I finally finished reading The Cult of Trump by cult expert and former Moonie Steve Hassan. The book posits that Trump instills cult-like behaviors among his followers, which results in the same types of negative outcomes as with other cults. Hassan’s definition of cults is perhaps a little broad for my taste (as explored here in discussing whether Mormonism fits his defined criteria–in short, it often does, along with most other religions). One of the biggest red flags for cults is that they instill panic and phobia in their followers. From the book:
Trump uses all kinds of cult tactics–lying, insulting opponents, projecting his weaknesses onto other, deflecting, distracting, presenting alternative facts and competing versions of reality–to confuse, disorient, and ultimately coerce his followers. Repetition programs the beliefs into the unconscious. But fearmongering tops the list. In my experience, phobia indoctrination–the creation of fearful thoughts to promote and reinforce a desired set of beliefs or behaviors in followers–is one of the most powerful and universal techniques in the cult leaders’ arsenal. This is why Trump spends so much air and Twitter time painting a frightening picture of the danger posed by immigrants–Mexicans, Muslims, the migrant caravan. The more vivid the thought or image installed in people’s minds, the greater a hold it has, and the less susceptible it is to rational or critical thought. There are other enemies in Trump’s world–globalists, radical left-wing Democrats, socialists, Hollywood actors, the liberal media–all of whom want to destroy America. Inspiring fear of real or imagined threats overrides people’s sense of agency. It makes them susceptible to a confident authority figure who promises to keep them safe, and can make them more compliant and obedient.
Fear defines Trump’s philosophy, his personality and his presidency. . . . Trump, like cult leaders and dictators throughout history, seizes upon people’s needs and fears and amplifies them. Like these authoritarian leaders, he may manufacture problems that do not exist, and then say “trust me” or “believe me” and promise that only he can fix it.
To clarify, this book was published last October, before Covid, before the police brutality protests, before the election cycle began. In Bob Woodward’s book Fear, he quotes Trump as saying:
Real power is, I don’t even want to use the word: fear.
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania in a very remote house just down the lane from a centuries-old cemetery, and on a hill some claimed was the burial site of the Conoy Indians, I often would get freaked out at night listening to the cacophony of Cicadas outside my window and the occasional lonely train whistle behind the house. I’d hear a rustling bush outside my window or a branch slapping against the glass in the wind, and jump into my bed, pulling the covers up over my face. There were corn fields on both sides of our property that rustled like stiff fabric when the wind blew. It didn’t take much to imagine that was the sound of some large creature, parting the corn stalks with its bulk as it raced toward our little house. At times like these, I would huddle in my bed reciting 2 Timothy 1:7 to myself for comfort:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
I often thought about Paul’s word choice. Although he was talking about not being afraid to preach, this was a scripture that spoke to me about fear in general. Fear was an anti-spiritual feeling. When you were in the grip of fear, you could not feel the spirit. You were susceptible to irrational behavior. You lacked mental clarity. You did not have a “sound mind.” Instead, every noise, every shift in the air could be a threat. Having a sound mind, standing above my fears, would give me power over my life. It would allow me to love others, and to see clearly. Fear, on the other hand, would rob me of those things: my power, my mental clarity, my charity for others. Fear was something that gripped me at times, but it was also something that I gripped right back when I felt it. It was hard to let it go, to breathe through it, and to realize that I was really going to be OK. Disaster wasn’t imminent. Letting go of my fear did give me a feeling of power and did let me focus on others, not just myself. It made me able to think rationally again.
After the 2016 election, like many Hillary supporters, I was stunned. I had watched the debates in increasing confidence that her demeanor, her stable character, and her incredible experience and qualifications shone through against her unstable, crude, bigoted opponent. It felt like no contest to me. I couldn’t even imagine anyone saw it differently at the time. When Comey’s letter hit the news three days before the election, I was dismayed at the air time the story got. It felt like a last minute cheap trick that might depress voter turnout in this important election. I assumed wrongly that Comey was a Trump supporter, timing this action to help his preferred candidate. When the votes were tallied, and Trump won the electoral college, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. My daughter and I were both on the verge of tears, seeing once again how our nation regards women. It wasn’t that a qualified woman was being passed over so much as the person who was preferred, a serial sexual assaulter who bragged about it and who chose an Evangelical religious fanatic as his running mate. It wasn’t so much our worst fears as our biggest insecurity: that women were seen as losers, yet again, beneath the actual worst man on the planet, the least fit leader imaginable. We went to bed, still stunned, still reeling from the disappointment.
My son was away at college in Idaho, and this had been his first election. He was equally surprised by the result, but with less life experience, he was pretty inconsolable. In his view “those people” didn’t want him to live, wanted people like him dead. I know that’s partly an exaggerated reality, but there was some evidence as well. His roommates were very vocal Trump supporters who saw this as a way to “own the liberals” and set back LGBT rights, taking back the country from the coastal elites who didn’t “get it.” I had previously unfriended someone on Facebook that I grew up with when this person said that if Hillary won, we should prepare for a civil war, and he had a gun and wasn’t afraid to take to the streets if that happened. This type of bloodthirsty rhetoric was unprecedented for me, so I took it somewhat seriously that my son was upset, but I also tempered that with the life experience that tells me that inertia has its pull, and for the most part, people are full of bluster, even if they are saying completely heinous things. It seemed unlikely to me that civil war would be a real thing.
It’s a low bar, but someone pointed out in a recent Tweet a thing I’ve been thinking about. A lot of people live under dictatorships and life mostly goes on during an oppressive regime (not for dissidents, but for the majority). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act or vote or protest or write OPs expressing our views. It just means that we probably won’t actually die right now if our political side loses. It’s important to keep a cool head, to be able to be rational. We live in a democracy (for now, and yes, I know it’s actually a republic), and although a minority group is in charge thanks to the electoral college, it is possible to change that when the majority work hard enough to change it. The checks and balances may be challenged, but they are baked in to protect us from tyranny. The bipartisan system is deeply flawed, but for now, it’s what we have to work with.
Both political parties use fear in their rhetoric. So does the Church from time to time. Fear is used to unite us against a perceived threat, or to convince us to perceive a threat that we must band together to fight. It works as a substitute for a moral argument, which is why it makes me suspect it’s being used when the moral argument is weak.
How do cult leaders instill fear in others? There are several tactics identified in Hassan’s book:
- Create a powerful leader for people to rally behind. Require absolute loyalty to that leader.
- Confuse people with false information and sow doubt by claiming they didn’t say things they said. The goal is not to get people to believe the misinformation. The goal is to confuse them enough that they doubt sources and doubt their own ability to assess truth. Then they will rely on the leader to tell them what’s true.
