Mormons in Mourning: Post Election Depression

From childhood it has been my nature to find that double rainbow in even the worst adversity I've experienced throughout my life, and like so many of you I've had my share. As an adult I am now well conditioned to find it immediately -- as I've learned that to do so I'm able to overcome a setback much quicker, press forward -- come what may. (Of note, this usually accompanies a very fast turn to Christ as part of the process.) But on occasion, life's disappointments refuse to allow such expediency and we are compelled to pause briefly -- rest on why that is -- and find the possible lessons to be learned, seemingly necessary.

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:

Mitt Romney First Mormon President of the United States!

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.

What about Mitt Romney losing his bid for the U.S. Presidency caused your greatest disappointment? What were your first reactions -- and how are you feeling now that a few days have past? Is there any thought or verse(s) from scripture that have lifted your spirits?

Kathryn Skaggs

On Faith:

Election results reveal God is winning ~ Kathryn Skaggs

What lies ahead for Mormons? ~ Michael Otterson

Salt Lake Tribune: Mitt’s bid: Would his loss crush Mormon backers?

Update: Adding this link because it's such an outstanding and uplifting article about Mormonism and will definitely lift your spirits.

Huffington Post: The Mormonizing of America ~ Stephen Mansfield

Photo CreditThe Kitchen Cabinet

Mormonism Won: Regardless of Election 2012 Results

Mitt Romney's name and his run for the highest office in the land, United States President, will likely go down through the annals of history as the first Mormon to come this close to the United States Presidency -- and not necessarily because over 55 million Americans believed, among other things, that he had the economic background to save us from another and worse recession, or that he represented the value voters of America -- which he did.

Mormonism will now come to the forefront of U.S. history likely because, first, Mitt Romney is a Mormon and for that we should thank him for his willingness to put himself out there, knowing the risk it would be on both his personal faith and the public perception of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- of which both withstood the pressure with grace and dignity.

Think about it: over 55 million Americans (and rising) cast their vote for a Mormon! That is incredibly significant on so many levels. Most important, I think, is the fact that those 55 million + voters likely represent a majority of those having strong, conservative moral values -- complimentary to people of all religious faiths.

Having a Mormon run for POTUS is only part of Mormon faithfuls' enthusiasm for what the media has dubbed over this past year as the "Mormon moment". What's even more significant to members is that the Mormon religion has been brought forth out of relative obscurity through the 2012 election process and exposed that moral values are as important as ever -- regardless of mainstream media attempts to squelch its presence in American society -- which should give us great hope!

This coming out of Mormonism is also a huge win for the LDS Church -- regardless of the final election results for Romney. This moment in time has built a bridge for the Mormon faith, and as Michael Otterson, head of LDS public affairs, worldwide, explained to The Washington Post: from a place of which we will never go back.

For Mormons it is onward: to learn, grow and continue to take the message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Mormons see this brief period in the spotlight of mainstream society as the doings of God and not man. Our perspective is honed to see such things, even political, as part of God's ultimate plan for His children and trust that all things, even the seeming negative, will be used to further the Lord's work. It's all about the law of opposition, in that God will bring all things to His advantage.

Mormons also believe that even if God's will were that Romney should have won the presidency (which many Mormons probably feel), the God-given agency of man is free to suppress that will --  allowed to run its course to consequence. What that might look like in the future is left to the unknown -- those potential consequences causing many Mormons to be concerned about the future of America.

As disheartening as Mitt Romney's loss may momentarily feel to many supporters, many Mormon, the office of the U. S. Presidency is about much more than any one man -- it is a reflection on what society values -- and I believe that is the concern of most who may be in somewhat of a mourning over the loss. And yet I truly feel that we have reason to rejoice in what this election has exposed in those 55+ million votes for conservative values.

No longer does liberal media have the power to convince us that we are a minority, with outdated morals and values.

No longer should we feel a shyness about speaking up on moral issues, thinking we are alone -- such as same-sex marriage, abortion, religious freedom, traditional family values, etc... 

No longer are people of faith set apart to their own corner of influence. We have now come together (55 million+ strong) as one voice for good -- and will be stronger than ever IF we continue to stand together!

If you walk away from this election with one thing let it be this fact: conservative Christian values have at least equal voice in America!

What positives do you see as a result of having had Mitt Romney, a Mormon, run for U. S. President? Do you feel that people of all faiths will be more likely to work together for the good of America as we move forward -- and how?

See also:

The Washington Post's On Faith Blog: Election results reveal God is winning ~ Kathryn Skaggs

Kathryn Skaggs

Photo Credit: Mitt

The Washington Post - Mormon press office: Church’s image survived the campaign

LDS Newsroom: First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Congratulate President on Election Win

Deseret News:  Mitt Romney says his principles endure even in presidential election loss

How YOU Can Easily Donate to Sandy Relief Efforts

For those who would like to donate to the disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy, LDS Philanthropies, the official humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) have created a widget that allows you to do just that!

There are two widget designs to choose from that you can place on your blog or website. If you do not have either you can share the link to this blog post or you can cut and past the following link and share it on any social network or via email:

You can get codes for both the large widget (pictured above) or the tall widget (live on my right-hand sidebar) HERE.

You can also share the LDS Sandy Relief Effort widget page directly to Facebook, right now, HERE.

LDS Newsroom:

Church Issues Statement on Sandy: Local Mormons Stand Ready to Assist in Aftermath

Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by post-tropical storm Sandy. Local Church leaders along the eastern coast of the United States have made preparations for the storm. Church representatives are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The American Red Cross, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other relief agencies to coordinate response efforts. Forty-two LDS volunteers are supporting Red Cross shelter operations in New Jersey and neighboring areas. The Church is working closely with the Red Cross to identify additional shelter locations if needed. 

The Church stands ready to assist affected communities. Emergency Response resources have been pre-positioned in Bishops Storehouses in the area. These resources include items such as food, water, blankets, hygiene supplies, tarps, cleaning supplies, chain saws and shovels. 

Local Church leaders will make assessments in the coming days and coordinate with response partners to determine further relief efforts. 

Mission presidents have taken precautions to protect the safety and well-being of missionaries.

"As disciples of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endeavor to follow the Savior’s admonition to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and those in prison (see Matthew 25:35–36).[ii] Through the efforts of individuals, families and Church programs, temporal and spiritual assistance has been given to millions in need."

Whatever you can give, no matter how small, will help in the disaster relief efforts of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. In times like this, when I feel that my own contribution, to such a large disaster, is only a drop in the bucket I am reminded of the Lord's teaching, that by many small acts come that which is miraculous -- and I'm certain that many people are in need of a miracle right now. One-by-one we can make a difference.

Kathryn Skaggs

LDS Newsroom: Mormon Missionaries Help With Storm Cleanup Effort

LDS Church: Humanitarian Services

"Church humanitarian work primarily helps those in need who are not members of the Church. There are many people in virtually any community in the world who struggle to meet their basic needs. The Church seeks to help as many as possible"