will make America great again – when you are not even seriously acknowledging what made America great in the first place. Sorry to be so redundant, but you have to acknowledge that! Acknowledge the hand of the Lord in the founding of this great nation. Sadly, some history books have chosen to gloss over / omit any reference to deity in the founding of America. God made this nation great, and we cannot make it great again without His blessing & His help. It’s foolish to elect a leader who is not living his life in alignment with the gospel, who doesn’t conduct himself in a Christlike way, who stirs up contention, and to think that he’s going to be in a position to lead this country with divine inspiration. That’s not the formula for true success. He will be left to his own strength.
You can say all you want about how our nation is ‘no longer a Christian nation’ and how we need to start ‘keeping up with the times’ and change in order to accommodate different beliefs. I believe in respecting all people, however, it does not change the simple truth that God lives. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, whether you believe in Him or not. God was behind the founding of the USA, whether you choose to acknowledge that or not, and we will ultimately fail if we as a nation choose to turn our back on Him.
“It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor. I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency which was so often manifested during the revolution; or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of Him, who is alone able to protect them.” (George Washington)
People like Trump because they want to see change.
If you want change, I have no doubt you’ll get it with Trump. But, at what cost? I have no doubt that Trump will ‘get things done.’ He’ll shake things up in Washington & he’ll make things happen. But it’s my opinion that he will do so at any cost. He’ll use unethical means when necessary in order to achieve his goals. He will not bend to the rules that limit his executive reach (aka the Constitution/Bill of Rights) to get things done. When congress doesn’t agree with his plans, he’ll throw out insults and defy them with executive orders like no president in history has done before. He’ll ignore what the constitution has to say because he thinks he knows better.
I’m becoming more and more convinced that there is not much Trump wouldn’t do as President. But make no mistake, it will all be under the guise of “making America great again.” Trump is going to make it all seem totally justified using whatever rhetoric he needs to (and probably accusing anyone who speaks out against it as being either stupid or unpatriotic.) And I’m afraid that a lot of us are going to continue to fall for it.
Just don’t be surprised when you feel the personal effects of this ‘change’ you want so badly. I think it will end up taking a greater toll on your individual freedoms than you realize.
Maybe some of you think I’m being extreme, but I really believe that we’ve got something to be concerned about and that we all need to wake up.
Please, if you are voting on super Tuesday, please don’t vote for Trump.
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UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, I’ve come across a few more links I think are worth sharing: