I normally don’t like to use this blog for political things, but this year is a historical presidential election. It’s not “politics as usual” as many have come to expect. I’ve heard some of my LDS friends say lately that not only did they vote for Obama in 2008, but they also plan to vote for him this year. I understand that in 2008 the only other choice was McCain and I can empathize. Really. But this year there is a stark difference in the candidates.
As briefly as I can, I would like to summarize why I think that Obama’s beliefs cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the LDS church.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics.” The Church has repeatedly stated their position in regards to politics. That said, the Church also “Encourage[s] its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.”
Hopefully, you’ll do further research on your own to verify the facts. If you can still push the button for Obama in November, then it’s up to everyone to”[respect] the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.”
Members of the Church are no doubt familiar with the following statement:
Since the early days of the Church, the Lord’s prophets have repeatedly warned against the bondage of debt. One of the great dangers of debt is the interest that accompanies it. [emphasis added]
Why shouldn’t we apply the same standard to our country? Obama started his term with a national debt of $10.6 trillion. The national debt is currently over $16 trillion. That’s more than a $5 trillion increase in less than four years. Were you upset about how much money George W. Bush spent while in office? Consider that he added less than $5 trillion to the debt in 8 years. And that was while waging two wars.
Let’s apply this to you directly. Since Obama took office, everyone in your household has picked up an additional $16,000 of debt. Including that $16k, you now owe $51,000 thanks to your government. If there are two adults and two kids in your house, throw an extra $204k in the “owed” column of your budget.
On top of the crippling debt, we pay hundreds of billions of dollars a year in interest. In 2011, we spent $227.1 billion on interest alone. That’s 3 1/2 times more than we spent with the Department of Education and 5 times more than we spend on the Department of Homeland Security. Did I mention that’s just the interest payment?
The Church stays out of debt and tells it’s members to do the same. Do you think Obama agrees?
Welfare and Helping Others
It’s clear that Obama is happy to provide government assistance to anyone who wants it, regardless of need. As president, Obama changed the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to eliminate the work requirement. This was not done through the legislative process; he acted unilaterally (and illegally).
TANF was the first program to make a substantial difference in welfare cases in 40 years. Considering the success of the program, why would Obama change the fundamental principles that made the program successful? I think the simple answer is contained in a YouTube video that’s been going around.
Contrast that with the Church’s stance on welfare:
The purpose of Church welfare is to promote self-reliance and to care for and serve the poor and needy. For assistance, recipients are encouraged to work (when able) so that they are blessed and can bless the lives of others. Work is a guiding principle in the Church’s welfare program. [emphasis added]
It’s obvious that Obama is giving hand-outs while the Church is giving hand-ups.
Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another. It is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul (see 1 Nephi 11:23).
I believe that Obama would agree that helping others is the greatest work that we have to perform during this life. His method for achieving this goal is ineffective at best, sinister at worst.
Poverty has increased by 6.4 million people since Obama took office. What’s more, after spending trillions on helping the poor, there are just as many people living in poverty now as there were when the “war on poverty” began. So, Obama thinks that we can eventually tax everyone out of poverty, but the facts don’t bear that out. Since we know it won’t work, is he just buying votes? (Do you want to watch this again?)
Compare the difference between helping people through taxes compared to donating to LDS charities:
- For everyone dollar the government spends on welfare programs, 70% goes to government bureaucracy
- When donating to church charities, “One hundred percent of every dollar donated is used to help those in need…”
Obama takes your money through taxes and gives it away. That’s how he helps. Other than photo-ops, have you ever seen a picture of Obama actually helping others? I’ve never seen one. Not only that, I’ve never heard a story about Obama doing anything to help anyone. Would you like to be shocked? Read this story about Dinesh D’Souza and George Obama. Ask yourself why this wasn’t on every news channel.
Compare this with Mitt Romney. Have you ever seen this picture? No media was there. He was helping another person for the sake of helping. Mitt Romney helps others regularly. Often privately without media presence. Often anonymously.
If you want to compare how much Romney and Obama love their fellow man then I think the choice is clear. I don’t think there is anything noble about sending the IRS to your house to audit you.
Obama’s Way versus God’s Way
This is just another arm of the two previous topics. Everyone wants to help others. Most people probably agree that the wealthiest should help the most. Here’s where the difference between candidates becomes clear: Obama is forcing you to give using the barrel of a loaded gun. Do you think that’s an overly dramatic statement? Try not paying your taxes. When they come to take you to jail just tell them “no.” I assure you that your fight will end with a) you paying your taxes, b) you in jail or c) a bullet in you head.
Obama makes it sound like a positive thing:
My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody. [emphasis added]
There are a million ways to prove that this does not work, but I’m trying to keep this within the context of gospel teachings. Marion G. Romney gave an outstanding talk about this issue in the April 1966 Conference titled “Socialism and the United Order Compared”. The whole thing is essential reading; however, here are a few highlights (all quoted from mentioned talk):
- The cornerstone of the United Order is belief in God and acceptance of him as Lord of the earth and the author of the United Order
- Socialism, wholly materialistic, is founded in the wisdom of men and not of God
- The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will actions of men
- One time the Prophet Joseph Smith asked a question by the brethren about the inventories they were taking. His answer was to the effect, “You don’t need to be concerned about the inventories. Unless a man is willing to consecrate everything he has, he doesn’t come into the United Order.” (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 412-13.)
- On the other hand, socialism is implemented by external force, the power of the state
- In harmony with church belief, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, “that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property” (D&C 134:2), the United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and individual management
- The United Order is non-political
- A righteous people is a prerequisite to the United Order
- Socialism argues that it as a system will eliminate the evils of the profit motive
- The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich (D&C 104:16)
In this sense, Obama seeks to replace God with government (Exodus 10:3). Government does all.
Without making this a deep theological and nuanced discussion, I’ll quote an excerpt from the Church’s official statement on abortion:
The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.
Compare the gravitas of those remarks with one made by Barack Obama during a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania:
I’ve got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.
The list could go on forever: quantitative easing, hostility toward Israel, border violence, unrest in the middle-east and Europe, healthcare reform, etc . Whoever you vote for, make sure you do it after looking for the truth. I think Mitt Romney is a man of integrity – something sorely missing from Washington. I don’t agree with Romney on everything, but he’s a good man and will make a great president.
If you support Obama, I would love to know why. Please leave a comment or email me. And I won’t be offended if you do so anonymously.