Below is a chart comparing Mitt Romney’s and Ron Paul’s political positions with counsel from latter-day prophets and apostles. My wife researched and created this chart, and I helped with the design and some editing. It’s imperfect, but we’ve decided to share it anyway and have posted it below.

By the way, if you have any reservations about applying prophetic counsel to politics, please read our post, “Voting Criteria for Latter-day Saints,” that addresses that issue.

Neither my wife nor I has ever really been involved in politics. Besides being turned off by the inevitable contention, we’re frequently bemused at how sincere, well-intentioned, intelligent people can come to such different conclusions given the same information. We’ve often felt inclined to give up any hope of figuring it out ourselves. But we also feel a nagging duty to be informed, honor our right to vote that was won with so much difficulty by our ancestors, and try to affect the world for good. We’ve both become fans of Ron Paul, and we’ve been enthused enough by his ideas and character that we’ve taken our first foray into politics.

Voting Criteria for Latter-day Saints

 
Click the image above to read “Voting Criteria for Latter-day Saints” if you have reservations about applying prophetic counsel to politics

It’s obvious from glancing at the chart which candidate we favor, but we did try to be fair and accurate in our ongoing study of the issues. We want to be clear about a few things: We have nothing personal against Mitt Romney and are sure he’s a fine member of the Church. We don’t think you have to vote for Ron Paul in order to be a good Mormon. We definitely don’t think these statements from the Brethren amount to any kind of endorsement, nor do they even constitute the official positions of the Church. Also, our research is ongoing (as is our personal education in general); we expect to eventually find reasons to modify the chart as we study more and come to clearer understandings of several topics. This chart is a snapshot of our current understanding of things. It’s probably pretty one-sided right now, but we expect to continue learning. I suppose one could argue that we shouldn’t share it until we’re thoroughly done with our research, but I’ve learned that many times, the learning process is never done. Plus, we figured that sharing it could be part of our research by generating discussion. In the comments below, we’ve found some interesting points that will hopefully lead us to further reading and a better understanding.

Some question whether a chart like this is a good exercise. We feel that it’s a great way of applying the prophets’ urging to “study the issues and candidates carefully” and to “ask … is the proposal, the policy, or the idea … right as measured by the counsel of the living oracles of God?” We’re sure others will come to varying conclusions, but as for us, we really do think for several reasons that Ron Paul is the best candidate for president because he most closely follows the repeated and united counsel of modern-day prophets as well as the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

 

Related Posts

Voting Criteria for Latter-day Saints: What the prophets have said (and not said) we should consider when voting for a candidate. Also includes a handy chart to help you look at your own voting criteria.

 
Click the chart below to enlarge it; right-click to download it. You can also click the PDF icon at right for a four-page letter-size version.


2012-02-24 10:00—PDF draft 2 posted: 60% grey text (instead of 30%)
2012-02-24 11:00—PDF draft 3 posted: hyperlinks on the references
2012-02-24 21:00—JPG replaced with PNG (to decrease loading time)

102 Responses to “Prophetic counsel, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul”

  1. D. Rolling Kearney says:

    Wow! This is awesome!!! Thank you so much! I have so many LDS friends who need this, including some who have been asking for details just like this. Thanks again!

  2. Larry W. Morrison says:

    Very well done. It bothers me that many in the LDS Church are apathetic about politics. This is proved out by the simple fact that Utah has a very low voter turn-out and a very low percentage have ever attended their local precinct caucus. My personal opinion is that Mormons should regard involvement in the caucuses of utmost importance to make sure that this nation, inspired by our Heavenly Father, is preserved for their posterity. LDS people need to get involved and get educated and not just take the fact that Mr. Romney is qualified to lead for the simple reason that he is a member of the LDS Church.

  3. Arlene Anderson says:

    Thank you so much for your research. I don’t know how other Latter-day Saints feel, but I put a lot of faith in the words of the prophets, and history vindicates their positions on important principles and issues of the day, both spiritual and temporal.

  4. So … the only place Ron Paul does not get a check, he supports the 11th article of faith. Under a Ron Paul administration, the 11th article of faith philosophy would be key instead of false judicial activism that the church currently is fighting with a proposed amendment.

    “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

    This is canon; support of a federal marriage amendment is not. The prophets can see far off and know that we are in need to fight fire with fire. Yet under an ideal system we would live by the 11th article of faith and not try to dictate by force that which can only be taught through persuasiveness, compassion, and love. As all of God’s laws since the time of Christ are to live the higher law. We do not stone homosexuals and adulterous people; we love them as brothers and sisters.

  5. Phenomenal work. This is the best I’ve seen on this, and I wish every Latter-day Saint would review this material. I’d like to do a video on it.

  6. Mike, I think I agree with what you say about an ideal system. Unfortunately, we have to wade through the current mortal mess to eventually get there, and thankfully living prophets can help prioritize which steps go first. I can completely understand Ron Paul’s position; it makes sense. I wouldn’t expect him to arrive at the First Presidency’s position without input from a prophet. So, yes: the one place he doesn’t get a check, it’s because of an admirable adherence to liberty principles that are an excellent guide in the absence of more specific guidance from a prophet.

  7. Don Christian Markham says:

    Concise and well-researched! Excellent job! Thank you for the time and effort this must have taken to put together. I’ll share this on my Facebook page.

  8. By the way, if people do share this on Facebook, I recommend picking the first image as a thumbnail (the close-up of the chart, with the two candidate photos). It makes a better visual summary than, say, the PDF icon.

    And you’re right about time and effort. We’ve gone to bed after 1 am several times this week, which is no fun when your 10-month-old baby is also getting up every 45 minutes with a fever. We are very glad to be finished. 🙂

  9. Ron Paul on same sex marriage: he moreso thinks what happens in the bedroom is someone’s personal liberty and the government has no business in marriage. He also thinks that it should be left up to the churches and those leaders, and government has no business in marriage whatsoever, which is what it should be really. Also, Mitt has a history of supporting same-sex marriage and passing laws for them. As Ron Paul would push to get government out of the business.

  10. It’s true that Mitt Romney has changed positions on several things. In order to keep the chart concise, though, we finally had to just stick with their ostensible positions as stated in the recent past. You bring up an important caveat, though.

  11. This is silly. You can start with any preconceived set of political beliefs, cherry-pick statements by LDS leaders through the years, and come up with Obama or LBJ or, heck, Hitler as a better candidate than Romney or Lincoln or Washington.

    Not only does this not prove anything, it doesn’t even really demonstrate anything except that selective use of quotes can make it appear that historical figures no longer alive to defend their views would have supported whatever position you care to take.

  12. It’s in the nature of a visual summary or chart to use brevity and thus not be able to post all the possible quotes that add nuance to an idea. If it looks like cherry-picking, I assure you it wasn’t intentional. We tried to only include ideas and quotes that we found reiterated in several places. I seriously doubt the same could be said of a chart supporting Obama, LBJ, or Hitler, given how specific latter-day prophets have been regarding Constitutional principles.

    But if J. Reuben Clark approaches me in the spirit world and says I misrepresented him, I’ll apologize and tell him I did my sincere best. And if anyone wants to bring up a quote that might modify or add nuance to this chart, please do (as long as it’s civil). I’m happy to learn.

  13. The only problem with this exercise is that it’s pointless. Ron Paul will not be the candidate, and Ron Paul will not get elected. So your choice is to support Romney or re-elect Obama. Put together a chart of Romney vs Obama and put it out there for all the Democrat voting population, and that will be a much better use of your time.

  14. What a great summary. Thank you for your hard work.

  15. Is this jaded? says:

    Although this may have “some” validity, I agree with Spoxjox that it’s picking and choosing what you want to highlight and over-looking issues that can’t be done realistically by one person (the President) how has to get the buy off of others.

    Like you, I’m concerned about the situation in our government but don’t think this “report” was researched based on an open agenda. Just like politicians do, you can twist anything to make it sound fitting to your beliefs. Interesting slant you took though.

    I also agree 110% with Mark. Pushing the Ron Paul agenda is a waste of time if you’re being logical. He’s got a small following but WON’T get elected for a variety of issues whether we like it or not. The real debate will be between Romney and Obama.

  16. For all you Mormons out there remember Capt Moroni executed a few preemptive strikes so that the Lamanites would not have the advantage. Nephi snuck in to the enemies camp (Laban) beheaded the leader and took their “intel” (Brass Plates). Sounds like a covert operation. Gidean chased down and sought to kill the opposing king even after he retreated and ran away with his leadership. Peter “flip-flopped” on his position of knowing Christ and did so at a time of intense political pressure. Simon Peter also used physical force and cut off the ear of a servant of a High Priest who had not used any force Simon Peter.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to belittle the scriptures nor be blasphemous, but anyone can spin fact to tell a story the way they want it to be presented. Politicians and the media are masters of doing so. The Church has repeatedly encouraged its members to educate themselves and then to vote. However, the church has not and will not endorse any candidate. I personally find it appalling that someone would use quotes from past prophets and apostles to state their reasoning for voting for a candidate and to encourage others to do the same.

  17. Almost half (9/19) of the quotes are from Ezra Taft Benson. You say that “you tried to only include ideas and quotes that we found reiterated in several places.” While I applaud you for that, you show no evidence for it. Your post might be stronger if, in addition to the nine quotes from Benson, you had one or two from President Hinckley, President Hunter, or President Monson. I think it might also be strengthened by more quotes made in the past thirty years or so (the only recent prophetic quotes you have are regarding “Civil Liberties”).

  18. You know darn well that I can find quotes from other apostles and prophet that directly counter what ETB and JRC had to say during the Cold War. As a good Latter Day Saint, I disagree with Ezra Taft Benson and J. Reuben Clark’s political stances–as did most of the Quorum of the Twelve during their time. Ron Paul’s political ideas agree with the Gospel no more differently than Romney’s or Obama’s. It’s stupid to try to correlate politics and religion–and you know it and should be ashamed to try to do so.

  19. Spoxjox also cant find quotes that would go against what the prophets have said. So given that Ron Paul goes way back to the monetary system proposed by Joseph Smith in his 1844 campaign and how he proposes to deal with abolition being the same as Paul he has no footing to call cherry picking. The prophets are clear on political principals, not vague. Your Flyer is fantastic. let us not give into trolls.

