The Reason You Vote For Someone Matters

This article is not about getting you to vote against President Obama. This article is not about getting you to vote against Mitt Romney. This article is not about getting you to vote against Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, or any of the unknown candidates running for president from lesser known Parties, or any other office in 2012 (or any other election). This article is not about convincing you to vote, if your abstention is a protest against the government and all that it entails.

This article is about getting you to vote for President Obama. This article is about getting you to vote for Mitt Romney. This article is about getting you to vote for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, or any of the unknown candidates running for president from lesser known Parties, or any other office in 2012 (or any other election). If you choose not to vote, this article is about getting you to abstain for a reason.

But what difference does it make?

In today’s political atmosphere, there is more voting against a candidate than there is in voting for a candidate. If we are honest with ourselves, in the political system we live under, there is even less voting for principles than there is voting for a candidate – for merely voting for a candidate does not necessarily constitute voting for principles at all (e.g. you may like the candidate’s speaking voice, hair color, seeming electability or any other reason you vote for someone not founded on principle).

In two previous articles I have written concerning the difference between principles and convention and the cognitive dissonance that comes from “bad philosophy”. When we voice our support for something in today’s complex and convoluted world, we are often not voicing support for something or someone but against a person or his ideas. I call this the “anti-enemy” approach. The anti-enemy approach is not concerned with voting for the sake of correct principles, but is instead a conventionalist vote that typically adopts bad philosophy to justify voting against a person or ideology.

When we actually vote for someone or something, our perception of what we support changes – for we take a more internally and externally invested approach in the process. By internally I mean the idea, candidate, or movement is something with which we identify on a personal level, and by externally I mean once we identify with something internally we feel more passionate about supporting it in association with other like-minded individuals. When we truly lend our voice of support or vote for something, then we have taken a more active approach in applying principles that we believe are true and correct; we utilize our worldview and our knowledge of reality to make a principled choice in actively supporting something.

The Anti-Enemy Approach as Idolatry

Who would ever consider that an anti-enemy approach to politics or any other particular thing is a form of idolatry?

In June, 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball authored a now famous Ensign article entitled “The False Gods We Worship.” In this article he wrote of various ways in which we unknowingly perform idolatry in our own lives. In one instance, President Kimball identified a principle that is so often overlooked but which we can use to quickly identify idolatry in our own behavior.

President Kimball said, “When threatened, we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God.”

This anti-enemy/pro-kingdom-of-God-dichotomy is a useful tool to help us remember to do the right thing for the right reason. It describes idolatry in terms of an anti-enemy approach primarily focused on tearing down evil rather than in primarily establishing a personal relationship with Christ in building the kingdom of God. It is a subtle deception that gets us to believe that in speaking against something or someone we are positively and actually supporting something or someone else.

Hugh Nibley once made a convincing case that we can only think of and entertain one thought at a time:

You can think of only one thing at a time! Why this crippling limitation on our thoughts if we are God’s children? It is precisely this limitation that is the essence of our mortal existence. If every choice I make expresses a preference, if the world I build up is the world I really love and want, then with every choice I am judging myself, proclaiming all the day long to God, angels, and my fellowmen where my real values lie, where my treasure is, the things to which I give supreme importance. Hence, in this life every moment provides a perfect and foolproof test of your real character, making this life a time of testing and probation…

Sin is waste. It is doing one thing when you should be doing other and better things for which you have the capacity. Hence, there are no innocent, idle thoughts. That is why even the righteous must repent, constantly and progressively, since all fall short of their capacity and calling.

This teaches us that we cannot entertain both anti-enemy and pro-liberty, pro-freedom, or pro-kingdom of God sentiments and thoughts at the same time. To further illustrate this, Nibley said that

If you put on a pair of glasses, one lens being green, the other being red, you will not see a grey fusion of the two when you look about you, but a flashing of red and green. One moment everything will be green, another moment everything will be red. Or you may think you are enjoying a combination of themes as you listen to a Bach fugue, with equal awareness of every voice at a time, but you are actually jumping between recognition first of one and then another.

