Mormons Voting for Trump

Like many of you, I was devastated by the results of this election. Devastated in a way that I never have been, even when the person I voted for lost, even when I had serious concerns about what the winner would do. I’ve never been through an election like this.

It’s probably not entirely fair of me, but I have to admit that I felt particularly betrayed by the Mormon vote for Trump. I’ve been thinking about why that is. And the reality is that I bought into the narrative being promulgated for a while that Mormons were different, that we, unlike evangelicals, were going to put commitment to religious values above commitment to party. I gobbled up that narrative. I loved it. I explained to non-LDS friends with pride about Mormons defying the national trend of Republicans, who were unifying behind their morally reprehensible candidate.

When I think about that now, I feel a bit gullible, honestly. And surprised at myself. I learned in Primary that Mormons were special, were different from other people. We could even be recognized by our unique glow. But I’d utterly rejected that idea by the time I was a young adult. We’re just people, it turns out, like other people, with some amazing attributes and some real flaws.

But then I fell for all the happy stories about Mormons denouncing Trump. Because the reasons they gave seemed plausible—he’s certainly no practitioner of the traditional sexual morality that Mormons prize so dearly, Mormons are more moderate on immigration, as a religious minority with a history of persecution we have a special care for other religious minorities, and so forth. Not to mention that those who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton even had another option in Evan McMullin.

And then—the election. I know someone is going to point out that he didn’t do as well as Romney among Mormons, but honestly, given the level of support he got, that doesn’t make it feel any better. To be fair, my very impressionistic observation based on watching my conservative Mormon friends is that they largely felt like they had no good options, and weren’t necessarily endorsing his bigotry and his many less savory qualities.

But it still hurts. It’s hard to accept that among my people, sexual assault, misogyny, racism, hostility toward many vulnerable populations, threats to Muslims, and so many other things weren’t dealbreakers. It makes all that talk of being a light to the world and examples of strong moral values ring a bit hollow.

18 comments

  1. Thanks, Lynnette. When I saw the Mormon voting statistics, which the polls missed by a mile, I was ashamed of my people. In a very real sense, they have become the Missouri mobocrats. Shame on them.




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  2. In conversations with Trump voting Mormons, there seems to two big issues that drove them there; a general mistrust of Clinton and a deep seeded fear of a more liberal Supreme Court. Many Mormons have interpreted the Obergefell decision as a direct assault on religious liberty. Some of the rhetoric from some members of the Q12 seems support this notion. A common phrase I’m hearing is, “He may be bad, but at least he’ll appoint a conservative to the court.”




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  3. Hatred or fear of one candidate drove common sense out the door. Lots of our fellow Mormons and citizens of all faiths drunk the Kool-Aid. Hard to imagine that we all seem to have the same principles, beliefs and hear the same letter from the pulpits but come to such different conclusions and actions that don’t reflect our core believes. We may indeed get what we asked for just like many times in the Book of Mormon. My hope is that Jesus has mercy on us and starts his comeback tour on January 19th. But really, let’s take a deep breath and see what happens hoping that calmer heads will raise up and show some constraints.




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  4. A thousand amens, Lynnette! Especially given the presence of McMullin as an option, I am extremely disappointed. I understand that lots of Mormons are lifetime Republicans and believe the gospel of Fox News, and it might be really difficult for them to imagine voting for a Democrat under any circumstances. But McMullin gave them an out! An out that they (largely) did not take. Utterly disgusting.




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  5. A couple of thoughts:

    1. I think this was yet another example where the polls were way off in the first place. Why? I hope political scientists will be able to figure it out soon.
    1a. Are the exit polls showing 60% of Utah Mormons voted for Trump as accurate as the pre-election polls that told us Clinton would win in a landslide?

    2. If the 60% figure is correct, that is at least a 25% decrease from previous elections. Are there any groups that had a swing that big? Wholesale ideological change is not a quick, simple change for an entire demographic. If I’m looking for a silver lining, it is that a sizable portion of Mormons moved away from their political roots and, in their minds, chose principle over party.




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  6. Thank you for this post. I echo your lamentation, for my country, my fellow women, and for my people and church. It seems that for many in the church, a petty power grab for a SCOTUS vote and the glimmer of gold combined with a dose of fear-mongering was worth trading in our neighbor’s safety, endorsing bigotry, ending medical care for 20 million + people, denying freedom of speech for others, religiously discriminating against Muslims, etc. etc. etc. (it continues, but you’ve heard it all.) It feels completely surreal, how could we do this??? We know the price and value of religious freedom, we know discrimination, persecution. How could we???? I feel like the carpet has been ripped out from under me. When bad things have happened in the world, we as a community have always been able to band together under the banner of the brethren. An important part of our narrative has always been Zion vs. the worldly world, and yet now essentially 2/3rds of the saints have voted against our core principles.

