Regardless of how one feels about religion, it's assumed that any of the faiths will steer people away from the worst societal sins and make them kinder and gentler human beings. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bears that same responsibility, both to its members and the world surrounding it.
Unlike many other Christian churches, wherein a member's worthiness is easily demonstrated by attendance at Sunday services and appropriate financial contributions, Latter-day Saints have a more thorough method for determining who, exactly, is a worthy follower.
Regular interviews, typically conducted by the local bishop and officers of the church's internal youth, women's and priesthood organizations, are used to probe members for signs of errant attitudes and untoward behavior. Despite what some may consider an overstepping of privacy, devout members don't seem to mind that the church maintains an open window into their lives.
Subjected to regular worthiness interviews, certain questions are asked of each member. One of those questions is, "Do you support, affiliate with or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" Couple that with the 12th Article of Faith—from the summary of Mormon beliefs—and, presto, you have an indictment and a conviction: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."
If, indeed, Mormons are obligated to "obey, honor and sustain the law," it seems that a large percentage of them are now in deep shit. Supporting many of Trump's policies, the insurrection and ongoing voter suppression are certainly "contrary" to the church's teachings.
For some reason, a high percentage of Latter-day Saints are affiliated with the Republican Party and choose to endorse Trump, despite the fact that he's broken numerous laws—both religious and civil—not the least of which is attempting to unseat the rightful leader of our country.
Among Mormons who flaunt the supposedly sacred precepts of their church is Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, who has taken the low road; he's now part of the circus show that's promoting Trump's "return to power."
During the first resurrection of Trump rallies, he's been appearing with the likes of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, attacking Joe Biden while bowing down to the former president. There's no question whom he worships. Perhaps worse, he's shown no shame in grandstanding God as an essential of the Big Lie program. Sure, we have our own Mike Lee—but Lee's brash dishonesty and disloyalty pales at Biggs' showboating.
During that first rally, Biggs made a brilliant claim of why he was so confident of Trump's return: As reported in multiple publications, he declared, "You know what we have on our side, ladies and gentlemen? We have God."
What Rep. Biggs forgot was that Trump holding up a stolen Gideons Bible in front of a church doesn't make the former president a man of God. Likewise, for those who subscribe to the idea that Satan is the father of all lies, it certainly creates a suspicion of whom the Trumpers are actually serving.
The fact is all church leaders, and especially leaders of the Latter-day Saints, need to take a strong stand on the hazards we face as a nation. That time is here—with the real threat that a lie could prevail, and democracy will crumble as a result—and church leaders needs to stress that members "honor democratic institutions and processes, and to obey, honor and sustain the law."
And those who choose to deviate should be asked to disconnect from the LDS Church lest their political activities tarnish the good will the faith has generated across the country and around the world.
The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.