In the “flashing” of one thought and another, we often entertain the notion that our anti-enemy thoughts are “a grey fusion” with our other pro-liberty, pro-freedom, and pro-kingdom of God views – but this is not so. Each of the latter three ideas are as distinct and separate as they are at odds with the first. We may perceive that in our near seamless back-and-forth perceptions of reality that these dichotomies constitute an entire and whole truth that we must balance, but such a thought is nothing more than cognitive dissonance – a condition brought about by bad philosophy.

What Should We Vote For?

If we can only entertain one thought at a time, then it is important that our thoughts rest on establishing a foundation of good principles wherein we build a good system of thought. With that said, what should we focus on? If we have a singular thought, then what singular and unifying principle or purpose should we be engaged in struggling and fighting for?

Hyrum Smith correctly explained that

We engage in the election the same as in any other principle; you are to vote for good men, and if you do not do this it is a sin; to vote for wicked men, it would be sin. Choose the good and refuse the evil. Men of false principles have preyed upon us like wolves upon helpless lambs. Damn the rod of tyranny; curse it. Let every man use his liberties according to the constitution. Don’t fear man or devil; electioneer with all people, male and female, and exhort them to do the thing that is right. We want a President of the U.S., not a Party president, but a President of the whole people; for a Party president disfranchises the opposite party. Have a President who will maintain every man in his rights (History of the Church, Vol. 6, Ch. 15, p. 323; emphasis added).

Notice that Smith did not say that we are to vote against wicked men, but that we, in reality, are voting for either good or wicked men. Voting against something is an illusion, as we – as Children of God (agents to act and not be acted upon) – are consistently working for something, even when in our world-view and perception we are standing anti-enemy in fighting against something.

We are to look at politics in the same pro-liberty, pro-freedom, and pro-kingdom of God way that we engage every other principle. We are to vote for good men. Anything else is sin. Men of false principle, Hyrum explains, present themselves as “Party presidents” who “disfranchise the opposite party”. In other words, “Party presidents” promote the anti-enemy approach that we commonly see in the political process. We may believe that in our anti-enemy approach we are fighting for truth, but, in reality, we are engaging in idolatry.

The Doctrine and Covenants validates this principle in searching for people to support:

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 (D&C 98:10).

The Doctrine and Covenants goes so far to say that we vote for honesty and wisdom and that whatever is “less than these cometh of evil.” When voting anti-enemy, there are no fundamental or necessary thoughts of voting for anything at all – let alone honesty and wisdom. An anti-enemy approach pays no mind to whether the person we have chosen to support has any standard of honesty or wisdom whatsoever, for the anti-enemy approach fundamentally exclaims that “anyone but [insert your most hated candidate] will do.”

Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils

Voting for the lesser of two evils is also an anti-enemy approach to politics and is also a form of idolatry. This approach stipulates that A is bad but B is worse, so I will vote against B and accept A. The deception here masks the anti-enemy approach of voting for the lesser of two evils by arguing that because the individual shares more in common with A than B, then he is somehow voting for A – when in reality he is voting against B.

This may seem counterintuitive, for we often perceive that we have a basic, common, and fundamental set of principles that we use to make value judgments regarding who we will support. In other words, an individual might say that he is actually voting for A for various reasons found in that person, and that this individual finds more reasons to vote for A than for B between seemingly “viable” candidates. Therefore, as this individual might say, he will vote for those common reasons found in A and not necessarily against B at all. If this is actually the case, then there is no problem – so long as there is not another candidate who more perfectly reflects this individual’s personal beliefs who is not rationalized away as an “unviable” candidate (else the case of idolatry returns).

“I like almost everything A says over B,” I hear many people say, “but I disagree more with C than B, and knowing that A isn’t going to win, I am going to vote for B.” Did you catch what is going on here? Do you see the cognitive dissonance? This example demonstrates the inconsistent and rotating view that most people hold, as they alternate almost effortlessly between pro-liberty and anti-enemy approaches.

In a quote loosely associated to Ezra Taft Benson, he is remarked to have said

If you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil and you will be judged for it. You should always vote for the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not, and then, even if the worst possible candidate wins, the Lord will bless our country more because more people were willing to stand up for what is right.

I would not usually cite a quote that I cannot quote directly to its author, but regardless of whether Benson actually said this or not the principle expressed herein is true.