    I lament that Julie B Beck prayed at the UT Trump rally, literally envoking the sacred name of Jesus Christ to support this dawn of this new era, an act that I marvel wasn’t followed by a lightening bolt. I lament that after that act, that clear dog whistle, the church made no clarifying statement. I lament that though this has ripped our country and our wards apart, not a peep can be heard from SLC. Why can we not hear any guidance or council on the spiritual ramifications of these choices?Something more than a generic “let’s just be team players” in classic Chamberlain style, or “stiff upper lip”. Do we ever “stand for something” together, or is that just talk?

    I got censored on one of the big bloggernacle isles for saying I don’t want to hear one more word from the pulpit (Mormon or Evangelical) about chastity or pornography. You can’t endorse a brazen porn actor, playboy, and sexual predator for the highest office in the land, to lead the free world while simultaneously saying those things somehow matter. Not.one.more.word.




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  7. And I am surprised at how much my liberal Mormon friends are equating politics with the gospel much like republicans have – but even worse. (If it makes any difference I voted McMullin in Ohio.)




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  8. I agree it totally sucks. No other way to say it. But at the risk of sounding cynical, I wasn’t surprised at all that Mormons and Evangelicals ended up supporting Trump. This might be because I live in Utah County where Hillary is hated more than Satan.

    I was more surprised that Roman Catholics also supported Trump. Although after I had thought about it, it didn’t surprise me that much.

    I am currently taking a psychology of happiness and well-being class. I thought it was telling that the research indicates that members of religions that tout a “this is the only true church” doctrine and speak out against certain minority groups (LGBT, Blacks, etc.), report less life satisfaction and well-being than members of more progressive religions. “By their fruits ye shall know them” and all that. Unfortunately I think the Mormon institution has done a lot of things in the past decade or so that indicate maybe the fruits are rotting. For me, Trump was just more evidence of rotten fruit.

    It’s too bad.




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  9. I live in Australia, in a very conservative Stake, where being politically conservative politically is seen as part of the Church. We have members congratulating each other on facebook, on what a good man Trump is and what a great president he will be.

    To respond to this would risk an interview with the Bishop to explain your lack of commitment to the Church.




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  10. Eric N., I’m completely baffled at how the church and politics are separate, as our cannon specifically points to the inspired creation of our government/democracy and its unique role in enabling the restoration and millennium. Additionally, both church and government are two synonyms for “community”. Government and politics are the mechanisms we use to create structure, support, and laws for interacting with our neighbors, or as Christians would say-the way we treat our neighbors. We no longer live in the mountains, having run away from the government into largely unsettled segments of Mexico (present-day Utah). Globalization is here, we can no longer live separate from the world, but “in, not of”. We are responsible for this government, the government built by many of our ancestors (Mormons have numerous and direct ties to the founding father/mothers).

    Have you read “while England Slept” or other philosophical treatises on the ethics of appeasement, apathy, or neutrality at the dawn of WWII and afterward? Just as one can be guilty of dishonesty by remaining silent and withholding key information, one can similarly be guilty of the crimes committed by governments by apathy, neutrality, or neglect when we separate our moral selves from our political responsibilities and government. We can’t evade our democratic responsibilities, or somehow pretend that our Christian or even human responsibilities are separate. They are one in the same. Our political actions or apathy after all, will be part of our composite life and selves, the very same selves that will eventually stand before our maker.

    If the second commandment is to love thy neighbor, government (local, regional, federal and international) and politics are an intricate part of our accountability and salvation.

    (When I reflect on that and the reprobate we’ve now hitched our wagon to, despair sets in.)

    Some political decisions are the equivalent of pancakes or waffles for breakfast, but others involve much more serious issues and envoke moral decisions. The fact that our new president elect has campaigned on a misogynist, bigoted, racist, violent platform and promises to put into place elements that would revoke freedoms/liberties, discriminate, remove heathcare, etc. should alarm any Saint. His hate speech that has unleashed a rash of intimidating, harassing, and sometimes even violent actions across the nation should concern anyone who claims that such treatment of others is amoral.

    The fact that this racism, xenophobia, selfishness, and elitism was a driving factor in Brexit, in our election, in Australia (as seen above) should be cause for world-wide lamentation and action.




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  11. Likewise I am disappointed in the Mormons who supported HRC given her positions on abortion, same sex marriage, war, anti-self determination et al. Her supporting a predator just adds to it. See… It cuts both ways.

    Democratics would win every Presidential election if their party members voted. My first question to any protester is: Did you vote? As for this election, liberals have lost the court for 25 years. Republicans knew the stakes.

    I cannot fathom the self imposed emotion that people put into this election. We decide whether to wake up happy.