- Bring groups of people together so that those who are confused and fearful see strength in numbers, and feel social pressure to belong to the safety of the group.
These things are done to accomplish the ultimate goal: dependence on and obedience to the leader. When that is achieved, the leader can indoctrinate them in any way he or she chooses, garnering their support to remain in power. Those who are in this mindset are often willing to radically alter their positions to coincide with the leader’s views. In the case of Trump, there’s ample evidence that he is promoting Evangelical ideas more than his own actual ideas, that he is willing to pursue their priorities so long as he can remain in power and reap the benefits of the office. And Evangelicals have a lot of fears that Mormons will find familiar and captivating. It’s easier to capitalize on fears that people already have than to create them from scratch.
Some of the fears being promoted by Trump include a fear of lawlessness, a fear of voter fraud, fear of a welfare state in which people cheat the system, fear of rioting and property damage, fear of immigrants, fear of economic disaster, fear of “cultural Marxism,” fear of secularization, homophobia and transphobia (fear of the social consequences of normalizing being gay or trans), fear of foreign powers being a threat if national security isn’t strong enough. Trump’s election strategy promotes the idea that he’s the only one keeping the bad things from happening, although many of these things are happening on his watch already. There are also more extreme fears being promoted by groups like QAnon in the form of conspiracy theories.
The fears being stoked on the left appear to be the fear of fascism and authoritarianism, also the fear of the election being stolen by a foreign power, the fear of death due to the pandemic, fear of right-wing extremists shooting protesters, fear of gun ownership in general, fear of police brutality, fear of persecution of minority groups. When is a fear a real threat and when is it irrational? It’s only possible to say in retrospect. Biden’s platform isn’t based on those shared fears, though. His message is about representing the interests of everyone. Whether he ultimately does that or not, it’s at least not following the fear-based leadership model Hassan’s book associates with cults.
These are fears we share as Americans, fears that leaders can exploit to gain and retain positions of power. As the book explains:
Hatred and fear always unify believers against a common enemy.
But fears can also be based in reality. We should be afraid of things that can actually harm us. That’s part of how we survive. The problem is when fears become phobias, or when they rule our lives or alter our personalities or are not based in reality. A fear can be based on a real threat or not, but a phobia crosses the line into creating a level of anxiety that interferes with our ability to function or our quality of life. Phobias are fears that are excessive and unreasonable. Phobias create avoidant behavior that is out of proportion to the actual danger.
One avoidant behavior that makes me nervous in our current political climate is refusal to talk to people whose views we find repellent. How can we ever find common ground if we are stuck in an echo chamber? Unfriending someone or blocking them can be deeply satisfying, but maybe it’s moving into phobia territory a little bit. For example, if I say I’m terrified of Trump supporters (which I kind of am), it could be partly because I’m getting stuck in a mental loop that isn’t helpful. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Actual fascism, the downfall of democracy? And if it does, then what? Will I lose my healthcare coverage due to pre-existing conditions? And if I do, will I actually die before that can be changed by the next administration? Political ads I’m seeing like to pump up these fears to get people to vote, and we absolutely should vote, but we should do so without being so motivated by fear that we can’t evaluate our choices rationally.
- What fears do you hear being stoked by politicians right now? Are they real threats or are they overstated?
- What fears do you hear Church leaders stoking? Do you believe these threats are real?
- How do you help others you feel are gripped by fear? How do you overcome your own fears?
 Here’s a contrasting evaluation of Mormonism against the BITE model by a different author.
I recently almost unfriended a Facebook friend because of her beliefs in QAnon. However I remember her as being this wonderful person. I commented on her post about how what she was saying was a baseless conspiracy theory. She responded with deep concern about the Democrats and praise of Trump as this demigod figure saving us from this secret group of child cannibals. I wrote her a personal message expressing how I had very good memories of her as a great person and how I was surprised that she was into politics. I asked her if she would be interested in discussing these things with me in greater detail reassuring her that I would consider her a friend no matter what, to which she obliged. I took a few days and wrote about 5 pages of my views on QAnon. I went over a number of logical fallacies that I saw in the theory and how I was unconvinced by it. In the letter I told her that we should demand evidence and be reluctant to accept extraordinary claims on weak evidence. She thanked me for the letter and has yet to respond.
Moving forward we have to be wary of any and all fear-based narratives and demand evidence in order for us to formulate opinions. We have to be willing to have hard conversations and accept that there is a lot we just don’t know.
“ Both political parties use fear in their rhetoric. So does the Church from time to time”
From time to time? It’s is in every service, conference, devotional – any chance they get – our Church is one driven by fear vs love
I’m with John, QAnon is one of the worst destroyer of minds. I work in health care and get to see the stats on Covid and the excitement from high level doctors regarding the new vaccine trials and yet my mother in law who is fully immersed in QAnon utterly refuses to ever take “The Vaccine”.
She’s the target demographic that should be first in line for a vaccine and I keep having to debunk everything including that there isn’t a “The Vaccine”. There are several vaccines being tested made by several different companies.
It’s hard because I know the psychology behind why people believe these things and in general, you have very little chance of convincing others that they’re wrong. It’s even harder when enmeshed in this stuff that’s perpetrated by people who also know what they’re doing.
If your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail. I’ll bet Hassan would think the Marines are a cult. Probably your favorite NFL team would have cult-like features. Your high school marching band would probably qualify. Okay, I’m stretching things a little, but you can see the problem. Since his model, if not himself personally, gives a lot of critics a template for looking at the Church and crying “Cult!” I’m inclined to dismiss the template.
The real-world examples of cults tend to be small enough that the Great Leader can exercise personal influence over recruits and followers. A few hundred people, maybe a couple of thousand, but not millions. When we get to political leaders who have authoritarian or fascist modes of governing, I’d be more inclined to talk about authoritarian or fascist features of their leadership style. There is some overlap with cult leaders, but the scale is so different and the technology is so different (speeches and TV and radio and propaganda rather than personal contact and so forth) that I don’t really trust the analogy.
Dave B., on the other hand, the “personality cult” is a long-established concept in politics. This definition from Merriam-Webster is typical: “a situation in which a public figure (such as a political leader) is deliberately presented to the people of a country as a great person who should be admired and loved.”
It’s smart to distinguish between religious cults and political cults of personality, but there is overlap in the dynamics of these phenomena, just as there is overlap between religious cults and non-cult religious movements. Those of us who have no experience of Mormonism as cult-like will bridle when someone uses Hassan’s ideas to describe us as a cult. Yet we would be wise to recognize that the boundary between religion and cult can be hazy in some ways. Similarly, it is very useful to recognize the ways that modern-day political authoritarians appropriate the tools of cult leadership.
