Elder Ballard: Regardless of Party Affliction (er, Affiliation) Pray for Obama

I received the following report in an email newsletter from my friend Don Jarvis (quoted with his permission):

A senior LDS apostle recently told Provoans that “We need to pray for our new president, regardless of party affliction, I mean, affiliation.”  Speaking on January 25th in the Provo Tabernacle at the conclusion of an Oak Hills (east Provo) Stake Conference, Apostle M. Russell Ballard spoke warmly of the inauguration, read excerpts from President Obama’s inaugural address, advised members to read it, and said, “I like his emphasis on personal responsibility.”  The audience chuckled at the “affliction” slip, but was otherwise unusually hushed and attentive as Elder Ballard voiced his strong support for our the new Democratic President.  

Afterwards, I thanked Elder Ballard for his positive report and noted its difference from the angry criticism broadcast daily by KSL’s afternoon talk radio.  Elder Ballard simply answered, “Well, he’s our president and we need to support him.” 

A front page article in the Deseret News of 22 January quoted Elder Ballard as saying, “I left with a feeling that the people of America are going to unite behind this new president and his administration and that we need to pray for him,” … “We need to exercise our prayers and help him accomplish the great objectives that he has set.”

However Latter-day Saints feel about President Obama, I hope that we can take Elder Ballard’s counsel seriously. Moreover, I hope that we can follow the example of the Brethren in the civil and respectful way they speak about him and this new administration. In general, I actually have been quite pleased with my fellow Latter-day Saints in this regard.

Don added,

Last year several of us Utah County Democratic candidates met with three different LDS general authorities. They all reaffirmed the Church’s basic neutrality, advised us to list our Church experience in campaign literature, ridiculed the notion that good Mormons could not be Democrats, and expressed a wish for better balance in Utah politics.

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10 Responses

  1. The “affliction slip” was a great stake conference moment.

  2. Thanks for posting this.

  3. I think it’s great and I totally agree. I didn’t vote for him and I’m glad I didn’t because I feel like I have more power to support him. I won’t let anyone disrespect him and in the same way I don’t let anyone disrespect President Bush. Or at least- I defend them and try to honor the office of President.

    We are a democracy. Even if no election ever turns out how I want it to I still believe in democracy. That belief is not based on getting my way in the poll booth. I rejoice that we have a President elected by the people. What a blessing! And I firmly believe that he is a good person and his sincere desire is to serve the American people and bring about good things. I believe he has been prepared by God to do this, as we all are for the important things in our lives.

    I may not always agree with my Bishop, but I really hope I never find myself criticizing him or pointing out his weaknesses or what I think are mistakes. Why? Because that’s not the way to go about making good things happen. That doesn’t mean I’m not a critical thinker and don’t try to understand things for myself. But I’m learning there is a clear difference between thinking critically and being critical.

    I feel the same way about the President we have elected. We are “one nation” and we elected him, no matter who we may have voted for individually. I have no fear to discuss openly important issues. I have no fear of expressing my honest thoughts and questions. I have no fear of speaking up for what I believe in and for taking those beliefs to the poll booth.

    But I do fear the shocking hatred, disrespect, and ingratitude I have seen us exhibit towards our leaders lately.
    The anger, contention, and just pure hatred I have heard and seen does not come from a good source and will not lead to good things happening. Good cannot be accomplished by hatred and tearing people down. We cannot use Satan’s tools to build the Lord’s Kingdom. If we are using Satan’s tools, we are building Satan’s kingdom.

    If we are honest and serious about doing the Lord’s work and bringing about good things in this world then we will learn how to do it effectively- in the Lord’s way. We will not have hateful bumper stickers, mock people for their weaknesses, laugh at them for their mistakes, and triumph in insult and injury. When we think it’s funny to make fun of someone and ridicule them, even if we’re not the ones making the jokes, we cannot possibly have the Spirit of the Lord with us. We lose our spiritual clarity and the ability to receive revelation and think honestly and critically. We lose our power to do good and to serve other people. Our charity fades and our light dims.

