So, today I want to pause from my normal, upbeat blogging style to acknowledge what I've been observing throughout my Mormon community since Mitt Romney's bid to become the first President of the United States failed: post election depression.
Like many of you hoping to celebrate the 2012 election results, I was ready to enthusiastically write that historic victory post, not only here, but also on the Washington Post:
But alas, what many Mormons have been anticipating, praying for and some going so far as to fast for -- some believing it God's will -- were literally left devastated at the final election results! I know this because I've read what you think and heard what many of you are saying. And let me be quite honest here -- I've been somewhat taken back at the public displays of both anger and disappointment displayed by many members through the use of social media and on social networks -- causing me to wonder how future scripture would describe us as a people and what lessons our behaviors would teach future generations.
But please know, I'm not here to judge anyone -- I'm sincerely concerned by such outcry. Strange enough, I read an article a few days before the election suggesting that either way, a Romney win or defeat, Mormons would not have much of a reaction . Boy did that lady have us wrong! I knew how excited we would all be if it were to have been a victory, but truly I had no idea the level of sadness and/or anger that I would witness by members I personally know and associate with. And this observation is not mine alone. I've receive a few emails from other members expressing this same concern -- which has ultimately driven this post.
I can't really say why, for sure, that my own immediate response turned to finding the positive for Mormonism, in general -- of which I wrote election night and posted here, and then turned to give my response, as promised, whatever that was to be, to the Washington Post's On Faith Blog -- but somehow I was blessed to be given a view that enabled me to find a triple rainbow -- right away!
How grateful I am for that immediate blessing. Little did I know but that our little band of latter-day saints would collectively be so saddened by these election results. Let me just say, because I know if I don't I will be called out: but I do realize that for many of you it had little or nothing to do with the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon -- as I stand in that place -- but for many it was. And that's okay.
I'm not really sure why such extreme responses by so many members. I do realize that many believe this country is heading into some very dark days, and that by having Mitt Romney, a Republican and a Mormon, surely we could course correct this seeming downward spiral -- and with his loss such hopes have been dashed! I get this thought process and I'm sure there's much more that I'm not understanding -- or get -- but I'm still asking myself why? Why such sadness?
I found this quote by President Ezra Taft Benson responding to the popular Mormon belief that our Constitution would hang by a thread (which it likely is), and that the Elders of Israel would basically rise to save the day. I do have a concern that some of the sadness or disappointment being felt might possibly be connected to these thoughts, some feeling that Mitt Romney was the man for the job. And FYI, this 'prophecy' known as the White Horse Prophecy, is not official doctrine of the Church.
"I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church -- men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution" (Source: CHB 28-31)So, according to President Benson, and I don't know what other leaders have said on this topic, but it seems to me that the answer to the Constitution problem will not be solved by one powerful person in government -- but individual members.
How that happens I can't say for sure, but I do believe that education and the preaching of the gospel will have a powerful influence on society as one-by-one individuals turn to God and choose to manage their lives according to His laws. And His laws are in harmony with the "principles of the Constitution".
As we reflect on the what now question and the where do we go from here question it begins to become more clear that the results of this election are that the gates to share the gospel have been blasted wide open and we've all got a lot of work ahead of us. And indeed it may not be too far fetched to suggest that the lowering of the missionary age requirement, prompting a significant increase in new missionary applications, was the inspired work of our beloved watchmen on the tower -- knowing full well what is ahead.
Michael Otterson, who manages Church Public Affairs, globally, just published an excellent article over at On Faith, wherein he takes a look at: What lies ahead for Mormons...
"More visibility is not necessarily the same as increased understanding. In reality, a presidential election campaign is probably the worst time to try to educate and inform, because politics by its nature is divisive and often shrill. Many people are ready to believe the worst if it comports with their political leanings. But with the heat and divisiveness of a political campaign behind us, thoughtful Mormons can now look to the possibility of having more serious discussions with others about our faith, and especially about how our theology translates into the way we live."
Isn't that a great point?
Before we move on though, you should know that you're not alone in feeling sad or depressed. Pretty much everyone I know who was hoping that Romney would win the election, and not just Mormons, are feeling pretty blue right now. From what I've observed, there's a whole lot of chocolate going on! ; ) I just thought it might be helpful to acknowledge it and maybe even share some feelings.