  20. Dave Loper says:

    As a child, I always wondered why the Book of Mormon dealt so much with war. Battles are cool and all and make for interesting reading but what was the spiritual point? If it was a spiritual book written expressly for our day, why so much on war?

    The fact is, war is very destructive and the Book of Mormon was compiled by Mormon who had known war from his teenage years and throughout his life. He puts the records of Helaman, the people of Limhi, his own experiences and so many others so that we know the nature of war, the causes of war, how to act in war and how to win wars. Mormon chapters 2-3 itself is a lamentation about the ills of pre-emptive war. The Lord has even revealed Section 98 to the prophet Joseph Smith which lays down EXACTLY how a people should engage their enemy in war and lays down a covenant and promise from the Lord that guarantees victory do if we do our part.

    “And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue”

    You want justified wars? D&C 98 tells you how:

    “Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.”

  21. Barbara Lowe says:

    thank You!

  22. Mark: Ron Paul won’t get elected as long as that view point stays alive. Last time I checked, the people chose the president. If his message gets out there, and it is, he would get elected. Polls have indicated time and time again that Ron Paul is the only guy that stands a chance at beating Obama. Romney won’t beat him most likely, and even if he did, nothing would really change. Obomney 2012…

    What is electability, may I ask? Telling people what they want to hear, being a good talker, being young? Or standing up for what you believe in, and not selling out to the highest bidder? I would hope it’s the latter.

  23. Hyrum Petersen says:

    @ Mark: Ron Paul will only NOT be the candidate if we don’t do anything about it, but if we do, he has a great chance. “The only thing for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke. I believe in living my life and making my decisions based on true principles, not on what happens to be popular. If you disagree with these principles or statements from the prophets then by all means vote for Romney or Obama for that matter. I believe that something wrong never comes from doing something right. We have to have the courage, as President Monson said in the last General Conference to “Dare to stand alone.” Elder Holland said it was time to the men of the church to stand up, to speak out and be heard in defense of the truth and principles we know to be true (that includes the Constitution). If we won’t stand up and say something, then we are not showing the Lord that we value our liberties or freedoms and we may just lose them if we don’t fight for them.

  24. .

    Um. Most of these prophets are dead. I’m not sure an opinion of President Grant is the best way to judge God’s will in 2012. That’s why we believe in modern prophets and continuing revelation.

    And since President Monson hasn’t spoken on these issues, I have to assume God’s leaving the Republican nomination up to the people . . . .

  25. Judy Tucker says:

    Thanks for all of your work and research that is a monumental undertaking. I for one will share this all my LDS friends and other also.

  26. Wes Brewer says:

    The Republicans currently with all the candidates have an identity and election problem, good or bad. The Libertarians have an “educating” problem. A large part of people believe in Liberty. They get the basics but can’t see how they would fully apply in our current day and age. Connor Boyack’s book was good. But the masses needed a vision painted. They need a basic manual instead of a “concept” of Liberty book. They need a specific almost kid’s book, that would show the real every day details in how Liberty would effect the minutia of a community. In great but basic detail:

    * Show me law enforcement (in our day) in a libertarian-ran way.

    * Show me the legal (esp. judicial) system-process running in a libertarian way. (address real hard-core issues)

    * I don’t need to understand currencies, but in our day what would be going on with that (if Ron Paul and his views were actively participating). Paint the specific picture.

    * What about unions?

    * What about the safety standards on my car?

    * Would motorcyclist be zipping by when traffic is halted. (Remember, this is our day—actual realty … No going back saying “if Liberty was excercized it would be this…” That is thinking it the past! Please talk in “now” terms.)

    * Would employers need to get Workers’ Compensation?

    * Could anyone (like in Brazil) post up an enormous Billboard of a fully naked women on it? (peddling some smut)

    * Could bars / gamblers / strip clubs/ whorehouses be placed anywhere they want? For example, on my neighbor’s lot?

    * When I see a 2-month-old in a car filled with cigarette smoke blasting Rap music, would I have any right to do something about that? One would think I have some sort of obligation.

    I’m an honest person who believes in liberty. If I “down your liberty pill,” what will things be (esp. big topic things) 5 years from now? In real-day terms. Again—Libertarians have to specifically paint the picture of real day issues and what “specifically would be happening” on them. Proclaiming Liberty is great! But showing applied societal liberty in our day is more effective to the voter. So many see the concept of liberty misperceived and see MAJOR DISORDER! (and they also see OTHERS seeing people seeing the concept of liberty misperceived and they see chaos!!!) But show a man a basic—almost cartoon—detail of modern-day problems fixed, and Liberty then will be not just understood but trusted.

    Please Help—

    Sincerely,

    Davis WB Dixon

  27. Jon: The Church has repeatedly encouraged its members to educate themselves and then to vote. … I personally find it appalling that someone would use quotes from past prophets and apostles to state their reasoning for voting for a candidate and to encourage others to do the same.

    Jon, I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying. If we’re supposed to educate ourselves, what does that mean if not using quotes from prophets to inform our reasoning of who to vote for? I’m OK if people don’t come to the same conclusions I do, and I definitely don’t think the Church is or should be endorsing any particular candidate. But I’d hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater and never look to prophetic statements at all when weighing political issues.

    Tim: Almost half of the quotes are from Ezra Taft Benson. … Your post might be stronger if … you had one or two from President Hinckley, President Hunter, or President Monson [or] more quotes made in the past thirty years or so.

    I heartily agree. That’s the greatest weakness of this chart: its lack of breadth in sources. That’s mostly an artifact of our newbie level of knowledge and personal research. I wish someone else who was better-read than I would make something like this. But since no one has (that we could find), we thought we’d give it a try.

    Aaron: You know darn well that I can find quotes from other apostles and prophet that directly counter what ETB and JRC had to say during the Cold War.

    No actually, I didn’t darn well know that.

    I disagree with Ezra Taft Benson and J. Reuben Clark’s political stances—as did most of the Quorum of the Twelve during their time.

    I’ve heard people say that before, but I’ve never had anyone show me the actual quotes. I’d be very interested; feel free to post them. I’m interested in anything that modern prophets have said.

    It’s stupid to try to correlate politics and religion—and you know it and should be ashamed to try to do so.

    I’m not sure what you mean by correlate. If you mean we should never look to religious principles to make political decisions, I’m afraid I can’t agree (see the quote at the top of the chart). There’s definitely a wrong way to go about that, but I don’t think that means we shouldn’t try at all.

    Th.: I’m not sure an opinion of President Grant is the best way to judge God’s will in 2012. … And since President Monson hasn’t spoken on these issues, I have to assume God’s leaving the Republican nomination up to the people.

    And I’m one of “the people.” Assuming there was no recent, immediate, specific direction on this, I assume that the Lord would want us to go off of previous principles he had revealed.

  28. @Is This Jaded: I’d be happy to read into which issues we overlooked. Which ones were you referring to?

    “Pushing the Ron Paul agenda is a waste of time if you’re being logical. He’s got a small following but WON’T get elected for a variety of issues whether we like it or not. The real debate will be between Romney and Obama.”

    I’d like to know your reasons for saying Paul can’t win. According to national polls, Ron Paul does quite well, actually. For Obama vs. Paul polls, he wins in couple of states. He comes in close behind Romney in others. RP fares far better with independents than does Romney, which will be a huge factor in the election.

    * http://www.thestatecolumn.com/articles/2012/02/23/poll-ron-paul-leading-president-obama-in-arizona/
    * http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012/02/recent-iowa-poll-shows-ron-paul-performs-better-against-obama-than-any-other-republican-candidate/

    Here’s another national poll I remember seeing last month:

    * http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/cnn-poll-obama-tied-with-romney-paul-in-november-showdowns/

    The First Presidency has asked members to vote for “those they believe will most nearly carry out their ideas of good government. Latter-day Saints are under special obligations to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are ‘wise,’ ‘good,’ and ‘honest,'” not whomever we think may have the greatest chance of beating Obama. If you think that principled person to be Mitt Romney, that’s great; I hope you vote for him.

    I hope people vote based on what the Brethren tell us to vote on: on who will most nearly carry out their ideas of good government—regardless of whether or not that candidate would win. I think Ron Paul could get elected, but even assuming he doesn’t, a lot of good can be accomplished just by attracting media attention to his message. He’s put things back on the table that have been de-facto off the table for decades. I imagine that when Joseph Smith ran for president, he didn’t really think he had a chance of winning, but he knew it might attract attention to topics that needed attention. Maybe that’s one reason the Brethren say to vote on principle regardless of whether someone’s stats calculations don’t predict success—they’re looking at the long-term war rather than the immediate battle.

  29. Wes, you ask great questions. I’m the wrong person to ask; I’m still learning about some of this stuff myself. My current tentative synthesis is that I really like libertarian ideas at the federal level because it seems to jibe with what the Brethren have said. Beyond that, I’m still learning. I would love to see someone with more knowledge answer your questions or point you to a site, article, or forum where they’ve been answered.

  30. The problem with this is that you could find quotes from past prophets that make it look like Mitt Romney is more aligned with them. This is very subjective, and depends on the quote chosen, and the wording of the quote. I could find quotes from prophets that suggest that Obama is the most aligned with the prophetic message too.

  31. As I understand it, if a person wanted to skew a chart to make any old person seem aligned with prophetic statements, the way to do that would be to pick quotes that say what an individual ought to do, and apply them to what the government ought to do. Once you include quotes that make that distinction, though, it seems like it’s much harder to make just anyone seem aligned.

  32. “As I proceed, some will say, “Oh, he is talking about the past; but this is a new world, new conditions, new problems,” and so on. To this I will content myself with answering – human nature does not change; in its basic elements it now is as it was at the dawn of history, as our present tragic plight shows. Even savages inflict no greater inhumanities than are going on in the world today. In the mad thrusting of ourselves, with a batch of curative political nostrums, into the turmoil and tragedy of today’s world, we are like a physician called in to treat a virulent case of smallpox, and whose treatment consists in getting into bed with his patient. That is not the way to cure smallpox.” -J Reuben Clark, Jr, ‘Diplomat and Statesman’ Pg 22

  33. Great article, however, It’s a little unfair. There are prophetic quotes not mentioned in this article that would favor Mitt Romney over Ron Paul.