Hawkgrrrl: Be terrified of me, for I am a Trump supporter. Whoever’s President, I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, just like I did when Obama was in office. And W, B. C., Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, and Kennedy. Their success/failure is a matter of record but must be viewed with regard to how effective the other party’s efforts of sabotage in order to score political points was.
Of course the media is biased toward liberalism but will never admit it. The last time the NY Times endorsed a Republican candidate was Eisenhower, yet Dan Rather called them “middle of the road”. Liberals are far more likely to resort to name-calling (you’re guilty) and violent rhetoric (hoping Michell Malkin gets shot between her Viet Cong eyes).
How many years have we watched Christians label Mormons as members of a cult? Yeah, pretty long time; a tactic to use when all else failed. Same thing with this Trump-cult promotion; which I say is utter garbage. Right-wing extremists exist, as do Left-wing extremists. The spirit of discernment comes in handy; try it sometime!
It’s a little ironic to read a long post about the way Trump uses fear when the reality is that Trump’s opposition is doing the same at the same rate.
If you tune into Fox News, which I do, you’ll discover the Biden is from the party of anarchy and socialism. That sounds scary. If you tune into CNN, which I also do, you’ll discover that Trump is a racist dictator. That doesn’t sound good.
You folks who are committed to either side need to look in the mirror and further examine your own party and your own news outlets. You’re all despicable. This crap started during the Obama era when he was going to end America as we know it according to FNC. And you know what? The anti-Trump folks on the left have more in common with the anti-Obama folks on the right than either side would care to admit.
I miss the days of Bill Clinton vs Bob Dole when the survival of the republic didn’t depend on the results of the next election. Fear? I fear both of you.
Americans have been required to vote for very flawed individuals for a long time. The choice between Biden and Trump is another example.
We can’t do much about their flawed characters, but we can clearly see what they stand for and vote accordingly.
If some form of socialism is appealing to you vote for Biden/Harris.
If the US Constitution in your view is an antiqued document vote for Biden/Harris.
If you feel an unborn child can be aborted at any stage of gestation vote for Biden/Harris .
If you want to see freedom of religion stripped of this place in the bill of rights vote for Biden/Harris ( https://www.au.org/church-state/april-2019-church-state-magazine/au-bulletin/do-no-harm-act-reintroduced-in-us )
If you think organizations that have links to Marxism have place in the US vote for Biden/Harris (BLM is one example)
If you think police should be underfunded and marginalized as they have been in New York and Portland vote for Biden/Harris.
The list could go on.
If you don’t like all or part of what is listed above vote for Trump even though he has many character flaws.
It’s so disheartening to see large numbers of Church members getting sucked into the fear-based propaganda of the current political environment; even doubly disappointing when they are dear family members and close friends I’ve known and respected for years. I’m willing to forgive Latter-day Saints who voted for Trump in 2016, but any member of the Church who continues to support him isn’t worthy of a temple recommend. There is no way you can truthfully respond to the interview questions in a satisfactory way if you are aligned with his agenda. Trump entered office as a false prophet and has since elevated himself to being a false christ.
A friend in my ward recently shared with me all the measures he was taking to protect his home and family from the “coming calamities”–reinforced locks on his garage door, multiple barrels of water storage, guns and ammo, etc. He is convinced that riots will eventually find their way into our sleepy suburbs (we are a dozen miles outside of the center of a medium-sized city that saw a few mostly peaceful protests after the George Floyd murder, maybe a couple broken windows at worst). He is convinced that, no matter the outcome of the election, things are going to get “way worse before they get better” and uses quotes from the scriptures and latter-day prophets to support his position. He further said that he prays every day for Christ to move his return date up sooner and set everything right. I tried to explain that being a follower of Christ and taking upon ourselves His name and His mission means we have to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of healing our society, and not wait for Him do it all for us; that we should learn to love our neighbor rather than prepare to go to war with him. The message didn’t really connect. Fear is too powerful a motivator.
I’ve often wondered why people who profess to be disciples of Jesus Christ could ever go down that path. But then I remember that Church culture has long relied on appeals to emotion to witness “truth”, discourages critical thinking, and as a moral centering force is becoming more impotent and irrelevant all the time. Church leaders are refusing to take a stand on the current moral situation, and instead making vague statements and even occasionally dog whistling to the conservatives (e.g. Elder Bednar on “religious freedom”). Even Pres. Nelson won’t make a simple public statement encouraging mask wearing, despite being a retired surgeon who spent a large part of his career wearing masks and understands their value better than most. Church leaders also have a history of engaging in fear-based rhetoric at times, which is especially familiar to those of us who grew up on a steady diet of ETB/BKP/BRM-style gospel teaching.
Jared: Your list of ideological reasons for voting is very conservative-skewed. From what I’ve been reading, a key difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans harness voters based on ideological views (which they do very well) but really don’t have policy solutions lined up to achieve those aims. Democrats are terrible on creating a coherent message and instead only come with a mish-mosh of policy ideas, some great, some not. Additionally, I could rephrase all of your list from a different perspective that has a stronger basis in reality and fact:
– If some form of government is appealing to you, vote Biden / Harris. (Biden is no socialist, and even Bernie is only a social democrat; frankly I’m far less concerned about socialism than I am about authoritarianism and theocracy).
– If the US constitution is in your view a LIVING document that requires participative interpretation, vote Biden/Harris.
– If you’d like to dabble in forcing women to have unwanted children without providing social support and if you suspect some miscarriages should be criminalized, vote Trump. If you think women can’t get pregnant from rape, vote Trump. This is a great article for anti-choice voters that shows why POTUS (and even SCOTUS) haven’t and aren’t likely to change abortion law, written by a conservative: https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/do-pro-lifers-who-reject-trump-have?fbclid=IwAR1yVjIPMm0E5CQFBUAsZaEV161luGcCb0WFKz-EKHD0Cs2Jye4l_gqjUqY
– If you would like to be able to strip anti-discrimination protections from LGBT and women and racial minorities, vote Trump.
– “Links to Marxism” is probably the dumbest GOP boogeyman out there right now. Anyone using the term Marxism to describe the current political situation in the US needs to get a grip. Seriously. https://medium.com/discourse/joe-biden-is-not-a-marxist-so-just-cut-it-out-63753f61923f
– The NYPD has a larger budget than the entire FBI. If you want a police force that protects ALL citizens and prizes human life higher than white people’s property, vote Biden/Harris. If you want a president who high fives suburban vigilantes threatening people with assault rifles, vote Trump. If you want a race-baiter who caused a repeat of the 1960s race riots 60 years later by siding with white supremacists and out-of-control police departments then claimed somehow he’s the only one who can save us from the problem he created, vote for Trump.
