Returned Missionary’s Political Conversion
In the past, as an Evangelical Christian and as a Mormon, I voiced a lot of support for the Republican party. For me, at that time, it wasn’t a matter of fiscal, domestic, or international policy; it was a matter of emotionally supporting the imposition my accepted morality on the nation as a whole. My service as a Mormon Missionary changed my political leanings, and really helped me understand that opposing viewpoints and different lifestyles were not only something that we should embrace as a nation, but they are also necessary for balance and the upholding of the ideals of our Constitution. This more universal and pluralistic vision is what drives me not only to support the Democratic National Committee in this election year, but a candidate for president who I feel understands the principals of government expressed in the Constitution, the vision of equality for our nation which inspired the words of the Declaration of Independence, and who will be a voice for all people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or religion.
In a larger sense, with many conservative politicians bending to the will of the evangelicals in order to retain a powerful support base, it is impossible for me, as a former active Mormon, to reconcile my rejection of Mormonism’s interference in my life with the quasi-theocratic rule of evangelical lobbyists through elected officials. I believe the connection between evangelicals and government to be against the ideals of the Constitution, and that a furtherance and strengthening of this connection can only be damaging to the United States.
Specifically, I am supporting Senator Barack Obama’s campaign to become the next President of the United States. I view Senator Obama as being the candidate of the people. The power of his campaign isnâ€™t in some political machine thatâ€™s been running for over a decade. Obama has reached out and inspired people to get involved; and in return these people have lifted him up to where he is now. The power of his campaign rests upon the grass root efforts of people just like you and me. By contributing financially to his campaign, asking others to do the same, making phone calls, representing the campaign at a local church, walking the streets of Virginia Beach, and knocking on doors to get people out to vote, I have become a better informed citizen and feel more closely connected to my state, and my nation, than ever before.
Being inspired by all this, Iâ€™ve decided to take it up a notch and seek election as a delegate representing Virginia Beach, and the State of Virginia, at the Democratic National Convention. If nothing else, I hope that my involvement in this process will be educational. While attending convention in Denver would be wonderful; being even more involved in the political activities of our nation, and gaining a deeper understanding of these activities, is very important to me. Those interested can keep up with my efforts via my blog posts about running for delegate and my Facebook group.
So, to Mormonism’s credit, I have become more open minded than I perhaps would have been without it. In addition, the necessity of critical thinking in my exodus from the Mormon Church has provided me the skills needed to not only be emotionally involved in the political process, but intellectually involved as well. No matter who you support, or your political leanings, I encourage you to get involved in your community, your state, and your nation. Allow your voice to be heard, and attempt to understand what others are saying as well. Together, we can determine our collective future.