  34. Nathan,

    Let me be more clear since you didn’t understand my point.

    You have obviously cherry picked quotes from past church leaders to support your political views. You have no idea if ETB or JRC or any other prophet or apostle would vote for Paul and yet your diagram is presented as if they would. Your disclaimer at the bottom says you put this together for informational purposes to help us become “more aware of inspired principles”. If so, did you honestly try to find any statements that supported the Romney platform or did you just insert the ones that supported Paul. You are using quotes that support your political views and trying to convince other Mormons to have your same views based on a few select quotes from a few church leaders. Using the church for your political gain is what I find appalling.

    Additionally:
    You indicated under other issues that you couldn’t comment toward drugs, prostitution, gambling and elective abortion. I find it interesting that the issues that would show Paul as an extremist you leave out. These are major issues affecting our society and Paul believes in legalizing these. That will escalate the moral decline of the family and country and eventual demise – for the Lord will not support and bless a people who are so far removed from Him. I agree with some of Paul’s beliefs, however I have not yet heard any reasonable justification for support of legalizing drugs, prostitution and gambling.

    I think it is nice that those of you Paul fanatics are so dedicated to your cause. I give credit to you for your passion and dedication to finding quotes, facts, figures and polls that support your views. The real fact is though that Libertarianism is not a mainstream belief, despite how much you want it to be. Get off your soap boxes for a minute (or in some cases you may want to take a day or two) and recognize that Paul and Libertarianism will not win a major election. There is a reason Paul doesn’t run on a Libertarian ticket.

  35. @Michael, Aaron, Jaded and Spoxjox,

    I would be genuinely interested in seeing quotes that support Romney or Obama. (Hitler would probably be tougher) I don’t think it’s cherry-picking to look for quotes on different topics and trying to figure out how the candidates perform. I also don’t find it “appalling” that someone would use prophetic quotes to try and figure out who to vote for and then share their findings. Can you please give some examples of prophetic quotes that support Romney or Obama? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, I’m genuinely interested.

    @Th: I’m not trying to be mean, but your argument doesn’t make sense to me. I’m wondering if your point is that the living prophet supersedes the dead. If so, I would agree, but I would argue that that’s only if the living prophet says that the former prophet’s counsel is no longer valid. Can you illustrate any recent prophetic counsel that invalidates the quotes used in the flier?

    The main thing that disturbs me is the members of the church that say they’re going to vote for Romney because he’s LDS. I wonder how those people reacted to Samuel L. Jackson saying he voted for Obama because he’s black. Makes just as much sense. I know members of the Church who I would not want in a position of political responsibility over me. Why would I just turn over my vote to someone because we go to the same church?

  36. @Etienne: I keep hearing that. Can you point me to these quotes?

    @Jon: Nathan and Jelaire appear to be simply looking for principles and then trying to determine who best exemplifies that principle. I don’t think they’re saying that those prophets would have voted for a particular candidate and I frankly think it’s unfair to suggest that that’s what they’re saying.

    I’m pretty libertarian in my philosophy in the sense that my default position is “Can this be done by private individuals voluntarily working together?” and “If we’re going to use the violence of the government to accomplish this is it a power I can legitimately delegate to someone else to do?”

    For example, because I have a right to defend my life, my liberty and my property, I can delegate that to the sheriff, police and military. Since I don’t have the right to take money out of one of my neighbors paychecks to give it to another neighbor, I can’t delegate that power to the government. I have to be honest and say that I disagree with you that libertarianism is not a mainstream philosophy. It is the philosophy that individuals are the ones most capable of directing their own lives. That seems pretty mainstream to me.

    I think we underestimate the capacity for people to cooperatively come up with solutions to problems. We have gotten in the habit of assuming that every human problem has to have a government solution. That atrophies our own sympathies and intellect and cedes power to a smaller elite to dictate our actions to us. That is not the path to becoming like God.

    As far as legalizing drugs, prostitution and gambling Ron Paul has said that those decisions should be made on the most local level possible. The problem with the federal government is that it’s a one-size-fits-all policy without room for trying alternative solutions. If we had 50 laboratories of government in the 50 states we would be able to see the outcomes of different approaches to education, law enforcement, social welfare, etc. Right now we have one centralized bureaucracy telling all 300 million of us how things have to be done. That is incredibly inefficient. It’s also hard to get government to respond to us on the federal level. If my city government does something I don’t like it is far easier for me to organize to make changes that it is for me to do the same thing on the federal level.

  37. “As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity, and left with a feeling of failure.

    We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference. When we qualify for the help of the Lord, we can build boys, we can mend men, we can accomplish miracles in His holy service. Our opportunities are without limit.

    “Ours is the task to be fitting examples. We are strengthened by the truth that the greatest force in the world today is the power of God as it works through man. If we are on the Lord’s errand, brethren, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Never forget that truth. That divine help, of course, is predicated upon our worthiness. Each must ask: Are my hands clean? Is my heart pure? Am I a worthy servant of the Lord?”

    President Thomas S. Monson (Source: General Conference, April 2008 )

  38. Nathan Stanford says:

    While many who find it acceptable to dismiss the facts you have listed will in the same breath endorse Romney, a suggestion that the right to life (see pre-emptive war and abortion) is a lesser moral decision than whether an individual is allowed to follow the 11th article of faith and choose for themselves (or at the very least let the states decide those issues which the Constitution does not explicitly grant the Federal Government) concerning issues such as what they put into their body or what they (as adults) choose to do with their bodies (not to be confused with actions against others).

    The ONLY deviations that should be made from following the Constitution is that which the Lord himself reveals through his prophets. For this reason I support at the very least state amendments to the definition of marriage, and I want to support a federal one as well but have not heard language to this extent from the Lord’s prophets on this matter, and so am content with the states making this decision in accordance with the Constitution we recieved from the Lord.

  39. @Etienne: You said “It’s a little unfair. There are prophetic quotes not mentioned in this article that would favor Mitt Romney over Ron Paul.”

    We did not intend to make the chart unfair. If you are aware of prophetic quotes that would change anything on this chart, please let us know, and we would be happy to add or change it.

    Are there any quotes in particular you had in mind?

  40. Jon: You have no idea if ETB or JRC or any other prophet or apostle would vote for Paul and yet your diagram is presented as if they would.

    I have in no way implied that I know who an individual Church leader would vote for. I’ve tried to discern whether a given candidate’s position is aligned with a given set of statements from Church leaders. That’s a much narrower goal.

    Did you honestly try to find any statements that supported the Romney platform or did you just insert the ones that supported Paul.

    I didn’t try to find statements that supported either platform; I started with statements that interested me and went from there to examine the platforms. The topics that interested, granted, are ones that Ron Paul addresses more frequently than other candidates (e.g., the Federal Reserve). And that’s probably because of the phase I’m at in my personal education; if I were to make this chart a few years from now, I might have some different topics, like immigration. But when I branched out to other topics, I frankly found less specific advice (hence the last row of the chart).

    You indicated under other issues that you couldn’t comment toward drugs, prostitution, gambling and elective abortion. I find it interesting that the issues that would show Paul as an extremist you leave out.

    But I didn’t leave them out; I brought them up. I specifically mentioned them so that people would know I had thought about those issues. If people can show me prophetic quotes about the need for federal-level enforcement of those issues, I will gladly add them. I’ve actually brought up those concerns with libertarians who think there should be no laws against those at any level, because I don’t think I agree. Romney and Paul are running for a federal position, but if this were a state election and Ron Paul had declared his intention to de-criminalize things at a state level, you can bet I would post those prophetic quotes and give him at best a ~ and possibly an X (depending on how he formulated his position).

    Using the church for your political gain is what I find appalling.

    In what way do I gain if someone is persuaded? I’m certainly not making any money.

    You are using quotes that support your political views.

    I am using quotes to form my political views (hence “ongoing” and “currently” in the disclaimer).

    I think it is nice that those of you Paul fanatics are so dedicated to your cause. …

    Jon, I’m fine if you want to say that my research was sloppy or shallow, or that I’m underinformed, or I’ve grossly oversimplified complex issues, or that I’ve neglected several key statements. But the distressing thing about your comments is that you feel obliged to make assumptions about my motives. Why can’t we have this discussion while assuming the best of each other? Why can’t we point out flaws in reasoning without assuming flaws in character? Please, if I’m in error, treat me as a fellow Saint and brother in Christ while you show me the specifics of how I’m wrong. I really think we can do this while honoring the Brethren’s call to have more civility.

  41. Joan Stevens says:

    Hi Nathan, I’m looking at your chart comparing Romney and Ron Paul. Under Economy: Bailouts, I see that Ron Paul gets a green check for “Opposes bailouts in all forms.” You have given Romney a red X for “Supported TARP, giving tax money to failing companies and making the federal government part owner.”

    I agree that Ron Paul is opposed to all bailouts. However to me, Romney generally seems against government buyouts. President Benson’s quote says he is against unnecessary government intervention. Romney was against buyouts to the auto industry. Generally I think Romney is against bailouts.

    I think the key is whether TARP was unnecessary. At the debate Wednesday night (Feb. 12), Romney said, With regards to—to TARP it’s very simple, or—or the Wall Street. Look, I don’t want to save any Wall Street Banks. I just don’t want (sic) make sure we lose all of our banks. And like—like President Bush at the time, I was concerned that if we didn’t do something, there were some pretty high risks that not just Wall Street banks, but all banks would collapse. And like many other people—many other economists, they were concerned that our entire currency system would go down. My view is this: we have to have industries that get in trouble, go through bankruptcy.

    The question then is whether the bailout of the banks was essential. If it was, then Romney meets President Benson’s “government intervention only when essential.” In that case, he’d receive a green check.

    See http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/transcript-tonights-cnn-republican-debate-arizona_631777.html?page=3.