As to “character flaws” if you have no problem with a known and bragging about it serial sexual assaulter being POTUS, well, we already know you voted for him in 2016. I guess that wasn’t really a moral dilemma for some.
Jared, I do appreciate you being here to keep us from being an echo chamber. I couldn’t disagree with you more vehemently, but thanks for giving me the chance to do it so succinctly. And yes, absolutely the list could go on and on.
Can we cool it with this stupid statement “if you vote for (candidate or party) then you aren’t worthy of a temple recommend”?
It was wrong when it used to be said about the democrats because of the abortion and LGBT debates and it’s wrong now.
If you can’t see how both parties have put forth extremely flawed candidates than you are suffering from confirmation bias and aren’t doing your research.
Likewise, if you can’t figure out why someone, who’s not evil, would vote for either of the two candidates then you’re living in an echo chamber and you need to learn how to have a civil conversation with people you don’t agree with.
Angela C.-you’re alright in my book. I think your great even though we certainly disagree on many things.
If Biden/Harris are elected life will go on. The US survived Barack Oboma, fortunately we’re recovering some under Trump. He has rebuilt the military, brought economic prosperity to all Americans, stopped ISIS, and setback Iran’s influence, helped China realize we’re not totally out to lunch and can’t be played for fools forever. The list could go on.
Trump is comparable to Morianton in the Book of Mormon (see Ether 10:10-11). Morianton had flawed moral perspectives , but he did justice to his people.
My biggest fear is that the United States continues the path to overt corruption if Trump wins another term. Like others have said, I don’t understand how good people support Trump. My parents, 2/3 of my siblings and most of my in-laws are ardent Trump supporters. If I decided to hate Trump supporters I’d be a lonely person, but they do scare me.
I wonder if anarchy is a more likely outcome than authoritarianism, but that’s an equally crappy outcome. I live in Arizona where there’s about an equal number of conservatives and liberals with liberals probably gradually gaining more sway here. There are a lot of devoted Trump supporters and a LOT of guns however which makes me a little nervous.
Andy, I stand by my earlier statement (that Trump-supporting Church members are not worthy of temple recommends). It has nothing to do with political parties. The Church has made statements to the effect that good ideas can be found in either major party platform, and I agree with that. Trump’s agenda is so far beyond traditional partisan politics, though. Whether or not you support Trump is not simply a political position that intelligent people can disagree on–it’s a moral one. By voting for him, you send a clear message that unrepentant serial adultery, sexual assault and a host of other abhorrent acts should not only be tolerated, but rewarded with the most powerful public office in the world. I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror, let alone look into the faces of my wife and daughters, after giving my vote to someone who clearly doesn’t value women’s lives.
Angela: we’ve already had a serial sexual assaulter as POTUS: Bill Clinton; the counter-culture’s first candidate to get elected.
Angela, your view of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election apparently ignored her history and character. Were you not aware that she aided and abetted her husband in his promiscuity and sexual assaults over decades? She publicly victim shamed his victims.
She immorally enriched herself via the Clinton Foundation, which ostensibly was a charitable organization, but was a money laundering scheme for her and her family. The Clinton Foundation received tens of millions of dollars in donations while she was Secretary of State (including from foreign dictators the Middle East), and yet once she lost the 2016 election the donations dried up (why do you think that was?)
She set-up a homebrew email server in her bathroom on which she conducted business while Secretary of State, exposing classified information to our enemies. She had the server wiped once this was discovered. She was saved from being prosecuted for mishandling classified information due to the corruption of the Obama justice department.
She has decades-old history of lying and proving herself to be a vile person. Although boorish and loud, Donald Trump looked like a saint compared to her.
Regarding LGBT issues, Trump is the first president to be pro-gay marriage on his first day of office, and the first president to appoint an openly gay man to a cabinet-level position. His administration has done more than any, including Obama’s, to fight discrimination against gays around the world. I
Dave B: I’m always delighted at how closely our views coincide. I agree that Hassan’s view of cults fits too many organizations, including American Express where I worked for 13 years! We talked about our beloved CEO Ken Chenault in the most glowing of terms (I still love that guy!) and also talked about “bleeding blue” referring to the company logo. We had blinders about the superiority of our products and vision. I still feel that way. Honestly, the Amex culture was better than the Church’s culture in almost every way! My bigger question is why some people flip over into cult mindset while others don’t. I really do think his points about how leaders use cult tactics to recruit and manipulate followers are interesting, but beyond that, there are people who can suspend their skepticism to an astonishing degree when dealing with organizations and authority, more than other people do.
Jack Hughes: I’m with Andy in disagreeing that anyone should lose their temple recommend simply over political views, even though I consider some Trump voters to be making an immoral choice that deliberately oppresses others. It’s too easy for people to have conflicting motives, be persuaded by misguided arguments, and to be lacking information or discernment. Humans use heuristics to make decisions, and frankly, that’s something that benefits organizations including the Church. When you peel back the curtain, you always find a little man pulling levers and telling you to pay no attention to him.
I also think that fears are natural and normal, but that we should heed Paul’s advice to attempt to overcome our fears with power and love rather than to let them burgeon into phobias that affect our lives negatively. In a ward I was in a few years ago, there was a member of the bishopric who was hysterical about Y2K, encouraging everyone (as if we all were in the same emotional state he was) to stockpile weapons to protect our food when the inevitable apocalypse happened. I was dismayed by his attitude. Would you really shoot someone who was hungry and less prepared than you? I couldn’t do that. Maybe that makes me weak. I tend to think “We all survived Y2K, and we will all survive whatever the next big thing is, unless we don’t. But I’m not going to try to survive at the expense of others.” Unless they’re Trump voters. J/K, not even then.
Mark Gibson Gibson: I totally agree, but I would just add a few things to that: 1) it wasn’t widely known when he was elected, 2) he didn’t boast about it during his campaign (or ever) and STILL get elected, 3) the Monica Lewinsky affair was consensual, and yet IMHO is still the type of impropriety that gets people fired for sexual harassment in corporate America and should therefore be disqualifying, and 4) Bill Clinton in the late 90s is irrelevant to Trump in 2020. Yes, they are both vile sexual assaulters, but Clinton’s been out of office for decades and is ineligible to run for POTUS again.
The reason so many Evangelicals seem not to care that Trump is a sexual predator is because he fits a traditional gender role narrative. If you are a man, you have a voracious, nearly uncontrollable sexual appetite, and that over-abundance of testosterone is also what drives the world through male ambition and domination. If a man is sexually aggressive, in this mindset, he is also a “good protector,” which is 100% the narrative Evangelicals believe about Trump. He’s the bully who is willing to fight their battles. He’s what they secretly think “real men” are.