In this quote we find the same rejection of the anti-enemy approach in asserting the moral need to vote for “the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not.” Why, according to this quote, is the Lord not worried about us choosing between the “lesser of two evil” candidates who have the seeming and supposed “chance” of winning? And why will the Lord bless us our country more for supporting what we know is right – even if we vote for someone we know will not win?

The answers to these questions are found in exposing our own idolatry. It is us who rationalize and justify supporting lesser amounts of evil as a practical endeavor (so as to somehow keep the greater evil away), even though we have never been admonished to take this course of action (actually, quite the opposite). We accept the lesser of two evils approach, as if accepting evil in parts has fewer negative eternal consequences than accepting evil as a whole. We tend to falsely believe that supporting lesser evil will save our own soul and nation, but, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “Murder is no better than cards [in damning the soul], if cards can do the trick.” What we do not keep in mind is that the Lord can purge this country today if that be His will. It is not our imperative to “keep the bottom from falling out” (as it were), but to support the greatest amount of truth, liberty, and freedom that we can in this life – period. In so doing, and only in so doing, are we right with the Lord for Him to truly heal our own hearts and our nation in a lasting and meaningful way.

The actual blessings of God upon our country come to us as we stand up for what is right, not in accepting, justifying, acquiescing, rationalizing, or making “practical” the false doctrine of the lesser of two evils. By accepting the lesser of two evils, we are not focusing our minds or hearts upon the actual and eternal truth of liberty, but instead we are playing anti-enemy games between the two parts of an arbitrary dichotomy. It is true that we may actually share more commonalities with one “lesser evil” than another “greater evil”, but our moral imperative is to vote for the one, whoever he or she is, with which we have the most in common – not to accept the lesser of evils.

No candidate in my lifetime has ever presented a platform or belief system that I have agreed with in total. Some rationalize that in supporting any candidate that we do not agree with one-hundred percent that we are still “voting for the lesser of evils” – as if political disagreement constitutes moral depravity and evilness in another. But what if we disagree with a candidate on a moral issue like abortion or capital punishment, but agree with him on everything else? The answer is simple; if you reason that the candidate offers a moral compromise, then don’t vote for that candidate. Find someone who you can vote for.

When we stand anti-enemy we have given up any foundation or claim to principle. We may seemingly and instantly switch back to a pro-liberty view effortlessly, as if to prove that our cognitive dissonance is actually consistent thought, but the inconsistency of thought here is actually quite stark.

Let us never fool ourselves into believing that an anti-enemy approach has ever meaningfully solved anything. We do not promote liberty and freedom unless these principles are supported directly. Party politics is about winning – nothing more, nothing less – and it is not concerned with how it gets its results, but only that it does. Our purpose is to vote for something – something honest and wise that will support “that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges [that] belongs to all mankind, and [that] is justifiable before [the Lord]” (D&C 98:5).

It is our benefit and blessing as Latter-day Saints that we need not vote for the lesser of two evils, for we already know how the battle for our liberty and freedom ends with the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. This kingdom will not be established through a compromise of supporting the lesser of evils in a false dichotomy according to the false anti-enemy doctrine, but in the bold declaration that we will only act on, support, and establish the truth of liberty upon this land. It is our right “to face the world boldly and also say as President Benson when he quoted Dean Alfange, ‘This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an be an American”.

This election season, let your vote be for someone, not against someone else. Let your vote be cast for the candidate who best reflects all of your beliefs, and not just for the lesser of two evils. If you choose to vote for an established candidate, do so because he reflects the best of who you are and believe – not because he is one of the two left over after an unprincipled vetting process. Let your vote be for liberty, freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law!

Image: Vox EfxCC BY 2.0

50 comments

  1. Great article. I’d been meaning to write something on this topic before November 6th, but just have not had the time. So I’ve decided to dump some of my outline and points below ;)

    1. Good candidates, if not supported, will not generally stand again. They may even lose money when not supported. What does this do in the long term? It promotes the lowest common denominator. The candidates grow worse, generally, over time.