  42. “The Constitution under which we live, and which has not only blessed us but has become a model for other constitutions, is our God-inspired national safeguard ensuring freedom and liberty, justice and equality before the law.

    I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets which we have had constantly before us.

    I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn.

    I cannot dismiss from my mind the grim warnings of the Lord as set forth in the 24th chapter of Matthew.

    I am familiar, as are you, with the declarations of modern revelation that the time will come when the earth will be cleansed and there will be indescribable distress, with weeping and mourning and lamentation (see D&C 112:24).

    Now, I do not wish to be an alarmist. I do not wish to be a prophet of doom. I am optimistic. I do not believe the time is here when an all-consuming calamity will overtake us. I earnestly pray that it may not. There is so much of the Lord’s work yet to be done. We, and our children after us, must do it.”

    – President Gordon B. Hinckley (Source: “The Times in Which We Live”, Ensign, Nov. 2001, 72)

  43. For those who continue to say that it is more important to follow a living prophet than a dead one, President Hinckley clearly states, “I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets which we have had constantly before us.”

  44. You’re right, Joan, that the verdict hinges on President Benson’s qualifier “unnecessary.” The reason I put an X was because of some other related quotes questioning the morality of taking from one to give to another. But since I didn’t put all those related quotes on the chart, it’s probably not very clear why I chose X. (And maybe I shouldn’t base my rating of one statement on other statements I have in mind. The biggest challenge is finding one quote that fully summarizes a group of quotes on an idea.)

    You know what would be great? Having an interactive fill-it-in-yourself chart where you could have the prophetic statements, followed by statements from the candidates, and then the user could rate how well-aligned the two were. It would be a really interesting starting point for discussion, to compare the different ratings people made on their respective charts. Maybe some day when I learn how to program … 🙂

    Kristine, I like that you’re posting words of the modern prophets. I think it might add more to the discussion if you would also tell us what specifically about a quote made you post it, and how it relates to this article or the comments.

  45. Nathan Stanford says:

    Ron Paul is a True Statesman! It is an honor to have the rare opportunity to support a man after the manner of our founding fathers!

    See: Sustain the Constitution. NOT More OR Less than this!
    *Do NOT trade Liberty for Security!
    *Voting for ANYONE other than Good & Wise Men Cometh of Evil!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMpPPN_ILEo

    Ron Paul a Good
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckSZsvXIQDM
    AND Wise Man:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvlUx5ECD2w

    See: Joseph Smith Endorses Ron Paul
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGjMIzBENiE

    See: Prophets:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4dpEhXOvgI&feature=related

    See: Spencer W Kimball on Sustaining the Constitution; “The most Urgent Responsibility we have”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTd-CnCMK-8

    See: Spencer W Kimball on What will happen if you dont
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ7LcplfkgY

    Not Enough…. There is no hope for you….”…Depart…I never knew thee”

  46. You know, it occurred to me that, to address some of the concerns people have brought up, maybe I need to add one more specific disclaimer: If another Latter-day Saint comes to different conclusions than I do regarding a chart like this, I do not think they lack a testimony or should have their temple recommend revoked. I do not think Mitt Romney should be excommunicated. I hope that alleviates any fears that apparently arise from bringing in prophetic quotes.

  47. First, I’m impressed at the amount of time and effort you put into this. I was just curious, though, about your use of “prophetic counsel” as the title of it. I know there are many instances when prophets speak as *men* sharing their personal opinions. It feels very misleading to me, particularly in the cases when the quotes you use come from those particular men when they weren’t actually serving as prophet. Plus, even when these men of God are serving as prophets we know sometimes they’ll speak as a *prophet* and sometimes as a *man with an opinion.* Maybe something more along the lines of “Opinions of *some* LDS church leaders on the role of government.” I would think that using “prophetic counsel” would only be appropriate if you were to use quotes used in General Conference or official statements from the Prophet himself. just my opinion, though.

    I tend to agree with others who feel like using prophets to promote a certain candidate isn’t right. And, honestly I’m tired of people thinking that if I were to vote for Romney it’s either because I’m ignorant or a bad Mormon. For the record I’m neither. But, stuff like this really rubs me the wrong way and if anything solidifies my reasons for not supporting Paul.

  48. I’ve heard many, many people say that the majority of the quorum of the Twelve disagreed with Ezra Taft Benson’s political views. I’ve asked every single time for a source.

    The only source I’ve ever been given is an article written by a man named D. Michael Quinn, who made that claim. I went through and read his original sources. After carefully reading the original sources, I can honestly claim that his research is hogwash. Sometimes a source would say something as innocuous and neutral as “Elder Benson and I had a conversation about politics,” and Quinn would write in his article, “So and so chastised Elder Benson about his political views” and use that as his source (these are not a direct quotes, but this is the style that was most frequently employed in his research).

    Considering that Quinn has more recently published an article that claims that Joseph Smith approved of homosexual activity, I think we can dismiss him from the discussion. And absent Quinn, I’ve yet to find a single shred of evidence that anyone, let alone most, of Benson’s contemporaries in Church leadership disagreed with him.

  49. I would think that using “prophetic counsel” would only be appropriate if you were to use quotes used in General Conference or official statements from the Prophet himself.

    I agree that such a chart would be strongest if all the quotes were from general conference or press releases. The main reason I used “prophetic counsel” was to be concise. I felt OK using “prophetic” because that word applies to any apostle, not just the president of the Church. But I specifically avoided words like “doctrine” or “official positions” for the very reasons you bring up. I figure, though, that even when he’s not speaking in general conference, wise words from someone who’s a prophet are very worth our serious consideration.

    Using prophets to promote a certain candidate isn’t right.

    As I’ve mentioned above, I’m not starting with a candidate and using prophets to support him. I’m trying to start with the prophets and examine the candidates accordingly. If others come to different conclusions, I’m interested in hearing their reasons, and I’m not sure that they’re wrong.

    I’m tired of people thinking that if I were to vote for Romney it’s either because I’m ignorant or a bad Mormon.

    I don’t think that of you. Have I said anything to give you that impression?

    Stuff like this really rubs me the wrong way and if anything solidifies my reasons for not supporting Paul.

    I imagine that stuff like this has been done with other candidates, such as by those who support Mitt Romney. It’d be a shame to dismiss a candidate just because one of his supporters does something you don’t like.

  50. You mention immigration–and I think it should be on your chart, if only because direction on immigration is both very recent and obviously the position of the leadership of the church (and not just a single individual). Search the church’s newsroom for “immigration.”

    Of course, putting immigration up there would mean a red check for both Romney and Paul on the same issue…

  51. @Sofia: I think I’m the only one who broached the topic of Mormons voting for Romney simply because he’s Mormon and I didn’t say that was the case of all members of the Church. I simply stated that I am bothered by those I have spoken to who have said that they’re voting for Romney because he’s Mormon. I certainly don’t believe that all members (or even a majority) are behaving that way any more than I believe that all blacks voted for Obama because he’s black like Samuel L. Jackson did. I’m not sure why my statement would make you think that I believe that any Mormon who votes for Romney is a mindless lackey. I’m sorry if I left that impression. I know lots of great, intelligent, faithful members who are support Romney and I like them and love talking to them.

  52. @Tim: Thanks for pointing that immigration info out. I culled this from the Church’s website.

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today issued the following official statement on immigration:

    “Around the world, debate on the immigration question has become intense. That is especially so in the United States. Most Americans agree that the federal government of the United States should secure its borders and sharply reduce or eliminate the flow of undocumented immigrants. Unchecked and unregulated, such a flow may destabilize society and ultimately become unsustainable.

    “As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas.

    “What to do with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing in various states within the United States is the biggest challenge in the immigration debate. The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.

    “The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.

    “As those on all sides of the immigration debate in the United States have noted, this issue is one that must ultimately be resolved by the federal government.

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned that any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.

    “The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.

    “In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.”

    The main points I see are: (1) governments have a right to control their borders, (2) we should respect the dignity of those individuals that the laws would target, and (3) the Church supports a program that would allow those who are already here to continue working without necessarily being allowed citizenship.

    That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Do we know if either of the two candidates we’re discussing falls in line with this counsel?

  53. Ron Paul wants to legalize weed and prostitution! Do you think you could find anything that the modern day church leaders have said regarding those issues?

    • We did find counsel from the Brethren, as we mentioned at the end of the chart. But since it didn’t specify what level of government it should be at (state v. federal), it was hard to know how to apply it to candidates for a federal position. That’s also why we did include the marriage amendment, because we found a statement by the Church PR spokesman clarifying that it did apply to a federal amendment. And if you’ll notice, we didn’t give Ron Paul a green check for that one.

  54. @Nathan – I think what a lot of people are taking offense to is the title that led some of us to your post that said “I Stand With The LDS Prophets ….Who BTW Stand with Ron Paul”. It took me a while to realize that you are the one who wrote the article, but I believe someone else may have added that heading when they posted the link to this site.

    Quite frankly, the Church is politically neutral (come on… how many times have we all heard that letter read from the pulpit?)! NONE of the prophets are standing with ANY political candidate! Because we’re politically neutral!

    And to imply that if you stand with the prophets, you will also stand with Ron Paul is absolutely incorrect! We don’t really know what any of the brethren would say about this because they won’t comment on it because we are a politically NEUTRAL church!!!

    Anthony W. Ivins (who was in the First Presidency) made this comment in the Oct 1932 General Conference: “The Lord in his scripture tells us that no one can come to this land unless he be brought or directed by the Spirit of the Lord, and so he has brought this people here. He brought the faith of the devoted Puritans of New England; he brought the patriotism of the Dutch at New York; he brought the gallantry of the cavaliers of Virginia; the light-hearted energy of the French of New Orleans. Just the kind of composite body of men to establish a government that could not be dominated by any particular race or tongue, but made composite, that all men might be welcomed to it, live under and enjoy its privileges.”

    To me this says that God never intended for everyone to believe exactly the same way. If He really intended to have a puritanical government here in America and nothing else, He would have brought the Puritans and left it at that! I think it’s great that we all think and believe differently — it’s what makes us AMERICA!!!

