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How should Latter-day Saints choose who to vote for in the upcoming Presidential election? Choose the wise, the good, and the honest to govern.
Of course, ideology is important; we each have our own political perspectives and our reasons for them. However, the Lord seems to be less concerned with political perspective than with the character of those who participate in politics:
Doctrine and Covenants 98:8–10. I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
Latter-day Saints who live in a republic have the duty to inform themselves and choose the “wise, good, and honest” as public servants. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught,
"In the Doctrine and Covenants . . . we read that we should seek out men who are wise, good, and honest. When I first read these criteria years ago, they seemed quite general to me; they don’t now. Too often leaders can lead men astray because they lack one or more of these qualities. A leader can be bright but dishonest, and a leader can be honest and conceptually inadequate. A man may be a good man yet lack the wisdom to cope with complex circumstances that can come upon him. This triad of virtues, for me, is a significant guide to selecting future leaders in any representative government."
Therefore, when we vote for a candidate, we should ask these questions of ourselves:
(1) Is this person wise? Does he or she have the background, understanding, and judgment to deal effectively with complicated governmental issues?
(2) Is this person good? Does he or she seem generous, compassionate, and selfless?
(3) Is this person honest? Is there a track record of integrity? Will this person put the public interest ahead of private gain?
Notice what is missing from this list: the party or ideology of the person. The Lord seems to be more concerned that we choose leaders of competence and character than that they uphold every point of a political manifesto. The prophets have always taught that the Saints should participate in politics, but with a difference. We have something to bring to the world of politics.
We bring a rich tradition of counseling together, a tradition that is grounded in revealed principles. We don’t look to one leader to know or do everything. At our best, we have long experience in presidencies and councils, listening to and weighing different views.
Elder M. Russell Ballard says this of his experience as a member of his priesthood quorum:
"We come from different backgrounds, and we bring to the Council of the Twelve Apostles a diverse assortment of experiences in the Church and in the world. In our meetings, we do not just sit around and wait for [the President of the Church] to tell us what to do. We counsel openly with each other, and we listen to each other with profound respect for the abilities and experiences our brethren bring to the council. We discuss a wide variety of issues, from Church administration to world events, and we do so frankly and openly. Sometimes we discuss issues for weeks before reaching a decision."
This ability to counsel together, to discuss and weigh issues frankly but with empathy and respect for one another, is precisely what is lacking in the world of politics. In our councils, the Saints have a tradition of discussion—dialogue, examination, and analysis. We are told of a council of spirits in heaven, where various plans (or at least two) for our mortal sojourn were discussed and examined, weighed, and finally resolved.
The plan of salvation was not imposed on us but presented to us for our consideration. The majority chose the Father’s plan. This tradition of thinking together continues in the Church in such forums as priesthood quorums, auxiliary presidencies, ward councils, and the basic family council.
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!
** The following was taken from Dews of Heaven, The: Answers to Life's Questions from the Doctrine and Covenants. The opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to Breck England and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.