    2. Official: “members are encouraged to register to vote, to study issues and candidates carefully, and to vote for individuals whom they believe will act with integrity and sound judgment. Latter-day Saints have a special obligation to seek out, vote for, and uphold leaders who are honest, good, and wise (see D&C 98:10)” (Church handbook #2, 21.1.29)

    3. The American system does allow for candidates other than the Republican and Democrat candidates to win – it is never a 2-person race.

    4. You will have to stand before God for your choice one day, like other choices. Did you vote on conscience for what was right, or did you vote for the lesser of two evils?

    5. “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” – John Quincy Adams As quoted in Pocket Patriot : Quotes From American Heroes (2005) edited by Kelly Nickell

    6. Related article: http://www.lp.org/blogs/mary-ruwart/the-wasted-vote-lie

    7. “Now, I am not caring today, for myself, anything at all about a political party tag. So far as I am concerned, I want to know what the man stands for …When I find out these things, when I know who it is who should receive my support, and I care not what his party tag is… Today, our duty transcends party allegiance; our duty today is allegiance to the Constitution as it was given to us by the Lord.” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR 10/62:8)

    8. “We honor our founding fathers of this republic for the same reason. God raised up these patriotic partners to perform their mission, and he called them “wise men.” (see D&C 101:80.) The First Presidency acknowledged that wisdom when they gave us the guideline a few years ago of supporting political candidates “who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Deseret News, November 2, 1964.) .

    9. “Now, I am not caring today, for myself, anything at all about a political party tag. So far as I am concerned, I want to know what the man stands for …When I find out these things, when I know who it is who should receive my support, and I care not what his party tag is… Today, our duty transcends party allegiance; our duty today is allegiance to the Constitution as it was given to us by the Lord.” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR 10/62:8)

    10. “In the next canvas we shall be influenced by no party consideration…the partisans in this county who expect to divide the friends of humanity and equal rights will find themselves mistakes — we care not a fig for Whig or Democrat; they are both alike to us; but we shall go for our friends, our tried friends, and that cause of human liberty which is the cause of God. We are aware that ‘divide and conquer’ is the watchword with many, but with us it cannot be done — we love too well — we have suffered too much to be easily duped — we have no cat’s paws amongst us.” (Joseph Smith, Times & Seasons – 3:651)

    11. “We must be devoted to sound principles in word and deed: principle above party, principle above pocketbook, principle above popularity.” (Ezra Taft Benson, America’s Challenge. God, Family, Country)

    12. “Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Proper Role of Government)

    Sorry for the info dump ;)

    1. Dear Brother Andrews,
      Thank you for making the twelve numbered points above. I ask you to consider what specific steps we need to take to get candidates on the ballot for as many offices as possible who will truly and consistently stand for the right much more than conventional politicians do. I have been pondering and praying about this question for some years now and I thank the Lord above that I now have many ideas about ways to get many more of the kind of candidate you want to support. I invite you to come and see.

      UtahPeople’sParty.WordPress.com

      1. I believe Scott Copefield to be honest. He’s the Constitution party candidate.

      2. Until we get all of the house and Congress candidates out of office.And these close door meetings of Vandebelt and all the big wigs as who they want in.And stop funding who they want in. So the little guy has a chance.But until we as a people do that it will stay the same.

        stay the sa

      3. That is my question!! I feel an obligation to vote….should I write a name in?? Huge moral dilemma.

        1. In my state there is not an option to write in the person I would vote for who represents my values most. So then not voting for anyone is the moral choice for me?

          1. CJ, voting a “Blank Ballot” is possible, if you cannot write-in a candidate and no candidate on the ballot is someone you can conscientiously vote for. On a Blank Ballot, you simply don’t choose a candidate for POTUS, but you can still vote for the other elected officials on there, and those votes till count. A Blank Ballot is a very strong indicator/message that you have no confidence in those running and you will not ‘sell’ your vote for fear nor for the lesser of two evils. What I try to remember, is that I will answer to God one day for the way I voted. Not for the outcome of the election.

      4. there are no major party candidates, but there are “third party” candidates that may best reflect your values.

  2. It’s pretty poor philosophy, not only because it is so categorical, but it violates the most important principle that trumps all other principles. That principle is this:

    **Accept reality and promote as much good as possible within the constraints of reality.**

    This means that even if Jesus was a candidate, it would be unwise to vote for him if there was enough evidence showing that he was unelectable.