Jared, these are FNC talking points and they’re demonstrably false.
– Rebuilt the military: “That Trump is not serious about rebuilding the military should not come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to these matters.” Read more from AEI: https://www.aei.org/foreign-and-defense-policy/defense/trumps-broken-pledge-to-rebuild-the-military/
– Brought economic prosperity to all Americans: “Obama added over 1.6 million more jobs in his last three years in office compared to Trump’s first three years.” From Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2020/02/10/trumps-economic-scorecard-3-years-in-office/#1a4d7b237847
– Stopped ISIS: You’d be more honest by saying the Pentagon’s plan in Syria that began in the Obama administration and continued under Trump was a success. Trump is undoing that success. From Foreign Affairs: “The U.S. deployment in Syria made it possible for the United States to stand toe to toe with Russia, contain Iran, restrain Turkey, hold the Arab states in line, and, most important, prevent a resurgence of ISIS. Trump’s initial order to fully withdraw U.S. troops forfeited all those advantages. His recent amendment to that order, which permits 200 troops to remain in the northeast and 200 to remain at al-Tanf in the hope that other coalition troops will eventually make up the balance, could make matters even worse.” https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/syria/2019-04-16/hard-truths-syria
– Set back Iran: Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile is now 10x the legal limit. From the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-54033441
– Warned China: It’s not that I don’t think the president should deal strongly with China, it’s that Trump has not. His trade war has done almost nothing to reduce the trade imbalance (https://www.ft.com/content/081e6d25-8d67-4caa-918a-2765a66f0052) and it has really hurt farmers and manufacturing (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/business/economy/trump-china-trade-war-farmers.html). His withdrawal from the TPP basically cedes Southeast Asia to China (https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexcapri/2018/04/15/trumps-trade-war-irony-america-loses-by-not-rejoining-the-tpp/#493332c83e7f) and gives other farmers in North America a leg up.
Donald Trump’s singular talent is self promotion, which has many convinced that what he says is true. He is both flawed and ineffective. At least Clinton knew what he was doing in between dalliances.
Jared: you may appreciate my discussion with a non-voting senior adult who wasn’t sure which political camp she would fall into. These comparisons are not plagiarized.
Conservatives belief providing for yourself and your family is a right.
Liberals believe having someone else provide for yourself and your family is a right.
Cs believe terrorists should be put on military trial.
Ls believe terrorists should be put on Oprah.
Cs believe the right of free speech should be defended.
Ls believe the right of free speech should be defeated.
Cs believe spending less next year than you did this year is a cut.
Ls believe spending double next year, instead of triple, is a cut.
Cs believe criminal’s rights are secondary to the victims.
Ls believe criminals ARE the victims.
I’m in the same boat as Toad.
Because of where I live, because I’m a member of the church, and because of my extended family, I love people who support Trump. I’ve tried to just listen when they talk. I have to admit, I still don’t get it. But I still love them.
This all reminds me of a quote from the movie “An American President.” Michael Douglas, playing the incumbent president, says of his challenger “He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”
Mark Gibson Gibson
I’m curious as to your primary sources of info?
Are there any factchecking sites you recommend?
Mark Gibson Gibson: Ooh, I can play this game, too!
Conservatives believe individuality > community. In fact, screw the community. Get off my lawn or I’ll literally kill you with an automatic weapon.
Liberals believe individuals also bear responsibility for community interests.
Cs believe terrorists can be tortured.
Ls believe terrorists can be tortured (Obama fell for this too).
Protip: they are both wrong.
Cs believe laud hate speech as “keeping it real” but also believe disinformation while calling the news they don’t like “fake.”
Ls believe the media should be held to reporting facts and that people shouldn’t be a-holes.
Cs believe spending less next year than you did this year is a cut, except on military and police funding which is sacrosanct. Cs believe government spending should be mostly limited to defense.
Ls believe spending on social programs is a benefit to society even if it costs businesses and the wealthy more.
Cs believe criminal’s rights are secondary to the victims, and if the “criminal” has darker skin, no matter how petty the crime, immediate execution without trial is acceptable collateral damage when property is at stake.
Ls believe that both criminals and victims have rights and deserve respect.
I am astonished at how many people are willing to abandon American principles of law and decency to defend Trump.
My bottom line: Would you trust him with your 16 year old daughter or your banking information? How do you think you’re going to enjoy fascism?
“He has rebuilt the military, brought economic prosperity to all Americans, stopped ISIS, and setback Iran’s influence, helped China realize we’re not totally out to lunch and can’t be played for fools forever.”
The military was never underfunded, 1 in 4 Americans in cities are struggling for a job (the recession started in February before the coronavirus lockdowns), Iran is closer to a nuclear bomb, and China tightened its control over Hong Kong, and pointless tariffs against Chinese trade brought unnecessary instability in relations. Trump has been an absolute failure.
I think the big problems facing America are
CLIMATE CHANGE (had any extreme weather/fires recently?)
RACISM and INEQUALITY
The democrats are offering to improve all these.
The republicans platform is; we support Trump and he has no solution to any of these.
In fiscal year 2020 New York City’s expenses for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) will total $10.9 billion, comprised of the $5.6 billion NYPD operating budget and $5.3 billion of costs “centrally allocated,” including $2.3 billion for fringe benefits, $2.8 billion for pensions, and $215 million for debt service. (See Figure 1.) Centrally allocated costs for the NYPD are particularly high since uniformed health insurance and pension benefits are more generous than for other City employees.
“The republicans platform is; we support Trump and he has no solution to any of these.”
Well said! And that, as much as anything else anyone could say, demonstrates that it is indeed a cult of Trump.
Nothing to add that hasn’t already been said by @Angela C (and others). Only that Mormon support of Trump has been a really massive factor distancing me from the institutional church. I know a *lot* of Mormons who don’t like him, but I’m shocked by how many do, and setting aside that it feels very alienating in Gospel Doctrine when people talk about God returning to the White House with Trump (!!!) it gives me serious concern that something we’re doing in church is creating people who just can’t think critically and it’s not something I want anything to do with.
Occasionally I’ll hear people who give rational, policy reasons for voting for Trump (as some … but not all … pro-Trump commenters have above). I don’t agree with them from a policy perspective, and I also think that Trump being a total garbage human disqualifies him as president. It hurts me, personally, that people would vote for someone with so little respect for women (or really so little respect for *anyone* except his cronies). But 99% of the people I know who are Team Trump couldn’t give those debatable-but-rational reasons for voting for him. It’s pure fear and conservative identity. I know Mormons aren’t the only group who’ve fallen for it but I’m really so baffled and honestly devastated that we’re among the followers.