    For an American President, I am looking for someone who has great leadership skills and can bring ALL sides together to work towards a solution! Someone with honesty and integrity and great character who will do what is right for the people.

    And I am personally voting for the man who I believe is that kind of leader.

    • Ah, maybe that’s what is raising people’s ire. Well, I hope that when readers come here in the future, they’ll not jump to conclusions about me based on what was written by some person I’ve never met. Out of curiosity, where did you link here from?

      I completely agree that the Church is politically neutral and that it could be misleading to say something like “The prophets stand with Ron Paul” if that is intended to imply that they officially endorse him, or that they don’t stand with any other candidate. Of course, neutrality regarding specific candidates or parties doesn’t mean they’ve been neutral about certain political philosophies and principles. I hope that as you search for someone with the leadership qualities you mention (which, by the way, are awesome traits that are attractive to me as well), you also look for whether they adhere to the principles and Constitutional guidelines that the prophets have taught about.

  55. I respect a lot of things Ron Paul says…HOWEVER, he honestly believes that you should be able to do whatever you want in your own home. I believe firmly in personal liberty. But can you honestly tell me that if my neighbor sits in his house doing crack all day that he will continue to be a functioning member of society? That he will hold down a job to support his children and pay taxes? That he will care for and love his wife and children? Morality aside how can you honestly say that there is no societal cost to his actions? This does not happen! What happens is the government will have to intervene and pay for programs to feed and clothes those children. The teachers will have to take more time to help them, Social Services will have to come in because drug users care about doing drugs…not taking care of their children…So morality aside…how could you ever justify that people can do whatever they want in there home..What about prostitution, he believes that should be legal…do you honestly believe if there is a house of prostitution next store to my home that my children are not less safe, that there will be no cost to that in increased violence and drug use in my community? I do think we should audit the fed, if there is a practical way to do it I would love to go to a gold standard…but this is the wrong approach to making a good quality of life for Americans. It is the same in his foreign policy, I agree we have to take care of our country first, but here again Ron Paul cannot see how we are an interconnected world at all. I feel like this is his deal breaking weakness, he cannot comprehend the interconnective relationships to things. Actions do not happen in isolation.

  56. “I believe firmly in personal liberty. But can you honestly tell me that if my neighbor sits in his house doing crack all day that he will continue to be a functioning member of society? … What happens is the government will have to intervene and pay for programs to feed and clothes those children.”

    This is a contradiction in terms. In a free society such as Ron Paul advocates, the government WON’T pay for programs to feed and clothe the man’s children. That’s socialism. The sentence, “Freedom is bad, because then the government has to shoulder the responsibility and pay for taking care of people who won’t take care of themselves,” is self-contradictory. In a world without socialism, the government doesn’t shoulder the costs of individual mistakes.

    People have often used the argument with me that people shouldn’t use drugs because then they won’t support their families. Well, that may be true… but if you are going to criminalize something, criminalize child neglect, not taking drugs. Because people use LOTS of things as a distraction from taking care of their families. Are we going to criminalize World of Warcraft, because fathers who get addicted to it don’t take care of their families?

    By criminalizing child neglect, you can prosecute those who neglect their families, and leave the ones without families (or who don’t neglect their family) alone. By criminalizing the actual wrongdoing (child neglect), rather than the particular method of wrongdoing (drugs, World of Warcraft, too much time at the office, gambling, whatever it is), you can avoid painting with too broad a brush. Outlawing drugs because some people who take drugs neglect their families is like outlawing guns because some people use guns to kill. Well, people use LOTS of things to kill, and likewise, people have LOTS of excuses to neglect their families. Take one away, and they’ll turn to another. That’s why killing is illegal, but owning a gun is not (or shouldn’t be). That’s why neglecting one’s children is illegal, but using drugs shouldn’t be.

    Also, Ron Paul has no power to affect state law, nor does he want that power. As president, he would only affect FEDERAL law. And the Constitution of the United States prohibits the FEDERAL government from categorically outlawing drugs. As Latter-day Saints, we believe in honoring and respecting the constraints of the Constitution. Current FEDERAL drug laws are blatantly unconstitutional, and such questions should be turned back over to the states. So on a Federal level, Ron Paul is absolutely right: the only action that is consistent with the Constitution (and with the Lord’s instructions to follow the Constitution) is to repeal Federal drug legislation and turn that back to the states, where the Constitution places it.

  57. Del Hargis says:

    Thanks for taking the time to care enough to do your research and to share what you have found. To all the trolls who have attacked you because they think you have stepped out of bounds using the words of Mormon Prophets to influence your decision and encourage others who share your faith, pay them no mind, if your research would have supported their guy most of them would have applauded you.

    Also, to all the trolls who have suggested that there are word Prophets have spoken that could be used to support others including Hitlers political stands, ignore them to. Instead challenge them to go a head and prove it. I’d like to see their list.

    Lastly, I’m not a Mormon so I don’t know everything about your churches history, but I do find it odd that because President Benson’s views on politics were so vocal and against main stream opinions that so many Mormons almost act like he really wasn’t a real Prophet of yours. That’s why using so many of his quotes don’t really count. It’s like he’s the odd-ball uncle in the family no one wants to talk about.

    So many Mormons I know tell me they are voting for Romney but can’t tell me any real reasons based on policies as to why. It seems in many cases to me it’s almost like it would be great for many Mormon’s ego’s to have a Mormon in the White House.

    Keep up the good work. It may not perfect, but what is in this lifetime? You are willing to look deeper than most and make your choices based on what your conscious tells you not what you just want to conveniently believe. I admire you for that.

  58. For me it’s not so much a Pokemon-style battle of “My Benson quote trumps your Brigham quote.”

    It’s correct that varying leaders have advocated varying roles of government, but they’ve all maintained that the Constitution ought to be upheld as inviolable law over the operatives of the state who claim their offices from it’s enactment. Romney and the entire rest of the crop are soooo far off from even acknowledging in anything other than general lip-service (and only in this current election cycle) that there’s no comparison.

    To me it comes down to one thing. When you strip all of the fiction and rituals away, Government is just a group of people using force. There is a right and a wrong about why and when force is justified and that right and wrong applies to people’s actions whether they’re government or not. You can’t or shouldn’t grant a “right” to government to do something on your behalf that you wound not be justified in doing individually yourself to another child of God.

    Jesus lived that law perfectly (and even beyond it given his submission to violations of his rights). He never called for government force, or individual force, to impose his and righteous objectives upon anyone. That’s the example I apply to my own actions and the actions of those claiming to act on my behalf as “government.”

  59. In all fairness for item number one, at the very least in the Iraq situation, it’s a little extreme to give Mit an X. President Hinckley gave a talk in the April 2003 Conference called “War and Peace.” He doesn’t denounce the war and he doesn’t promote it, though he implies that his feelings leaned in the direction of supporting the war. I think it’s fair to allow Mit to support the Iraq war without saying that he’s not in line with prophetic teachings.

  60. MIchael Mink says:

    I think you need to read the Book of Mormon instead of putting down Mitt Romney and be a better member of your church.Act like a member and quit trying to run off the members you have.I believe you’re quiet stupid for that matter. Mitt Romney is a great man and will be a good president of these states of America…

  61. Hi Jason —

    You make a great point and I think in my next version of the chart, I’ll just take Iraq out of the column completely. I think you’re right — the Prophetic stance on the Iraq War does seem to be ambiguous, so it’s not accurate to hold Romney to that stance one way or another.

    The Iraq War was a difficult one on this chart for a couple of reasons.

    First, like you said, President Hinckley never said the Iraq War was justified in his talk. Because of this ambiguity, I’ve seen people use it for and against the War in Iraq. I think you’re right to say that he didn’t denounce it and didn’t promote it. I think you’re right to say that because we can’t know for sure what President Hinckley meant, that I shouldn’t say Romney went against what President Hinckley said.

    Second, the U.S. had already entered the war in Iraq when the talk was given, so President Hinckley’s comments can’t necessarily be used to show that starting the war was justified. They could, however, be used to show that we should finish the job we went into Iraq for. Kind of a “Since we’re already there, let’s make the best of it.”

    Because of point #2 above, it might be best just to remove “He supported the invasion of Iraq,” because it’s too hard to tell if the Prophet was for or against beginning the Iraq War. But even if we took that phrase off of the chart, Romney still favored attacks on Libya and favors pre-emptive attacks on Iran — which would still leave an “X” in his column.

    Thanks, Jason for your comment. It was insightful and helpful in getting the chart to be as accurate as possible.

  62. I applaud your research however the cuurent prophet has said “The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.”.

  63. Derek Porter says:

    I can’t find the I can’t seem to find the source for the claim that the church supports a federal marriage amendement. 10 July 2004 LDS Newsroom doesn’t seem to exist.

  64. Derek Porter says:

    In fact, how does Mitt Romney get a green check on marriage when Oaks says outright its a state issue, and Romney seeks a federal amendment?

  65. @Del Hargis: Thank you for your kind words. I don’t think most of the people who have disagreed with me on this thread count as trolls. I see trolls as people that antagonize just because they enjoy being contrary and watching people get angry. The people above genuinely disagree with me and, even if I think some were being rude or not thinking things through completely, I still don’t think they could accurately be labeled trolls.

    Del Hargis: I do find it odd that because President Benson’s views on politics were so vocal and against main stream opinions that so many Mormons almost act like he really wasn’t a real Prophet of yours.

    That’s a hefty indictment, especially coming from someone who’s not Mormon. I agree with you.

    @Michael Mink: My intention is not to put down Mitt Romney. He may be a great man, but even great men have faults, and I think this may be a blindspot of his. I wouldn’t go out of my way to point out anyone’s blindspot except that he’s running for public office, which requires having others examine one side of you, namely your public policies. And members who disagree with me don’t need to be “run off”; they could instead choose to just thoughtfully consider these points and change their opinion or leave it the same. Also, I’m unsure how the Book of Mormon tied into your comment. What passage did you have in mind, and what principle does it teach that you were saying applied to this situation?

    @Melissa: You’re right: the Church does not elect politicians; the members do. Even though the Church as an institution doesn’t pick candidates or parties, we’ve been specifically instructed by the First Presidency as individuals to pick candidates and participate in parties. We’ve also been told to educate ourselves when doing so, and to study the counsel of the Brethren on government (see the quote at the top of the chart). This chart is my attempt to do so.

