Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Mormon president: Do I really want one?

Perhaps it doesn’t make sense that, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am not really sure I want a Mormon to win the presidency. But I do find myself sitting on the fence emotionally.

Generally speaking, it really shouldn’t matter. Let’s assume he is a relatively typical “mainstream Mormon”. Then his guiding Values are:
  1. A belief in God, and Jesus Christ – That isn’t really a crucial quality for a president, I suppose… I do think there is something to be said for having a president who believes in a higher power. We need all the divine help we can get.
  2. A belief in choice and accountability – A Mormon president would generally be on the side of individual rights, with the caveat that the individual making the choice be accountable for those choices. With specific regard to religious freedom, one of the 13 Articles of Faith – a set of fundamental beliefs of the church – states “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.”
  3. Careful Compassion – The LDS church has a fairly amazing welfare system. It is based on the idea of helping individual in need to become self-reliant. Instead of handing out money, they provide the basic necessities – food, clothing, they provide career mentoring and financial counseling. Welfare efforts are focused on helping people to become productive and self-sufficient again. It is a model our government welfare administrators would do well to mirror. Unlike doubters in this forum, I think it could be successfully scaled. 
Sounds like desirable qualities in a President (or any leader for that matter).  So then why the reluctance on my part? Why am I uncertain about having a Mormon for president?
Because nobody is perfect, and because everyone will be watching him. Everything he does will be reflected onto the church.  If he has a weird quirk of personality, a strange personal belief, and undesirable character flaw. It will be attributed to his religion. If he fails to live the fundamental principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will be portrayed as an example of the hypocrisy of the religion.

I don’t know either of the LDS candidates personally (Though as I write this, Mr. Huntsman is no longer running, so Mr. Romney is now the person of interest). I don’t know that I trust either one of them to represent my faith.

Silly of me, isn't it?

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