Elisa: “concern that something we’re doing in church is creating people who just can’t think critically”
Although a habit of deference to Church authority could carry over to other groups people identify with, I’m not sure we’re “creating” people who just can’t think critically. Instead, maybe we’re just not contributing as a church to teaching them to think critically.
The concern reminds me of numerous discussions I had with others during the Democrat primary and then the general election the first time Obama was elected. Well over 90% of the non-Republicans I spoke with favored Hillary in the primary but could not articulate any rational or policy reason for doing so. There view was based solely on her gender. When Obama was nominated and thereafter, these same people could not express any rational or policy reason for supporting him OR for opposing McCain; they could only say he should be elected because he was black. I spoke also with Democrats and with Republican conservatives who could articulate rational policy reasons (whether I agreed or not) for their support of Obama. It seems to me that the vast majority of our American voters do not think rationally about policy but throw their support to one candidate or another for entirely different reasons. I’m not sure that’s a Church thing rather than a dumb American thing. I wonder.
@Wondering good point and I am trying not to be unfair to the church (it’s just the bubble that I’m in). Maybe it’s more the justifications I see Mormons giving that seem so crazy to me.
I do think part of the issue with Trump is that he’s just so, so the worst. Worst presidential candidate in my lifetime for sure. So it’s just a lot more confronting than in the past. FWIW I’ve voted republican and democrat depending on the candidate and am pretty moderate.
I find this acrimonious debate quite amusing. The essential narrative is that, whether you individually agree they are significant issues or whether Trump can do anything about them, Trump spoke to issues (immigrants, refugees, jobs, China etc) that resonated with a significant number of voters. And once elected he has continued to keep those issues high on his priority list which continues to resonate with those voters.
The amusing aspect of all this is that in the past when someone you had little (or no) use for was elected, you went to work to try to ensure he was not re-elected. While you might voice your thoughts occasionally you tended not to spend a significant amount of your time running around screaming that the country was going to hell in a hand basket (or going to be destroyed) and vilifying those who voted for him.
I never thought Trump would be elected but did say more than once that, if he was elected, it would be highly amusing to be able to watch the country try to deal with it. And it has been even more amusing than I had anticipated.
Sorry to advise you that, while he is an uncouth buffoon, the country is not going to hell in a hand basket because Trump is the president and those who support him are not the spawn of Satan. The country will survive his presidency (whether it is 4 years or 8 years) and will continue onward.
And as an aside I note that political ideology is not relevant to whether an individual is or is not a “good” latter day saint. I have friends that are hard-core leftists and friends that are hard-core rightists and they are friends with each other. We seldom engage in political discussions for obvious reasons but all are strong members of the church regardless of their political views and no one is suggesting the others are going to hell because they have differing political views.
@Ojiisan I don’t think anything about watching a racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, bullying President is “amusing.” Maybe you meant it lightly (but you used the word enough times that it seems pretty intentional). You might want to consider how your amusement comes across to people Trump has bullied, targeted, and otherwise hurt through his twitter posts and his policy decisions. Certainly lacking in compassion and empathy to say the least and honestly hurts to think about my black friends and my gay friends and my women friends etc whose pain apparently “amuses” you.
Just in case anyone lacks clarity, there will NEVER be a ballot measure that asks if we choose fascism as the rule of the land. There will simply be a strong man who stands above the law of the land and declares “l’etat c’est moi” and “don’t worry, I’ll be your bully”.
Some of you have already elected him once and then stood by while he holds himself immune from the reach of the law. He will be worse in a second term when he further erodes the laws that protect you and the rest of us. And he won’t stop at disenfranchising Black voters and Muslim and gay communities. He won’t stop pandering to the wealthiest in the country or diverting the wealth of the country like Imelda Marcos. And he’ll continue to allow or be victim to Putin at the expense of your freedoms.
You have your children and grandchildren to answer to.
“And once elected he has continued to keep those issues high on his priority list which continues to resonate with those voters.”
Seriously? Trump is all talk. He hasn’t accomplished anything he set out to do. Nicholas Kristof over at the New York Times thoroughly shows how little of his major promises Trump has actually kept (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/05/opinion/sunday/trump-promises-check.html?action=click&block=associated_collection_recirc&impression_id=8d94afa0-f326-11ea-aa9e-9373fa79ea74&index=0&pgtype=Article®ion=footer).
It is really quite embarrassing. He hasn’t even added to the border wall.
Conservatives never answer my question about their sources. Why is that? I sincerely want to know what sources they trust and rely on to give them the facts.
Amused is the right word. There are people who dislike, and in some cases, hate every president who is elected. What is amusing here is that, rather than saying he is only elected for 4 years and going out and doing what can be done to try to ensure he is not re-elected, people (including the media) are taking incredible time and effort to spew out vitriol about how bad he is. It is amusing because it accomplishes nothing. It doesn’t convert anyone who believes differently than they do and doesn’t bring about the end of his tenure but despite this people insist on taking every possible opportunity to say the same things over and over again.
Please re-read the wording from my post that you quoted in your post.
I did not say he accomplished what he had said were priorities. I said:
“And once elected he has continued to keep those issues high on his priority list which continues to resonate with those voters.”
This he has done. The fact that he has been thwarted by the Democrats in his efforts to accomplish what he has said is important does not eliminate the fact he is trying to do them and that is what is significant for his supporters.
I am generally a very rational person. I tried having an email exchange with a far-right neighbor to discuss our viewpoints on various issues and see if we could find any common ground. My neighbor quit the correspondence rather quickly, unable to present rational support for her ideas and resorting to tossing verbal fire-bombs. Is there a reason why it is almost impossible to carry on a rational conversation with most right-wingers? Just wondering.
Ojisan, Trump’s priorities have been getting more and more attention for himself, tax cuts and giveaways to the rich, pardoning his convicted henchmen, destroying Obama’s legacy, provoking outrage, playing the victim, and claiming anything and everything to be some sort of victory for him. He hasn’t accomplished any of his campaign promises because he doesn’t actually care about them. If anyone asks him or one of his henchmen if he’s accomplished what he set out to do he and his cronies just outright lie and say they have. It isn’t that Democrats have thwarted him. It is that he literally doesn’t care about anyone except himself. If you support Trump and you think he’s working for you and issues you care about, you’ve been duped. And I believe you’ve been duped as well Ojisan.
“If you support Trump and you think he’s working for you and issues you care about, you’ve been duped.” And that, my friends, is The Art of the Deal, Trump’s self-proclaimed favorite book (that he wrote, naturally, and is apparently the only book he’s read.) He made a deal with white Christian nationalists, and that’s how he won. They haven’t actually won what they wanted, but they don’t seem to realize that.