    @Derek Porter: The link to the newsroom announcement is in the PDF. In case it isn’t working for you, here it is: http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/45827/First-Presidency-statement-Constitutional-amendment.html

    Derek Porter: How does Mitt Romney get a green check on marriage when Oaks says outright its a state issue, and Romney seeks a federal amendment?

    Great question. We put both quotes in the chart (First Presidency and Elder Oaks) because at first glance they almost seem to contradict each other. But they’re actually very consistent. The way we read it, the Church’s position is, “The Constitution does not currently authorize the federal government to regulate marriage. [Elder Oaks’s point] We’d like to change that through an amendment. [the First Presidency statement’s point]” It makes sense if you think about it. If the Church thinks a federal amendment is needed, then of course that means the federal government currently lacks that power. Does that make sense?

  66. It’s disingenuous and, in my opinion, dishonest of you to say that you started with the prophets then worked your way to a candidate. If that’s true, you don’t give much evidence that you looked very hard.

    Total references = 19
    References to Ezra Taft Benson, notorious Bircher, speaking outside of General Conference = 9

    You may not have done it intentionally, but by every objective appearance, you already decided who you support politically and looked for citations to support your position.

    Finally, it’s silly that you blithely dismiss those who are offended by the title “Prophetic Counsel” by saying that you don’t intend it to be official Church policy that Mormons should vote from Ron Paul. If “Prophetic Counsel” doesn’t mean “Godly Counsel” then the word “prophetic” has no meaning. Pres. Monson and current, living Church leaders have not endorsed Ron Paul.

    All of this criticism comes from a person who agrees with Ron Paul on quite a few issues.

  67. The personal opinions of Ezra Taft Benson and J Ruben Clark are just that, personal opinions. Just because they would have voted for Ron Paul does not mean that other apostles and prophets would have. For instance, James E Faust was a Democrat and I doubt he would have voted for Ron Paul. Several other church leaders are Democrats too, and if they spoke as openly about politics, they would have said very different things. Many church leaders are mainstream Republicans and will vote for Romney but not say a word about it.

    I personally look to the scriptures directly. D&C 98:33-37 outlines a process by which preemptive war is justified against an enemy that is preparing to come to war against you, or already has. Even by David O McKay’s 1942 quote on defending a weaker nation from an invader, the war with Iraq was justified. Iraq had invaded Kuwait, we kicked Iraq’s butt, then declared a cease fire, with terms that Iraq must stop supporting terrorists, stop killing its own people, etc. Iraq tried to assassinate George H W Bush during a visit to Kuwait (act of terrorism) as well as continued to kill the Kurds and others who opposed the dictatorship of Sadam. Sadam broke the cease fire, so George W Bush told Sadam several times he had to step down or we would use force. When Bush said Sadam and his boys had 48 hours to leave the country, I remember thinking, that is 3 times (D&C 98:35) and felt we were justified in going to war. Not all Latter-day Saints would agree with me, which is the point that many members will come to different conclusions b reading the same things.

  68. I kind of thought it was a cop-out that you did not include a comparison of the views on drugs and prostitution just because you couldn’t find quotes on whether they should be regulated at the state or federal level. Remember, the church is a world-wide organization, while the idea of state vs. federal laws is an American issue; many nations do not have the same system of state powers vs. federal powers. From the prophet’s point of view, if something should be illegal, is should be illegal. The process by which the people get to that point is up to the people working within the system of government they have. The focus of the prophet is to bring people to Christ, not tell them how to manage political processes, even when laws are designed to reflect the commandments of God, or to help people stay within the bounds the Lord has set.

    Ron Paul openly advocates legalizing drugs (hence much of his college support) and I presume he supports legalizing prostitution since laws against it infringe on the “liberty” of the people who choose to be involved with it. I cannot vote for Ron Paul for several reasons, this is just one of them.

    Copping out on this shows your bias, and undermines an otherwise interesting piece of work. However, your over-reliance upon private works (instead of Conference talks) by Ezra Taft Benson also shows your bias.

  69. Under “Foreign Relation” you cite that J. Ruben Clark was opposed to membership in the United Nations. Are you aware that the Church has an official liaison to the UN? I’m not sure who it is now, but Admiral Paul A. Yost Jr., former Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard, recently finished a mission as the Church’s official representative to the UN. Kind of undermines your conclusion that the church is opposed to the UN.

  70. Derek Porter says:

    Your PDF link is not the Official LDS Newsroom, it is Deseret News. So those things are even less consistent in my mind.

  71. Hey Jeffery T.

    You state that the Federal war on drugs is unconstitutional. But let me ask you, where does all that cocaine come from? It is imported from Columbia, Bolivia, or Peru. The Constitution gives the Federal Government authority over importation of anything into the country. So, you are wrong.

  72. Jeffrey T says:

    Lee,

    The Federal government will currently jail me if I grow a plant in my basement.

    That has nothing to do with interstate or foreign commerce.

  73. Jeffrey T says:

    Lee: “I kind of thought it was a cop-out that you did not include a comparison of the views on drugs and prostitution just because you couldn’t find quotes on whether they should be regulated at the state or federal level. Remember, the church is a world-wide organization, while the idea of state vs. federal laws is an American issue; many nations do not have the same system of state powers vs. federal powers. From the prophet’s point of view, if something should be illegal, is should be illegal. The process by which the people get to that point is up to the people working within the system of government they have.”

    Lee, you are right that other nations do not have a separation between state and federal powers. However, this is completely irrelevant to the current situation, since we’re exploring what is appropriate in *this* nation. In *this* nation, there is a separation between state and federal power embedded in the Constitution. And since the prophets and the scriptures repeatedly and emphatically encourage us to respect the Constitution, the quotes in question may not be relevant on a Federal level.

    Lee “From the prophet’s point of view, if something should be illegal, is should be illegal.”

    Not if it violates the Constitution, unless the prophet explicitly says so.

  74. Aaron: “It’s disingenuous and, in my opinion, dishonest of you to say that you started with the prophets then worked your way to a candidate. If that’s true, you don’t give much evidence that you looked very hard.”

    @Aaron: You’re right—it’s obvious from the chart how limited my reading has been so far. As I said above to Tim when he made the same observation, this chart suffers from a lack of breadth in sources, and so I understand if it’s not very compelling in that regard. I plan to keep reading and furthering my education. I would love to be pointed toward other sources I should check out to get a broader exposure to what general authorities have said about politics. Please help me in my education by giving me recommendations, especially conference talks, as you said. I don’t consider this chart a finished product. This discussion has already given me a change or two I plan to make.

    Aaron: “It’s silly that you blithely dismiss those who are offended by the title “Prophetic Counsel” by saying that you don’t intend it to be official Church policy that Mormons should vote from Ron Paul. If “Prophetic Counsel” doesn’t mean “Godly Counsel” then the word “prophetic” has no meaning. Pres. Monson and current, living Church leaders have not endorsed Ron Paul.”

    I have to disagree with your interpretation of “prophetic” being necessarily equated to “official endorsement.” If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that if I point out how a person’s actions are consistent with a prophet’s wisdom, then I’m implying that the Church officially wants all members to vote for that candidate. If you, say, point out how a certain brand of clothing is consistent with the For the Strength of Youth guidelines on modesty, that doesn’t mean you’re implying the Church officially endorses that brand. It means you’re making a recommendation and giving your rationale. I would think the Lord would encourage us to share with each other “good finds” like that.

    Lee: The personal opinions of Ezra Taft Benson and J Ruben Clark are just that, personal opinions. Just because they would have voted for Ron Paul does not mean that other apostles and prophets would have. For instance, James E Faust was a Democrat and I doubt he would have voted for Ron Paul.

    @Lee: I have never claimed to know who various general authorities will vote for. I imagine there will be some variety among their choices.

    Your comments about D&C 98 and the Iraq War are intriguing. I will definitely go re-read that passage and think it over. Thank you for sharing that opinion. That is exactly the kind of good discussion I hoped this chart would raise.

    Lee: Under “Foreign Relation” you cite that J. Ruben Clark was opposed to membership in the United Nations. Are you aware that the Church has an official liaison to the UN? … Kind of undermines your conclusion that the church is opposed to the UN.

    Regarding the Church’s liaison to the UN, the Church has liaisons with all kinds of organizations. If they liaise with the Catholic Church, does that mean they accept her claims to uninterrupted authority? If they liaise with China, does that mean they embrace communism and widespread censorship? I think the Brethren are excellent at “making unto themselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness” in order to make progress from the present condition. (And no, I’m not saying the Catholic Church is unrighteous; I’m just referring to the scriptural principle that an entity doesn’t have to be perfect or inspired before you can work with it.) Daniel was a governor for the leader of a brutal empire that was portrayed as a vicious beast in vision, yet he was somehow able to be a high-level employee of that empire while still hoping for its eventual replacement.

    Derek Porter: “Your PDF link is not the Official LDS Newsroom, it is Deseret News. So those things are even less consistent in my mind.

    @Derek Porter: Do you think the First Presidency really issued that statement, or do you think the Church-owned Deseret News made it up or somehow got wrong such an important, straightforward news item?

  75. Read Flake says:

    I found this very interesting and a great academic exercise. However, I think the decision of which candidate you support comes down to whether you are an idealist or a pragmatist. Ron Paul has exactly a 0% chance of being elected president (e.g. he has won 0 states to date). His followers know this, but support him anyway because of the ideals and views he espouses (many of which are very admirable).

    Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has a very real shot at becoming the first LDS President of the U.S. Has he always been perfectly aligned with every political view of the church? No. But is he is a faithful member who lives LDS values and is a good representative of the church? Yes. Imagine the very real impact he would have in raising the profile and visibility of the church worldwide. The impact on missionary work would be profound. Mitt needs every bit of support to be elected. I personally am not going to sit back and fantasize about a Ron Paul presidency and let this historical opportunity slip away.