    I’m guilty of it, too, sometimes. And that’s how I know what the effects are. I’m glad to have examples of people who think carefully, research and listen more than speak, and stay above the fray of gossip and mocking. I wish I could be more like them.

    What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. But if, in our quest to learn which is which, we stop loving people and speaking kindly and with care, then we are missing the whole meaning of it. When I feel superior, and put someone else down as inferior, I lose the light of the gospel to guide and teach me.

    Thank you for the reminder to pray for President Obama. I often forget. Just imagine how many blessings we could bring upon our people and the world if all the Latter-Day Saints truly prayed for their political leaders. I feel he will do the best he can and I know the Lord will help him. I hope he succeeds in his desires to strengthen America and bring about good things. I will try to help him in any way I can. I’m not sure how I can- maybe you have some ideas. I guess I’ll just start with praying for him and vocally supporting him. Maybe from there I’ll have some more ideas.

  4. Did Ballard pay attention to any of the under the table activity of the Obama administration as he was being flattered by the inauguration events? I support Ballard as an Apostle, but in this instance he may as well wish for the success of the next Hitler. Someone should tell Elder Ballard to read the White House Website and how Obama has an agenda to overturn everything we did for Proposition 8 and traditional marriage.

    I would only pray that Obama repents of the evil he has thought to do to America. You would not be getting the same flattery about Obama from President Benson. He would call him out for the Communist leader he is.

  5. Brian,

    Hitler? Communist?

    I can understand people not liking Obama, even REALLY not liking him. But you lose all credibility when you compare him to Hitler and call him a Communist.

    Comment again when Obama starts comparing a group of Americans to rats.

  6. I am patriotic. I love my country. I want to support the President, but this “share the wealth” agenda sounds all too familiar. We’ve all heard it before and we obviously voted against it. Do you remember? His name was Lucifer and his plan was to share the wealth. Everyone get’s the same. There will be no rich, no poor. We won’t be forced to work for things we need, they’ll be provided. We’ll rely on him for all our needs. Everyone will pass.

    I’m still not voting for it.

  7. Now, as I reread what I had just posted, a number of you may come to the conclusion that I am calling President Obama the devil. That idea would be absolutely false. I am in no way making any such claim, but I do draw parallels to his agenda and ideas. They’re simply not right and it doesn’t take a scholar to understand that.

  8. But what if a group of people in a democracy decide together to help their fellow men and to be their brother’s keepers? Is this the devil’s plan? I think not.

    The devil’s plan is not to ensure that “there will be no rich, no poor.” In fact that’s one of the definitions of Zion. Not that I expect Obama to bring us to Zion but I’m proud that our country chose the candidate who wants to help those least fortunate in our society.

    By the way – wealth redistribution is nothing new- corporate welfare has been going on for decades and has contributed to the increasing disparity between rich and poor in this country and throughout the world.

  9. I agree. About wealth redistribution. And so might King Benjamin.

  10. Jordan,
    Do you realize that there’s a difference between chosen redistribution of wealth and forced redistribution of wealth? One’s called charity where the other is called communism. You are proud that your country chose a candidate who wants to help less fortunate by forcing hard working Americans to give their money to the government because they think they know better than you what to do with it (i.e. corporate welfare through bailouts and failed education and healthcare policies)? You are as confused as the rest of the Obama supporters on this issue. Welfare doesn’t help the poor…it enslaves them. I’m sorry Bryn, but I don’t think King Benjamin would support a forced removal of property from one group of people to give it to another. It’s completely against gospel principles and it destroys charity. Andrew’s right… forced redistribution of wealth is very much like Lucifer’s plan in the beginning… everyone will be saved and I’ll just force them to choose the right. And the consequence is that free agency is destroyed. Do you see the parallel?

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