    In the end, I don’t have to convince you. Reality will do that for me.

    1. Gavin, I don’t recognize this principle of which you speak as a doctrine. A lot of times gospel principles are paradoxical and can defy tradition or even reason (ie-He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matt 10:39). I bring this up because your principle, while generally accepted by most people, isn’t taught by God (that I’m aware of) but the commandment to seek out only good and wise candidates (otherwise whatsoever is less that these commeth of evil) is a revelation explicitly taught in D&C 98:10–11.

      The last time I sang the hymn Do What Is Right, I don’t remember the lyrics going-

      “Do what is right within the constraints of reality…”

      No, it goes- “Do what is right, let the consequence follow.”

      Not only that, many of us who vote our conscience rather than support the lesser of evils are actually looking to create a better reality by trying to change things in the long-term instead of just the here and now. My belief is that we should filter our decisions through correct principles first and then consider the practicality of it second. Looking at things in the short term tempts us to look at things through pragmatic lenses primarily. Imagine if all of us who know better (or should know better) were to actually “choose the good and refuse the evil” (as Hyrum Smith put it) despite how unpopular it is- imagine how much better off would we be collectively and individually!

      1. Dear Brother Davis,
        Thank you for pointing out that we sing “Do what is right, let the consequence follow” not “Do what is right within the constraints of reality…” I ask you to consider what specific steps we need to take to get candidates on the ballot for as many offices as possible who will truly and consistently stand for the right much more than conventional politicians do. I have been pondering and praying about this question for some years now and I thank the Lord above that I now have many ideas about ways to get many more of the kind of candidate you want to support. I invite you to come and see.

        UtahPeople’sParty.WordPress.com

    2. Jesus would never run for an office in the government. Government is evil because it is based on force. Force is satan’s way not the Saviors.

      1. Thank you Brother Greg, for your comments. Government is not based on force, neither is it based on control. Government is based on principles either good or bad,I do not know if Jesus would not run for any office, frankly neither of us would know, but Jesus through prophets and Apostles Has repeatedly told us to “participate in politics”.
        Lastly government is not evil, in the pre-mortal life we had government, the law of consecration is a government( and that was commanded by God) and Americas government is also pleasing to God. God would not be pleased by something that is evil.
        D and C 101:80.

        1. The US Constitution was pleasing unto God. What men have done with the government since then has, at times, been condemned by God. e.g. the extermination order by Missouri Governor Boggs.

      2. Jesus is The Government to all those who follow him. The United States Government receives all its power from The People of the United States (See US Constitution). When the People of the US will choose to Repent, the corruption of Government will be removed, and Christ will reign through Good People who follow His Wise Laws!

    3. I so agree with you! It pains me to see LDS people take President Benson’s quote and use it in this way. President Benson would be telling us to fight with all we’ve got for religious freedom. This presidential election is a unique one because of the Supreme Court appointments that will be made.

  3. Gavin,
    Why does that principle trump ALL other principles? Let’s say Hilter was running against Stalin and Jesus, but Jesus didn’t have a shot at winning, who would you vote for?

    1. Dear Brother Jared,
      Thank you for asking this question. I ask you to consider what specific steps we need to take to get candidates on the ballot for as many offices as possible who will truly and consistently stand for the right much more than conventional politicians do. I have been pondering and praying about this question for some years now and I thank the Lord above that I now have many ideas about ways to get many more of the kind of candidate you want to support. I invite you to come and see.

      UtahPeople’sParty.WordPress.com

      1. People’s Party sounds like communism…but I checked your website out (a little). Sounds very much like the Constitutional Party. Would you agree?

  4. Brother Logon, you argue here that we should support the candidate who stands for the best principles even if there is little or no chance he will win the current election. You argue here that we should support the best candidate in any field of three or more options, rather than support the less evil of the two candidates most likely to win. I ask you to consider what specific steps we need to take to get candidates on the ballot for as many offices as possible who will truly and consistently stand for the right much more than conventional politicians do. I have been pondering and praying about this question for some years now and I thank the Lord above that I now have many ideas about ways to get many more of the kind of candidate you want to support. I invite you to come and see.