As American voters, I don’t think we should disparage political candidates. None of them deserve to be demonized. I am looking at what they stand for. My vote goes for the candidate that I think will be best for America. Look at what they’ve done and stand for more than anything else.
All of them are flawed individual, as we all are. As a follower of Christ I look for those candidates who will uphold the values He taught.
It appears to me Americans may have crossed the line taught by king Mosiah resulting in the judgments we are experiencing and reading about in the news daily. Unfortunately, things might even get worse. America’s adversary’s are waiting for the opportunity for America’s Expiration date to arrive just as it has for many other super-powers (see Cal Thomas’s book: America’s Expiration Date, published in 2020).
26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 29:26 – 27)
Ojisan’s phrase, “acrimonious debate” is apt. I have my own theories about why we are in the mess we are in, but no matter how well-reasoned I may present my thoughts, it is sure to generate angry blowback. People do not want to listen, they wish to denounce. It finally occurred to me while reading this comment thread that people seem to enjoy this kind of exchange of “ideas.” That is depressing. Anger is an intoxicating emotion, but the resulting hangover is never pleasant, whether for people, cultures, or countries.
I have clearly identified myself in the past as a never-Trumpet conservative. Maybe “conservative“ is no longer the best word, given how Trumpism has debased conservatism. There used to be something called “principled conservatism.” I think that is pretty much gone. Perhaps I would better be labeled as “libertarian.” But as much as Trump has debased our country, there also seems to be a genuine incomprehension on the part of liberals about how they have helped create the mess we are in. Might I suggest reading Jonathon Haidt’s, “The Righteous Mind”?
In his “Devil’s Dictionary,” the famous cynic Ambrose Bierce defined a conservative as one who believes in existing evils, and a liberal as one who wishes to replace existing evils with new ones.
Given D and C’ 121’s warning about how almost all people seek unrighteous dominion, when they get even a little power, I think there is an uncomfortable element of serious truth in Bierce’s clever definitions.
@Ojisan, you’re right that no side seems to be convincing the other of anything.
I can’t speak to the media’s motivations (page views?) and don’t love sensationalism. I can say that I, personally, have spoken out a lot about Trump simply because I feel I have a moral obligation to name evil (racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, lying, corruption, etc.) when I see it, to express that despite him being my president he doesn’t represent me, and to try to let groups he’s hurt know that I see them and I care. I’m fully aware I’m not convincing any Trumpers of anything but I think it’s really cynical to just sit back, watch, and enjoy the show.
And this is one thing that is so amusing: the disconnect from reality.
Trump has taken several actions related to immigration, refugees, jobs in America, trade treaties, tariffs, China and building the wall etc. Some have been successful and others have not because of opposition from, and in some cases legal actions brought by, those who oppose him including Democrats. You hate all these actions but, whether successful or not, they are actions that resonate with the people who voted for him because they are consistent with what they heard during the 2016 election campaign.
Enjoyed this exchange but I will sign off now and continue to be amused.
Focusing on the fear theme:
I spent a sleepless night last night after receiving an invitation from a co-worker to join a new Q Anon Facebook group (apparently the old one had been maliciously taken down by Facebook – perhaps in response to the FBI deeming Q Anon to be a terrorist threat, who knows). I was extremely rattled that someone I know would think that this group would be appealing to me. Perhaps he thought that my advocacy for my gay son and my black daughter could be corrected if I only could see the light. Thank goodness I am working from home – I don’t think I could stand being around him right now.
On the Church front – I remember an apostle in the 70s or 80s saying something like, “Don’t worry about getting exalted in the Celestial Kingdom – when you get there and look around, you’ll be surprised by who you see.” The straight and narrow did not seem to be precarious to the very active member like me. The vibe we get now is full of fear. Fear of a fatal misstep of your own. Fear that you might not be able to bring back a loved one that has “strayed” (and the definition of that is getting to be more exacting).
Sad heaven is a really scary picture – deliberately painted – apparently based on the hope that fear is a more powerful motivator than love and a promised reward.
Ojisan, you just repeated your original comment and failed to provide any detail about what he’s done. You say he’s trying to do things. Trying to do what? He takes his sweet “presidential time”, watches Faux News all morning, rolls into work late, doesn’t listen to anyone, and goes golfing at Mar a Lago.
He’s done something on immigration? Yeah, locked children up in cages and separate them from their parents.
I continue to be amused that no one has upvoted your comments.
Speaking of Trump, does anyone else get a minimum of 18 donation requests (and I use that term advisedly since, as often as not, they come in the form of threats or attempts to shame me) from the Trump organization per day?
Today’s missive says:
“You’ve been such an incredible part of our movement. All you need to do is take the next step to cement your name in history as a member of the prestigious Trump Donor Hall of Fame. ”
To think I could be in the Trump Donor Hall of Fame! And this despite the fact that the only contributions (2 of them!) my husband and I have made this year are to the Lincoln Project.
There used to be a belief that a free press is a necessary part of democracy. Now we have the mainstream press which the right don’t believe, and the trump press. Was the idea of a free press that you have an agreed set of facts?
Much of the problem seems to be that there are no longer agreed facts. There are now facts, and trump facts. So there is nowhere to start a conversation.
Can you have democracy without an agreed set of facts?
How will that change? Even with a change of government, if the trump press change to undermining the government, how can the country unite If nearly half still believe alternative news?
This thread of discussion reminds me if the old William Shatner-era Star Trek episode…. the one where two guys keep fighting and hate each other because their blue and white tinted bodies are mirror images of each other, only seeeing blue being on the wrong side in their enemy.
Both major US parties include some scoundrel elites and good people alike.
I recommend looking at principles of interest, and leave the mud-slinging to the professionals. If your side can only attack the other, that is a pretty crummy reason to vote for your side.
If your principles line up with a 3rd party, don’t give in to peer pressure to “not throw your vote away”.
And by all means, don’t feel pressured into not voting for a gender, a young qualified candidate, a person of color…. please vote with your principles and not against a party or person.
There.is great joy in letting go, especially of the fears being tossed around by so called elites.
BKColt, I cannot disagree more. Trump has done damage to our democracy and he has been intentionally weakening crucial institutions that keep our democracy strong. A vote for a third party is a vote for Trump. There may be times to vote third party to send a message, but this is not the year.
Google “Voting out Conscience: Women of Faith Speak Up and Speak Out” for a video of thoughtful women of faith, all active members of the church, explaining their view that we must elect a new president this November and their reasons why.
