Should Christians Support a Mormon Running for President?

By Bill McKeever 

See the YouTube version of this article at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Gte7A23RE&feature=youtu.be

The fact that two members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have aspired to become President of the United States in the 2012 elections, has caused many to wonder whether or not a Christian should support such a person for the highest office in our land. Let me begin by saying that if voting for a Mormon is always wrong, Christians where I come from would never vote at all since the majority of candidates  running for public office in Utah are Latter-day Saints. Still, the possibility of having a Mormon Commander-in-Chief has caused many a great amount of consternation. Some concerns are realistic while others are not.

Since Mormons enjoy the same religious freedom as other Americans, I don’t think that a Mormon president will attempt to restrict religious expression; my concerns lie more in the area of free speech when it comes to critical analysis of Mormonism. Mormons do not take criticism of their faith lightly; sadly, many have followed the path of our culture in assuming that disagreement is akin to bigotry.  A Mormon president could help correct such a mistaken assumption, or he could exacerbate it.

One of the concerns I hear most often is that a Mormon president will be inclined to take orders from the “prophet, seer and revelator” of the Mormon Church. Despite assurances to the contrary, I do find it curious that it was just in October 2010 when two Mormon leaders  felt it was necessary to expound on an old sermon, point by point, by Mormonism’s thirteenth President Ezra Taft Benson called “The Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.”

In this message, Benson reminded his audience that the Mormon prophet “is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything,” including “civic matters.” Benson insisted that “those who would remove prophets from politics would take God out of government.” This sermon closed with a stern warning: “The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.” Wanting to know how a Mormon candidate interprets such comments should not be considered unreasonable.

Would a Mormon in the White House give some legitimacy to Mormonism? Perhaps to a certain extent, though I am not aware of anyone who has changed their views on Mormonism merely because Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts or because Harry Reid became a senator in Nevada.  Their ability to achieve such positions should not legitimize the claims of Mormonism anymore than Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) election to Congress gives credence to the truth claims of Islam.  If nothing else, this is an excellent time for Christians to become better educated with the issues that have long separated Mormonism from Christianity. This includes Christian pastors, many of whom have failed to recognize that the LDS people are a neglected mission field.

Candidate Mitt Romney has always maintained that he would be true to his faith, a faith that is fraught with controversy. Mormonism was founded on the premise that it alone represents true Christianity and that all other professing Christians are part of a “great apostasy.” The Book of Mormon claims that there are only two churches, the church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil. You can be sure that Mormons certainly do not hold that their  church is the latter. Mormon founder Joseph Smith, a man who claimed he saw God, taught that God was once a man, and that faithful Mormons can become Gods in the next life.

A popular couplet in Mormonism states, “As man is, God once was, as God is, man may become.” Mormon leaders have insisted that true salvation ("exaltation," or eternal life), can only be found within Mormonism. Some leaders, such as James Talmage and Spencer W. Kimball, have described the Christian view of salvation by grace through faith as a “pernicious” doctrine  “originated by Satan.”  Anyone who thinks the Mormon Church is moving towards theological orthodoxy is misinformed.

 Of course, the primary question that must be asked is, will a person who holds to a Mormon worldview govern in a way that will reflect negatively on those who hold the Bible dear? Christians who are confident that such a candidate will be friendly towards issues they too take seriously will probably overlook the many theological differences.

Though voting is a right, it is not compulsory. If a person feels that the negative aspects of having a Mormon president are dishonoring to God, they can always abstain, write in the candidate of their choice, or even vote for the incumbent. Whatever the decision, it should not be made lightly. Because no choice comes without consequences, we need to be as thoughtful and responsible as we possibly can when deciding who will guide our great nation in the coming critical years. And, of course, we certainly need to be on our knees as we humbly make a very big decision.

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