    UtahPeople’sParty.WordPress.com

  5. There are not three heads on a coin. Voting for Gary Johnson is like flipping a coin expecting it to land on the imaginary 3rd side. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN and he won’t/can’t become elected President of the USA, those who continue to live in a utopian fantasy that principle trumps politics are context dropping entire premises in order to justify their wasted vote.

    1. Erik there is no one voting for Gary Johnson, or any other third party candidate, that thinks he will win. Like this article suggests when you vote for someone you are voting FOR the principles they stand for. I won’t vote for big government, continued spending, policing the world, and most other things that Obama and Romney stand FOR. My vote is not wasted any more than the person who votes for the loser come election day. Only one can win, that means one can’t, and if a vote for someone who can’t win is wasted, about 49% of America will have wasted their vote according to this line of thinking. Plus I live in Utah where Mitt will get about 90%, so no matter who I vote for it isn’t going to affect the outcome here. Principle does trump politics and until Americans in general realize this we will get more of the same as we have for decades, and that is reality.

        1. Yes, and it just may swing the vote in Obama’s favor in Utah, I’ve never felt so important. I guess you’re not buying what is being sold in this article, and you don’t have to. I think it is spot on and if Americans insist on voting for the lesser of two evils we will continue to get more evil. You have to try to try to belittle what other do with their vote, and that’s fine it’s your right. A candidate like Romney would NEVER get my vote, on the other hand a candidate like Obama would NEVER get my vote, so I guess my vote can be viewed as a (default) vote for Romney too. Maybe by voting third party you’re actually voting twice, depending on the point of view.

          1. In this election, my vote (as prob were most Tea Partiers) was not about voting “for” Romney, my vote was about getting Obama out of power. Yes, Romney was milqtoast, he is a RINO, but, politically speaking, I would rather deal with a proverbial cut on my finger than a slice of an artery. The fact is is that the majority of American’s have abandoned reason and freedom for serfdom.

  6. I continue to be grateful for your insight Shiloh and felt to add the following support:

    In a Gospel Principles lesson several weeks back, the amazing instructor, while teaching on the topic of work, asked the question: “What matters most to God, the process that comes from work, or the result from work?” More simply, to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, is it the process or the result that matters?

    I cannot overstate how much that question has filled my soul since hearing it. It has occupied my thoughts on many occasions and I have truly rejoiced in the connections and enlightened clarity it has provided.

    The list of examples is long, when considering the eternal, personal and uniquely individual growth that comes when focusing on the process. Consider the importance of ‘process’ in the manner in which we teach and raise our children, love our spouses, serve our neighbors, and apply the teachings of Jesus in our lives. Majestically, the ‘result’ in all of it becomes the glorious and eternal grace and atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ, who heals all wounds, purifies, sanctifies, enlarges, changes and makes whole every one who patiently, humbly and ever imperfectly continues to focus on the ‘process’ of becoming better, improving, starting over, getting back up and trying again.

    The Savior is the result. The Author and Finisher of our faith. The Beginning and the End. Alpha and Omega. He continues to tell us all, “Fear not your enemies,” “Take no thought for tomorrow, ” “Be believing.” In my words and loose interpretation; “Forget about the result. Stop worrying about how it all works out. It will ALL work out. Whether you live or die, whether you’re thrown into the fiery pit by your enemies, or the ‘very jaws of hell gape open the mouth wide after thee’ it will all ‘be for thy good.’ You will grow through the process of learning to endure, you will grow through the process of learning to love, of defending truth, of standing for principle, of fearing not, of patiently submitting to all things, and on an on. Remember that I am the Result, I am the outcome. I have it all worked out. The whole world is in my hands. Nothing falls through the cracks. Nothing goes unrepaired. In me, you and every one who will, will be perfected and a joint heir with me in receiving all that the Father hath.”

    With this in mind, what becomes strikingly clear to me, what seems unquestionably fixed and immovable, is the principle of doing right, no matter the outcome, no matter the end, no matter the result. Right is right and always will be, regardless of the countless others who choose not the right. As President Monson said recently, “You can’t be right by doing wrong. You can’t be wrong by doing right.” Another said it this way, “Nothing short of right is right.” Compromising principles for the result, justifying the means for the end, sacrificing impeccable honesty for a perceived benefit – all symptoms of our fear and worry and selfish concern for the result.

