I’ve been thinking about the upcoming local and national elections this year in America. I believe this is a critical time in our history, and the decisions we make will have a major impact on the future of our representative democratic republic. A lot rests upon us as citizens to elect “honest men and wise …and good men” (D&C 98:10) to govern and uphold our nation and our values.
So, what are our obligations? Simply stated, it is our solemn duty to become accurately informed, involved in the debate, and vote our conscience. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. ‘Tis right, politically, for a man who has influence to use it.” (History of the Church, 5:286). These points are especially important within the context of the current political climate. Much is at stake this year. It appears that current political leaders in Washington do not represent the majority voice and will of the people and are more focused on their own political or personal agendas. U.S. citizens (and other residents) seem to be more and more dependent on support from the government. And, many of our eligible voters appear willing to support the politicians who will maintain their so-called “personal entitlements.” Add to this, our National Debt is ballooning grossly out of control. This is a recipe for disaster.
For now, we still have the protection of our freedoms as spelled out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but it’s not a stretch to see how those rights might be stripped away …if citizens neglect their national responsibilities, and if the Congress doesn’t act to defend the constitution and support the rule of law. Consider this from the Holy Scriptures: “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.” (D&C 98:8-10)
In addition, during this election year, our church leaders have reiterated their counsel on this subject and once again provided clear guidance for our consideration: “Citizens of the United States have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects their communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.” (The First Presidency)
I hope we will all participate in the political process this year, and exercise our “influence” fully in whatever capacity and to whatever extent possible. May we actively uphold the Constitution of the United States and the freedoms set forth by our inspired Founding Fathers. May we become accurately informed, involved in the debate, and vote our conscience. And, may we seek out and elect “honest men and wise …and good men.”
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