The biggest problem I had with Senator Jeff Flake’s diatribe against President Trump on the Senate floor last Wednesday was the poor example he is setting for Latter-day Saints. This just isn’t how we are taught to treat our President. And this goes for Mitt Romney, too. There are a certain number of our members who have gotten the idea that the “Mormon” thing to do is to join with the “Hate Trump” crowd, piling on with all the media abuse he is receiving.
The scriptural standard is that every ruler should be “honored in his station.” (D&C 134:6)
Look at the example of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He had received credible reports that Governor Ford was conspiring with apostates for his murder. Yet in his final interview with the Governor, he spoke respectfully to him, referred to him as “his Excellency,” and refrained from accusing him (HC Vol. 6 p. 577). Look at the example of the Prophet Daniel. After King Nebuchadnezzar, in a fit of rage, had decreed the murder of all the wise men in his kingdom on absolutely ridiculous grounds, he presented himself before the king and addressed him with the utmost respect: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings; and the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” (Daniel 2:37) And God Himself, in the dream that He revealed, compared King Nebuchadnezzar to a head of gold.
On the other hand we have Senator Flake. His diatribe was actually embarrassing and left many people scratching their heads, trying to figure out his motivation. And his arguments made so little sense that Flake’s critics didn’t seem to feel the need to even respond to them. At a time when Pew Research reports that 89% of Republicans, 66% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents don’t trust the news media, Senator Flake is giving them almost a holy aura, saying that they are the “guardian of democracy,” an institution that leaders dare not criticize. I’m sorry, Brother Flake, but many of us believe that most of our national media organizations in 2018 are corrupt.
Again, let us look to the Prophet Joseph for an example. When confronted with the setting up of a hostile newspaper in the city of Nauvoo that was bent on libeling him and stirring up hate, he joined with other leaders of the city council in ordering that press destroyed (HC Vol. 6 p. 449). And the very same arguments Flake is now using against President Trump were then used by apostates to whip up hatred against Joseph Smith sufficient to cause his murder.
No, I will not join in your “Hate Trump” agitations.
During the nomination process, I gave my reasons for not liking Trump. I made my point that he became wealthy in part as a casino mogul, hardly what I would consider an honorable resume. But when he became the nominee of my party, I put those feelings aside, and even more so, now that he is my president. As far as virtue, let’s be real here, is he really that different from most of our leaders? Maybe even considerably better than some. Many of us realize that the media are trying to enlarge his faults, some of the same faults that they have tried to cover up in other leaders that they have liked. And then Trump seems to wear his faults on his sleeve—very unlike other politicians. According to Gallup, he actually enjoys a 61% approval rating among members of the LDS Church. I, like many others, find his candor refreshing, his love of country inspiring, and have grown to like him in spite his faults and some disagreements that I have with him.
I would urge other Latter-day Saints who disagree with him to voice those disagreements, but to do so in a respectful way, rendering proper honor to our duly elected leaders.
Do you agree? Disagree? I welcome your comments.
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