COLUMN: Mormons in a Sea of Insanity

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“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”

—The Gospel of Matthew 8: 23-26

In 2016, Republican primary voters, deplorable or not, have nominated Donald Trump as their nominee for President of the United States. Trump is a man who has lived a life of contradictions. He is a failed businessman who has been able to brand himself as a winner. He talks a tough game, but then retreats to his fortified Trump Tower after his ventures have suckered in enough people to hand over their money to him. He is of a tenebrous political ideology; not solid in his convictions, nor optimistic in his world view.

Trump is a sideshow carnie. He sets up his stand, lures in the gullible with his bluster and hyperbole and then skips town with a satchel overflowing with other people’s money. Promises unkept. Services unrendered.

Those are Trump’s better qualities.

Among his worst vices are crudeness, megalomania, compulsive lying, narcissism and, as demonstrated abundantly, misogyny. Trump has a lifelong resume of treating women as sexual objects that he believes are his to take and discard at whim.

Trump is, by both religious and secular understandings of the word, immoral.

How is this so? How can a man of such sparse integrity be the nominee of a political party dominated by religious conservatives? During my adult life, I have had to defend being socially liberal in the Republican Party. When I was a delegate at the Utah Republican state convention in 2010, I stood in the back of the room, stared at the 2,000 plus people in the hall and said to myself, ‘These are not my people.’

Across this nation–but especially in the South and Rocky Mountain regions—Republicans are mainly religious conservatives. How could they vote for Donald Trump? I can answer that question in four words.

They hate Hillary Clinton.

As a cavalcade of shocking stories about Trump’s treatment of women and his toxic words on just about every subject are thrust into the news cycle, religious conservatives prove themselves hypocrites for maintaining support for this ethically bereft lunatic. For a quarter of a century, Evangelicals and other social conservatives have savaged Bill and Hillary Clinton—sometimes justifiably—for being bankrupt of character. And how do they answer Hillary in 2016? They sell their soul to an orange-skinned devil. They embrace Trump and all the hideous baggage that comes with him.

I proudly refer to myself as an intellectual snob who does not believe in organized religion. Watching all of these religious fanatics sacrifice their dignity on the gold-plated Altar of Trump should bring me glee. It does not. It sickens me to my core.

Did I say all? There is one group of religious-social conservatives that has been repulsed by Trump’s trashy campaign and all the sewage embodied in his brand. Mormons.

In March, the Utah Republican Caucus was held. With a dominant majority of caucus goers being of the LDS faith, this would give a clear understanding of where Trump stood in the minds of the Mormons. Trump finished in 3rd place with only 14% of the vote. I championed Utah in a column in the immediate aftermath. Utah Mormons held firm in their belief in social conservatism and decency in politics. Donald Trump is not their guy.

Now, with under three weeks before the election, Trump faces more problems with Mormons. A recent poll by the Salt Lake Tribune shows Trump in a three-way dead heat with Clinton and independent candidate Evan McMullin. McMullin is the “Mormon candidate”. Born in Provo and a graduate of Brigham Young University, McMullin has given Mormons and other social conservatives an option to vote for a candidate for president without implicitly endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Conservative Mormons do not care if voting for Evan McMullin hands the presidency to Hillary Clinton. They refuse to cravenly capitulate to the will of other religious groups that have sold out their formerly bedrock values…all to elect someone president who is woefully underqualified, mentally suspect and obviously insincere in his purported conversion to religious conservatism.

I do not offer a blanket of amnesty to Utah Mormons regarding politics. I think that many elected officials in Utah that are LDS believe they are agents of their church in matters of legislating. I believe that there is an embedded prejudice against many who are outside of the Mormon faith in matters of law and politics in Utah. I believe that the arcane liquor laws and generally-poor attitude towards homosexuals speaks loudly to my premise that Utah is still run as a theocratic oligarchy. These are arguments I have made previously and will make again until changes manifest themselves.

Today, I ask you to lend me your ears so as to not bury Mormons, but to praise them.

In the sea of insanity that is this election, the Mormons separate themselves from those who ignore their moral compass to exalt a charlatan. While other groups try to explain how they can turn against the values they espouse to legitimize their support of Donald Trump, Mormons steadfastly defy the political process. On this, all of us who believe the election of Donald Trump to the most powerful office on this planet could cause unfathomable calamities for America and the world entirely should thank our Mormon friends for abandoning the GOP nominee in favor of decency.

In times of crisis such as this, many of different cloths often find commonality and respect for one another. Let this be the case in our shared desire to reject Donald Trump.