    Honesty, integrity, loyalty, faithfulness, patience, long-suffering, non-compulsion, persuasion, meekness, gentleness; no matter the cost, no matter the loss, no matter the (do I dare say it) the party, the majority, the popularity, the result!

    I think of Ghandi. From what I understand, he was a mortal example of living with uncompromising principles and unwavering integrity – despite imprisonment, despite death. I believe he, and others like him, worked on the process, focused on principle and held fast to their bedrock convictions in times of trial or temptation. They feared not what man could do. They trusted in God, at all times, and in all places.

  7. It appears to me that most who voted just to get Obama out were displaying a lack of faith in the Lord.
    If this nation appeared as being God fearing it might be a simple matter for the correct candidate to win a specific election. ( We lacked such a person on the Utah ballot for president)
    Somehow I never see mention of the power of the Lord to alter outcomes when it comes to a simple election in a morally bankrupt nation.
    Perhaps the lesson of Noah and the flood has been stricken from the teachings along with an understanding of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

  8. Shiloh – I have confirmed the quote you shared: “If you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil and you will be judged for it. You should always vote for the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not, and then, even if the worst possible candidate wins, the Lord will bless our country more because more people were willing to stand up for what is right.” I am actually Facebook friends with the person who stated this. His name is Mike Thompson. I shared this quote with him, Nov 2015, and asked if indeed ETB stated this to him as the quote says. He confirmed that he had. If you’d like to contact me, I’d be happy to provide what I have. Thank you for sharing this article. It is filled with truth.

    1. Teri, I’m wondering if you can confirm that this statement was made by Pres. Benson. Someone I know shared this and I wanted to verify it but haven’t been able to find anything on it.. thank you!

    2. Teri,

      I’d love to hear about the reference for that quote. I’ve been looking for it for ages!

      Thanks in advance!

    3. Do you have an bio info on Mike Thompson. How did he know Benson? Friends, colleagues… That is what I would like to find out.

    4. Hey Teri, if you could give me the reference to that quote, that’d be super :D

      1. GLoosle (et al),

        As Teri has said, the quote comes from a gentleman by the name of Mike Thompson. He is an elderly gentleman. The quote in this article was at one time linked to his website (until the beginning of 2016) when it was brought to our attention at LDS Liberty that Mr. Thompson’s website that hosted this quote was full of malware/viruses. Because we did not want to lead our readers to a harmful website that was unsecure, we removed the hyperlink.

        As Teri further confirmed, she has spoken with Mike Thompson, and he has verbally confirmed his citation/quote from Pres. Benson. There is no other verifiable way to confirm this quote except through Mr. Thompson himself — as this particular quote was supposedly offered to him by Pres. Benson in a private conversation.

        Whereas the author of this article, as well as us here at LDS Liberty, believe that the quote demonstrates a truth and is consistent with Ezra Taft Benson’s teachings, there have been some threads over the years on social media by relations of Pres. Benson (most notably his grandchildren) that have raised their own concern and skepticism to the validity of the quote and whether or not Pres. Benson actually believed it.

        We have received many private messages concerning this matter and we are responding to all who have inquired about this quote. Stated again, there is no way to verify this quote except by Mr. Thompson himself; while some believe it is consistent with Pres. Benson’s statements of belief, some in his family have raised concern over its validity and consistency to his beliefs.

        In short, the quote stands as it is without further ability to objectively ascertain whether or not Pres. Benson said this.

        Cheers,

        LDS Liberty Team

        1. Thank you, LDS Liberty. Yes to all you stated. Here is my copy-and-paste that I have saved from my private message conversation with Mike Thompson, for those who wish to read it. I can only assume it’ll “stand up in court” by Facebook being made to show proof that Mike Thompson and I are the ones who wrote it, and by us both testifying to that truth in court. lol. But as you stated, LDSL, the statement stands as is without any book or page to quote as reference. – Teri

          Thursday, October 29, 2015, 4:17am:
          By Teri
          Hi Mike –

          I am reading that quote again by Ezra Taft Benson, and wanted to remember what you had replied, but I see you never replied to my question (above) back in 2012. I’d like to know if Ezra Taft Benson actually said the following quote to you:

          “Mike, if you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil and you will be judged for it. You should always vote for the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not, and then, even if the worst possible candidate wins, the Lord will bless our country more because more people were willing to stand up for what is right.”

