I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

One of the important aspects of the LDS doctrine of personal revelation is that the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes instruct individuals to act contrary to our own reason and understanding.

So here is a little supposal:

Think of a presidential candidate that you do not support.  Now put the candidate’s name into the appropriate places in the following passage:

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should support [a specific candidate] for President; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I supported a [candidate of that ideology/party/record]. And I shrunk and would that I might not support [her/him].

And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold it is the Lord’s desire that [that candidate] be President of the United States…

We spend a lot of time debating and defending our political beliefs, and comparing political candidates to our ideals. But what if, regardless of political party, or ideology, or record, or aptitude, or personality, or anything else we might use to judge our candidates, the Lord for His own reasons wants you to support a candidate different than the one you would choose?

It seems likely that most of the time He will leave it up to our best judgement. But we should also be open to the possibility that He will prompt us contrary to our reasoning. We should make sure that we consult with the Lord in prayer about who we should support in our political decisions and not rely solely on our own understanding and political philosophies.

So, continuing with the supposal:

Once the Lord has communicated his desire, how do you go about supporting the candidate? You can’t say that you honestly agree with the candidate’s positions.

You could say that he is the best person for the job, but since you don’t know the reason why the Lord wants him in office, you don’t know that for sure. Maybe she is not the best person, but the Lord wants her in office for some other reason.  All you know is that for some unknown reason, God has told you to support the election of this person.

You do not have the authority or stewardship to tell others that they should vote for the candidate because you have received a revelation that the Lord wants that candidate to be president.

And you’ve spent the last few years establishing your bonafides in a political position contrary to that of the candidate.  Now you will look like a flip-flopper, or even worse, incoherent.

So what do you do?

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2 Responses to I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

  1. Very good reminder for one who believes in personal revelation to ask for it humbly. Thanks.

    The questions you ask bring up some interesting thoughts. If it were just the first part, I might ask myself why the Lord wants me to vote for this candidate and not worry about whether the candidate is the Lord’s choice or not. I might think the important lesson is for me and doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on more global desires of the Lord. Add the second part, and I might feel an increased need to campaign in some fashion for that candidate, despite its going against my better judgment, and that would be hard. As for looking indecisive, friends and mature people will realize that life is complex and there may be any number of good reasons for a change of this kind, and later a change back again.

    Another question that might come from a situation like this is, what does it mean if this candidate doesn’t win the election?

  2. Sometimes a bishop is inspired of the Lord to extend a calling to someone, but the Lord doesn’t really want that person in the calling. I’ve read from several people how the Lord sometimes does that in order to get the person in for an interview.

    So to expound on the previous comment, some of which was already stated or hinted at.

    1. Just cuz the Lord tells you to vote for someone, doesn’t mean the Lord wants that person to win the election.

    2. Just cuz the Lord tells you to vote for someone, doesn’t mean He also wants you to campaign for him.

    3. The Lord may have no preference on who should win, so asking the Lord who to vote for may be a moot point.

    4. Maybe the Lord does leave politics up to us. Maybe He says: “Hey, it’s _your_ city/state/country. _YOU_ guys are in charge of running it, and electing who _YOU_ collectively want. But just remember _YOU_ have to live with the consquences.

    In my opinion, there are no perfect outcomes in elections. There are no perfect me, so there are no perfect politicians. It may really be the lesser of two evils.

    And, given that the Lord’s knowledge is all-encompassing, maybe the “least evil” candidate really has no chance of winning, due to the sheer number of voters who are not seeking the Lord’s will.

    Personally, I’m of the opinion (though I can’t prove the point) that the Lord’s viewpoint is: “Hey, that stuff is up to you. You gotta make your choice and live with it.”

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