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  12. …,

    No, I don’t think it cuts both ways, that there is an equivalency. Nor do I think there is anything anti-Mormon about supporting laws enabling SSM or abortion. How can we claim grievances toward to government and against the mobs for our 19th c non-traditional marriages, claim our rights were violated, yet turn around and do the same to SS couples? While we may not opt for abortions in some cases fought for by pro-choice advocates, it doesn’t mean that we can deny other women whose beliefs for exceptional circumstances differ slightly or greatly from our own. Since we carve out exceptions for the mother despite terminating a life, we certainly aren’t upholding absolute rights for fertilized zygotes/fetuses/babies. While we can go around about what is doctrinal, what is virtuous, what is right for us, at some point we have to stop and question whether our agenda is to dictate that all US laws reflect our beliefs (re-create SLC in DC), or create a land of Liberty where many beliefs and many differences are allowed in a respectful and safe land of Liberty. At some point, we can reflect on the pre-existence and the two proposed plans, one based on a Eutopian world where righteous guidelines would ensure that all safely lived correctly, lived righteously, lived prosperously, and another plan that prized choice and discovery, Liberty and diversity. We chose the latter, but it seems like people want the safety and order of laws that impose righteous decisions without allowing people the freedom to make the choices themselves. Yes, people will do things you wouldn’t, but unless it harms/impacts you, why do YOU get to say what they should do? Thomas Jefferson and Brigham both envisioned communities where all faiths and diverse beliefs co-existed with freedom of choice/Liberty.

    I’m confused as to how you interpret Hillary and/or the democratic platform as being anti self-deterministic, or why you think Hillary supported a predator. Adulterer, yes, predator, no.




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  13. Mr Clinton is a predator. He is a serial cheat; yet, HRC goes back. I would expect my daughter or sister to dump a serial cheat and to move on. Why she stays is interesting and we can only speculate.

    The French have learned that Muslim and French values conflict. Orthodox Jews and their sabbath observations conflict with others who desire to drive. Muslims are unaccepting of LGBTQ. Secular values and religious Gabe lots of conflict.

    Abortion isn’t anti-Mormon. It is anti-baby. It is murder. Find another form of birth control. The baby has no choice. A man has no choice but he will be forced to pay if he doesn’t want the child. A man/woman do have choices for birth control. But once the child is conceived, the power is with the woman. The baby is just some sort of ooze. Maybe someday we can accommodate honor killings if we want to embrace those with different beliefs.

    Mr Trump will be our President come 1-20. People should share their views but the violence needs to stop.

    As for self determination, Democrats believe in the state providing food, housing, etc… There is a role for government, but where does it stop. Today’a victim generation wants everything handed to them.




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  14. …, I think you missed the point of my post. I’m not talking about policy disagreements. I wouldn’t have had this reaction to Mormons voting for Mike Pence, for example, even though I completely disagree with him when it comes to policy. I’m talking about people–specifically, my fellow Mormons–deciding to at best overlook (and at worse embrace) blatant racism, misogyny, and flat-out bullying, among other things. I get the impression that for many, getting another conservative Supreme Court justice was so important that they were willing to give a pass to a self-confessed perpetrator of sexual violence. That kind of freaks me out.

    (And while I have plenty of thoughts on abortion, same-sex marriage, war, and government aid, this really isn’t the thread for discussion of those issues.)




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  15. Geoff’s comment reminded me of one of the most baffling parts of the election with regard to Mormons. I spent a while living in an African country that has few ties to the US and virtually no American expats. In general, people in this country don’t pay close attention to US politics, although most people were vaguely satisfied when Obama was elected. When I was last visiting, a few better-informed people teased me about how awful Trump was.

    But after the election, several of my LDS Facebook friends from my ward in Africa started putting up links to news articles praising Trump and “debunking” claims that he is racist, or publicly congratulating him on his win and saying what a great president he’d be. They were more pro-Trump than most of my American LDS friends. Why? Why are LDS people in foreign countries so unusually invested in American politics? Why do they feel obligated to defend Trump? Is Mormonism really so entwined with American Republicanism? A very cynical part of me also wonders if some Mormons are just so used to being called on to defend unpopular positions, despite cognitive dissonance, that it’s just become a habit to gravitate towards those kinds of positions and assume there’s some virtue in them…




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  16. Before this election I thought most Mormons were Republicans because of their religion. Now I think many (40%?) are Republicans before Mormons.

    I thought I’d read a stat that 2/3 of Utah Mormons voted McMullin, and the 60% figure was for Trump supporters nationwide. Can’t find it, though.




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  17. Mormons voting for Trump? What were they thinking? That is very embarrassing for a church that has goals to convert the world and send out thousands of missionaries to Latin America and other parts of the world. A church with a dark moment in its history because of race now supports the man that embodies all these negative characteristics. Clearly this church is in bed with Babylon and its days are numbered just like the Prophets in the BOM predicted.




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