    Read
    Oswego, IL

  76. Read Flake: “Ron Paul has exactly a 0% chance of being elected president (e.g. he has won 0 states to date).”

    I agree that Romney has a good chance at winning, but I disagree that Paul does not have a good chance.

    Two points about why your statement isn’t true:

    1. Winning the nomination is about the number of delegates a candidate has, not about how many states you have come out first in. Ron Paul is actually second behind Romney in the number of delegates. The other two candidates aren’t even on the all the ballots in several other states, but both Paul and Romney are on every ballot.

    2. The most recent national Rasmussen poll has shown that among all voters (this includes Democrats), Ron Paul is actually first in beating Obama. The question was phrased, “If the election was held today between Obama and ______, who would you vote for?”

    Paul gets lots of Democrat and independent voters, which is what he absolutely needs if he will be going to head to head with Obama. Romney comes in a close second to Paul when including all groups, but he doesn’t fare nearly as well as Paul in the Democrat and independent category among voters.

    Read Flake: Has [Mitt Romney] always been perfectly aligned with every political view of the church? No. But is he is a faithful member who lives LDS values and is a good representative of the church? Yes.”

    That’s exactly my point. Romney has not aligned very well with what the prophets have said, and the prophets have said our candidate should align with true principles. Ron Paul hasn’t aligned perfectly with the Brethren either, but from what I’ve read, he’s far closer than Romney. Again, I’m still learning, so I welcome insight that might help me see how Romney aligns more with the Constitution and with the Brethren. Church leaders have told us how to pick our political leaders, and although living with high values is very important, it is not the only “measuring stick” they’ve given us. By that standard, Ron Paul also has lived a moral life, too.

    There are two others that many Latter-day Saints seem to be forgetting when choosing a candidate: the Constitution and the words of the prophets. To me, this is where Romney falls short. The Brethren have never said to vote for the candidate who has the “most likely” chance of winning even if that candidate isn’t the best one. I have also never seen any statement by the Brethren that says a candidate’s particular religion should be a factor in voting; only their policies and ideas should be factors. Church leaders have asked us to vote on who upholds principles of good government. After all that, if someone feels that it is still Romney, then that’s fine. But I wish people would use the criteria the Church leaders have given us about who to vote for. I think we might have far fewer people voting on someone who could “beat Obama,” and far more people voting based on principles, which is what the Brethren have asked us to do.

    When Joseph Smith ran as President of the United States, I don’t think he thought he was going to win. He was running to get his principles and ideas of good government on the table. And if his ideas would have matched up with ideas of good government, then I would have voted for him regardless of whether not he would have won.

    If you have two moral leaders, but “candidate A” upholds the Constitution and more closely aligns with the counsel of the Brethren better than the “candidate B”, it seems to me that “candidate A” would be the more appropriate one to vote for.

    Read Flake: Imagine the very real impact he would have in raising the profile and visibility of the church worldwide. The impact on missionary work would be profound. “

    If one of your criteria for choosing a candidate is whether it’d have a good impact on the Church worldwide, then you might actually not want a Mormon president. In general, anyone promoting any conservative ideals is usually blasted by the liberal-leaning media. Even if it’s not fair, it’s inevitably going to happen. Remember all the rabid animosity felt all over the world toward George W. Bush? Now imagine that negative sentiment being directed toward the Church because the much-maligned president was Mormon. It’s not a pretty prospect to me. I don’t think it’s at all justified to assume that Mormon president = Good PR for the Church. It could very well be the exact opposite. And of course, to my knowledge, Church leaders have not given that as a reason to vote for someone.

  77. Read Flake says:

    Thanks for your comments. But you can’t possibly be serious that Ron Paul has a good chance to win. I am fully aware that it is the delegates, not the states that decides the nomination. But as Ron Paul himself said on Fox News last night, you eventually have to win some states to become the nominee (current score: Romney 12, Paul 0). But yes, it is about the delegates and Romney currently has 186, Paul is in 3rd place (not 2nd) with 46 (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2012/calculator/). And after Tuesday, you will see that gap much larger. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but Paul WILL NOT WIN. Period. Even Ron Paul knows he can’t win. If you want to support him for idealogical reasons, that’s fine. But there is no practical reason to do so. And by withholding support from Romney, you are effectively strengthening Obama. But again, that’s your right.

    Also, OF COURSE the Brethren don’t say to vote for members of the church or for those who would give the church the most exposure. That would jeopardize the church’s tax exempt status. But to me, it’s not too hard for me to figure out what would be in the best interest of the church.

  78. Chet Johnson says:

    This is an interesting exercise, but I think you need to be a little more careful about what you define as “prophetic counsel”. I don’t question your motives or your sincerity, but I do believe your methods are a little lacking. Like everyone else does these days (including me), you started with the end in mind and worked backwards to find support for your opinions. You cherry-picked issues and quotes that presented Paul as the candidate who best “follows the prophets”.

    Let me illustrate the weaknesses inherent in this chart. Taking just the first issue in the chart, you shared some very old quotes that were specifically addressing the war in Europe which was a war of well-defined nations and which many in the U.S. believed did not directly threaten the U.S. Why didn’t you go with something a little more recent and relevant? Here’s a quote from President Hinckley in 2003, speaking specifically about the war in Iraq (which makes it significantly more relevant):

    “Furthermore, we are a freedom-loving people, committed to the defense of liberty wherever it is in jeopardy. I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do. It may even be that He will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression.”

    Obviously, that quote can be interpreted just like the ones you shared and I am in no way trying to assign a specific political opinion to God or His servants (you know, because that is what I’m saying we shouldn’t do). However, I think that the point is clear that “prophetic counsel” is much more than individual quotes by people who at some point were given the keys to the Kingdom of God on Earth and that Prophets can take different positions on similar political topics. In the chart, nearly all of your quotes are very old and were given when the world was incredibly different than it is now. Also, a significant portion of them are from sources that could not be considered “prophetic counsel” even with the most liberal definition of that term.

    Not everything that a Prophet says is prophetic counsel. I was once in a meeting with Elder Ballard and he beat the point into our heads very clearly that God allows Apostles and Prophets to have opinions and to share those opinions and that they do not necessarily represent God’s opinion on that specific matter. He said that a Prophet will make it very clear when he’s speaking as a Prophet and that “prophetic counsel” is something that is endorsed by the 1st Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.

    Looking through the chart, it occurred to me that, not only could I provide quotes like the above for each of your sections, but I also felt confident that, with a little effort, I could come up with my own chart of quotes that would make it look like Obama is the candidate who best follows “prophetic counsel” . Of course, to do so, I’d have to cherry pick issues and quotes and it would all be a mirage.

    That’s really my point here though, isn’t it? It’s nice that you’re putting forth some effort to get educated rather than just picking a candidate based on an SNL skit you watched and I have neither the right nor the ability to say that the opinion at which you arrive is right or wrong because I can’t tell you what your values should be. Really, all I’m saying is that I’m uncomfortable with you trying to present political views as carrying the mantle of “being in line with prophetic counsel”. Such a claim carries the obvious inference that those opinions are God’s opinion (because His mouthpiece allegedly shares them while acting as said mouthpiece). That’s a dangerous place to start playing, in my opinion. For the record, I get equally uncomfortable when members of the church say things like, “Harry Reid shouldn’t have a temple recommend because of his political views.” (yes, I’ve heard that more than once).

  79. This is great! It is a nice concise size as is, but it would also be interesting to expand it to include other criteria, like another column just for scriptural references (like D&C 98 and all the Book of Mormon passages that condemn pre-emptive war as was already mentioned in a previous comment).
    Another column based solely on constitutional arguments would lead to the same conclusions and strongly condemn Romney while highlighting Paul’s valiant efforts to defend the constitution (seriously – how can someone take an oath to defend the constitution when they have publicly attacked the 4th, 5th, 6th amendments as Romney has with his support for the PATRIOT Act (a.k.a. Repeal the 4th amendment act) and the NDAA (a.k.a. End Habeas Corpus and repeal the 5th and 6th Amendments Act) People like Romney are the ones the oath is talking about when it says to defend against “enemies foreign and DOMESTIC”.

    Regarding the mentions of idealistic vs. practical reasons to hold your nose and vote for Romney because “He can win” – do you realize that that kind of thinking is self-fulfilling? What if everyone instead committed to vote on principle and share those reasoned principles no matter the cost, and believed that truth is contagious? That thinking is self-fulfilling too. Do you give up on missionary work because Satan has an overwhelming hold on peoples hearts, or do you trust that if you do what is right that God will make up the difference? Politics is no different. If everyone who said “I think Ron Paul is the better candidate, but he can’t win” actually voted for Ron Paul and shared their conviction with their friends and family, then guess what…Ron Paul WOULD WIN, and the ideal would become reality! The polls show he is more likely to beat Obama than Romney, but bankers and media who don’t want their power rocked by a true grass-roots people’s candidate are using the “unelectability” rumor to create the outcome they desire. Everyone who repeats it is giving them more power over the people to maintain the status quo.

    Another interesting column to add to the chart might be books that have been recommended or written by prophets that support or refute the candidates views. (to facilitate further study)

  80. Jeffrey T says:

    Read Flake: But to me, it’s not too hard for me to figure out what would be in the best interest of the church.

    I think it’s in the best interests of the church not to have a Mormon as the commander in chief of an invading army in the middle east. That’s bound to stir up resentment against Mormons.

    We should never sacrifice principles for attention. I have a friend who decided to not keep the Sabbath day holy and play sports on Sunday, because then he has a shot at fame, and with that fame, he can do good for the church. My thoughts: fame without principle is worthless. By sacrificing principles for fame, even for an ostensibly good cause, I believe my friend has effectively neutered himself as a real force for good.

    The same with Romney. He does not follow the Constitution, and he does not recognize good principles of government. Sure, he’ll be in a prominent position, but that does not necessarily do the church service unless his conduct in office is principled. I don’t believe it will be.

    You imply that the church really does want us to all vote for Romney, but just can’t say it because of fear of losing tax-exempt status. I must disagree, very strongly so.

  81. Dallin Oaks had made some VERY clear comments about “legislating morality” – this argues pretty convincingly against some of the “absolute liberty” arguments I hear from many who support Ron Paul. I don’t know if there is a way to find specific quotes on that to include in your chart, but I think it would make some intereesting talk points.