This is worth watching: “Voting Our Conscience: Women of Faith Speak Up and Speak Out”
You can find more about the group at their website. http://womenspeakupandspeakout.org/
BKColt, militant bothsidesism, the idea that BOTH parties are equally bad, and toxic positivity, the idea that it’s wrong to criticize anyone no matter how deserving of criticism they are, are extremely flawed positions. At this point, you’re either for Trump or you’re against him and Trump is the one who has made it that way. A vote for Biden (no matter what you think of the guy) is the only way to get rid of Trump and keep him from ruining the country through his disregard for human rights, the environment, and the economy even more.
@John W agree. Saying both parties have issues is such a cop-out. Yes both have issues. I haven’t seen a person on this thread claim otherwise.
But comparing Trump to Biden (or Clinton in 2016) is not even close and 100% Trump is the one whose giving everyone an all-or-nothing choice.
Lois: I didn’t ignore your request; I do have to work a job and can’t be online day in/day out. My sources are good recollection. Here’s my take on the counter culture’s fear: losing political ground.
LBJ/Humphrey: The CC didn’t embrace them; they supported the Vietnam war.
McGovern: He was the first candidate for the CC; and he lost overwhelmingly.
Carter/Mondale: More traditional democrat than CC; both lost to Reagan.
Dukakis: More CC than C/M, but not as much as McGovern.
Clinton: Finally, a candidate who was from the CC. Lots of political ground gained with his election.
Gore: Fear of losing ground kept the election results in turmoil.
Kerry: Same as Gore.
Obama: Another victory for the CC.
And now the fear of losing ground has the Liberals hating Trump before he was even in office.
Mark, Is it about hating Trump, or seeing what he is likely to be/do?
“And now the fear of losing ground has the Liberals hating Trump before he was even in office.”
Mark, you say this as though he hadn’t had a lifelong career of lying, extorting, letching, cheating, evading the law, welching on contracts and leaving others holding the bag for his failures. It may be news to you but most of us were well aware and able to predict what has happened.
“And now the fear of losing ground has the Liberals hating Trump before he was even in office.”
Just look at what his Republican opponents and former Republican nominees had to say about him during the primaries.
Jeb Bush: Trump is a “chaos candidate”
Marco Rubio: Trump is a “con-artist”
Mitt Romney: Trump will bring “trickle down racism, trickle-down bigotry, and trickle-down misogyny”
John McCain: Trump “fired up the crazies”
Ted Cruz: Trump is a “pathological liar”
Rand Paul: Trump is an “orange windbag” who is the “worst choice” for president
Everyone hated Trump except for his idiot base, who barely pushed him through because there were too many candidates running in the 2016 Republican primary. Fear of utter and complete collapse of the Republican Party (which seems inevitable at this point) was the only thing keeping it alive. Embrace of Trumpism is a last-ditch effort out of pure desperation. It is pathetic and cowardly. Kudos to John Kasich and Carly Fiorina for supporting Biden. Kudos to Mitt Romney for voting to impeach.
Ojisan said: “[P]olitical ideology is not relevant to whether an individual is or is not a ‘good’ latter day saint.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “[N]o man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ . . . . If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.”
President Russel M. Nelson said: “White supremacist **attitudes** are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.” (Emphasis added.)
Follow the prophets, not Ojisan. If you are a racist, or if you have racist “attitudes,” you will be accountable before God for that grave sin. If your political ideology implies racism or racist “attitudes,” it is my testimony that you can and should repent. I was once racist (not just implicitly). I realized how grave my sin was only after I abandoned it. I have never been more grateful for the Atonement. You can’t be racist and be in harmony with the Church’s teachings, even if your racism is also political.
If, as I did, you find yourself tickled by subtly racist jabs, racist humor, denigration of other races, or any form of ethnonationalism, then make no mistake about it: you are on the road to hell. PLEASE, get off now, while you still can, and before you start doing things you’ll regret. O! How I wish I could go back in time and give myself this advice!
I’d crawl over hot coals to vote for Trump this year. I have zero interest in Democratic Socialism (Neo Marxism) which is what the Left has become. Trump’s far from perfect – but at least he doesn’t hate our country; and desire to see it dismantled.
And, while many of you have dismissed Mark’s comments….and derided him. I’m right there with him. BLM, Antifa , anarchy, burning and looting; are all products of the uber Left. (Whose heads are now exploding..)
After reading all of the comments (which I’m convinced didn’t change a single person’s mind….but probably increased the hate and vitriol within a group of pretty good people – thanks for nothing Hawkgrrrl)….I’m going to vote for Trump just to spite John W……and to most likely drive him insane; in that I would “throw away my vote” in such a manner. But, to me….it will be worth it.
The virus now has 200,000 deaths in America, because Trump ignored science, and assured us it would magically go away.
He visited the fire experts in California and was told the fires and extreme weather were the result of climate change. His response; it will get cooler. Magically again?
He does have an answer for protests about racism. Send in the troops. But that is not a solution, the problem remains.
He gives tax cuts to the rich, which makes the most unequal first world country, more unequal.
There are now 60million people in poverty 0ne in 5 Americans. The stock market is not an indication of how well the economy, or people are fairing. Does Christ teach us to care for business, the rich, our fellow man, the poor?
Many conservative voters are impressed he has apointed conservative judges. I understand they are to defend religious freedom, and stop abortion. In most countries judges are appointed to be impartial, and interpret the law. Conservatives have been voting republican to end abortion for 47 years and the republicans have done nothing to reduce abortion. The message is they don’t know how to stop/reduce abortion, though they have done a good job of selling themselves as the answer. Democrats in the same time have reduced abortion by half.
The same will apply to religious freedom. The first amendment guarantees religious freedom, but if you want it to include discrimination without consequences. Judges can not fix that, either stop discriminating, or there will be consequences by the people.
What do the Republicans have the answer to? What does Trump have the answer to?
Lefthandloafer, Of course you are entitled to vote how you like.
Can you explain to me what the democrats propose that will dismantle America? Is it universal healthcare? Is it wealth redistribution to reduce poverty? Is it joining the rest of the world in addressing climate change?
I really don’t understand what you see being proposed that will dismantle, or hate America?
I really don’t understand?
“I’m going to vote for Trump just to spite John W……and to most likely drive him insane”
So you vote not out of principle, ideas, and the character of a candidate but to spite an anonymous commenter on a blog? In the immortal words of Trump: sad.
Dear Jack Hughes,
“ I’m willing to forgive Latter-day Saints who voted for Trump in 2016, but any member of the Church who continues to support him isn’t worthy a temple recommend.”
You forgive and condemn as though you have that power., that right. You don’t. When you climb down – or fall from – your self-built pedestal you’ll see you’re probably not the good person you think you are and many that you judged to be inferior may in truth your superior.