Let’s begin this topic with a little bit of trivia: We currently have approximately 3000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ living in the United States with no more than 500 living in any single state. Since all elections in the United States (including for President) are determined by voters within each individual state, what do you suppose is the likelihood that our church membership will affect the outcome of any of the national elections this year? If you answered virtually zero, you would be correct. Why do I point this out? For two reasons:
- You can trust that the purpose of this article is not to convince you to vote for any particular candidates on Election Day. Quite frankly, I have more valuable ways to spend my time than trying to affect the votes of a few hundred people in an election that will be decided by hundreds of thousands of votes.
- Just as I have no reason to try to influence members of the church as to how to vote, neither do any of you have any reason to try to do so. The upside is zero and the downside is exactly what the devil wants — broken relationships and division within the body of Christ. Social media makes it very easy to expound our views but hopefully, we can realize that such expounding (regardless of who we are supporting and how insightful we may think our comments are) is only hurting The Church of Jesus Christ.
So, who are you voting for this year? What criteria are you using to make your decision? For myself, I have to confess that I actually have a very simplistic way of deciding how to vote. It’s based on scripture such as this:
“I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil.” (Moroni 7:16-17)
For me, it’s just that simple. Although politicians will rarely be accused of being godly people, their policies — or, more to the point, the policies of their respective political parties — will tend to lead Americans to behave in a way that is either more consistent with the Word of God or less so. Certain policies are supportive of people exercising Christian beliefs while other policies seem to have the intent of silencing Christianity in America. For me, the most suitable candidate is the one whose (party’s) policies are most closely aligned with the first sentence of the verse above. By voting this way, I feel like I’m voting for Jesus Christ.
When King Mosiah designed the system of government that would govern the Nephite people (in Mosiah 29), he included the concept of voting — he called it “the voice of the people” — and he made an interesting observation, stating that “it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right” (Mosiah 29:26). He was trusting that the majority of voters would choose what was right in the sight of God — in essence, voting for Jesus Christ. However, he also made an ominous prediction:
“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.” (Mosiah 29:27)
A great destruction is one of the expected latter day events. As mentioned at the recent General Church Conference seminar, we do seem to be moving along the latter day timeline, so it may well be that the time has arrived when America will choose iniquity, bringing on the judgments of God. However, even if this is what is about to happen, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still do our best to vote as God would want us to. I certainly wouldn’t want to be one of the ones who voted for the iniquity to help bring on the judgments of God. It reminds me of when Jesus said:
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7)
Before concluding, I want to acknowledge (as I hope we all can) that when it comes to politics, different people will attach different weights to different issues and arrive at different choices. In today’s political landscape, it may not be obvious which options are most aligned with Christ. Regardless of how you ultimately vote, if you are trying your best to put the issues that affect the cause of Christ above secular issues or what you think benefits you personally or which candidate you personally like or dislike, you should be able to feel as if you are voting for Jesus Christ. And none of us should feel any animosity toward anyone who is voting for Christ.
So, as Election Day approaches, try not to make it about winning and losing — one way or the other, God’s will is going to be done. As servants of God, we don’t need to be campaigners — we need to be voters for Jesus Christ. When you vote on Election Day, do your best to make choices that you feel are supportive of the cause of Christ and therefore pleasing to God. Just as all of our choices in life should be.
I will leave the polls on November 3 with the feeling that I’ve cast a vote for Jesus Christ. Who are you voting for?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.