    It’s one of the things I am still tossing around iin my mind when I try to look at the candidates.

    I like much of what Ron Paul says, but I do have many questions about his foreign policy, and the McKay quote really stands out to me … I have questions about taking liberty to the point of endorsing immorality…and I have questions about his electability….

    That said, I have plenty of questions about Romney, too…

    Ah, politics, ain’t it great???

  82. Gordon B. Hinckley: “In 1933 there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state. I was on a mission, working in London, England, when I read the newspaper headlines that screamed, ‘Utah Kills Prohibition.’ President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel. On this occasion I am not going to talk about the good or bad of Prohibition but rather of uncompromising loyalty to the Church.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Loyalty,” Ensign, May 2003, 58 )

    So here is one quote I found re: legalizing drugs/alcohol—obviously this would give Ron Paul a red X on wanting to decriminalize ALL drug use. … Would have to look further at Romney’s position …

  83. “If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law on this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices. Should we decriminalize or lighten the legal consequences of child abuse? of cruelty to animals? of pollution? of fraud? of fathers who choose to abandon their families for greater freedom or convenience?

    Similarly, some reach the pro-choice position by saying we should not legislate morality. Those who take this position should realize that the law of crimes legislates nothing but morality. Should we repeal all laws with a moral basis so our government will not punish any choices some persons consider immoral? Such an action would wipe out virtually all of the laws against crimes. ”

    This is a small excerpt from Dallin Oaks’ “Weightier Matters” he uses similar language in many talks, in fact more blunt in some cases. Just search for “legislate morality” at lds.org or google and you can read a lot more…

    This is my main issue with a hard-line Ron Paul stance (or John Birch stance) or whatever that puts individual “rights” over legislating morality….

  84. Yvonne,

    What you fail to understand is that The Constitution, you know that “inspired heavenly banner”, does not allow the government the power to legislate any of those things. In fact it prevents the federal government from having any of those powers specifically because it can use those powers to attack liberty and freedom. It does reserve those powers to the states though. And the states can legally regulate such things as drugs and alcohol. And that is where those things can rightfully and honorably be legislated.

    Your post doesn’t call into question whether I should support Ron Paul’s position on this. That is because in every case modern revelation on specific issues can give guidance on what should be done (ex: your post about Prohibition). But those specific examples are not always generally applicable beyond their specific times. And in our times God has given no specific guidance through his current prophets. So I have to rely on His past guidance. And that past guidance has been overwhelmingly for the issues of liberty and freedom in a way very similar to how Ron Paul exemplifies them as the illustration above has shown.

  85. My problem with Romney is simple, and can be summarized as Article 1, Section 8 and Article 2 of The Constitution. These lay out the powers of Congress and the duties of the President. These are the ONLY powers the Federal Government has. Christ has said that any law that is more, or exceeds, these bounds “cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:5-7) Mitt Romney, through his positions has already declared his purpose is to exceed his rightful power as President and increase the Federal powers beyond their legal limitations. I will not vote for someone who has vowed to break the law, violate the Constitution, and violate my liberty. That anyone would blows my mind. I make no judgments on his personal character, but his politics are just completely wrong.

    And politically the differences between his policies and Barack Obama’s are negligible. Both want expansive welfare, expansive illegal wars, Romney was for Obamacare before he was against it (not surprising considering he approved Romneycare, Obamacare’s model),Romney supports the Patriot Act, devaluing currency, heavy borrowing thereby increasing our debt, the stimulus spending, and the NDAA. Just to name a few.Santorum and Gingrich are the same.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate standing for liberty and reverse the trend of government from taking out liberties to fulfilling its limited legal role. How anyone couldn’t support him over trifles is ridiculous. more is at stake here and they refuse to vote for him over where he stands on federal pot laws. You’re selling your birthright for porridge!

  86. Natalie says:

    @Jason and Jelaire: Here is what I read in Gordon B. Hinckley’s talk “War and Peace”:

    “We sometimes are prone to glorify the great empires of the past, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and in more recent times, the vast British Empire. But there is a darker side to every one of them. There is a grim and tragic overlay of brutal conquest, of subjugation, of repression, and an astronomical cost in life and treasure.

    “The great English essayist Thomas Carlyle once ironically shared the observation, ‘God must needs laugh outright, could such a thing be, to see his wondrous mannikins here below’ (quoted in Sartor Resartus [1836], 182). I think our Father in Heaven must have wept as He has looked down upon His children through the centuries as they have squandered their divine birthright in ruthlessly destroying one another.

    “There have been casualties in this terrible conflict, and there likely will be more. Public protests will likely continue. Leaders of other nations have, in no uncertain terms, condemned the coalition strategy…

    “The question arises, ‘Where does the Church stand in all of this?’

    “First, let it be understood that we have no quarrel with the Muslim people or with those of any other faith. We recognize and teach that all the people of the earth are of the family of God. And as He is our Father, so are we brothers and sisters with family obligations one to another.

    “But as citizens we are all under the direction of our respective national leaders…

    “When all is said and done, we of this Church are people of peace. We are followers of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Prince of Peace…

    “This places us in the position of those who long for peace, who teach peace, who work for peace, but who also are citizens of nations and are subject to the laws of our governments…

    “…I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do…”

    Did this really sound as if he was condoning the war?

  87. Natalie says:

    @yvonne: Sounds like he’s speaking to Mitt Romney here, doesn’t it?

    “If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law on this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices.” (Dallin Oaks’ “Weightier Matters”)

  88. Natalie says:

    “The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments… There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, ‘We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.’ ” (D.Todd Christofferson, Moral Discipline).

  89. Natalie: “Did this really sound as if [President Hinckley] was condoning the [Iraq] war?”

    Great comment. I’m not sure if you already read my reply to a someone else who voiced the same concern above, but this is a change we plan to make in the next version of the chart by taking out the mention of the Iraq war in Romney’s column.

    Here is basically what I said earlier. I’d refer to the comment, but since they’re not numbered, that makes it kinda hard! 🙂 So, I’ll just re-post what I said earlier. I hope that’s ok.

    It seems that the Prophetic stance on the Iraq War does seem to be ambiguous, so it’s not accurate to hold Romney to that stance one way or another.

    The Iraq War was a difficult one on this chart for a couple of reasons.

    First, like you said, President Hinckley never said the Iraq War was justified in his talk. Because of this ambiguity, I’ve seen people use it for and against the War in Iraq. Because we can’t know for sure what President Hinckley meant, it’s probably not accurate to say Romney went against what President Hinckley said.

    Second, the U.S. had already entered the war in Iraq when the talk was given, so President Hinckley’s comments can’t necessarily be used to show that starting the war was justified. They could, however, be used to show that we should finish the job we went into Iraq for. Kind of a “Since we’re already there, let’s make the best of it.”

    Because of point #2 above, it might be best just to remove “He supported the invasion of Iraq,” because it’s too hard to tell if the Prophet was for or against beginning the Iraq War. But even if we took that phrase off of the chart, Romney still favored attacks on Libya and favors pre-emptive attacks on Iran — which would still leave an “X” in his column.

  90. Well, just to clarify, to me the answer to the question “Did this really sound as if he was condoning the war?” would be obvious “no”. I didn’t see how he was condoning the war after speaking against wars, against empires (policing the world), and stating the following:

    “The question arises, ‘Where does the Church stand in all of this?’ First, let it be understood that we have no quarrel with the Muslim people or with those of any other faith. We recognize and teach that all the people of the earth are of the family of God. And as He is our Father, so are we brothers and sisters with family obligations one to another.

    But as citizens we are all under the direction of our respective national leaders.”

    So, obviously, the church is for peace, “But as citizens we are all under the direction of our respective national leaders because” and “are subject to the laws of our governments”.

    I don’t think you should remove “He supported the invasion of Iraq”. Even President Bush acknowledged that the Iraq war was a mistake and that it had nothing to do with terrorism:

  91. you’re obviously into ron paul and against mitt. bet you i can make a chart that makes mitt good and ron paul bad.

    in the proclamation on the family, the prophets warned that ignoring the counsel on the family will bring upon calamities foretold by ancient prophets. suppose ron paul is able to do all that he promised but let america’s morality sink down because he lets gay marriage be practised, then that would still bring calamities that no amount of economic progress can recover from. i would rather have a leader that may be wrong on everything else except on the one most important issue and that is morality especially that of preserving the family.

  92. I think you’re absolutely right that it’s a very real possibility that one issue may, in the Lord’s mind, outweigh all the other issues. That was something I found interesting in doing this comparison. In your weighing of the issues, if you decide that marriage trumps all other issues, I actually really empathize with your decision.

    One factor you may consider: As I understand it, Ron Paul favors deregulating marriage at the Federal level; he has said to leave marriage definitions to the individual states. As long as the Constitution’s good faith and credit clause is not invoked to force one state’s definition on another’s (and Ron Paul would not invoke it), it’s very possible to follow the First Presidency’s counsel to define marriage through state constitutions, without expanding Federal powers.

  93. Natalie says:

    bayi,

    I think Ron Paul would agree with you on importance of morality:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvdD5_rEI_E&feature=youtu.be

    “The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments… There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, ‘We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.’ ” (D.Todd Christofferson, Moral Discipline).

  94. Will the author please include a break down of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson? Pretty much you would only have to photo copy Ron Paul’s stances. Except on a few issues. But I think it’s an important conversation to include someone who will actually be on the ballot in all 50 states and stand for the same principles.

    Thanks

  95. Chris, I agree that I’d love to see a chart with other candidates. I don’t know if or when I’ll have the time to do that, but it sounds like you’ve studied it more than I. If you want to send me the info you have, I’d love to see it.

  96. Lee Moffatt says:

    Very well done. Just wanted to leave this for libertarians on here. Most people are not aware of the constitution party although we are very similar to libertarians.

    Here is the preamble of the Constitution Party:

    The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States.

    This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

    The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.

  97. I love the chart! It seems that the PDF version link is no longer working. I’d like to print it out on paper. Would that be hard to fix?

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