          I teach a class on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Founding Fathers in light of the restored gospel. I want to share this quote with my high school aged students (and some adults), so I was hoping to know directly from you that this quote is authentic and not just hear-say via the internet.

          Thank you so much in advance!

          Teri

          Thursday
          10/29, 9:03am
          Mike Thompson
          Yes ,this is what he told me as we sat talking in his office in the Church office Building.

          Thursday
          10/29, 12:20pm
          Teri
          Wonderful. Thank you so much. What a great meeting that must have been. Oh to be a fly on the wall. I wish more of our members had caught his vision and understanding of the Constitution. Teaching these kids is one of my passions. The rising generation must know these truths.

          Thank you again!

          10/29, 12:58pm
          Mike Thompson
          it was near General Conference when I was talking to him. I would always come down from

          Ricks at Conference. I cannot remember which one, but I know it was either October 1972 or April 1973. One of the other of those. I got to meet Sister Benson this time too.

          Today
          5:44pm
          Teri
          That is really neat. What was the occasion that had you meeting with him in his office? Not every college student gets to sit down with an apostle.

          8:10pm
          Mike Thompson
          I just asked for an appointment and got one, more than once. I do not know how many people would be able to do that today.

          1. Oops – sorry. In those last couple of comments between Mike and me where the date says “today” I should have changed that to 10/30/15. It says “today” because I copied and paste it the same day it was sent to me. Just clarifying.
            If you wish to pm me on FB my profile name is Teri Sue Wagner-Nine.

  9. Can you fix the grammar mistake in the title? I believe that this article is extremely valuable for the current election cycle, but I have friends that will dismiss it, out of hand, because of this mistake.

  10. I am wondering where the Ezra Taft Benson loosely quoted statement is from. I shared it and was challenged by someone.

    1. Angie, answers to that question are above and below. :) I am friends with Mike Thompson (the person to whom ETB made this statement), and quoted him below. While ETB shared this in a personal conversation with Mike, the principle behind it can be found in D&C 98:10, all of ETB talks about the Constitution and our duty in voting, as well as in Hyrum Smith’s quote that unless we vote for the GOOD men/women, we are sinning.

      The idea is this: The Lord has never told us we are responsible for making sure a certain someone makes it into the White House as President. The Lord, instead, has commanded that we vote a certain way. When we obey Him and vote that way, we have every right to ask Him to bless our nation. When we take it upon ourselves to vote for the lesser of two evils, or vote for person “x” just so that person “z” doesn’t win, then we are sinning, and will be held accountable. Also the Lord will not bless our nation for it. We have no right to turn to Him and ask for such a blessing. Our faith and trust in God and the miracles that He can bring about, must be stronger than our fear of who will win the presidency. As ETB stated, even if the worse possible candidates wins, the Lord will still bless America MORE, because more people were willing to stand up and vote the right way.

      If the Lord promised Abraham to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find peradventure just 10 righteous people, then He can bless America if we can find peradventure a majority of us who are willing to obediently vote in the manner the Lord prescribed (through his scripture but also through His servants). I trust the Lord. Sadly, though, too many people find this paradigm shift too difficult to make. It is the last days for sure.

  11. I posted this article and the ETB quote (by Mike Thompson) on my FB. Mike Thompson, the man whom ETB made the statement to and a friend of mine, replied to that and posted the following under my original post:

    “I will say this: President Benson told me, personally, in his office in the Church Office Building, what is quoted. This was when I met with him during Conference while I was then President of the Student Senate at Ricks College, the last year they had a student senate. I cannot remember now if it was the October 1972 Conference or the April 1973 Conference. It was one or the other. When I went into his office I got introduced to Sister Benson, then he and I talked quite a bit. He offered me Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, but I told him I already had that book, then he offered me The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, which I took. Both of these were written by Elder H. Verlan Andersen, who was a member of the Seventy.”

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