"Who Should Christians Vote For?, published October 9, 2012
I read the letter, read the article it referenced, and then sent a response to both the letter author and article author. Below are the original newsletter, the article link, and my response.
Please look deeply at the underlying principles in this election and the long-term results of what each candidate proposes. Will it help limit government to what the Founders intended? Is it truly Constitutional? Is it right, or is it wrong? Is it based on force, or based on choice and natural consequences? As important as is this presidential race, however, your local elections are even more important: you have much more relative influence in those. Please really study the candidates and issues, and then vote in a way that will strengthen the moral fiber and accountability of each citizen.
Dear Rhonda,There is some discussion within the Christian community about who to vote for in the upcoming elections. Some are even questioning if they should vote at all. In the race for president, on the one hand you have one man who claims to be a Christian yet supports causes and policies that clearly violate biblical morality like abortion and homosexual "marriage."
On the other hand, we have a gentleman who is a member of church that promotes a different theological doctrine than historical Christianity teaches. What to do?
I have an excellent article here, written by historian Stephen McDowell, president of the Providence Foundation, that answers this dilemma to my satisfaction. It is not short, as it is well thought out and well documented. But it answers a lot of questions in a biblical manner.
I encourage you to read and then send it out to as many people as you can.
Obama, Romney, Other: Who Should Christians Vote for in the 2012 Election?
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association
Dr. Stephen McDowell,
Tim Wildmon, of the American Family Association, sent me a link to your article "Obama, Romney, Other: Who Should Christians Vote for in the 2012 Election?". It was an interesting read for me as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called 'the Mormons'. While I agree with the conclusion and many of the reasons in the article, I would like to set the record straight on my religion.
In the article, you state "Mormonism is a non-Christian religion with fundamental theological beliefs that are contrary to Christian orthodoxy. Mormons do say they believe the Bible and that Jesus is divine and their savior, but this is not in the same sense as Biblical Christianity." and then later write, "Neither candidate acts like a regenerated believer who meets the qualification of fearing God as the Bible presents."
#1, non-Christian religion
It seems self-evident that a church with a name like the one I belong to would believe in Christ, the Anointed, my Savior. Mr. McDowell quoted Noah Webster later; I'll refer to the same man's words here. First off, let's define Christianity. The 1828 Webster's Dictionary, published by Noah Webster, defines a Christian as "A real disciple of Christ; one who believes in the truth of the Christian religion, and studies to follow the example, and obey the precepts, of Christ; a believer in Christ who is characterized by real piety." I study Christ's life and examples, as well as the teachings of his prophets through all ages, work to obey them, and emphatically proclaim that I am a Christian, as are other members of this church.
#2, contrary to Christian orthodoxy
Now, about it being "contrary to Christian orthodoxy"; hopefully I've established that we are Christians, so what is the definition of 'orthodoxy'? Let's go back to Noah Webster: orthodoxy is "a belief in the genuine doctrines taught in the Scriptures". Our church's Article of Faith #8 states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.". In other words, I recognize the Bible as scripture, as well as the Book of Mormon. I personally believe the genuine doctrines taught in the scriptures and try to govern my life by them. Admittedly, a problem arises here because our doctrine differs from other Christian sects. However, each sect's interpretation of doctrine differs from each other; who is to say which one is correct? I believe only the Spirit of God can whisper that to us. We ought to build each other up and look for the good, not tear each other down. The important parts, I believe, are that we recognize our complete dependence on our Savior's grace through his Atonement and our great responsibility to love and serve him and his children.
#3 Jesus is divine and their savior but ... not in the same sense,
As to our recognizing Jesus as divine and our Savior, the critical points I believe are in harmony not only with the Bible but with most sects' interpretation of them. Jesus is divine. He is God, or rather the Son of God. He is our Savior- he saves us from both spiritual death through our baptism and enabling us to repent and become more Christlike, and from physical death through his Resurrection and the promise of our own. How is that not a Biblical interpretation?
#4, "Neither candidate acts like a regenerated believer who meets the qualification of fearing God as the Bible presents."
While I disagree with some of Mitt Romney's opinions, and feel that our religion supports my viewpoint, I disagree that he acts like an unregenerated man. How do you recognize a reborn man? By his fruits, the degree to which the Spirit of the Lord has affected his life and his actions. You see this in devotion to serving others, which shows his devotion to serving God. Some of the chapters in the Book of Mormon record the words of a very righteous king in the Precolumbian Americas, King Benjamin. After recounting his years of service to his people, he tells them he worked hard to not only not be a burden to them, but to also avoid burdening them with heavy taxes. He tells them this wasn't to boast, but to point out that he can face God with a clear conscience. Then he says, "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." This man, King Benjamin, is one of our scriptural heroes and a prime example of living a Christlike life, and I think Mitt Romney will try to emulate not only some of Benjamin's finest points, but of the example of our Savior. He has already demonstrated his willingness to help and serve others.
While I agree that Mitt Romney is likely not going to help us return completely to a non-socialist government, I can tell you that he is a Christian, he does fear God and lets that influence his life and choices, and that he has been 'born again'. He is definitely the better choice between Obama, whose god seems to be the government, and Romney, who recognizes more that the way to true greatness is freedom and serving God and each other.
I bear you my testimony that Christ is our Savior, that he cares deeply about this nation, and that the way to return to greatness is to return to individually having God's law written in our hearts and displayed through our actions. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and to read through both it and our church's website to find what we really believe.